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Legal Advice

British Airways fined for failing to refund flights after Covid cancellations

British Airways Fines Over Covid Cancellations

British Airways has been fined US$1.1 million for failing to refund flights after they were cancelled during Covid.

The British Airways website apparently instructed passengers to call via phone to discuss refund options but it is almost impossible to reach anyone by phone at British Airways "Customer Service" as I have been personally aware since 2007.

Other misleading advice on the British Airways website led passengers to inadvertently apply for vouchers instead of a refund.

For more information see:

British Airways Sued Over Travel Vouchers

British Airways Sued Over Travel Vouchers

A British Airways passenger has successfully taken British Airways to court to obtain a cash refund after her flight was cancelled by the airline due to Covid restrictions.

During Covid, many airlines offered vouchers as compensation for cancelled flights but vouchers are often difficult to redeem and are useless to travellers who may have missed a specific event and no longer wish to fly.

Hopefully British Airways will now offer a cash back option without passengers having to take court action especially since they are now profitable again after the pandemic.

For more information see:

Time to Rethink Your Travel Plans if you are Planning to Fly British Airways this Summer

Heathrow Terminal 5 Baggage Reclaim

Travellers planning to fly with BA this summer might like to rethink their travel plans after BA staff have voted to strike over unfair pay and conditions.

BA are accused of using fire and rehire practices during the pandemic to reduce wages.

Staff are keen to have this pay cut reversed especially after all the abuse they have endured from irate customers during the pandemic and a spate of IT failures.

For more information see:

Update: It appears at least some stike action has been averted after a pay deal has been struck with workers.

Claiming Back Travel Costs after Coronavirus Cancellations


Plans have been disrupted for many travellers due to the Coronavirus pandemic with the airline companies being particularly hard hit.

Given the uncertainty with lock-downs to varying degrees across most jurisdictions, it seems reasonable for airlines to refund the cost of flights if they can't provide the flight on the agreed date.

Unfortunately, many airlines seem to be hanging on to customers money and offering vouchers or credits for future airline travel at some unknown date.

Airline customers are left out of pocket wondering if the airline companies will survive the crisis to honour these vouchers or credits.

At least one British Airways customer who contacted me this week is in this situation, holding approximately £1200 of British Airways vouchers that he has repeatedly but unsuccessfully tried to use to purchase new travel. He has been unsuccessful trying to contact British Airways by phone and is asking what options are available.

After you have made reasonable attempts to recover your money from the airline, my suggested options include:

  • contacting your banking provider to reverse the transaction on your credit card (assuming you used a credit card to pay for the travel)
  • pursuing a claim via the CEDR which will cost you £25 if you are unsuccessful
  • pursuing a claim via the small claims court (which may be difficult or impossible if you live outside the UK)
  • finding some professional help with your claim

Professional help is available e.g. there is some excellent advice on the Bott and Co. website including:

  • It is specifically EU Regulation 261 laws relating to cancelled flights that are relevant for cancellations relating to Coronavirus. Under this law, you are legally entitled to a refund within seven days equal to the price you paid for your ticket.
  • This law applies to flights that would have departed from the EU or arrive in the EU on an EU based airline.
  • The United Kingdom is still part of the EU until the end of 2020, so the above criteria apply at a minimum to all EU and UK based airlines.

Update: According to Bott and Co, "EU Regulation 261/2004 was written into UK law at the end of the Brexit transition period, meaning you have exactly the same rights to claim flight compensation as you did when the UK were members of the EU."

Bott and Co. can pursue a claim on your behalf and they have a very high success rate. They charge 25% of the refund amount recovered in successful claims and charge nothing if they are unsuccessful.

I am not affiliated with Bott and Co. but they do seem to be the experts at this.

DISCLAIMER: The British Airways name and logo are the property of British Airways. is in no way associated with British Airways and does not represent British Airways.