Delayed by a day, and these flight vouchers aren’t gonna cut it

By | July 9th, 2013

Steve Mann /
Steve Mann /
Flight delays happen. But the one experienced by Nigel Goring-Morris and his companion on their flight from Tel Aviv to Honolulu by way of Los Angeles was so long, and the initial compensation so inadequate, that I’m considering getting involved.

Maybe you can help me sort this one out.

Goring-Morris’ entire trip was booked through American Airlines, but his first leg was on American’s codeshare partner, British Airways. The first part of that flight, from Tel Aviv to London, went off without a hitch. But the connection to LA was delayed by 10 hours, and they missed their next connection to Honolulu.

Result: The passengers missed an entire day of their planned vacation. But that’s not all.

“The food vouchers provided at both Heathrow and LA were insufficient for proper meals,” says Goring-Morris. “Although we were given an overnight hotel voucher by British Airways at LAX, the hotel was full so we spent the night in the lobby.

I’ve had the same experience with American Airlines vouchers in Honolulu, oddly enough. Fortunately, it’s been years since I had to sleep on a bench at the airport. It’s an experience I’d rather forget.

So there he was, homeless and starving and deprived of a full day of his hard-earned vacation. And how do the airlines respond to his complaint?

Let’s just say he’s not impressed. Neither am I.

American initially offered a one-year travel voucher for $350. It subsequently increased it to $500.

I refused to accept them.

British Airways has yet to answer my complaint, although I have made several subsequent enquiries, reminding them of my rights under the European Union rules.

Goring-Morris wants more meaningful compensation, but he hasn’t told the airlines what, exactly, he wants. The responsibility for this reservation, and any compensation, rests with American Airlines, whose rules are spelled out in its international general rules. Alas, these do not give me much hope. They only promise to cover hotel and meal expenses enroute, but they don’t specify how much or what kind.

Related story:   A barking dog all the way across the Atlantic. How about a refund?

“Our long-planned and hard-earned vacation in Honolulu was shortened by one day, and more due to exhaustion,” he says. “I hope that you will be able to help us receive fair compensation from either American Airlines or British Airways for what we can only describe as a nightmare trip.”

I agree with Goring-Morris that this trip could have gone better. I don’t see any contract language that would allow him to collect more more for his flight. The vouchers, small as they were, seem to be “goodwill” offers.

But European consumer protections would have applied to his flight from Heathrow to LAX, and I think he could make a persuasive argument that American didn’t follow EU 261.

I might recommend that as his next step, or I could jump in and ask American to review this delay problem.

Should I mediate Goring-Morris' case?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

  • Richard Trilling

    EU261 clearly applies to AA for the flight between Heathrow and LAX. You could jump in and tell AA to apply EU261.

    I’m sort of tired with american (small A) airlines thinking that EU261 doesn’t apply to them.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I’m a little confused about the hotel vouchers. The few times I’ve gotten them, the agent called ahead first to insure availability. But still, the airport hotels are a trivial distance from LAX. If the hotel was booked, why not go back to LAX and get another hotel voucher. Its just a free shuttle back to LAX.

  • jpp42

    I know that the $500 is in funny money, but it was only one day of the vacation – that is frustrating but unfortunately modern air travel is not foolproof. I’d be willing to accept that offer personally, though I might ask for it to be valid for longer than a year. What was the cause of the delay – was it entirely the airline’s fault such as mechanical?

  • PsyGuy

    I see two causes to this problem one is an airline (American) that doesn’t think the rules apply to them and is probably hoping the merger is approved which will make them one of the two super American carriers, and then they can stop the charade of providing anything resembling customer service. They don’t really care, and $500 in airline funny money is about all a delay is worth. I understand it’s the OP’s vacation but it’s Hawaii, it’s every bodies vacation/wedding/honeymoon.
    The second problem though is the flier in this case, you need to be proactive and sometimes aggressive when there is an issue. The traveler should have gone back to the counter or gate agent and gotten another voucher for a different hotel, and asked for more of a meal voucher, and to do so politely and nicely. Really this problem has a certain tone and degree of “entitlement”, No one owes you anything if you don’t ask for it. Sulking and pouting in the terminal or lobby because the hotel is filled isn’t helping you. Airlines aren’t going to fawn and pander over a tourist who has a delayed flight. Its a delay and delays happen, and the vacation time isn’t nearly as important or valuable to the airline as it is to the traveler.
    My last issue is that I get the feeling this type of traveler would only be happy with something like free first class tickets anywhere.

