A Quick Update On British Airways Refunds


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Update 7 April 2020: Please follow this link for my latest post on British Airways refunds as some of the information in this post is now out of date.

Update: 13 April 2020: My second refund just hit my credit card account

British Airways has been one of the many airlines that have been doing their very best to make it as difficult as possible for customers to request full refunds (that they’re entitled to) as they scrabble around desperately trying to cling hold to any cash they can lay their hands on.

Some airlines have flat-out lied to their customers (e.g JetBlue & SWISS), some have blatantly broken their own rules and regional rules too (e.g. United) while British Airways settled on the obstructionist approach by removing the ability to request refunds online, making it hard for less experienced travelers to realize that they’re entitled to a refund and forcing customers to take to phone lines that are already stretched beyond their capacity.

A little over a week ago, a couple of workarounds were found (by people a lot more tech-savvy than me) which allowed British Airways customers to request their refunds via an online form rather than having to wait on the phone lines for hours on end and, as I seem to be getting more and more questions about the state of these refunds, I thought I’d post a quick update on what I’ve experienced and what I’ve noticed.

Who Can Request Refunds

I cannot stress this point strongly enough: Only flyers who have had their flights cancelled by British Airways are entitled to a cash refund.

If you decide that you don’t want to fly anymore and your flight has not been cancelled by BA you are not entitled to a cash refund so do not voluntarily cancel flights without checking what you’ll be getting back.

Refund Requests

I requested my first refund on 22 March and my second refund on 23 March and received email confirmations of both cancellation requests within an hour of submitting the online form.

The email content looked like this:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for your application for a refund of the following booking

British Airways booking reference: XXXX
We have received your information and are currently processing your refund.

We will refund any money owed to the card used to make the
booking and we will send you a confirmation email when it’s been
done.

Yours Sincerely,

British Airways

Since I applied for my refunds I’ve had a lot of people writing in to say that (a) the workaround is no longer working or (b) that they haven’t yet received an email confirmation for Britsh Airways that a refund is being processed.

As things stand, it looks like the link that once directed customers to the online refund form (here) is now only directing customers to a webpage that offers an online voucher form (which is useless if you want a cash refund), but I’m still getting reports that the longer workaround (described here) is working for some.

As far as email confirmations go, it would appear as if British Airways is either working through a massive backlog or they’re no longer sending emails out anymore because things have slowed dramatically – if anyone has received an email from British Airways confirming their refund request in the past few days please let me know in the comments (and let me know when your refund request went in).

Are Refunds Being Received?

There are numerous reports of people who have used the workarounds getting their cash, taxes, and Avios back (in 4 – 7 days) but there are also a lot of reports of people still waiting.

It’s 9 days since I requested my first refund (on an Avios booking) and I have yet to see any Avios returned to my account or see any cash returned to my credit card so I’m in a similar situation to a lot of readers (Update: I have now received both refunds – one refund appeared on my credit card 19 days after my refund request while the other appeared 22 days after my refund request).

I was planning to wait a bit longer to see how things transpire (I can appreciate how busy BA must be with people in more pressing situations than me) but the fact that it has now come to light that a number of British Airlines (including BA) are seeking government permission to ignore the rules which state that cancelled flights = cash refunds, means that I’m likely to be on the phone to British Airways later today asking where my money and Avios are.

Bottom Line

Different people are having different experiences but it looks like British Airways is shutting down the website loopholes which have been allowing customers to request refunds, and it looks like the airline is starting to delay (significantly) the repayment of monies due following a refund request.

I’m going to go ahead and see if I can prod BA into acting on both my refunds sooner rather than later (I may pick a time in the middle of the UK night when lines may be quieter) and I suggest that others in a similar situation do the same.

P.S. If you booked your trips in the last 120 days you may be able to get your credit card issuer to issue a chargeback for what the airline owes you so that’s another path some may wish to consider.

Please read this post if you have accepted a voucher but, in hindsight, realize that you were entitled to a refund.

