British Airways Pilot Strike 27 September 2019 Update

British Airways has now changed its schedules in advance of planned industrial action by BA pilots at Gatwick and Heathrow on Friday 27 September 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways

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

British Airways has now updated its schedules in advance of a planned second phase of industrial action by British Airways pilots on Friday 27 September 2019.

Once again, there are very extensive cancellations to BA’s schedules at Gatwick and Heathrow. There is also residual disruption before and after the strike.

Flights operated by BA CityFlyer Ltd at London City are not affected. BA has advised that extra capacity has been added from London City to Amsterdam, Berlin Tegel and Munich on the day of the strike.

Flights operated by franchise partners SUN-AIR A/S of Scandinavia and Comair are not affected. Nor are flights operated by codeshare partners under BA flight numbers.

If your flight is cancelled you should have now received an e-mail from BA. The best way to monitor the status of your booking is to use the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund. BA is offering rebooking on what is now a wide range of Oneworld alliance and non-alliance partner airlines.

BA Executive Club Avios and Tier Points

BA has today, Friday 13 September 2019, updated its guidance on ba.com to clarify its position on the awarding of Avios and tier points to members of the BA Executive Club whose flights have been cancelled.

BA now advises that if you are rebooked on a BA or Oneworld partner airline flight you will be awarded Avios and tier points automatically after you have taken the flight. (In actuality, it can take time for these to credit, so it’s worth keeping a close eye on your account).

If you are rebooked on a non-Oneworld alliance partner airline, you will need to submit a claim directly to BA in order to earn Avios and tier points. These will be awarded on the basis of your original booking with BA.

If you believe you have missed out on retaining your existing Executive Club tier or reaching the next tier as a consequence of industrial action, you should contact BA and they will look at your account on a case-by-case basis.

This is the guidance, as published this evening on ba.com, which may be amended at any time:

If your flight was cancelled as a result of the industrial action, and you were rebooked onto an alternative service operated by British Airways or a oneworld partner airline, you will automatically be credited with the applicable Avios and Tier Points once you have flown the rebooked flight.

If your flight was cancelled as a result of the industrial action, and you were rebooked by British Airways onto an alternative service operated by a non-partner airline, we will award you the Avios and Tier Points for your original cancelled British Airways flight. Please raise a claim online by logging into your Executive Club account and click the option “claim missing Avios on BA” and submit your original British Airways flight details.

In all other cases where you believe you would have upgraded or retained your Tier status had your flight not been affected by the industrial action, please contact your local Executive Club Service Centre who will review cases on an individual basis.

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British Airways Pilot Strike Update

An update on planned industrial action by British Airways pilots on Monday 8 & Tuesday 9 September 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways

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

With less than 24 hours before a strike by British Airways pilots represented by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) is due to start, here is a quick summary of the status of the dispute between the airline and its pilots.

Strike – Monday 9 & Tuesday 10 September 2019

The planned strike by BA pilots at Gatwick and Heathrow on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 September 2019 is due to go ahead.

Very often planned strikes in a pay dispute can be called off at the last minute as talks go right up to the wire. However, no discussions appear to be currently underway between BA and BALPA. A revised pay proposal was presented by BALPA to BA this week, but this was rejected out of hand by BA due to its cost. The airline maintains it is available for talks, provided there are no pre-conditions.

Disruption to flights will begin, today Sunday 8 September 2019, as a number of inbound long-haul flights, particularly transatlantic flights from North America, are cancelled. Theoretically, these flights can operate as pilots can only strike when in the UK but there is the issue of where to park all the aircraft when they land at Heathrow.

BA has always adopted a conservative approach to strike schedule planing and virtually no BA flights are expected to operate from Gatwick and Heathrow on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 September. From a cursory scan of scheduled flights from Heathrow on Monday 9 September, no BA flights are scheduled to operate.