  • johnb78

    Seems like a curious decision (given that the carriers have a JV with equal FF and tier points) to book from outside the US via AA rather than BA, when the former is only providing one domestic leg of an extremely long route. While there’s no difference officially, I’d generally rather book with the carrier doing most of the flying unless there was a strong reason not to – especially since European airlines have a better understanding of how EU261 works.

  • $16635417

    Do we know the cause of the delay and if insurance would typically cover this?

  • Richard Trilling

    Doesn’t matter, there was a delay; EU261 applies and cash reimbursements follow.

    It’s a very simple case.

  • Raven_Altosk

    What was the cause of the delay? That would help in determining what I think would be fair.

    (For instance, there’s an idiot being quoted in the Houston paper that she’s upset because after the crash this weekend, her flight was cancelled. I am so not kidding…urgh…)

  • John Baker

    Honestly, I’d need a lot more information before I could make an assessment on this case.

    1. Why was the flight delayed in LHR? There’s a possibility that EU261 may not apply (unlikely but possible).
    2. What constitutes a “proper meal” in the OPs eyes? Is he upset because the voucher didn’t cover 4 courses and a bottle of wine or did it not provide enough for any meal?
    3. Did the OP complain to BA at the time about the hotel being full before he spent the night in the lobby? Sorry I’ve never had an airline (been stranded in EWR & ORD multiple times) provide me with a voucher for a hotel where I didn’t have a room held. I have been sent to hotels that weren’t close but they always found me a room.

    Ultimately, its one day of his vacation. He didn’t miss the whole thing. There doesn’t seem to be any malicious act on the airlines part anywhere along the journey. Just one simple misconnect. Without knowing the answers to the questions above, its hard to judge the OP’s complaint and AA’s offer

  • Blackadar

    I entirely agree. This is an EU 261 case. If consumers are going to be bound by the letter of the airlines’ one-side contract of carriage, then I expect that the airlines to adhere to the letter of the law, including EU 261. So in this case, the consumer is OWED more.

  • John Baker

    EU261 may apply but without knowing the reason for the initial delay at LHR you can’t determine if the OP is owed the €600 in cash compensation. If it was delayed due to severe weather, compensation would not be due ( ) although they would have been required to provide “Refreshment.” The OP’s own complaint acknowledges that he was, in fact, provided with “refreshment” in the form of a meal voucher which would satisfy their requirements under EU261.

  • sirwired

    Why was the flight delayed? This is important information to know before mediating.

  • John Baker

    Actually wrong. Cash reimbursements do not apply in every delay. In fact, severe weather does not trigger a cash reimbursement. It does trigger the requirement for refreshment which the OP was given (and complained about).

    The reason for the delay is relevant because it directly applies to if he’s due the €600 in compensation for the flight or not.

  • John Baker

    EU261 may apply but without knowing the reason for the initial delay at LHR you can’t determine if the OP is owed the €600 in cash compensation. If it was delayed due to severe weather, compensation would not be due ( ). although they would have been required to provide “Refreshment.” The OP’s own complaint acknowledges that he was, in fact, provided with “refreshment” in the form of a meal voucher which would satisfy their requirements under EU261.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That’s an awful lot of speculation .

  • Bill___A

    I too would like to know why the flight was delayed 10 hours. Difficult to know what to say otherwise.

  • Cam

    EU 261 applies here, so have the op follow that up before you get involved.

  • James Orth

    I think you are correct on both counts. From my little bit of reading it would appear to me that EU261 should apply and the OP should follow that path before Chris gets involved!!

