British Air Travel in Late July

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May 13, 2020
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OK. In January I booked business class tickets for travel in late July from Pittsburgh to London Heathrow going on to Oslo. My husband and I were going to stay in Norway and Sweden for approximately 10 days and then return from Stockholm to London and then home to Pittsburgh. The London portion of the trip was merely a layover on each end. While I'd certainly still like to make the trip it is becoming increasingly obvious that it probably is not going to happen. In addition to all the obvious fears of traveling in/out of the country with the threat of catching Covid-19, the UK is also talking about quarantining anyone coming into the country for 14 days and that is not something we want to do on vacation! Last week BA sent me an e-mail with an "invitation" to cancel my current reservations and receive a voucher (NOT a refund!) offered for future travel. Since there is a significant amount of money involved ($6,800) I'd much prefer a refund, especially when I know if/when I go to re-book this trip for summer of 2021 it will be even more expensive than it was when I originally purchased the tickets. I have heard that I should wait until the last possible minute to cancel my reservations since there is always the possibility that BA will cancel the flight first. My understanding is that if the airline cancels the flight you can receive a refund. Otherwise, the only thing you can get is a travel voucher. Does anyone have any thoughts on what I should do? Cancel now and accept the voucher or wait and hope that a refund might be possible.
 

weihlac

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Jun 30, 2017
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OK. In January I booked business class tickets for travel in late July from Pittsburgh to London Heathrow going on to Oslo. My husband and I were going to stay in Norway and Sweden for approximately 10 days and then return from Stockholm to London and then home to Pittsburgh. The London portion of the trip was merely a layover on each end. While I'd certainly still like to make the trip it is becoming increasingly obvious that it probably is not going to happen. In addition to all the obvious fears of traveling in/out of the country with the threat of catching Covid-19, the UK is also talking about quarantining anyone coming into the country for 14 days and that is not something we want to do on vacation! Last week BA sent me an e-mail with an "invitation" to cancel my current reservations and receive a voucher (NOT a refund!) offered for future travel. Since there is a significant amount of money involved ($6,800) I'd much prefer a refund, especially when I know if/when I go to re-book this trip for summer of 2021 it will be even more expensive than it was when I originally purchased the tickets. I have heard that I should wait until the last possible minute to cancel my reservations since there is always the possibility that BA will cancel the flight first. My understanding is that if the airline cancels the flight you can receive a refund. Otherwise, the only thing you can get is a travel voucher. Does anyone have any thoughts on what I should do? Cancel now and accept the voucher or wait and hope that a refund might be possible.
The UK has just begun giving details to its plan for reopening. There will be much more clarity on these plans in the next 7-10 days. There is no reason to cancel and accept a voucher now. You should look into the possibility of rebooking to avoid London if you might wish to go ahead with the Norway/Sweden portion of the trip, but not make any changes now.

You should be aware though that Norway has done a good job dealing with the virus. The UK and Sweden have NOT. So you might wish to explore the options of Norway only, avoiding London and Sweden.
 
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May 13, 2020
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The UK has just begun giving details to its plan for reopening. There will be much more clarity on these plans in the next 7-10 days. There is no reason to cancel and accept a voucher now. You should look into the possibility of rebooking to avoid London if you might wish to go ahead with the Norway/Sweden portion of the trip, but not make any changes now.

You should be aware though that Norway has done a good job dealing with the virus. The UK and Sweden have NOT. So you might wish to explore the options of Norway only, avoiding London and Sweden.
Thanks. I am aware of problems in both the UK and Sweden as far as virus containment goes. Sounds as though "wait and see" is the way to go for now.
 

Neil Maley

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If you want a refund you will have to wait and see if the airline cancels the flight. That is for flights from and to the US.

Intra continent flights are a different story- the EU doesn’t fall under US DOT rules about refunds.
 
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jsn55

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Alas, I wouldn't plan on travelling in the UK or Canada in July without masks and quarantine on arrival. It would be wonderful if it happens but I'm not hopeful. I'd just rebook the trip for next spring and take a little road trip in July. And my colleagues are right ... you have to wait for them to cancel to be sure of a refund. I'd formulate a plan to handle the trip if they flights operate. Are you willing to fly for hours wearing a mask? If there's still quarantine, I would hope the airline would accommodate you ... but it's always good to have Plan B, C and these days, Plan D as well.
 
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Apr 10, 2017
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If you want a refund you will have to wait and see if the airline cancels the flight. That is for flights from and to the US.

Intra continent flights are a different story- the EU doesn’t fall under US DOT rules about refunds.
But it seems as though the EU is requiring refunds for canceled flights and has rejected attempts to allow the issuance of vouchers.
 
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May 13, 2020
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BA has just contacted me and said that my flight from Pittsburgh, PA to London Heathrow is cancelled so I may receive a refund. However, this was a multi-part reservation which was Pittsburgh to London, London to Oslo, Stockholm to London and London to Pittsburgh. Only the Pittsburgh to London part of this reservation appears to be officially "cancelled" (and hence eligible for a refund as opposed to a voucher.) I was assuming that if the Pittsburgh to London flight is cancelled the London to Pittsburgh would be as well but they are not indicating this. Pretty sure I want to cancel the whole trip but I am getting the sense this will be a partial refund and the rest in "voucher." Going to contact BA (if I can get a human being on the phone) to find out what my options are at this point.
 
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This isn't the first time I've seen the argument that a voucher isn't ideal when the tickets for 2021 are going to be more expensive. I understand that we would all like the comparable flights in 2021 to cost the same as 2020 prices, but that just isn't reasonable. If the flights next year are costing $7800 for the same flights, same class of service, then the voucher will pay off most of that cost. You were still planning on flying to Scandinavia, in 2021, right? So, you would be paying the cost, with or without the voucher.

I do understand that it is hard to see your money sitting in someone else's bank account. But right now, the airlines are offering vouchers if the customer cancels, so that is probably what you will end up with.

The only time is see a voucher as a less-than-optimal solution is if their is a good chance the airline will cease flying.
 
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Nov 27, 2019
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The only time is see a voucher as a less-than-optimal solution is if their is a good chance the airline will cease flying.
I wouldn't want to be the unsecured creditor of an airline right now, although I doubt the UK gov't would allow BA to go under. That said, the other reason a refund is better than a voucher is that it's a LOT more flexible. If the OP still wants to go to Oslo in summer 2021, what if (hypothetically), it's a lot cheaper to fly KLM via Amsterdam than BA via London? With a refund, it can be applied to any carrier, no so with a voucher.

Voucher's better than nothing, but a refund's clearly better than a voucher.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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BA has just contacted me and said that my flight from Pittsburgh, PA to London Heathrow is cancelled so I may receive a refund. However, this was a multi-part reservation which was Pittsburgh to London, London to Oslo, Stockholm to London and London to Pittsburgh. Only the Pittsburgh to London part of this reservation appears to be officially "cancelled" (and hence eligible for a refund as opposed to a voucher.) I was assuming that if the Pittsburgh to London flight is cancelled the London to Pittsburgh would be as well but they are not indicating this. Pretty sure I want to cancel the whole trip but I am getting the sense this will be a partial refund and the rest in "voucher." Going to contact BA (if I can get a human being on the phone) to find out what my options are at this point.
It will depend on how the trip was ticketed. Please let us know. We might be able to save you a few hours on hold.
 
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May 13, 2020
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Were all the flights on one PNR? Or were they separate tickets? Did you book directly with BA or did you book with an
OTA who books separate tickets to save money?
All flights were booked at the same time and I booked directly with BA.