British Airways cancels Gatwick flights: what are your refund rights and when will flights operate again?
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The decision comes just a day after EasyJet announced it was grounding its entire fleet as a result of the pandemic.
BA, which flies to Europe, the United States and the Caribbean, has already grounded planes at its various bases across the UK, but is currently still running from London Heathrow with a severely reduced schedule.
Why have Gatwick BA flights been grounded?
The airline is just one of many carriers that have been forced to stop serving the UK’s second busiest airport, with BA citing “challenging” circumstances for its decision to temporarily shut down.
A spokesman for BA said: "Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick.
"We are contacting affected customers to discuss their options."
British Airways admitted earlier in March that the airline was in a battle to survive, warning staff there may be job cuts and planes may have to be parked as the health crisis got worse.
The airline’s parent company IAG also said that flying capacity would be down by 75 per cent in April and May.
Gatwick Airport also added that it will close one of its two terminals.
Only a mere 33 flights were due to take off or land at the airport on Tuesday (31 Mar), according to FlightStats, while the runway will only be open for scheduled flights on Wednesday (1 Apr) between 2pm and 10pm.
The airline will keep equipment for essential functions at the airport, such as maintenance, towing and cleaning, to enable it to restart operations quickly.
The measures will be in place for a minimum period of a month.
Will I get a refund if I’ve booked flights?
British Airways has said it will contact all customers who are affected by the grounding of flights to and from Gatwick Airport to discuss their options.
Those who are due to travel within the next 72 hours are advised to contact the airline on 0800 727 800 for help with any urgent re-bookings.
If you are not due to travel within the next 72 hours, you can find out how to change or cancel your booking via the website.
To cancel a booking, you will need to fill out an online voucher form.
When this form is received by BA, your booking will be cancelled at no charge and a voucher will be emailed to you to the value of your booking.
BA have warned customers won’t receive a confirmation message, but are assured their application has been received and is being processed.
Due to high demand, customers should allow up to seven days to receive their voucher.
Customers should not amend their booking in the Manage My Booking page online, as the airline will do this on your behalf.
The voucher can be used as payment for a future booking to any destination, on any chosen dates.
If your new booking is more expensive, you will need to pay the difference, and if it is less than your original booking, you will receive a voucher for the difference.
The voucher will be valid for travel within 12 months from your original departure date.
This cancellation policy is applicable to all customers who are due to travel from 31 May 2020.
Those who have made bookings for travel after 31 May 2020 are advised to check the website for regular updates.