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BA loses arbitration case over Future Travel Vouchers – and what happens in April 2022?

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Which? magazine launched a broadside against British Airways and easyJet yesterday over their treatment of cancelled flights and the issuance of vouchers.

You can read their article here.

Which Magazine british airways refunds vouchers

Getting cash back from British Airways wasn’t easy

As regular HfP readers will know, British Airways removed the option to request a cash refund online at the start of the pandemic.

(Back in March, we published this article on how to ‘hack’ the BA website to force it to bring up the cash refund box. The article was read 101,000 times and is our most read piece of 2020.)

If you follow the online path to requesting a refund, you will (hopefully) notice that you have actually requested a Future Travel Voucher, valid to April 2022, and not cash.

April 2022 is, of course, getting nearer by the day. This leads us to the big question – is British Airways going to cancel all outstanding vouchers on 30th April 2022 and keep the money?

Remember that 30th April 2022 is NOT a ‘book by’ deadline. It is a ‘travel by’ deadline.

The European Union has issued guidance that any unused airline voucher should be refunded WITHIN 14 DAYS OF EXPIRY for cash. So far, neither easyJet or British Airways has committed to this.

Many people believe that they were misled into taking a voucher

Here is a typical case as reported by Which?:

BA passengers have told Which? they received vouchers for cancelled flights when they thought they’d applied for refunds. Jackie Harbridge says when she called BA to request a refund a recorded message directed her to Manage My Booking on BA’s website, but when she clicked on the Refund button, she says, she received a voucher for £2,118 for the flights to San Francisco.

She tried to call BA immediately, but struggled to get through. When she eventually got to speak to an agent she was told that since she had requested vouchers the decision could not be reversed.

‘I was completely misguided by the instruction in BA’s Manage My Booking, which specifically quoted “Refund” but turned out to be for a voucher, which is completely useless to us,’ said Jackie.

[…..]

BA has refused to show Which? the specific form it says Jackie filled out.

British Airways cash refunds vouchers

Some Future Travel Vouchers are being turned into eVouchers

British Airways has begun the process of converting Future Travel Vouchers for cash tickets into standard eVouchers. This will allow the voucher to be used online, unlike a Future Travel Voucher. The latest version of the BA app can also accept eVouchers.

The plan was to convert ‘cash only, one passenger only’ bookings first. Once done, the plan was to start dealing with multi-passenger cash bookings. It isn’t clear if Future Travel Vouchers which contain Avios can or will be converted into something else.

eVouchers carry an identical 30th April 2022 expiry date.

BA has lost at least one arbitration case over Future Travel Vouchers

What was really interesting from the Which? article yesterday is that it found a case where BA had been taken to CEDR arbitration – and lost.

To quote:

Some passengers who have been issued with vouchers they didn’t want have been successful in getting a refund instead. Kim Norris received a cash refund of £1,099 after taking her case of an unwanted voucher to the airline’s alternative dispute resolution service, CEDR.

It said that, on the balance of probabilities, she had not agreed to accept a voucher. BA said that Kim applied for a voucher via its website, but it only provided CEDR a screenshot of the type of form it says she filled out, not her specific form.

BA acknowledged that Kim had asked twice for a refund, by phone and by email. CEDR found that when BA issued the voucher, it was unlikely that Kim had voluntarily consented to accept it.

In its ruling, CEDR also pointed to the recommendation from the European Commission that if vouchers haven’t been redeemed by the end of their validity period they should be automatically reimbursed within 14 days.

British Airways cash refunds

What next for British Airways?

At some point soon, British Airways is going to have to make a statement about what will happen to unused Future Travel Vouchers on 30th April 2022.

It is unfortunate that the European Commission has only issued a recommendation and not a ruling that vouchers must be turned into cash on expiry if unused. That said, it isn’t clear if such a ruling would have been converted into UK law anyway.

As CEDR has already forced the airline to swap at least one Future Travel Voucher for a full cash refund, it is possible that other cases will go the same way. It would make life easier for everyone if there was clarity sooner rather than later. It is an odd world when Ryanair is leading the way by committing to replace vouchers with cash refunds on request.

