British Airways Announces Change Fee Waivers For USA Flights


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With a lot of people about to fall foul of a ban on travel between most European countries and the US, we’re starting to see airlines updating their waivers to include transatlantic travel and British Airways has been one of the first out of the blocks.

Despite the fact that the US hasn’t included the UK in the list of countries from which travel to the US is not permitted, British Airways has announced that it will be waiving change fees for customers who have travel to/from the US booked through 11 April 2020.

Here’s What You Need To Know:

  • All bookings made through British Airways as a BA flight or BA codeshare and that were made by 11 March 2020 are covered by the new temporary waiver.
  • The waiver covers travel booked through 11 April 2020.
  • New travel must take place between 12 April and 1 August 2020.
  • Only one change is being permitted.
  • Customers who are in the middle of a trip, as well as customers yet to start their trips, are covered.
  • The new waiver permits changes to where customers are starting and ending their trips
  • Award bookings are covered by the new waiver policy
  • Refunds will not be offered but customers who have yet to start their trips can request a voucher (valid for future travel with British Airways) to the full value of their flights.
  • Change fees are being waived but any fare differences will have to be paid by customers changing their flights.

Quick Thoughts

It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out because although Donald Trump announced that the ban on travel from select European countries will last for 30 days, there’s nothing in the presidential proclamation that introduced the ban to suggest that the ban is limited to that time frame.

According to the wording of the proclamation (see more here) the ban stays in effect until the president removes it.

It’s also worth noting that we don’t yet know what conditions will be attached to any travel vouchers that are issued as a result of customers canceling their plans (I have enquired and I’ll update this post when we know more).

Hopefully the voucher won’t be limited to the same dates that British Airways is limiting flight changes to (12 April – 1 August) as that would leave a very small window in which people with kids of school age will be able to travel.

A lot of schools don’t break up for summer until 15 July so if BA was to limit the use of vouchers to the period 12 April – 1 August, a lot of families would be forced to find a way to squeeze their travel plans into a two week period…and that wouldn’t be very fair.

Bottom Line

It’s good to see British Airways leading the way with a change fee waiver for travel to/from the US but we’ll have to wait and see what restrictions are placed on the vouchers that will be issued for cancellations before we know exactly how generous (or not) the airline is being.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Can you provide a link to the the actual BA Announcement? I can’t find it on their site anywhere; all their info seems to indicate the waiver of the change fee only applies to people who made their reservations quite recently. No mention of this voucher offer, either. Thanks!

  2. Refunds will not be offered but customers who have yet to start their trips can request a voucher (valid for future travel with British Airways) to the full value of their flights.
    -> depending on the time you have left until your flight leaves I would strongly recommend to just sit tight at least for a few days and wait to see if your flight will be canceled – in this case you would get your money back.

  3. After a 4 hour wait, I was able to reach them last night.
    I was initially interested in the voucher because their window for free rebooking is too short to be meaningful, and I refuse to pay another $1600 in ticket price difference to be in the same situation in a few months.
    The catch with the vouchers is that they make you pay change fees to use them. It may depend on the type of ticket you initially purchased, but the change fee to use the voucher within a year was $275 per person in my case. Outrageous!
    In my case, I might just lose the price of the tickets.
    British is really the least flexible in terms of helping customers through this ordeal.
    And they haven’t even cancelled my return flights from Europe, probably because they might have to reimburse people if they do so.
    Typical example of putting profits before people’s wellbeing. I will avoid them at all cost in the future and encourage people to do so.

  4. this window for free rebooking till August is ridiculous. We are losing money already, if we want to rebook, it will have to be free for later, till the end of the year, to make sure its safe already and we dont lose anymore. Please extend this period and announce it right away as everyone needs to rebook urgently.

  5. Here is the email I just received from British Airways. Stay away from this airline!

    Booking Reference:
    Dear Mr,

    Thank you for contacting British Airways. Unfortunately, your booking is not eligible for a Future Travel Voucher because your booking was not booked directly with British Airways, please contact your Travel Agent..

    We apologise for the inconvenience.

    Warm regards,
    British Airways Customer Service

  6. Yes, the travel agent was one of the online agencies. They don’t have any leeway in terms of what they can do and have to follow airline policies.
    So as of midnight last night, when I finally reached them, my only options were to
    1) Rebook without a change fee to fly before august 1st, only paying the difference in price between the tickets
    2) Pay a change fee to travel after August.
    3) Cancel and loose the money. No refund unless the airline cancels the flight, which they haven’t done in my case.

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