Don’t cancel your flight before your airline does: TPG reader mistake story

May 3, 2020

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We’ve been asking to hear your travel success and mistake stories to both celebrate and help our TPG U.K. community — even if you’re not travelling right now.

This week, Stephen contacted me to reveal how being very organised and staying right on top of his travel plans actually cost him an unnecessary cancellation fee.

“I had used my Avios to book Reward Flight Saver flights on British Airways to Spain for the first Bank Holiday weekend in May. As soon as the U.K. government issued a travel ban for Europe, I knew that my holiday shouldn’t go ahead. So, I quickly looked to cancel the booking. I knew that I could refund an Avios booking by just paying a small cancellation fee, so did this online.

Everything was fine until I later read that if an airline cancels the flight, you can get a full refund without paying a cancellation fee. I had forgotten about the whole trip as soon as I cancelled it. I Googled the flight and managed to work out that British Airways had ended up cancelling the flight itself.

This means if I had waited until BA cancelled the flight, I wouldn’t have had to pay the cancellation fee and could have received a full refund.

Lesson learned: Stay on top of your travel plans, but don’t be too hasty to cancel them if you’re going to be out of pocket!”

We’ve had lots of reader question about passenger rights when it comes to cancelled flights. In short, if an airline cancels your flight then you are entitled to a full refund. The airline may also offer a voucher or an alternate date for the flight, which you can choose from, but if you would prefer, you are entitled to a full refund. If you paid in cash, that would mean a refund back onto the card you paid for the flight with originally, while if you paid with points or miles, they would be refunded back into your account.

If you have a travel success (or mistake) story even if you’re stuck at home, we would love to hear about it!

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.

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