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British Airways' Newest Fee is Actually Positive for Passengers

August 22, 2014 at 4:51 PM | by | ()

Just when it seems like airlines are only imposing new fees to negatively impact passengers, British Airways has gone and introduced a fee which actually helps. Starting now, travelers searching airfares on British Airways for travel on BA or Iberia may pay $5/£5/€5 for short-haul or $10/£10/€10 long-haul per person to place a reservation on hold for a period of 72 hours before deciding whether or not to purchase.

Alliance partner American Airlines offers a similar option, allowing customers to place an itinerary on hold for 24 hours, for free; BA's charging for the privilege may set a precedent for the future of this service.

While on hold, the flight price is guaranteed not to increase, but it can decrease (yay).

The hold period is 72 consecutive hours, not 3 solid days. What this means is, if you're up late at night daydreaming about a trip to Ibiza, you can pay the hold fee at 3am to place that BA/Iberia itinerary on hold for 72 hours and have until 2:59am, 72 hours later, to make the decision.

If you do decide to buy, the hold fee of $5/£5/€5 for short-haul or $10/£10/€10 long-haul will be refunded in a separate transaction, and not applied to your ticket purchase. If you don't decide to buy and allow the ticket hold to lapse, that fee will not be refunded. If you decide to change anything about the itinerary (traveler names, destination, date, flight time, etc), then you must allow the hold to lapse, lose the fee, and search again for a new flight with the new details. There is no way to alter a ticket once it's on hold. You either buy it as-is, or give it up with the fee.

While we think the deal is a great one if done during a particularly cheap fare sale, it could get pricey for families. A family of four facing travel indecision could pay $40/£40/€40 (10 per person) for the travel hold, for example. On the flip side, a solo traveler who spots a flight within budget should absolutely consider the hold if there's still coordinating with friends/family at destination/tours to be done.

Let's break it down:

You CAN put a ticket on hold if:

· You are traveling on British Airways or Iberia, booked on britishairways.com
· You are booking for travel beginning 21 or more days ahead
· You are not using any Avios miles or vouchers to book
· You pay the $5/£5/€5 for short-haul or $10/£10/€10 long-haul fee for every passenger on your reservation (exempting babies under 2 years old).
· Your travel does not include any of the destination in the exclusions list

You CANNOT put a ticket on hold if:

· Your travel date is less than 21 days out
· You are using any Avios or vouchers to purchase the ticket
· You may want to make changes to the reservation during the hold period
· Your travel includes any of the destinations in the exclusions list

Travelers in the US also benefit from our country's law to allow full refund cancellations within 24 hours of booking. Thus, if you do confirm your held ticket and pay, but later change your mind, you have 24 hours from purchase time to cancel and receive a refund of both your fare and the hold fee. To get both refunded, you must contact BA at 1-800-AIRWAYS within 24 hours of purchase.

Remember, if you decide to say yes to that airfare, that some seriously cute in-flight entertainment will be waiting onboard. Sometimes, that's all the extra nudging needed.

[Photos: Jaunted, British Airways]

Archived Comments:


UK people can get refund (on any airline) if you cancel within 24 hours of booking as well as US. BA also gives you leeway to cancel within 48 hours, but you have to have a good excuse.