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British Airways is now permitting fee-free flight changes for Heathrow & Gatwick arrivals (Border Force strike dates)

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A couple of days ago, British Airways announced that because Heathrow Airport was suffering significant delays and issues due to weather, it would permit some passengers to change their outbound flights. Now, the airline is saying that some passengers whose arrival dates coincide with the UK Border Force’s strike days later this month, can make select fee-free changes to their bookings.

Key points to note

This is only an option for flyers whose flights have not yet been cancelled. If your flight has been cancelled, other options (including refunds) are open to you.

Bookings that only include flights operated by British Airways

Routes affected: All British Airways mainline flights (long and short-haul) arriving into London Heathrow & London Gatwick

Tickets: Only tickets issued by British Airways (ticket number starts with 125-) are valid for this option.

Booking dates valid for penalty free changes: Bookings made up to and including 15 December 2022.

Arrival dates valid for penalty free changes: Flights arriving on 23rd, 24th, 25th & 28th, 29th 30th December 2022.

Travel professionals and BA staff are being told to rebook passengers onto a British Airways operated service on the same routing into the same class as the original flight or lowest available in the same cabin.

All connecting BA/partner operated sectors in a booking can be changed if at least one of the BA operated sectors is eligible for a penalty free change.

From what I’ve been sent, it is not clear how much leeway (date-wise) British Airways is giving customers with their return dates but it’s very clear that refunds are not being offered.

Bookings that include British Airways partners

Most of the points detailed above also apply here, but there are a few key differences.

If a booking includes a British Airways codeshare partner, any rebooking must include the same codeshare partner as the original booking and passengers can only be rebooked using the same routing and the same fare class as was originally booked.

**Any changes to flight sectors that are not being operated by British Airways will need to be requoted and any fare difference will be charged to the customer**

Please be very aware of this last point as it’s incredibly important. If your booking includes flights with an airline that isn’t British Airways, there’s a very good chance that any changes that you make to your booking will see you incur fees and a higher fare. Check all details with the booking agent before you agree to have any changes processed.


If you delay your arrival into Heathrow or Gatwick and your trip is originating outside the UK, you will still have to fly back home on your originally scheduled flight if you don’t want to incur extra charges. BA has been very clear in saying that outbound flights are not covered by the fee waiver/fare difference amnesty.

Bottom line

British Airways is offering some passengers the opportunity to delay their return flights to London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports if they are due to arrive in the UK on one of the days that UK Border Force personel will be taking a few extra days holiday going on strike over the Chirstmas period.

If your travels may be affected by the upcoming strikes and you’re considering taking BA up on its offer, make sure you’ve confirmed all the rules with the airline directly and make sure that you’re 100% clear on what you’re signing up to before you let an agent change your booking.

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