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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 21st July

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (378)

  • Grimz says:

    Hi Folks, What’s are my options in this scenario:
    I originally booked a 241 BA flight to Phoenix return in November 19 for flights in Nov 2020.
    BA cancelled these flights and I took a FTV
    I booked 1st class flights to PHX for September 2021 in August 2020 using voucher.
    BA have downgraded me to business on this flight which I have not accepted.
    I now don’t want to go anyway as it will be too soon for USA travel.

    In this scenario should I have the option of being rebooked onto any 1st class flight to PHX until September 22?

    • Stu N says:

      Nope – they treat downgrades differently to cancelations. I spoke to YouFirst last week in the same scenario. Agent was very knowledgeable and checked with duty manager and called me back.

      Basically your options are:
      – BA will move you to another BA flight +- 3 days that does have First seats available (cash or Avios). NB AA codeshares don’t count, there was F on an AA flight but I couldn’t access that
      – move you to another date subject to Avios availability. My route had zero availability for next 355 days so didn’t explore this.
      – You can fly then claim downgrade compensation afterwards.

      I’ve left my booking unchanged and am hoping for one of the flights to be cancelled.

      • Grimz says:

        Thanks Folks, looks like I need to wait for cancellation as I’ve decided I’m not going September.

        • Jill ( Kinkell) says:

          We were downgraded from F on flights to Denver in Sept. I contacted BA and stated I was ‘not accepting’ the invol downgrade but to get to Denver, there was no other way than fly on what was offered. Therefore, very unwillingly we would be flying and I would take this up further on our return. I wanted this noted on our record .
          I’m actually hoping the flight is cancelled !

    • Lady London says:

      don’t accept less than First Class voluntarily or you will lose your chance to fly it and then claim 75% of everything back except the true APD tax and a few dollars of airport charges

      • Lady London says:

        ie if forced to fly it in J having booked F you have right to claim 75% reimbursement

        • Lady London says:

          involuntary downgrade compensation covered in UK261/EU261

          • Stu N says:

            Just to be clear, your rights for an involuntary downgrade are per EC261/2004 and are quite limited, relative to a cancelation. Anything BA do around moving you to different flight that do have First is discretionary.

            If your flight, or any of the flights in your booking, are actually cancelled, that gives many better options (see article from Monday about rebooking windows being extended) and the possibility of moving it out into future.

  • MM says:


    My parents travelling on virgin in a couple of weeks. As virgin gold they plan to use upper wing drive through check in. They’ve never used that before. Can anyone pl enlighten how it works? How far is to club lounge and is there wheelchair available from checkin to lounge and then to gate. Appreciate any info.

    • Babyg says:

      I’ve only taken a taxi through there, never driven my own car, – but i understand its drop off only in any regard, the turn off can sometimes be hard to spot if your driver hasnt been there before, but once out of the car you take a dozen steps and your at the checkin. There is a private security lane after checkin, and then there are a couple of lifts at various points so getting to the lounge in a wheelchair shoudnt be a problem (again never done this myself either in a wheelchair). All and all and very pleasant experience.

      • Rob says:

        It’s well under 30 seconds from door to security, albeit you need to stop to check-in. You then have the long walk across T3 to the Clubhouse but you can’t avoid that.

        The entrance to the drive thru check-in is clearly signed, assuming you’re coming off the M4, and is before you get to T3 itself.

    • Magic Mike says:

      Look on Virgins website for how to register a vehicle for access. It’s not drive thru as such, it’s a private entrance.

      From what I remember there is a step free route throughout T3, including to and in the Clubhouse (using the lift to CH level). From check-in to lounge is… 200m maybe?

      • MM says:

        Thank you both. Just to clarify can’t get to a human on phone. WhatsApp replies are useless. We need the airport wheelchair arrangements and was wondering if they can be made from the drive through checkin rather than the main terminal checkin. Anyone have a clubhouse number to contact? Rob?

        • Babyg says:

          ive found the whatsapp to very good at re-arranging travel, also from memory virgin have a gold only line (havent been gold for years thou so dont have it myself)… no idea if the clubhouse have a number, but if you provide all the details in whats app (e.g. booking ref, dates etc) they are normally pretty good (this was about 2 months ago)

        • Gary says:

          Try 0344 412 4666 to see if it still works

          • MM says:

            Thanks Gary. You are a life saver. The other number was over 60 minute wait. The number does work and goes to Upper Class team. So a few clarifications;
            1- Don’t have to register the car anymore
            2- They could not figure out if it was possible to provide wheechair assistance. Newly opened lounge, procedures still being worked out. Duty manager will be contacted and someone will call back. Thank you to everyone who answered. You guys are amazing.