  • Not sure of the legalities and their effectiveness in the US, this is what I would have done: nicely and quietly, refused to leave the check in area of American at LAX until I had a boarding pass in my hand or voucher or whatever was needed. Write down every name and every supervisor referred to while standing there with the time of the note.

    With a hotel voucher in hand, I would have called the hotel while still standing in the line even though it would have been on a British phone.

    Had the hotel been full when I got there, I would have stayed in the lobby on a couch or refused to leave the coffee shop and waited it out between American and the hotel. The voucher is not a legal contract between the hotel and American just a promise to pay.

    Sometimes your very presence and refusal to move can do it. Legalities are for later; being an elephant in the room is for now. The most important thing is to be obsequiously nice all the time.

  • Asiansm Dan

    I vote YES but one point bug me.
    I did have misconnection many times and Airlines book my free hotel before handle out voucher for Hotel, So it isn’t quite right about why sleeping in the lobby. How can they issue Hotel Voucher without confirmation from Hotel.
    I speculate here, AA don’t gave the voucher but the Discount Certificate for Strand Traveller or Crew Rate Discount.
    It happens I ask for these Discount Certificates from the Airlines when I want to spend the night in the connection Airport at a luxury Hotel who has business with the Airlines at this Airport; the discount could reach 75% in some case.

  • Asiansm Dan

    I speculate the delay of 10 hrs is due to weather. Otherwise, if reason is mechanical, flight cancellation or late arrival flight, the OP should have been rerouting. From LHR, AA have many flights to EWR, ORD which have very convenient connection to HNL (EWR & ORD are my favorite connection route to HNL). I hate LHR and LAX for connection.

    For me, LHR is the worst Airport the world and LAX is the second worst. This OP got both on this itinerary, so why surprised.

    From Tel-Aviv, may be next time to Honolulu take the shorter Asian route with Asiana, ANA, Korean Air and JAL, much better transit airport.

  • John Baker

    FYI – a little GoogleFU found the flight. It was BA 283 on March 21st but I can’t find the reason for the delay. Not sure if someone can tease it out of GDS or not. Two other LHR to LAX flights that day departed on time so weather at either LHR or LAX would not have been the issue. Weather getting the airplane to LHR could have been the issue but I haven’t been able to tease that out of Google.

    Edit: Not sure that it applies to this flight but Mar 20 & 21 were the days of the German transportation strike when certain German airports were essentially closed. If the plane was delayed due to strike. Compensation is not required under EU261.

  • emanon256

    Like everyone is saying, what was the cause of the delay? EU261 requires only refreshments in the event of certain delays. They do offer cash compensation for many delays and in the event this one qualifies, than I do believe the OP is due the cash. However, it sounds like in the case of weather, they get refreshments, a hotel, and the option to cancel their trip for a refund.

    I hate to sound cynical, but as someone who was flying 50 times round trip per year for quite a few years, delays like this happen a few times a year. Its part of travel, and while not the norm, it can’t always be avoided. Latest stat I heard was that there are ~300,000 airlines flights per day world wide including cargo. Choreographing that much traffic around the world with changing weather patters is a huge feat, and not everyone plane will always connect. In my experience, the standard meal vouchers are usually enough to get a sandwich and chips, but that’s about it. Its enough for a meal, but not a nice meal. Also, as far as compensation is concerned, in my many 24 hour delays I got nothing, and a few times did get offered anywhere from $200-300 in a voucher which I happily accepted.

    I am wondering if the OP went back and tried for a different hotel? When I receive hotel vouchers, I usually call the hotel right away and try to secure a room, then ask for another voucher if one wasn’t available. Also, I think people should always try to mitigate their damages. If the OP was still hungry, he could buy more food on his own. He would have been buying his own food if he was in Hawaii, why not buy something in the airport? Especially if he was starving as he claims. While getting delayed overnight stinks, based on the information presented, I feel like the OP should have done more to help himself. I also feel like he got more than enough compensation if this was a weather delay.

  • Asiansm Dan

    It’s the first time I hear about Airlines Hotel Voucher without confirmation, may be I didn’t travel this much.

