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The HfP chat thread – Friday 20th August

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

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Comments (448)

  • Zoe P says:

    Ohh first comment! Happy Friday all!
    Very “green” question incoming. Am flying to Antigua with BA next Thursday. I want to possibly upgrade flights to CW from economy. Phone lines nightmare so will do at airport. Where do I do this? At the actual check in desk ot is there somewhere else?
    Thanks all.

    • Danny says:

      You can also check on MMB now to see if there are any upgrade being offered on your booking? I have never done this at the airport so don’t know if there are any price differentials.

      • Zoe P says:

        Ohh thank you. But what is MMB?

        • Mattb says:

          Manage my booking

        • Zoe P says:

          Ahh you mean manage my booking. Nope tried that it tells me I cannot do this on line. I have to call a number that nobody ever answers.

          • meta says:

            Is it a cash booking or reward booking? For both you’ll only be able to upgrade from economy to premium economy. For cash bookings, economy it has to be booked in certain classes to be able to upgrade. For Avios bookings, there has to be reward seats available in the premium economy cabin. Since the option is not available in Manage my Booking it seems either you don’t have the right economy cash ticket or there are no seats available in premium economy.

            If it is Avios reward booking you can check whether seats are available by doing a dummy reward booking. If available, then it’s a question of calling to rebook in desired class. You should call very early in the day or late in the evening or call US line via Skype.

            However, you might be able to upgrade at the airport at check-in if there are seats available.

    • Mark says:

      If it’s part of a BA holidays package then you have to upgrade over the phone unfortunately as BA as IT can’t cope with doing online upgrades for flights that are part of a package. Also FYI you can only upgrade one cabin so you could only go up to World Traveller Plus not Club

      • Anna says:

        You can upgrade into any cabin when you’re actually at the airport – they are not going to turn down cash! We enquired about upgrading from Y to J a few years at check in but decided it was too expensive.

        • WaynedP says:

          Yes, this has been my experience on a cash ticket at the airport check-in desk several times.

          Just politely enquire about the potential cost of an upgrade and they generally fall over themselves to be helpful, either because they get a commission, or they’re pleasantly flabbergasted at not being needled for a free upgrade (or both).

          On three (out of four) occasions, I’ve considered the cost good value, compared with earlier costs I’ve seen for the same upgrade and gone for it.

          My experience is cash is king at the check-in desk on flights with unsold seats in a higher class.

    • Jonathan says:

      This will give you an idea of prices & the process. No reports for Antigua (ANU) but traditionally you’d be looking at £600 each as a ballpark figure for a flight of that length. Possibly cheaper if economy is overbooked & they’re going to have to upgrade someone (very unlikely atm) or are desperate for the cash & therefore less bothered about maintaining price discipline than previously.

      BA have previously been much less interested in selling upgrades at any price to fill the front of the plane compared to Virgin who would be keener to take any additional revenue.

      • Zoe P says:

        Thank you everyone this was very helpful. It will be the check in desk for me!

  • Tony1 says:

    OH is hoping ( I doubt it ) that Turkey will be off the red list at next review. Getting conflicted advice on current entry requirement – and cheapest test.

    • Aston100 says:

      I wouldn’t plan a visit before Easter 2022.

      • Tony1 says:

        Thanks. That is my thoughts, but OH is determined that I sort it before end of month for a September trip. Any info on the “actual” requirements on arrival in Turkey by air ?

        • Berk says:

          You need to take a PCR test and complete the passenger locator form within 72h of your flight. The latest numbers are 20k cases + 216 deaths, so I don’t think Turkey will be off the red list anytime soon.

          • Tony1 says:

            Thanks. So nothing to do in the UK before arrival. I agree on the red list but OH will not be persuaded ! Now I am dreading the roulette of a positive test there. I will look elsewhere ( second choice was Mexico ! )

  • Emma says:

    Good morning everyone. Apologies if this has been answered many times before but I’m a bit confused about pre departure testing. I’ll be returning to Scotland from Spain in a few weeks time. The Scottish Government website states “you must check the test you buy meets standards of ≥97% specificity and ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml”. I’ve looked at various websites but none mention if they meet this requirement. Does anyone have any experience of returning to Scotland and can recommend what test to use? Thanks!

  • James says:

    Trying to change my flight online with BA which is today and it’s supposed to be free, yet the system is trying to charge me £519. Any idea of a way around this or do I just need to phone them up?

    • James says:

      Update – Woman on the phone trying to say I can’t change for free because I upgraded to CE. Now she is trying to get me a quote. Surely this is incorrect?

      • meta says:

        Yes, that’s correct. Upgrading to CE from economy cash ticket makes your ticket non-refundable. Well, you can take the future travel voucher and rebook.

        • James says:

          Thanks meta, that’s news to me!

        • Harry T says:

          Meta is correct. Not many people know this, so it’s a good tip to learn!