Short-haul flights operated by BA CityFlyer Ltd at London City and franchise partners SUN-AIR A/S of Scandinavia and Comair are not affected. Nor are flights operated by codeshare partners under BA flight numbers.

Flights will resume on Tuesday evening as a number of inbound long-haul flights are expected to operate.

There will be some residual disruption beyond Tuesday, particularly on Sydney-Singapore-London, due to the length of time it takes pilots to complete a return trip on this route.

You can view the latest guidance from BA and check the status of your booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

Strike – Friday 27 September 2019

BA has not yet announced cancellations for the second strike on Friday 27 September 2019.

The airline is expected to do so at least 14 days before the strike is due to start. If you are due to fly on BA between Thursday 26 and Saturday 28 September 2019, you can rebook on to an alternative date free of charge.

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BA100: Number One.

London Air Travel » British Airways

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

Well what did you think would be Number 1?

You can fly the most advanced commercial aircraft with market leading cabins all supported by big budget advertising campaigns, but if you don’t have the people – both in the aircraft and on the ground – to deliver the service, it all falls flat.

As recent events have shown relations can become strained – it wouldn’t be BA if its centenary wasn’t interrupted by “events” – but in its people BA has a phenomenal wealth of flying “know how” based on decades of experience and passion for aviation.

British Airways Engineers
British Airways Engineers (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Cabin Crew
British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)
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BA100: 2. Concorde

100 Years Of British Airways: The First Lady of aviation, Concorde.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Concorde Landor Livery
British Airways Concorde Landor Livery (Image Credit: British Airways)

Welcome to our 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines.

“You leave. Arrive before”.

That was the promise of Concorde. One of the 20th century’s greatest design icons and the world’s only supersonic aircraft, flying at around twice the speed of sound at 1,350mph and at an altitude of 60,000 feet.

Concorde was in commercial service at BA from 1976 to 2003. In that time more than 2.5 million passengers flew on the fleet of seven aircraft. It operated scheduled services principally to New York, but also at times to Barbados, Bahrain, Dallas Fort Worth, Miami, Singapore and Washington. It also operated charter flights to over 250 destinations worldwide, including annual flights to Lapland.

One of its most frequent passengers was an oil industry executive who notched up 70 return trips a year.

Concorde also benefited from its own dedicated “cellar in the sky” wine collection and the promise that bags would be delivered to passengers within 8 minutes of arrival.

British Airways Concorde G-BOAD, Negus Livery
British Airways Concorde G-BOAD, Negus Livery (Image Credit: Heathrow)
British Airways Concorde G-BOAF Chatham Dockyard Livery
British Airways Concorde G-BOAF Chatham Dockyard Livery (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Concorde
British Airways Concorde G-BOAB
British Airways Concorde Wimbledon Advert
British Airways Concorde Wimbledon Advert
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BA100: 3. “The Face”

100 Years Of British Airways: One of the greatest airline advertisements of all time, “The Face” from 1989.

London Air Travel » British Airways

"The Face" British Airways, 1989
“The Face” British Airways, 1989

Welcome to our 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines.

When the idea for what is possibly the greatest airline advertisement of all time was presented by Saatchi & Saatchi to BA, it is existed solely as a rough scribble on a single sheet of paper.

BA had asked Saatchi to prepare a new blockbuster advertising campaign. Saatchi had presented two ideas, which by its own admission were fairly unremarkable, to an unimpressed BA.

They then pulled a rabbit out of the hat. Out came a crumpled piece of paper bearing a sketch with the fairly unappealing sight of a disconnected smiling mouth, an eye, and a nose and a scribbled face.

But BA bought into the idea. And so “The Face” was born.

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BA100: 4. The Queen of the Skies, The Boeing 747

100 Years Of British Airways: The Queen of the Skies, the Boeing 747.

London Air Travel » British Airways

BOAC Boeing 747-136 aircraft
BOAC Boeing 747-136 aircraft (Image Credit: British Airways)

Pan American World Airways, for whom the Boeing 747 aircraft was designed, was the first airline to operate passenger flights, from New York to London on 21 January 1970. 

