How to find a British Airways office open at any time (eg midnight for 241 bookings!)

(EDIT:  the tool described in this article has now stopped working, sorry!  The link has therefore been removed.)

I get a constant stream of emails asking for advice on booking British Airways redemption flights using the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

If you want to be 100% certain of getting the flights you want, you have to follow a very strict routine:

You need to book your outbound flight 355 days before you want to travel, which is the time that tickets become available for sale and BA releases the guaranteed two Business Class and four Economy Class seats

You need to call at midnight (1am during British Summer Time) because the flights do not drop into the online system until later

Book the outbound flights you want as a one-way booking

When your return flights become available at 355 days before departure, you need to repeat the process – and usually paying a £35 per person change fee (EDIT: comments below suggest that BA is now waiving this) – to get the return added on to your outbound

The snag here is that the UK BA call centres are not open at midnight ….

British Airways A350

Which British Airways offices are open now?

A few years ago, Flyertalk member dunk created a website which lets you bring up a list of which BA call centres are open at any particular time.

You can access the tool here.  It will show you which of the UK, German, Japanese, Hong Kong or Indian BAEC service centres are currently open, as well as other general BA numbers.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this tool but I’ve never seen any complaints about it.    There is one bug – I couldn’t get the ‘give me a number which is open when my local time is XX:XX’ button to work, so you are reliant on looking at the site at the time you need to call and using one of the ‘currently open’ numbers.

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  1. A point to bear in mind I was specifically advised NOT to offer up the 2 4 1 voucher when booking the first leg since it could not then be redeemed for the homebound return. Happy to be corrected however

    • Not correct! I’ve done several open jaw 2-4-1 bookings and always used the 2-4-1 straight away on the outward leg! CS staff will see the 2-4-1 still when they recalculate how many more avios you need to pay

  2. That is very important if correct – Rob???

  3. I had a really frustrating time recently. I booked to fly to Grand Cayman and used the 2 for 1 to get the outbound flights in CW by logging on at 1 am as they only ever release 2 seats and there are only 4 flights per week. As my voucher was worth 75,000 avios I was prepared to forego the return portion, and 2 weeks later booked the return sector in WT, paying the full avios fare for 2 seats. However, a few days later BA cancelled the return flight. I called them to rebook and asked if, at this point, I could use the return portion of my voucher. They flatly refused and have been refusing ever since, despite several complaints by phone and in writing!

    • the real harry says:

      that’s ridiculously intransigent from the people involved, particularly as they cancellede your return flight!

      decent customer services people would just have bent the rules to make up

      I recently had a very good outcome when I ’emailed the CEO’ – he did what I would have done which is deal with it in 2 minutes by delegating it to the head of CS & no doubt telling her to sort it out to the customer’s satisfaction, as it happens she was charm itself (not BA, but a computer co)

      [email protected]

  4. Jonathan says:

    OT: I have earnt a BA 241 voucher and cancelled my BA credit card. I have subsequently spent the voucher and paid the taxes on my MBNA Virgin Amex. So far so good… But now the wife wants to cancel – what happens with the 241 voucher, Lost or will it get returned to my BAEC account?

  5. I will shortly have two 241 vouchers and whilst I know it will be tough am looking to use them for 4 business class seats for the family. Possibly on the London to Singapore route.

    One voucher is in my BAEC account and the other in my wife’s. Is there any way to simplify the booking procedure so that I don’t have to make 2 separate bookings? In particular if I need to do the outbound by phone rather than online as they come up more quickly, this would then presumably involve my wife also staying up to 1am which is going to be a trickier prospect.

    Any advice appreciated.

    Thank you

    • If you hoping to use for 4x CW you may find yourself out of luck, IIRC only 2x CW are released each day and on the route booking at this time of year they are usually gone in 60 secs..

      If you ate Gold, you could call BAEC and ask them to see if you could force availability but that’d negate the advantage of 241.?

      PS just to clarify its 12 midnight GMT/UTC/Zulu when they are released so 1am BST

    • That said if its a quieter time of year, more availability my get added later, just had a look for 7th Dec next year, 8x CW seats showing, that’s incredible!

      • Katy storie says:

        OT: I am due to fly back into Dublin at the end of a trip to the US (I booked from Ireland as was much much cheaper for Business Class flights) but the connections on the return back to Newcastle are dire. If I do not catch the final connecting flight from Heathrow to Dublin what is the likelihood I will face a penalty and what might thy realistically be?! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

        • Realistically if you don’t do it repeatedly you should be fine.

        • You are most likely to have difficulties short-checking your luggage to LHR, especially with US agents who are generally tough on this matter, without a lengthy layover or overnight connection.

          You would most likely to be fine if doing hand baggage only.

        • Ah yes, good point!

        • Katy storie says:

          Thank you for your replies. I’ll give it a go and worse case will have to go via Dublin spending a day at the airport.

  6. As a beginner at this, can I just check I understand. Do I need to phone say Canada from the UK, just after midnight our time, to be sure of grabbing the redemption seats I want?

    • For your return journey, yes. Outward is booked online as normal, then phone an open call centre as soon as the return seats become available. This is an amendment to the original booking. The call centre staff are usually very familiar with what you are doing! Good luck!