a row of seats with monitors on them

The airline industry is in crisis, and our intention throughout this time is to provide clarity to readers about their options, and to inspire travelers to return to the skies when the time is right. We want all airlines flying in six months, not just some.

No one wants undue harm done to any airlines, but there are boundaries which should not be crossed in any aspect of life, and in my opinion, British airways has crossed one. They’re duping passengers out of refunds when they’re due, by pretending it’s not an option.

Airlines have direct access to presidents and prime ministers, but customers do not – and making it hard for people to get whats legally owed to them is just wrong, particularly in times where people will find themselves in financial need. In this case, British Airways has been doing its best to make it impossible.

a plane on the runwayThe European Union Ruled On Refund Policy, And British Airways…

British Airways knows the rules,  just as every airline does.

They knew full well that in regards to flights cancelled by them, the EU Commission clearly stated that passengers are due full refunds to their original form of payment, not just vouchers for future travel with the airline. If you cancel because you don’t want to travel, it’s a totally different story. It’s really simple…

You want to cancel: you can get a voucher or change dates, within BA’s policy.

British Airways cancels your flight: you are due a full refund, or you can take voucher.

This is all part of EC261, the European guidelines for what airlines must do when travel is disrupted. The EU correctly suspended cash payments to effected passengers, but clearly stated that refunds must still be offered when the airline cancels, so long as a government did not allow the plane to fly.

British Airways chose to hide this fact, to trick people into accepting vouchers with the airline for future travel, instead of handing back the cash legally owed, if wished. That’s duplicitous, and as people in all industries lose their jobs en masse, it’s wrong to deceive customers. It just is.

Worse, it’s been proven that this was intentional on the part of British airways. The airline modified the refund and cancellation page to hide the refund option entirely.

The airline intentionally redirected customers who were due a full refund to their original form of payment, to a form which gave them only an option for a voucher to use toward a future flight. And of course, they understaffed the phones, so anyone who knew better couldn’t get through.

A refund button was nowhere to be found. Again, it was intentionally hidden. Only after more than a day of trial and error, Head For Points was able to find a workaround using a particular browser.

Don’t picture the 1% of tech savvy enthusiasts who played around with the website all day, picture the 99% of travelers here, almost all of which assumed they were presented their full legal options, who absolutely were not. That’s a lot of money.

In GSTP’s editorial opinion, it’s a tragedy for any of the hardworking members of British Airways team to lose work either temporarily or for the long haul due to the brutal drop in travel demand, but the personal in a position of commercial power who knowingly made this call to hide the refund button is the first person who may actually deserve to lose their job.

If you can’t trust someone in times of world crisis, they don’t deserve a place at the table when its full of money again. Peoples pockets may be emptying now, but those who struggled to recoup what is legally owed right now won’t soon forget it when coffers are full again.

Reports from readers who were lucky enough to get through to British Airways by phone suggest that the airline is promising a return to refund functionality on the web within 24 hours, but there’s no telling how many thousands, perhaps millions of people will have already accepted the voucher by the time that functionality is restored. What a shame, or is it without the “e”?

Stuck with a voucher? Read up on all the rules, restrictions and opportunities to use yours. There are a few types, and a lot to know!

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. My upcoming flights on Saturday, booked with Avios and ~ $900 in taxes and seat selection fees, are cancelled. Before it disappeared, the refund option would not accept the credit card I used, maybe because award travel? If I do nothing will I receive refund and redeposit of Avios? No response via phone or Twitter DM. Anyone have info? Thanks.

    1. FYI. Received call back from BA. Told Avios would be redeposited and fees credited to the AMEX. Follow up email, “Hi there, thanks for your time on the phone today, It was a pleasure speaking with you. Please allow 7-10 working days for this to be processed.” Hopefully accurate.

  2. Looks like BA have “greyed out” the Change Booking headings now on my booking! So no way of asking for the refund, only the future travel voucher! How is this legal?

  3. I’m curious, not that I’m saying right mind you, but BA is Headquartered in London in a post Brexit UK. What obligation does it have to follow EC261 guidelines for customers in non-EU countries. Do those guidelines apply to its contract of carriage at this point?

    1. No rules changes via brexit until December 31st. All is the same right now, even though it’s not. In light of this, it may get pushed back even further, so yes – absolutely applies to them 💯.