73 COMMENTS

  1. We booked first class award flights on BA from SEA to AMS and returning from ZRH. We had about $1000.00 in taxes and carrier-imposed fees on this booking. We canceled about three weeks ago when our Viking River Cruise got cancelled. Alaska Airlines quickly redeposited our miles back into our respective mileage accounts. I just checked my wife’s Alaska Airlines Visa card statement that arrived yesterday. The refunds from BA were shown as credits. The process took about 20 days to complete. Since the long-haul booking was in first class, I was able to call the BA dedicated first class service phone number. This may have contributed to a very cooperative experience with BA.

    I made a call to BA regarding the seat selection charges for the business class legs – LHR to AMS and ZRH to LHR. They put in a refund request for those charges. I hope to see those credits in the next week.

  2. An Avios award booking on Qantas was canceled by the airline. I called the US BA reservations line and got through within about 15 minutes (called around 1:30PM PST, 4:30PM EST – 3/30/20). 40,000 Points were back in my BA executive account within 10 minutes and a refund request was put in for my taxes and fees. I was told it could up 2 weeks to see a refund hitting my credit card account.

    • Great that you got your Avios back – Based on other comments it looks like taxes and fees are taking around 20 – 30 days to hit accounts (cash fares appear to be being refunded quicker)

  3. On March 18, I requested a refund for an Avios booking for a Qatar Airways flight that was cancelled by the airline. Although the Avios points were returned to me right away, I still haven’t received a refund to my credit card for the taxes. Please keep us updated on your progress and I’m getting concerned I may not see my refund any time soon.

    • I’ll post updates as I have them – from what others have said, it looks like taxes can take up to a month to be refunded.

  4. I submitted a refund request form last week on or about the 23rd. I received the same conformation reply that you did. Waiting for refund.

  5. What number to call? (Us). None that I have been given will connect, and if they do, then there is a message to call a different number – that number gives a vague message about the call centers being closed/moving???!! The online java script hack did not work for me.

  6. As already mentioned in the other post:
    25.03.20 Received email from BA that my flight was cancelled (BSL-LHR)
    25.03.20 Used javascript workaround to request a cash refund
    25.03.20 About 1 min after filling out the details I received BA confirmation email
    28.03.20 Money was back on my credit card
    Hope this helps

  7. I submitted my request in March 16 and was asked for additional information which I promptly provided. I just checked my bank account and the BA refund is showing “pending deposit” scheduled for tomorrow, April 1.

  8. My flight was cancelled by BA on 30/3. Tried the Java workaround which didn’t work. I live in Qatar, though my flight is from Lisbon return to UK. Phoned BA Qatar who were reluctant to help me, told me I had to phone the UK?? Tried numerous times but was constantly waiting to speak to an operator which started to cost a fortune as was calling from overseas. Looked into the voucher option but the cost to book the same flights (business class) for future dates has almost doubled! Decided therefore to pursue the refund option again by again trying BA Qatar. They eventually agreed to help and informed me that they had cancelled my flight and would receive a refund to my credit card in three weeks’ time. When I logged back in to the BA website – ‘manage my booking’ option, I was met with ‘you will receive your voucher within 7 days’! I telephoned BA Qatar back and they said that they had definitely issued a refund! I have had no email up to now so not sure whether a refund or a voucher will be issued.

    • What a mess! If you have to call back try using Skype (or a similar service) to save on costs – 1-800 number in the US or 0800 numbers in the UK are free to call via Skype.

      • Thanks for that Ziggy. I didn’t realise they were free. That said, goodness knows how many hours you have to sit and wait for BA to answer your call. You have to sympathise with the poor staff on the other end of the phone though! It’s not their fault that us consumers are forced to phone for a refund.

  9. BA cancelled our flight when we were airside on 14th March. In the early hours of 15th I logged in to my booking and cancelled (I am no longer able to access this cancelled booking) I received an email confirming cancellation from them. I have not received the refund nor any communication from BA as to why this is taking so long. I am trying to show forbearance, they must be extremely busy.

  10. What about compensation for cancelled flights?. BA. are refusing to pay for inconveniences and other incidental costs.

    • My understanding of the recent clarification of EU261 in the light of the current crisis is that, while cancelled flights must be refunded, the usual compensation packages are not due.

