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Compensation help - BA 103 caught fire on take off!

Compensation help - BA 103 caught fire on take off!

Apr 16th, 2012, 04:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1
Compensation help - BA 103 caught fire on take off!


I was on BA103 Heathrow to Calgary (yyc) on April 3, 2012. When we took off there was a big bang, then there was smoke and fire alarms and everything. The plane was on fire. We circled dumped fuel and had an emergency landing. Then 5 hours later we got on a new plane, new crew and 1 hr into the 9 hour flight we lost complete power. No tv's, no lights nothing. They decided to keep flying and not turn around. Then when we finally got to Calgary we found out because of the cargo fire all our luggage was soaking wet.

BA has come back with a compensation of only $400 travel credit. It was originally $200 but I told them it wasn't good enough and I still haven't taken the credit. That is it. I was flying in first class too so my ticket was extremely pricey for the trip of a life time.

What can I go back to BA with? Has anyone else had this problem?

I was coming from Oslo Norway via London back home to Calgary.
DarbyYoung is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 12:21 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 206
That seems mighty poor compensation, especially since a travel credit really only benefits the airline by supposedly bringing them your repeat business which otherwise I expect you would be taking elsewhere.
eliztravels is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
Actually I don't think you are offically entitled to much at all. Your big gripes are the inflight entertainment and the wet luggage, but unless something was ruined..... And $400 seems more then what most folks get for no TV on board.

BA did not intentionally set the plane on fire and I am not sure what you expected them to do, but it sounds like they did everything one could reasonably expect. Mainly they got you on the ground safely! Five hours to recover from this doesn't seem unreasonable to me. They had to find a plane and a crew.....It's not like airlines plan for this.
CarolA is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,994
Here's my problem with your stury, DarbyYoung: I don't know how much of it you're making up.

For one thing, the plane was not "on fire." If it were, the pilot would not have taken tthe time to dump fuel; he or she would have put it on the ground as soon as possible. You most likely had an engine flame out, which means that there may have been a fire of some type in the engine, but the pilot would have shut down the engine and extinguished the fire. Still, maybe you got the terminology wrong, and this was an innocent mistake.

Bigger problem was your claim that you were "flying in first class too so my ticket was extremely pricey for the trip of a life time." Tender story, but, alas, BA does not offer First Class on BA 103 from LHR to YYC.

So, no soup for you and no compensation for you.
DonTopaz is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 12:21 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
Don, I think you're being kind of harsh here. It's a question of terminology. If there's a main cabin and something up front, the airline might label that something up front as business class, but many people will refer to it as first class. I'd bet that's the case here.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 12:55 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
It's best to describe the bit at the front as "turn left".
alanRow is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 02:38 PM
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You find via Google some info on the incident on board of BA 103 with fumes and smoke in the cabin which made the first plane return to London.

You should be entitled to compensation according to EC Regulation 261/2004 on compensation for cancelled or delayed flights.
As your flight (eventually) arrived at YYC more than 3hrs later than scheduled and was more than 3,500kms the CASH compensation should be € 600.
Plus CASH for damaged (not just soaked) luggage.
The airline is not allowed to give you only vouchers (unless you agree, of course)!

The tricky part is that compensation is not required for "extraordinary circumstances". This is the loophole airlines are eager to use because, hey, we didnt set the plane on fire on purpose, right?
Wrong. Technical malfunction has been thrown out of courts over and over again as NOT being an extraordinary circumstances as proper maintenance and machinery would have avoided the malfunction.

You will find on the website a link to a claims form and a complaints form to the UK regulator if BA does not pay.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 06:46 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,506
Jeff_Costa_Rica: You might be right . . . But IME no one I know has ever once flown Business and called it First (or vice versa) . Even novice travelers understand if they have booked Business or First.
janisj is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 10:03 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
I disagree, Janis, and I hear it occasionally, even from airline employees. If AA flies a two-cabin aircraft, the front is first class on domestic flights. Put that same plane on an international route, and that cabin is business. I'll hear gate agents, check-in agents, captains, and flight attendants mix the terms up on occasion.

In any case, I think the accusation was uncalled for that the OP was "making up" the story.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Apr 18th, 2012, 05:20 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
Have to admit as a frequent flyer... I don't call Business First. I might do it the other way.

I still think that OP is probably gotten all he is going to get UNLESS some of his items were ruined when they got wet.
CarolA is offline  
Apr 18th, 2012, 07:51 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,719
I assume that many (even frequent) flyers are still not quite familiar with the statutory regulation for flights originating in the EU (and also going to Europe with an EU-based airline).

Unfortunately, airlines still try to get off the hook by offering less than legal compensation. So even the frequent flyers seem to think that $400 in vouchers is a wonderful gift while the statutory compensation is in fact €600 (=USD785) cash.
Usually you need to use the official form to make the airline's CR/complaints department understand that you mean business and that you know your rights.

Delays caused by severe weather, strikes, airport operations etc. are (in general) not covered by this compensation regulation.
Delays caused by technical problems are (in general) always convered.
There is no reason to be apologetic towards an airline that gets an not airworthy aircraft airborne (at least for a while) - which has also been the standard reasoning in the courts decisions.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2012, 08:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,485
I agree with Cowboy1968, EU law is particularly tough on airlines with respect to technical delays etc, don't let them fob you off with a voucher, as mentioned fill in the official form and send it
Geordie is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2012, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,583
In 2004 I had a similar experience on a BA flight from IAH to LGW. We took off and the left engine caught fire. In this situation there is no time for a fuel dump and they don't want fuel spraying around if the plane is on fire so I would be very surprised if your pilot flew a burning plane for the 20 minutes or so that it takes to do a fuel dump. Our plane filled up with smoke very qucikly which further indicates an urgency to land without a fuel dump and that's exactly what we did. Upon landing we did an emergency evacuation using the slides.

There were seats availabe on the next scheduled flight later that night. When we did the emergency evacuation I had my passport with me but not much else. Since I had my passport I was allowed to take the next flight. I got an upgrade to premium economy. When I arrived in LGW they gave me 250 pounds, mainly since I had to leave everything behind in the emergancy evacuation. On the flight home I was upgraded to biz class.

My luggage finally arrived 36 hours later. It was wet but not ruined.

I received no further compensation.
P_M is offline  

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