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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)

  • Jonathan says:

    I had 4x club world seats cancelled in April, I called you first because it was more preferably to pay the extra 30,000 odd Avios to rebook in first than sit in the normal phone queue to rebook. Promptly dealt with and got £16 odd back due to a reduction in fees or taxes. Although I am still waiting to receive it. Out of principle I won’t let BA keep it but in no hurry for it either.

  • Sean says:

    I had booked a First ticket from LHR to KUL on 15th Dec using a mixture of Avios and cash. I received a email saying that I have been downgraded to J (albeit on the same day).

    There doesn’t seem to be any First availability at all to KUL. If I accepted the downgrade would I get a pro-rata amount back in Avios and cash back?

  • Mark says:

    So BA are saying I’m only entitled to the avios difference between F and J as this isn’t a downgrade but a cancellation due to an equipment swap, can I challenge them for 75% of my avios back? Any case I can quote? We’re not flying until Xmas so they have us notice

    • Rob says:

      You need to launch the CEDR arbitration case. We wrote a guide if you search.

      • New Card says:

        Is this necessarily the best option? I thought people had more success via filing a MCOL dispute. Either way, it seems worth going through a few levels of customer service escalation to someone authorised to make a sensible decision before trying one of these.

        • ChrisC says:

          MCOL has an expectation that you have made genuine attempts to have the problem resolved and that you should send a final ‘letter before action’ to BA legal saying they have 14 days to sort the issue otherwise you’ll start MCOL.

          I did once write to legal over a mishandled refund that had been promised me 3 times giving them 14 days notice etc. It was a customer service rep that phoned me to apologise and she made it clear she was calling in reference to the letter.

  • Nick says:

    I too had 2 x F tickets to AUH in Sept, flight cancelled by BA, phone up You First very helpful indeed. I could have swapped for no fee (if seats were available) up to March. However I wanted to fly in June, was informed no F to AUH from April. So it was a simple swap to DXB and a return of some taxes and 48k Avios don’t mind if I do. Great service and still have booked with confidence my guarantee.

  • Harry T says:

    Now loads more people will ring YouFirst and it will become just as bad as the other BA numbers 😉

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Did read yesterday someone who wasn’t flying First called the First Line and was cut off as soon as they realised not an F flight.

      • Anna says:

        Ditto with someone who called the Gold line!

        • First Class Fiona says:

          Superb service offered by You First, I’ve never had to wait more than a few seconds for my call to be answered and the staff are literally ‘first class’. They have sorted out any number of complex ticketing queries with ease and they are a genuine credit to BA. Toodle pip x

        • Andrew says:

          That’s good. It’s the same as economy passengers who come through the curtain to use the business toilets.

          • Anna says:

            How dare they 🤣. Last year we were in the last row of a full J cabin returning from the Caribbean and a man in the front row of WTP kept raiding the Club Kitchen. He looked like he knew what he was doing so I wondered if he had been unable to get a seat in J that night and was feeling aggrieved about it!

      • Harry T says:

        Sounds like an appropriate response from the F line!

        Amazingly, I had probably the same cancelled flights as Rob, but forgot to ring You First. Luckily I only waited 30 mins. I decided to have some money back rather than rebook though. I can do useful things with the money in the meantime and BA would probably just cancel the Dubai flights anyway 😂

  • Trevor says:

    They are also superb at answering emails, for
    those of us who’ve forgotten how to hold a telephone conversation!

  • PlaneSpeaking says:

    Hmmm, our Avios first to KUL was technically cancelled last night as the aircraft changed to a 3-class configuration with no first. It took me 16 minutes to get through to You First this morning (at 07:10) and this was to an agent in India. We wanted to move the flight to BKK in Club (3-class again although a FLUB aircraft and our ultimate destination) on the same date when there was no Avios availability but the agent refused, saying there has to be Avios availability. I asked to speak with a supervisor and was placed on hold. The agent eventually came back to me but said the supervisor was too busy to talk with me but he agreed that the flight couldn’t be moved to a date when there was no availability. This wasted 30 minutes and I had to keep calling You First back in order to get through to the UK which I eventually managed. They explained in much more detail that the KUL flight wasn’t a cancellation even though the email sent to me said it was and that it was simply a cabin closure which meant we could only be moved to a date with Avios availability, irrespective of destination. As it happens, there was availability to BKK a day later (we were astonishingly lucky!) and we switched to that but it was another lesson learned and one to watch out for if this happens to you – the complete flight has to be cancelled in order to guarantee the route/date you want when there’s no Avios availability. All in all with calling, it took around 3 hours. Oh, and 2 days ago, they moved our DXB flight home from 14:15 to 10:05. At least we’re still going I suppose…

    • Nick says:

      The UK office opens at 8am. Lesson here… don’t call so early in the day.

    • John says:

      Although downgrade gives no entitlement to rebooking you to another destination if no award flight availability – it depends on the agent.
      Kul flights downgraded to club for March. Called yesterday and opened up with “ this is my third cancellation/downgrade from First in a week” ( was true – Dubai (Sep) /Miami (Nov) ).
      I informed her that we did not want to fly in club but needed a flight that day for a cruise. She said I could fly into an alternative airport I suggested that was less than 200 miles away ( already knew there was no avios availability) and duly opened the seats for me.
      Real bonus was that was the flight we wanted in the first place but had never seen First availability.

      • Polly says:

        Am hoping our HKG F 214 can be changed to KUL in F, even if no avios seats available…but it’s in a different avios region…

        • Lady London says:

          You might be pushing it @Polly but good luck. guessing voucher would do it but reroute maybe might not stretch that far

  • Qrfan says:

    Rob I find your approach to first class at night perplexing. Until club suite is rolled out the first class beds are a massive improvement, with nobody to climb over etc and all in a much quieter cabin. I really don’t understand why you don’t value that equal to 20k avios pp. I’d pay £200 for first on a night flight over club world every time.

    • Will says:

      I’d pay £200 if travelling alone or with partner.

      With 2 kids you might prefer a bloc of 4 club world ting/yang seats with kids in middle pair.

      • Rob says:

        It was a 2am flight. On the plane, no food, no IFE, straight to sleep, wake up 45 minutes before landing.

        Not a great use of (for 4 people) an extra 72,000 Avios, especially as there would be no lounge benefit at AUH.

        • Anna says:

          I agree, and actually the middle pair of J seats are much more private than any in the F cabin if you don’t want anyone squeezing past you while you’re trying to get some sleep!