Whoever said, “Any landing you can walk away from is a good one” must not have known David Youngquist.
And they aren’t familiar with the current service level at British Airways — at least, not as he experienced it.
Youngquist’s troubles started when his return flight from Copenhagen to London was oversold, which started a domino effect that lasted weeks And yes, British Airways got him to his destination safely, but it may have bent or broken a few rules along the way.
The only question left to answer is: Did the airline do enough for him?
Youngquist and his family had been on a Baltic cruise that arrived late in Stockholm, the final port of call, because of a mechanical problem. Fortunately, his family was supposed to fly to London the next day. Unfortunately, many of the late-arriving passengers on his ship were rebooked on his flight.
The Youngquists checked in and arrived early, but it did them absolutely no good.
“An airline agent there told us that we were standby passengers because the flight was oversold,” he recalls. ” She told us that we had been randomly selected by the computer, which was difficult for me to believe since we were on three different records.”
Let’s press “pause” for a moment. EU 261, the European consumer protection regulation, addresses a situation like this. British Airways owed him and his family a ticket on the next flight and compensation, depending on the length of the delay.
“After the plane left we were given seats on British Airways Flight 817,” he says. “I asked about compensation and was told by the same representative that we would receive compensation at Heathrow. I now know that this was a lie, and that it violated EU regulations that state that compensation must be offered immediately. The service staff at Heathrow confirmed this.”
Youngquist asked for meal vouchers for his four-hour delay and was told British Airways’ “system was down” and that she could not provide vouchers — another violation of EU 261, he says. He asked if he could make a phone call to London to notify his vacation rental in London that he’d be late. The same representative told him British Airways didn’t do that — yet another EU 261 violation.
Things just went from bad to worse. When the Youngquists arrived in London, they couldn’t find their luggage. They filed a claim for the lost luggage. After days of delays, the luggage didn’t turn up. Several phone calls later, they discovered that the airline had crossed its wires on the luggage claim.
“None of the bags had ever left Copenhagen,” he says.
The bags turned up at the end of their family vacation, but it was too little, too late. The Youngquists want British Airways to pay them $8,209, which covers the cost of buying new clothes and toiletries, additional transportation and lost vacation time.