One of the many perennial criticisms of British Airways is its handling of disruption at its hub at London Heathrow. The airport is full, so when there is severe weather, the airline is forced to cancel flights, with short-haul flights always bearing the brunt. What usually follows is long queues at ticketing desks to be rebooked.
BA announced at the annual Capital Markets Day of its parent company International Airlines Group last year that it was working on automatic rebooking tools during disruption.
BA has today released an update for its smartphone app which includes the option to rebook on to alternative flights during disruption. However, this will initially only be for selected customers. We presume this is for testing purposes.
In addition, most if not all customers should now have a “timeline” feature for each booking on the app which provides a countdown for future bookings and services that are available in connection with that booking.
If you haven’t already done so, we do recommend that all travelers (whether a frequent or once a year BA flyer) download the BA smartphone app. It is the easiest way to keep track of flights both before the day of travel and at the airport. From experience we find it is often ahead of other sources for learning of delays.
It is also an easy way to keep on track of fixed price upgrade offers for existing bookings and being able to book flights without tripping over adverts for hotels and car hire as you do on ba.com!
We also recommend that for security reasons software updates for apps are downloaded as soon as they become available.
Today, the airline has provided further information of what, and what isn’t, happening with the planned development of the terminal which is to be completed over the next two years.
BA has confirmed that the development will include redeveloped general check-in areas, a new premium check-in area, a new food court post security, redeveloped First and Club World lounges and pre-flight dining facilities, and refurbished gate areas.
Passengers of other airlines which also use JFK Terminal 7, such as ANA, Icelandair, and Qantas, will also benefit from many of these improvements.
The Concorde Room which is for use by passengers travelling in First Class and Concorde Room Cardholders will receive, to use BA lexicon, a “refresh” after being refurbished a few years ago.
The airline has today issued images of the planned check-in and post security areas, but not the new lounges. A cynic might wonder whether BA has rushed out this announcement in order to maintain momentum after a recent PR event for its new London Gatwick lounges and First Wing at London Heathrow Terminal 5.
There is also no mention of redeveloping the immigration hall which can become extremely congested and is ill-suited to manage queues for both self-service kiosks and manned immigration desks.
Norwegian’s aggressive expansion at London Gatwick continues with the launch of a new route from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi airport.
The route will launch on Thursday 28 September 2017. It will initially operate four times weekly, increasing to five times weekly from Monday 30 October 2017. The flight will be operated by the mainstay of Norwegian’s long-haul operations, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in a two class configuration.
TAP Portugal is to launch a direct route from London City airport to Lisbon from Sunday 29 October 2017.
The route will operate twice daily on weekdays and once a day on weekends. This will be the third London airport served by TAP Portugal after London Heathrow and London City. It will also be the only direct route between London City and Lisbon.
TAP Portugal will also offer connections to the Azores and its extensive long-haul network in Brazil such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and many other cities.
If you have tried to visit the BA website ba.com at any point today, you will have no doubt received the error message above.
The BA website has been down all day today. No reason has been given for this, other than “technical issues”. Whatever the issue is it must be very substantial. As BA.com is BA’s main selling channel, you can be confident there is a lot of pressure to get the website back up and running.
It is also not possible to check bookings via the BA smartphone app. However, live flight information appears to be available on the app.
In light of the fact that online check-in is not available you are strongly advised to allow plenty of time to check-in at the airport.
Given the nature of the issue is unknown, when the website is back up it is worth checking your Executive Club account and any future bookings to confirm everything is in order.
If you are travelling today you can also check live flight information on the websites of Gatwick, Heathrow and London City airports.
Edit: The website appears to be up and running at 20:00 BST.