  • Asiansm Dan

    One information missing, which Airlines operated LHR-LAX segment? I catch the first leg is by BA.
    If LHR-LAX is operated by BA, the AA liability is quite limited and BA should compensate him rather than AA. He cannot Double Dip and wait for BA to respond, and BA is famous for veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyy slowwwwwwwwwww compensation.

  • John Baker

    More Google shows that BA flights weren’t effected by the strike in Germany. Sorry for the Red Herring!

  • emanon256

    It might just be a US thing, it also depends on the volume. When there have been major delays, long lines, etc. the customer service people just hand out the vouchers without confirming first. This has been the case when here are big storms in Chicago and there are hundreds of cancellations and thousands of people lined up. When its a small number they do call ahead when issuing the voucher.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    That’s the worst part of the story to me. Giving somebody a hotel voucher and sending them to a fully booked hotel is ridiculous. And going back to the airport may not have been all that easy, given they would have had all their luggage with them. I’ve been in situations like that where you’re just too tired to jump through any more hoops and just want to declare defeat and stay wherever you ended up.

  • Asiansm Dan

    From Tel-Aviv, Asian routes is shorter, better transit airports. May be it’s the same price and it’s a Milesrun.

  • johnb78

    Could be wrong, but I thought the BA/AA transatlantic JV was a total one, including equal miles and equal miles redemptions?

  • malbarda

    “So there he was, homeless and starving and deprived of a full day of his hard-earned vacation.” If you can afford a holiday in Honolulu, flying from Israel, you are not without means. If the hotel was inadequate, get another, even if you have to pay for it yourself. Deal with the fall-out later. Other than that, AA will have to abide by the EU laws so a better compensation is due.

  • LeeAnneClark

    The exact same thing happened to me. I was traveling with my two young children when my flight out was delayed for hours, then finally cancelled, and we were re-booked on a flight the next morning. Not only did they not call the hotel, but they shipped a bunch of us over in a van, where we stood in line in the lobby for over an hour while they booked the first half of the crowd into rooms, then told the rest of us there were no more rooms. We then had to call the airport and demand they send the van back over to pick us up and deliver us to a hotel that had rooms…we waited over an hour for the “free” shuttle van. It finally came, but instead they delivered us back to the airport, where we waited ANOTHER hour while they issued travel vouchers to another crappy hotel…then yet another hour while we waited for the van to come back to deliver us over there. By the time we got to the hotel it was 3AM, and the flight left at 8AM and we were being picked up at 6AM. They’d given us vouchers for breakfast at the hotel, where the restaurant didn’t open until 6AM so we were unable to get food since the van was there at 6.

    Yeah. That happened.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    I didn’t get that vibe from the letter at all. There are so few quotes from the OP that I question where you’re getting any of that from.

    And you make it sound like heading back to the airport was the equivalent of walking across the room. They were at a hotel some distance away and would have needed to wait for a shuttle, lugging their carry-ons (at minimal, assuming their other luggage was checked all the way through) with them. It well could have been in the middle of the night. By the time they got on the shuttle, made it back to the airport, tracked somebody down to give them another voucher, got on still another shuttle and made it to the second hotel they easily could have eaten up a couple of hours. Even if they were sleeping in the hotel lobby, they were still sleeping, which wouldn’t have been the case as they traipsed around hoping to get a second voucher. And your advice is for them to go through all that and still make sure to be “polite and nice” to the airline employees who sent them along to fully booked hotel without checking? You’re asking quite a lot.

  • bodega3

    My claim to Swiss Air was denied under EU261, so not all reasons get what you may think they should get.

  • bodega3

    It will depend on the reason which is missing from the article. We were delayed 5 hours and got zero compensation under EU261.

  • Laura616


  • John Baker

    Nope its BA Flight 283. AA flight 6186. BA is the operating carrier for that flight

  • IGoEverywhere

    I voted not yet. As with most airline stories, you have left off one teensy weensie bit of information. Why was the flight de4layed 10 hours. That reason is the basis of the compensation.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I can appreciate being too tired to be able to deal with it anymore. I was thinking more along the line of one person going back to LAX without luggage, straightening it all out, then the remainder of the family go to the new location.
    But after a very long international flight, your brain might well be friend.

