NEWS: EU 261 changes – what airlines must do if they cancel and BA suspends London City

BA birmingham bristol routesE190 aircraft taking off from London City

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British Airways suspends operations at London City airport

In an unsurprising move, BA has decided to suspend all operation from London City. They had already announced that the New York service BA1 would be suspended until September 2020. 

All BA CityFlyer flights from London City will be suspended from Monday 23 March to Saturday 4 April 2020. If you had a flight you will be rebooked onto an alternative service from London Gatwick and Heathrow. You don’t need to do anything as you should get an email with the details automatically. 

If this isn’t suitable, you are entitled to a full refund. 


EU261 changes for Coronavirus

Whilst I am sure that most people are not worried about compensation, it is still useful to look at the current situation. One side effect of the EU261 compensation was that airlines were not cancelling as many flights as you would expect in the next two weeks due to having to pay EU261 compensation. Now at least they will helpfully start cancelling unneeded services so we can all get a refund! 

The EU has agreed that cancellations related to the coronavirus should be considered “extraordinary” circumstances within EC261 rules. This means that if you are affected by a short notice cancellation, you are not due compensation. The official statement says:

“In light of the mass cancellations and delays passengers and transport operators face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission wants to provide legal certainty on how to apply EU passenger rights. In case of cancellations the transport provider must reimburse or re-route the passengers. If passengers themselves decide to cancel their journeys, reimbursement of the ticket depends on its type, and companies may offer vouchers for subsequent use. Today’s guidelines will provide much-needed legal certainty on how to apply EU passenger rights in a coordinated manner across our Union. We continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation, and, if need be, further steps will be taken.”

The amendment also cited that re-routeing passengers at their earliest convenience could be a long process and it may be better for passengers to take reimbursement. 

The definition of caused by the coronavirus includes countries where governments have prohibited groups of passengers from entering if it meant the flights would be empty. It does not include routes where there are no restrictions in place and people just do not want to travel. 

So if your airline does cancel your flight due to coronavirus, what are you entitled to?:

  • Getting you to your destination on another flight – though if there aren’t any there is not much they can do. They don’t have to operate more flights to get you home. 
  • Or  a cash refund 
  • Or rebooking for dates at your convenience, but you will not get duty of care if this is the case
  • Duty of care until you can continue your journey of you opt to still fly to the destination at the earliest opportunity

Duty of care means that the airline must offer meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the amount of waiting time; hotel accommodation if necessary, and transport to the hotel. Airports should provide assistance to disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility too. 

You can find the EU full ruling here. 

4 Comments on "NEWS: EU 261 changes – what airlines must do if they cancel and BA suspends London City"

  1. What’s the status with BA holidays (flight+hotel)? Booked for me and at the moment the t&c’s saying if we want to change the booking we can get a voucher to rebook later but it doesn’t include the hotel as its non refundable. Do we have to wait until they cancel all the flights before we can get the hotel refunded?

  2. Just to be clear…..if your original flight ticket was a ‘non-refundable’ special fare with restrictions and charges for any changes, you are still entitled to a FULL cash refund, with absolutely no deductions/fees, should the airline cancel your flight due to corona virus? Thanks.

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