Coronavirus: BA passengers face even longer wait times as airline closes call centre

Helen Coffey
British Airways will fly to Newquay from Heathrow five times a week: Getty Images

British Airways customers trying to get in touch with the airline to cancel flights or find a way home amid the coronavirus pandemic may have a longer wait to make contact after the company announced its Delhi call centre was shutting.

The Indian government closed down the office as part of its response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

BA informed the travel trade of the closure on Sunday night.

The British flag carrier said customers may experience longer than usual call waiting times until contingency plans have been put in place.

Customers are being asked to only telephone the airline if they are due to fly within the next 72 hours.

It comes as Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline, announced it was unlikely to be operating any commercial flights from today until June.

Flight bans across Europe have now closed the continent’s skies to all but a handful of rescue flights, and Ryanair has stated that, based on the length of China’s lockdown, most travel is likely to be suspended for three months.

“We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend upon Government advice, and we will in all cases comply with these instructions,” said the airline’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, in a statement.

Passengers whose Ryanair flights have been cancelled due to new travel restrictions will receive an email outlining their options over the next two weeks.

The airline has requested that customers be patient and refrain from calling, as it has reduced office staff by 50 per cent to comply with social distancing rules.

Fewer staff means they will be unable to accommodate anything but the most urgent of cases, which over the coming days will be rescue flights, according to the statement.

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