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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.

British Airways BA 777X 777 9X

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.

British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

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British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

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American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

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You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (94)

  • Emma K says:

    Thank you very handy posting this today as just had our First flights to SIN for end October cancelled yesterday. Will be very happy to switch to Club as except for a more comfy seat I don’t currently see the gain of F with the sandwich & bun situation, especially since we’re gluten intolerant. Thanks again.

  • Robert W. says:

    Do you know if SwissAir have a similar number for their First Class passengers? My flights to Delhi were cancelled and who knows when I will receive my requested refund.

  • Sam says:

    My best bet is that setting up a direct line for first class doesn’t incur significant additional cost, it’s just jumping the queue from other people but essentially they can also use the same call centre without employing any new agents. However, of course this is something nice to have.

    The British Airways ‘cabana’ is nowhere like a cabana imo…look at Cathay Pacific Dayrooms and Cabanas and you know BA’s one is just a bathroom with a ‘suspicious-looking’ chair.

  • alex says:

    Auh cancelled 2 days ago used avios & 241
    Chose vouchers reluctantly as couldnt get through to call centre.
    Is there a chance calling you first would be able to refund my vouchers & 241 instead of holding onto said vouchers?

    • Rob says:

      Unlikely. Vouchers are not refundable.

    • AJA says:

      No chance. The Future Travel Voucher once taken is only usable to book more flights. BA will not allow you to change your mind. The best thing to do when you can’t get through is to hang up and try another time. If flights are cancelled by the airline you have up to 6 years to sort out a refund. There is no rush to sort anything out unless the cancellation happens within 2 weeks of flights and you still want to fly.

    • Lady says:

      Really, really, really, never take vouchers. No matter how difficult the airline is to reach, no matter how impossible the airline makes your refund or reroute choice to find on the website. Insist on refund or reroute on the phone even if they try to for e you onto a voucher.

      If you cant get through keep your phone records or notes showing attempts. You
      dont have ro choose your reroute before the date of your cancelled or too seriously rescheduled flight. Just let them know by any means you are not accepting a voucher and you wont be on their proposed replacement flight and you will let them know what later date you can fly when you are in a position to.

      If you do still need to travel on a close alternative flight you should contact them as soon as you can get through from 6.30am or after 7.30pm – dont press buttons – or call You First if in First whenever you like.

      The only reason to take a voucher would be if you have a 241 or other voucher and would benefit from any extension of your 241 etc.

  • _nate says:

    You First can sometimes do more than you would think. If you have a requirement that does not quite meet ticketing restrictions, it is still worth asking…

  • Blenz101 says:

    Just a heads up for others with Abu Dhabi flights and swapping to DXB.

    The border between the two Emirates has been closed for some time now, it has recently reopened but requires a (paid) COVID test which needs to be booked in advance. Currently no tests available until the end of August.

    If you are thinking of breezing between Emirates (specifically from Dubai into Abu Dhabi) then you will need to be confident the border is open. There are hours of congestion on the motorway and unless you are driving yourself with a test booked you may well run into difficulty.

    The rules do of course keep changing, both for better and worse. But given Covid is going nowhere fast just a warning you may wish to fly in and out of the same emirate as your accommodation.

  • AJA says:

    I’ve said it before but You First is brilliant. Phone answered in under 4 minutes and all dealt with in under 5 minutes including discussing alternative routes or dates none of which worked so just went for the refund This is based on using it just the once to deal with the cancellation of my 2-4-1 flights in First to Tel Aviv. I do hope I can rebook at some point for next year but will not be doing anything for a while. I do hope the service continues as BA reduces the cabin and the number of flights with a First Class cabin.

  • Lady says:

    So Rob I assume BA are paying for your transport to and cto. AUH from DXB ?

    • Nick says:

      No, because he’s actually going to Dubai… so the cost is one he saves!

      • Rob says:


        The joke is that this is a back-up because we plan to be in Muscat at the end and fly home from there.

        Oman will be shut for ages so this is a Plan B. We just stay in the UAE longer.

        I now have a Plan C – Upper to Barbados on VS – because we need the UAE to come off the quarantine list.

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