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Aussie Fliers To Score Comp In Wake Of Heathrow Meltdown

Australians caught up in the massive computer outage at the weekend that saw most British Airlines flights from the two main UK airports of Heathrow and Gatwick either cancelled or very heavily delayed, will be able to claim cash compensation.

The huge – and so far unexplained – meltdown saw many planes left stuck on runways at both airports while other flight operation problems spread worldwide.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Saturday, and 40 more on Sunday. They included the popular flight BA15 from London to Sydney via Singapore, leaving possibly hundreds of Australians stranded.

The Australian Business Traveller (ABT) Web site reports that affected passengers, including any Australians, can make claims for compensation by British Airways under the EU flight compensation regime. They are eligible for sums ranging from €250 (A$375) to €600 (A$900) each.

The regulation also covers flights from Australia to the UK on British Airways.

The airline is required to pony up a cash payment of €250 for short flights under 1500km and €400 for flights of 1500 to 3500km, ABT says. For flights over 3500km, a delay of three to four hours will result in a €300 payment, with €600 for more than four hours.

ABT editor David Flynn reports that under Euro laws, if a flight is delayed for two hours or more, passengers are also entitled to “care and compensation”. The airline must provide food and drink appropriate to the time of day and, in the case of overnight delays, hotel accommodation and transport.

BA CEO Alex Cruz has stressed that the airline believes there is no evidence the problem was caused by a cyber attack. But that is disputed by a number of IT specialists who have questioned the company’s disaster recovery and back-up strategies.

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