There are two sides to the story of course …..

To be fair to BA, there are two different scenarios under which vouchers were issued.

If British Airways voluntarily let you cancel your non-refundable flight for a voucher – even though the flight was still departing – should you be treated differently to someone whose flight was cancelled? I’m not sure of the answer.

A lot of these vouchers have been issued to travellers who would otherwise have been covered by their travel insurance. If a passenger cancelled their ticket but the flight departed, should British Airways be forced to turn the voucher into cash? Isn’t that what travel insurance is for? Which? does not make this distinction but I think it is an important one.

PS. HfP has its own ‘how to take British Airways to CEDR arbitration’ guide which you can find here. If that fails to work in your favour, Rhys also wrote a guide on his experiences of launching court proceedings.


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Comments (133)

  • Anna says:

    I have to concur on Ryanair. There was some initial brass cheek – they responded to my refund request by saying cash refunds were taking a long time so they had issued me with a voucher for my convenience! However, the process for re-applying for a cash refund was very simple and the money was back on my credit card within 48 hours. Not perfect but much better than BA.

    • Martin says:

      I recently cancelled a Ryanair booking. Their automatic response is “we can offer you a travel voucher now or a cash refund but it might take us a bit of time to process it due to high demand” – and a choice of two links to click. Other than the lack of timescale for the refund, I can’t fault the process.

      • MarkH says:

        Back in April-June Ryanair were sending vouchers to people who had specifically requested cash refunds. This happened to me, I then rejected the voucher and requested a refund and again they emailed a few weeks later with a voucher.

        I eventually got my refund but they definitely weren’t making it easy.

        Credit to them now though.

        • Aston100 says:

          This.
          Many people are quick to forget just how nasty Ryanair were being at the time.

          • AndyGWP says:

            Agreed – they were devious and underhand about they approached it all initially (including a statement saying they would only issue cash refunds “when all this was over” (or words to that effect that gave no indication of when refunds would be received)

            Amex issued my refund on Ryanair’s behalf in the end 😉

  • Alex says:

    There should definitely be a difference between voluntary vouchers and vouchers issued for cancelled flights.

    Vouchers issued for voluntary cancellations were a goodwill gesture from BA. However, when they cancel a flight they have a contractual obligation to refund you.

    I have to say that BA has been one of the most pleasant airlines to deal with in this regard. Refunds usually arrive very quickly (unless you modified your booking, in which case an agent will have to manually process the refund), they are quite generous with their book with confidence policy, and they have usually taken good care of me in case of cancellations.

    I have definitely started to book more BA flights due to the ease of dealing with.

    • Jay says:

      Even voluntary cancellations because your insurance no longer covers you if your destination is on the UK GOV non essential travel list ?

    • memesweeper says:

      Completely disgree.

      I booked a number of flights in the summer because of the existence of the FTV scheme. If it had not existed I would not have booked. The fact I took a voucher(s) for flight(s) that still operated is immaterial — I had my reasons for not travelling at that time. In one case I took an FTV at very short notice because of a change in UK law which mean self-isolating on return. If it is an enticement to book it is absolutely not a goodwill gesture, and there is specific legislation (Misrepresentation Act) covering that.

      The offer of FTVs was unconditional on whether or not a flight operated, and introducing two classes of FTVs now would be possibly illegal, certainly unfair and operationally very difficult for BA to accomplish. It won’t happen.

      PS I’ve now spent all my FTVs, so I got some travel, and BA got some money. Win-win.

      • callum says:

        I have no idea what your objection could possibly be? You were “enticed” by the FTV scheme and you got the FTV scheme. If other people, under different circumstances, are able to convert that into cash and you’re not, what exactly have you lost?