      1. Hey Gilbert – In addition, the Directive that governs this area also applies after the transitional period to journeys made to or from any European Member State. Article 3(1) of EC 261/2004 states:
        “This Regulation shall apply:
        (a) to passengers departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies;
        (b) to passengers departing from an airport located in a third country to an airport situated in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies, unless they received benefits or compensation and were given assistance in that third country, if the operating air carrier of the flight concerned is a Community carrier.”

        It will not apply after Brexit to international flights outside of the European Union between airports in the UK and another third country – there is no connection to the European Union. But if your flight goes to/from the EU, you are covered even in the event of an actual Brexit.

        So EU law continues to protect consumers against shameful, fake companies like BA, systematically bled dry by greedy shareholders, and pushing the burden on raising capital away from those clowns at the top and taking the cash from the pockets of fair-paying consumers.

        WHERE IS MY CASH REFUND, BA? They know 261 well, and are currently just ignoring it to suit themselves. My bet is that they are already insolvent.

  4. I have two F Avios bookings coming up that I now need to cancel (not on BA so the flights may not be cancelled by the airline.)

    As above, BA has been redirecting to the voucher page.

    Using the method outlined on HFP I was able to cancel one of the bookings today and have a refund cancellation.

    However the other booking goes to the page asking me to confirm that I’m a traveler on the booking if Javascript is disabled, but then does not allow me to continue. With Javascript enabled it redirects to the voucher page, which you can see happen in the URL. I’ve tried a number of workarounds and extensions with no success so far.

    Hopefully as promised the genuine refund page comes back shortly, and if not I’ve at least bought myself a couple more weeks before I’ll need to call.

    It’s bad though, exactly the sort of thing that undermines your confidence in the airline.

  5. KLM have done the same and keep moving their change or voucher period as well. Now it stands at November 31st. But, any refund option is worked around in very carefully worded avoidance text. It is designed to look consumer friendly, but the reality is evasion. Problem is that The EU can’t afford to push these Airlines over the brink, so they will conveniently look the other way.

  6. Qatar airways have done far worse
    MI have now cancelled bookings on manage my booking so you can’t even see the booking there is no trace of it you do not have an option to even get a voucher which they have now removed since yesterday and all of their global offices have not been answering the phones for the last week and a half. If and when this crisis is over and the airline industry recovers Qatar Airways do not deserve to ever have a license to fly revenue passengers again

  7. I should of flown BA 049 LHR to SEA on March 18th 2020. The flight ran but as a UK citizen we were denied travel. Only offered a voucher valid for 12 months. We paid over £1600 for our business class flight, how can this be allowed.

    1. Me too was supposed to fly to Canada to start my 2 yr working hol visa, with ba on the 21st, flight took off but I was also denied travel, due to not being Canadian. I had to get a voucher and obvs couldn’t get through to anyone on the phone at the time. It wasn’t cancelled completely, do I still have a right to ask for my voucher as refunded cash, haven’t even had a follow up email about it?! Any advice greatly appreciated

  8. I bought a R/t ticket to London for my granddaughter for 3/14/2020 but the vacation was cancelled Wednesday before the flight. I called from that Wednesday to Saturday morning to speak with a representative at BA. she would not cancel, voucher it even help me because she said she needed to first speak with my granddaughter, who is a minor. The rep said she couldn’t do anything because My name wasn’t there as a contact. But I was the one who booked,and paid for the flight with my credit card. Because I couldn’t get my granddaughter on the phone line as a conference call, my call was disconnected and she was considered a “no show”. Her return flight has been cancelled 3/28/2020 . I wrote to ask for a refund but got no response. What recourse do I have? The ticket price was almost $1000.00 and I do not want to loose that money.

  9. Gilbert – I picked this up on multiple bookings I had that were cancelled by BA and only linked to the voucher page. It is shameful behaviour – it should continued to be highlighted by all. I did not accept because I knew the EC261 entitlement. I am sure many panicked travellers didnt. I tried for 2 days to call but gave up.

  10. Hilbert, thanks for sharing this. Unfortunately, I’m one of the many affected as I went to the process 3 days ago, so the only option available was accepting a voucher (and not the possibility of getting a full refund). This is so bad and frustrating, can’t believe BA is going that far… embarrassing. Is anything we (the customers) can do to revert this and get the change to get a full refund? Thanks!

