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British Airways Flight Delay and Cancellation Compensation

British Airways has struggled with their on-time performance in the last few years. Everything from staffing shortages to gate congestion has added to the airline’s 2023 punctuality being just 64% in 2023 according to OAG statistics. You could get as much as £520 (€600) for BA flight disruptions. 4.6/5 based on 16,073 reviews

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British Airways Flight Delay and Cancellation Compensation
Anton Radchenko
Reviewed by a licensed lawyer.
Last Updated: July 16, 2024

For the 12 months from October 2022 to September 2023, British Airways cancelled 3.3% of flights on short notice (less than 24 hours), according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority and Which?. This was, in part, due to the capacity cap instituted at Heathrow during this period. Plus, in 2023, BA’s average daily flights were up 23% over the previous year, so that can be a lot to manage.

In September 2023, the carrier had 3 major flight disruptions back-to-back in a single day that, according to Business Insider, could potentially have cost BA as much as $800,000 (USD) in compensation to passengers.

A BA spokesperson told Business Insider:


We are extremely sorry for the delay to our customers’ journeys. We would never operate a flight unless it was safe to do so, and our teams worked hard to get customers on their way again as quickly as possible.

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British Airways Air Passenger Rights

If you’re a British Airways passenger, you might not always arrive on time, but you can rely on the world-class passenger rights that protect you. In the United Kingdom, UK261 regulations mirror EU261 regulations in the European Union, and both protect passengers when they encounter flight disruptions.

So, whenever you’re departing from or arriving in an EU or UK country on a British Airways flight, you will be covered under EU and UK regulations for flight delays, cancellations, denied boarding, and missed connections. Both sets of regulations require the airline to provide you with care and assistance as well as cash compensation under certain conditions that we’ll explain next, but the following table should give you a better idea.

UK261/EU261 BA Compensation 

Flight Delays

Flight Cancellations

Denied Boarding

Up to £520/€600 in compensation

Care & Assistance

Up to £520/€600 in compensation

Rebooked flight OR Refund

Care & Assistance

Up to £520/€600 in compensation

Rebooked flight OR Refund

Care & Assistance

What is British Airways EU261 Compensation?

Since the regulations are basically interchangeable, we use EU261 to also include UK261. The regulation states that if the reason for a delay or cancellation is caused by the airline, they are required to compensate passengers for the inconvenience. Here are the scenarios covered by these regulations:

  • Flight delay - If your flight is delayed for 3+ hours, EU 261 applies and allows you to claim compensation.
  • Cancelled flights - Passengers can also request compensation in cases when a flight is cancelled without at least 14 days' notice.
  • Denied boarding - Overbooking happens when the airline sells too many seats for a flight and then has to refuse entry to certain passengers.
  • Missed connection - It’s also possible to get EU261 compensation if you end up missing a connection flight during your journey.

British Airways EU Compensation

British Airways EU Compensation: How Much Can You Get?

The actual amount of monetary compensation you get depends on two factors:

  • The amount of time you’re delayed at your final destination
  • The overall distance of your flight.

Delay Time

Flight Distance


Flights under 1,500km

Flights between 1,500-3,500km

Flights over 3,500km

Over 3 hours




Under 3 hours



* BA might try to reduce this amount by as much as 50%, but AirAdvisor always works to get the full amount.

What Flights Are Covered by EU261 and UK261?

Now that we know the instances when passengers can claim EU261 compensation through BA, let’s examine which flights are covered.

To keep things simple, any flight that departs or arrives at a UK airport is eligible for a claim. This is because British Airways is a UK-based carrier. Flights that depart from an EU airport are covered by EU261, regardless of the airline. If you happen to take a flight from a non-EU or non-UK country and arrive in the EU with BA, your flight is not covered.