        I cannot see how it could possibly be illegal to treat different circumstances differently. Again – you’ve got exactly what you signed up for.
        It wouldn’t remotely be unfair – those people were legally entitled to a cash refund, you were not.
        The only way it would be operationally difficult is if they have deleted the data showing whether the original flight was cancelled or not. If they haven’t, it would be easy to implement. The incentive of not having to pay out millions of pounds to people who are not legally entitled to a refund is also a great motivator!

        • memesweeper says:

          “If other people, under different circumstances, are able to convert that into cash and you’re not, what exactly have you lost?”

          In my case, nothing, but some people will be left with FTVs they might want to turn back into cash in 2022.

          “I cannot see how it could possibly be illegal to treat different circumstances differently.”

          My point was directed at Alex who suggested FTVs were a goodwill gesture. For me it absolutely was not, it was definitely contractural. BA *could* do goodwill refunds in circumstances it is not obliged to, and that *would* be legal I’m sure.

          “The only way it would be operationally difficult is if they have deleted the data showing whether the original flight was cancelled or not.”

          — and the data on *when* the FTV holder cancelled, as well as *when* the flight was cancelled. Yes, there‘s millions of pounds at stake, but that’s still a non-trivial amount of analysis which requires BA to have anticipated and saved that data in a usefully retrievable way.

          I remain of the view they’ll treat all FTVs the same come 2022. Which may or may not be a good thing.

          • callum says:

            Exactly my point… You’ve received every single benefit promised to you by the FTV scheme, so they aren’t misrepresenting anything.

            It’s taken me literally minutes to extract similar data from a database in my previous company, that wasn’t kept in a particularly usable format. I’m no IT expert though, so who knows how practical that would be on their system.

            I have no opinion on your view of what they’ll probably do, I was mainly disputing your ludicrous claim that it’s “possibly illegal” to give refunds to the people legally entitled to refunds without also refunding all the people not legally entitled to them.

    • Harry T says:

      They haven’t refunded me yet (Ryanair) and I have filled out the online form. They did have the nerve to offer me credit because their refund team isn’t efficient enough. I’ll give them another week and chargeback.

      • Anna says:

        That’s the initial response I got but when I re-applied for my cash it was back within 48 hours – have you double checked the relevant credit card?

      • Lady London says:

        …and you’re not frightened of the threats IIRC Ryanair publicly made to anyone that dared to do a chargeback on Ryanair?

        • callum says:

          They were only made in private – publicly, Ryanair have categorically stated that you will not be banned for doing a chargeback.

          They claim that it was just some confused agents saying that, but it was pretty widespread so it must have been coming from somewhere!

  • Kevin says:

    There is more to the case that CEDR adjudicted in favour of the customer than is reported here or in the case that Which have reported.
    Effectively the customer clicked on the link on the website and realising they had requested a voucher contacted BA to say they wanted a refund. They had evidence of this request. Because the voucher was not issued immediately then the request for a refund was mad before the voucher was ‘issued’.

    As for Which? quality of journalism, their source is to trawl Facebook and begging people to provide cases for them. Funny how they seem to have missed the very large groups of people unhappy with Virgin not issuing refunds.

    • DV says:

      Where dos this information come from Kevin? Please post a link if you have one. Was it taken into account by the arbitrator? The arbitrator found that Kim has not voluntarily consented to receive a voucher.

      • Kevin says:

        The information comes from the original passenger in the case with CEDR.
        The fact the passenger had evidence to present that showed that she requested a cash refund before the voucher was actually issued was used in her favour by the adjudicator.
        To get a sense of the quality of the journalism that Which? is going for – they didn’t even get the passengers name correct!

        • DV says:

          I’m sorry but I don’t follow this. Where did you get this information from? Is it in a published decision, or have you spoken to the party involved?

          • DV says:

            If you are referring to the Which article, it doesn’t say what you have said in your comment. It does say that BA declined to provide a copy of the form that Kim filled in, and, that after hearing the evidence, the arbitrator made a finding that Kin had consented to a voucher.

          • Kevin says:

            My comments come directly from the person involved in the case and the information that she has shared.