  11. Hello we booked our BA flights (which have been cancelled by BA) to Bangkok through Opodo. On the Opodo website it says we should click on a button “accept” as it states many airlines are offering refunds via voucher or rebooking options. I am thinking if we click accept it will just be a voucher not a refund. My question is if we booked through an agent (Opodo) should try to get a full refund through Opodo or can we go to the BA website and try your refund workaround?
    Any help would be very much appreciated.

    • Travel agents will follow the rules set down by the airlines (and the parties to regulate the airlines) so, if the airline cancelled your flights, Opodo should be applying for a refund. Having said that, considering how impossible it is to request a refund online directly through BA, I’d suggest that calling Opodo and requesting a refund verbally is the best way forward.

      • … whilst bearing in mind that Opodo’s booking T&C suggest they are not acting as an agent for BA.

        Which seems very slippery to me

    • Hi I was not aware that I had that option and cancelled my ticket. I paid £218 and only got £84 back. I am fuming to be honest. Is there any way I can get all my money as I have not even gone on holiday and cancelled when it looked unsafe ?

  12. Finally found my way to refund page as my flight to Lanzarote was cancelled still waiting for my return flight to be cancelled thanks to my friend who told me what to do that was last week but not heard anything from BA yet just hopeing its gone through oki think they have a right cheek only offering a voucher .

  13. Lodged call for refund 31/3. Received confirmation email 1/4.
    I also received some one else’s confirmation email…good data breach BA.

  14. I have received 2 emails from BA stating that mine and my partner’s flights were cancelled. I couldn’t get through to BA so I followed the link on their email for manage my booking. I then carried on with the second link clearly for full refund and cancellation. Once the form was filled I received a message saying thank you your travel voucher has been requested. I haven’t made the same mistake for my partners flight which was refunded. However, they refuse the refund mine and expect me to travel within a year of my booking date (Oct 19) and I’m due to give birth in sept 20!!! I have raised a complaint and expecting a reply anytime. What else can I do ? Thank you

    • Firstly, I’m really sorry for the position you’re in. Secondly, that’s a tough question to answer because you’re now essentially a the mercy of British Airways. The airline will almost certainly argue that you voluntarily chose to accept a voucher and that you knew what you were accepting (they’ll point to the terms and conditions) regardless of whether you were entitled to a refund or whether you knew your rights.

      My suggestion would be to explain the situation to BA and hope that they show a bit of common sense and kindness.

      • unfortunately they show NO common sense whatsoever. They purposely set up the website to mislead people into following this route. I did on the first flight and am too left with vouchers I did not want. I called them straight away but got no answer. Surely you are still entitled to change your mind within 24 hours. I am GOLD , I have 7 flight booked with them. So instead of paying me back they risk alienating me. They simply don’t care. I have reported the situation to the Financial Ombudsman and also issued them with a statutory order. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/demand-immediate-payment-of-a-debt-from-a-limited-company-form-sd1 . They have 21 days to reply properly or I can make them bankrupt!

        • I had the same thing. Mislead into accepting a voucher, with no clear cash alternative offered. they are refusing to refund me now ion the basis that I accepted the voucher.

  15. i have flights booked 30 june for Rome which i don’t think will be going ahead. so just waiting now.

  16. We applied for a voucher request 18th March and told by email that it would be processed within 7 days and we would receive the voucher code by email which should have been 25th March. As yet we have not recieved anything! We had email saying that flight on 20th April.

  17. We applied for a voucher request 18th March and told by email that it would be processed within 7 days and we would receive the voucher code by email which should have been 25th March. As yet we have not recieved anything! We had email saying that flight on 20th April was cancelled.

  18. I must be the only person on the planet who actually wants to travel! I need to get to the UK from South Africa…I changed my flight ( cos I was scared of the imminent lockdown) was billed an additional R7000 for the change and then he flight got canceled. I got an email telling me I would get a voucher, but no one can tell me why I was charged the additional after my flight was canceled. Oh, please give me a voucher….or even better a nice big airplane to get me outta here!

