Sometimes we are affected by lengthy ground delays that can be beyond our control. These may be due to severe weather, air traffic control rulings, government operating restrictions, or airport operator issues that cannot be anticipated. Consequently we have enhanced our customer policy to do everything possible to minimise any inconvenience to you during these difficult periods. We will work with appropriate agencies as well to ensure they adhere to our policy to give you the best customer service possible in the circumstances of the delay.
Our plan will be coordinated with airport authorities, Customs and Border Protection and the Transport Security Administration at each of our USA stations and at nominated potential diversion stations as appropriate.
We will not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac (stands, taxiways) for more than four hours without the opportunity for you to disembark. This applies to both departing and to arriving aircraft. However, the pilot-in-command may decide there is a safety or security-related reason to stop this from happening. If Air Traffic Control advised us that remaining on, or returning to the gate, or permitting anyone to disembark elsewhere would significantly disrupt airport operations then we would also not be allowed to do this.
If your aircraft remains on the tarmac no later than two hours after leaving the gate for a departure, or touches down after an arrival, we will provide food and potable water from the normal on-board catering. Should the pilot-in-command decide that safety or security requirements preclude this service then we will not be able to provide these refreshments.
Whilst your aircraft remains on the tarmac the lavatory facilities will function, and adequate medical attention if needed, will be available.
During a delay our flight crew will make information available to you on board at least every 30 minutes regarding the status of the flight, and the reasons if known, for the tarmac delay.
After the scheduled departure time (including any revised departure time you were notified about before boarding), if an opportunity exists for you to disembark, the flight crew will notify you every 30 minutes that you may leave the aircraft and return to the gate or another disembarkation area.
We will do our best to provide sufficient resources to deliver this policy.
The staff at British Airways are dedicated to ensuring that our customers always experience a safe and enjoyable journey.
Your journey is subject to our Conditions of Carriage.
Customers calling our reservations office or visiting our ticket offices or counters to purchase a ticket for a specific day and time will be offered the lowest fare available through British Airways, exclusive of Internet only fares. If you do not provide specific date and time requirements we will provide you with a range of fares.
In the US, please contact British Airways toll free numbers at 800-AIR-WAYS for further information. If you have a hearing impairment, you may contact us at
British Airways will provide customers at the airport and onboard a delayed aircraft with timely and frequent updates regarding the delay, beginning 30 minutes after we become aware of such a delay. This information will also be available on ba.com and via our telephone reservation system. We will update our flight status displays and other sources of flight information under our control, and provide the airport the same information so that they can update their flight status displays.
Where possible, British Airways will take reasonable steps to contact customers in advance at the phone number(s) provided in your reservation record. If you booked with a travel agency, and no contact number exists in our system, our reservations representatives will attempt to contact the agency. We encourage you to provide us with a mobile phone number and email address so that we can send email and text updates to you during your journey.
Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our customers. On very rare occasions, extraordinary events may result in lengthy onboard delays. We have developed detailed contingency plans to deal with situations in which an aircraft is delayed on the ground without access to a terminal gate. We will make reasonable efforts to ensure that your essential needs, such as food, water, restroom facilities, and basic medical assistance are met. Every British Airways US airport team has an operational contingency plan in place to address these needs, which includes coordination with the local airport authorities and other airlines serving the airport when appropriate. Each plan designates a local control person to coordinate the activities of the local team and communicate with our operations team in London.
Our tarmac delay policy is at the top of this page.
You may cancel a reservation made on ba.com or through the British Airways call center within 24 hours of ticketing for a full refund by calling the British Airways call center at 800-AIRWAYS provided travel is more than one week from the date of purchase.
British Airways will take all reasonable measures necessary to avoid delays in carrying you and your baggage. These measures may, in exceptional circumstances and if necessary to prevent a flight being cancelled, include arranging for a flight to be operated by another aircraft, by another airline or by both.
If we cancel a flight, delay a flight by five hours or more, fail to stop at your place of stopover or destination, or cause you to miss a connecting flight on which you hold a confirmed reservation, you can choose one of the three remedies set out immediately below.
