BA Facing A £500m Group Action Lawsuit In Another PR Crisis

The week is just getting worse for British Airways. Following news that their website had been breached releasing information on thousands of passengers earlier this week, SPG Law has announced a class action law suit against the carrier.

What Happened?

Last week British Airways made headlines. The airline was the subject of a major data breach containing passenger information. The information released included personal and financial details of customers. British Airways stressed in a statement that “The stolen data did not include travel or passport details“. While the breach has now been resolved, all passengers making and amending bookings online over a 2 week period were affected.

BA City Landing
British Airways were hit by a data breach from August 21 to September 5. Photo: British Airways

Potential Law Suit

SPG Law is a multinational law company primarily based in the US and UK. They have much experience taking on big companies. A statement on their website reads “For over 20 years our American partners have been litigating cases against some of the world’s largest companies and institutions including Volkswagen, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, the United States Department of Agriculture and others. They have obtained some of the largest US verdicts against the pharmaceutical industry including a verdict of $72.6 million and another of $34.3 million.

The statement additionally goes on to say “Our barristers and solicitors here in the UK are some of the best and brightest their professions have to offer.” This could prove to be another big case for SPG Law, as the company looks to claim for £500 million. Regarding the breach SPG said “This is not the first time that BA’s IT systems have failed. BA have treated their customers poorly over the past few years and it is time to stand up to them and take action.

BA Flight Booking
Any customers who booked or amended flights on the website or app during the time period is affected. Photo: British Airways

British Airways Response

British Airways has yet to respond to the lawsuit. It has however said that any customer left out of pocket as a result of the data breach will be compensated. Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of BA said “We are committed to working with any customer who may have been financially affected by this attack. We will compensate them for any financial hardship that they may have suffered.

This will come as an embarrassment to British Airways who have endured several technology related PR disasters recently. During the May Bank Holiday in 2017 the airline grounded a number of flights due to a glitch in its computer system. Over 75,000 passengers were affected during the busy weekend. The chaos, estimated to cost BA at least £53m, was caused when somebody “unplugged the wrong plug”. This is in addition to another outage earlier this summer.

Mr Bean on BA
Perhaps Mr Bean had been left in charge of the systems. Photo: British Airways

10 years ago, British Airways was subjected to even more technology related chaos during the opening of Heathrow Terminal 5. 34 flights, almost 10% of all flights that day, were cancelled from BA’s new terminal. This was after software issues caused flights to leave without baggage. Waits of 2 and a half hours at baggage reclaim were also reported. The new baggage system installed was supposed to handle 12,000 bags per hour.

BA will certainly face a tough few weeks as they look to make right all that has gone wrong.