          • WaynedP says:

            I had no idea either.

            Is this true in all cases of upgrading (or just between certain class “buckets”) and what is the logic ?

          • George K says:

            Are we talking about Same Day Change? If so, the only fares that are not eligible are
            1) HBO fares; and
            2) Avios redemptions (either Economy+ or Business)

            And yes, upgrading from HBO to CE (especially via the special offers online) always retains the rules of the original ticket (but you get the higher cabin/TPs/Avios of course).

      • James says:

        I paid to upgrade from EP to CE. Initially BA online was £519 for the change. Called them up and was then quoted £140 which I refused as I was staying just near the airport and luckily I get a change for £40 48hrs either side of my departure due to working offshore (ABZ-LHR route). But still was under the impression I would have been entitled to a same day change regardless of if I upgraded or not. Lesson learned!

        • George K says:

          Hmm that’s weird. EP fares are eligible for SDC, so I can’t understand why that was denied. It shouldn’t matter that you upgraded to CE. Keen to hear an explanation myself from anyone who’d know.

          • James says:

            I was surprised too! But maybe I was just wrong.

          • meta says:

            @George K @James the moment you upgrade your cash ticket whether it is Economy+ or fully flex economy (yes there are those as well!) it becomes non-refundable (now refundable with a voucher due to pandemic). That means no same day changes. You are getting entirely different ticket with its own set of rules, basically booking into lowest fare class of CE which is non-refundable. This is shown on the screen before you click confirm.

            @WaynedP it’s mainly relevant for ET, but I imagine it also applies to WT and WTP.

  • Andrew says:

    Has BA moved some flights back to T3 yet or is it still all T5? I have BCN in a few weeks and is ticketed as T3, but wasn’t sure if that’s the case. For once I’d prefer T5 as the good lounges are all closed at T3 and the First Wing is at T5.

  • KBuffett says:

    My Marriott HJH rates seem to be far more expensive/less available. Are others noticing the same?

    • Harry T says:

      Yeah, I’m glad I made provisional bookings early in the year and asked a few hotels to move stays from lockdown dates, as many hotels no longer have them available or have massively increased the cost. London EDITION used to be £149-199 and now costs something like £289. Luckily they graciously moved a lot of weekends for me.

    • Blair says:

      Government rates (for US federal and UK) have both started creeping up in London sadly.

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    Any recommendations of the best time to call BA at present to get through to an agent? Tried twice after 7pm but just keep getting cut off, not even in a queue system.

    • Andrew says:

      As an aside, if anyone’s interested, I just called Virgin and got through in about 5 minutes when calling at 7am (when they open).

      • John says:

        On the other hand:
        I also called Virgin at 7am this morning and took just under an hour to speak to someone.

    • Andrew says:

      But in answer to your question SS – early morning is always the preferable time to call BA – 7pm is surely one of the most peak times for people to call.

    • VerdantBacon says:

      Right now, I always try to call around 8am

    • Beardless Hipster says:

      8am sharp

      • Andrew says:

        Indeed – finger poised to press dial at the stroke of 8

      • Jane says:

        I’d suggest 0758 and keep trying till it doesn’t tell you they are shut ! worked for me yesterday. 0800 the day before and not even getting in the queue.

    • Lady London says:

      Recommendations being reported regularly here are dead on 8am or via Skype to US line (that gets redirected by BA to UK call centre) around midnight

  • Hugh says:

    Has anyone manage to book a 1am ticket over the phone recently? I tried last night and the US number I was dialing (1 877 767 7970) told me to ring a different number ( 1 800 452 1201). I hung up and tried again 3 times. The number they told me to dial told me the office was closed. I managed to get the tickets I was after online but have friends trying this on Saturday and now not sure if it is actually possible. Any thoughts?

    • Number9 says:

      My brother tried to call Japan a couple of nights ago to add the return flight to his 241 Amex voucher and was told sorry they can’t do it .

      • Lobbers says:

        Good to know, so if booking a return companion voucher leg, you should call the country BA line where the flight is leaving from? I need to book SIN-LHR in a few days

    • Wally1976 says:

      What time did you call Hugh? I think people have said before now that the US office closes at 1am BST so you need to call a bit earlier to get them on the line?

      I’m interested in this myself as will be attempting the same in 2 weeks or so.

      • Travel Strong says:

        On the days I tried I tested the number at various times earlier in the evening, and still got nowhere as described by the OP above (1 number points to another, then get cut off on other number). 9pm, 10pm, just before 1am – no joy.

      • Hugh says:

        I called at 12:50. Got through within a minute. Spoke unsuccessfully to 3 people before flights became available online. Sounds from comments as though maybe this option no longer works for anyone!

    • Travel Strong says:

      US number has failed me for months. Not seen a good solution discussed (beyond waiting til UK opens and risk losing seat to someone making a straight forward online booking – or having enough avios to book online without 241, then calling to combine/refund points later).

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