How To ‘Force’ The British Airways Website To Offer A Cash Refund (Canceled Flights)


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Update 31 March 2020: The direct link in this blog post is no longer working by the longer workaround may still be effective.

There’s a saying that says that desperate times call for desperate measures, and a number of airlines appear to be taking that saying very literally as they blatantly attempt to circumvent laws that dictate that passengers are due a refund if an airline cancels their flights. British Airways is one such airline.

Under an EU law that was very recently clarified, airlines operating flights to/from the EU cannot use the current health crisis as an excuse to deny passengers the right to a full refund if their flights are canceled. Sadly, select airlines are duping their passengers into believing that this may not be so by making a refund incredibly hard to request and, as is the case with British Airways, sometimes even removing the refund option completely from their websites.

I recently had a couple of my BA short-haul flights canceled and this is what I was presented with when I logged in to my account:

There are three things to note from the screenshot above:

  1. There’s a very clear statement there that reads “You may obtain a full refund by cancelling your entire booking”
  2. There’s a clear statement there that reads “To re-book or refund please call us”
  3. There’s a button to click which reads “cancel and refund flight(s)”

I have multiple issues with this:

Firstly, point 2 appears to contradict what the button says because the button is inviting the website’s users to cancel and refund a flight online while point 2 says a call is required to refund. Which is it BA?

Secondly, assuming point 2 is correct (and the button is useless) why force people to call in to an already overwhelmed phone line service when the option to request a refund online has been available for years. Why did BA remove this option from its site?

Thirdly, the button which claims to offer customers the option to cancel and get a refund leads to a page that looks like this:

There is no option to request a refund, just an option to request a travel voucher in place of whatever monies are actually due to the customer.

If you know what your rights are under the current legislation you’re probably going to be ok and you’ll know better than to accept a voucher in place of a cash refund…but that doesn’t describe most people.

Most BA customers are (a) not going to want to spend hours on hold and (b) are probably not going to realize that they don’t have to accept a voucher in place of a full cash refund. After all, the button they clicked on promised them an option for a refund but the page it led to just offered a voucher – a lot of people are going to think that the voucher *is* the refund.

At best this is deceptive, at worst it’s an outright scam to help the airline preserve cash.

The Work Around

Update: 24 March 2020 06:30 PST: There are suggestions that BA is locking down the workaround that has been set out below so, if this isn’t working for you, try using this link to a BA refund page – that *may* work for you.

Fortunately for us, there are some technically savvy people who read miles and points blogs and a Head For Points reader (Antonio) has provided us with a workaround which ‘forces’ the British Airways website to offer a refund option where a flight has been canceled by the airline.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Open up the British Airways website in Google Chrome
  • Log in to the BA account of the lead traveler
  • Open up the canceled reservation by using the “manage” tab at the top of the BA homepage and by inputting the booking reference and a passenger’s last name.

  • Click on the three dots (one on top of the other) that you’ll find in the top right corner of the Chrome browser window and select “settings” from the dropdown menu.
  • A new “settings” page will now have opened (do not close your British Airways page) – click on “privacy & security” in the menu on the left. Depending on your screen size “privacy and security” may automatically be visible or you may need to click on a dropdown menu to make it visible.
Privacy and Security visible on a larger screen
  • Click on “site settings”
  • Scroll down the page until you see “JavaScript” under the “Permissions” section and click on it.
  • On the page that’s now on your screen change the JavaScipt option from “allowed” to “blocked” using the slider button on the right.

  • Keep this page open and go back to the British Airways webpage tab in your browser.
  • Under your canceled flight, click the “cancel & refund flight(s)” button
  • A new page opens up asking you if you’re a passenger on the canceled flight – do not do anything here just yet. Move on to the next step.

  • Go back to the JavaScript tab and toggle JavaScript back on.
  • Go back to the British Airways webpage tab and, where you’re asked if you’re a passenger on the canceled flight, select “yes” and press return/enter.
  • An error page is generated which asks you to enter a valid email address – ignore this error

  • Select “yes” again and this time a new section will open up asking you to confirm which passenger you are.

  • As soon as you select which passenger you are, a form will open up where you are asked to fill in your email and address and offers up the following terms and conditions:

Requesting a refund will cancel all the flights listed above for all the passengers in the booking.

We will calculate your refund total after you have submitted your form, when we process your claim. The refund amount will be based on our terms and conditions and is final and non-negotiable. Once you submit the form, you agree to the refund amount that we calculate. Under normal circumstances your refund will be processed within 7 working days of form submission, but please be aware that it may take up to two billing cycles before appearing on your credit card statement.

