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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

British Airways offers passengers on three-day delayed flight ‘goodwill gesture’

Travellers on BA2036 flight from Orlando landed in London Gatwick on Sunday, 77 hours behind schedule

British Airways has apologised to customers delayed by three days on a flight from Orlando to London. Courtesy British Airways
British Airways has apologised to customers delayed by three days on a flight from Orlando to London. Courtesy British Airways

British Airways said on Monday it will offer passengers who spent three days stuck in the US after their London-bound flight was delayed because of a technical fault a “goodwill gesture”.

More than 100 passengers were due to depart from Orlando, Florida on Thursday evening last week, but were asked to disembark the aircraft after being grounded for four hours because of a “technical defect”. Having been put up in a hotel overnight by the airline, passengers flew out from Orlando on Friday night only to be diverted to JFK, New York, after another technical defect. A replacement flight did not leave JFK until Saturday evening, landing in London Gatwick on Sunday morning, around 77 hours late.

Many of those on the BA2036 flight said they were not offered accommodation by the airline while in JFK airport and were forced to sleep on the floor.

“Cannot believe our children had to sleep on the floor of an airport terminal for five and a half hours whilst you advise that you are looking after us,” tweeted passenger Rosie Slater Watts.

Some of those on board were travelling with children returning home after a half-term break.

Under EU rules, an airline must provide food and accommodation for passengers who are delayed overnight.

However, due to the New York Marathon, BA said it was not able to find accommodation for all of its delayed customers. The airline said it offered food and blankets to those stranded in the airport and gave them access to the first-class lounges.

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A spokesman for the airline told The National that it would be “proactively contacting customers to offer them a gesture of goodwill” and that it would be fully honouring its obligations under flight compensation regulation EU261.

Under EU law, each passenger is entitled to 600 euros (Dh2,500) compensation.

However, passenger Emma Hardwick told The National she had yet to hear from BA regarding compensation. She said she received a letter from the airline saying that someone would be in touch shortly.

BA said in a statement: ​“We appreciate that this was an exhausting and frustrating experience for our customers, and we have apologised for the long delay to their flight,

“Our aircraft diverted to New York on Saturday morning as a precaution, following a minor technical issue.​ We sent a relief aircraft out to New York on Saturday morning to get customers back to London Gatwick as quickly as possible. ​

“Customers were rebooked where possible and while there were limited hotel rooms available, our teams on the ground cared for customers in our first-class lounge providing bedding, food and drinks to ensure they were comfortable during their stay.”