  19. Requested a voucher March 17th. But then read your article on refunds for Avois bookings, and managed to request though the workaround… but now April 4th and no response to anything by BA. I would be OK with the voucher except the event I was going to might now not be held until after 12 months. Meanwhile the connecting flights from Westjet were refunded (to my travel bank, as is their standard procedure) within 10 minutes. Not a lot of sympathy for BA when Westjet and Air Canada are doing so much better jobs.

    • Just a word of caution (to manage your expectations): If you have already requested a voucher there’s a very good chance that BA will say that the refund request is void. I’m not saying that this will definitely happen (I’m actually surprised that you were able to request a refund for a trip where you already accepted a voucher) but be prepared for that outcome.

  20. One leg of our flight from Sydney to London was cancelled by BA. Like everyone else we preffered a refund to a voucher, and the javascript workaround had been closed by the time I tried it.

    Rather than tie up their phone lines (a problem of their own making by disabling the website refunds), I emailed BA with the details.

    24th March: Emailed requesting a refund.
    28th March: Got a reply confirming the refund had been processed and our remaining flights cancelled.
    7th April: The refund appeared on our ccard today.

    Now to get it off the ccard without getting charged a cash advance fee!

    • Hi Matt,

      Would you mind providing the email address you used for contacting BA?

      Thank you in advance.

      Dora

    • Hi Matt,

      Could you also supply me with the email address you used to contact BA. I requested a refund via BA Qatar on 31st March. On ‘Manage my Booking’ it informs me that my voucher (???) will be sent within 7 days. I have neither received a refund to my credit card or a voucher.

      Thanks,

  21. I had a flight recently cancelled (BA903 Frankfurt to Heathrow) on May 1st. I was informed by email on April 5th but of course, no option to cancel and get a refund online. On April 7th I called the free 0800 727 800 number which wouldn’t put me through at first, second or third attempts (recorded voice saying lines are too busy). I continuously tried re-dialling and eventually was put in a waiting queue which took about 10 mins for a representative to answer. I starting calling at 2:15pm UK time (i reside overseas).

    Please have ready the following information in order to process:
    Booking Reference
    Name of traveler
    Full address of the booking
    Credit card number last four digits and expiry date, if applicable, to verify credit card used for booking and refund

    After verifying the information above, he put me on hold for about 4 mins where he processed the refund. Back online he explained that it was done and expect refund in 1-3 weeks.

    I was told I wasn’t getting an email to confirm that the refund is taking place but the representative did assure me it was being processed. I guess I need to wait now.

  22. I did the website workaround on 3/20 for flights that were cancelled and still have not received the refund back on my card. I have called BA, and they say that they see that the refund was processed on 3/21, and that I should see it on my card. I have talked to my bank, and they say that they don’t see anything pending. Both tell me to talk to the other party to figure out what the issue is.

    I had a separate BA booking with a cancelled flight that I called and requested a refund for on 4/3, and I received the refund for that booking on 4/6. I am very concerned that I do not have the refund for the other booking yet as it was over $1700 and feel like no one has any idea where the money is.

    BA also told me that the refunds are actually processed in India, and that their India office is closed until at least 4/14 (with high likelihood to be extended), and to call back then if I still don’t have it as they are the only ones that can dig any deeper. That seems ridiculous to me… Any advice?

    • My cancellation from 18 March only appeared on my card yesterday and one from the 17th hasn’t appeared yet – the refunds are taking up to 21 days at the moment so I’d wait a few days to see what happens.

      • Hello,
        Is it supposed to be 21 business days or just 21 calendar days? I still don’t have the money from the refund I got confirmation of on 3/20. Have you gotten yours from the 17th yet?

      • An update: Just got off the phone with BA. The agent was able to see that my refund attempted to process on 3/21 but had an error and failed. Now they are escalating it, but since the India office where refunds are generally handled is on lockdown, they told me to wait another week. At least I have an answer now and a person’s information who seems competent and helpful.

  23. We used the online workaround to claim a refund on 23rd March and received a full refund on 6th April. Thanks again for the solution!

  24. I have booked my flight on 12 February and want to change the date but they are charging for this ( only exception that booked after 3rd of March). Isn’t it unfair ?

