British Airways has introduced a flexible rebooking policy for passengers due to return the UK after the introduction of a mandatory quarantine period on passengers arriving in the UK.
The UK government has announced a mandatory 14 quarantine period on all passengers arriving in the UK from Monday 8 June. Full details, including exemptions for transit passengers, are on the UK government website.
Any passenger who is mid-journey and due to return to the UK on a BA operated flight between 8 June and Sunday 28 June 2020 can rebook on to an alternative BA flight from Wednesday 27 May to Sunday 7 June 2020.
Of course, BA schedules are extremely limited at the moment. The airline is operating a small number of long-haul flights at London Heathrow Terminal 5 to key US destinations such as Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, New York JFK and Washington Dulles. If you are due to return from another airport in North America, you should be able to return via an airport where flights are operating. Short-haul schedules are also significantly reduced.
Passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com and should contact BA if they need to change their booking. If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund.
British Airways is currently offering vouchers to passengers whose flights have been cancelled, or who do not wish to travel, due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
In addition, passengers making new bookings up to Friday 31 July 2020 for travel up to Thursday 31 December 2020 also have the option to exchange the value of the ticket for a voucher.
These can be exchanged for travel on flights carrying a BA flight number up to and including 30 April 2022. Full details of these policies, which are regularly updated, are on ba.com
Initially, vouchers could not be used on either of BA’s franchise partners, Comair and Sun-Air. In the case of Comair this was particularly frustrating given its network in Africa.
Comair’s hub is based in Johannesburg and domestic destinations include Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth. Other destinations include Harare, Livingstone, Mauritius, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.
BA has today, Wednesday 20 May 2020, updated its guidance and Comair is no longer excluded.
Comair has suspended operations and does not expect to resume flights until the autumn. The airline is in a “business rescue” process whereby it will undergo a financial restructuring. A business rescue plan will be published for approval by its creditors in June. The underlying business is considered by the business rescue practitioners to be fundamentally sound, so the airline is expected to resume operations. It is not known whether this will have an impact on its franchise agreement with BA. Though BA continues to sell flights operated by Comair. It seems implausible that in the event of restructuring there won’t be some form of ongoing partnership between the two airlines.
British Airways has introduced a new flexible booking policy for its corporate customers and members of its “On Business” loyalty programme for small and medium-sized businesses.
The airline currently has a “book with confidence” policy. This applies to all new bookings made up to Friday 31 July 2020 for travel up to Thursday 31 December 2020, whereby any change fees will be waived.
BA is also allowing all passengers due to travel up to 31 July 2020 to exchange the value of their ticket for a voucher for travel up to 30 April 2022. Full details of these policies are available on ba.com
Free Name Change for Corporate and On Business Bookings
BA has added a new policy for corporate customers and members of its On Business loyalty programme for small and medium-sized businesses.
For the avoidance of doubt, a corporate customer is one travelling on behalf of an organisation which has a specifically negotiated deal with the airline, rather than business travellers in general. These bookings have a specific identifier for the corporate customer.
BA now allows one free change of name for all existing Corporate and On Business bookings (excluding codeshares) ticketed before Thursday 14 May 2020 for travel up to Wednesday 30 September 2020.
It also applies to new bookings made between 14 May 2020 and 31 July 2020 for travel to be completed by 31 December 2020.
British Airways has extended its “book with confidence” policy for new flight bookings.
Passengers who have made bookings since 3 March 2020 for travel up to Thursday 31 December 2020 have the flexibility to change their bookings without incurring a change fee, or to exchange the value of their ticket for future travel up to 30 April 2022.
This policy was due to end on Sunday 31 May 2020. It has now been extended to all new bookings made up to Friday 31 July 2020.
Separate to this, all passengers due to travel up to 31 July 2020 already have the option to exchange the value of their ticket for a voucher for future travel up to 30 April 2022. This applies regardless of when the booking was made.
British Airways has today, Tuesday 28 April 2020, extended its flexible rebooking policy for all passengers due to fly with the airline in the coming months.
Passengers who were due to travel up to Sunday 31 May 2020 and were not able to travel had the option to exchange the value of their booking for a voucher for future travel.
This has now been extended to all passengers who were due to travel up to Friday 31 July 2020. BA’s new rebooking policy is likely to be a precursor to a substantial schedule reduction in June and July.
Passengers due to fly up to Thursday 31 December 2020 who had booked under BA’s “book with confidence” policy from Tuesday 3 March 2020 also have the flexibility to change the date or destination of their booking.
In addition, all new and existing vouchers can now be used as payment for a new booking for travel up to and including 30 April 2022.
