Qatar Airways to join the Oneworld Alliance on 30 October 2013

Qatar Airways is to join the Oneworld alliance on Wednesday 30 October 2013, just over one year after announcing its original intention to join the alliance.

This means that from this date, members of fellow Oneworld alliance members frequent flyer programmes will be entitled to reciprocal frequent flyer benefits (such as mileage earning and airport lounge access) when flying on Qatar Airways.

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Was Hasan Syed’s Twitter campaign against British Airways justified?

I’m sure by know you have read the story of how Hasan Syed used Twitter to protest his dissatisfaction at the way British Airways responded to the loss of his father’s luggage on a trip from Chicago to Paris last weekend.

In the interests of accuracy and completeness, the passenger did not transit via Heathrow. He flew from Chicago to Newark on American Airlines, and from Newark to Paris on BA’s subsidiary OpenSkies.

Hasan spent close to $1,000 to promote a series of Tweets to alert users to his views on BA’s customer service failings:

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BA adds flights to Accra (Ghana) and Entebbe (Uganda) in Summer 2014

Quite a mixed picture for BA in Africa at the moment. Yesterday, BA announced that its route to Lusaka was being dropped and this followed the suspension of its route to Dar es Salaam earlier this year.

On a more positive note, BA is to increase flights to Accra from daily to 10 weekly from Sunday 27 October 2013. Furthermore, the daily flight will be upgaged from a Boeing 777 to a Boeing 747 from 30 March 2014. This is no doubt a competitive response to Virgin Atlantic withdrawing from this route.

London – Accra

Flight BA0081 Depart 14:50 Arrive 20:20 (Daily)
Flight BA0079 Depart 22:45 Arrive 05:00 (Sat, Mon, Wed)

Accra – London

Flight BA0080 Depart 06:55 Arrive 14:55 (Thu, Sun, Tue)
Flight BA0078 Depart 22:45 Arrive 06:20 (Daily)

Flights to Entebbe in Uganda also increase from three flights to four flights a week from 30 March 2014 and also benefit from being retimed.

BA moves London Heathrow – Tel Aviv route back to Terminal 5

Just under a year ago, as part of a reshuffle of flights between London Heathrow terminals as British Airways digested its acquisition of bmi, BA decided to move all of its flights to Tel Aviv from Terminal 5 to Terminal 1, with all flights operated by an Airbus A321 aircraft.

This proved to be unpopular with passengers for three main reasons:

1. The switch to Terminal 1 meant no access to BA’s Galleries Club and First lounges in Terminal 5 and a change in terminals for the majority of transfer passengers.

2. The switch from three/four class widebody aircraft to a two class (economy and business class) aircraft.

3. The change in aircraft meant that no premium economy product was available on this route and members of the British Airways Executive Club could not use frequent flyer miles (“Avios”) to upgrade to business class (Club World).

BA has now reversed this decision and from Sunday 30 March 2014 all flights to Tel Aviv will operate from Terminal 5. Flights will operate twice daily, with an Airbus A321 aircraft and a four class Boeing 777 aircraft.

It has not been confirmed whether any routes will move from Terminal 5 to 1 to accommodate the move.

Terminal 1 is due to close in Spring 2016, at which point it is expected that BA’s flights will be consolidated in Terminals 3 and 5.

BA suspends London Heathrow – Lusaka route

British Airways has today announced that it is to suspend its thrice weekly route to Lusaka in Zambia from 25 October 2013.

The final flight (BA255) from London to Lusaka will operate on Friday, 25 October 2013, and the return flight from Lusaka to London (BA254) will operate on Saturday, 26 October 2013.

No reason has been given for the suspension of the route. However, it is a safe assumption that unsatisfactory commercial performance is the reason.

British Airways has provided rebooking guidelines which include re-routing options via other BA gateways in Africa. Additional options may be added in due course if BA can reach commercial terms with other airlines.

BA to launch London Heathrow – Austin with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

British Airways has today confirmed that it will launch a new direct route from London Heathrow to Austin, Texas from Monday 3 March 2014 (just in time for the SXSW festival!).

The route will initially operate five weekly (not Wednesday and Saturday) until 5 May 2014 when it will operate daily. The precise flight times depend on the day of operation until the flight goes daily.

Austin is one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. The announcement is significant in not only providing London with a direct route to Austin, but also this is the first new route to be launched that will be operated with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Although BA has made much of how the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will open up new routes to Asia, this announcement does demonstrate how much potential there is in BA’s traditionally strong transatlantic market.

The route announcement also follows a trend of BA launching new transatlantic routes to US cities where it is either the sole operator of the route to London Heathrow, and in some cases, Europe. This may provide some clues as to which new US cities will announced next.

Flights are now on sale on

BA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner is now flying between London and Toronto

British Airways completed its first long-haul passenger flight on the Boeing 787 yesterday when BA93 departed London Heathrow for Toronto Pearson airport. The flight landed at approximately 2:55pm local time and departed for London the same evening around 7:20pm as flight BA94.

Video of the Boeing 787 landing at Toronto Pearson airport and taxing the gate as well as interior shots and an interview with BA’s airport manager are available in this video footage prepared for broadcast media.

Flights to Newark on the Boeing 787 start on 1 October 2013. British Airways has yet to announce which destination will be served by the Boeing 787 route. However, it is likely to be another transatlantic route currently served by a Boeing 767 (possibly Philadelphia or Washington Dulles).