British Airways Settles Data Breach Claims Case

Costly exercise. British Airways pays an undisclosed settlement to passengers and staff impacted by massive 2018 data breach

British Airways continues to try and shake off the embarrassing data breach it experienced in 2018, with the announcement of a claims settlement with impacted passengers.

Reuters, citing the court-appointed lead solicitors in the case, reported that British Airways has settled a case brought by customers and staff affected by the data breach that led to personal information being leaked.

On 6 September of 2018 BA revealed that its systems had been hacked, that resulted in the data of 420,000 customers and staff being harvested by attackers as it was entered.

Data breach

To make matters worse, BA was completely unaware of the hack for two months, as the attack began in June 2018, during the busy summer holiday period.

The airline only became aware it had been compromised when it was notified by a third party.

This breach quickly became a very costly issue for the airline.

In July 2019, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) proposed to fine British Airways an eye watering £183.39 million penalty for the data breach.

At the time, BA said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the decision, and said it would make representations to the regulator ahead of a final decision.

Thankfully for the airline, in October 2020, the ICO settled on a fine of just £20 million, which was still a record amount.

The data protection watchdog said it had considered BA’s representations, and took into account the economic impact caused by the global Coronavirus pandemic, to reach its £20 million figure.

Case settlement

Now Reuters reported that the law firm PGMBM said those affected by the data leak would receive a confidential settlement following mediation with British Airways.

The resolution does not include any admission of liability by the airline, it added.

British Airways reportedly said in an emailed statement said it was pleased it has been able to settle the group action.

In March this year BA began trialling an in-house online system aimed at making it easier for passengers to verify any Covid-19 documents they may need for their journey.

The system is designed to speed up the airline’s verification of documents such as vaccination certificates or negative test results, which some countries require upon arrival.