British Airways has scrapped its flexible ‘Book with Confidence’ policy

Jun 9, 2022

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British Airways has scrapped its flexible “Book with Confidence” policy a year after the airline extended the guarantee during the darkest days of the pandemic.

The policy was introduced back in March 2020 to encourage new bookings by allowing passengers to change their travel plans for any reason at no extra cost in response to the crippling travel disruption caused by COVID-19 and the ever-changing global restrictions it unleashed.

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Then, in August last year, BA extended the guarantee, as well as the expiration date of no-questions-asked Future Travel Vouchers.

It was always seen as a temporary measure, though.

On Wednesday, in another sign that travel is returning to normal, BA quietly wound back the flexibility offered during that time, encouraging passengers to ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance to cover last-minute cancellations.

“We offer a wide range of fares to give greater choice to our customers, and the vast majority of our tickets already provide flexibility,” said a BA spokesperson. “If a customer’s flight is canceled, we’ll always offer them a range of options including a full refund.”

Related: Norse Atlantic Airways announces low-cost transatlantic flights to London 

Existing bookings will still benefit from the Book with Confidence policy, but any bookings made from June 8 will not, BA says.

As of Wednesday, BA’s standard policies apply. This means any passenger who wants to change or cancel a booking will be charged a fee unless they purchase a more expensive flexible fare. If you’re traveling somewhere that still requires a negative test for entry (such as the United States), you could be unable to travel through no fault of your own and unable to utilize BA’s policy. Make sure you have good travel insurance in place.

BA says its booking policies would also be reviewed if any country introduces rules that could prevent or restrict passengers from entering as a result of COVID-19.

Some airlines are retaining additional flexibility permanently, while others, like Ryanair, have already returned to pre-pandemic restrictive policies.

How do other UK airlines’ booking flexibility policies compare?

EasyJet

In November, easyJet extended its “Freedom to Change” policy until March 31, meaning customers could continue to change their flights for free.

While that ended, the airline’s “Travel Restriction Protection” scheme will remain in place until Dec. 31.

“This means that if a lockdown travel ban or a hotel quarantine is imposed, customers will be able to receive a refund, or a voucher, or will be able to transfer their flight free of charge, even if their flight continues to operate,” the company said.

Ryanair

Ryanair’s “Zero Change Fee” policy ended Jan. 31. If you booked your flight before that date, you can still change your booking for free up until Sept. 31.

You’ll need to rebook at least seven days before your travel dates “depending on the route and travel dates selected,” and you’ll have to cover any difference in fare yourself.

Ryanair does offer customers the option of changing their booking within 24 hours if they made a mistake. Otherwise, it costs 45 euros (about $48.27) to change a booking.

Wizz Air

Wizz does not offer a flight change policy unless you pay for it in advance.

You can change your reservation anytime up to three hours prior to takeoff for the following fees:

  • More than 30 days to go: 32 euros ($34.32) per passenger per flight.
  • Between seven and 30 days to go: 37 euros ($39.69) per passenger per flight.
  • Within seven days to go: 42 euros ($45.05) per passenger per flight.

For passengers concerned they may need to change their flight, they can opt for the “Wizz Flex” option when making the original booking. However, that costs between 5 euros ($5.36) and 36 euros ($38.61), depending on your destination.

Jet2

Jet2 will refund your booking if your flight is canceled because of COVID-19 or if the United Kingdom government advice changes and it becomes illegal for you to go on a holiday abroad.

Cancellations for any other reason are possible but you will not get any money back. As the airline states, “Please be aware that all Jet2.com scheduled flights are non-refundable.

“We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking to cover for unforeseen events that may prevent you from traveling as planned. However, you can make name and date changes to your booking as detailed above.”

To change a booking you will be charged a $40.93 administration fee and must cover the difference of any price change.

Virgin Atlantic

For all flights booked with Virgin Atlantic and package holidays purchased from Virgin Holidays between Feb. 16 and April 23, you can change your dates as many times as you need on flights departing before Aug. 31.

Any rebooked flight must be completed by Dec. 31, 2023. Or you can choose a voucher, valid until Dec. 21, 2023.

TUI

TUI’s “COVID Flexibility” policy allows you to change your flight for free for any of the following reasons:

  • You or someone in your party tests positive for COVID-19.
  • There’s a local lockdown in the area you live in and you’re unable to travel.
  • Vaccination, testing or quarantine requirements have changed since you booked and you are therefore no longer able to travel.
  • TUI lets you know of “restrictions in your destination that have been introduced after you booked that will significantly impact your holiday enjoyment.”

This policy is applicable to all holidays departing on or before Oct. 31.

If TUI cancels your booking – for example, due to a hotel closing or a flight cancellation – you won’t need to pay any fees to change your booking.

Featured photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images/Getty Images.

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