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British Air refund - calling process took about an hour

We just got through to British Air, regarding our canceled April 13 flights. My husband initially made three attempts, over half an hour, and couldn't even get put on hold. Finally, about 9:30 am CA time, he was put on hold, and waited about 30 minutes. The call center was on the East Coast.

Once he had an airline agent, he was on the phone about 10 minutes. We received a refund of our money and Avios points. The cash refund will go to Paypal, [and then to our Visa.] The BA staffer was quite professional and friendly.

Overall, it was not as difficult as expected. Good luck to you all!

Posted by
169 posts

I think one big reason for not getting through faster is because of all the people calling now when their trip doesn't start until later. The airlines are asking people to call within 72 hours of their flight leaving. There is a reason for that being asked. And if it's something you can do online, do it there. If an airline has 100 flights per day, with 250 passengers on each that's 25000 people. Do you realize that if half the people leaving on May 1st called today plus those leaving in the next 72 hours how many calls that would be it one day? Don't call when you don't leave until next month or later. Give those who are leaving much sooner a chance. It's just being considerate of others.

Glad to hear all went well with you.

Posted by
14 posts

I'm curious if British Air cancelled the flights or if you were cancelling them. Thank you.

Posted by
685 posts

British Air cancelled the flights about three weeks ago.

Posted by
6543 posts

We booked our flight through Ovago who purchased the flights thru American Airways who passed the flights off to their partner, British Air. British Air cancelled our return flights 2 days before we left.
We have to correspond thru Ovago, and first we were told by B/A memo we could flat cancel our flights for a refund.
Now Ovago says we can only get "credit" for future flights on non-cancellable flight terms, But there is no where we want to go the next year with the worldwide health scare.. The credits won't hang there forever.
We've been getting the royal runaround, and we're out a bunch of $.

Posted by
3978 posts

I presume you mean British Airways. There is no such airline as British Air.

Posted by
3984 posts

Hey, Pat, I just got our refund processed, as well. Our experience was similar to yours; I couldn't get through yesterday (or the day before, or the day before that,) but I called about 7:30 this morning and only had to wait about 2 minutes. I called the US 800 number, but I don't know where the call center was.

We also got our refund in money (credit to our BA-Chase credit card) and avios (points.) The staffer was friendly, cheerful, and good-humored. When we were going through the vetting process - booking reference, check; name - check; mailing adddress - check; email address check; last four digits of the credit card you used to purchase your flight - "Oh, crap." And she laughed and waited while I dug out the seldom used card.

A good experience overall.

I am assuming we'll lose the giant new credit card avios bonus we got when we charged the flight, but that's okay. It's a relief to have the flight cost recovered.

Thanks everyone for your helpful suggestions.

Posted by
5019 posts

An hour sounds pretty quick to me. I've spent an average of 2-3 hours on hold each time trying to get through to multiple airlines in the past few weeks. Occasionally you get lucky, but be prepared for a long hold and dropped connections.

Worth repeating IMHO: unless your flight is in the next 72 hours, please do NOT call in. You are not helping or "giving an early heads-up" by calling in far in advance of your flight. All you are doing is gumming up the works, causing long delays for those who really do need to get through, and probably adding to the operating costs of the airlines at a time when they are bleeding out money and tottering on the edge of bankruptcy (and if they don't go belly-up, that money they're spending on taking your call for a trip a month ahead will just come out of public money used to support them).

A friend asked me for help yesterday in canceling her international flight, booked with United miles, on two other airlines. After giving her the steps to take I asked when her flight was. "Late May", she said. D'oh! I asked her to please wait until 72 hours before the scheduled departure.

Posted by
169 posts

Agree with David. If you aren't leaving within the next 72 hours, DON'T CALL!!
The airlines aren't asking this to be mean or to try to screw you over or whatever. They have thousands of people to help and are just trying to do so in an orderly way. Help them help all.

Posted by
1424 posts

Jane, so glad to see your refund is in process! Well, your credit on your credit card anyway. I guess everything you buy on that card for the next few months (years?) will be "free"!

I'm still letting the days tick by to see if my May 11th flight will be cancelled. Their "flight status" has shown it cancelled every day thus far.

Thanks for conveying the various experiences with getting refunds so I know what to expect!

Posted by
3984 posts

Hi, CWsocial. I was just about to PM you to catch you up. We got an email last Sunday saying two legs of our round trip flight were cancelled. They offered a change for one leg, Tulsa to Chicago, but not the Rome - Dallas leg. And the TUL - Chicago flight they offered would probably have had us missing a connection in London, so it wasn't acceptable, either.

We only use that credit card for travel, so unless we have an emergency, we'll just sit on in smugly, knowing our next trip to Europe is paid for. Well, prepaid, I guess. :-)

Your trip is still about a month out, so there's still a good chance they'll cancel. If not, since you're planning other trips in the not too distant future, perhaps the voucher would suffice? If BA had extended the voucher time to 2 years, the way Delta and United have, we would probably have taken that option.

Posted by
8570 posts

unless your flight is in the next 72 hours, please do NOT call in.

And cross your fingers that the airline doesn't run out of cash. If they run out of cash, which looks possible with some, they will declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy does not mean they stop flying. It just means they get to work out payment schedules with their creditors. If the airline owes you money from a canceled flight, and they've declared bankruptcy, you become a creditor. You then get to file a claim with the court for the amount you are owed. It could take a long, long, long time to get your money.....if you get it at all.

But the good news is......if the airline declares bankruptcy, and you don't collect all that is owed, the amount not received can be taken off your taxes.

Do what is best for you.