Previously, vouchers had to be used within 12 months of the original travel dates.
If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund.
However, you will need to call BA directly to secure this cannot be done online. Note BA will not allow vouchers to be subsequently converted into cash refunds.
The above is only intended to be a short summary of BA’s policy.
For the latest information on Coronavirus please see this page on ba.com.
Please review this very carefully, including the terms and conditions for flight and holiday bookings, before making any changes to your bookings. These policies are also subject to change at short notice.
BA is currently operating an extremely limited schedule from London Heathrow Terminal 5.
Schedules currently indicate that flights at London City and London Gatwick will resume from Friday 22 May 2020. This is subject to change. It is expected that schedules will resume very gradually throughout the year and into 2021.
All passengers due to travel up to 31 July 2020 have the flexibility to change their bookings free of charge or exchange the value of their booking for a voucher. This can be used as payment towards a new booking for travel up to and including 30 April 2022. More details of this policy are available here.
If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund. However, you will need to call BA to obtain a refund as this cannot be done on the website.
Here are the main changes to date. These are all subject to change at very short notice. Realistically, it’s not possible to have any firm visibility more than two weeks’ ahead:
All flights at London City airport are suspended.
This is due to the closure of the airport. Schedules currently indicate that some BA short-haul flights will resume from Wednesday 1 July 2020.
BA has also suspended London City – New York JFK until 1 September 2020.
All BA flights at London Gatwick are suspended.
Schedules currently indicate that some short-haul and long-haul flights will resume from Wednesday 1 July 2020.
Runway operations for scheduled flights for all airlines are also limited to eight hours a day, between 14:00 and 22:00. The North Terminal is also currently closed.
At London Heathrow, all flights are operating from Terminal 5.
Long-haul routes still operating, but with significantly reduced frequencies, include Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, New York JFK and Washington Dulles.
Flights are being operated with Airbus A350-1000, Boeing 787, Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 777-300 aircraft. Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A380 aircraft are not operating scheduled passenger flights.
Short-haul flights are limited to a very small number of flights to major UK & European cities.
Note this does not include any cargo only flights (some of which operate under their regular passenger flight numbers or unique flight numbers) or flights chartered by the UK Government to bring Britons back home.
BA has permanently suspended flights to Beirut, Leeds Bradford and Moscow Sheremetyevo. It has also suspended its summer seasonal routes to Calgary and Charleston until 2021. The launch of Portland has also been postponed until Wednesday 2 September 2020 at the earliest.
At Heathrow airport, check-in opens at the later time of 05:30. Fast Track security is closed. All BA lounges at London Heathrow are closed. All restaurant and retail outlets, apart from Boots and WH Smith, are closed.
Passengers can check the status of their bookings using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com
BA’s franchise partner Comair which operates flights within Africa has suspended all flights.
It does not expect to resume flights until the autumn. The airline is in a business rescue process which may have long term implications for its status as a BA franchise.
Other Airport Changes
At Manchester, flights are operating at Terminal 1 due to the consolidation of flights at the airport.
All BA lounges worldwide are closed.
Alliance & Codeshare Partners
BA’s main alliance and codeshare partners continue to operate skeleton schedules at London Heathrow.
American Airlines is currently flying once a day from London Heathrow to Dallas / Fort Worth and Miami. It plans to resume flights as follows:
Chicago O’Hare – Thursday 4 June 2020 (initially five times weekly) New York JFK – Sunday 7 June 2020 (initially twice weekly) Charlotte – Tuesday 7 July 2020 Los Angeles – Tuesday 7 July 2020 Philadelphia – Tuesday 7 July 2020 Raleigh-Durham – Tuesday 7 July 2020 Phoenix – Wednesday 7 October 2020 Boston – Sunday 25 October 2020
Finnair is flying from London Heathrow to Helsinki twice daily.
Iberia continues to fly from London Heathrow and Madrid.
Japan Airlines continues to fly from London Heathrow and Tokyo Haneda.
Qatar Airways continues to fly from London Heathrow to Doha.
British Airways has made changes to in-flight catering on short and long-haul flights in response to Coronavirus.
Some of the changes are quite vague in their description, but part of the aim seems to be to avoid the need to prepare food on board aircraft and to reduce contact between cabin crew and passengers.
This will mean substantially less, and ambient only, food will be available on flights. These changes will be particularly noticeable in Club World and First Class.
BA will no longer cater for any special dietary requirements or allergies.
So passengers who would ordinarily order special meals will have to make their own provisions.
In short-haul economy, M&S Buy On Board has been withdrawn.
Buy On Board will be replaced with a light refreshment, water and, on request, hot drinks.