It may seem strange to think now, but there were doubts as to whether airlines could fill the aircraft with passengers. In addition, there were concerns about the ability of airports to handle the aircraft, at the time the biggest passenger jet in service. Both London Heathrow and New York JFK had to implement makeshift arrangements to handle the aircraft. 

“All the 747 needed was BOAC service.”

BOAC began passenger flights from London to New York on 14 April 1971.

It had been delayed by a year, partly due to an industrial dispute with its pilots. You can see footage of the cabin interior, with its Monarch lounge on the upper deck in this video:

The 747 would be progressively added to many North American routes.

BOAC Boeing 747 Canada Advert 1971
BOAC Boeing 747 Canada Advert 1971
BOAC Boeing 747 Miami Advert 1972
BOAC Boeing 747 Miami Advert 1972
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BA100: 5. Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge

100 Years Of British Airways: Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge, Chief Executive of BA from 1983 to 1993.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Lord Marshall Of Knightsbridge
Lord Marshall Of Knightsbridge (Image Credit: British Airways)

Welcome to our 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines.

Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge was recruited by Lord King to be Chief Executive of the airline in 1983.

Together with Lord King and Saatchi & Saatchi, Lord Marshall is credited with BA’s turnaround in the 1980s.

Lord Marshall had previously been Chief Executive of Avis in the United States. The UK was of course a very different country in the early 1980s. Those in the UK who had been to the United States in the 1970s knew, for all of the faults of the US, of the competitive power of the market. Lord Marshall would later say:

“In a deregulated environment, where government policies can no longer fix markets and offer competitive protection, who calls the shots? The answer is obvious: the customer. It is the essential truth of the new world competitive order – of global business development – that customer choice, preference and demand are its real driving forces.”

Like Lord King, Lord Marshall joined BA with no experience of working in the aviation industry. Speaking to the New York Times in 1989, Lord Marshall said of BA:

”There was very little understanding of what the passengers wanted and what the marketplace was all about,” ”And ‘marketing’ was a word that did not exist in the company. They had a commercial director, but no marketing director.”

Lord Marshall oversaw a “night of the long knives” which resulted in the dismissal of over 70 senior managers.

“Almost like an archaeological excavation, we had to sweep away the dust and dirt of generations of economic and attitudinal litter, in order to expose the treasure trove of air transport quality that we knew had accumulated over years of network, product and technical development. Then it needed to be polished to the point where it would both attract the customer and dazzle the competition.”

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BA100: 6. Club World

100 Years Of British Airways: Club World, BA’s long-haul business class cabin and the “profit engine” of the airline.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Club World Ticket Wallet
British Airways Club World Ticket Wallet

Welcome to our 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines.

It was in January 1988 that BA introduced the “Club World” brand, roughly ten years after the concept of long-haul business class first became known.

Initially, long-haul business class was simply a separate part of the economy cabin for full fare passengers. Then, BA introduced its Super Club cabin.

BA claimed that the introduction of Club World in 1988 which featured a dedicated crew for the first time, improved catering and ground services, increased traffic by 31%.

Since then, Club World has become by far BA’s most important cabin and it has featured the airline’s biggest innovations. The financial performance of BA is inextricably linked to the volume of Club World traffic. So much so, it was to become known as the “profit engine” of BA.

The First Club World Seats

The initial Club World seat was a “slumber seat”.

In the 1990s, BA maintained a regular pace of change in the cabin. Another new cabin interior and seat was introduced in the early 1990s with seat-back TV for the first time.

British Airways Club World Advert 1993
British Airways Club World Advert 1993

The Cradle Seat

The next significant change to Club World came with the “Cradle Seat” in 1996.