We will carry you as soon as we can to the destination shown on your ticket on another of our scheduled services on which a seat is available in the class of service for which you have paid the fare. If we do this, we will not charge you extra and where necessary, will extend the validity period of your ticket.
We will carry you to the destination shown on your ticket, in the class of service for which you have paid the fare, at a later date at your convenience and within the validity period of your ticket, on another of our scheduled services on which a seat is available. If we do this, we will not charge you extra.
We will give or obtain for you an involuntary fare refund.
We will give you additional assistance, such as compensation, refreshments and other care and reimbursement, if required to do so by any law that may apply.
In the event that your checked bags do not arrive on your flight, British Airways will make reasonable efforts to ensure that the bag is returned to you within 24 hours.
Certain international conventions govern British Airways liability for lost, damaged or delayed baggage. Under the Montreal Convention, British Airways liability for lost, damaged or delayed baggage is 1,131 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) per passenger. If you complete a special declaration of higher value at check-in and pay the applicable fee, our liability shall be limited to the higher declared value. Please note other carriers may have lower limits of liability.
More information can be seen regarding these limits within the Montreal Convention.
For all eligible tickets and services purchased from British Airways within the U.S. with a credit card or cash, refunds will be provided within 7 business days of receipt of the required refund information. (The credit card refund may take up to two billing cycles before appearing on a credit card statement, so you should contact your credit card company directly to verify receipt of the credit.) Eligible tickets and services purchased with a check will be refunded within 20 business days of receipt of the required information. This includes refunding fees charged to a passenger for optional services that the passenger was unable to use due to an oversale situation or flight cancellation.
Refunds for electronic tickets can be obtained by contacting our reservations department or through the Refund section on our web site at ba.com. All other refund requests should be sent to the following addresses:British Airways Ticket Refunds
British Airways Customer Relations (S506)
PO Box 5619
CO10 2PG United Kingdom
Certain refund requests may not be accommodated in the time frames discussed above. For details contact British Airways.
Refunds for credit card purchases will be made only to the credit card account. Service charges are collected for some refunds (e.g., lost tickets).
We provide passengers with disabilities and all other special needs dignified, professional and courteous service and proper accommodations at all times, including during lengthy tarmac delays.
More information regarding special assistance when travelling.
We offer a special service for children travelling alone.
If at departure time more customers with confirmed reservations are present than there are seats available, gate agents will first ask for volunteers who are willing to give up their seats in exchange for compensation and a confirmed seat on a later flight. On extremely rare occasions, a customer may be denied boarding on an involuntary basis, if a sufficient number of volunteers are not obtained. In such events, we will usually deny boarding based upon check-in time, but we may also consider factors such as severe hardships, fare paid, and status within our frequent flier program. With few exceptions, persons denied boarding involuntarily are entitled to compensation under federal law.
Our cancellation policies, frequent flyer rules, aircraft seating configurations and lavatory availability are available on our ba.com website and, upon request, can be obtained from our telephone reservations representatives.
Your ticket is valid only for the transportation shown on it from the place of departure through an agreed stopping point to the final destination and the fare you have paid is based on that routing. We will not honor that ticket and it will no longer be valid if you do not use the coupons in the sequence provided. Therefore if you need to make a change to the itinerary you must contact us beforehand to determine how this may affect the ticket and remaining travel plans.
Before we accept your booking, we or our authorised agents will tell you the scheduled departure time of your flight; and it will be shown on your ticket or itinerary and receipt. We may need to change the scheduled departure time of your flight after your ticket has been sent to you or to change the scheduled departure terminal for your flight. If you give us or our authorised agents contact information, we or they will try to let you know about any changes in a timely manner.
Our Customer Relations department is dedicated to addressing unresolved customer comments and concerns. They will acknowledge in writing each complaint received within 30 days of receiving it and shall send a subsequent written response to each complainant within 60 days of receiving the complaint.
Customer Relations can be reached by following this link to their webform.
Should you prefer to reach us by mail, the address is:
British Airways Customer Relations
PO Box 300686
Jamaica, NY 11430-0608 USA
British Airways Customer Relations
PO Box 5619 (S506)
Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2PG
Please be aware you may be charged for some optional extras when you travel with us.