    • Matt says:

      It’s pretty much drop-off by someone else or taxi only.

      There was a period where one of the parking operators (Purple?) offered valet service, albeit at very inflated prices compared to the basically-identical service to have your car joyridden and dumped in a field.

      I’ve been dropped off a few times by Taxi… all smooth.

      However one time we were parking and had lots of bags, so I drove through to drop the bags and give the other half a head-start to the clubhouse (rather than dragging the bags on the parking bus). Left the car for all of 5 minutes, even intentionally leaving it out the way on the otherwise empty turning circle so that anyone else arriving in that short time could get their “VIP arrival”, but still got a bit of an uncharacteristic telling-off from the staff and informed it wasn’t “what it was for” … maybe I’ll try it again with the rusty winter shed at some point? Bit of a sore point when meant to be premium customers, being sensible and not affecting anyone else.

      • MM says:

        Thx Sam. Since I will be dropping them hopefully it will go well. But unless I can get wheelchair confirmation will have to take them to main terminal

        • MM says:

          Sorry Matt. Not Sam. Too hot!!!

          • thehornets says:

            I havent been for a few years, but I believe the drop off is at the same level as the Virgin ‘private-lane’ security check etc so should be OK for a wheel chair as long as they can get through the Security metal detector. Obviously you should check, but I think you’ll be OK.

            Once you’ve cleared security, you enter the main airport shopping area just like everyone else. It’s a 5-10 minute short walk to the Lounge, right throught the Duty Free shop. The lounge is ‘upstairs’ although there is a lift. Entrance to the lounge is very accessible and there are many ramps to get you to different parts of the lounge. The staff are very friendly and I am sure will help.

        • Magic Mike says:

          If you’ve requested Special Assistance you will need to contact Virgin (somehow…) to see if that is compatible with the “drive thru” check in. Otherwise I would go to the main check in area. There is a lift you can use if flying UC (just to the right of Virgins check in desks) to take you one floor up from the main check in area to the private security channel connected to the drive thru entrance.

          That is assuming the private security channel is operating in these covid times. Also worth noting that after security you still have to mix with the great unwashed to fight your way across the shopping mall, sorry terminal departures area, to get to the CH.

  • Sam says:

    Currently on Voxi which has been great. Re-locating to Singapore so I would still like my U.K. number to maintain and receive OTPs etc. Is there a telco that I can transfer to that allows me to keep my number without actually signed to a plan? I.e I can’t use any minutes or data, which is fine.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Can’t you get a PAYG sim? I think most require you to make a call/send a text every 6 months.

    • Alex says:

      I think you have to keep using the sim to keep it active. If I remember right, it must be used every 3-6months.

      You could get a PAYG sim and just send a text every few months so it would cost pence.

    • N says:

      Have a look into porting your number to a VoIP company who will usually charge you $1 – $2 to maintain the number, receive calls and SMS messages. You can install a software phone on your smartphone that will run the number as a regular line, allow calls in and out. SMS and voicemail will often be delivered by email.

      I’ve had good experiences with Zadarma and Twilio. Try setting up a temporary number with them first to see how it all works, then enquire about porting.

    • Yorkie Aid says:

      Very simple. Just port your number to Three on PAYG. Credit never runs out and no minimum spend per year. Free incoming calls on your UK number too.

  • Oli says:

    I have a spare Day 8 test after my last trip. I plan to buy a Day 2 test only, and use the spare Day 8 test when coming back from my next trip to France. I’ll put the Day 2 test booking reference in my PLF. Can I expect trouble at check-in/border control?

  • QwertyKnowsBest says:

    Just read ‘Mileage Maniac’ by Steve Belkin. Thanks Rob for the recommendation. I guess he makes even the most determined collectors on H4P look light weight. Remortgage your house without telling your partner to buy a trip to Cameroon anyone?

    • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

      Lol – he then made out that he was a paragon for removing himself as a signatory from the mortgage so he couldn’t do it again! Mrs Trotter would have noped right out of there and I wouldn’t blame her 🙂
      On the other hand, applying for Amex cards in Mrs T’s name without telling her seems relatively small beer now …

  • Red Flyer says:

    Anyone had the Barclays Premier 25k Avios land in their Exec Club account yet? I have had 4x 1500 Avios since early March but the 25k is showing in app but not in BA yet for me.

    • Craig says:


    • Zoe P says:

      I called them about this very issue today. My switch was done on 26 March. They told me three months then called me back immediately to say it is actually four months. So I should expect it by end of this month but she said to contact by end of August.

  • The Original Nick. says:

    Evening all. My AW plus has expired. They are asking $30 for the year. I’m sure it didn’t cost t this much before?

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