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BA109 from Heathrow to Dubai on November 2nd, 2022 was delayed by 3 hours and 17 minutes due to:

  1. Rain causing an electrical issue with a door;
  2. An object being left behind the aircraft, preventing its push back;
  3. The plane requiring additional fuel as it had been on the ground for the 3 hours and 17 minutes it should have been in the air.

It appears that BA is attempting to use a false reason to avoid paying compensation to those who are entitled to it.

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    So you're expecting a full refund for a flight which got you to your destination? Please elaborate your expectation. Yes, you are within your right to cancel the flight and get a full refund upon learning of the non-weather delay.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 6, 2023 at 18:44

2 Answers 2

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Seems to me that BA are attempting to use a spurious reason to avoid paying compensation to those entitled.

Of course they do. It's pretty much standard procedure for most airlines for initial EC 261 requests. Ignore or decline for whatever reason.

You will have to be persistent and threaten follow up action. This action can be complain to the local transport authority or hand it over to a 3rd party collector who is willing to take it to court.

It doesn't matter what you or strangers on the Internet think about the validity of the claim. Unfortunately the letter of the law is squishy enough to give the airline almost always room for interpretation. They will only pay if the customer shows enough determination to elevate the case.

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    ...Or in some situations, it may be appropriate to file a small claims case yourself, particularly if the company has an official establishment in your country of residence, or if both you and the company are in the EU (excl. Denmark).
    – xngtng
    Jan 4, 2023 at 14:00
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None of those reasons look like extraordinary circumstances which would relieve the airline from their obligations for compensation.

The CAA page on the topic tells us:

The UK law on flight compensation uses the term 'extraordinary circumstances' to refer to situations where delays or cancellations have been caused by things that are not the responsibility of the airline. If extraordinary circumstances apply, you are not entitled to compensation.

The Regulation does not define “extraordinary circumstances” and there have been a number of cases in the European (before the UK left the EU) and English courts regarding what the term covers. The cases have centred on whether technical faults on an aircraft could be an extraordinary circumstance. In June 2014 the English Court of Appeal issued a judgment in the Jet2 v Huzar case which provided clarity in the UK that technical problems were not an extraordinary circumstance.

In September 2015 the European Court looked at the same issue in the case of KLM v van der Lans. The court found that technical problems were not extraordinary and neither was the early failure of an aircraft component. The ruling noted two types of technical fault that may be extraordinary, a hidden manufacturing defect and damage to an aircraft caused by sabotage or terrorism.

Examples of extraordinary circumstances

The main categories of events that are likely to be an extraordinary circumstance include:

  • Weather conditions incompatible with the safe operation of the flight
  • Strikes (unrelated to the airline such as airport staff, ground handlers, air traffic control or border force)
  • Acts of terrorism or sabotage
  • Security risks
  • Political or civil unrest
  • Hidden manufacturing defects (a manufacturer recall that grounds a fleet of aircraft)

(emphasis mine)

"Weather conditions incompatible with the safe operation of the flight" is like a storm or a blizzard, not "rain leaked into the aircraft causing a technical fault".

Are they actually alleging extraordinary circumstances, and what reason do they give for that?

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    in fact rain leaking into airline doors is presumably just a technical problem since the door should be designed to operate in rain - it means there was a problem with the water seal on the door that normally stops the rain getting in. If the rain was so bad that the door couldn't have been reasonably expected to withstand it, then it was probably too bad to fly anyway.
    – user253751
    Jan 4, 2023 at 19:27
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    @user253751: Or someone left it open, which is 100% the airline's fault.
    – Kevin
    Jan 5, 2023 at 0:19
  • well, I assume the door is able to be opened when it is raining.
    – user253751
    Jan 5, 2023 at 0:24
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    @user253751 It should aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/25103/…
    – jcaron
    Jan 5, 2023 at 0:28

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