    • jamesj says:

      Which? are an absolute menace, they give the impression of being the consumer champion but actually they are a multi million pound business, you should see the plush new offices they have in London. They are just ambulance chasers

      • Aston100 says:

        Perhaps, but their very existence often keeps companies from crossing a line.

      • Kevin says:

        James, I totally agree. Should a reputable firm by scouring Facebook in order to source information on which to base their articles? They effectively were asking people who had vouchers to come forward. And the best they could do was reference a couple of cases. Not saying there wasn’t a problem and some may have been mislead into accepting vouchers.
        The actual reporter was also challenged over her actions as she initially claimed she was researching to pass information to the regulator. Clearly not the case.

  • Dev says:

    The airlines must be praying for vaccine! I do feel they got themselves into a mess by offering variants of the “Book with confidence” policy. They would have been better off pocketing non-refundable fares IF the flight still went ahead rather than turn every fare into a de facto flexible and refundable fare (existing and new bookings).

    A return to the old structure will be welcome to get themselves out of this mess. Those who fancy chancing it can book non-refundable fares and those who want flexibility will book the more expensive ones. A 3rd group will simply not book anything! but it will be clear for all involved where they stand!

    • ChrisW says:

      Everyone is praying for a vaccine!

      • Anna says:

        I don’t think anyone will get the vaccine any time soon unless they’re a healthcare professional or over 70 …

        • AndyW says:

          That’s really all that’s needed though. If you can vaccinate the people really at risk it changes the game completely.

          • TripRep says:

            “at risk” Is a very broad spectrum.

            I know people under fifty that are lucky to be alive and may still yet have life long effects from suffering with it.

          • meta says:

            Everyone will probably need two doses initially followed by another dose every 3-4 months. There simply won’t be enough. It’s easy to look at the headlines of 100x millions, but that won’t be enough. Though I suspect we will see a big market for private vaccination in the UK as we have seen for tests.

          • memesweeper says:

            +1
            the NHS survives, the local and national lockdowns end
            not sure it unlocks international travel, but a huge step forward if it protects the vulnerable here in the UK

          • AndyW says:

            Both comments are fair, but perhaps we are looking at this in different ways. I am not saying this is a cure, or will eradicate COVID, unfortunately people will still catch it, some will get seriously ill and some will die. However, the vaccination of the most at risk (and I talk in broad terms here based on the data available) reduces the impact the disease has and it will be a case of society living with it, probably with continued mask wearing etc, for the time being. The over 60s is maybe 15m people in the UK, it’s not going to be overnight, but it is not that crazy either. There are also a number of other vaccines showing good promise that could supplement this one over the coming months.

          • Lady London says:

            This is a dream for pharma.

            I worked for one and apparently the strategy is never to cure anything but to treat conditions that need ongoing treatment ie “keep people taking the tablets”.

            Can you imagine this on a world scale?

        • Number9 says:

          There will always be ways to get it Anna at a hefty price I’m sure.

        • Rob says:

          No one is getting it until they invent a way of keeping it at minus 70 degrees c …..

          • AndyW says:

            You don’t have to ‘ invent’ anything, it exists already. There will be a significant cost no doubt to the infrastructure around this, but it’s a simple game, what’s cheaper for the government, pay for that, or have the economy on permanent hold.

          • Steve says:

            They have ‘invented’ it already. The vaccines are packed in dry ice for delivery and then can be stored in a normal freezer for a few days. The problem is that once they are removed from the -70 storage they cannot be put back and have to be administered or destroyed.

          • Number9 says:

            And you need at least 2 doses, think people are putting way to much hope/ faith in getting a vaccine.

          • Jonathan says:

            You’ve got 5 days to administer it once “defrosted” so it’s not really a big issue if you’re running a mass vaccination program. All you need are some large regional storage centres.

          • callum says:

            No-one needs to invent anything. It’s hardly cutting edge science – ultra-freezers have existed for 50 years!

          • Rob says:

            How long is it going to take to provide such freezers for every dentist, vet and other half-qualified medical professional in the UK who is being asked to give this vaccine?

