British Airways Updates its “Book with Confidence” Policy

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As travel grinds to a halt and people bunker down for a few weeks (at least), many airlines are wondering whether they will survive. British Airways is no different and, until recently, it was being inflexible with providing refunds for flights booked before the coronavirus situation reached Europe. This posture is certainly understandable – hang on to every last pound, in order to ride out the storm – but it wasn’t really sustainable. British Airways, like most other airlines, will need their customers to return en masse once the crisis passes – and by really annoying them today, they could be lost for tomorrow. And since BA has long since stopped being able to guarantee that they will return you home as planned, it is completely understandable that people wish to cancel or postpone all but the most essential of travel.

As a result, British Airways has updated their “Book with Confidence” policy. Any flight, anywhere, between 14 March and 31 May, 2020 can be cancelled for a refund in the form of a voucher to be spent on British Airways in the future. The policy continues to apply for flights booked AFTER 3 March, 2020 for travel until 31 December, 2020.

Here are the full terms and conditions, which you can also find by clicking here:

Terms and Conditions – Flights

  1. Applies to bookings made at any time for travel between 14 March 2020 – 31 May 2020
  2. Applies for customers booked to travel up to 31 December 2020
  3. Book direct via our contact centres, or trade outlets.
  4. Travel on British Airways marketed fares only
  5. Excluding franchise airlines (Comair and Sun-Air)
  6. Bookings made on BA tickets only
  7. Date changes must be made, or vouchers requested before check-in closes
  8. Any fare difference between existing booking and new booking must be paid for
  9. No cancellations or full refunds unless fare rules allow
  10. Voucher can be used as part payment towards a future booking. It must be redeemed for travel on flights taken within 12 months from the departure date of the first flight in your original booking
  11. If you have already started your journey the voucher is not applicable.

Don’t Just Rush to Apply for a Voucher

Like me, you probably don’t have any intention to travel abroad for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean that you should hurry to apply for a voucher for any previously-booked flights.

If your flight is ultimately cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund… in cash.  So, depending on how the situation progresses, you might as well wait and see what happens. You have until roughly one hour before your flight to change/cancel your ticket / request a voucher.

Don’t Skip Over Point 11 Without Understanding it

If you have already started your journey the voucher is not applicable.

Although most people book simple return tickets (or two one-ways) and probably do not want to cancel their return flight home, travel hacking sometimes involves nesting several tickets at once, or taking advantage of stopovers to simply “stopover” at home. As it happens, my only outstanding ticket with British Airways is the return leg of a trip to London – I made my way home with another ticket. So my ticket won’t qualify for a partial voucher refund because I have “already started my journey”…


Despite the difficulties being faced by British Airways and other airlines, this change in policy looks like a positive one. What do you think? Have you been caught out by recent events? Let us know in the comments section…


  1. Jeanette Crowder says

    My Husband, Russell Crowder left Jersey Channel Islands on the 4 March 2020 to South Africa was taking part in the Cape Epic Mountain bike Race, which was cancelled on the Night before the race was due to start. I have tried to re-book his flight home earlier but finding it impossible. He is due to come home starting on 27.3.2020 arriving back in Jersey 28.3.2020

    His Booking reference is XXXXXX ticket No. XXXXXXXX

    I have asked him to stay calm and enjoy beautiful South Africa. Thank you for letting me tell someone, and bringing him home soon. Thank you all for being in the front line.

    Yours faithfully

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Hi Jeanette. InsideFlyer isn’t associated with British Airways, so I have removed details of your booking reference and e-ticket. South Africa is certainly a beautiful country in which to be stranded. However I suggest that your husband get in contact with BA to make arrangements to come home. Even though ZSA might seem like a safer place to be at the moment, there is no guarantee that there will still be flights operating on 27 March…

  2. Christopher New says

    I applied for vouchers in mid-March covering flights from IND to LON via JFK. These were the return legs of the flights. I did not notice the small print on journeys which had already been initiated not being eligible for a future travel voucher. Because the voucher application procedure went through smoothly and I received confirmation that I would receive a voucher shortly I assumed all was well. Now the help desk tells me I am entitled to nothing except taxes because the flights were not cancelled.

    My dissatisfaction is that BA should make it clearer to customers up front that a journey already initiated is not eligible for a voucher and that their systems should not allow applications for Future Travel Vouchers for those flights for which you have to input your PNR to be processed leaving customers in the false belief they have made a valid application.

    Had I known that journeys already initiated were not eligible for future travel vouchers I would have made different arrangements, possibly incorporating BA, to get back from the US quickly rather than the ones I made. In the end I flew back with United and enjoyed far better service than I have ever enjoyed on BA. So the way forward is clear.

  3. Sonya McGilchrist says

    I booked my flights with British Airways in January – ie, before March 3rd. They are for September this year. If I had booked them after March 3rd I would be eligible for a Future Voucher – but because I booked them before March 3rd I am not – this is bizarre and unfair.

  4. Heidi Wright says

    I booked in February with BA for flights in June and was told I wasn’t eligible for a future travel voucher which I would have been happy to accept rather than wait to see if flight gets cancelled. Why on earth should those who booked before 3rd March be penalised like this, seems most unfair.

  5. Karen says

    I booked in December for a two week family holiday travelling out at the end of June. I’d like to move this booking to September but I can’t do this without incurring a charge, which seems ridiculous as if I’d booked later I could do it without charge. If they do end up offering me vouchers for next year they’d be useless as we would need to have completed travel by the end of June, under the terms of the vouchers. Three of our party would still be at university – which is why we want the first two weeks of July away, after the uni term ends but before the school holidays start. It doesn’t make sense.

  6. Milton Lee says

    I fully agree that it does not make any logical sense that people who booked before 3 March 2020 should be penalised as you have suggested.

    This is hopeless !!

    • Karen says

      In the end our flight was cancelled. I didn’t want vouchers so I phoned for a refund, thinking it would be a long process and a hassle. I phoned on a Saturday afternoon, got straight through, received an email as soon as I got off the phone saying my refund had been actions and the money was back on my card on the Tuesday. I was really impressed and will rebook with BA once the situation is a bit clearer

      • Natalie says

        Ive booked with BA for September but booked before March so cannot apply for a refund, luckily i added a £30 car hire to the flights so have only had to pay a deposit up to now. I would happily move my flights to next year if they let me fee if charge, if they don’t then i will suffer the £150 loss and never book with a flight with them again!

  7. Natalie says

    We’re in the same situation. We booked in February for August flights and are not eligible for a voucher with BA, incredibly unfair. Does anyone know why they set 3rd March as a date? Now it looks as though flights are resuming early July so our flight might not even be cancelled, so no refund and no voucher. We have had a full refund from our accommodation already and really are not wanting to travel. Very poor from BA.

  8. Dave Martin says

    This information is now out of date. BA updated their website on 12th June.
    Still no information about changing or cancelling bookings made before 3rd March 2020 or why this date is the cut-off date.
    If you booked before the pandemic without any prior knowledge of it and the ramifications then you will be penalised. However, if you booked during the height of the pandemic then you have better options !

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