Our Customer Commitment and Contingency Plan

We are fully committed to helping each and every one of our customers enjoy the best possible experience, wherever you might be travelling. This page sets out the levels of service that you can expect when travelling with British Airways, as well as relevant information on how we can help, should things not go according to plan.


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 at that time 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 are D/deaf or hard of hearing, you may contact us at 866-393-0961.

No show policy

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.

Name corrections

Most spelling corrections or amendments of a name on a ticket purchased directly with British Airways can be made by contacting us by phone. Please note this may incur charges and you may be asked to provide supporting documentation. If your itinerary includes other airlines, the process may be more complicated. If you booked through a travel agent or on a travel website, please contact them directly. We can't change tickets they have issued. Please be aware that it is not possible to update/correct a name on n ticket simply by entering the corrected name/spelling in the Advance Passenger Information, as this information doesn't actually make any changes to their e-ticket. Outside of our 24 hour cancellation policy (outlined above), it is not possible to completely change the name of the person booked to travel as tickets are non-transferable. A new booking would need to be made in the name of the new person wanting to travel.

Changes to departure times

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.

Whilst it is sometimes unavoidable, we understand that flight delays and cancellations can be extremely frustrating and can disrupt your travel plans. In these situations we are committed to providing you with the best level of service and information possible. 

Keeping you informed during a delay

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.

Tarmac Delays

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. 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 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.

Assistance when your flight has been delayed or cancelled

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.

Remedy 1

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.

Remedy 2

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.

Remedy 3

If we do not carry you to the destination shown on your ticket, we will give or obtain an involuntary fare refund for you.

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.


Find out more about delays and cancellations

Ensuring that your baggage is carried safely with you to your final destination is very important to us. However, in the event that your checked bags do not arrive on your flight, we will make every reasonable effort to ensure that they are returned to you within 24 hours.

Find out more about lost and damaged baggage.

Baggage Liability

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 1,288 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.

Find out more about Insurance and baggage liability limitation.

We provide customers who require special assistance with a professional and courteous service at all times, including during lengthy tarmac delays.

Read more information about the disability and mobility assistance we can offer you on your journey with us. This may be managed through a third party agent.

Find out more about travel assistance, including young flyers travelling alone and travelling with pets.


In order to minimise the effects of customers who book for travel but do not turn up, British Airways, like most major airlines, may overbook flights.

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.

  • No compensation is required if the carrier offers alternate transportation that, at the time the arrangement is made, is planned to arrive at the airport of the passenger’s first stopover, or if none, the airport of the passenger’s final destination not later than one hour after the planned arrival time of the passenger’s original flight.
  • Compensation shall be 200% of the fare to the passenger’s destination or first stopover, with a maximum of $775, if the carrier offers alternate transportation that, at the time the arrangement is made, is planned to arrive at the airport of the passenger’s first stopover, or if none, the airport of the passenger’s final destination more than one hour but less than two hours after the planned arrival time of the passenger’s original flight.
  • Compensation shall be 400% of the fare to the passenger’s destination or first stopover, with a maximum of $1,550, if the carrier does not offer alternate transportation that, at the time the arrangement is made, is planned to arrive at the airport of the passenger’s first stopover, or if none, the airport of the passenger’s final destination less than two hours after the planned arrival time of the passenger’s original flight.
Find out more about Passenger Notices

Your eligibility for a refund and the refund amount on unused or partially-unused British Airways tickets is dependent on the type of ticket you bought.

For tickets bought on ba.com or over the phone with British Airways, you may be eligible to apply for a refund using Manage My Booking.

For tickets bought from a travel agent, please contact them directly to arrange your booking cancellation and refund.

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.

For all other circumstances, or if you have problems cancelling your booking online, please contact us

If you have booked directly with British Airways you can cancel your flight booking and claim a full refund without penalty, up to 24 hours from when you make the original booking. Refunds under these circumstances can be requested online in Manage My Booking or by calling our contact centres at 800-AIRWAYS, provided travel is one week or more from the date of purchase. The 24-hour deadline can be extended up to 48 hours if the call center is closed when you first call.

Bookings made for travel within 24 hours are not covered under this option.

Contact us

We try to provide you with as much information as we can on the policies and procedures that may impact your journey. Below are some of the key areas to consider when making your travel plans. For further details please check our Information pages.

Travel Documents

When travelling, it is your responsibility to ensure you have all the correct and valid documentation.

We will not be liable if you do not have all necessary passports, visas, health certificates and other travel documents required.

Find out more about passports, visas and API

Checking in

It is always recommended to check what terminal your flight departs from prior to leaving for the airport. It is your responsibility to ensure you arrive at the terminal and have your boarding pass before the check in desk closes.

At certain airports, you may also need to have cleared security within a designated time to be accepted for travel. Find more information about specific airports.

We really value your cooperation getting to the gate with plenty of time for your departure. If you arrive after the gate closing time you may be denied boarding. We cannot hold the flight for late arrivals.


To get the best choice of seats and to make sure your party sits together, it’s best to reserve your seats in advance, for which you might have to pay.

Whether seat selection is free or costs extra depends on a number of factors, including the type of ticket you purchase, your class of travel and your personal circumstances.

There are occasions when due to an aircraft change, operational or safety reasons, we may have to change the seat you have paid to reserve. We will make every effort to find an alternative that meets your preference however if we cannot, you can request a refund.

Alternative Meals

You can continue to request an alternative meal to meet your dietary requirements on all our long-haul routes and when travelling in Club Europe on our short-haul routes. Whilst we provide an extensive range of meals, we cannot offer every type on all flights. Find out more about meals for specific dietary requirements.

Travel Insurance

If you need travel insurance, you can find out more from our partner Europ Assistance.

Find out more.

Other travel policies

Our cancellation policies, frequent flyer rules, aircraft seating configurations and lavatory availability are available on ba.com and, upon request, can be obtained from our telephone reservations representatives.

We are continuously improving our products and services that we offer you and your feedback is invaluable.

If your experience with us does not meet your expectations our Customer Relations team are on hand to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.

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.

The postal address is:

British Airways Customer Relations
11 West 42nd Street
24th Floor
New York, NY 10036


British Airways Customer Relations (S506)
PO Box 1126
United Kingdom

Or contact our Customer Relations team

We strive to meet the level of service set out in Our Customer Commitment, however it is not legally or contractually binding. For full details of your rights and obligations when you enter into a contract with us, please refer to our General Conditions of Carriage.

Read our General Conditions of Carriage.