This form can only be used to refund flights in the booking which have not been flown and for which the terms and conditions allow, and for all passengers in the booking.

If you have any car or hotel reservations, or insurance associated with this booking you will need to cancel them separately.

If these items were booked through British Airways please contact us. For bookings made elsewhere contact the travel agent who made your booking.

If these items were booked with Avios and you are an Executive Club member, follow the ‘View my bookings’ link from your account home page. Non Executive Club members should go to Avios.com.

  • Fill in all your details, read through the terms and conditions thoroughly (make sure you understand them), accept the terms and conditions (assuming you’re happy to do so) and then click on the “request a refund” button at the bottom of the page.

You should now see a confirmation page that looks similar to this…

…and you should receive an email that looks similar to this:

British Airways should now process the cash refund as per its terms and conditions.

Important Note

Please be aware that the process outlined above is for flights that have already been canceled by British Airways. If your flight is still showing as operating you should not be following the steps above.

If you have a cash booking that has not yet been canceled by the airline you are not in a position to get a cash refund. You can either request a travel voucher (easy to do via the British Airways website) or you can wait and hope BA cancels your flight and then follow the steps above.

Following the steps above if you have a cash booking that has not been canceled by BA will see you forfeit most of your cash. You have been warned.

Bottom Line

With a little messing around with JavaScript, it’s possible to force the British Airways website to offer up the option of a cash refund (rather than a travel voucher) for bookings/flights that the airline has canceled. Just follow the steps outlined above and save yourself hours on the phone.

94 COMMENTS

  1. I hope this works for my two 7500 flights from LHR to VIE (players 1 and 2). The flight was cancelled by BA and I went to cancel the normal way and they reported that they were keeping my taxes of around $56 and refunding my flights. Not good.

  2. Hi, i have very similar experience with Qatar Airways. They canceled my Milan -Bangkok flight. I tried to get a refund but there is no refund option on the website.
    Eva

    • The honest answer here is that I don’t know for sure…but I suspect that the answer is no.
      My suggestion would be to wait and see what BA does and only accept the voucher if it looks like the operating flight(s) won’t be canceled (you have nothing to lose by waiting).
      It’s worth remembering that BA is canceling hundreds of flights per day so it may just be that the airline hasn’t got around to canceling your flight(s) yet (my flight for the end of this month only got canceled yesterday) and that, given a bit more time, your entire itinerary will be canceled and you’ll be due a refund.

  3. Done! Email received, let’s wait for the cash refund! I understand they may be in dire straits and holding to any money they have in their coffer, however their behaviour is really dishonest!

  4. Brilliant stuff – works! Thought it was odd they were only offering a voucher. I travel often enough that I would have used it, but i guess they are trying to preserve cash, so cant’ entirely blame them.

  5. Just tried this at 17.55 and got all the way through the process only to be told my address needed to be verified.

    • That’s great!! (and I’ll take the thanks on behalf of Antonio who figured this all out)

      I’m puzzled as to why it’s working for some and apparently not others.

  6. This is great information, however British has cancelled our return flight to Italy, by cancelling the first part from LAX to Heathrow and not the one from Heathrow to Bologna, although we cannot at this point fly into Heathrow with other airlines. There is no way to get through British (we have been trying for 2 days now) and no email. Does anyone have an email for them? Thank you!

  7. worked for me at 4pm MST

    I almost stopped at the screen where they wanted a valid email address!
    Then I kept reading the process. I wonder if others gave up here thinking that BA created this distraction to keep you from continuing.

    Email received. Let’s see what happens. A few thousand dollars at stake.

  8. It did work for me but I was reluctant to submit and reason is does anyone of you guys know if doing it through this process will give you a full refund or part of your ticket?

  9. Thanks so much. It worked for me .1145AM 8GMT. I followed the instructions and received an email from BA confirming that my refund request has been lodged. Will update once I get my refund. Thanks

  10. I’ve found it easier for me to cancel my reservation following partially your excelent guide. The steps that worked for me are:

    – Enter the settings/javascript tab in chrome as shown in your tutorial. Don’t do nothing here yet.
    – Click “Cancel and refund flight(s)” in the Manage my booking page.
    – NOW Block javascript when you are in the “Consent” page. Accept the consent and click continue.
    – Now I’m on the refund webpage. Reactivate javascript on chrome settings, accept the refund.
    – Done

    Money refunded. Thank you for this, it was really useful.

