BA ends flexible “Book With Confidence” policy, making flights to places that require a negative Covid test such as US more risky – as coupons for late cancellations have now been scrapped
- The policy was introduced as a temporary measure in March 2020
- It was a response to ever-changing travel restrictions from the Covid pandemic
- Passengers can cancel a flight up to one hour before departure for a coupon
- An aviation expert described the scrapping of Book With Confidence “a shame”
As a sign that travel is returning to normal, British Airways has reactivated pre-Covid booking policies and removed its ‘Book With Confidence’ policy, which allowed passengers to change flight dates and destinations at no extra charge.
The guideline was introduced as a temporary measure in March 2020 in response to ever-changing travel restrictions from the Covid pandemic, with passengers being able to cancel a flight up to an hour before departure and claim a voucher.
BA announced that the Book With Confid scheme will not apply to bookings made on or after June 8, but will continue to benefit passengers with existing bookings made on or before June 7, as long as the flight date is no later than September 30. 2022
As a sign that travel is returning to normal, British Airways has reactivated booking rules before Covid and removed its ‘Book With Confidence’ policy
The rule change means that as of yesterday, a passenger who books a BA flight may be charged a fee to change or cancel a booking, unless they have a more expensive flexible ticket.
And they may have to rely on travel insurance for reimbursement if they cannot fly because they have produced a positive Covid test for a flight to a country that requires a negative entry result.
The rule change makes flying to the United States, for example, much more risky, as incoming passengers must produce a negative Covid result from a test taken no more than one day before departure.
BA said: “We offer a wide range of prices to provide greater choice to our customers, and the vast majority of our tickets already provide flexibility.
“If a customer’s flight is canceled, we will always offer them a number of options, including full refunds.”
It added that the ordering rules will be reviewed if a country introduces new rules due to Covid-19.
Headforpoints.com’s Rob Burgess said the scrapping of Book With Confidence ‘seems strict given that pre-departure testing is still required for flights to the US’
Frequent flyer website headforpoints.com explains that the resumption of pre-Covid BA booking rules means that non-refundable cash tickets are ‘once again non-refundable’, while Avios tickets can be canceled up to 24 hours before departure for a fee of £ 35 per person.
Headforpoints.com’s Rob Burgess said: “I was a little surprised that British Airways did not extend” Book With Confidence “a little further, given the closing date of September 30, it revealed the busy six-month period in October – especially as people tend to to travel further afield to chase the hot weather and where Covid policy may be more difficult to predict.
It also seems strictly given that pre-departure testing is still required for flights to the US Even with the current low levels of infection, it will be assumed from statistics that a few people per flight will still have to cancel at short notice after failing a test. I’m not sure this is a risk many potential bookers will take.
“This new policy is likely to have what is likely to be the desired effect of business travelers returning to booking more expensive flexible rates, but may inadvertently end up driving away leisure travelers.”
“Book With Confidence has existed in various forms since early 2020. It is a pity that BA has not chosen the same approach as other airlines such as Lufthansa and some US airlines, which have made permanent improvements to the cancellation policy.
“It may be that British Airways is living to regret this move right back to its pre-Covid position, as the world and tourism have clearly changed dramatically.”