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Had a British Airways First Class ticket cancelled or changed? Call “You First”

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“You First” is a dedicated call centre set up to help anyone holding a British Airways First Class ticket.  Not many people know it exists, which is a shame because – irrespective of the wait times at the main British Airways call centre – telephone calls to “You First” are generally answered quickly.

I found this out yesterday.  British Airways has just scrapped flights to Abu Dhabi, which meant that my First Class Avios seats for October half-term were cancelled.

I called “You First”.  The call was picked up within 30 seconds and within five minutes my tickets were changed.

I was moved to a British Airways flight leaving from Dubai.  There was no First Class available so I took a downgrade to Club World and received 72,000 Avios and £40 of taxes back.  This worked out well for me – I got to swap a 2am departure from Abu Dhabi for a 10am departure from Dubai.  Losing First Class is not a concern, as I wasn’t bothered about it in the first place.  I only booked it because I couldn’t get four Club World seats!

(For clarity, if BA cancels your Avios flight, the call centre will rebook you irrespective of whether Avios seats are available.  As long as seats are available for cash, you can have them.)

The British Airways “You First” telephone number is 0161 448 3013.  It is open 24/7, although if you call outside UK office hours you may be diverted to an offshore call centre and the service level may be different.  It is, I believe, the same team that look after Gold Guest List members.

For clarity, you CANNOT ring this number to make a First Class booking.  However, once you have your booking you can call to make any changes or cancellations.

British Airways You First telephone number

What else can “You First” do for you?

The British Airways website is rather vague about what “You First” offers.  On the webform for contacting “You First” it suggests using them for:

  • Travel queries
  • Journey disruption
  • Mishandled bags

To be honest, I don’t think I have ever used it for anything other than flight changes.

One reason to call “You First” is to pre-book Elemis spa treatments and the cabana relaxation rooms in The Concorde Room lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5.  

These services are not currently available due to coronavirus, but as I think you can book cabanas up to a year in advance you may still want to lock one in.

The cabanas have never appealed to me personally but they are good for connecting passengers who want a nap and a shower.  I saw them described as resembling “a disabled bathroom with a daybed” which is about right!  Sitting in the lounge itself is far preferable.

Spa treatments can be pre-booked 28 days in advance of travel.

The British Airways “You First” service is NOT meant to be a concierge service.  They will, however, answer the telephone quickly and deal efficiently with the basics such as ticket changes – although you could justifiably argue that you shouldn’t need to have a First Class ticket to get this level of service!

There isn’t much about “You First” on the British Airways website, but the little there is can be found here.

Comments (94)

  • John says:

    Took me 5 mins to get through, but that’s how I changed my flights for next week from YYZ to LHR. I don’t have BA status (which meant BA First basically paid for itself over Club) so was pleased I recalled this line existed (used to commute weekly JFK to LHR)

  • Northern Lad says:

    Agree great service on this number.

    There is a caveat on this point: “For clarity, if BA cancels your Avios flight, the call centre will rebook you irrespective of whether Avios seats are available. As long as seats are available for cash, you can have them.)“ – this option only applies until 12 months after your original booking date.
    I had BGI cancelled and thought it would open up future peak dates but I booked 3.10.19 so finite timescale to use this (and unfortunately I can’t). I’m not sure if travel needs completing within 12 months or only outbound leg.

    • Mark says:

      I had a similar thought – I have a booking from March and a cancelled flight in august and I understand I can only rebook up until March 2021 which doesn’t particularly help me.

      • Polly says:

        We had HKG F 241 cancelled for next Jan, but as we booked them in Feb, can’t even rebook for nov 21 at this stage, so taking a refund. Would have been handy to be able to book anytime without avios availability. You First have superb staff, very efficient.

  • Spursdebs says:

    YouFirst will book your flight. I’ve used them to book return on a 241 booking at 355 days out several time’s.

  • Michael says:

    Slightly OT: BA cancelled my economy THUR 20/08 flight from DUS to LHR YESTERDAY, giving less than 14 days notice.

    Rebooking for the 21/08 and 22/08 seems not possible, as no availability.

    Am I right that I am entitled to 250 Euro compensation and full reimbursemen of ticket cost or for BA to cover costs of alternative self made travel arrangements?

    • HAM76 says:

      BA apparently stopped flying into DUS and HAJ.

    • AJA says:

      HI Michael Ordinarily you would be entitled to compensation as the cancellation is within 14 days but BA will probably refuse to pay quoting Covid-19 as the cause and therefore claim the cancellation was for causes out of their control and therefore extraordinary circumstances. If that is the case then no compensation is payable. See paragraph 3.4 in this document: https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/legislation/c20201830.pdf .

      You are still entitled to rerouting so best to look up what other flights are available. You can book them and then claim the cost off of BA. If you go down this route do not do anything to actively cancel the booking in MMB. You will still be entitled to duty of care so if that means you end up spending an extra night in a hotel BA will have to refund you this extra cost.

