British Airways relaunches London Heathrow – Osaka

British Airways is to return to Osaka, Japan launcing a direct flight from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Kansai International Airport from 31 March 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle (Image Credit: Japan National Tourism Organization)

British Airways is to return to Osaka after a near 20 year absence.

BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Kansai International Airport four times weekly from Sunday 31 March 2019.

Flights will be operated with a three class Boeing 787-8 aircraft. The flight operates from London Heathrow on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. It operates from Kansai International Airport on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.

BA used to fly to Osaka via Tokyo Narita. However, the route was suspended in October 1998. Japan Airlines also used to fly direct from Heathrow to Osaka.

Kansai International Airport has only just restored operations to normal following more than two weeks of disruption after its facilities were flooded following Typhoon Jebi.

The route will be codeshared with Japan Airlines which, along with Finnair and Iberia, operates a joint-business with BA between Europe and Japan. It will also be possible to combine direct flights between Heathrow and Osaka with indirect flights via Helsinki on Finnair and Tokyo Haneda on Japan Airlines.

BA has also prepared a short PDF summary of the new route.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

London Heathrow – Osaka

Flight BA19 Depart London Heathrow 14:20 – Arrive Kansai International Airport 09:50 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)
Flight BA20 Depart Kansai International Airport 11:30 – Arrive London Heathrow 15:50 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)

BA’s 10 abreast economy Boeing 777 September Update

An update on the progress of the refurbishment of British Airways Boeing 777 fleet at Gatwick and the routes on which refurbished aircraft are expected to operate.

London Air Travel » British Airways

BA World Traveller cabin on LGW based Boeing 777 aircraft
BA World Traveller cabin on LGW based Boeing 777 aircraft (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is now more than a third of its way through the refurbishment of its fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft at London Gatwick.

The main reason for the refurbishment is to increase the number of seats in the World Traveller economy cabin from 9 to 10 a row.

At the moment three class Boeing 777-200 are being refurbishment. For these aircraft, BA has also installed a new World Traveller Plus premium economy seat and increased the number of seats in this cabin. It has decreased the number of Club World business class seats. The in-flight entertainment system has also been upgraded. Four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft will also be refurbished, but the overall change in seating configuration is much more modest.

As at October 2018, five Boeing 777-200 aircraft, registrations G-VIIO, G-VIIP, G-VIIR, G-VIIT and G-VIIX have been refurbished. A sixth aircraft, G-VIIU, flew to Singapore on 7 October 2018 for refurbishment. Each refurbishment takes around four to six weeks.

Refurbished British Airways Boeing 777 World Traveller Cabin
Refurbished British Airways Boeing 777 World Traveller Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)

The initial plan was that up to 25 Boeing 777s will be subject to “densification”. Given, from anecdotal evidence, there appears to be no adverse customer reaction, it is highly likely that this will be extended to many more aircraft. Heathrow based Boeing 777s are expected to be refurbished in 2019.

Seat maps for 3 class Boeing 777 aircraft

If you are flying on a non-refurbished 9 abreast 3 class Boeing 777 you should see the following seat map (pictured left below) for your flight in the Manage My Booking tool:

Club World – Rows 1 – 11 (48 seats)
World Traveller Plus – Rows 12 – 14 (24 seats)
World Traveller – Rows 16 – 40 (3-3-3 configuration)

If you are flying on a refurbished 10 abreast 3 class Boeing 777 you should see the following seat map (pictured right below) for your flight in the Manage My Booking tool:

Club World – Rows 1 – 4 (32 seats)
World Traveller Plus – Rows 10 – 16 (52 seats)
World Traveller – Rows 20 – 46 (3-4-3 configuration)

For passengers travelling with infants it is important to note that the refurbishment of aircraft does change the location of bassinet seats.
Continue reading “BA’s 10 abreast economy Boeing 777 September Update”

BA relaunches Kos at Gatwick

British Airways will fly from London Gatwick to Kos three times weekly from 15 May to 26 October 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Kos, Greece
Kos, Greece (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is to reinstate a summer seasonal route to Kos, Greece at London Gatwick.

BA previously flew to Kos on a summer seasonal basis at Heathrow. However, the route was suspended in 2017.

BA will fly to Kos three times weekly from Wednesday 15 May to Saturday 26 October 2019 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. As is par the course for BA at Gatwick, flight times vary widely by day.

Flights will be operated with a mixture of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft in the standard two class, EuroTraveller and Club Europe, configuration.

This should just be the start of a number of summer seasonal route announcements both at Heathrow and Gatwick.

