Heathrow Airport Strike – Mon 5 & Tues 6 August 2019

Planned industrial action at Heathrow Airport on Monday 5 & Tuesday 6 August 2019 has been suspended.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5A
London Heathrow Terminal 5A (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Heathrow Airport staff represented by the Unite trade union were due to take industrial action from 00:01 BST on Monday 5 August to 23:59 BST Tuesday 6 August 2019.

This follows a pay dispute between Unite and Heathrow Airport.

Headlines – 16:55 BST Monday 5 August

As at 16:55 BST Monday 5 August 2019, the strike has been called off for Monday and Tuesday to allow members to vote on a revised offer following further talks between Heathrow and Unite.

Two further days of industrial action are still planned for Friday 23 August and Saturday 24 August 2019.

A number of airlines had cancelled and rerouted flights in anticipation of disruption at Heathrow and it will be for individual airlines to decide whether reinstate flights at Heathrow.

Qatar Airways has rerouted some return flights between Doha and London Heathrow on Monday 5 August (QR7/QR8) and Tuesday 6 August (QR3/QR4) to Gatwick.

Virgin Atlantic has rerouted some transatlantic return flights on Monday 5 August & Tuesday 6 August from London Heathrow to the North Terminal at London Gatwick. These flights will operate under different flight numbers and have different departure and arrival times. Virgin has confirmed that these flights will not revert back to Heathrow even though Monday’s flights have been called off.

A number of other airlines had cancelled flights on Monday 6 August including Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Alitalia, Etihad, Eurowings, Flybe, Lufthansa, SWISS and United. Many of these have now been reinstated.

A number of airlines had implemented flexible rebooking policies. As the immediate threat of strike action has been lifted, these should be withdrawn shortly.

General Guidance

General guidance on the strike and specifically limitations on hand baggage is available from Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow Airport also provides live arrivals and departures information for all flights, including codeshares.

The staff taking industrial action are security guards, firefighters, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers.

Check-in, baggage handling and lounge facilities should largely operate as normal as these staff are either employed directly by airlines or contracted through handling agents.

Talks are under way at the conciliation service ACAS this weekend. They adjourned on Sunday evening and will continue on Monday so Tuesday’s strike could still be called off at the 11th hour.

The airport is due to remain open during the strike and whilst Heathrow has put in place contingency measures, it is inevitable that there will be disruption. Heathrow has also asked airlines to reduce their schedules.

Airlines are also implementing their own contingency plans by offering flexible rebooking policies, some of which are detailed below. As these are at the discretion of individual airlines, they do vary by airline and not all airlines are offering them.

Virgin Atlantic, as per details below, has also transferred some transatlantic flights on Monday & Tuesday to Gatwick.

Based on what is known so far the biggest impact will be on connecting and departing passengers, specifically at security. Priority security lines and channels will be closed and there are limitations on what can be taken through security.

Passengers are advised to arrive two hours before departure for short-haul flights and three hours before departure for long-haul flights and take as little as possible as hand luggage.

The best advice is to ensure you have up to date contact details on your booking and, if you have the chance to change your flight, take it.

If you are connecting through Heathrow it is strongly advised that you check with your airline whether you can pursue an alternative routing through another European airport.

Heathrow operates at full capacity and any delays at security and to flights will inevitably have knock-on effects, particularly if queues cause congestion in the terminals.

Air Canada

Air Canada has implemented a flexible rebooking policy and passengers can change their flights to an alternative date.

More details at Air Canada.

American Airlines

American Airlines has implemented a flexible rebooking policy and passengers can change their flights for travel up to Monday 12 August 2019.

Note this includes BA operated flights under American Airlines codeshares. More details at American Airlines.

British Airways

As both the largest airline and a hub operator at Heathrow BA is the airline most at risk of disruption.

Update 15:15 BST Sunday 4 August 2019: British Airways had cancelled some short-haul flights at London Heathrow on Monday 6 August 2019 to destinations such as Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Gibraltar, Glasgow, Luxembourg, Nice and Prague.

Update 15:45 BST Sunday 4 August 2019: British Airways had switched the following departures from London Heathrow Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 on Monday 6 August 2019:

BA59 – Cape Town
BA275 – Las Vegas
BA482 – Barcelona
BA870 – Budapest
BA504 – Lisbon
BA330 – Marseille
BA858 – Prague
BA706 – Vienna

Update 20:25 BST Sunday 4 August 2019: BA has now reversed all of the above schedule and terminal changes for Monday 5 August.

