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British Airways: $1.1 Million Fine

British Airways (BA) is the primary airline of the United Kingdom with its headquarters in London, England, in close proximity to Heathrow Airport. This is the second largest UK-based carrier, both in terms of fleet size and passengers transported.

In January 2011, British Airways aligned with Iberia (Iberia is the primary carrier of Spain), giving rise to the International Airlines Group (IAG), a prominent holding company registered in Madrid, Spain. Garnering the distinction of being the world’s third largest airline group in terms of annual revenue and the second largest in Europe.

According to BBC, the United States government imposed a $1.1 million fine against the airline for alleged failure to provide quick refunds to passengers affected by flight cancellations during the pandemic. The report states that the US Department of Transportation had received over 1,200 complaints regarding BA’s handling of refunds for abandoned or rescheduled flights to and from the country.

The transport department further highlights that from March to November 2020, BA’s website directed customers to contact the airline via phone to discuss refund options, and due to poor customer service, passengers were unable to reach customer care representatives for several months, further aggravating the situation.

However, British Airways denied the accusations of negligence, asserting that it had processed more than $5 million in refunds since the start of the pandemic and always operated within the bounds of the law by offering affected customers the flexibility of rebooking their flight on a different date.

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