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The first thing people look for in a airline ticket, is price. Sure, some go for scheduling or specific airports, but price is usually paramount for most travelers. But beyond price, a few extra factors still exist, which can really tiebreak tickets, like: baggage allowance, miles – or being able to change at a reasonable price.

British Airways short haul tickets, those for travel within the UK and Europe have one very underrated advantage: free changes on the day of travel. That’s definitely worth knowing about, so here’s how to change British Airways short haul flights – for free!

First Step

The first step to changing your flight for free is booking the correct ticket. Hand luggage only fares are NOT eligible for free changes. Every other ticket British Airways sells on short haul is eligible for free changes on the day of departure. This is a potentially very valuable benefit. We’ll explain why later.

Second Step

Free changes can only occur within 24 hours of travel on the same day of your flight. You must keep the same airports, so no switching from Gatwick to Heathrow, etc. As long as there’s s an economy seat available on another preferable flight and you’re changing on the same day of the departure, you can change your British Airways short haul ticket for free.

Trying to change at 11PM the night before would not work, but changing at 12:01AM on the day of your flight would.

Third Step

When we say free, we mean free. There’s no fare difference calculation or change fee at all. Even if only crazy expensive tickets are available on the flight you’d like to change to, it doesn’t matter.

If you’re booked on the evening flight but would prefer to leave after breakfast, simply call up British Airways or go online on a laptop, or mobile browser and ask to change once the clock strikes midnight, or after. The change should be presented to you online when you login to your booking. Easy!

If there’s a seat, you’ll be put on the flight.

With any hope, BA will make this an easy app feature, similar to the way their partner American Airline deals with these same day changes. For now, simply use Skype, or any cheap or free calling service (if you’re outside the UK) to lock in these changes, or just logon to a laptop or desktop computer.

Fourth Step

There’s minimal fine print, but we’ll get it out of the way. You can only change flights up to 1 hour before departure of your previously scheduled flight. So if you’re hungover, and no longer wish to take that 6AM, you’ll need to get in touch before 5AM.

The only other thing is check in. Once you’ve checked in for your flight, it’s a bit harder to change to another flight using this service, but not impossible. If you have seats assigned, don’t check in until you’re sure you don’t want to change. If you don’t, check in – you’ll still be fine.


Very few things in life are guaranteed – but if you’re willing to take a walk on the wild side, this is a great way to potentially save on tickets. If you are relatively certain other flights on the same day won’t sell out, you could always book a cheaper ticket and hope to change later. Since some flights can be over $200 difference when booking on the same day, there’s great potential…

Have you successfully used this opportunity?

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