BA has also implemented a flexible rebooking policy for short-haul passengers due to fly from London Heathrow on the dates of the strike.

Passengers can rebook onto an alternative BA operated short-haul service from Heathrow outside of the strike or onto an alternative service from London City or Gatwick up to Monday 12 August 2019.

BA has also advised that in the event of a strike the Fast Track security lines in departures at Terminals 3 & 5 will be closed, as will the First Wing at Terminal 5.

There will also be significant limitations and hand luggage for all departing passengers and those connecting through Heathrow with only one small item of hand baggage allowed.

Some shorter-range short-haul flights will also have reduced catering with no Buy On Board in Euro Traveller and no meal service in Club Europe. Passengers will be offered complimentary tea/coffee and a small snack. Club Europe passengers will be given a voucher at the airport.

BA is by far the largest operator at Heathrow and it doesn’t take much for Terminal 5 to seize up very quickly. Any delays to departing and arriving aircraft will cause significant problems at Terminal 5. If you have the opportunity to change your flight or move it to another London airport, it’s best to take it.

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

It is also a good idea to download the BA app to your smartphone if you don’t already have it.

More general guidance is also available at ba.com

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific has rerouted from Heathrow to Gatwick one flight arriving into London on Tuesday 6 August (CX251) and departing the same day (CX252).

Cathay Pacific flights may also be subject to wider disruption due to civil unrest in Hong Kong and a network wide travel waiver is in place.

More details are available from Cathay Pacific.

Delta

Delta has implemented a flexible rebooking policy and passengers can change their flights for travel up to Thursday 8 August 2019.

More details are available from Delta.

Emirates

Emirates had planned to reroute one return flight between Dubai and London Heathrow (EK31 / EK32) on Monday 5 August to Birmingham International airport.

This will now operate from Heathrow. More details are available from Emirates.

Flybe

Flybe has advised that certain flights are at risk of cancellation and passengers due to travel on these flights can rebook onto alternative services.

More details are available at Flybe.

Iberia

Passengers due to travel on flights ticketed and operated by Iberia can rebook on to an alternative flight for travel up to Monday 12 August 2019, or transfer their flight to an Iberia operated flight between Gatwick and Madrid.

More details are available from Iberia.

KLM

KLM has implemented a flexible rebooking policy and passengers can change their flights for travel up to Monday 12 August 2019.

More details are available from KLM.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has cancelled some flights and rerouted and retimed some flights on Monday (QR7/QR8) and Tuesday (QR3/QR4) from Heathrow to Gatwick.

More details at Qatar Airways.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines

SAS Scandinavian Airlines has implemented a flexible rebooking policy and passengers can change their flights for travel up to 31 August 2019.

More details at SAS Scandinavian Airlines.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic has rerouted some Heathrow flights to Gatwick. These will operate under different flight numbers and have different departure and arrival times.

Monday 5 August – These flights will arrive at Gatwick (confirmed):

VS138 – New York JFK – London Heathrow (departing 4 August)
VS154 – New York JFK – London Heathrow (departing 4 August)
VS104 – Atlanta- London Heathrow (departing 4 August)

Monday 5 August – These flights will depart from Gatwick (confirmed):

VS3 – London Heathrow – New York JFK
VS153 – London Heathrow – New York JFK
VS1 – London Heathrow – New York Newark
VS157 – London Heathrow – Boston

Tuesday 6 August – These flights will arrive at Gatwick (confirmed):

VS4 – New York JFK – London Heathrow (departing 5 August)
VS138 – New York JFK – London Heathrow (departing 5 August)
VS2 – Newark – London Heathrow (departing 5 August)
VS158 – Boston – London Heathrow

Tuesday 6 August – These flights will depart from Gatwick (confirmed):

VS3 – London Heathrow – New York JFK
VS153 – London Heathrow – New York JFK
VS1 – London Heathrow – New York Newark
VS157 – London Heathrow – Boston

The latest news is available from Virgin Atlantic.

2 thoughts on “Heathrow Airport Strike – Mon 5 & Tues 6 August 2019”

  1. Other airlines have announced changes too:

    Aer Lingus are offering rebooking options. United Airlines has issued a waiver. Air New Zealand services into and out of London Heathrow are scheduled to operate as normal. They’re offering customers booking flexibility should they wish to avoid travelling on the proposed strike days.

    Airlines with only one flight per day will probably still operate – it’s those with multiples that will bear the brunt of cancellations.

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