Consumer group Which? has urged British Airways to go beyond its legal duties in compensating passenger after last week’s IT meltdown.
A power surge knocked out the carrier’s technology for three days over the last weekend in May forcing it to cancel or delay flights effecting 75,000 customers.
Which? says the airline is in “grave danger” of failing its customers and has called on it to automatically compensate them and not wait for them to submit claims.
Sky News reports that Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home product and services, has written a letter to BA chief executive Alex Cruz.
She warned that offering customer the “bare minimum” in compensation would cause further stress and inconvenience and further damage BA reputation.
Which? claims the airline’s compensation is “out of step with other markets, like energy and water, where compensation is automatically awarded to customers for severe disruption to, or complete absence of, service”.
“Given the scale of the problem BA has experienced, we strongly believe it is only right that you do more than the legal minimum,” Neill wrote.
Which? fears customers looking for compensation might be pushed into the hands of claims management firms who retain a part of the money due.
A BA spokeswoman told Sky News: “We sincerely apologise for the difficulties and frustration customers faced during the huge disruption across the bank holiday weekend.
“We will fully honour our EU compensation obligations and have set up a link on the home page of our website to enable customers to submit their claims as quickly and conveniently as possible.
“We have no desire to be obstructive in any way and have put additional resources into our call centres to process claims as speedily as possible.”
Meanwhile BA has changed the wording on its website after being accused of passing customers from “pillar to post” by the insurance industry.
Previously customers who had insurance were directed to make a claim through their insurer, but rules state that this should be done only after compensation has been sought from other sources.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said customers “should be able to claim compensation and refunds for any expenses as simply as possible, not passed from pillar to post”.
“Those affected should seek compensation, and any refunds of expenses, in the first instance from British Airways. Any cover available under travel insurance will usually kick in only if compensation is not available from any other source.”
See also: Special Report: What should BA do now?
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