British Air - cancelled connection, downgraded rebook, lost luggage

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Jan 10, 2017
My husband and I were scheduled to fly British Air first class from Washington Dulles to London, London to Copenhagen in August 2016. Our BA flight left late from Washington due to local weather. Although our flight arrived in London an hour before our scheduled connection on British Air to Copenhagen we were told before we landed that our connection had been cancelled because we wouldn't be able to make the flight and to see a British Air rep when we landed. We kind of assumed that they just put us on the next flight which we were able to tell online was just a few hours later. While this would have been an inconvenience, we would have enjoyed the first class lounge and stretched our legs. When we finally located a British Air rep (we were the first from our flight thankfully) we were told (after standing at the counter for quite some time) that our only direct option wasn't for two days. They told us our best and only option was to catch a BA flight to Berlin leaving within the hour and in Berlin we would be ticketed for an Air Berlin flight to Copenhagen. We weren't thrilled but we were told it was our only option, we were tired and figured we would roll with the punches and try to seek some restitution on our return.

We flew BA to Berlin. Berlin Airport was pretty awful. We had to go outside to switch terminals, stand in lines like I have never seen to get into the Air Berlin terminal. Once inside we found a giant, hanger-like room which giant garage doors and maybe 100 chairs. There were of course hundreds of people waiting for countless flights so there was nowhere to sit down. Although we contemplated trying to go back to British Air terminal to find a lounge, the thought of going through the nightmarish line again was out of the question. We spent hours in this giant room. My husband has a severe food allergy so he couldn't even get anything to eat at the one coffee bar. We ended up spending 5-6 hours in this terminal. We finally boarded the Air Berlin flight to Copenhagen.

When we arrived in Copenhagen probably close to 12 hours after our planned arrival we had no bags. We attempted to file a lost baggage claim with BA but they told us since our person had arrived Air Berlin we had to file with Air Berlin. Air Berlin has no luggage counter in Copenhagen, SAS handles their baggage. We filed our lost luggage with SAS. Because Air Berlin is a regional carrier they do not offer their customers an overnight bag. The international carriers (I realize Air Berlin has a few international flights but I am talking the big airlines) offer customers in our situation an overnight bag with some toiletries, socks, etc.

We checked into our hotel, spent another hour or two trying to contact someone from British Air or American Air (the flight was booked by American Air) to no avail. The next day still no bags. We had no luggage our entire stay. We went and bought as little as we could and as cheap as we could.

We still have not been compensated a penny by any airline for the lost luggage, for the flight inconveniences, the delays, the downgrading of flights. I know at the very least we should be compensated for the lost luggage but shouldn't the airline have to compensate in some way for all the inconvenience and lost time?


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
Ugh, we all have nightmares about this kind of a trip. I'm not sure, but I think a lost bag claim is supposed to be filed with the originating carrier. My colleagues will soon chime in if I'm wrong.

Because the original delay was due to weather, you probably aren't entitled to any compensation for your time and travails. But you are definitely entitled to compensation for your luggage! Start now to prepare a concise, polite letter stating the facts in chronological order and asking for compensation for your luggage and the items you had to purchase on your trip. Remember that people who ask for inflated values on things are often ignored, so be realistic with the cost of your items and the value of your luggage. Someone smarter than I will be along shortly to advise to which airline you should direct the letter.

If your original letter is not successful, we can advise you on how to proceed.
Jan 10, 2017
When we arrived in Copenhagen, bagless, we tried to file with British Air as that is who our entire itinerary was with. However we were told by British Air and this was confirmed that international airline treaty rules state that the final airline to carry your person is the one responsible for the luggage. So we filed then and there with Air Berlin (well actually SAS since they handle Air Berlin bags in Copenhagen). We have been fighting for 5 months with Air Berlin and still have not seen a penny. We filed three times with them for compensation. We kept every receipt and spent as little as possible, despite having literally nothing for 9 days in a foreign country. We submitted all of this and the first time we were denied because one receipt was missing (we had to turn it in with our VAT forms in London). The second time we submitted we were offered $150 on Air Berlin (which does not even fly in our area). The third response, yesterday, was an email asking for our bank account information as well as powers of attorney. Obviously we did not supply this information.

While I agree airlines do not need to compensate for weather delays (my husband andI are avid travelers and have spent plenty of time stuck in airports due to delayed/cancelled flights) and I have twice been on flights diverted to other airports due to weather (one time the airline bused us the remainder of the trip!). My issue is that British Air did not even give us a chance to make our connection, even though we had just under an hour from our arrival in London, until our planned departure time. They cancelled our connection before we touched down or had a chance to attempt to make the connection. And then the alternative offered was horrendous - we lost an entire day of our trip, stood in an airport in another city for hours and weren't even given as much as a drink coupon. We were also supposed to be first class passengers - we ended up on an economy carrier. (Air Berlin did give us nice chocolates).

And then after all of that to arrive in Copenhagen with no luggage, after they rerouted us, and tell us that they wouldn't then help us with our luggage since they weren't our final carrier. Had we arrived on British Air they would be now responsible for helping us with luggage and at the leas they have an office her in DC. And they offer their travelers an overnight bag due to lost luggage - we got nothing.
Mar 26, 2017
EU261 doesn't apply to baggage. Small claims court isn't an option when you're disputing a company in another country.

Although treaties say that the last carrier is responsible for baggage, it couldn't hurt to pursue British Airways since (a) they got most of the money from your ticket and (b) their foolishness forced you onto the Air Berlin flight. I'm not sure if that makes them legally liable but that's irrelevant since it's not worth suing them. It just might motivate them to give you something or intervene with Air Berlin. I wouldn't bet on it, though.
Mar 4, 2015
According to yesterday's Case Dismissed article, Air Berlin ultimately paid for less than half of this claim and has been otherwise non-responsive to both the passenger and to Chris's advocacy team.

@cuse98, if you're still reading, you can force Air Berlin to provide a written "substantive response" to your complaint within 60 days by submitting a complaint to the US Dept of Transportation (DOT).

The DOT can't force any carrier to issue any passenger compensation -- it's possible you would need to resort to small claims court for that -- but the DOT monitors carriers for compliance with rules and regulations and has the power to levy fines against carriers -- and a formal DOT complaint is often enough to favorably resolve cases such as yours, where you are clearly entitled to compensation under the Montreal Convention for your legitimate expenses due to a baggage delay.

John Galbraith

Staff Member
Jan 22, 2017
Have you thought about a EU261 claim for the time delay?
Evening MMB - The poster (Cuse98) has not been back to the forum since 13 Jan so i expect they will not get to read the advice. (although a good reminder for anyone else reading the thread to consider EU261)