Hot and soft drinks will continue to be offered as well as a light refreshment.
Meals will be prepared and packaged before each flight. So dishes will not be plated on board the aircraft as they usually are in First Class and Club World.
Pre-paid meals will not be offered in World Traveller.
Passengers can bring their own food on their flights, provided it does not need to be chilled or heated on board the aircraft.
The overall message seems to be expect less food and make your own provisions if possible.
As airlines are now operating an extremely limited schedule and are only carrying passengers who are returning to home, this arrangement is likely to continue until the situation with Coronavirus returns to normal.
In terms of pre-flight dining options, all lounges operated by BA in the UK and around the world are closed.
Third party lounges are also closed. At London Heathrow, all restaurant and retail outlets, apart from Boots and WH Smith, are also closed.
For the latest information on lounges check the Oneworld alliance website before your flight.
British Airways is to temporarily cut the number of transatlantic routes and flights it operates from London Gatwick and Heathrow to the US.
This follows the decision by the US Government to ban foreign nationals from entering the US if they have been in the UK in the past 14 days. The Foreign Office has also advised against non-essential travel to the US.
US citizens and lawful US permanent residents may still travel from the UK to the US. However, they must do so through a designated airport. At the time of publication, these are:
Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta (ATL)
Boston Logan (BOS)
Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
Detroit Metropolitan (DTW)
Daniel K Inouye International Airport, Honolulu (HNL)
Los Angeles (LAX)
New York John F Kennedy (JFK)
Newark Liberty (EWR)
San Francisco International (SFO)
Seattle Tacoma (SEA)
Washington Dulles (IAD)
The ban takes effect in respect of flights departing for the US from 00:00 ET / 04:00 GMT Tuesday 17 March 2020.
As a consequence of this, the following routes are now suspended from Tuesday 17 March:
London Gatwick: Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa
London Heathrow: Austin, Baltimore, Charleston, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Jose
London City – New York JFK has already been suspended.
At the time of publication, flights to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas / Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York JFK, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington Dulles are showing as operating, but with some frequency reductions.
This may change imminently. It is implausible that BA will maintain its current schedules as demand falls. The status of aviation all over the world is also changing very rapidly and BA’s parent company IAG plans to reduce capacity by in excess of 75% in April and May.
Flights to Canada are currently expected to operate as scheduled.
If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund. You are also eligible to be rerouted via an alternative US airport, connecting to / from BA’s transatlantic joint-business partner American Airlines. If you are travelling to the US, you must of course be able to comply with its entry restrictions.
If your flight is still operating, you are still allowed to either change the date of your flight or use the ticket value of your flight towards a future booking. There are more details of this policy at ba.com
You can also choose an alternative departure / arrival airport. However, any consequential costs such as ground transportation will be at your expense.
British Airways has filed a one way fare for travel to / from the United States up to Sunday 22 March 2020.
This is intended for anyone who needs to travel urgently to / from the United States.
It applies to the World Traveller economy cabin only. It’s not a deeply discounted fare, but it is relatively low for booking this close the date of travel.
A one-way economy flight to Boston or New York up to Sunday 22 March 2020 will cost approximately £500. By contrast, it would cost £1,500 to book an economy ticket to Dubai this close to departure.
From Monday 23 March 2020, BA is only selling full fares to / from the US. This is likely due to the imminent extension by the US Government of restrictions on travel to the US on foreign nationals who have been in the UK within the previous 14 days.
You can now change your travel dates and destination without incurring a charge. If you’re travelling with us between 14 March to 31 May, you can change your plans and receive a voucher of the same value.
Full details of how to obtain a “voucher” (this is not a physical voucher), including terms and conditions, are on this page of ba.com. It is strongly recommended that you fully appraise yourself of these terms and conditions before selecting this option.
Note, this guidance may also be rescinded at any time.
It is also clear given the gravity of the situation now facing airlines, and the relaxation of “use it or lose it” airport slot rules until 30 June 2020, that there will be very substantial reductions to BA schedules in April and May. If your flight is cancelled you will be entitled to a full refund.
Also, given the very high volume of calls to BA’s call centres, if you are not due to travel within the next few days, it may be best to wait and see how the situation unfolds.
Passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com. If you need to contact BA, telephone numbers are on this page of ba.com
Following the decision by the Trump Administration to extend restrictions on travel from the Schengen area to the US to the UK & Ireland from 00:00 ET / 04:00 GMT on Tuesday 17 March, BA is allowing passengers who are mid-journey and want to return home early to rebook. You can contact BA by telephone to rebook. However, your chances of getting through on the phone are very slim.