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UK News: Heathrow: 'Stressed' British Airways flyers lose £1k after being denied boarding on flight to see son for first time in 2 years

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A couple that says they were not allowed to board their booked flight from Heathrow Airport to Los Angeles is desperate for a refund from British Airways so they can fly out to their son's wedding. Derrick and Sheila Gordon were due to depart from Terminal 5 on December 23, 2021

The couple, from Oldham, arrived late at the West London airport for their connecting flight after being delayed travelling from Manchester Airport earlier the same day, due to additional immigration and customs checks. Despite being told by the pilot that their next flight would wait for them, they were left upset and stressed when they arrived and were told they could not board their transatlantic flight to Los Angeles.

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The pair were excited to see their 38-year-old son Christopher for the first time in two years after continuous coronavirus lockdown kept them apart for so long. They were offered an alternative flight 24 hours later, which they had no choice but to accept.

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Mr and Mrs Gordon flew out from Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 to visit their son for Christmas 2021 © PA Mr and Mrs Gordon flew out from Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 to visit their son for Christmas 2021

Speaking to MyLondon, Derrick, 69, said: "We had to pay £70 to arrange another PCR test as the ones we took on December 22 became invalid. At an extra cost to us, we tried to arrange this at the airport - it took around five hours to get them done.

"All this time at the airport there was no customer service of any description, no help or support from anyone. Also, one of our bags was damaged when the wheel was broken on the flight from Manchester. The whole experience of travelling with British Airways is one I will not forget and do not wish to experience again ever."

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On their flight the following day, the pensioner says he was shocked to discover that when he sat down on his seat in economy class, it was "broken and unsteady". A member of the cabin crew offered them new seats, but this would mean that they were sitting at opposite ends of the plane for the duration of the 11-hour journey.

After the pair protested, they were eventually upgraded to business class, where they were content, and they eventually arrived in Los Angeles just a day later than expected. However, as Mr Gordon pointed out, "we had already waited to years to see our son, and it was a day lost of our holiday - we had to cancel restaurant reservations and other plans".

Nearly four months on from their "disastrous" experience with British Airways, the two say they have been unable to contact anyone from the airline for a refund. Derrick added: "We're owed around £1,040 for the delayed flights, our extra Covid tests cost £70 and I also wanted to claim compensation for my wife's damaged suitcase. Even just the stress of the whole thing took its toll."

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It comes as British Airways CEO Sean Doyle was forced to send an apology email to tens of thousands of flyers in response to the barrage of complaints that the airline has received recently - particularly in response to people who have struggled to speak to call handlers about urgent matters.

Their son Christopher, who previously lived in Las Vegas, got married during lockdown to his wife in Los Angeles. However, now that the USA has opened up their borders to international travel, they are organising a second wedding - a bigger celebration - later in the summer holidays. Mr and Mrs Gordon desperately want to be there, but they're struggling to get a refund for their original flights, which they are hoping to use partly for their next trip.

Mr Gordon added: "Flights to America are not cheap, and we are still waiting to hear from British Airways about a refund and compensation. If I can help it, I never want to fly with them again, and I'm looking at other airlines for our next trip."

A British Airways spokesperson said: "We are sorry that our customers were delayed in getting to Los Angeles due to matters beyond our control. We got them on the next available flight and provided overnight accommodation. Our crew on the flight looked after them and we have been in contact with the customer to resolve the matter."

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Mr Gordon says that British Airways has agreed to refund the money for the coronavirus tests, but has not mentioned anything about getting compensation for the delayed flights. In an email seen by MyLondon, a customers relations worker told him: "We’ve reviewed your claim and we’re unable to pay you back for the damage this time. This is because we only pay for damaged baggage if customers let us know within seven days of receiving their bag, and your claim fell outside this period. However, you may be able to claim through your travel insurer."

Have you had a bad experience with an airline or a London airport? Email [email protected].

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