HomeAirlinesBritish AirwaysBritish Airways ends its 'Book With Confidence' policy

British Airways ends its ‘Book With Confidence’ policy

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Like pretty much every major airline around the world, British Airways introduced a flexible cancellation policy shortly after the Covid pandemic started playing havoc with everyone’s travel plans. The policy was designed to encourage travelers to make future bookings at a time when the travel environment was highly unstable so with the worst of the pandemic apparently now behind us, the airline has chosen this moment to roll back its ‘Book With Confidence’ policy and to go back to its historic fare rules.

Here’s what British Airways has shared with the travel industry:

Since its introduction in March 2020, our Book with confidence policy has offered customers the flexibility and peace of mind to change or cancel their travel plans, when it mattered most.

As the world continues to emerge from the pandemic, there are now significantly fewer restrictions impacting travel. And as customer confidence continues to return, it’s clear that the recovery in our industry is now well underway.  

We are writing to inform you of changes to our Book with confidence policy, effective today: 

    • Bookings ticketed from 00:01 on 08 June 2022 will no longer be covered under this policy and will be governed by the fare rules on the ticket and our standard conditions of carriage; however, should new major travel restrictions be introduced, specific Customer Guidelines will be issued. 
    • Bookings ticketed from 03 March 2020 up to and including 07 June 2022, for travel completed by 30 September 2022, remain covered under our existing Book with confidence policy, where: 
      i) any applicable change fee is waived (fare differential applies), or  
      ii) the value of the booking can be held as credit for future travel, providing new travel is completed by 30 September 2023. 

Full details of the changes to BA’s ‘Book With Confidence’ policy can be found here (.pdf)

While this move is not in the slightest bit surprising, it would have been nice to see something good coming out of all the chaos that British Airways travelers have had to put up with over the past few years (and are still putting up with today).

While the major US carriers all permanently improved their cancellation and award redeposit policies during the pandemic, I can’t think of a single concession to passengers that British Airways is keeping in place now that things are slowly going back to normal.

Sure, I don’t see any other major European airlines running around doing much for their flyers either, but with 2022 so far bringing nothing but system failure after system failure for BA’s passengers and with more travel chaos almost certainly on the way as the airline struggles to get its staffing levels back to where they need to be, it would have been a politically wise move for the airline to have thrown flyers a bone.

It wouldn’t have taken much.

No one (in their right mind) expects airlines to keep their Covid-era cancellation policies in place once travel conditions go back to how they were in 2019, but a small gesture like eliminating award redeposit fees for Gold and Silver members to say “thanks for sticking with us while things melted down” would have looked good and cost the airline (comparatively) very little. It’s just a shame that no one at BA has, apparently, been able to see that.

As it is, things are now back to normal at British Airways. The award redeposit fees are back in place* and fare cancellation policies are now as they were before anyone knew what Covid was. The only things that appear to be staying with us from the Covid period (at least for now) are the uncertain schedules, the last-minute cancellations, and the stream of less than convincing apologies from BA’s hierarchy. The pain for passengers continues.

*I’m aware that they’ve been back for travel post 30 September for some time

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  1. What BA NEVER offered was a way to get your money back. I’m still sitting on a $2700 flight credit for a canceled September 2020 flight to Italy because the country was closed. Even if I manage to use that credit in some fashion, I will never consider them for travel again.

    • If BA canceled your flight it has to give you a full refund. If you canceled the booking (even if the flight was later cancelled by BA), the rules say that the airline doesn’t have to give you anything more than the flight credit. Some airlines we offering cash back (eventually) regardless of who cancelled the booking but they were few and far between.

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