          • Stanley says:

            Pfizer have created a suitcase with 5,000 doses that sits at -70 degrees.

          • Rob says:

            Which is a problem for anyone who can’t get through 5,000 doses once opened …. which probably means private clinics can’t offer it. Even for a GP this is going to be tough. Let’s assume it takes 10 minutes per person, given all the paperwork etc. You are looking at 833-hours worth from one case once opened. You’d need 83 nurses working in parallel in the same location to use a case in one day. If it lasts 5 days as per another comment on here, you need 17 nurses working in parallel at the same site, each doing a 10-hour day, to use the case in five days.

          • Stanley says:

            it can be opened twice a day for 1 minute. they take the 50 out they need for the day, and close it till tomorrow.

          • Andrew says:

            There are freezers in every university lab across the country that can store at -70C, although they do tend to be set at -80C nowadays.

          • Bagoly says:

            This is a situation akin to a war, so I don’t see the need for ten minutes per person.
            Do a production line.
            I’m interested if anyone has experienced soldiers being given vaccinations – how much time is that per head?
            If there is a need to filter out those who should not be given the vaccine, use a pre-process (which may be multiple streams in parallel in the same building)
            Most countries manage to hold elections with something like a third of the population voting on a single day, so the actual injection of the vaccine should not be a bottleneck. Manufacturing it will, as will be distribution in some places.

          • Rob says:

            Apparently the vials are also a bottleneck (sic). Back in my banking days we looked at buying an oral pharma business. Even for off-patent stuff there are huge barriers to entry because every part of the process has to be sterile which is expensive to set up. This includes the companies making the containers the vaccine will sit in. You can’t just get a standard glass or plastic factory to start making containers.

    • Number9 says:

      How many people are going to have a brand new vaccine, don’t they normally take about 10 years to produce? I’m not an anti vaxer but I’m not going to be rushing into having this if I have it at all.

      • Anna says:

        I think a lot of people will refuse to have it, at least until it’s been around for a few years and its safety can be better judged.
        Of course it will be a huge benefit for older and more vulnerable people to be vaccinated, but to repair the economy it needs the general working population to be able to function safely once more.

        • Number9 says:

          Well Anna I’m not having it and I’m vulnerable medically speaking and my Mum isn’t having it either. So there’s 2 doses a healthy person can have.

          • Anna says:

            I can totally understand why people wouldn’t want to, it’s not the same as rejecting vaccines which have been around for years and are demonstrably safe (or minuscule risk). If and when it gets to the stage where I would be eligible (over 50 so may be higher up the queue than some but not vulnerable), I will look at the current medical evidence and make a decision at that point.
            I’m not over familiar with how private medicine works but I would imagine that reputable private providers won’t be allowed to get their hands on vaccines for some time when there are so many vulnerable people who need it free of charge.

          • Rob says:

            You’ll find Pfizer will sell it to whoever wants it and as private providers will pay 10x more than a Government they will get all they want. It’s only the requirement to store it at minus 70 degrees which is an issue because a private provider needs to use a whole batch at once when removed from storage.

            Why do you think there has always been huge amounts of capacity to have a private covid test but no Government capacity?

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Number9 Your not haing it ? Sweeping statement loads of them on here lol My Daughter has said she isn’t having it either
            but i put it to her that if airlines say no vaccine no fly
            Would you cancel your flight, her answer was I’d relook at it lol
            I’m sure most people would cancel their flights to USA if they was told they wouldn’t be allowed in without a vaccine cert lol x

      • Harry T says:

        I’ll happily take the vaccine, as a doctor. Anyone who thinks the vaccine might not be safe hasn’t thought it through – no offence intended. A company like Pfizer will take zero chances with a vaccine that will be administered to millions of vulnerable patients, and frontline health workers, during a global pandemic. Can you imagine the political and legal fallout of harming at risk patients and healthcare workers? They would be sued into next millennium and their reputation would be ashes. It would also have a profoundly negative effect on public confidence in vaccines, and various governments would be calling for Pfizer heads on pikes. I imagine this will be the safest, most rigorously assessed treatment the company has produced.

