BA's new insurance policy angers

BAs website now automatically adds insurance with every flight

Travel Insurance News - 18/02/2008

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British Airways has angered some of its customers by changing its online booking form to automatically add travel insurance to bookings.

Ben Smith is one customer who dislikes the new BA booking process. “I went on the British Airways website earlier this week and followed the standard procedure to select and pay for flights,” he said. “Later, I received an e-mail confirming my new travel-insurance policy with BA, payment for which had been debited from my account. This came as a surprise.”

The surprise, for Smith, was an unwelcome one. In order to recify the situation, he had to make several phone calls and spend time negotiating with BA officials to opt out of the insurance policy.

Smith says that when he booked, he remembered selecting his flight but he didn’t remember selecting travel insurance. When he asked BA about it, they told him, the automatic insurance policy was a new “website-design enhancement.” According to Smith, the new policy is just an “underhanded means of extracting additional fees.”

According to a representative from British Airways, the call center has been inundated with complaints about the new insurance opt-out policy.

“We have changed the booking process on a trial basis so travel insurance is now automatically included. This has brought BA into line with many UK airlines, which recognise that the provision of travel insurance is an essential item for customers’ welfare and security,” said a spokesperson for the airline.

“We believe that this section is clearly laid out, and customers can choose to opt out. As this is a trial, however, we are reviewing all feedback to see if the process should be changed in any way,” the spokesperson added.

The airline was also quick to remind travelers that they can opt out of the insurance within 14 days of purchasing a ticket if they do not do so while booking the ticket online.

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