In terms of coverage of Greece, this summer BA has flown to Crete, Corfu, Kalamata, Kefalonia, Mykonos, Santorini and Zakynthos from Heathrow. It has also flown to Crete, Rhodes and Thessaloniki from Gatwick and Mykonos and Skiathos from London City.

Flights are available for booking now at ba.com.

American Airlines & BA launch the “Altitude Academy”

American Airlines and BA are offering the chance to win flights to the US at the “Altitude Academy” in Canary Wharf on Wednesday 19 – Thursday 20 September.

London Air Travel » British Airways

American Airlines & British Airways Altitude Academy - London, September 2018
American Airlines & British Airways Altitude Academy – London, September 2018 (Image Credit: American Airlines/British Airways)

American Airlines and British Airways are launching, to use marketing speak, an “activation” in Canary Wharf over two days next week.

Called the “Altitude Academy”, the promotion is intended to showcase American Airlines and BA’s joint transatlantic network from London and the respective premium cabins and service of the two airlines.

Across four different zones, passengers will be able to discover their “frequent flyer style” and take part in games and challenges. Of greatest interest will be opportunities to win business class tickets to the United States. Complimentary catering will be supplied by Rhurbab who also cater for American Airlines’ lounges at London Heathrow.

American Airlines & British Airways Altitude Academy - London, September 2018
American Airlines & British Airways Altitude Academy – London, September 2018 (Image Credit: American Airlines/British Airways)

The Altitude Academy will be located in Jubilee Plaza, in front of Canary Wharf Tube station. It will be open from 11:00 to 19:00 on Wednesday 19 September and 07:00 to 19:00 Thursday 20 September 2018.

Do&Co secures British Airways Heathrow catering contract

Do&Co will provide meals for all British Airways flights from London Heathrow from 2020.

London Air Travel » British Airways

A selection of BA Club Europe meals - September 2018
BA Club Europe Meals – September 2018 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Many readers may know that British Airways has historically used multiple catering suppliers at its London airports.

At London Heathrow, catering for the vast majority of long-haul flights is provided by Gate Gourmet. Under a concession operated by Tourvest, M&S provides Buy-On-Board food for EuroTraveller short-haul economy. Do&Co provide meals for Club Europe and in Club World on flights to New York JFK. DHL also provide logistics support for catering on short-haul flights, having signed a ten year deal with BA from April 2010.

Today, Tuesday 11 September 2018, BA has announced that Do&Co will provide catering for all flights from London Heathrow from 2020.

Based on Do&Co’s catering in Club World on the New York JFK route, this should be a significant upgrade in quality. Though, of course, like any caterer they will work within the budgets specified by BA.

It should be said that the transition from DHL and Gate Gourmet to Do&Co at Heathrow will be a huge logistical exercise that is not without risk of teething troubles. When DHL secured the BA contract, it made a significant investment in facilities at London Heathrow. Not only do catering suppliers provide food, but also in-flight retail and amenities for passenger comfort.
Continue reading “Do&Co secures British Airways Heathrow catering contract”

Air Belgium to operate for BA on London Heathrow – Abu Dhabi

Air Belgium is to operate British Airways’ daily service from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi from 15 September to 4 October 2018.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft
Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft (Image Credit: Air Belgium)

British Airways is to wet lease an aircraft from Air Belgium to cover its daily flight from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi from mid September to early October 2018.

The outbound flight BA73 from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi will be operated by Air Belgium from Saturday 15 September to Thursday 4 October 2018. As will the inbound flight BA72 from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow from Sunday 16 September to Friday 5 October 2018.

Update 25 September 2018:

The period of the wet lease has been extended. BA73 from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi will be operated by Air Belgium until Wednesday 31 October 2018. As will BA72 from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow until Thursday 1 November 2018.

No specific reason has been given for the wet lease. However, given the route is ordinarily operated with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft, it’s a safe assumption that the grounding of these aircraft is the cause. BA has previously wet leased aircraft to cover London Heathrow – Cairo.

The flight will be operated by an Air Belgium A340-300 aircraft. The overall service standard should be similar to that of BA.

Rebooking Options

All passengers have the option of rebooking on to an alternative BA operated service to Abu Dhabi within 14 days before, or after, the wet lease operation.

All passengers also have the option of rebooking on to a BA operated service to Dubai within 3 days before, or after, the wet lease operation. However, any additional costs such as taxis, will be at your own expense.

Full refunds are not available to any passenger, unless allowed by the original fare rules.

First Class Passengers

There is no First Class cabin on Air Belgium aircraft.

