Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Flight delays and responsibility


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The Independent Travel

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

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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