  11. Can you please advice me what should I do as American Airlines try the same trick with me , but as I am living in Belgium and AA dosn’t have any office’s in Belgium….Where should I go with a complaint please?

  12. I agree Gilbert. Even now BA is pretending that my flight to Helsinki is due tomorrow. I knew my option for a full refund. I tried to ring but got cut off. So too did my friend A gold member. I’m a little sanguine about this. I have had lovely BA Holidays. I intend to use them again despite this deception ( well, I have to, I applied for a voucher!) They were and are sneaky because the voucher offer had to be applied for at least 48 hours before departure. Underhand? Yes. It’s a cynical commercial decision. But I can’t help feeling sympathy for BA staff. I hope my money that they keep will go to keep BA staff employed and not enrich the wallets of senior management.

  13. Iberia doing the same. I have 3 cancelled flights and all they offer me is a voucher. Worth to note the reason is “low occupancy”. What a shame is IAG right now.

    1. HI,

      I had the same problem and now i called and they said that the refund was an option. I believe they started putting this after March 19th when the EU made their statement. But I got my voucher before this cause it was the only option. Have you gotten any updates from Iberia?

  14. BA did this because they desperately need to retain cash.
    They need that cash to pay 1000s if employees and keep 1000s more in the supply chain employed.
    My guess is that given the huge costs of the past few weeks BA probably doesn’t have enough cash to refund all forward bookings which would mean bankruptcy.
    Let’s stop bashing a company that is desperately trying to survive; something that is in its employees and customers interest.
    The Center for aviation predicts that BA has 132 days of cash. simpleflying.com/european-airlines-covid-19/

    1. Did you read the IAG presentation where Willie Walsh said “show me the F^^^ money”?

      This isn’t bashing, it’s ethics, and British Airways has immense resources at it’s disposal between parent company and government to pay people. This has nothing to do with that.

      1. It’s actually pretty simple maths;
        Where do BA get their money from? Bookings!

        What happens if everyone wants their money back and they still have huge operations costs (wages, lease payments and fuel hedging); no money

        What happens when an airline has no money; Flybe, monarch, Thomas cook etc….

        What Will Walsh says at an investor meeting in the good times is quite different from the reality of the bad times. Airlines operate on small margins with huge fixed costs. Business class cabins have been empty for weeks; there’s no money coming in – trust me- and a lot going out. All airlines are doing this and it’s to protect the business and ultimately job.

        It’s simple really.

        1. I suggest you check the facts about the scale of BA’s cash reserves (over £8 Billion), the fact that the UK tax payer is covering their wage bill for 80% of their staff, the scale of their profiteering in recent years (record, industry leading profits in past 3, whilst delivering; bedbugs, data breaches, IT meltdowns, broken IFE, dirty cabins, inadequate catering, under resourced contact centres and customer hostile policies. Also worth pointing out that the regulator has had to pick them up on consumer rights on three separate occasions in the past 18months.
          The bottom line is that the law is clear and BA intentionally broke it and is still (early May) withholding customers money for services not provided. Whilst I have very sympathy for the staff impacted, the BA management approach demonstrates that any illegally withheld refunds will definitively not benefit the workforce but be used to enrich the senior management bonuses.

    2. BA is asking for taxpayer bailouts to keep going in this emergency.

      Well they don’t deserve any bailout when they are deliberately breaking the law by making it difficult or impossible to rebook tickets or get refunds. I spent $1700 getting back to the USA when BA cancelled my flight. I’ve spent 12 hours on the phone on hold. I’ve submitted a claim online for a refund for my original flight. I’ve have emails denying a refund, but no reason given, but they said to claim for reimbursement of expenses instead. So I did that, and then they denied that, just saying they are not responsible. Even one day prior to my flight being cancelled (several days after the travel ban made it impossible), BA website showed my flight as ontime. There was never any communication to help rebook me or give me any credit for the cancelled flight. They are just throwing up walls.

      I understand these are unprecedented times. But companies who treat customers like this should not be bailed out by taxpayers. You can bet that the people at the top of BA will be fine, and so will their major creditors, but they have already laid off lots of staff and are screwing their customers. F*** them! After being a loyal BA customer for 25 years and saying they are my favourite airline, now I will happily see them go out of business.

