BA has now reached a new agreement with the GMB and Unite trade unions. This will be subject to a ballot by their members. As this will come with a recommendation to accept the offer, there should be a vote in favour.
British Airways staff at London Heathrow represented by the GMB & Unite unions have voted in favour of strike action.
Around 700 GMB staff were balloted. They voted 95% in favour of strike action. The turnout was 81%.
A similar ballot of around 500 BA staff at Heathrow represented by the Unite union voted 94.7% in favour of strike action.
The dispute with BA is over pay. The unions claim that a 10% pay cut imposed on ground staff by the airline during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been reinstated. Check-in staff also not received a 10% bonus given to other BA staff.
British Airways has suspended a number of long-haul routes at both London Gatwick and Heathrow for the winter season as the airline expects to face significantly reduced demand well into 2021.
London Gatwick Suspensions
At London Gatwick, flights to Las Vegas and New York JFK have been suspended until Sunday 28 March 2021.
Passengers can seek a refund or rebook on to alternative services from London Heathrow. Any consequential costs such as ground transportation will be at passengers’ expense.
Winter seasonal flights from London Gatwick to Cape Town are still currently showing in BA’s online timetables but have been taken off sale.
London Heathrow Suspensions
Turning to London Heathrow, Abu Dhabi has been suspended for the winter season from Sunday 25 October 2020. Flights are currently showing as operating in October, but this is subject to change.
Other BA routes to the Middle East such as Bahrain, Doha and Muscat currently show as operating throughout the winter.
On transatlantic routes, Pittsburgh is suspended for the winter. Flights are showing as operating in October but as the airport is not one of the 15 US airports designated by the United States Department of Homeland Security for eligible international passengers to arrive into the US, these are unlikely to operate.
Many of BA’s “thin” transatlantic routes such as Nashville, New Orleans and San Jose California are currently showing as operating in the winter but these will depend on travel restrictions being lifted. This seems highly unlikely before the US election on 3 November 2020. BA has already cancelled plans to launch London Heathrow – Portland.
Elsewhere, routes from London Heathrow to Durban and Osaka have been taken off sale for the winter, whilst still showing in BA’s online timetables, which is a likely precursor to their suspension.
Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund or to be rebook onto alternative BA flights nearby with connections on its codeshare and franchise partners such as American Airlines, Comair South Africa, and Japan Airlines.
British Airways has introduced a flexible rebooking policy for passengers due to return the UK after the introduction of a mandatory quarantine period on passengers arriving in the UK.
The UK government has announced a mandatory 14 quarantine period on all passengers arriving in the UK from Monday 8 June. Full details, including exemptions for transit passengers, are on the UK government website.
Any passenger who is mid-journey and due to return to the UK on a BA operated flight between 8 June and Sunday 28 June 2020 can rebook on to an alternative BA flight from Wednesday 27 May to Sunday 7 June 2020.
Of course, BA schedules are extremely limited at the moment. The airline is operating a small number of long-haul flights at London Heathrow Terminal 5 to key US destinations such as Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, New York JFK and Washington Dulles. If you are due to return from another airport in North America, you should be able to return via an airport where flights are operating. Short-haul schedules are also significantly reduced.
Passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com and should contact BA if they need to change their booking. If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund.
British Airways is currently offering vouchers to passengers whose flights have been cancelled, or who do not wish to travel, due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
In addition, passengers making new bookings up to Friday 31 July 2020 for travel up to Thursday 31 December 2020 also have the option to exchange the value of the ticket for a voucher.
These can be exchanged for travel on flights carrying a BA flight number up to and including 30 April 2022. Full details of these policies, which are regularly updated, are on ba.com
Initially, vouchers could not be used on either of BA’s franchise partners, Comair and Sun-Air. In the case of Comair this was particularly frustrating given its network in Africa.
Comair’s hub is based in Johannesburg and domestic destinations include Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth. Other destinations include Harare, Livingstone, Mauritius, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.
BA has today, Wednesday 20 May 2020, updated its guidance and Comair is no longer excluded.
Comair has suspended operations and does not expect to resume flights until the autumn. The airline is in a “business rescue” process whereby it will undergo a financial restructuring. A business rescue plan will be published for approval by its creditors in June. The underlying business is considered by the business rescue practitioners to be fundamentally sound, so the airline is expected to resume operations. It is not known whether this will have an impact on its franchise agreement with BA. Though BA continues to sell flights operated by Comair. It seems implausible that in the event of restructuring there won’t be some form of ongoing partnership between the two airlines.
British Airways has introduced a new flexible booking policy for its corporate customers and members of its “On Business” loyalty programme for small and medium-sized businesses.
The airline currently has a “book with confidence” policy. This applies to all new bookings made up to Friday 31 July 2020 for travel up to Thursday 31 December 2020, whereby any change fees will be waived.
BA is also allowing all passengers due to travel up to 31 July 2020 to exchange the value of their ticket for a voucher for travel up to 30 April 2022. Full details of these policies are available on ba.com
Free Name Change for Corporate and On Business Bookings
BA has added a new policy for corporate customers and members of its On Business loyalty programme for small and medium-sized businesses.
For the avoidance of doubt, a corporate customer is one travelling on behalf of an organisation which has a specifically negotiated deal with the airline, rather than business travellers in general. These bookings have a specific identifier for the corporate customer.
