British Airways Cancel Dozens of Flights to Abu Dhabi: Are You Entitled to Compensation?

Jul 5, 2019

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British Airways flights between London (LHR) and Abu Dhabi (AUH) are facing a second summer of disruption with cancellations galore.

30 flights in total across June and July alone have already been cancelled on this problematic route, disrupting thousands of passengers due to what is being described as ongoing issues with the airline’s fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners. TPG UK reviewed all four classes on this flight earlier this year, on the same flight.

Earlier in the year the issue also caused several cancellations of other 787 operated flights to destinations such as Doha (DOH), Mumbai (BOM) and New Delhi (DEL).

What makes the situation worse is that some passengers are complaining that these cancellations are communicated at short notice and some are even being made to pay for their taxi to Abu Dhabi once having been rerouted to Dubai, an hour’s drive from the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Now, British Airways has offered its passengers either a refund or rerouting, as per European law and Article 8 of the EC261 Regulations which protects travellers on flights touching Europe. The confusing part is related to if you are entitled to compensation and the amount you would be owed. If you chose to get a refund, you are entitled to the full amount back that you paid for the trip – simple.

Rerouting is where things get a little complicated.

Abu dhabi skyline waterfront. Photo by Getty Images
Abu dhabi skyline waterfront. Photo by Getty Images

Compensation for Rerouting

If you opt to be rerouted, Article 7 of European Law EC261 says you are entitled to compensation. The amount differs depending on the following criteria:

“a) You are given less than 7 days’ notice of the cancellation and you are offered rerouting which leaves more than an hour earlier than originally scheduled or arrives at your final destination more than 2 hours later than originally scheduled.
b) You are given between two weeks and 7 days’ notice of the cancellation and you are offered rerouting which leaves more than 2 hours earlier than originally scheduled or arrives at your final destination more than 4 hours later than originally scheduled.” (FlyerTalk EU261 Guide, 2019)

However, you are not entitled to any compensation if you are informed of the cancellation more than 14 days before the scheduled departure date or if the reroute means departing less than an hour earlier than planned or arrives less than two hours late at the destination airport (Regulation 5.1.c.ii).

There is also a ‘Right to Care’ outlined by European law which refers to compensation for the following:

  • food and beverages relevant to the length of the delay
  • the right to two phone-calls or other forms of communication
  • accommodation and transport (where necessary) if delay means an overnight stay

There is nothing written in the regulations that says that the Right to Care Article 9 of EC261 is does not apply in situations where you were notified of the cancellation more than 14 days in advance so, in this case, you should be offered some kind of compensation from the airline.

In the case of British Airways refusing to cover the cost of a taxi from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, it is not actually required in any European Law articles.

"Ornate columns of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates"
Ornate columns of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Photo by Shutterstock.

Make Sure You Have Insurance

The number one way to make sure you’re protected in these situations is by making sure you have travel insurance. Taking out a policy is an options, but some of the best travel insurance is included with your credit card subscription. The Platinum Card by American Express has one of the best travel insurance policies around, as well as a whole host of other perks and benefits which more than pay for it’s annual fee.

Feature image by Mimadeo / Getty Images

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