Delta Air Lines is to suspend its route from London Heathrow to Philadelphia from Thursday 3 May 2018.
The route launched in April 2015 with the benefit of a pair of slots that American Airlines was required to relinquish as part of its merger with US Airways. It is understood that Delta should now have permanent rights to this slot pair.
It is not currently known what route Delta will operate instead. Bearing in mind that Virgin has also permanently suspended Chicago this latest route suspension does suggest that Delta and Virgin struggle on routes where rival alliances have higher frequencies.
Now that Delta has suspended London Heathrow – Philadelphia, this route will be operated exclusively by Oneworld alliance members and joint-venture American Airlines and British Airways.
Affected Delta passengers should have the option of being accommodated on alternative Delta and Virgin Atlantic services via gateways such as New York JFK.
Update January 2018:
An earlier version of this article stated that this route was suspended from Saturday 24 March 2018. This article has been updated as it has since emerged that flights will operate until Thursday 3 May 2018.
Virgin Atlantic is to operate two special return flights between London Heathrow (departing on Sunday 7 & Monday 8 January 2018) and Las Vegas (returning Friday 12 & Saturday 13 January 2018) for the benefit of visitors to the annual Consumer Electronics Show.
Virgin Atlantic is to operate two special return flights between London Heathrow and Las Vegas for the benefit of visitors to the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January 2018.
The flights will depart London Heathrow on Sunday 7 and Monday 8 January 2018 and will return from Las Vegas on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 January 2018.
Flights will be operated using Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner which features a larger Upper Class cabin as well as amenities such as in-flight WiFi.
These will complement Virgin’s existing Boeing 747 service between London Gatwick and Las Vegas and will compete BA’s own direct Boeing 747 services between London Heathrow and Las Vegas which can operate up to twice daily.
This new “pop up” route does point to Virgin being flexible with its schedule to take advantage of peaks in demand. The airline is to also launch a seasonal route from London Heathrow to Barbados in December 2017, which will again complement its London Gatwick service.
Norwegian has announced yet another long-haul route from London Gatwick. The airline will fly to Buenos Aires four times weekly from Wednesday 14 February 2018. This will be the airline’s first direct route from London Gatwick to South America.
As per other long-haul routes at Gatwick, the route will be served by Norwegian’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner in a two class configuration.
British Airways has announced the launch of two new seasonal weekend ski routes from London Heathrow. BA will fly to Grenoble in France once a week on Saturdays from 2 December 2017. BA will also fly to Turin in Italy twice weekly on Saturdays and Sundays from 26 November 2017.
These are seasonal routes which will operate until late March 2018. Flights will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 5 and will be operated by Airbus aircraft in a two class, Club Europe and EuroTraveller configuration.
BA also serves Turin from London Gatwick and it is possible to “mix and match” different London airports, if convenient.
British Airways has cancelled its daily flight between London Heathrow and Doha for a period of six days between Saturday 1 July to Friday 7 2017.
The affected flight numbers are BA123 and BA122. BA123 is cancelled from London Heathrow to Doha from Saturday 1 July to Thursday 6 July. BA122 is cancelled from Doha to London Heathrow from Sunday 2 July to Friday 7 July.
Update 4 July: The period of cancellations has been extended to Tuesday 11 July for BA123 and Wednesday 12 July for BA122.
Update 5 July: The period of cancellations has been extended to Sunday 16 July for BA123 and Monday 17 July for BA122.
Update 13 July: The period of cancellations has been extended yet again and are likely to continue for the remainder of July. Given the long duration of cancellations this does raise the question of the viability of the route for BA, as it cannot sustain a route without a reputation for reliability.
British Airways has announced that it is to suspend flights from London Heathrow to Bergen Flesland airport and Stavanger Sola airport from Saturday 28 October 2017.
These routes were inherited by BA when its parent company International Airlines Group acquired bmi in 2012. The reason for the suspension is poor commercial performance.
The last flights will operate on Saturday 28 October 2017.
