Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Had a British Airways First Class ticket cancelled or need to change one? Call “You First”

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

“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.

The last time I used it, back in August 2020 at the height of the pandemic, I got through within 30 seconds and within five minutes my tickets were changed following a cancellation.

Whilst it may be busier this weekend after the problems yesterday, it is by far your best opportunity to get an affected flight rebooked or refunded.

British Airways You First telephone number for first class passengers

The British Airways “You First” telephone number is 020 7949 3055.  If you are in the UK, there is also a free version which is 0800 408 7667.

‘You First’ 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.

You can ring this number to make a First Class booking, for cash or Avios, as well as call to make any changes or cancellations.

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.

British Airways You First telephone number

One reason to call “You First” is to pre-book the cabana relaxation rooms in The Concorde Room lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York JFK.  These are still closed due to covid restrictions, but you used to be able to reserve one up to a year in advance.

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.

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.

Don’t forget that we have a full guide to redeeming Avios for British Airways First Class seats which you can find here.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2023)

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is doubled to a crazy 50,000 Avios! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is doubled to 10,000 Avios. Apply here.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

CRAZY 50,000 Avios for signing up (to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (only to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

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

Comments (52)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • dragonfly says:

    Mid last year I phoned You First seeking for help to change F flights booked with Avios from BA to QR. Not very helpful as they said it could not be done. I tried the normal number for flight changes, and got a very helpful agent who had no problem of change booking from BA to QR. He was an ‘angel’!

  • Pete says:

    Booked 2 J upgrades and 2 F redemptions LHR to AUH a year before travel. Tried to check in day before and couldn’t. Called the dedicated first number and said I knew there was a problem so just let me know now and not at the airport and was reassured there was no problem at all. Turned up next day no F cabin. BA lied saying last minute metal switch so I showed them the same non F aircraft had flown this service for 3 weeks. Last time with BA!

    • AJA says:

      Did you get the downgrade reimbursement of 75% of the Avios for the F award tickets for flying in J instead of F?

      • Lady London says:

        If an airline lies and cheats even intelligent realistic proactive customers who call to ask a factual question, then they should be made to pay every last cent.

        In the complaint you’ll have to raise to BA as a first step please do us all a favour and mentiom being lied to when you specifically asked and this could not possibly be as a result of BA agent’s incompetence is why you will make a point of sharing this experience with others and will pursue to the last cent the downgrade reimbursement that is due to you under EU261 and its UK equivalent.

        Follow the oft repeated steps here on HfP. BA’s tactic is going to be ignore and deny but the steps on here tell you how to continue getting paid out in full.

        I advise you to MCOL rather than CEDR as MCOL claims are submitted for monetary value ie you get cash back. In this case the monetary value you are entitled to claim and receive is based on 1.6p per avios in the 75% reimbursement you are due plus 75% of any cash you paid, less £200 or so.

        If you travelled on a 241 you are entitled to this twice over – in full once for each seat, based on the cost of the first seat.

        Accept nothing but the above full amount – no refund not even partial. If at the complaint level they throw you say, 10,000 avios , send them a note (or at least call them and log it) rejecting this and confirming you continue to seek the full amount you are due.

        If you already accepted a partial avios refund that does not mean you can’t claim it makes it slightly stickier and may reduce your value claimable but still worth doing for sums involved.

    • Sam says:

      Don’t think it can be your lasttime with BA though, realistically, given BA is almost a monopoly in many routes with premium cabins, departing from the UK.

  • Barnaby100 says:

    Tried that last Sunday when flight from DFW was delayed 4.5 hours. Got nowhere. Called on USA gold line and got bumped to the AA flight Pretty much sums up 25 years experience of you first . Fur coat and no knickers

  • Lady London says:

    Does anyone know if you can actually refuse to travel if they downgrade you?

    Ideally this should get same rights as a cancellation but I have never seen anything telling me I can refuse to board.

    • NorthernLass says:

      To my knowledge EU/UK261 only provides for compensation for downgrades, not re-routing, so refusing to travel might not be the best option.

    • Jonathan says:

      Rob said a while ago that before coronavirus, BA were targeting people travelling on the companion voucher when they couldn’t find someone who’d volunteer to down grade their seat when needed, since it gives the traveller far less legal right to compensation, what would be great is if someone took BA to court over something like this, since redemption seats are a fixed cost, and whereas most other travellers will vary considerably based on how much they’ve paid for their seat

      • Rob says:

        BA has been taken to Money Claim Online many times, and always lost. These cases don’t set legal precendent.

      • Lady London says:

        Hey Jonathan you are correct according to reports there was far too many people travelling on award tickets, especially on 241’s, that were getting offloaded “your flight is cancelled, but on checking your flight is still going so they cancelled just your seats” or downgraded.

        It became clear, you were right and BA thought they might not have had to pay compensation for the second seat on a 241.

        Fortunately as Rob has pointed out, BA found out in court multiple times that Yes the second seat (even if BA thought it was free) has the same rights in full, as the first seat to compensation, in full based on the first seat.

        However there is still the risk of being targeted for downgrade. This is because if BA can re-sell your seat in F or J to someone else for more cash than they took off you, the evidence based on reports is you may be more likely to be downgraded than other passengers. Probably BA is counting on the vast majority of passengers not knowing a downgrade from First gets you 75% (or more) of what you paid for your First seat. Your 241 companion gets the same as you.

        As BA will keep making these commercial decisions (and why shouldn’t they) anyone entitled to compensation should make sure they claim it.