        • Nick says:

          They said that about thalidomide too. And asbestos. All ‘miracle materials’… until they’re not any more. And of course we can’t know long term as it hasn’t been around long term.

          I’m about as far from ‘anti vax’ as it’s possible to get, and I want to be first in line to travel again, but I’m also very cynical about something that has very openly been rushed through. I may be wrong (and I hope I am), but the pharma industry needs to find a way of convincing me before I join the queue.

          • Stanley says:

            i like to think there have been some advancements in the 60 years since thalidomide….

        • Anna says:

          I’m broadly pro-vaccination but if you look at some internet forums (especially American ones), it’s astounding how many people (often educated professionals) think that all vaccines are harmful and/or part of a government plot to control the populace!

        • Aston100 says:

          Harry, someone I know works with the WHO and they won’t be taking a vaccine that hasn’t had at least 12 months of field trials at minimum.

          • Rui N. says:

            When this gets approved and available for distribution 12 months will already have passed since the beginning of trials, so that’s kind of a silly argument.

      • Stanley says:

        Dont they also normally have 1/20th of the budget and resources spent on them? It does amaze me how people will hail the genius of medics and researchers, then not trust them to make something that works.

      • Jonathan says:

        The only reason they take 3-4 years normally is they’re subject to commercial realities. In other words the concept/technology is developed by a small company who then try & sell it to big pharma who want to see some small scale trials first (phase I). Then there’s yet more number crunching on cost of further trials vs potential return etc before they commit to phase II. R&D budgets are also limited so you might have a great idea but you’re stuck in a queue for 18 months before funds are released.

        Once they’ve got successful phase II trials in the bag it’s a big financial commitment to go forward to phase III so further delay while they scope out the likely market (price/take up etc.) & if any competitors have anything similar in the pipeline. Lots of potentially very useful drugs never make it to market as the finances just don’t stack up.

        In the current climate where financial risk is removed (by virtue of government writing blank cheques) it’s possible to flow through the phases much quicker. The same number of people (or more) will have been enrolled in trials for the Covid vaccines as other vaccines which took “10 years” to develop.

        Talk to anyone in medical research & you’ll realise that the “science” is the easy/quick bit of their job compared to securing the grants, personnel & lab space to get the study running in the first place.

        There’s always a balance of risk/benefit in life (even crossing the road) so can see why people in low risk groups might want to wait & see what the 6 & 12 month safety data looks like but you’ll likely be waiting that long in the queue anyway. If you’re actually high risk (predicted mortality >2%) & you don’t want a vaccine that’s been given to 45,000 people with no serious side effects then I’d say you’re being unnecessarily paranoid. What are the medium to long term side effects that you think a vaccine could plausibly cause?!

        Before you say the swine-flu vaccine/narcolepsy “association” then I’d ask why children in Sweden were at increased risk of a narcolepsy diagnosis post vaccination when those in Holland, Canada, UK & Spain who received the same vaccine (including the alleged culprit adjuvant) were not. (Clue- only 1 of those countries was offering compensation).

        • Stanley says:

          Thanks for this. Good points to use in future discussions

        • Sarah says:

          Thank you for your measured and informative comment – it makes me feel more confident about a vaccine.

        • Rui N. says:

          Exactly. We’ve already spent more money in vacine research this year than in the past 25 years. This really shows what could be achieved if biomedical research had just a small % of the resources of stuff like the military or tobacco companies.

        • Harry T says:

          Basically this comment is spot on. Comparing the present state of scientific endeavour to the era when something like thalidomide could be unleashed on the world, is false equivalence. Science has learnt from its mistakes.

          • Bagoly says:

            Aircraft crashes generally become fewer and fewer because the industry learns from its mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that design flaws don’t ever happen – see the Boeing 737 Max.

      • Andrew says:

        If that was the case, there wouldn’t be a new ‘flu vaccine every winter.