  15. For the record, BA have made enormous profits in recent years (in the billions not millions) at a time when they were still cutting their service, underprovisioning planes, failing to clean or service cabins, resource customers services, invest in reliable IT or to pay their staff reasonably.
    Today (this financial year) they are still in profits AND they have over £8BILLION in cash reserves… Whilst Willie Walsh of IAG has stated he will take a 20% pay cut temporarily Cruz (BA CEO) and the board have done nothing, in marked contrast to their competitors ie. they are still paying themselves multi million pound salaries and bonuses,,, and preparing to sack significant numbers of staff inc flight crew.

  16. Air France does the same thing:

    If you purchased your ticket directly from our website or at an Air France agency, please complete the online form below to obtain a travel voucher. This voucher is valid for 1 year on all Air France, KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic flights. This voucher will be refundable after one year if it is not used.

    At the callcenter they actually told me that they wont get me a direct creditcard refund….i will have to wait one year. This would be legal due to the coronavirus. Absolute BS

    1. So they are making it as hard as possible to get our money probably deliberately…what should we do as individuals or as a group to get what is due to us back

  17. I wasn’t aware of this and applied for a voucher. I got an email saying that it will be processed in the next seven days. I’ve replied quoting EC261 and including the link in your report. Fingers crossed! it appears that they have removed the javascriptloophole 🙁 .

  18. I am sorry but a huge amount of companies are fighting for survival at the moment. and ultimately safeguarding jobs of thousands across the supply chain. If you are booking business class flights you are highly likely to be able to handle any lost money. Be grateful you have the opportunity to retain the value, rebook or make changes to your holiday via a voucher. Just because BA are more financially stable doesn’t mean they can easily ride this wave. I personally have taken the voucher as I will travel with BA again and I don’t want this brand disappear. It is highly likely many businesses, large and small, will struggle to survive at the minute. Take a step back and see the bigger picture; most of you will be privileged enough to
    not see a material impact on your life apart from maybe having one less holiday or flying economy rather than business. For many they rely on business like BA to pay their wages and when you are trying to claim refunds you put the livelihood of thousands at risk. Shame on you!

    1. I’m sorry, but a huge amount of individuals already have been or will be laid off, and they’ll need cash a lot more than a voucher. They’re legally entitled to it. British Airways has raked in billions in profits over the last few years and has no right to deceive consumers intentionally.

      Shame on you for defending big business when people are suffering.

      1. 100 points to GTSP
        You NEED a like button Gib… this reply is p e r f e c t

  19. TK just increased the price of two tickets I bought in November for travel in July. Popped up as a “change in tariff,” with the option to cancel the tickets or pay an additional $130!

  20. Try Ryanair……
    They wait until the last minute to cancel your flight! They offer “Refund” or “change date”. If you select new dates the system will allow you to proceed, but if you select refund….,the system tells you your reservation number is INVALID!! You are then unable to proceed with the refund and if is impossible to contact Ryanair for help!!

  21. @ Danny
    Utter nonsense
    1) BA and its parent IAG made billions upon billions in profits in the good times so now that it appears that we’re hitting bad times the airline is the only one to blame if the “livelihood of thousands” is at risk.
    2) Who are you to decide who can and cannot afford a refund? Just because someone buys a Business Class ticket doesn’t have to mean they have deep pockets – lots of people on honeymoons or on “once in a lifetime” trips they’ve saved up for will be affected. Where’s your care for them?
    3) The overwhelming majority of people who are being scammed out of a refund aren’t people who booked Business Class fares. Most are people being affected will be people taking their one vacation of the year and, in these times, are probably just as much at risk of losing their jobs as anyone else. A voucher is probably not much good to them. Where’s your care for these people?
    4) Since when was it right to use circumstances to break the law….especially after the EU just clarified the law specifically to cover the situation around us? Do I get to break the law if I don’t have enough cash in the bank to pay my staff? Or perhaps you only think airlines should be allowed to break the law? Or perhaps you think you (or BA?) should get to decide which laws it’s ok to break?
    5) If BA is in that much trouble that it needs to break the law and rip people off the very least it could do is admit the position its in and not force people to have to use their vouchers within a 12 month period.