  11. I followed the instructions & clicked ‘cancel’. Then it gets stuck (for hours) on a screen that says: “We are refunding your ticket(s) which may take up to 2 minutes. Please wait for confirmation that your booking has been cancelled.”

    No email, no refund…any ideas?

    (my flight was cancelled by BA)

  12. Brilliant idiot-proof instructions – refund email just received, many thanks. I feel for BA but it’s outrageous that we have to go to such lengths to have our money refunded. Once again they seem intent on sabotaging their once-good reputation.

  13. Thank you Elias! Have been trying for 7 hours (yes 7!). Your tips above did the trick! Thank you Elias & thank you Travelling for Miles!

  14. Really useful thank you! refund applied for and confirmation email received! outrageous that we should have to go to these lengths!!

  15. You are a life saver thank you so much! I’ve shared this with other people in the same situation. Hope you have a lovely day ahead! 15:30 GMT

    • Thank you for the kind words and thank you for sharing the information (but I’m also only sharing someone else’s great work)

  16. Hi, thanks so much for this tip ! It worked !!!
    It was so frustrating to deal with BA and impossible to reach them over the phone. Hopefully they really return the money !

    Thans a million

  17. Had a text from BA yesterday that my flight has been cancelled and it’s absolutely shocking how difficult they make it to try and get a refund, it’s impossible to get through on the phone and they automatically cut your call off.

    Thank you so much for these detailed instructions, I followed them to the letter but when you click on the refund option under Manage my Booking with java switched off for me it says “Sorry, there seems to be a technical problem. Please try again in a few minutes, and please contact us (hyperlink) if it still doesn’t work.”

    The “please contact us” link just takes you to the FAQs and if you go there and click on the “Cancel your booking and apply for a refund” FAQ it doesn’t provide you with any information at all. Basically they have completely removed the option to get a refund. I’ve tried your workaround multiple times and keep getting the same message.

    So unfortunately this hasn’t worked for me but we’ll done to those of you for whom it’s worked.

  18. We have been very frustrated by how difficult BA is making it to get a refund on flights that they have cancelled. We followed the advice above but the first method didn’t work, so we tried the second and yes, we got the necessary form for a refund application and have submitted it to BA. I kept screen shots of each stage of the process as evidence. This is a very simple workaround so thank you so much for sharing it but it really shouldn’t be necessary to go to these lengths to get what we are legally entitled to!

    • Agreed. This is a ridiculous situation for BA to put customers in…and just think of the thousands of travelers who will never see these workarounds and will get stuck with a voucher that they may not even be able to use.

  19. Has anyone actually received a refund from BA? If so, how much time elapsed after the initial email? I requested a refund on 3/14/20, and received the email stating “We have received your information and are currently processing your refund.”, but as of 3/25/20 (11 days later), my credit card has not yet been credited.

    • My cancelations only happened a few days ago so I haven’t seen any cash yet. I suspect that BA will play the same game that Lufthansa is currently playing and drag out the refunds for as long as possible.

  20. I don’t think it is working now. It worked for my first flight that got cancelled, did it yesterday. Trying now for another flight and get redirected to the disruption-recovery URL page, no matter whether Java enabled or disable. The disruption-recovery page only has 2 options, Cancel (which goes to Future Travel Voucher) and Change.

  21. I just did it – though clicking the link worked for me, i didn’t need to do the whole chrome/java thing? I hope it went through ok, no email as yet but took a screen shot of the page.

  22. Same – the link worked and presented the form. Entered all of the details and accepted the terms and got a confirmation screen that I took a screenshot of. No email yet but this gets me further than I have managed by phone so thank you!

    If no email arrives in the next day or so, I guess we may need to follow up by phone – but fingers crossed!

    Much appreciated!

  23. Thank you. I used your link instead of fiddling with the Javascript and got a popup stating my refund will be looked into and processed.
    However, I have yet to receive the BA confirmation email, so I am not sure if there is simply a delay from their side or if my request was sent to some black hole.
    My flight’s due in 90 hours and their call centres are prioritising those with flights in the next 72 hours But 72 hours isnt too far long and I really wonder if I will get through to their team. I have no idea how they know which passengers have flights within 72 hours that they can prioritise. So here’s hoping the link you gave worked!

  24. Have you had any luck with Delta? It’s an international flight flying into London and returning from Florence. I don’t want a eCredit, and would much rather have the $1,400 back!

