Exclusive: BA declined to book the Manchester family on an Emirates flight, and instead offered a departure from Newcastle
Samantha Phelps was looking forward to a luxury holiday to Dubai last month to celebrate a special birthday. Along with her husband Chris and their daughter Jordan, the family were booked with British Airways from Manchester airport via Heathrow to Dubai on 19 February 2022.
But the first leg, BA1403 from Manchester to Heathrow flight, was first delayed then cancelled.
Mr Phelps asked if they could be rebooked on the Emirates flight nonstop from Manchester to Dubai, as air passengers’ rights rules suggest. But they were told this was not possible. They left the airport and took a taxi home.
The following day, the family were told by a BA representative that no flights from Manchester via Heathrow were available. Mr Phelps said: “I asked about the Emirates flights on the Sunday from Manchester and he said that he had 150 people to contact and they couldn’t book me on it as ‘They’re not a partner’.”
Instead, the family was offered a flight from Newcastle, around 150 miles away, to Dubai via Heathrow. Mr Phelps declined the offer and took a full refund instead.
The family then asked for compensation, in line with air passengers’ rights rules. They were offered £210 per person – even though the length of their overall journey meant they qualified for the maximum long-haul rate.
After The Independent took up the case, they were offered an additional £287 each – taking the compensation to almost £1,500 for the three of them.
The PCR tests they were obliged to take for Dubai, at a cost of £180, were not covered. But they have also been offered an e-voucher to the value of £500.
A spokesperson for British Airways said: “We appreciate this was a frustrating experience as our teams dealt with major disruption due to Storm Eunice.
“When flights are cancelled, we offer options including a full refund and rebooking onto alternative services. However, the extreme nature of the weather affected a significant number of services and was beyond any airline’s control.
“We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused.”
After their Dubai trip was written off, the family travelled to Tenerife with Tui instead.
Air passengers’ rights rules make a strict requirement for airlines that cancel flights – for whatever reason – to help stranded passengers.
They are required to do what they can to get people to their final destination on the original day of departure, even if that involves booking a flight on a rival carrier.