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Massive outage to cost BA after insurance wrangle

June 6, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

British Airways reportedly plans to change its advice to passengers seeking compensation for delays, following a discussion with insurers over who will foot the bill for expenses incurred after a massive BA computer outage.BA cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick at the end of last month as serious problems paralysed its computer and IT systems. Hundreds of flights were grounded over a British holiday weekend, with about 75,000 passengers affected. See: BA cancels all London flights after global IT outage

Delays were reported in Rome, Prague, Milan, Stockholm and Malaga. Passengers said BA staff in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 were resorting to using whiteboards to get messages across, as all else had failed.

Britain’s insurance industry and consumer advocates have slammed the airline for advising customers that “in the first instance” they should claim against their travel insurance policies.

BA has now said it will take claims for expenses such as hotels and meals as well as paying statutory compensation for missed or delayed flights, Skynews reported in the UK.

A form on the BA website dealing with disruption asked passengers whether they had travel insurance and whether they intended to claim from it. Any passenger answering “yes” was told to wait to hear from their insurer and then only contact BA for any expenses not covered by insurance.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) told the Financial Times that BA was wrong in directing customers to their insurers.

“Any cover available under travel insurance will usually kick in only if compensation is not available from any other source. Those affected should seek compensation, and any refunds of expenses, in the first instance from British Airways,” ABI said.

Adding to the irony, it now seems that a maintenance worker may have triggered the IT failure by accidentally switching off the power.

Written by Peter Needham

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