British Airways fails to prove it could not have rerouted passengers onto quicker flights

District Judge Atkin sitting at the County Court at Uxbridge has awarded passengers compensation after BA failed to reroute passengers onto an earlier flight.

In Muetze, Heggerman, and Siemens v British Airways the Claimants were passengers on two directly connecting flights from Shanghai to Hamburg via London Heathrow.

The first flight was delayed by 16 minutes due to bad weather conditions and subsequent Air Traffic Control (ATC) restrictions. As a result of this slight delay the Claimants missed their connecting flight and were rebooked onto another flight with BA arriving 12 hours and 12 minutes late.

The Claimants instructed Hayward Baker to bring a claim for them for statutory compensation under European Regulation 261/2004, which has since been adopted into UK law, for 600 euros each.

BA denied liability stating that the delay was caused by ATC restrictions and then provided a generic statement saying that there were no reasonable measures that they could have done to reduce the delay any further.

Hayward Baker investigated the case and found several other flights that our Clients could have been rebooked onto and so we were not satisfied that there were not measures that BA could have employed in order to reduce the delay.

At trial District Judge Atkin agreed with us and held:

“Article 8 requires the Defendant to reroute the Claimants at “the earliest opportunity”

Per CJEU in LE v Transport Aeroes Portugueses S.A. (C-74/19) of 11th June 2020 the Court said:

“Indeed, the care and attention required of that air carrier in order to enable it to be exempted from its obligation to pay compensation presupposes that it deploys all the resources at its disposal to ensure reasonable, satisfactory, and timely rerouting, including seeking alternative direct or indirect flights which may be operated by other air carriers, whether or not belonging to the same airline alliance arriving at a scheduled time that is not as late as the next flight of the air carrier concerned”

The burden is on the Defendant to show that they explored such options (such as the 5 quicker flights produced as evidence by Hayward Baker) and if relevant that they discounted them for whatever reason, such as there were no available seats. It is not sufficient for them to say simply…that we looked at all other options and this was the best we could do. The Defendant has produced no evidence that it explored these options…”

Each of our Clients were awarded £511.86 each.

This is another case is a long line of cases where airlines have proved time and time again that they frequently do not reroute passengers onto quicker flights, especially if they are with a competitor airline, even though they are required by law to do so which ultimately results in saving a lot of time and inconvenience for passengers.


Free Eligibility Check

If your flight has been disrupted due to a delay or cancellation you may have the potential to make a claim under the EU Regulation 261/2004 for compensation.  This could be up to €600 per person.  Contact Hayward Baker on 01329 227 983 or complete our On-Line Form today to discuss the potential for a claim.

Have you had a flight that was disrupted?

You may be entitled to claim compensation.





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British Airways fails to prove it could not have rerouted passengers onto quicker flights
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