BA now allows one free change of name for all existing Corporate and On Business bookings (excluding codeshares) ticketed before Thursday 14 May 2020 for travel up to Wednesday 30 September 2020.
It also applies to new bookings made between 14 May 2020 and 31 July 2020 for travel to be completed by 31 December 2020.
British Airways has extended its “book with confidence” policy for new flight bookings.
Passengers who have made bookings since 3 March 2020 for travel up to Thursday 31 December 2020 have the flexibility to change their bookings without incurring a change fee, or to exchange the value of their ticket for future travel up to 30 April 2022.
This policy was due to end on Sunday 31 May 2020. It has now been extended to all new bookings made up to Friday 31 July 2020.
Separate to this, all passengers due to travel up to 31 July 2020 already have the option to exchange the value of their ticket for a voucher for future travel up to 30 April 2022. This applies regardless of when the booking was made.
British Airways has today, Tuesday 28 April 2020, extended its flexible rebooking policy for all passengers due to fly with the airline in the coming months.
Passengers who were due to travel up to Sunday 31 May 2020 and were not able to travel had the option to exchange the value of their booking for a voucher for future travel.
This has now been extended to all passengers who were due to travel up to Friday 31 July 2020. BA’s new rebooking policy is likely to be a precursor to a substantial schedule reduction in June and July.
Passengers due to fly up to Thursday 31 December 2020 who had booked under BA’s “book with confidence” policy from Tuesday 3 March 2020 also have the flexibility to change the date or destination of their booking.
In addition, all new and existing vouchers can now be used as payment for a new booking for travel up to and including 30 April 2022.
Previously, vouchers had to be used within 12 months of the original travel dates.
If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund.
However, you will need to call BA directly to secure this cannot be done online. Note BA will not allow vouchers to be subsequently converted into cash refunds.
The above is only intended to be a short summary of BA’s policy.
For the latest information on Coronavirus please see this page on ba.com.
Please review this very carefully, including the terms and conditions for flight and holiday bookings, before making any changes to your bookings. These policies are also subject to change at short notice.
BA is currently operating an extremely limited schedule from London Heathrow Terminal 5.
Schedules currently indicate that flights at London City and London Gatwick will resume from Friday 22 May 2020. This is subject to change. It is expected that schedules will resume very gradually throughout the year and into 2021.
British Airways is to continue to operate a limited schedule until August 2020 at the earliest.
If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund. However, you will need to call BA to obtain a refund as this cannot be done on the website.
All passengers due to travel up to 31 August 2020 have the flexibility to change their booking free of charge or exchange the value of their ticket for a voucher. This can be used as payment towards a new booking for travel up to and including 30 April 2022. More details of this policy are at ba.com
Passengers can check the status of their bookings using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com
Here are the main changes up to the end of July. These are subject to change at short notice. Any destination not yet operating with a given start date should be intepreted on an “at the earliest” basis. Realistically, it’s not possible to have firm visibility more than two weeks’ ahead.
BA is likely to confirm plans for August from mid-July. Also note that some cancelled flights are still showing an airport websites. BA is also operating a number of cargo-only flights which may show up on some websites under their regular flight numbers.
Flights on overlapping routes such as Dalaman, Faro, Ibiza, Palma and Rhodes have also transferred to Heathrow.
Some short-haul routes have not transferred to Heathrow. Flights to Gran Canaria and Milan Bergamo have been suspended until late October 2020. Flights from Gatwick to Antalya will not resume until summer 2021. Almeria has been permanently suspended.
At present, only the North Terminal at Gatwick is open. The South Terminal, where BA normally operates, is closed.
BA’s service to the Isle of Man, operated by Loganair, resumed on Sunday 21 June.
BA will shortly resume a limited route network from London City. Flights to Florence, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca resume from Friday 10 July. Flights to Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh resume from Monday 20 July.
BA has suspended London City – New York JFK until 1 September 2020 at the earliest.
British Airways has made changes to in-flight catering on short and long-haul flights in response to Coronavirus.
Some of the changes are quite vague in their description, but part of the aim seems to be to avoid the need to prepare food on board aircraft and to reduce contact between cabin crew and passengers.
This will mean substantially less, and ambient only, food will be available on flights. These changes will be particularly noticeable in Club World and First Class.
BA will no longer cater for any special dietary requirements or allergies.
So passengers who would ordinarily order special meals will have to make their own provisions.
In short-haul economy, M&S Buy On Board has been withdrawn.
Buy On Board will be replaced with a light refreshment, water and, on request, hot drinks.
Hot and soft drinks will continue to be offered as well as a light refreshment.
Meals will be prepared and packaged before each flight. So dishes will not be plated on board the aircraft as they usually are in First Class and Club World.
Pre-paid meals will not be offered in World Traveller.
Passengers can bring their own food on their flights, provided it does not need to be chilled or heated on board the aircraft.
The overall message seems to be expect less food and make your own provisions if possible.
As airlines are now operating an extremely limited schedule and are only carrying passengers who are returning to home, this arrangement is likely to continue until the situation with Coronavirus returns to normal.
In terms of pre-flight dining options, all lounges operated by BA in the UK and around the world are closed.
Third party lounges are also closed. At London Heathrow, all restaurant and retail outlets, apart from Boots and WH Smith, are also closed.
For the latest information on lounges check the Oneworld alliance website before your flight.