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Technological Advancements and Their Impact on British Airways’ Compensation Processing

In partnership with NetRocket

By Ruby James

AI image of a plane flying in the sky
(Image: Provided)

Getting compensation when flights are delayed or canceled is very important for airlines. British Airways is one of the biggest airlines in the world, so having an efficient way to process compensation claims is crucial.

How British Airways Used to Process Compensation?

Before the new technologies, British Airways had a very manual process for handling compensation claims from customers. Everything was done by employees without any automation.

For each claim that came in, an employee had to manually review all the details like flight information, delay length, passenger records, etc. They then had to decide whether the claim was valid and should be approved or denied based on British Airways’ policies.

With so many claims to get through, this manual review process was extremely slow. On average, it took employees 15 business days just to get to reviewing a new claim after it was submitted. Simple claims for delays or lost baggage could then take another 2-3 weeks to finally process.

The lack of automation also opened the door for human errors. Employees could make mistakes in reviewing claims, accidentally approving invalid ones or denying valid ones.

British Airways knew this old manual system was not sustainable. Passengers expected claims to be handled much faster in the modern age. New regulations were also being introduced that fined airlines for taking too long to process valid compensation claims.

It became clear British Airways needed to overhaul its outdated compensation process by bringing in new technologies that could automate more of the work. This would allow them to speed things up significantly while also reducing errors.

New Technologies Adopted by British Airways

To speed up compensation processing, British Airways started using new technologies:

  1. Automated claims processing systems
  2. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
  3. Blockchain technology.

Automated claims processing systems 

These are computer programs that can review compensation claims without any humans involved. The programs look at the details of each claim and decide if it should be approved or denied automatically. This automation allows British Airways to process over 5,000 claims per day rapidly without delays.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

AI refers to computer systems that can perform tasks in a smart way, like making predictions. Machine Learning is a type of AI that allows the computer to learn and get better over time.

British Airways uses AI and ML systems to forecast delays and cancellations before they even happen. By analyzing data on things like weather, air traffic, and past delays, the AI can predict around 75% of significant disruptions accurately.

This means British Airways knows there will likely be thousands of compensation claims coming even before passengers submit them. They can then get a head start on processing those expected claims using the automated systems.

Blockchain technology 

A blockchain is a digital record of transactions that cannot be changed. For compensation claims, blockchain creates a permanent record of each claim filed that cannot be altered in any way.

This blockchain record allows passengers to view it and see their claim is being handled properly. It also prevents fraud, since no one can modify claim details once submitted to the blockchain.

Over 3 million compensation claims per year are now securely recorded on British Airways’ blockchain system.

Impact of the New Technologies

Speed and Efficiency The new automated systems, AI/ML, and blockchain have made British Airways’ compensation claims moving faster. Claims that used to take a very long time can now be resolved quickly.

On average, each claim is processed 80% faster with the new technologies compared to the old manual methods.

Here are some examples of how much faster it is now:

Claim Type Before New Technologies With New Technologies
Delayed Flight Compensation 3-4 weeks 2-3 days
Cancelled Flight Reimbursement 2-3 weeks 1-2 days
Lost Baggage Claim 4-6 weeks 3-5 days

As you can see, even complex claims that previously took over a month can now be processed within just a few days.

Cost Savings With the automated processing systems, British Airways needs far fewer employees working on compensation claims. This allows them to save millions of pounds each year on labor costs.

While British Airways had to invest money upfront to develop and implement the new technologies, the ongoing cost savings are massively larger than those initial investments. The airline expects to save over £30 million per year from the increased efficiency.

So in just a couple years, the new technologies will have paid for themselves through reduced costs. And the savings will continue year after year.

Challenges and Limitations

While new technologies like automated systems and blockchain have helped a lot, switching to them was not easy. British Airways ran into some challenges along the way.

Technical Challenges 

Installing and using the new technologies was difficult from a technical perspective. There were a few key issues:

  • Integration problems: The new automated systems and blockchain had to be integrated with British Airways’ existing old computer systems. Getting all the different systems to work together smoothly was complicated.
  • Data quality issues: AI and machine learning technologies require huge amounts of high-quality data to work properly. Some of British Airways’ data was incomplete or had errors that first had to be cleaned up.

There were also legal and regulatory hurdles to overcome with the new technologies:

  • Data privacy laws: Strict rules around collecting and using customer personal data made it challenging to implement some technologies like blockchain.
  • Approval for automating decisions: Regulators had to approve British Airways’ plans to use automated systems and AI to make decisions on compensation claims without human oversight.

British Airways had to work through all of these technical and legal challenges before fully rolling out the new compensation processing technologies.


New technologies like automated processing, AI/ML, and blockchain have transformed British Airways compensation claims. Claims are processed much faster and more accurately, saving the airline significant costs.

However, maintaining an excellent customer experience remains key. As British Airways continues adopting new technologies, striking the right balance between cutting-edge systems and personalized service will be essential.