  • sofar

    Wow. I’ve been jerked around by airlines before, but nothing compared to that. Last year, my flight on South African Airways was delayed 16 hours (they plane at JFK was broken, and the only replacement they had was in Johannesburg). So, we missed two days of vacation. But they at least got us to the hotel, sent an airline rep with us and asked the hotel to send some cold cuts and cheese to us in the lobby after hours. I mean, if you’re going to mess up people’s travel plans that royally, the least you can do is make sure they have food and a place to sleep.

    I’m curious … which airline did that to you?

  • johnb78

    He’s travelling mostly on BA metal but always on an AA code, so the operator is irrelevant – the deal is with AA. BA is no more relevant in compo terms than if he’d been on a wetlease.

  • Asiansm Dan

    In this case, all his troubles are causing by BA so he rattled the wrong tree by addressing to AA which already issued a 500$ voucher by good will for selling the ticket. So just wait for the settlement of BA before any further claims.
    By the way BA should reroute him in LHR via LAS, SAN, DEN, DFW, EWR, ORD ,MIA, etc… and arrange accommodation rather than left the OP out the cold in LAX.

  • Zod

    I too had an issue on the way to Honolulu from LAX. Our flight out of Dulles was delayed so much, we missed the last flight to Honolulu. Fortunately, the airline (can’t remember which it was) put us up in the Hilton and we had a nice room. The meal voucher was a pathetic excuse…$20 for the two of us…IN A HILTON!
    Needless to say, we were too tired for a big meal anyway and just had a pizza (a $20 pizza) and went to bed. Yes, we missed a day of our vacation, but otherwise, it wasn’t all that bad!

  • sofar

    Well, considering that less than 24 hours is too late to cancel most accommodations and excursions, this delay probably cost the OP quite a bit of money (or a lot of valuable time in filing a travel insurance claim after the trip). Plus, airline funny money is only good if you fly that airline again. Depending on where the OP lives, that might not be possible. And, as you point out, limiting it to a year is a slap in the face to anyone who isn’t fortunate enough to travel that regularly.

    A lot of people have very limited vacation days. So, I’d say a full day of vacation is really something to get irate over, if it’s the airline’s fault.

  • TonyA_says

    Read the Event Timeline, it will give you some idea what is going on.

    Looks like this flight got had 11 additional scheduled (gate departure) changes after the first one for 10:25AM departure. The airline should at least be able to tell the passengers why.

  • TonyA_says

    I agree on the hotel lobby deal. I suppose Reasonable Care excludes being dumped in a hotel lobby. Fail for BA.

  • TonyA_says

    I believe that under EU261 they are supposed to tell you the reason for the delay.

  • RetiredNavyphotog

    We also don’t know what time of day this happened. Maybe the American Airlines area was closed.

  • LeeAnneClark

    It was US Air. (Is anyone surprised?) ;-) This was definitely one of my worst travel experiences. And all we got out of it was $300 travel vouchers.

  • John Baker

    Nope… That stinks but typical for US Air

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I don’t believe it closes at LAX, but I can’t swear to that.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That’s with the benefit of hindsight and knowing that the hotel was full. Why would you assume that the hotel would be unable to honor the voucher?

  • TonyA_says

    Sometime after midnight (base on John Baker’s researched flight number)

    11:30 PM FAA STATUS-Wheels Down

  • TonyA_says

    I think EU261 holds the operating carrier responsible.

  • Cybrsk8r

    Well, we’re talking about a flight leaving London. Which isn’t a severe weather hot-spot. And while I suppose there could be weather at the destination, it’s a pretty safe bet that a thunderstorm isn’t going to hang over an airport for 10 hours.

  • Cybrsk8r

    Depends on who gets to define what a meal is. It could be anything from a decent sit-down restaurant to a coupon for Mickey D’s. While a coupon for a 10 piece McNuggets and fries might sound like a meal to an airline, I wouldn’t call it that.