    You claim (in a wonderfully pious way) to care about people whose livelihoods are now at risk but the truth is that you only appear to care about those working for the airline…and I don’t actually believe you care about them either, I think your entire point was a very ill-thought-through bit of virtue signaling. I’m pretty sure the shame is on you.

  22. Tap Portugal Airlines is currently displaying the same despicable behavior. I’m a student who has been saving money for years to go towards my first ever holiday in 13 years. Over £1000 has been spent on flights to Ghana, and due to COVID-19, our flights this week have been canceled. All they have offered is rescheduling and a refund, in the form of the voucher.
    When I had finally reached someone at the call center, all the lady could do was repeat those 2 options despite me insisting on a cash refund.
    I mentioned my travel rights and the terms under the Civil Aviation Authority, and she even refused my request to speak to her superior.
    It’s disgraceful that normal people are being taken advantage of this. I will not know the next time I will be available to travel and yet I am being told that I can get my money (emphasis on the fact that this is my hard-earned cash, I have worked hard for) according to their terms.
    I even mentioned the fact that on Tap Portugals own company website, they specify that travel vouchers will be offered only with the consent of the customer and bank transfers would be processed within 21 days if paid with a debit.
    The lady on the phone didn’t bat at an eye at this.
    I’m not going to stop calling till they take me seriously, and if it escalates, a formal complaint through alternative dispute resolution services will need to be made.
    The only problem is… there is a time limit as to when I can request a refund (in the form of the voucher) on my account, therefore I’m torn between accepting this (not like they have put any other option) or rescheduling. I don’t want to accept the voucher, in case they state this as written consent to a voucher and not a cash refund.
    Extremely disheartening and downright exploitative.
    At this rate, I don’t think I even want to use such a company ever again!

  23. This article and Head for Points saved my sanity! Shame on BA for shady business practices. The Chrome workaround got me a cash refund this morning for a canceled flight! Thank you for the information. 😀

  24. Their website tripped me up and I mistakenly requested a voucher when my flight got cancelled, thinking I was completing a form for a refund. I realised my mistake straight away, but by the time I got through on the phone they told me that there is nothing they can do and they will not be refunding £1,000 worth of flights. Feeling pretty deceived right now, but guessing I’ve unintentionally stitched myself up.

  25. Today finally received my British Airways refunds for three flights: Miami to Antigua, Antigua to Tobago and Port of Spain to Miami. They don’t say how much money they are. It says I can only book by phone. It is way too challenging to phone them. They can be booked for anytime up to 12 months from my first flight date.

    I am having difficulty with Norwegian Air. I booked Barcelona to Miami and New York to London. I would like a refund. I also would like a refund from Ryan Air for London to Barcelona.

    My home phone isn’t working. I have a mobile phone to use and a laptop. I have two children so can only go in the school holidays

  26. Hi Gilbert,

    Like many people I booked a BA flight to India using AVIOS and Companion voucher to upgrade to Business. As with others I have tried to contact BA daily for 2 weeks now to get a refund as I do not want the voucher with no luck. Do you know if BA will automatically refund the flight taxes, AVIOS and Companion Voucher if I do nothing, I’m loathe to accespt the voucher.

    Mark Pickering

  27. My wife was due to fly to San Diego on BA until flights to the USA were stopped but like a lot of other people she was duped into thinking the voucher option was the only option available given there was no direct link to a refund. BA has refused a refund saying that the voucher cannot now be turned into a cash refund. Needless to say I am not going to take this lying down and will pursue vigorously until I receive a refund.
    Separately, my flight to Doha on BA was cancelled. Given my wife’s experience I decided to dig a little deeper to see if there was any alternative. For a refund BA directs you to contact their call centre. On the same page as the call centre details there is a link that allows you to lodge a complaint. Once in the complaints section a refund option appears which brings up a questionaire which allows you to fill in details of your flights etc. After lodging my complaint one week ago I received two e-mails from BA saying that the ‘Refunds Dept’ would be in touch to discuss how to proceed. Sounds positive but will wait and see. I was signed in as an Executive Club Member which may have offered some privileges.
    Don’t give up, what BA are doing is scandalous!!!

  28. Good article.

    This is exactly what happened to my. I was due to fly to Costa Rica from the London Gatwick on 24th of March for 2 weeks. On 16th of March the Costa Rican Government announced that they would be banning all foreign nationals entering the country between 18th of March and 12th of April. So, I knew I couldn’t go.

