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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
- Applies to bookings made at any time for travel between 14 March 2020 – 31 May 2020
- Applies for customers booked to travel up to 31 December 2020
- Book direct via our contact centres, ba.com or trade outlets.
- Travel on British Airways marketed fares only
- Excluding franchise airlines (Comair and Sun-Air)
- Bookings made on BA tickets only
- Date changes must be made, or vouchers requested before check-in closes
- Any fare difference between existing booking and new booking must be paid for
- No cancellations or full refunds unless fare rules allow
- 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
- 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…