Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Flight delays and responsibility
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Friday 19 April 2013
Q. We were on a Thomas Cook holiday package in May 2008. The airline was British Midland. We were delayed over seven hours, and want to claim compensation. Thomas Cook refer us to British Airways for compensation, but surely the responsibility is with Thomas Cook as the holiday was booked with them?
Mr and Mrs Dobson
A. Thomas Cook has advised you correctly. The EU261 legislation, which now includes the right to compensation in some circumstances for delays of three hours or more, applies strictly to the operating airline rather than the holiday company. British Midland, or BMI as it became, was bought last year by British Airways. When BA acquired the airline from Lufthansa, it also took on its legal liabilities. You can begin the process of making a claim at bit.ly/BA261Claim.
From experience, BA is proving more agreeable than some other airlines at settling claims, though no doubt there will be additional delay because of the need to involve the now-defunct BMI.
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