    Then….. I continued to receive emails from BA about my flight, presumably in the hope that I would cancel the flight myself and not be entitled to a refund. On 19th of March they emailed to say my return flight had been cancelled (weird) and that I should go to Manage My Booking online to reschedule my flight. No mention whatsoever of a refund in the email.

    I’d already tried calling and all the lines said they were too busy and I should go online. So, I did that and yes it said my flight was cancelled and there was a large button that said… “Cancel and Refund Flights”. I clicked it and it took me to a page with a form. This of course was the Voucher form but I didn’t realise, given that I’d just clicked a button that said REFUND. I submitted it.

    10 days later I get the voucher form. I call to say I want a refund and I’m told I can’t have a refund because I requested a voucher. Well… it didn’t say that on the webpage did it! Otherwise, of course I wouldn’t have filled it out.

    It is deliberately misleading and constructive perversion of our rights. I have lodged a formal complaint and if I don’t get anywhere I will take it up with Barclaycard.

  29. Thanks Gill for the great article.

    Me and family booked using Avios + 50p per ticket. Flight was cancelled and was only offered a voucher. No refund option. In normal circumstances I could’ve cancelled my flight for a full Avios refund minus a fee which in my case would’ve been 50p per ticket.
    What I’m wondering is why are BA desperate to hold on to my Avios points, as there is anyway not much cash in this ticket for them?

    1. I have exactly the same thing 50k avios spent and only offered a voucher in return. I went for a voucher not knowing my rights and thinking this is my only option. Disgraceful behaviour by BA

  30. I had my cruise cancelled in Barbados and P&O did not offer me a flight back so I quickly brought a flight, one way was £1460 but being a retired travel agent I new other ways, so I booked a return to come back in a month, which was only £640 each way, but knowing they would cancel the return, I would have got home for £640 saving £820, the problem was they cancelled the flight and gave me a vouchers which I did not want.
    I then managed to book a one way x2 the last flight from Barbados with BA which cost me £2330 they are a disgrace

  31. After many hours of struggle, I successfully managed to get my refund from British Airways. I booked through my credit card rewards program, so British Airways was refusing to give me a refund even though my credit card rewards program informed me that BA was the one in control of the credit. If you would like to email the customer relations department directly, their email address is: “ba.cr.na@ba.com”. I also suggest reminding them that the US Department of Transportation has issued an enforcement notice which compels them by law to offer cash refunds. If they deny you your refund, you may consider consulting with a lawyer about a class action lawsuit (dlawler@tzlegal.com).

    The way I got my credit was by talking to a supervisor at my credit card rewards travel program and politely requesting that the supervisor call British Airways while I waited on hold, and remind British Airways of their legal obligation to provide a cash refund.

    1. Has anyone else consulted with this attorney? It appears that thousands or maybe millions got duped by BA. I am chasing them to get back close to $5000 business class refund. Customer service reps are adamnant saying they can’t help since ‘you accepted the voucher’. They claim there are no supervisors available to talk. You call customer relations # only to have a recorded message. Surely there must be someone who can help us all.

  32. Gilbert Ott, I commend you!

    Similarly to Dave Graham’s post above, I’m in the same situation.

    I’ve asked BA by email the question as to why they failed to be transparent with the voucher offering and refund options. As you can guess up to now they have failed to answer, no surprise there.

    My next step is a formal arbitration through CEDR. BA owe me over £2k for what should of been a beautiful Caribbean holiday, not something I can afford to do every year!

    I’m a normally optimistic person, however, in this instance, I’m not holding my breath.

    Immoral, illegal, pure greed it’s disgusting. Alex Cruz + BA shareholders should cough up to taxpayers with refunds out of their salaries and bonuses!

  33. My travel date 21st March 2020 – booked and paid £ 2,000 for the tickets in July 2019. Two day before travel date an email came in your flight is cancelled and sorry for inconvenience .

    Emailed them many times to get the Refund but no response
    Called them many times but no one available to answer the call

    This was the first time I booked ticked with BA and very disappointed on the customer service level by BA – I understand its sad time due to the whole situation due to Covid-19 – But at least BA can respond to emails.

