Lessons from BA’s IT Meltdown: How To Survive Delays & Disruption

Our tips on how to to survive airline delays and disruption at airports.

After a truly terrible weekend for British Airways passengers, BA’s London operation has largely recovered and the airline is expected to operate a full schedule tomorrow, Tuesday 30 May.

There were undoubtedly many failings on the part of BA. Not least the IT issue itself, but also the airline not realising it had a serious operational crisis quickly enough and getting its message out to the public via both traditional “mainstream’ and social media.

As awful as these events are for those caught up in them, it’s worth remembering that they are very rare. The age of digital media outlets all competing for eyeballs and social media means that they are widely publicised worldwide. However, every day tens of thousands of flights operate around the world, largely on time, with baggage and without incident.

That said, even for the experienced frequent flyer, there are always lessons to be learned and it is always worth being prepared for all eventualities.
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Expected disruption due to strikes by Air Traffic Control in France from Monday 6 March to Friday 10 March 2017

Air Traffic Controllers in certain regions of France are due to take industrial action at various times between Monday 6 March to Friday 10 March 2017.

The French Civil Aviation Authority has asked airlines to reduce their schedules accordingly.

This will cause delays and cancellations to flights to and from the UK that pass through French airspace, principally flights to and from France, Spain and North Africa.

Airlines are likely to minimise the impact of the strike by circumventing French airspace where possible.

The following airlines have issued guidance on rebooking options for passengers.

Please note that this page does not provide live flight information so any cancellations listed are proactive cancellations made in advance, and do not necessarily include any delays/cancellations made on the day.

You can check live flight information on the websites of Gatwick, Heathrow and London City airports.
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What aviation trends & developments can we expect in London in 2017?

Airbus A380
The world of air travel is never dull.  For an industry in a near permanent state of revolution there is no shortage of new developments for passengers.

Here is a run through developments we can expect in 2017 in terms of routes, airlines, airports and in flight service.

It’s a bit of long one, but here we go:

2016: The year of “Low Cost Long Haul” at Gatwick
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Seasonal Christmas & New Year Greetings from the world’s airlines & airports for 2016

The release of an annual Christmas film from the world’s major airlines and airports is now a regular fixture in the calendar. In previous years some videos and PR stunts have attracted audiences in the hundreds of millions worldwide on social media.

Here is our collection of films released by the world’s airlines and airports for 2016.

As ever, these films are a timely reminder as to what aviation is really about: bring people together.

Heathrow Airport: Coming Home For Christmas
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Christmas & New Year Greetings for 2015 from the world’s airlines

As is customary for the festive season, many of the world’s airlines have produced films and images to share the spirit of the Christmas / Festive / Holiday (delete as appropriate!) season and mark the end of a year of travelling in 2015.

Here are a few videos and images that caught our attention. As always, a consistent theme of these videos is a reminder about what air travel is fundamentally about: bring people together. We’ll update this page with more videos throughout the month.

Air Canada – Air Canada: Experiencing the #ACgiftofhome

Air New Zealand – A Kiwi Christmas

American Airlines: Happy Holidays from American Airlines

Delta: Holiday Greetings

Finnair: The Secret Partnership

Finnair: Santa’s Gift Drop

Iberia: Feliz Navidad

KLM – Bluey and the Christmas Airshow

Singapore Airlines: Christmas with Singapore Airlines

Swiss 

Virgin America Elves Visit San Francisco Animal Care & Control

Virgin Atlantic says #thankyoudeer to its customers this Christmas

WestJet: WestJet Christmas Miracle – 12,000 Mini-Miracles

The founders of Monocle Magazine debut the “Kioskafé” at London Paddington

Readers of Tyler Brule’s column in the weekend edition of the Financial Times, which for the initiated documents the travails of a life spent jet-setting around the globe, will know that a frequent target is the poor state of newspaper and magazine retailing in the UK.

One target has long been WH Smith. Specifically, its poorly lit and understaffed shops, the ill-targeted special offers, the self-scan check-outs and, in the case of its Heathrow branches, its parochial selection of newspapers and magazines.

Tyler Brule is not someone who isn’t afraid to put his money where his mouth is, nor to challenge convention.

Having long argued that print media is not dead, in 2007 Tyler Brule founded the magazine Monocle. As well as being a commercial and editorial success it eschews social media, does not carry out any research, charges more than the magazine cover price for a subscription and double the cover price for back issues.

Monocle has since extended its reach to shops, cafes (the London branch is at 18 Chiltern Street) and a 24 hour radio station, Monocle 24.

Tyler Brule is also the founder of the design agency Winkreative which designed the original brand identity of Swiss International Airlines, Porter Airlines, the cabin interior of British Airways Club World on Boeing 747-400 and 777-200 aircraft and the recently launched Union Pearson Express in Toronto.

The latest venture from Winkreative’s parent company, is the Kioskafe which opened in the past week at 31 Norfolk Place, opposite the Frontline Club and a short walk from London Paddington railway and Underground stations.
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UK Government explores lower rates of Air Passenger Duty for English regional airports

Amongst the many announcements by the Chancellor George Osborne in today’s summer budget, the Government has announced a consulation whereby regional airports in England may be able to offer differing rates of Air Passenger Duty.

This follows the earlier devolution of Air Passenger Duty to national governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and concerns that regional airports may be at a competitive disadvantage.

This may be achieved through either devolving the power to set rates of Air Passenger Duty to local authorities or for differing rates of duty to be set by Central Government. An alternative option proposed is to provide aid to regional airports.

Whilst any reduction in Air Passenger Duty would be welcomed by the aviation industry we suspect that many airlines will argue that the measure is insufficient and that duty must be reduced further to enable the UK and, specifically London Heathrow, to compete against other aviation hubs in Europe and the Middle East.

Furthermore, whilst many regional English airports such as Manchester and Birmingham have been growing their international links, particularly to the Middle East, this is unlikely to result in a significant rebalancing of aviation capacity between London and the English regions.

That said, the measure may attract more long-haul airlines to English regional airports, particulary to operate “pop-up” routes during the peak summer season, such as Virgin Atlantic’s summer seasonal flights between Belfast and Orlando.

The full consultation can be viewed online. Any interested parties are required to respond by Tuesday 8 September 2015.