No flight, meals, phone or bags from British Airways — and no compensation

By | November 18th, 2016

Whoever said, “Any landing you can walk away from is a good one” must not have known David Youngquist.

And they aren’t familiar with the current service level at British Airways — at least, not as he experienced it.

Youngquist’s troubles started when his return flight from Copenhagen to London was oversold, which started a domino effect that lasted weeks And yes, British Airways got him to his destination safely, but it may have bent or broken a few rules along the way.

The only question left to answer is: Did the airline do enough for him?

Youngquist and his family had been on a Baltic cruise that arrived late in Stockholm, the final port of call, because of a mechanical problem. Fortunately, his family was supposed to fly to London the next day. Unfortunately, many of the late-arriving passengers on his ship were rebooked on his flight.

The Youngquists checked in and arrived early, but it did them absolutely no good.

“An airline agent there told us that we were standby passengers because the flight was oversold,” he recalls. ” She told us that we had been randomly selected by the computer, which was difficult for me to believe since we were on three different records.”

Let’s press “pause” for a moment. EU 261, the European consumer protection regulation, addresses a situation like this. British Airways owed him and his family a ticket on the next flight and compensation, depending on the length of the delay.


“After the plane left we were given seats on British Airways Flight 817,” he says. “I asked about compensation and was told by the same representative that we would receive compensation at Heathrow. I now know that this was a lie, and that it violated EU regulations that state that compensation must be offered immediately. The service staff at Heathrow confirmed this.”

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Youngquist asked for meal vouchers for his four-hour delay and was told British Airways’ “system was down” and that she could not provide vouchers — another violation of EU 261, he says. He asked if he could make a phone call to London to notify his vacation rental in London that he’d be late. The same representative told him British Airways  didn’t do that — yet another EU 261 violation.

Things just went from bad to worse. When the Youngquists arrived in London, they couldn’t find their luggage. They filed a claim for the lost luggage. After days of delays, the luggage didn’t turn up. Several phone calls later, they discovered that the airline had crossed its wires on the luggage claim.

“None of the bags had ever left Copenhagen,” he says.

The bags turned up at the end of their family vacation, but it was too little, too late. The Youngquists want British Airways to pay them $8,209, which covers the cost of buying new clothes and toiletries, additional transportation and lost vacation time.



  • sirwired

    Where’d the request for $8,209 come from? Because it looks like BA is paying all their actual expenses (mostly for the misplaced luggage), so that means the rest is for their “lost vacation time”.

    A four hour delay, some time on the phone, and a shopping trip, equates to $7k in vacation time? (Or $6k-ish if you account for the 750EUR they were due for being bumped.) Even if airlines were responsible for consequential damages, that seems more than a bit steep.

    I think the 250EUR they received over the value of their claim makes sense.

  • AJPeabody

    EU 261 is great and should be the rule in the US also (pie in the sky, but I can hope). It’s only flaw is that there is no penalty for willfully failing to follow the rule. Pay late after a lot of trouble and the airline pays the same amount it should have in the first place. This encourages failure.

  • John Baker

    The upside to regulation is that they got something for their trouble. The downside is that’s all they’re going to get because that’s all they’re owed.
    It appears that BA refunded them all their out of pocket expenses plus the EU261 imposed fine. No airline pays for lost vacation time.

    One note, EU261 only requires that the airline pay for your “right to care” items. There is no requirement for vouchers etc. To a certain extent, this helps travelers. It allows you to claim food from outside the airport on an extended delay (like breakfast).

  • Mel65

    I didn’t see in the story where you had to buy new/additional tickets? Or are you asking for a full refund of your airfare…. for a 4 hour delay that eventually got you where you wanted to go? Frankly, if that’s the case, it seems pretty excessive.

  • whatup12

    8k? HA! Seriously??

  • Lindabator

    as you see above, he wants a full refund of his tickets – just ridiculous – and for a 4 hour delay!

  • Rebecca

    I know we’ve all said before, “lost time” is not a recoverable expense. Nor should it be. EU261 spells out compensation. Makes it easy.

  • Michael__K

    In theory, the National Enforcement Bodies have the authority to impose sanctions on carriers for systemic violations. It has been threatened a few times, but it doesn’t seem to be working or happening.

  • Randy Culpepper

    I tend to vote in favor of airlines, but this is essentially an involuntary denied boarding (assuming we have all the facts). I fully support refunds and compensation for those.

  • whatup12

    I kind of got that…but i would just say:
    8k? HA! Seriously??
    It’s requests like this that really undermine those with reasonable requests for when things went wrong.

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    I agree that the request was too high, but the bad faith by the airline in bumping them for, as someone already noted, walkup fare passengers, should have some cost.

  • sirwired

    Neither law nor custom supports the idea of a full refund for a net four hour delay getting you to your destination. A denied boarding fee as a penalty to the airline has been the norm forever.

  • Randy Culpepper

    The op was not allowed to board their confirmed flight due to an oversell. In the US, since they arrived more than 2 hours after their originally scheduled arrival, they would be entitled to 400% of the one way fare up to $1,200.

  • C Schwartz

    This does not make much sense to me. The ship arrived late to the final port, Stockholm, as in Sweden. The oversold flight was out of Copenhagen as in Denmark. How did the passengers get from Sweden to Denmark? What flight was that?

  • C Schwartz

    Umm when does a Copenhagen-London ticket cost thousands of dollars?

  • Rebecca

    It’s 4 hours for an international flight, 2 hours domestic:

    http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/flyrights.htm#overbooking

  • cscasi

    Who knows. He and his family could have taken a train or have flown. Nonetheless, he arrived in Copenhagen in plenty of time to catch his flight and present he and his family early for the flight and was still denied boarding.
    British Air is known for wanting to “make a profit”! It is obvious that it tries to do that any and every way it can.

  • C Schwartz

    I find it confusing because the narrative says that a number of late arriving passengers were also booked on the flight and that is why it was oversold.

  • whatup12

    I know the situation sucked. I think we all get that. And many of us spend a lot of time on the road and get that things go awry and it generally always sucks. And I agree with you that you likely were not “chosen randomly” to get put on standby as they likely accommodated their elites first. Given this was a flight to their hub, there were likely a fair number of AA, BA, etc elites to accommodate. That said, asking for over 8k was never going to get accommodated and I feel that it just undermines your entire ask.

    That said, it is just one person’s opinion and do hope you still had fun on the trip!
    all best

  • jim6555

    I’m booked on a similar cruise which will take place in May. The cruise leaves and terminates in Copenhagen. Stockholm is the last stop BEFORE the ship returns to it’s home port.

  • jim6555

    I believe that the LW meant that people who were supposed to depart on the same day that the ship was scheduled to dock missed their flights. The LW was not affected because his reservation was for the day after the scheduled arrival.

  • C Schwartz

    Ah clearly I do not understand cruise terminology, thank you for the explanation. I thought the final port of call was the last stop and people would have been flying out of Stockholm,

  • C Schwartz

    Or they may have bumped people that were terminating in London and kept the people that had a connection because if the connecting passengers would miss a flight and be stranded for longer there would have been a larger EU compensation claim, the Euro 650 level.

  • Don Spilky

    EU 261 comes through again. Too bad the airline lobbys are too strong in the US for us to have a similar law.

  • Tigger57

    British Airways owes/owed them something – but come on! Over $8,000 worth. A little much I think.

  • The Original Joe S

    another story which says “Don’t Fly British Airways”.

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