        • Bagoly says:

          This is actually quite thought-provoking – the possibility that the ‘flu vaccine new for a year has some major negative effect is not zero, but, as there have been no documented cases, is clearly extremely small. Admittedly the technology change is much less than that to a Covid vaccine, but it’s a good data point to have.

          • Sundar says:

            I thought the flu vaccine was needed every year because of the validity being 1 year ? (i.e.) the Inertness of the contents of the vaccine is only for a year in the human body ?

        • Lady London says:

          ….many of which are pretty useless by the time they are used due mismatch mutating virus or virus version or other issues

    • Andrew says:

      Except without a “Book with confidence” policy BA wouldn’t have taken in a penny in the last 7 months. Business travel has dried up and the vast, vast majority of leisure travellers buy restricted tickets.

      BA aren’t in a mess over FTVs. They can just keep extending them and keep hold of the cash. Once travel opens up again there’ll be such pent up demand that BA will be able to bump up prices so that the FTV liability disappears and they get some new cash on top. There were signs of this in the summer when covid was going in the right direction. Prices a year in advance for summer 2021 were almost double what they’d been for 2020.

      The last thing BA will do is happily pocket expiring FTVs. That’s likely to attract the wrath of regulators who will then insist on refunds and I’m not sure BA would survive having to pay out cash for all of the FTVs in existance.

      • Lady London says:

        That is why using your optuon to reroute to a later date convenient to you – that is in law if BA cancels your flight – is so much better. It keeps you in the game.

        FTV is worth it if the voucher extension would help you and if you really arent sure you would actually fly on any particular replacement date and you have a nonrefundable ticket.

      • memesweeper says:

        “The last thing BA will do is happily pocket expiring FTVs.”
        +1
        I suspect a 12 month extension will be announced in Jan 2022.

  • Dave says:

    BAs prioritisation of profit over behaving lawfully has been going on for a few years now. Their treatment of staff and customers during Covid19 has surely lost them more in future business than they gained in short term cashflow. Vouchers for voluntary cancellation are admirable, the ability to use them and service when you do, not so much.
    If BA are to succeed in the New reality they will have to reassess their entire approach to customer service and delivering the product they market.

    • Doug M says:

      My problem with this is the lack of comparison to the sector generally.
      BA are far better than many of their competitors. The truth is if the EU cared enough about the regulations they could have enforced them through legislation. People will continue to use BA because they’re the main player in the UK, and Covid aside that seems unlikely to change.

      • Charlieface says:

        What’s the point of making more legislation? just enforce what you already have!

    • Lady London says:

      BA has judged this commercially and made a decision including, so far we can tell, making deliberate decisions to systematically disregard the law.

      BA is saying “Catch me if you can” and I really wish our regulators had the guts to do this.

  • Amy says:

    I took a voucher for cancelled flight as it was impossible to get through to ask for cash at the time. As it was a small sum for a cheapish short haul flight that was fine. Even better when it was resent as e-voucher. I was hoping to use it for a BA holiday deposit in the last sale. No option I could see to enter voucher details. Neither can I see option to use against the remaining balance. So unless I am missing something or the phone lines get better I can see it going unused.

  • Stuart_f says:

    Before we bash BA too much there are occasions where the voucher is significantly more useful than a refund. In my case it extended a 2-4-1 voucher beyond it’s validity. A straight refund would have meant it expired before I could use it. BA did not have to do that and they deserve credit for that.

  • Naomi says:

    I was told, after a huge wait on the phone, that I could not get a refund as my flight at the end of March was not cancelled, although they confirmed that I was not permitted to board as only Spanish citizens were going to be allowed to board the flight (it was to Gran Canaria). Given this, I asked for a refund , but it was a no-go. It took months for the voucher to arrive, and not being able to use it online is a massive drawback.

    • Nick_C says:

      But Naomi, you presumably booked a non refundable ticket and the flight operated. Why would you expect BA to give you a refund? A voucher is a generous gesture. If you didn’t want the voucher, why didn’t you claim on your travel insurance instead?

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