Here are some examples of eligible British Airways flights and the associated compensation for a 3+ hour delay based on the flight distance:

  • London to Paris - £220/€250
  • Manchester to Lisbon - £350/€400
  • New York to London - Up to £520/€600

On the other hand, let’s say you take a British Airways flight from New York to Dublin. This route is not eligible for UK261 compensation because neither the departure point nor destination is in the UK. For EU261 to apply with a non-EU airline, a flight must depart from the EU, and this one only lands there.

If we were to flip this route and encounter a disruption on the way to New York from Dublin, EU261 would apply because the flight now departs from an EU airport.

British Airways Flight Delays and Cancellations

British Airways Flight Delay Compensation

Flight delays are probably the most commonly experienced form of flight disruption. In fact, statistics from Eurocontrol confirm that only 64% of British Airways’ flights arrived on time in 2023. This is down 3% from 2022.

Knowing this, what can you expect from British Airways when you have a flight delay? Other than monetary compensation, that is.

  • Delays of 2 hours or more: If you’re at the airport waiting for your delayed flight for at least 2 hours, then BA must give you care and assistance which means access to communication like free 2 free calls and emails as well as food and drink.

    If the airline isn’t forthcoming in offering you care assistance, don’t be afraid to request it, or at least keep your receipts for reimbursement later.
  • Delay of 3 hours or more: Once you’ve been delayed for 3 hours, you are eligible for cash compensation as long as the flight was delayed by extraordinary circumstances.
  • Delay of 5 hours or more: If you have a British Airways flight delayed for this length of time, then you must be offered the choice of a replacement booking or the option to cancel your travel plans and get a full ticket refund.

British Airways cancelled flight at Heathrow

British Airways Cancelled Flight Compensation

Flight statistics from the CAA showed that for UK airports in 2023, approximately 1.8% of flights were cancelled within 24 hours of the departure time. In 2019 this number was 0.9%.

Cancelled flights are generally less commonplace than delays, but as you can see, they still happen regularly. Thankfully, UK and EU laws may help ease the burden and chaos caused by cancellations.

If your flight is cancelled 2 weeks or more before departure, then you won’t be eligible for compensation, but if British Airways gives you less than 14 days notice, then you can get a refund or a rebooking at no additional cost. Plus, if extraordinary circumstances didn’t cause the cancellation, you may also be entitled to cash compensation.

If you’re at the airport and your flight is cancelled, then you are also entitled to a refund or a rebooked flight. If this new flight arrives at your final destination more than 3 hours past the time you were supposed to have been there, then you may also be able to get compensation.

Another situation is when passengers choose a rebooking but it doesn’t leave until the following day. When this happens, then BA must pay for your hotel lodging and taxi service there and back if a shuttle isn’t available.

Woman waiting for British Airways claim

British Airways EU261 Claim Form - How to Fill it Out

From the information we’ve presented so far, you likely have an idea of whether or not you will qualify for any British Airways UK or EU261 compensation. The next step is to head to the BA website and fill out the appropriate online claim form for your situation.

As you navigate this somewhat challenging process, remember to have as much information at your fingertips as possible. Completing and submitting the form and ensuring it’s error-free can take a good chunk of time, so set aside at least half an hour for this.

Alternatively, if you can’t be bothered to “fight” with British Airways for what you deserve, which you can easily verify on our free flight checker, head to our homepage and let the AirAdvisor online compensation experts handle your claim from start to finish. All we need are basic details like flight number, route, and your contact details. 

What to Do if the British Airways EU261 Claim Form is Not Working

Websites aren’t perfect, so if you’re having trouble completing the BA EU261 form online, there’s an easy out. We can do it for you! Once we resolve your claim, we’ll send you your payout (less our small fee) ASAP. And, if we don’t win, you don’t pay anything, so there’s essentially no risk.

Passenger looking for information about the British Airways delay compensation

Denied Boarding & Missed Connections

If British Airways oversells your flight and you’re subsequently denied boarding then you should be offered a rescheduled flight or a refund.

Plus, you are entitled to the same care and assistance offered for delays if you have to wait for 2 or more hours for the new departure. The airline must also give you cash compensation if you’re involuntarily denied boarding, but this will only happen if the flight was oversold.

