British Airways Pilots Take Off On Twitter

How BA pilots are gaining a huge following on Twitter and engaging with the airline’s passengers.

British Airways Pilots
British Airways Pilots (Image Credit: British Airways)

Social media has long been a tool used by airlines to engage with their passengers.  YouTube and Instagram allow airlines to share slickly produced videos showcasing new aircraft, cabins and routes.  Snapchat, for those that have embraced it, allows airlines to take passengers behind the scenes and show case live events such as inaugural flights on new routes.

Arguably, the most significant social media tool is Twitter.  But it is something of a double-edged sword for airlines.  At its best, it can be effective tool for rapid responses to customer queries and for distilling information quickly.  But every airline is one tweet away from a social media storm.

Twitter not only provides a direct line of communication between passengers and airlines, but also their staff. And a growing number of BA pilots have amassed quite significant followings on Twitter. Not only that they are starting to co-ordinate their presence under the hashtag #BASMART

Leading the initiative is British Airways A380 pilot Dave Wallsworth who has amassed some 25,000 followers. Dave frequently dispatches updates as he plies BA’s Airbus A380 network to destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Los Angeles.

Here’s a video Dave recorded from the flight deck taking off from Vancouver, bound for London Heathrow:
Continue reading “British Airways Pilots Take Off On Twitter”

BA Cabin Crew Strike: Wednesday 16 August – Wednesday 30 August 2017

Some British Airways London Heathrow cabin crew are due to take further industrial action from Wednesday 16 August to Wednesday 30 August 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 yet further industrial action over from Wednesday 16 August to Wednesday 30 August 2017, including the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Taking into account industrial action throughout July and August this means that there will be two months of continuous strike action at BA this summer.

What can be confirmed now is: Continue reading “BA Cabin Crew Strike: Wednesday 16 August – Wednesday 30 August 2017”

BA London Gatwick – New York JFK cancellations

British Airways has cancelled its daily flights between London Gatwick and New York JFK during early August. Here are options for affected passengers:

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

British Airways is cancelling its daily flights between London Gatwick and New York JFK airport due to industrial action by cabin crew at London Heathrow.

The affected flight numbers are BA2273 and BA2272.

These flights are currently cancelled through to Tuesday 15 August 2017.

The reason for the cancellation is that whilst there is no industrial action at Gatwick, BA is using Gatwick based crews to cover some London Heathrow flights.

Given that the industrial action is due to run through until Wednesday 30 August, and may well be extended beyond this date, there could be further cancellations.

If your flight is cancelled you will have the option of rebooking on one of BA’s eight daily flights to New York JFK from London Heathrow Terminal 5.

If you have a connection on to an American Airlines domestic flight from New York JFK under the same booking it’s also worth exploring whether you can be rebooked on to an alternative direct service from London Heathrow.

Note that if you are rebooked BA may not meet any additional consequential expenses such as ground transportation to London Heathrow.

If any of the rebooking options offered to you are not satisfactory, you will have the option of a full refund.

Affected passengers should check the status of their booking at ba.com and contact either BA or their travel agent.

For the latest news on the cabin crew strike, please visit our strike information page.

BA Cabin Crew Strike Flight Cancellations 9 – 15 August 2017

Updated daily, these are the confirmed cancelled flights at Heathrow due to strike action by BA cabin crew from 9 – 15 August 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, is currently taking industrial action through to 30 August 2017. The industrial action may well be extended beyond this date.

Here are the confirmed cancellations to date from to Wednesday 9 August to Tuesday 15 August.

Please note this page is updated regularly.  Please keep checking for updates for flights up to Tuesday 15 August 2017.

The following flights should be operating normally:

  • All flights from London City and London Stansted
  • All flights from London Gatwick will operate as normal. However, some flights to New York JFK may be cancelled.
  • All flights from UK regional airports (apart from flights to London Heathrow)
  • The majority of flights from London Heathrow
  • Flights operated by codeshare partners, Oneworld alliance members and other airlines owned by BA’s parent company IAG are also not affected
  • If your flight is cancelled you will offered the opportunity to rebook to an alternative flight or a refund
  • Passengers who are due to travel to Doha will also be re-accommodated on Qatar Airways

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.

You can also check live flight information on the websites of Heathrow and BA.  The Heathrow website shows flight information up to the next day, and the BA site shows flight information (by number and route) for the next ten days.

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.
Continue reading “BA Cabin Crew Strike Flight Cancellations 9 – 15 August 2017”

BA297 & BA296 London – Chicago cancellations July & August 2017

British Airways has cancelled one of its daily flights between London Heathrow to Chicago during July & August. Here are options for affected passengers:

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

British Airways is cancelling one of its daily flights between London Heathrow and Chicago O’Hare airport due to industrial action by cabin crew.

The affected flight numbers are BA297 and BA296.

These also operate under the following codeshares:

BA297: AA6197, AY5537, EI8997, IB4677

BA296: AA6196, AY5536, EI8966, IB4676

These flights are currently cancelled through to Tuesday 8 August 2017, having already been subject to extensive cancellations during July.