  34. Was anyone able to revert the decision? BA scammed me as well, I just managed to call and try to get the refund, but they told me I choose the voucher, I explained their UX was misleading, but they wouldn’t do anything about it.
    Is there anyone suing them?
    I’ve been flying with them for so many years, what a terrible company.

    1. I am in the same shoe with you. Bitish Airways dishonestly and shadily directed me to apply for a refund via a button clearly marked “Cancel and Refund”. After clicking the button, I was directed to a form which i filled and submitted only to realize later that the form was for voucher refund instead of cash refund. Few days later i received an email with voucher codes. I called BA agent and complained that i need cash refund not voucher but the agent told me i requested for voucher and so cash refund was not possible. I told the agent that i requested for the voucher in error and it is due to the BA’s fault in hiding cash refund and tricking users into applying for vouchers but the agent flatly denied and was not helpful. I guess BA made a choice between losing customers and losing cash.

  35. Likewise , if anyone has managed to revert the voucher decision with BA that would be good to know as I ended up taking a voucher . Also I booked and paid for a flight for staff member to attend meeting in Dubai in March for which we took back a voucher. At the time of voucher issue in March the full T&C’s were not on the website, tried to use the voucher last week only to find out that it can only be used for the named passenger, although I paid for ticket and the named passenger no longer needs to travel to Dubai! BA complaints department won’t allow us to use the voucher for other passengers! Our only route seems now to be Credit Card company or CEDR route and speaking to anyone that can help is proving impossible! Any ideas?

  36. Hi there,

    I am in EXACTLY the situation described in this article and am entirely at my wits end. I am due £3500 and 130,000 Avios which I was told specifically I would be refunded for, however when the link arrived to process my refund it came with a button that simply said : ‘click here to proceed with your request’. When I clicked it, it said I would hear back with regards to my VOUCHER. I tried endlessly to call and email but no luck. Weeks went by and now I have had a number of exchanges with customer service saying that it is too late and that I requested a voucher (which is absolutely untrue). I have been a Gold member for years and am infuriated with how I have been treated here.

    Does anyone know if there is a way to solve this? Apparently no one at customer service can do call-backs at the moment. I am so furious that I am considering legal action – has someone beaten me to it and started a claim here that we could do collectively?

  37. Good, accurate article.

    British Airways cancelled my flights this week. I work in IT but stupidly trusted them and pressed the bug red button with ‘Refund’ written on it. I assume somewhat stupidly, that it would provide a refund! But automatically gave me vouchers.

    I phoned immediately and they just make up rubbish that adds I had ‘chosen’ a voucher it can’t be cashed in.

    I’ve raised a section 75, and if that fails will pay to take them to County Court (£105).

    At a time like this you see the real morals of an organisation, and it’s leaders. I won’t ever fly with BA again, which is a shame as I’ve flown worth them since I was a kid.

  38. My elderly mom was also tricked into receiving a voucher (which we were unaware of till we called for a refund), when flights were cancelled. Since then, she has been hospitalized and has medical note that she can’t travel now or in future. BA has been sent all documents but no response so far. She is in frail condition and needs money desperately for her caregiving, is there any other recourse?Ticket was from USA to UK, can I file a complaint with DOT or any other association? PLEASE HELP!!

  39. absolutely same situation, tricked into voucher with no “are you sure you wanted a voucher”. refusing point blank after complaint, to budge so will also have to go through s75 then CCJ


  40. Tricked into pressing a button for vouchers with no option for a full refund! If there is now law against such deception, then I shall have to take the law into my own hands. I I do, don’t blame me BA!

  41. We have experienced the same as many others: we have been mislead into believing that a refund was not an option.
    We have issued a Claim (£80), and expect BA to be ordered to refund the £1300, plus the Court Fees, plus reurning the 78.000 AVIOS points we spent on our planned trip, which BA cancelled befóre the lockdown.
    The Defendant has indicated an intention to defend all of the claim.
    Goliath against David.
    We wish that many more victims will file a Claim.

  42. I’m in the same position as countless others gets, completely duped by BA. Shame on them but they don’t care. Went down the fir nail complaint route, they rejected that. Have escalated to CEDR who having assessed the info I provided agreed I have a valid claim, but still awaiting an out come. If this fails his can I file a court claim against BA?