  25. We have a flight due to fly out from LON to OPO (Porto) tomorrow afternoon, which BA have cancelled. Not had any luck getting hold of them on the phone and never had the benefit of seeing the cash refund page. I plan to call them the moment their phone lines open tomorrow but in the event of me not getting hold of them, and the time of our flight lapses, does that mean we would not be entitled to either a cash refund or a the vouchers? The wording on their website seems to be decidedly unclear as to what would happen.

    • You don’t have to get in touch with BA before your cancelled flights were due to take off if you’re seeking a refund (otherwise airlines would cancel flight moments before scheduled departure all the time)

      I know that there’s a lengthy period of time that’s open to you to get your refund if an airline cancels your flight but I can’t find a reliable source to confirm just how long that time period it (hence I’m not being specific here)…but you definitely don’t need to get in touch with BA before your original travel dates.

      • Thanks for the reply Ziggy, you’re right. I’ve seen somewhere that it’s 2-6 years depending on airline/country. Thanks again.

  26. My flight was cancelled I used the free number Airways gave to ring them about 2 weeks ago. The message said not to do anything as the refunds would be automatic. Today I realised I hadn’t got the refund still and rang again.
    The waiting time was only a couple of minutes, but the man who answered me couldn’t find my booking reference and I had to scroll down my emails to the original, to get my flight mumber, even though the message says the booking number is enough. If I’d realised I would have brought up the right email before ringing to save the poor man time.
    Anyway they are gonna to refund it now, but even the man who answered said I was lucky I hadn’t accepted the voucher.
    The message on Manage My Booking is as ambiguous as anything. Airways is still being really naughty in my view.

  27. Hi again, after reading some of the comments on this site, I just checked the manage my booking page for my cancelled flight to see if it said refund pending. I found that it is not only displaying a different message to the one I read less than half an hour ago, but is the one they put on there immediately after the company cancelled my flight. It just talks about Avios membership and displays the first leg of the flight, I should still be in Lebanon now, with a red mark through it. On that message there is no option for a voucher let alone a refund and was quite scary. the first time I got it about 3 weeks ago, I didn’t have a clue what to do, and then it changed, to a the ambiguous message, that didn’t give a refund option. This is really messed up.

  28. Question…if I decide to take the BA voucher for a flight that hasn’t been cancelled yet by the airline, how long is the voucher good for?

    Thank you,

    Jon Schmalowski

    • Per British Airways:

      “If you are due to travel between now and 31 May 2020 you can claim a voucher to the value of your booking.

      Vouchers can be used as payment, or part payment, for a future booking. A voucher must be redeemed for travel on flights taken within 12 months from the departure date of the first flight in your original booking, and the new trip (departure and return) must be fully completed within that period You will receive your voucher by email within seven days of your application.

      IMPORTANT: Please do not amend your booking in Manage My Booking yourself – we will do this on your behalf.”

  29. Hi
    We booked flights last August with BA. Out of Heathrow to Geneva on 24 March home from Zurich on 30th. BA cancelled our first flight and we were happy to apply for a voucher which I did and got an e-mail about week later stating the voucher would follow but to date nothing has turned up. Any thoughts on how I should approach this if ringing them isn’t worth doing ?
    They cancelled home flight too but I decided to get a refund on that and it came through with no problems !
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    A.Watkins

  30. Anyone have idea what is happening with bookings for campanion vouchers ?
    I have traveled on it already in Aug 2019 and have a 2nd leg from Doha to London on 17 June 2020. So anyone have a guess what BA is going to do with my tickets? I haven’t called them yet as waiting for them to announce how they will be handling June tickets.

  31. On April 16 2020 B.A. provided a U.S. toll free number to call for cash refunds. I called and was on hold for more than hour but was finally able to talk to a reservationist and within 48 hours had a credit for the entire cost of my 5 leg business class tickets. The refund was due to the cancellation of several legs of the trip. The number was 877-767-7970. Hope this helps.

  32. BA have now allowed their India call center to also process refunds – I was only on hold for less than 5 minutes (called the US Toll free number – which was forwarded to India), talked to a very helpful gentleman, and immediately got an email indicating a refund was in process (did all this on April 22nd). This was for a revenue ticket in Club World.