        BA’s other tactic appears to be they lie, deny, delay and stonewall but following the steps on here carefully most claims should be paid by BA after they are judged or arbitrated and when BA has got any sense, before that point.


        • Andrew says:

          Lady London,
          a short note of thanks to you and the HfP team for these excellent explanations. As a retired businessman no longer “in the game”, and flying BA only when vouchers and Avios need using up, its good to be aware. Wife and I flying F to JNB on a 241 later this year, hoping for the best, fearing the worst from BA

    • John says:

      It’s not a cancellation as they are still offering to transport you to the destination at the scheduled time. You can travel in the lower cabin and get the compensation, or wait until the next flight in the same cabin with no compensation and a risk of further complications

  • Clayton says:

    Regarding re-routing: BA will pick an alternative route that is favourable to them not nessecarily to you. They WILL tell you this is the route you need to accept. This is NOT true. You may demand any viable and reasonable alternative route that fits YOUR schedule or itinerary. *

    Eg: BA cancelled their LHR-LED route on us which we were flying in J. They rerouted us as follows:
    I rejected this saying schedule wise it didn’t fit and I also wouldn’t accept an IRROP down to Y for part of the flight and instead proposed the following:
    BA again refused this saying they flew the LHR-HEL route themselves so would fly us that sector. I again refused using timings and honestly stating that die to them cancelling I wouldn’t use their metal as I wanted it to cost them as much as possible to teach them a lesson. They refused. I asked for a manager and pointed out it was my legal right to demand any reasonable alternative that benefited my travel plans and reminded him that it was BA that was in breach of contract not myself.

    Upon being reminded this they backed down and rebooked as per my itinerary. May I add at a cost about 5 times higher.

    If you want a reroute due to themessing things up then always do your research first and be firm but fair. Hold your ground and state both your legal rights and their legal obligations.

    * PLEASE NOTE: In cases like the current situation in Ukraine they would be exempt as there are extraordinary circumstances outside their control in play. Not that BA fly there, I don’t think, but it’s a pertinent example.

  • Georges says:

    “For clarity, you CANNOT ring this number to make a First Class booking”. I would disagree with that. I have been using You First since it was introduced probably ten years ago. I fly on average 6 round trips Avios redemptions in first class every year and as many of them are open jaw, I have always booked those by calling You First. I have never been told by a You First agent that you can only change First Class bookings, and not make new ones. What would be the point of that I wonder? If there is such a policy, I can assure you it has never been enforced with me.

  • Michelle says:

    I have always been able to make a booking on the YouFirst line, avios flight only and packages, they were the ones that finally boosted me from silver to Gold Promoting the double avios TP on packages however they have pushed back if the flights I want are not in first or if first class is not available. CCR in London also confirmed the cabanas are now closed down for good. Always had excellent service from them.

  • Charlie says:

    My first class reward ticket was cancelled last year. So I rebooked a first class reward ticket for this year. It got downgraded to business class without notification. BA didn’t refund the price difference. Now the downgraded ticket is cancelled again. What’s the best thing I should do?

    • Lady London says:

      You don’t want the price/avios difference.

      Claiming 75% of what you paid for First (cash and/or avios) is likely to be far more lucrative.

      You can only claim after you’ve flown it in the lower class.

      To secure this, do 2 things.
      1. At any contact point you might have with BA, keep it very clear that the downgrade is not voluntary. For example, if they change your flight again and you’ve not been upgraded back again make a point of saying you were involuntarily downgraded and now the flight has changed again, you want to be put back in First which you had booked. Do this even if you’re pretty sure that route or aircraft might not even have First any more. This reinforces that your downgrade is involuntary (needed for you to claim the 75% of what you paid back, after the flight).

      2. Do not accept nor ask for any refund. Not even partial. Watch out for agents saying they’ll “just refund the avios difference”. Stop them in their tracks. Tell them no you will be seeking the full amount of downgrade compensation after the flight and meanwhile you’re not accepting anything.

      If BA is really silly and drags it out so you have to MCOL the accepted amount you are claiming for any avios in the booking (75% of avios paid) is 1.6p per avios. Plus 75% of (cash paid less about £200, for long haul). Your 241 companion has a right to the same amount as you

      To keep these rights don’t accept a refund even partial.

      • AJA says:

        Just a minor correction. It is not downgrade compensation. It is downgrade reimbursement. You are entitled to a refund as you have not travelled in the cabin that BA sold and you purchased.

        And even if BA automatically refunds the difference in Avios between First and Club I would still claim the full 75% and say that the Avios automatically refunded was a partial figure or even say that was a goodwill gesture and service recovery.

        • Lady London says:

          Agreed AJA. There is even some text in EU261 that implies small gestures don’t mean the airline has provided what they are.supposed to. However it’s cleaner and easier and will remove stress as it gives airlines one less thing to try to use to imply that you agreed to settle for less (even implied).

          We have even had a report in the past few days that some b*5t**d at British Airways told the poster that even by looking for other flight options in MMB (and not accepting any of the flights that could be seen that way), the poster had “implicitly accepted” what they just looked at.

          You are right as always, AJA but we continue to hear on here the dirty tricks and lies airlines will take any opportunity to try if a chink opens.

    • AJA says:

      Re the cancellation I would phone You First and ask to be rerouted in First on dates suitable to you. You should not need reward seat availability. You might run into a brick wall where BA say there is ticket validity issue. Plus if no first class is available go for the downgrade reimbursement as per LadyLondon’s post.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.