When the pandemic hit in early 2020, one of the first industries to be hit was airlines, as international border closures led to massive flight cancellations and created a massive cash crunch for carriers. as refunds were due.
Several airlines, including British Airways, then resorted to ‘reimbursing’ funds for canceled flights in vouchers rather than cash in an attempt to solve their liquidity problem, but many customers have been sitting on these vouchers since without be able to use them.
British Airways was particularly misleading in this way because the only way to get a cash refund was to call the airline after disabling the refund button on the website and replacing it with a link to a website that only allowed to request a voucher.
I wrote about this when this problem was at its peak:
Cancellation of reward and paid flights with British Airways: a waste at best, a scam at worst!
Then John followed at the end of the same year when BA finally returned the option of requesting cash refunds online after receiving widespread criticism for their scam from the media:
British Airways customers can now claim cash refunds for their canceled flights online
It was too late for many who had applied for one of the vouchers and were told by British Airways ‘Sorry, you agreed to take a voucher and now you are stuck with it’.
In fact, that’s not correct. Many customers have since taken British Airways to court or opened mediation proceedings in which BA was ordered to return the money owed because they tricked the customer into accepting a voucher.
Others have received an email over the past week that British Airways will now automatically refund their vouchers, but only to the original method of payment.
Here’s what they’re now communicating to customers:
Note that this does not affect all customers who received a voucher but mainly those who requested one when making Avios bookings. Others who filed a formal complaint received similar emails.
If you are still sitting on such a voucher resulting from a canceled BA flight, I would also recommend that you complain to their customer service team and then (if denied) involve the ombudsman or court.
Reimbursing the money to the original form of payment (most commonly a credit/debit card) two years later will lead to issues such as card accounts having already been cancelled, flights having been paid for by a other person, etc.
Usually a bank or credit card company will send a credit note to a customer whose accounts have since been closed. Alternatively, they credit accounts that still exist even if the new card number is different.
It is important to keep your current address with the banks whose cards you are canceling and where refunds may be due…just in case.
British Airways has emailed a customer who previously accepted a travel voucher for a canceled flight as there appear to be other issues in the redemption process.
The airline has been in hot water before when it comes to its vouchers and it has now been two years since they were first issued. Many customers were previously unable to redeem their vouchers due to a lack of travel options.
Do you still have any outstanding British Airways vouchers resulting from cancellation during the pandemic?