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british airways denied boarding

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Arrived at Heathrow T5 - 4 of us in the group. Must have arrived about the 45 minute mark before departure. pushed it fine because of a 40 minute tube delay - unfortunately they don't compensate consequential loss and my insurer doesn't cover domestic flights. My watch was 47 and justification came when the check in desk said bag drop closed 50 minutes before!

 

We had all checked in online and only 1 person needed to bag drop. so 3 of us could have gone through no problem, just one person could have stayed behind with checked baggage and took the hit for being 'late'.

 

However, this was not permitted! We were all on one booking and were told we cannot split the booking that way. Obviously, panicking at this point, as facing paying for 4 people to get home - we were directed to the customer service desk. Couldn't have imagined worse customer service - just repeated we are late... etc. even though we were not late per se - just too late to bag drop.

 

Anyway - the guy insisted nobody can travel on that flight. duty manager [name edited] (aka why are there 20 million unemployed people in europe and this guy has a job?) made a brief appearance to say he had made his mind up before meeting us and would be royally shafting us for every penny (paraphrased) then walked away mid conversation. arguments that we were on time (despite tube problems), it is christmas etc... ignored.

 

anyway - they charged us almost £700 to fly on a short domestic flight at Christmas. no leniency whatsoever - only threats that we have to take the next flight or we will lose our return leg (even though we thought we booked two singles). with it being Christmas and family waiting for us; nuts were in a vice.

 

my questions are these:

 

Obviously they ignored my (professionally worded) complaint and i was wondering if it is possible when i take them to court (under EU denied boarding rules) that they are forced to show from their computer records when bag drop closed for the flight?

 

Secondly, with which party does the burden of proof lie? is it on me to prove i was on time, or for them to prove i wasn't? clearly CCTV in the terminal would show we arrived well within the time to go with hand luggage, even if a minute or so too late to drop bags (which i deny anyway)?

 

Thirdly, just in general, what are the chances of success in court? we cannot prove we arrived on time - it all relies on information they have - terminal CCTV, computer searches they made etc...

 

thank you in advance for your opinions?

Edited by honeybee13
Staff member's name removed.

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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

I just found this on the Heathrow website about Terminal 5, in case it helps.

 

 

How early to arrive

 

You are advised to check in as early as possible. As a general guide, you should aim to arrive:

 

  • Long-haul and El Al: three hours before scheduled departure
  • European flights: two hours before scheduled departure
  • UK and Ireland flights: 90 minutes before scheduled departure*

* please note, due to the recent change in security, passengers may wish to allow an additional 30 minutes for domestic flights.

 

Please check the instructions on your ticket and from your travel agent or booking website. If you are still unsure please check with your airline directly.

 

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thank you for your reply honeybee.

 

But for the tube delay we would have arrived 90 minutes prior to departure.

 

Secondly, the boarding card states:

 

bag drop closes 45 minutes before departure

pass through security 35 minutes before

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Arrived at Heathrow T5 - 4 of us in the group. Must have arrived about the 45 minute mark before departure. pushed it fine because of a 40 minute tube delay...

 

The airline will show that bag drop closed 45 minutes before departure of your flight. They will also show that you arrived too late ("must have arrived about the 45 minute mark") to be able to complete check in/bag drop procedures for all 4 passengers before the cut off time of 45 minutes.

 

As for your second question, if 1 member of the booking has bags to check in then you acknowledge above that you were "a minute or so too late to drop bags". The burden of proof will be yours to prove unequivocally that you were in good time to check in for your flight.

 

Chances in court, zip, zero, nada, none.

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"The airline will show that bag drop closed 45 minutes before departure"

 

You know for certain this is the case even if the gentleman at the desk said 50 minutes? They can manipulate their systems to show what they want to show?

 

 

"if 1 member of the booking has bags to check in then you acknowledge above that you were "a minute or so too late to drop bags"

 

We deny we were late, and that is supported by the fact that the guy said the computer closed the bag drop automatically 50 minutes prior. unless they manipulate the computers it will show what time he accessed our bookings on his computer.

 

Also am I right to understand that because one person had a bag to drop, all 4 were late? The other 3 could have gone through security but were explicitly told not to. So all 4 went to the customer service desk where we were told the same thing - cannot split the booking in such a way. but i can't find anything in the conditions of carriage to say this is acceptable?

 

Also the accessing by the customer service guy on the computer, again, unless manipulated, would show that at that point we were probably 40 minutes before departure, hence still plenty of time to go through security.

 

My question is really whether or not BA can be forced to show this info in court, especially the 50 minute thing. why would they say that unless it wasn't true? what did the man at bag drop have to gain?

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Dont think you will win and it will prob cost you more to take it to court, there has to be a cut off time and you saying you probably arrived within it isnt exactly the same as saying you arrived well within it.


If I have been of any help, please click on my star and let me know, thank you.

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Just clear a few things up. a few posters are assuming i was late, probably the case for most people trying to 'claim'. i was late for a flight once before a few years ago - paid the price. did not complain. because it was my fault, i was wrong. this time i feel indignant especially as i always flew BA (before this happened of course)

 

My questions are specifically whether they can be forced to open their computer system to back up what i am saying if i take them to court.

 

i firmly believe we were within the 45 minute window, firstly because my watch said so and secondly because otherwise the BA bag drop desk would not have said it closed 50 minutes before. thirdly, the oyster card journey history shows me arriving 56 minutes before the flight. i literally sprinted to the bag drop. anyone who knows heathrow T5 knows it doesn't take more than 11 minutes to walk from the tube - let alone when sprinting!

 

BUT

 

if for some bizarre reason their computer shows we did not arrive 45 minutes before. perhaps their clocks run fast. we were definitely within the 35 minute window to pass through security. this will again show up on their computers for sure. it is at this point we were denied boarding.

 

Thirdly - if the plane was full - again this adds weight to my argument we were in the right. Can they be forced to show that information in court?

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"prob cost you more to take it to court" - i think it is a standard fee for small claims?

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My questions are specifically whether they can be forced to open their computer system to back up what i am saying if i take them to court.

 

Hello there.

 

Please ask your question instead of spamming the forum with meaningless posts. How can we help?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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