BA launches new ski routes from London Heathrow to Grenoble & Turin

BA will fly from London Heathrow to Grenoble once a week from 2 December 2017 and Turin twice weekly on Saturdays and Sundays from 26 November 2017.

British Airways Short Haul Economy Cabin (Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has announced the launch of two new seasonal weekend ski routes from London Heathrow. BA will fly to Grenoble in France once a week on Saturdays from 2 December 2017. BA will also fly to Turin in Italy twice weekly on Saturdays and Sundays from 26 November 2017.

Flights will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 5 and will be operated by Airbus aircraft in a two class, Club Europe and EuroTraveller configuration.

BA also serves Turin from London Gatwick and it is possible to “mix and match” different London airports, if convenient.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

London Heathrow – Grenoble

Flight BA384 Depart London Heathrow 11:55 – Arrive Grenoble 14:45
Flight BA385 Depart Grenoble 15:40 – Arrive London Heathrow 16:30

London Heathrow – Turin

Flight BA600 Depart London Heathrow 07:05 – Arrive Turin 10:10 (Saturday)
Flight BA600 Depart London Heathrow 06:50 – Arrive Turin 09:55 (Sunday)
Flight BA601 Depart Turin 11:05 – Arrive London Heathrow 12:05 (Saturday)
Flight BA601 Depart Turin 10:45 – Arrive London Heathrow 11:45 (Sunday)

BA 123 & BA 122 London – Doha cancelled 1 – 7 July 2017

British Airways has cancelled its daily flights between London Heathrow to Doha for a period of six days between Saturday 1 July to Friday 7 2017. Here are options for affected passengers.

British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has cancelled its daily flight between London Heathrow and Doha for a period of six days between Saturday 1 July to Friday 7 2017.

The affected flight numbers are BA123 and BA122. BA123 is cancelled from London Heathrow to Doha from Saturday 1 July to Thursday 6 July. BA122 is cancelled from Doha to London Heathrow from Sunday 2 July to Friday 7 July.

It is highly likely that this is connected to planned strike action by “Mixed Fleet” London Heathrow cabin crew on these dates. As the industrial action is planned to from 1 July to 16 July, there is the possibility of further cancellations

BA has a rebooking agreement with Qatar Airways (which is a fellow Oneworld alliance member and a 20% shareholder of BA’s parent company International Airlines Group).

If your flight is cancelled you have the option of rebooking on to one of Qatar Airways’ five daily flights from London Heathrow to Doha up to three days before or after your original date of travel.
Continue reading “BA 123 & BA 122 London – Doha cancelled 1 – 7 July 2017”

BA suspends London – Bergen & Stavanger from 28 October 2017

British Airways has announced that it is to suspend flights from London Heathrow to Bergen and Stavanger from 28 October 2017. Here are options for affected passengers.


British Airways has announced that it is to suspend flights from London Heathrow to Bergen Flesland airport and Stavanger Sola airport from Saturday 28 October 2017. 

These routes were inherited by BA when its parent company International Airlines Group acquired bmi in 2012.  The reason for the suspension is poor commercial performance.

The last flights will operate on Saturday 28 October 2017.

Passengers who are currently booked to fly from London Heathrow from Sunday 29 October 2017 have the option of:

  • A full refund
  • Rebook on to an alternative flight to/from Bergen and Stavengar from Friday 1 September 2017 to Saturday 28 October 2017 
  • Rebooking on to an alternative BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Oslo up to 14 days before/after your original travel date.  However, any consequential costs such as ground transportation must be met at your own expense

BA has not yet announced any rebooking arrangements with rival airlines.  It normally takes time for these to be agreed and further details may be announced over the next few days.

For passengers looking at alternative routes from late October, other direct options include Norwegian from London Gatwick to Bergen and Stavanger and SAS from London Heathrow to Stavanger.

Affected passengers should contact BA or your travel agent.

British Airways Cabin Crew Strike: Saturday 1 July – Sunday 16 July 2017

Some British Airways London Heathrow cabin crew are due to take industrial action from Saturday 1 July to Sunday 16 July 2017.

British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)

Unite, the union which represents British Airways “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow, has called for further industrial action over sixteen consecutive days from Saturday 1 July to Sunday 16 July 2017.

This is continuation of a dispute that led to a call for industrial action today (Friday 16 June) which was suspended to allow for talks at the conciliation service ACAS.   Talks are likely to continue between now and July.

BA has yet to its confirm its schedules during the strike. However, it does say that all customers will be able to reach their destinations during the strike, suggesting that short-haul routes with multiple flights a day are most at risk of cancellations

What can be confirmed now is:

  • All flights from London City, London Gatwick and London Stansted will operate as normal.
  • All flights from UK regional airports (apart from flights to London Heathrow) will operate as normal
  • The majority of flights from London Heathrow will operate as normal with some flights merged and short-haul flights most at risk of cancellation. There may also be some tactical long-haul cancellations
  • BA will not publish a full list of cancelled flights as it evidently keen to play down the impact of the industrial action.
  • If your flight is cancelled you will offered the opportunity to rebook to an alternative flight or a refund

The impact of the strike is likely to be low. The best advice is to check your booking using the Manage My Booking tool and ensure your e-mail and telephone contact details are up to date.  In addition, it is a good idea to download the BA app to your smartphone to receive notifications about your flight.

At present, BA is not allowing any proactive rebooking to flights outside of the strike action and any changes or cancellations to existing bookings will be made in accordance with the fare rules at the time of booking.