  43. BA should have refunded my ticket automatically as they had cancelled the flight. After waiting for more than 14 days after the date the flight was due to take off (not from point of cancellation, BA cancelled the flight 6 weeks beforehand), went back onto app to see that all options for rebook / vouchers / telephone number for the flight had been removed from “Manage my booking”. Might I add that I had tried on numerous occasions to call them up to request a refund, but each time the phone line clicks off after a message informing me of the high volumes of calls.

    Went back to the website on my computer and the only clear option was vouchers / rebook. And fearing that even that would be taken away, selected the vouchers.

    Literally, seconds after that, I thought to give the Executive Club hotline a call (instead of the normal refund hotline). Surprise, surprise, I got through immediately. Bad news is that apparently I am stuck with the vouchers.

    Since then … very correspondence with BA has been a “Sorry, but you selected vouchers”

    Couple of things I’d like to ask here
    1. Should the refund should have automatically been given back to me within 7 days of cancelled flight?
    2. No signed agreement was given to accept the vouchers
    3. Would this not fall under the 14-day cooling off period?

    I’d also like to highlight that Ryanair’s vouchers (and I know that they have other issues), are more in tune with EU recommendations, in that after the 12 month validity date, they convert back to cash refunds. No such luck with British Airways vouchers.

  44. How have people gotten on with their claims court attempts? I had the same issue, where I followed the link titled ‘Click here to apply for refund’, and filled in the following form, only to be greeted with the horrific “Your future travel voucher will be with you shortly”. And because I have ‘accepted’ the voucher, no refund will be issued. I am currently waiting to hear from my case with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution. If that fails, I might try small claims court.
    One thing is for sure, I’m never flying BA again.

      1. Please let us know how you get on with the claim. I voluntarily took up the future travel vouchers, knowing I would be travelling with BA in the future due to commitments that had to be rescheduled (eg weddings).

        I ended up using the voucher on a flight that ended up being a blank voucher and I couldn’t board the flight because the original booking was not valid, and therefore my seats were given up. What really topped it off was that BA said I requested another future travel voucher for this flight 3 days prior boarding, hence why I was removed from the flight entirely. Lies. They admitted it was a “system error”. Said I could get a refund. Opted for refund, got cut off. No call back.

        I’ve written to Customer complaint twice on different accounts, one about fake voucher request, one about refund not being issued. have called them Numerous times to see what BA Staff say cause every time, as I connect to somebody new they tell me a different story. The last guy asked why I didn’t board the flight (what a joke!!) Until I told him my circumstance and he then said it’s due to a voucher requested, hence why I was removed from the flight.

        Finally got a response from my complaint and they noted that I had reached out to the ‘BA Office and therefore an email response is not required’. Another lie. When did I contact the office??

        I’m currently grabbing all the evidence, screenshots, comms they are supplying, to prove this that BA are literally BA (bullshit artists).

        Let us know how you get on!!

        Have raised a section 75 with cc

  45. Scammed by BA’s (27/01/2021)app into applying for a refund, only to discover they have processed a voucher refund, so they are still conning customers almost a year on. Wish I’d read this thread before hand but ironically I specifically booked £2700 worth of flights with BA because I thought that if anything went wrong BA would be the most trustworthy company. I have flown BA since I was a child and have always prepared to pay a bit extra to support British business. That won’t be happening again. I will make everyone I know aware the devious scumbags they are. BA have not just lost my loyalty they have lost all my family’s and many more.
    Barclays sadly but predictably shy to process a dispute as the purchase is greater than 120days (new one on me) told to go to CAA, who tell you to go to your insurance, who tell you to go to ATOL which only applies to holidays not flight only. Also told to go to trading standards who tell you to go to citizens advice who due to Covid are nit answering the phone. Like catching a hot potato that nobody wants.
    I do hope that if someone finds a successful route to claims, they write their story on here.
    What a truly hateful company…never ever thought I would say that. A sad day.

  46. We had the same issue with Norwegian Air, on their website it appeared that the only option was to get a voucher, so of course we trusted them and went for the option thinking the alternative option was to lose everything.

    Now it seems like they no longer fly to Chicago (our intended destination) so we can’t even use the voucher to go here anymore.

    Should we now also be able to get a refund, has anyone else had any experience with Norwegian air?

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