  33. I just noticed I received a full refund from BA which was called into & requested at the US office on March 27, 2020. (It was for 2 flights to the Isle of Man on April 21.) The number I called in the US was 800-247-9297 (on hold only 20 mins!) and spoke with Madia (in Germany…so much for the US office, haha). She was super helpful & nice, took all my info and said she would send my cancel/refund request to the “back office” which was on low staff status. Madia told me BA will send me a confirmation email (which they did on April 1) about this refund request and then the refund should come within 5 business days. It’s been over a month since that call, but I just now (April 29) noticed that a full refund was recently posted to my cc back dated April 2!

    You should be able to get to a BA “Contact Us” page by using this link:
    https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/help-and-contacts/contact-us

    Hope this helps!

  34. We had our flight from Prague to Dublin on March 16 cancelled by British Airways on March 13. We submitted a request for a refund of $600 CAD on March 15, which is when we got the same email you mentioned in your post that a refund is in process and we would receive an email when this was completed.

    At this point we have not received any further communication from them and no refund. I have submitted a “complaint” through that portal and referenced the case number they gave me in 3 follow up emails now, and still no response back. When I try to call the numbers it just tells me that “refunds are taking longer than usual” and it disconnects the call.

  35. My trip to the Dominican Republic in June was cancelled my BA so I called them for my refund. I got through and the lady said that I was showing on the system for a voucher which I refused and asked for my cash refund. Apparently I called right on time! If I had left it a few days maybe I wouldn’t have gotten my refund. Requested refund on 5th May, no confirmation email of refund yet, hoping to receive the funds within the 10 day timeline.. wish me luck!

  36. Our flight from Denver to London was cancelled. I called BA and was told that they would refund all but the change fee ($1000) they charged to upgrade me to upgrade the tickets to First Class. There was nothing on my receipt that said it was a change fee.

    I researched the US DOT and their requirements are that all the fare, taxes and associated fees for upgrades must be refunded if the airline cancels a flight regardless of the reason for cancellation.

    Anyone find this to be a problem?

    Also, what about a cancellation fee? I have heard that is now a problem with BA and other airlines. Sounds like US Congress is going to address that issue in the next week or so.

  37. Hi Ziggy, Thanks for the useful information. I have been flying with BA for years and i like their service, but with the refund issue my experience is not good. I got 2 bookings cancelled and i called BA on April 10th to request refund and the agent told me i will get the refund in 14 days. I called again on April 27th and the agent said i will get the refund in 5 days. But nothing happened. I have been calling them weekly and i get the same message that the refund will be in 5 days. My 5th call was today and the agent told me that she will escalate the request to management. It is now 40 days since my first phone call and i didn’t receive even a confirmation email for the refund. I am so frustrated and i don’t know what to do next.

  38. On 16th April we received a email from BA stating they had cancelled our outbound flight from London Gatwick to MCO Florida for 19th May. Got the email click here for voucher or rebook or phone us on number to discuss your options. I managed to get through and simply asked for a cash refund as we would not be travelling again in the future due to me being 7months pregnant. The operator confirmed the amount to be refunded in cash was £824.24, so no charges to pay on the flights I booked, just receiving the price I paid. Also told it would cancel my inbound flight from Orlando to Gatwick for 2nd June. Fair enough. I am still awaiting a refund on 29th May. Inbound flight was still showing as active last week however checking today inbound is now also cancelled. I am just wondering how long I am meant to wait for my refund. It is now 31 working days from when they cancelled the flight and the refund was requested.

  39. I booked my BA flights (3 people on same flight) in early January 2020. BA canceled flights in March due to COVID. I received my refund for flights, but not seats. Their website said wait :-4 weeks, of refund not received submit claim form which I did late April. May 14 still no refund so I called customer service, reach a person and sent him copies of all requested documents. Almost 4 weeks later still no refund. Anything I can do….file a claim with the UK government?

    Thank you

  40. I requested a refund on April 10th. Today is June 10th and still no refund. BA is probably aware I initiated a chargeback and is using the time to respond to the credit card company as a tactic to delay my refund. Whenever I call they tell me that it is in the queue.

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