BA pressured into changing website wording after disruption claims tussle
The airline was accused of passing affected passengers "from pillar to post" after major flight disruption at the weekend.
By John-Paul Ford Rojas, Business Reporter
British Airways has said it will change the wording of instructions for passengers seeking compensation after a tussle with insurers over who would foot the bill.
The airline was accused by the insurance industry of passing affected customers from "pillar to post" after it advised that "in the first instance" they should claim against their insurance policies.
It comes as new claims emerge about the cause of a computer outage that saw hundreds of flights grounded over the Bank Holiday weekend affecting 75,000 passengers.
BA has said it will take claims for expenses such as hotels and meals as well as paying statutory compensation for missed or delayed flights following the weekend chaos.
Customers seeking compensation online for non-flight related expenses are asked if they had insurance for the disrupted journey and if they have claimed or intend to claim against it.
If answering no they are told: "You should make a claim with your travel insurer in the first instance."
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) asked BA to change the wording.
It said those caught up in disruption "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," the ABI added.
"Any cover available under travel insurance will usually kick in only if compensation is not available from any other source."
BA, which has set up a dedicated web page to tell people how to make a claim, said: "We will be updating the wording on the claims page to ensure our customers have clear information."
The disruption over the Bank Holiday weekend saw hundreds of flights grounded and affected 75,000 passengers. BA has denied a union claim linking it to the outsourcing of IT work to India.
Reports suggest the airline could face a compensation bill of up to £150m.
Details of the tussle between the airline and the insurance industry were first reported in the Financial Times.
Separately, The Times said the power supply unit at the centre of the fiasco had been working perfectly but was inadvertently shut down during maintenance work.
BA said: "We are conducting an urgent investigation and it would be premature to comment on details before its conclusion.
"As we've said before it was not an IT issue, it was a power issue.
"There was no data corruption or loss and IT outsourcing was not a factor."
Corporate services firm GWS said it was the manager of the BA facility and was supporting the investigation.
"No determination has been made yet regarding the cause of this incident," it said in a statement.
"Any speculation to the contrary is not founded in fact."