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British Airways introduces ‘Hold Your Flight Price for 72 Hours’

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British Airways launched a new feature a couple of weeks ago – the ability to lock-in the price of a ticket for up to 72 hours.

Since this is a new feature (with nothing taken away in return!) and it will benefit some people, it has to been seen as a positive move.  When you dig into the detail, though, it is not very exciting.

Full details can be found on here.

In summary:

You can hold your seats and the current price for 72 hours

There is a charge of £5 per person short-haul and £10 per person long-haul

You get the fee back if you confirm the booking, otherwise it is lost

You can use this on both British Airways and Iberia flights

So far, so good.

There are three snags:

It is only available on a limited list of destinations so far

It is not available within 21 days of departure

You cannot do it if you have an infant in your booking

The ’21 days’ rule is a key one.  As we all know, flight prices ramp up sharply the nearer you get to the departure date.

If you are booking a flight four months in advance, you would be a little unlucky if the price went up overnight whilst you ‘had a think’.  If you are booking a flight seven days in advance, you can be pretty certain that it will increase day to day.

It is also worth remembering that British Airways has a 24 hour cooling off period.  If you have booked a flight and need to cancel within 24 hours, you can do so for a full refund.  (I think this rule was forced on BA by the US authorities and it made sense to roll it out to all routes.)

If you need less than 24 hours to get all your friends or family to agree to travel, you might as well save yourself £5 each and just book the flights.  If someone doesn’t want to go you can cancel under the cooling off period.  The ‘hold your price’ feature only has any merit if you need between 25 and 72 hours to firm up your plans.

There is one occasion where this feature may come in handy and that is at the end of a British Airways sale.  If I run an article saying “Last chance – today is the last day to book a flight in the current BA sale”, you could use this new service to buy yourself an extra three days grace to decide.

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Comments (13)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • MagicByNature says:

    Iberia introduced the same feature recently. However, they also allow to pre-book the trip for free for 24 hours – and you can do it 5 days before departure.. Considering that you can book many BA flights (or all?) through the Iberia website, this might be useful for some.

    Last week, I found some amazing open jaw deals to Rio with Iberia (£230 RT in Y). I wasn’t sure if I can go, so I pre-booked it. Then when the 24th hour was approaching, I checked if the deal is still valid, and pre-booked the same flights. I did it once more, which effectively gave me 72 hours to decide.

  • Nick says:

    A more general question: Can an infant (under age 2) be added to an existing adults flight booking at any time? For eg, I’ve booked an flight to lax next July. Can I call up airline a few weeks prior to add my infant?

    • oyster says:

      On BA a new infant can be added later. Not sure what happens if the infant was born before the adult booking though.

  • flyforfun says:

    I used this feature on Qantas a couple of years and and it was good because

    a) I had time to find out if I could have the time off work
    b) Because I had the extra time I was able to play and compare on the website and found I could book the exact same flights and price, but was giving me the option to upgrade the return trip from Australia to WT+ for £300 – for a 24 hr+ flight just in the xmas/new year rush , it was a bargain.
    c) I ended up letting it lapse on and purchasing on as I got the benefit of full miles even though it was 100% Qantas metal. (Alas, no longer the case in Y – my impending trip will only earn 25% of the miles, but the outbound is with Emirates on a Qantas code share, so a small piece of luck).

    That may be a rare example of luck, but if you’ve got a situation at work where your boss umms and ahs and takes forever to approve leave (as one of mine did in the past) having this means you can lock in a fare you’re happy to pay.

  • Sean says:

    AA have had the hold feature for 24h for a while. In theory you can use it indefinitely. Look the next day and if the cost hasn’t changed then do another 24h hold. Price gone up? Either buy the flights at the cheaper rate or look at others.

    ISTR that BA offered the hold feature in the 90’s

  • Dan says:

    Vaguely related question (hope it’s ok i ask here – quite new to this). I’ve just booked a cash WT+ return to JFK, starting from my local airport (Leeds), but departing for JFK from LHR.

    Is it possible to upgrade “regional flights”? When i try to upgrade with Avios i get an error message saying “Sorry, we cannot upgrade your booking because there is no availability” but then just shows the details of my LBA – LHR (not the LHR to JFK leg) flight below the message?

    Would i need to call to upgrade my WT+ leg to JFK?

    • Alan says:

      Yes, given how bad BA’s IT is I doubt it can cope with it. I normally book and upgrade at the same time so haven’t had to do this myself. However if you search for LHR-JFK availability then I’d just call BAEC and ask to upgrade the leg over the phone.

  • Dan says:

    Thanks Alan, i thought it might be something to do with BA’s IT.

    Would the process be to just go to book a redemption (i.e using Avios) flight on the BA website and if there is club world availability for the fight i’ve booked WT+ in – this should mean i can book the upgrade over the phone with BAEC?

    • Alan says:

      Yes – upgrade using Avios and straight redemptions both come out of the same availability pool, so just seach the LHR-JFK sector you want as a dummy redemption booking and if it’s showing up then you should be fine. I prefer to book and upgrade all in one transaction – that way I know I’ve locked in the Club World seats 😀

  • Rob says:

    That’s very interesting about being able to cancel within 24 hours – is this just on US airlines, and on routes with other airlines to US? Is it possible with any other airlines?

    • Polly says:

      Any BA flights allows you to cancel within 24 hours , very useful. Don’t know about an avios booking, but certainly any revenue ones. I have done this successfully in the past.

      • Rob says:

        DO you know if the 24-hour cancellation rule applies to other airlines as well apart from BA?

  • Plans with the cost estimate says:

    Plans with the cost estimate

    British Airways – Hold Your Flight Price for 3 days

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