Passengers will be downgraded to business class and receive a partial refund of their fare. Passengers will still have a First Class baggage allowance, earn the Avios and Tier Points of the First Class fare, and have access to First Class ground facilities such as the Concorde Room at London Heathrow.

Alternatively, passengers can use the value of their ticket towards the purchase of a new ticket to an alternative destination.

Premium Economy Passengers

There is no premium economy cabin on Air Belgium aircraft.

BA has advised that most premium economy passengers will be downgraded to economy and receive a partial refund of their fare. Passengers will retain their original baggage allowance and Avios earning entitlement. Some passengers may also be upgraded to business class.

Alternatively, passengers can use the value of their ticket towards the purchase of a new ticket to an alternative destination.

Affected passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

BA signs codeshare with Indian airline Vistara

British Airways has signed a new codeshare partnership with Indian airline Vistara to a number of domestic destinations in India.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Vistara Aircraft and Premium Cabins
Vistara Aircraft and Premium Cabins (Image Credit: Vistara)

British Airways has signed a new codeshare partnership with Indian airline Vistara.

Passengers travelling after Thursday 27 September 2018 from London Heathrow to Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai will be able to book onward connections to a number of domestic destinations in India.

Destinations covered by the codeshare include Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Goa, Kolkata, Kochi, and Pune. BA used to fly Amritsar and Kolkata direct. As is the norm for codeshare partnerships, these can only be booked when connecting to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and India. Flights are on sale now at ba.com

From a cursory scan of timetables on ba.com the suitability of connections does vary widely.

On outbound flights from London Heathrow it is possible to secure a connection time of around two hours on many routes as there are BA flights that arrive in Delhi and Mumbai in the morning. However, as BA flights from Delhi to Mumbai to Heathrow leave in the early hours or mid-morning it is difficult to secure an inbound connection without a long connection time or an overnight stay.

Vistara operates a fleet of more than 20 Airbus A320 aircraft in a three class configuration. The airline started operations in 2015 and is a joint-venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons Ltd.

BA has long sought a domestic airline partner in India. It is one of its most important markets, but with a very volatile aviation sector. Many years BA ago did explore securing a local franchise partner, but to no avail.

British Airways Customer Data Breach

British Airways has advised that customers who booked flights on its website between 21 August 2018 and 5 September 2018 have had their data compromised.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has announced that its website ba.com and mobile app has been subject to a data breach.

The airline issued a statement in the early evening of Thursday 6 September 2018 that customers who booked flights over a period of nearly two weeks between 22:58 BST on Tuesday 21 August 2018 and 21:45 BST Wednesday 5 September 2018 have had their personal and financial details compromised.

BA has stated that it is contacting affected customers who are advised to contact their banks and credit card companies for appropriate advice. The full statement is as follows:

British Airways is investigating, as a matter of urgency, the theft of customer data from its website, ba.com and the airline’s mobile app. The stolen data did not include travel or passport details.

From 22:58 BST August 21 2018 until 21:45 BST September 5 2018 inclusive, the personal and financial details of customers making bookings on ba.com and the airline’s app were compromised.

The breach has been resolved and our website is working normally.
 
British Airways is communicating with affected customers and we advise any customers who believe they may have been affected by this incident to contact their banks or credit card providers and follow their recommended advice. 

We have notified the police and relevant authorities.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and Chief Executive said “We are deeply sorry for the disruption that this criminal activity has caused. We take the protection of our customers’ data very seriously.”
 
British Airways will provide further updates when appropriate.

BA has also published guidance for affected customers on its website ba.com

It is noteworthy that BA’s parent company International Airlines Group has issued the above statement to the stock exchange so this is clearly a significant and share price sensitive event.

BA is required by law to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office with 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach. The ICO has the power to levy very substantial fines in the event of a failure to properly report a breach.

Update Friday 7 September 2018

BA has updated its published guidance on the morning of Friday 7 September to advise that the breach also affects any passengers who made changes to existing bookings during the period of the breach.

The scope of changes (eg free or paid for seat assignments etc) is not defined but this means the breach could affect very many more passengers.

BA has also confirmed that it will fully reimburse passengers for any financial losses as a direct consequence of the security breach. It will also not ask customers to review/update payment card details and any unsolicited requests for this information should not be fulfilled.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a short statement confirming contact with BA:

“British Airways has made us aware of an incident and we are making enquiries.”

National Cyber Security Centre Response

The UK Government’s National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, has published guidance for affected customers.

American Express Response

American Express, which issues a number of BA branded credit cards has provided the following response to customers by e-mail:

Dear Cardmember,

I’m writing to you about the reported British Airways data breach involving personal and financial details of customers being compromised through their web and mobile app.