In terms of the risk of further industrial action, the union is required to give 14 days’ notice to BA.  So if there are no announcements two weeks before your flight you can assume it is not a risk of strike action.

Are there any indications of routes most at risk of cancellation?

BA has three cabin crew fleets at London Heathrow. These are known internally as EuroFleet, Worldwide and Mixed Fleet. Each fleet operates designated routes. Only routes operated at Mixed Fleet are at risk of cancellation.

During the last strikes by Mixed Fleet earlier this year, these routes experienced cancellations:

Short-Haul: Aberdeen, Dusseldorf, Gibraltar, Hamburg, Manchester, Marseille, Oslo, Stuttgart

Long-Haul: Doha, San Jose

There is no guarantee that routes not mentioned above are not at risk of cancellation, nor that the above routes are at risk of cancellation this time. However, in the absence of any published contingency plans, it is the best we can give.

Update 21 June: BA operated flights between London Heathrow and Doha have been cancelled.  BA123 has been cancelled from 1 July to 6 July.  BA122 has been cancelled from 2 July to 7 July.  Affected passengers will be rebooked onto Qatar Airways.

BA releases 10,000 Club World reward seats for Christmas

British Airways Club World Boeing 747 (Picture by: Stuart Bailey / British Airways)

BA has made another move to curry favour from members of its Executive Club programme.

Hot on the heels of news that some members have been granted free renewal of their Executive Club cards, BA has announced that it has released an additional 10,000 reward seats in its Club World long-haul business class for Christmas 2017.

The additional 10,000 seats are available for travel over a 19 day period from Monday 18 December 2017 to Friday 5 January 2018. They are available to members of the British Airways Executive Club and the Avios programme.
Continue reading “BA releases 10,000 Club World reward seats for Christmas”

Ground transport strikes in Italy Friday 16 June

Widespread disruption is expected to air and ground transport services in Italy due to planned industrial action on Friday 16 June 2017. 

Widespread disruption is expected to air and ground transport services in Italy due to planned industrial action on Friday 16 June 2017. 

The following airlines have issued guidance to passengers. Due to the widespread nature of the industrial action there may also be disruption to ground transportation services. Continue reading “Ground transport strikes in Italy Friday 16 June”

Why Virgin Atlantic’s #VAnotBA promotion falls flat

Why Virgin Atlantic’s #vanotba £50 flight discount is not worth the effort

Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic #VAnotBA Promotion

Once upon a time, Virgin Atlantic never missed an opportunity to have a joke at the expense of its arch-rival British Airways.

Whether it was BA’s decision to introduce World Images tail fins, or to order twin rather than quad-engine long-haul aircraft or the botched opening of Terminal 5, Virgin Atlantic always seized the opportunity to generate free publicity.  Meanwhile, BA had no option but to maintain a dignified silence through gritted teeth.

For a long period of time, this worked very well.  It generated huge PR for Virgin Atlantic and, at least in PR terms, closed the gap in terms of the relative size of the two airlines.

Over the past few years, things have gone very quiet in terms of the rivalry between the BA and Virgin. Partly because Virgin has undergone changes in management and a restructuring to stem years of financial losses whilst BA has expanded considerably, primarily thanks to its merger with bmi in 2012.  Also, the overtly contrived publicity stunt has long been out of fashion.

So it’s something of a surprise to see Virgin launch a new promotion actively encouraging passengers to switch their bookings from BA to Virgin with the promise of a £50 discount.

Here’s how it is supposed to work:

  • You make a flight booking directly with British Airways (a price quote is not sufficient).
  • You then contact Virgin Atlantic twice, first by e-mail and then by telephone to make the same booking, and Virgin will give you a £50 discount off your flight for the same dates and destination.
  • You then have to contact BA to cancel your booking.
  • Crucially, you must contact BA within 24 hours of making your original BA booking in order to cancel your booking without penalty.  Otherwise, the cancellation will be processed in accordance with the rules of your fare and could be non-refundable.
  • Passengers are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag #VAnotBA on social media.

Full details are on the Virgin Atlantic website.  Here are the rules of BA’s 24 hour cancellation policy.

Here is why this promotion is a bad idea:

1.  It feels like it is run for the benefit of Virgin Atlantic rather than passengers.

A £50 discount is, in the grand scheme of things, quite modest.  There is also a very limited window of opportunity.  The promotion runs from today, Tuesday 13 June to Thursday 15 June.

A cynic might wonder whether this promotion is run primarily to generate PR.

2.  It requires a lot of effort on the part of passengers

To take advantage of this promotion, you have to first make a booking direct with BA, e-mail the booking reference to Virgin, call Virgin to obtain a discounted flight and then contact BA to cancel your booking and obtain a refund from BA.

This is a lot of effort for a £50 discount.

3. It could all go wrong very easily

BA’s 24 hour cancellation window, amongst other limitations, only applies to direct flight only bookings.  It does not apply to BA Holidays bookings with hotels or car hire or flight bookings via travel agents.

BA is hardly going to be charitable if passengers inadvertently find themselves having to pay for two flights to the same destination on the exact same day.

You also have to wait for BA to process your refund. Given how busy the airline is dealing with compensation claims from last month’s IT outage, this could take many weeks.

A passenger could also easily find themselves having to pay a credit card bill with two flight bookings before the BA flight is refunded.  If a passenger cannot settle the credit card bill in full, the interest cost could easily wipe out the £50 saving.