  • Puck2u

    Looks like a slam dunk for Chris if the facts of the traveler are correct. AA has always done the right thing for me as has USAir. USAir in particular was wonderful for my wife and myself traveling from STL-PHL-Providence. Same CRJ all the way. Both of us are older and handicapped. The attendants were very solicitious of our comfort and could they do anything for us. SW has been just ok and Frontier so-so but nice people.

  • Bill___A

    Rather than harp on the fact that the vacation was delayed by a day, be happy that one got to such a distant destination safely and with so little delay. If there had been a volcano, it would have been longer. Someone who can afford a vacation in Hawaii from Israel should certainly be able to take care of themselves on a trip.

    I’ve had a chance to think about this and all laws and regulations aside, I depend upon my own resources when I travel. I am not going to starve. I am not going to sleep in the airport unless all of the hotels are full The airlines do a pretty reasonable job of getting people from point A to point B. I have flown a lot, and there have been very few times indeed when I have had to make changes or be accommodated.

    A couple of them were due to hurricanes. I’ve been on a flight that turned back to Heathrow due to a rudder problem, and I can tell you, I was very happy that it turned back and landed safely, that surely beats the alternative. Heathrow is not a horrible airport, by the way. I’ve been to it a lot. It works pretty well for a two runway busy airport. Los Angeles, on the other hand, is not my favourite. The TSA seems to have a bad way about them there. In any case, both airports can be dealt with.

    This site, as far as I am concerned, attracts far too many snivelling whiners. There are legitimate issues, to be sure, such as a travel agent keeping a refund, or an airline not producing one when it is due. Or a car rental company screwing someone out of money over imagined damages. And Chris is a great help with those.

    However, to waste time over someone who won’t make the effort to buy themselves a decent meal or pay for a bed when they need it, is a sad statement of affairs indeed.

    If one is not prepared to accept reasonable risks and responsibilities of travel, maybe they should just stay home.
    I don’t know whose idea it was to turn airlines into babysitters. They are transportation companies.

  • AH

    you’re quoting chris’s words, not the OP’s.

  • Joe Farrell

    There have to be 30 flights a day between Heathrow and the US East and West Coasts, ignoring DFW/IAH/DEN/ORD/ATL etc etc etc. and 5 a day between LHR/LAX. That said – they were milling about at the gate just WAITING for the flight to Los Angeles to leave? For ten hours? No demand to be put on to a American or Virgin Atlantic flight? No Demand to be put on a flight to SFO/SAN or SEA to connect to HNL? WORK THE PROBLEM – don’t just sit there.

    You are kidding me, right? People – the global air transportation system is redundant and competitive. There were at least a dozen separate ways to get to HNL that day from LHR – including going the OTHER WAY through Australia or Tokyo. Hell, it was still the day BEFORE in HNL.

    Instead, no one did anything. The ‘client’ here sat on their hands and just let themselves lose a day of their vacation – and the airline just didn’t give a damn. Now – not giving a damn is a hallmark of American Airlines ground and flight crews – so there is no surprise there. Why do we expect anything else? Should a hotel and meal voucher actually get a hotel room and a meal? Is that asking too much?

    I am tired of dealing with people who are totally clueless about getting around. If people are going to sit on their hands and just wait for someone to come to them – they get what they deserve. In this case, they got nothing. WORK THE PROBLEM.

    If EU 261 applies – they should get the money.

    As for anything else – tough. If you don’t ask you don’t get. If you arrive at a cluster f%^k at the airport to a 10 hour delay – you do what you can to find another way. You do not just sit there. What did they expect to find in Los Angeles? 160 people sitting on an airplane waiting for them to arrive before the flight departed? The airline to schedule a special plane just for them?

    Stupid is as stupid does. These folks deserve nothing – unless they can prove that EU 261 applies.

    Examples make good lessons: My mother in law had a flight on a Friday afternoon from SNA-ORD-MLI. Guess what? SNA-ORD portion canceled due to mechanical. She is one of the ‘just sit there and someone will take care of me’ group of people who 4 hours later would still be sitting in a chair waiting for ‘someone from the airline to take care of her’ in 2013. I was not driving back to SNA to pick her up – and she was not getting a hotel room – she was local departing – not eligible.

