British Airways cancellations: How to claim refunds after technical glitch

26 February 2022, 08:30 | Updated: 26 February 2022, 12:46

BA cancelled all short-haul flights from Heathrow
BA cancelled all short-haul flights from Heathrow. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

All short-haul British airways flights from Heathrow have been cancelled because of technical issues.

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The airline said in a statement that long-haul services are still operating but there may be some delays.

Customers who have seen their flight get cancelled have been offered refunds and the chance to rebook at a later date.

The issue may also cause delays for customers at Gatwick and London City Airport.

Scroll down to see LBC's expert tips for affected customers

The problem is down to a hardware issue, the airline said, and not because of a cyber attack.

It said: "We are extremely sorry that due to the continuing technical issues we are facing we have regrettably had to cancel all short-haul flights from Heathrow today until midday.

"Customers due to travel later today should check their flight status on before coming to the airport as we anticipate further disruption during the day.

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"Our long-haul services at Heathrow and all flights at Gatwick and London City Airport are due to operate as planned, but customers may experience some delays. Our website is working and customers can check-in online and at the airport.

"We are offering customers on cancelled services options including a full refund and all customers booked to travel on short-haul services from Heathrow today can opt to rebook to a later date for free if they choose. We will be contacting customers proactively.

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"Our teams have been working hard through the night and will continue to do so to resolve the issue as soon as possible. We advise our customers due to travel today to check for the latest flight information before coming to the airport.

"We know we have let our customers down and we will do everything we can to make this up to them - but for now our focus is on getting as many customers and flights away as we can."

It is BA's second outage in the last 10 days.

Departure boards at Heathrow's Terminal 5 showed few flights were boarding.

LBC's presenter, legal expert and barrister Daniel Barnett explains what options consumers have

British Airways has cancelled all short-haul flights from Heathrow Airport until at least midday on Saturday 26 February 2022.

If your flight is cancelled, you have various legal rights – although that won’t help you get to your destination when there are no planes flying.

You are legally entitled to:

a full refund for the flight you booked; or,

an alternative flight (known as ‘re-routing’) to your original destination if something suitable is available. Obviously, with no short-haul BA planes leaving Heathrow, there is unlikely to be anything available. If you book your own alternative flight, British Airways will not be liable for the extra fare. Their obligation is limited to refunding the fare you paid them.

You are also potentially entitled to compensation of £210 for very short haul flights (under 1,500 km) or £330 for longer flights (under 3,500km) per person. That is only payable if the airline is at fault in some way.

If you’ve left home and are stuck at the airport, you have some extra rights – although enforcing them in the heat of the moment and with underinformed and underresourced airport staff is not always easy. These include:

food and drink vouchers (keep receipts if you don’t get given vouchers; British Airways is likely to reimburse you for a burger and bottle of water, but not if you order a half-lobster at the Fortnum & Mason bar).

accommodation if needed; although it’ll be budget accommodation and not an overnight stay at the Savoy.

a ‘means of communication’, meaning that British Airways will reimburse you for the cost of any calls you make to keep family or work informed. But since most of us are on unlimited call packages, unless you need to call overseas outside your call package, you’re unlikely to have any costs here.

From a practical perspective, do keep an eye on Twitter. Astonishingly, at the time of writing (10am on Saturday 26 February 2022), British Airways have not posted any updated on their @british_airways account. But if you search for ‘British Airways’ on Twitter, and click ‘latest’, you might find some useful information from fellow travellers.

And make sure you listen in to the Legal Hour on LBC, Saturday evenings from 9pm. If you’re stuck, call me, and I’ll talk you through your rights and what you can do.