We want to assure you we have industry-leading fraud protection technology that is continually monitoring for any suspicious activity in order to safeguard you. Also, our Cardmembers are never liable for any fraudulent charges on their Accounts. If you have used your American Express Card to book with British Airways, we are monitoring your Account for you.

There is no action you need to take – we will contact you immediately if there’s any unusual activity with your Account. In the meantime you can continue to use your Card as normal.

If we see any unusual activity which could be fraud, we will contact you immediately. For added protection, you can also sign up for free fraud and other Account activity notifications via email, SMS text messaging, or alerts through our app.

Thank you for your continued Cardmembership.

British Airways Suspends London Heathrow – Muscat

British Airways has suspended its route from London Heathrow to Muscat for the summer 2019 season. The last flight from Heathrow operates on 30 March 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Image Credit: British Airways)
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has suspended its route from London Heathrow to Muscat for the summer 2019 season.

Currently, the route operates five times weekly. The last outbound flight from London Heathrow, BA79, is scheduled to operate on Saturday 30 March 2019. The last inbound flight from Muscat, BA80, is scheduled to operate on Sunday 31 March 2019. At present, the route is due to return from late October 2019.

No reason has been given for the suspension. However, as the route is operated with a Boeing 787 a need to generate some slack in Boeing 787 schedules is likely to be a factor. The route was also subject to blanket cancellations during industrial action last year, which suggests it is one of BA’s more lightly loaded routes.

Oman Air will continue to fly from London Heathrow to Muscat twice daily.

Rebooking Options

At present, BA has not confirmed any rebooking options with other airlines.

However, it has long been standard practice for BA to only begin discussions after a route suspension has been announced. In addition, progressively more options become available over time. As such, we would recommend waiting a couple of weeks before rebooking to see what options are available. We will update this page accordingly as rebooking options become available.

Alternatively, passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a refund or should be able to rebook on an alternative date near to their original date of travel.

Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.

American Airlines Codeshare

This route is codeshared with American Airlines under flight numbers AA6421 and AA6420.

Rebooking options for passengers who were due to travel on this flight as part of an itinerary booked through American Airlines (with a ticket number beginning 001) may have different rebooking options to those who have booked through BA (with a ticket number beginning 125). Affected passengers will need to contact American Airlines accordingly.

Rebooking Options – Friday 14 September 2018

BA has secured a rebooking option with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.

In all cases passengers must connect to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Istanbul to connect to/from a Turkish Airlines flight between Istanbul and Muscat.

This is not ideal. London Heathrow – Istanbul is treated by BA as a short-haul flight, so First and Club World business class passengers will be booked into Club Europe with the same leg room as EuroTraveller. World Traveller Plus premium economy passengers will be booked into EuroTraveller.

Turkish Airlines also operates a two class service between Istanbul and Muscat so First Class and World Traveller Plus passengers will be downgraded.

Rebooking Options – Friday 21 September 2018

BA has secured a rebooking option with Etihad via Abu Dhabi.

Again, in all cases passengers must connect to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi to connect to/from a Etihad flight between Abu Dhabi and Muscat.

Etihad operates a two class service between Abu Dhabi and Muscat so First Class and World Traveller Plus passengers will be downgraded. However, it is only a short flight of just over one hour.

These rebooking options are available for passengers travelling between 30 March 2019 and 1 November 2019.

BA’s New Club Europe Catering

British Airways is to introduce new catering in its short-haul business class Club Europe cabin from Wednesday 12 September 2018.

London Air Travel » British Airways

A selection of BA Club Europe meals - September 2018
BA Club Europe Meals – September 2018 (Image Credit: British Airways)

BA is to introduce new Club Europe catering across its short-haul network from London Gatwick and Heathrow from next Wednesday, 12 September 2018.

The precursor to this are changes that were introduced last year.

There were definite winners and losers. The winners were longer range flights to destinations such as Helsinki where there was a wider choice of mains, with each course delivered separately. The losers were many shorter range flights where hot meals at lunch and dinner were replaced with a panini or a salad.

There has been criticism from frequent flyers about the repetition of meals and the scope creep of Brunch and Afternoon Tea where no hot meal is offered. These are set by scheduled departure time which does of course not mean the time you actually eat your meal. Many business travellers do not have the luxury of being able to observe normal meal times throughout the day and would simply prefer a guarantee of a hot meal on their flight.

The Changes

A selection of BA Club Europe meals - September 2018
BA Club Europe Meals – September 2018 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Continue reading “BA’s New Club Europe Catering”