    We worked the phones – while there were 140 people in line waiting to be reaccommodated – and got her on a flight in 90 min getting into MLI only an hour later than originally scheduled. American was not going to do squat for her until someone made them – either by waiting in line or getting on the phone.

    If you wait for someone else to take care of you – then you have to live with their timeline . . . thats what happened here. Chris needs to help someone who TRIED or who was not competent to help themselves. Not the case here. We’re not gong to change the way the airlines operate – no matter how much we whine or complain.

  • Bill___A

    Well said, Mr. Farrell.

  • jpp42

    It didn’t cost them any extra money – the vacation accommodation would have been already paid (or at least budgeted) for. It “cost” them the enjoyment of that vacation day – that’s the ONLY cost incurred, and something that IMO is simply a risk of intercontinental travel. I think a $500 voucher is pretty generous for that (I presume the high value of that also takes into account the lack of adequate hotel accommodation at LAX).

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That’s certainly one way of looking at it. The net out of pocket might not have changed, but the value to cost ratio is out of whack. If the OP prepaid for any services that were not cancelable, then the OP paid for services that he didn’t receive. That is a cost by most definitions.

    Consider, If I go to the car dealer and order a BMW for 50k, but the car dealer delivers to me a Ford Escort, worth 30k true, the failure of the car dealership to perform didn’t “cost” me anything extra, but from my perspective, the car dealerships mistake has cost me 20k.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Not everyone is a hardened trial attorney. Different folks have different levels of confrontations skills. Yes, mitigation of damages is always critical, but those folks who are more timid still deserve some respect and assistance.

  • John Baker

    Actually EU261 only defines it as “refreshment” from the cheat sheets I can find. Probably means they could get away with tepid coffee and bacon rolls.

  • John Baker

    It could be any unforeseen circumstance to not qualify. So the inbound flight held up by hurricane or volcano would not qualify. A strike that keeps a plane from flying would not qualify too. The EU courts have ruled that staffing issues and mechanical issues are foreseen and, therefore, qualify for a payment. Like I said, the delay reason is important.

  • Joe Farrell

    Don’t need to be Carver – in fact – what I suggest requires zero legal knowledge at all – just what passes for common sense these days. The OP lives in Israel. Israelis who are Jews are stereotyped as not the most patient people in the world and have fairly highly tuned BS detectors – I have found this stereotype to generally be true given their living circumstances among people who want to blow them up – perhaps the OP here is an outlier. There is no evidence that these folks tried a travel agent – but it is almost 1000nm further flying TLV-LAX via LHR instead of NRT.

    So we start out with people are flying the cheapest possible way they can go – yes 0 even though it is 1000nm shorter it costs much more for a flight through Asia instead LAX-LHR. They got what they deserved.

    British Airways had monster flight delay. 10 hours was likely a mechanical delay. Especially when the other carriers- Virgin and American and United were departing on time more or less.

    Was this a serial 10 hour delay wherein we tell you: “it’ll 20 minutes” more 30 times?

    Regardless – you are still lookiing at a couple who apparently did zero to help themselves. Once the delay was extant – you start screaming politely. Your flight has been delayed beyond a reasonable period I have rights. I demand to be delivered to my destination. If necessary interline me.

    Before you do that – you find out your options. And TELL them what you want.

    BTW – the only BA flights I could find show an overnight connection in LHR. The schedule must have changed? Right? However – even assuming a connection to flight 283 which leaves at noon – there are later Virgin Atlantic flights and other options to get to HNL. Its obvious they did not even try to find them. Bad Robot.

  • sofar

    haha I was thinking it was either US Air or United.

  • Joe Farrell

    I think the take away from this and every other story like this is to:
    a) expect the airlines to screw up delivery of everything – from air service to vouchers;
    b) anything they give you will not be usable;
    c) you must look out for you own interests because they will only look out for their own.,

    When you look at it like that- then when things work out you are pleasantly surprised and when they don’t you have plan B and C ready to go.