British Airways Club World Cradle Seat
British Airways Club World Cradle Seat

The concept behind this seat was that rather than simply reclining, the seat would tilt and, with the aid of “ears” in the headrest and a built in leg-rest, it would support the entire body whatever the position of the seat.

“Presenting a revolutionary view from business class”

At the turn of the century, BA announced one of the most significant innovations in its history, the first fully flat bed in business class.

BA Club World Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)

Designed by tangerine, it featured a patented “yin-yang” layout of rear and forward facing seats that would convert into fully flat beds.

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BA100: 7. Royal Duties.

100 Years Of British Airways: How BEA, BOAC and British Airways have carried Her Majesty The Queen since 1952.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Her Majesty The Queen, BOAC
Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II returns to London airport on BOAC, 1952

Welcome to our 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines.

Her Majesty The Queen has a long history with BA and its predecessor airlines. 

On 31 January 1952, The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, bid farewell to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at London airport before departing on a BOAC Argonaut “Atlanta” G-ALHK aircraft with Prince Philip for a world tour of Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

This trip was cut short following the death of King George VI. Princess Elizabeth returned a week later from Kenya on the same BOAC aircraft as Queen Elizabeth II.

BEA, BOAC and BA have flown The Queen on many state visits and tours.

These include the 1953 and 1954 Commonwealth tours (on a BOAC Stratocruiser), Canada and the US in 1957 (on a BOAC DC-7C aircraft), Bermuda and Jamaica 1963 (on a BOAC Stratocruiser), New Zealand in 1974, the Commonwealth Silver Jubilee tour 1977 (on Concorde), the Middle East in 1979 (on Concorde), and Australia in 2011 (non-stop from London to Perth on a Boeing 777).

Her Majesty The Queen, Malta
Her Majesty The Queen, Malta (Image Credit: British Airways)
Her Majesty The Queen, Concorde, 1977
Her Majesty The Queen, Concorde, 1977 (Image Credit: British Airways)
Continue reading “BA100: 7. Royal Duties.”

BA100: 8. The Day That Changed The World

100 Years Of British Airways: The single worst day in civil aviation history, 11 September 2001.

London Air Travel » British Airways

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

Welcome to our 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines.

BA, like much of the world, entered the 21st century with a sense of optimism.

There had been some difficult years with the adverse reaction to World Tailfins. The airline was also facing increased competition from low cost carriers and in 1999 reported its worst financial results since 1982.

“21st Century Air Travel”

However, at the turn of the century, there was a cause for optimism.

Under the theme of “21st century air travel” the airline was making significant investments in all of its cabins with entirely new World Traveller Plus and Club World cabins and revamped Club Europe, World Traveller and First cabins.

One event of course changed everything. 11 September 2001 was the single worst day in aviation history. The events of that day and its substantial human cost are well known. It had a profound impact on the US psyche and global geopolitics which are still felt to this day.

For BA, there was the immediate impact of the closure of US airspace. 22 BA aircraft were diverted and it took days to fully restore transatlantic flights. At the time many wondered whether air travel would ever be the same again. Many security measures were implemented such as locking the doors to the flight deck in flight and the submission of advance passenger lists to US authorities.

BA subsequently announced a review of its business which became known as “Future Size and Shape”. This resulted in a substantial cut in capacity, thousands of job losses, and cost-cutting initiatives. Some projects that were already underway such as improving profitability at Gatwick were accelerated. Many long-haul routes were suspended such as Manila and Taipei.

This set the course for BA the rest of the decade with a focus on improving its balance sheet, removing legacy complexity and no significant capacity growth. It was only towards the start of this decade did BA start growing again.

Many at IAG, mindful that Ryanair was able to secure a substantial discount from Boeing for new aircraft after 11 September 2001, are determined that this does not happen again. Put in fairly crude terms, they want the next shock to the aviation industry to be an opportunity, not a problem, for IAG.

Continue reading “BA100: 8. The Day That Changed The World”