      Alternatively if the price of replacement flights is less than you paid to BA then simply book new flights and then claim full refund of your BA flights. You may wish to go down that route anyway since it is cleaner and simpler. But remember you will have to phone BA to get a full refund. Do not click accept a voucher in MMB.

      • Lady London says:

        Yes. As well as rationalising staff and busting down lots that remain to what sounds like a new contract witb 50% of previous value combo of hard (cash) and soft (ts and cs and niceness to work for) under cover of Covid-19, it looks like BA is accelerating the next 7-10 years of their business strategy.

        Such as : Dumping old expensive to maintain aircraft.(747), Dumping old expensive to maintain cabin crew (according to BA’s view), Dumping First on all but the major routes where they really have to compete (JFK) or where the particular clientele pays for and demands First (Barnados, DXB), Rearranging aircraft leases to streamline and control costs, Eliminate any extra route cannibalising a more key one to keep (Osaka vs Tokyo), “Summer swoop” use aircraft that aren’t working business routes in summer, to City/PE professionals’ family destinations to cherrypick summer holiday flights for this segment but only operating these in the profitable 6weeks-6months of the year etc.

        I think BA is using Covid to do all the right things, achieve things that were harder before (staff busting, cherrypicking summer destinations to block the LCC’s from the best higher end high earning
        summer business), and advance all the future plans they had anyway.

        Whilst using Covid as a cover not to pay compensation for swathes of flight, route, and First Class ancellations BA was going to cut permanently anyway.

        Just a guess. BA’s making the most of Covid.

  • Alex says:

    “If BA cancels your Avios flight, the call centre will rebook you irrespective of whether Avios seats are available”. Does this work even if you used a companion voucher that was due to expire soon? I used a companion voucher that was due to expire in September but had my SLU flights cancelled. I assume they only allow you to rebook on any flight within the 6 month extension granted to companion vouchers?

    • Rob says:

      No.

      In this case you need to take a Future Travel Voucher as that gives you the 30/4/22 extension. Avios availability needed though.

      • Rahul says:

        Rob, did you receive 50 or 75% compensation for cabin downgrade or just avios difference for cabin ? Can you tell us more how 72k avios was calculated. I’m in a similar situation.

        • Rahul says:

          Also if you used 241, then did they pay avios for the companion traveller as well ?

        • AJA says:

          I suspect Rob just took the refund of the difference in Avios between 1st and CW. LHR to Dubai is the same zone as LHR to Abu Dhabi and is 68k Avios for 1st and 50k Avios for CW meaning a refund of 18k Avios x 4 seats = 72k Avios.

          If he had gone for the downgrade compensation as that would yield a lot more Avios back. 75% of 68k = 51k Avios x 4 = 204k Avios

          • AJA says:

            Those figures are for off-peak travel. Peak would be even more Avios.

          • AJA says:

            and must have been using 2 2-4-1 vouchers otherwise the refund would be twice what he received as the the figures above are one way.

          • Rob says:

            It was a one way, we are going out on Lufty.

        • Rob says:

          I wasn’t downgraded as Abu Dhabi is cancelled entirely. I voluntarily chose to move to a Dubai flight with no F. Other flights, with F, were available at stupid times.

  • Andrew says:

    One of my First bookings cancelled over this period was a BA Holidays booking and I still rang You First who have to then put you through to the Holidays team to deal with but I went straight to the front of the queue and my query was fully introduced by You First so I didn’t need to explain again or give the booking ref. Moral of the story, as Rob said, don’t call any other number if you have a First booking.

  • Roy says:

    I had 2 Club World tickets on a 2-4-1 from AUH at 2am for October half-term so whilst I can’t use this service I can switch to Dubai. My issue is persuading my wife not to just cancel. At the moment the UAE is not on the quarantine exemption list so unless that changes we won’t be able to go. I know we can cancel later for a small fee but she’s all for giving it up as a bad job. Do you offer marital advice as well as travel advice Rob? 😉

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Roy Give it up lol Marital Advice it’s not worth it if anything goes wrong it’ll “ALL” be your fault lol
      Give it up later say “I’m glad i took “YOUR” Advice “honey”
      another few years of bliss lol lol

      • Roy says:

        Yes, Chris, you’re right. I may however never travel to somewhere exotic until my wife is comfortable travelling again (no chance of quarantine and rules on this changing every few days and she doesn’t want to wear a face mask for extended periods). This might be a long time 🙁

      • Polly says:

        Best £35 you ever spent Chris…keep her happy…love the reply!

  • Andrew says:

    I have an Avois booking made on BA.com on Cathay in First class – can I call You First to cancel?

    • Spursdebs says:

      Try it

    • AJA says:

      Is the ticket on a BA flight number or a Cathay flight number? If it’s the former ie a BA code share then yes You First will be able to deal with the query

    • The Urbanite says:

      I’d give it a go to be honest, it is a First Class ticket booked through the BA website.