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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

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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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 Preferred Rewards Gold

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The Platinum Card from American Express

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The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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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)

  • Hingeless says:

    I called them in the past to make a change to a flight, which was sorted very easily and quickly, I then asked if I could change another flight In business That was on a separate booking, they said I would have to call the regular number. Not very VIP

  • KBuffett says:

    Perhaps around 10 years ago, a member of BA staff gave me a number for ‘BA 24 hour duty office. I duly stored in my phone. A few years later my wife was at Gatwick ready to leave for girly BA holiday with her friends. There was some type of strike (I can’t recall which, either BA or some European air traffic control). My wife called me to say that it was chaos at the airport, her flight had been cancelled and all counters had huge queues and no easily accessible staff.
    I called the 24 hour duty office for assistance. They were incredible. In less than 5 mins, the gentlemen on the phone had arranged for a BA member of staff to meet my wife at the terminal, changed her flight with upgrade to Clue Europe, changed the hotel booking at the destination (with upgrade) and booked them into Sofitel Gatwick for the night until the next flight departure the following day.
    I was blown away at how quick and easy the chap made everything.

    • Nick says:

      BA Holidays presumably? If so nothing special… this number and service is available to any customer. It’s part of the package travel thing so obviously not available to flight-only customers, but they do have a huge amount of flexibility to fix issues as and when they arise. An almost unadvertised additional benefit of booking a Holiday rather than a flight.

      • KBuffett says:

        Indeed, it was a BA holiday. I was most impressed by the fact that he ensured that Emmy wife did not have to queue to speak with anyone on the Gatwick concourse which was packed with people/chaos and arranged for someone to meet her. It certainly made a potentially stressful situation very straightforward.

      • Lady London says:

        That 24-hr service of BA Hols were fantastic and prompt when I had a problem with a rental car in the US.

    • Anna says:

      This would explain our experience last year! Our connecting flight to LHR was cancelled 3 hours before it was due to depart. I was on a 2 4 1 booking with my son, OH was on a BA flight & car package. When we got to the help desk, OH had been re-routed the same day via Miami, son and I were told that we’d have to wait 2 days till the next flight to GCM! Told the desk agent that this was not acceptable and they eventually put us all in a taxi to LHR where we just made our flight, together!

  • Beast says:

    Any idea why the AD flights have been cancelled, Rob?

    • Rob says:

      Purely demand I guess. The times were rubbish and EY has a superior product.

  • Jason says:

    Hi Rob, just had a first class ticket cancelled to Sydney at Christmas. I called the office and they said I could rebook but there needed to be Reward availability for the new flight…. just looking through all the T&Cs and can’t find anything about what happens if BA cancel and availability? Also now hoping I can move the flight back to next year… not sure if that makes a difference?

    • Anna says:

      No – if they cancel you are entitled to re-routing, even if it’s with another airline!

      • Rob says:

        ….. which BA won’t give you unless you pay for it and sue them later.

        They can move you to any BA flight BUT it must be within 355 days of the day you originally booked (ie the day you paid the taxes). Assuming you booked a year in advance to get the seats, you’re stuffed and so can’t do this.

  • Ruth4325 says:

    Hi all, I need to call BA tonight/early tomorrow to add a return leg to a 241 booking. Seats will open up at 1am but Japan is closed For the weekend and right now USA call centre seems to be asking customers to phone UK. Is there a way to phone and secure the seats at 1am at the moment and if not what is my best chance of securing the seats? I need two CW seats Vancouver – London. Thanks.

    • Anna says:

      What are the taxes/fees like for Canada? If there’s not much difference I would suggest booking online then calling BA at your leisure to apply the voucher. If there’s a big difference in the cash element though, you’re stuck with calling them unless you’re prepared to take the financial hit.

      • Ruth4325 says:

        Quite a big difference plus I’m sure which it makes it not worth doing

  • Gill Rowley says:

    Brilliant advice, got through within 5 mins to cancel KUL flight in November. Was hoping that Oman would re-open sooner rather than later, my go to destination for winter sunshine. Beautiful country, very friendly people and more to see than you might think.

  • TDAG says:

    You First is an excellent service, I am based in Australia and always call them for changes and reservation’s, have always managed to find me a cabana at the CCR on long layovers.

  • Jude says:

    Thanks so much for this advice. Worked at once. I’d tried the usual contact number and was being repeatedly cut off…

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