If you happen to miss a connecting flight because earlier BA flights on the same booking were late or cancelled, then you can also get cash compensation based on the amount of time you’re delayed at your final destination.

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Extraordinary Circumstances

If you have a delay or cancellation that was caused by extraordinary circumstances, then you won’t be able to get financial compensation for the inconvenience. Extraordinary circumstances are situations that cause flight disruptions beyond what the carrier could have prevented. Here are a few examples:

One of the best ways to support your compensation claim is to find out what caused your flight disruption as soon as it happens. Airlines like to use extraordinary circumstances as a way to avoid payouts to passengers, so if you can get information from airport or airline staff right away, then this can be used as evidence in your claim.

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All you have to do is submit the application and wait for the compensation to be received.

People Also Ask

What happens if British Airways cancels your flight?

They’ll try to book you on an alternative flight or give you a refund.

Are British Airways flights covered by EU261?

BA flights are covered by either EU261 or UK261 for any trip that starts or ends in either the EU or the UK. For delays, your flights must be delayed upon arrival by 3 hours or more, and for cancellations, you must receive notice that the flight is cancelled fewer than 14 days before departure.

What happens if you miss your flight with British Airways?

The airline should try to help you get onto an alternative flight. You may be able to request compensation if you missed a connection due to earlier delays.

How long do you have to wait to get compensation from British Airways?

According to EU 261, passengers have a total of three years to make claims for flight compensation from this carrier. The process can take a few months or several years.

Can you still get compensation from British Airways if you bought a discount ticket?

Yes! All tickets are eligible for the same compensation regardless of the price you paid for your seat. Also, first-class passengers are given the same amount of compensation as economy seat travellers.

Can you get compensation if British Airways loses your luggage?

Yes! Lost, damaged, and delayed baggage is all eligible for cash compensation. If you had a flight cancellation, though - your baggage will most likely be forwarded to your final destination.

Are British Airways flights refundable?

It depends. Some are refundable, while others cannot be refunded unless the airline cancels the flight at short notice. You also have the option for a complete refund within 24 hours of the initial booking if your plans change.

Why is British Airways cancelling Flights?

There are various reasons why the airline could cancel flights. It may be due to strikes, war, staff shortages, mechanical issues with the aircraft, and security threats, among others.

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What happened with British Airways clients

Recent Comments

Sandra from United Kingdom (British Airways BA 557 Flight delay)
May 19, 2024, 2:41 pm

I received an e-mail from British airways warning that the flight maybe delayed which I received just prior to arriving at the airport on 17th May in Rome. The e-mail stated it maybe delayed due to adverse weather conditions in London and restrictions with air traffic control. I found this to be a complete lie following just over a 3.5hour delay as we were preparing to set off in flight the pilot apologised for the delay explaining the reason being the plane had been delayed at Heathrow due to a delay in the arrival and then disembarking the passengers then due to the plane then not being fit for purpose for the flight the plane had to be swopped which caused a further delay. All passengers heard the same announcement with no mention of weather conditions impacting on the delay of the flight. The fact that British airways felt the need to lie to passengers is concerning and also the fact that health and safety was skipped to hurry the planes take off additionally even more concerning. We never had our seatbelts checked before taking off and it took repeating to ask for a specific baby and mother seatbelt before one was provided additionally no check on seats being in an upright position, loose luggage laying on the floors or tables all closed was completed prior to take off. The outbound flight and service started our holiday off on a bad path which is another complaint and thanks to British airways it finished as it began.

Jacqueline (British Airways BA 2657 Flight cancellation)
May 17, 2024, 6:57 pm

The flight was cancelled due to strike. We were rerouted the next day via Brussels to Heathrow.

Jim (British Airways BA 1390 Flight delay)
May 16, 2024, 6:00 pm

due to my original flight AA80 cancellation, i was put on a next available AA flight to Heathrow, caused missed connection, next available BA flight to Manchester over 5 hours late

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