    • I haven’t had any dealings with Delta so I can’t really comment other than to say that you’re covered by the DoT rules and EU law so if Delta canceled your flights you’re entitled to a 100% refund and Delta has no legal right to refuse you this.

  25. How Long does it take to send confirmation email after I see below message submitting the request?

    I have received below message after submitting the request using link https://www.britishairways.com/travel/webforms/execclub/_gf/en_gb?eId=120001&wfpId=mmb_ticket_refund

    Your request to cancel and refund your flights has been sent

    What happens now?

    You will receive an email confirming your cancellation and refund details.

    We will review your request and calculate the refund amount payable.

    All flights in the booking will be cancelled.

    I want to cancel other items in the booking

    If you have other items in your booking you wish to cancel (e.g. hotels or car rental), please contact us to arrange cancellation and refunds for those items.

    Our contact numbers.

    If a refund is payable

    The refund will be paid onto the orginal form of payment.

    Once payment has been made, we will email you to notify you of the payment.

    Refund totals are final and cannot be challenged.

    If a refund is not payable

    We will email you to notify you that there is no refund payable.

    • I got my email very quickly…but that was a few days ago. Things seem to have slowed down since then and I know people who filed for refunds 2 days ago who still haven’t received emails.

  26. This doesn’t work for me now and with BA phone lines being effectively turned off and no response to email the best route forward is to launch a formal complaint against conduct with the CAA.

  27. Hi. Need urgent help. BA even not allowing me to manage my booking.

    ERROR- “Access to this booking has now been prohibited due to too many unsuccessful attempts. Please check your travel details are correct and retry in 24 hours”.

    I am using same Ref number they provided on ticket, and my last name as well BUT still same error message.

    Trying for last 36 hours. Cleared the cookies and history as well. Used 3 browsers (Edge, Firefox, Chrome).Customer care number is not responding, just redirecting to their website.
    Anyone plz help me to get rid of this.

    Anyone have/had this issue.. What is the solution.

    Kind Regards

    • Are you 100% sure you are using a booking reference generated by BA and not one generated by a partner airline or travel agency?

  28. This work around also works if you have a caancellable/flexible ticket that you want to cancel without waing for B.A.
    Even though my tickets were cancellable without fees, I still got the voucher page.
    Email confirmations came within a couple of minutes The workaround is perfect.
    Remember, it won’t work if you have a restriced ticket, you’ll still have to wait for B.A to cancel.
    Thanks for sharing
    Paul

  29. BA cancelled our flights and – like you – I was so frustrated when I got to the page about getting a flight voucher, when I actually wanted a refund. I so pleased that I stumbled onto your site. I was able to submit a refund request using the link you provided. Thank you so much for doing this!

  30. Just thought I would let you know that I actually got the money back on my credit card today. 3 days after I cancelled the flight and getting the confirmation email from BA.
    Many many thanks! 🙂

  31. I’m still having trouble! One leg of my two leg itinerary was cancelled by the airline. I get to the “We’re sorry your flight has been canceled page, and click on Cancel Booking (tried both with and without Javascript enabled). Then it just takes me to the future voucher page. No option for refund. What am I doing wrong?

    • Same thing. Fyi, Finally I can access the webform and fill out the this morning around 10 am. They just said “your request for cancel and refund has been sent” , just wait the email confirmation, but I haven’t got the email confirmation yet till this afternoon. Do I have to repeat again fill out the form later?

    • Same thing. Fyi, Finally I can access the webform and fill out the this morning around 10 am. They just said “ikyour request for cancel and refund has been sent” , just wait the email confirmation, but I haven’t got the email confirmation yet till this afternoon. Do I have to repeat again fill out the form later?

  32. Sadly, didn’t work for me just now. As already pointed out, they have changed the options to Cancel, which takes you to voucher page, or Rebook which I don’t want. I’m really hoping you can rustle up some other workaround mastery! Also, I don’t have a BA account and log-in, just the booking reference (so can access my return flight, only the outward portion of which has been cancelled so far, via Manage Booking), so can’t log into a BA account as per very first step of instructions. Is that the cause of my failure? Thanks for all help!

  33. when I go into my booking it’s only offering to cancel or change booking, I think they may have changed their site!

  34. Completed yesterday, thanks but no email received as yet. How long does that usually take to come through ? Looked at the link this morning and no longer works.

  35. Hi. what to do if you were already tricked to accepting voucher? Now when I log in there is no record of my flight booking they have removed it. so above doesn’t work right?

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