Given that the industrial action is due to run through until Wednesday 30 August, and may well be extended beyond this date, there could be further cancellations.

If your flight is cancelled you should have the option of rebooking another British Airways operated flight (BA294 & BA295) or on to one of American Airlines’ four daily flights from London Heathrow to Chicago up to three days before or after your original date of travel.  A full timetable is below.
Continue reading “BA297 & BA296 London – Chicago cancellations July & August 2017”

BA Cabin Crew Strike Flight Cancellations 2 – 8 August 2017

Updated daily, these are the confirmed cancelled flights at Heathrow due to strike action by BA cabin crew from 2 – 8 August 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, is currently taking industrial action through to 30 August 2017. The industrial action may well be extended beyond this date.

Here are the confirmed cancellations to date from to Wednesday 2 August to Tuesday 8 August.

Please note this page is updated regularly.  Please keep checking for updates for flights up to Tuesday 8 August 2017.

The following flights should be operating normally:

  • All flights from London City and London Stansted
  • All flights from London Gatwick will operate as normal. However, some flights to New York JFK are cancelled.
  • All flights from UK regional airports (apart from flights to London Heathrow)
  • The majority of flights from London Heathrow
  • Flights operated by codeshare partners, Oneworld alliance members and other airlines owned by BA’s parent company IAG are also not affected
  • If your flight is cancelled you will offered the opportunity to rebook to an alternative flight or a refund
  • Passengers who are due to travel to Doha will also be re-accommodated on Qatar Airways

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.

You can also check live flight information on the websites of Heathrow and BA.  The Heathrow website shows flight information up to the next day, and the BA site shows flight information (by number and route) for the next ten days.

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.
Continue reading “BA Cabin Crew Strike Flight Cancellations 2 – 8 August 2017”

Air France KLM acquires a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic

Air France KLM is to acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic and will operate a transatlantic joint-venture with Delta Air Lines.

Virgin Atlantic, Air France KLM and Delta
Virgin Atlantic, Air France KLM and Delta

Air France KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic have today announced a significant series of transactions which will see Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group cede control of Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic is currently 49% owned by Delta Air Lines and 51% owned by Virgin Group.

Air France KLM is to acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic for £220m, reducing Virgin Group’s ownership of the airline to 20%. Sir Richard Branson is to retain the position of President.

Separately, Delta Air Lines and China Eastern will each acquire a 10% stake in Air France KLM for a combined sum of €751m.

Virgin Atlantic will retain its name.  In order to preserve all of its flying rights, it remain a majority UK owned airline with an Air Operating Certificate in the UK.  (Quite how this will be achieved has not been disclosed.)

In addition, Virgin, Delta and Air France KLM are to operate a combined transatlantic joint-venture between Europe and the United States. At present Delta has separate transatlantic joint-ventures with both Air France-France and Virgin Atlantic.

Operating a combined joint-venture will mean that Virgin will codeshare on Air France KLM’s transatlantic routes from Paris and Amsterdam and allow reciprocal earning of frequent flyer miles and recognition of frequent flyer benefits. Virgin and Air France KLM will also benefit from access to each other’s corporate customer bases.

There are a few unknowns:

Nothing has been said about whether Virgin Atlantic will join the SkyTeam alliance of which Delta and Air France KLM are members.

When Delta acquired a 49% share in Virgin Atlantic there was a significant restructuring of its route network with routes to Tokyo, Cape Town, Mumbai, and Vancouver suspended.  Virgin has also suspended Accra, Nairobi and Sydney. This has left only Dubai, Shanghai, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Delhi as non-US long-haul routes from London. It’s not clear whether these will remain or be removed in favour of codeshares from the respective hubs of KLM and Air France.

The press releases refer to co-location at key hubs to improve connectivity and achieve cost savings.  One of these is London Heathrow.  Currently Delta and Virgin Atlantic fly from Terminal 3.  Air France and KLM operate from Terminal 4.  Consolidating all operations in one terminal would make sense, but would involve a lot of upheaval.

It’s also not clear whether Virgin’s frequent flyer programme “Flying Club” will remain in the long term or be merged with Air France KLM’s “Flying Blue”.  Today’s release refers to an enchanced frequent flyer partnership.  However, a combined flying programme could be a powerful rival to the British Airways Executive Club and Avios currency, particularly given that KLM has a substantial presence at UK regional airports.

Whilst today’s announcement has been heralded as positive news, it has to be noted that Virgin Atlantic is forecast to make a loss this year. Furthermore, with Virgin suspending London Heathrow – Chicago it was arguably struggling to compete against its transatlantic rivals.

As for Sir Richard Branson, this does effectively mean the end of his ambitions in the aviation industry.  Whilst the Virgin name will remain, he will no longer control the airline.  The Virgin Group has disposed of many businesses over the years, but it had always maintained that it would keep control of Virgin Atlantic, this business most closely associated with his public persona.

Here are the news releases from Air France KLM,  Delta and Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson has also penned a letter (with the inevitable barbs at BA and International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh).