A BRITISH Airways passenger was left furious after the airline refused to compensate him for a flight that was over three hours late.
Akin Olagbaiye was on holiday with his partner in Rome when he found himself stuck in the airport for more than three hours after there was a fault on the plane he was due to fly back on.
Airlines have a duty to compensate passengers by €250 (£222) if a flight is more than three hours late under EU law.
If a flight is delayed by more than two hours they also have to provide passengers with food and drink and a phone call, as well as overnight accommodation if necessary.
British Airways refused to pay Akin the compensation for his delayed flight – however after Sun Online Travel got involved, they have since agreed to pay the compensation.
Akin told us: “When I got to the gate in Rome on November 5 the flight was boarding as normal. But halfway through boarding, a technical fault with the plane was identified and people were stopped from getting on the plane, myself and my partner included.”
He continued: “We were told by the staff member working on the gate that we would be kept updated and that we needed to wait where we were.”
Akin and the other passengers were then left queuing at the gate for an hour.
He added: “We were stood around waiting for over an hour and British Airways staff were, quite frankly, useless.
“At one point I heard the BA staff member working on the gate say that this was her first shift and that she didn’t have a clue what she was doing, whilst laughing to someone on the phone.”
Akin said that there were around 200 passengers queuing to get on the plane and that there was an “alarmingly long time” without an update on what was happening with the plane.
The passengers were eventually told that there was a technical fault with the plane, but that an engineer was looking into it.
Akin said after an hour’s wait, they were told that they wouldn’t be able to board the plane and would have to wait for another inbound flight to land that would take them back to the UK.
They were given no estimate of how long they would have to wait, and Akin said he was given one £5 voucher to spend in the airport between him and his partner – instead of the one each they were entitled to – then told to go back to the main part of the airport to wait.
It was a further two-hour wait before he could get on a flight back to London.
Once onboard the plane, Akin said that the captain confirmed there had been a fuel leak on the previous plane.
The plane left three hours and ten minutes after it was meant to, so when Akin got home, he applied for compensation via the British Airways website.
However after submitting his application, BA emailed him to tell him that the request for compensation had been rejected.
The email read: “Your claim’s been refused because BA548 on 05 November was delayed because of operational circumstances outside of our control and adverse weather conditions which prevented the aircraft operating as scheduled.”
It continued: “Under EU legislation, I’m afraid we’re not liable for a compensation payment in this situation.”
Akin decided to email the company’s CEO, Alex Cruz, asking why he wouldn’t be getting compensation – despite a delay of over three hours.
He revealed: “I got a quick response on the phone from a Customer Relations Executive at the company.
“I was told that the company wouldn’t be compensating me as only 160 minutes – just under three hours – of the delay was their fault.
“They said that 24 minutes of that delay was due weather in the country where the replacement plane was taking off and so they wouldn’t be paying up.
“I also thought that it was weird that BA wouldn’t put it down in writing, which makes it more official.”
Akin revealed that after he sent several more emails from himself to BA fighting his corner, he received an email telling him that they wouldn’t be responding to any more of his messages.
Akin said: “I’m honestly speechless at this treatment from our national carrier.”
British Airways told Sun Online Travel: “We know our customers value being on time, so we are always sorry whenever there is any delay to one of our flights.
“We have reviewed this case and have contacted our customer to apologise for the error and to arrange EU compensation.”
Sun Online Travel previously revealed that a British Airways premium economy passenger was left upset after paying £500 for an eight-hour flight – and only receiving a cereal bar for his meal.
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