    Oh, and PS – you do NOT have to wait in the line with everyone else from the flight. I would get on the phone with the airline inside the cabin before they let you out and try to rebook – if that does not work – hang up and call back – and – go to the accommodation desk at a larger airport, or outside security to the check-in desk – or even to one of their clubs – if you don’t think its worth $50 to have someone reaccomodate you simply and easily with a minimum of hassle?

    The LAST choice should be to get in the re-accommodation line – bascally because all of your other choices will be gone by the time you get to the front of the line.

  • John Baker

    Joe looking at the timeline @TonyA_says:disqus posted… Looks like a rolling delay … One six hour jump … another series of rolling delays … Looks to be around 2 hrs of rolling before and 2 hrs of rolling after the 6 hour break.

  • emanon256

    Really good points. I started thinking, and I can’t use international in this example, but say I was driving from NY to LA and had a prepaid hotel at Di$ney Land. Then along the way there was weather over a mountain pass and the road was closed for a while, or there was construction and the road was closed, you name it. I would have to make a new hotel reservation along the way, I would have to stop and get food. Then I end up being one day late to Di$ney and lost out on one day of prepaid passes and hotel. Who would I go after to get compensated? That’s what a lot of the cases of aircraft delays sound like to me when people want compensation and expect things to be taken care of for them. Whether someones fly’s or drives, there are events that can cause delays.

  • Joe Farrell

    As soon as I was past the connection time period I had in LA I’d be screaming my head off – and prob after an hour I would be demanding reaccomodation – because its airline time. 10 min is 30, 20 is at least 45. An hour is three.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    This has nothing to do with legal knowledge. Its about personality. You have a certain hyper-aggressive personality and don’t appreciate that not everyone is like you. What Joe Farrell does shouldn’t be the standard that we are judged by.
    If the OP flew cheap, BFD. Again, that has no bearing on anything.
    The only question is whether his actions were reasonable. And under the circumstances they were.

  • Elmarie Porthouse

    My daughter went through exactly the same when she came from South Africa to visit us here in Australia. It was a nightmare and we feel that Qantas stole precious time we should have spent together. You can read about her experience at Please help these people!

  • Lindabator

    And if he had insurance, he would have been reimbursed for the lost day(s). Shame.

  • Lindabator

    If due to weather or ATC, AA did nothing wrong. We need to know the REASON for the delay here, before assuming AA was in the wrong.

  • Lindabator

    NOT if due to weather or ATC – those are considered Acts of God and specifically NOT covered – we would need to know the reason before lambasting AA on this one.

  • Lindabator

    HAH! I work at an agency, and cannot tell you HOW many times in the last couple months London HAS been an issue for bad weather (as a lot of Europe has been lately). Don’t ASSUME.

  • Lindabator

    What, she hasn’t asked Chris for free flights for life yet? *sarcasm*

  • Lindabator

    Thank you Tony – yes they do.

  • Lindabator

    That’s why I believe that if they truly waited 10 hours, it was probably due to weather, so no other real options.

  • John Baker

    @Lindabator:disqus I already checked and the two other BA flights LHR to LAX operated normally that day.

    That isn’t to say that it started as a weather delay and moved to staffing when the crew timed out (I’m not sure how EU261 categorizes a cascading delay like that. It could be the original or the final). It could also be ATC since LHR is infamous for their landing slots.

We want your feedback. Your opinion is important to us. Here's how you can share your thoughts:
  • Send us a letter to the editor. We'll publish your most thoughtful missives in our daily newsletter or in an upcoming post.
  • Leave a message on one of our social networks. We have an active Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence and a Twitter account. Every story on this site is posted on those channels. The conversation ranges from completely unmoderated (Twitter) to moderated (Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Post a question to our help forums or ask our advocates for a hand through our assistance intake form. Please note that our help forum is not a place for debate. It's there primarily to assist readers with a consumer problem.
  • If you have a news tip or want to report an error or omission, you can email the site publisher directly. You may also contact the post's author directly. Contact information is in the author tagline.