Passengers who are currently booked to fly from London Heathrow from Sunday 29 October 2017 have the option of:
A full refund
Rebook on to an alternative flight to/from Bergen and Stavengar from Friday 1 September 2017 to Saturday 28 October 2017
Rebooking on to an alternative BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Oslo up to 14 days before/after your original travel date. However, any consequential costs such as ground transportation must be met at your own expense
BA has not yet announced any rebooking arrangements with rival airlines. It normally takes time for these to be agreed and further details may be announced over the next few days.
For passengers looking at alternative routes from late October, other direct options include Norwegian from London Gatwick to Bergen and Stavanger and SAS from London Heathrow to Stavanger.
Affected passengers should contact BA or your travel agent.
Unite, the union which represents British Airways “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow, has called for further industrial action over sixteen consecutive days from Saturday 1 July to Sunday 16 July 2017.
This is continuation of a dispute that led to a call for industrial action today (Friday 16 June) which was suspended to allow for talks at the conciliation service ACAS. Talks are likely to continue between now and July.
BA has yet to its confirm its schedules during the strike. However, it does say that all customers will be able to reach their destinations during the strike, suggesting that short-haul routes with multiple flights a day are most at risk of cancellations.
Please note this page is updated regularly. Please scroll down for the latest updates.
BA has made another move to curry favour from members of its Executive Club programme.
Hot on the heels of news that some members have been granted free renewal of their Executive Club cards, BA has announced that it has released an additional 10,000 reward seats in its Club World long-haul business class for Christmas 2017.
Once upon a time, Virgin Atlantic never missed an opportunity to have a joke at the expense of its arch-rival British Airways.
Whether it was BA’s decision to introduce World Images tail fins, or to order twin rather than quad-engine long-haul aircraft or the botched opening of Terminal 5, Virgin Atlantic always seized the opportunity to generate free publicity. Meanwhile, BA had no option but to maintain a dignified silence through gritted teeth.
For a long period of time, this worked very well. It generated huge PR for Virgin Atlantic and, at least in PR terms, closed the gap in terms of the relative size of the two airlines.
Over the past few years, things have gone very quiet in terms of the rivalry between the BA and Virgin. Partly because Virgin has undergone changes in management and a restructuring to stem years of financial losses whilst BA has expanded considerably, primarily thanks to its merger with bmi in 2012. Also, the overtly contrived publicity stunt has long been out of fashion.
So it’s something of a surprise to see Virgin launch a new promotion actively encouraging passengers to switch their bookings from BA to Virgin with the promise of a £50 discount.
Here’s how it is supposed to work:
You make a flight booking directly with British Airways (a price quote is not sufficient).
You then contact Virgin Atlantic twice, first by e-mail and then by telephone to make the same booking, and Virgin will give you a £50 discount off your flight for the same dates and destination.
You then have to contact BA to cancel your booking.
Crucially, you must contact BA within 24 hours of making your original BA booking in order to cancel your booking without penalty. Otherwise, the cancellation will be processed in accordance with the rules of your fare and could be non-refundable.
Passengers are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag #VAnotBA on social media.
1. It feels like it is run for the benefit of Virgin Atlantic rather than passengers.
A £50 discount is, in the grand scheme of things, quite modest. There is also a very limited window of opportunity. The promotion runs from today, Tuesday 13 June to Thursday 15 June.
A cynic might wonder whether this promotion is run primarily to generate PR.
2. It requires a lot of effort on the part of passengers
To take advantage of this promotion, you have to first make a booking direct with BA, e-mail the booking reference to Virgin, call Virgin to obtain a discounted flight and then contact BA to cancel your booking and obtain a refund from BA.
This is a lot of effort for a £50 discount.
3. It could all go wrong very easily
BA’s 24 hour cancellation window, amongst other limitations, only applies to direct flight only bookings. It does not apply to BA Holidays bookings with hotels or car hire or flight bookings via travel agents.
BA is hardly going to be charitable if passengers inadvertently find themselves having to pay for two flights to the same destination on the exact same day.
You also have to wait for BA to process your refund. Given how busy the airline is dealing with compensation claims from last month’s IT outage, this could take many weeks.
A passenger could also easily find themselves having to pay a credit card bill with two flight bookings before the BA flight is refunded. If a passenger cannot settle the credit card bill in full, the interest cost could easily wipe out the £50 saving.