BA introduces car transfers for UK domestic connections at Heathrow

BA is introducing airside transfers by car for selected UK domestic passengers connecting at London Heathrow.

British Airways Premium Transfer Drive (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Premium Transfer Drive (Image Credit: British Airways)

Something of an unexpected announcement by BA today.  The airline is introduce airside transfers by car for selected passengers connecting from UK domestic flights at London Heathrow.

The service is called “Premium Transfer Drive”.  It will be available for passengers transferring from UK domestic flights to a short-haul flight in Club Europe or a long-haul flight in Club World or First Class.  It will also be available to Silver and Gold members of the BA Executive Club.  There’s no mention of reciprocal recognition for Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers.

It will only be available to passengers who are at risk of missing their connections.  Affected passengers will be alerted via the crew on their inbound flight to London Heathrow.

This service appears to only apply to UK domestic connections. It will not apply to connections between mainland Europe short-haul flights and long-haul flights.

Clearly, this a welcome move that does make Heathrow a (little) more competitive airport for passengers in UK regions who have a choice of a number of airports in Europe and the Middle East for connections.

That said, it will also be interesting to see how reliable the service is during major operational disruption due to severe weather.

London flight cancellations due to flooding following Hurricane Harvey

The following BA and United flights between London and Houston have been cancelled due to flooding following Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey TV Coverage (Image Credit: CNN)
Hurricane Harvey TV Coverage (Image Credit: CNN)

Due to severe flooding in Houston following Hurricane Harvey, the following flights to and from London to Houston (George Bush Intercontinental Airport) have been cancelled.  

BA has cancelled all flights to and from Houston up to Friday 1 September 2017.  Other BA and American Airlines flights to Texas are scheduled to operate normally. BA is allowing passengers booked to fly to and from Austin, Houston and New Orleans up to 7 September to rebook up to Wednesday 20 September 2017.

United Airlines has also cancelled all flights to Houston (George Bush International) until at least Thursday 31 August.

For the latest arrivals / departure information you can visit the websites of Heathrow, BA and United.

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Qantas moots non-stop flights from London to Sydney

Qantas has challenged Airbus and Boeing to develop aircraft capable of flying non-stop from London to Sydney by 2022.

Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

Qantas announced its annual financial results in Sydney today.  The airline posted a healthy profit before tax of AUD$1.4bn.   This is a sharp turnaround in fortunes for Qantas after it reported a record loss of AUD$2.8bn three years ago.  Much of the turnaround has been achieved through a restructuring of its international network.

In Europe, Qantas suspended twice daily services from London Heathrow to Sydney via Singapore and Bangkok and to Melbourne via Singapore and Hong Kong in favour of daily services to Sydney and Melbourne via Dubai under a joint-venture with Emirates.

Whilst Qantas seemed to be in retreat in Europe having ceded much market share to the “Big Three” Middle Eastern airlines (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways), its interest has reignited of late.  Qantas is due to launch non-stop flights to Perth in March 2018.  Qantas is also due to open a new lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3 this year.

Qantas has also today given a firm expression of interest in launching non-stop flights between London and Sydney by 2022.

Qantas has tasked aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing to produce new aircraft under development, the Airbus A350 Ultra Long Range and the Boeing 777X respectively, with sufficient range to operate London to Sydney non-stop with no restrictions on passenger loads.

Qantas claim that a non-stop flight between London and Sydney could shave four hours off the journey time.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce commented:

“From next year we’ll be flying direct from Perth to London, which is a huge leap forward. We believe advances in technology in the next few years will make Sydney to London direct a possibility and Qantas is well placed to be the airline to do it.

“Any aircraft purchase would have to meet strict financial thresholds, but these direct flights would be revolutionary for air travel in Australia.”

Airlines do not ordinarily give away commercial decisions on route launches away years in advance, and this is a very public message aimed squarely at aircraft manufacturers to sharpen their pencils.

It is also axiomatic that the viability of non-stop flights from London to Sydney will depend on how non-stop flights to Perth are received, both in terms of cabin comfort and whether passengers, particularly those at the front of the aircraft, are willing to pay a premium for non-stop services.

Personally, we would love to see non-stop flights to Sydney and for Qantas to rebuild its presence in London back to four flights a day.

Also today, Qantas announced a refurbishment of its Airbus A380 fleet which will include new business class and premium economy cabins and “refreshed” First Class and economy cabins.

 

BA79 & BA80 London – Muscat cancellations August 2017

British Airways has cancelled flights between London Heathrow and Muscat in August due to cabin crew industrial action. Here are options for affected passengers.

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

British Airways has cancel its five times weekly flight between London Heathrow and Muscat due to industrial action by cabin crew.

The affected flight numbers are BA79 and BA80.

BA79 is cancelled from London Heathrow to Muscat from Wednesday 16 to Monday 21 August.

BA80 is also cancelled from Muscat to London Heathrow from Thursday 17 to Tuesday 22 August.

As the industrial action could well run into September there may well be further cancellations.

BA has a rebooking agreement with Qatar Airways (which is a fellow Oneworld alliance member and a 20% shareholder of BA’s parent company International Airlines Group) via Doha.

If your flight is cancelled you have the option of rebooking on to one of Qatar Airways’ five daily flights from London Heathrow to Doha up to three days before or after your original date of travel and connecting on to one of Qatar’s five daily flights between Doha and Muscat.
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Gordon Ramsay Plane Food has reopened at London Heathrow Terminal 5

Gordon Ramsay Plane Food restaurant has reopened at London Heathrow Terminal 5 following a refurbishment.

Gordon Ramsay - London Heathrow Terminal 5
Gordon Ramsay – London Heathrow Terminal 5 (Image Credit: Gordon Ramsay Restaurants)

Gordon Ramsay Plane Food restaurant at London Heathrow Terminal 5 has reopened today (Monday 14 August 2017) after a refurbishment.

The restaurant first opened in 2008.  It was groundbreaking in two respects.  First, for raising the bar for airport dining with such a well known chef committing to an airport restaurant.  It also introduced well publicised dedicated takeaway “picnics” for eating in-flight.  Heston Blumenthal followed suit with The Perfectionists Cafe at London Heathrow Terminal 2.

The new restaurant promises a new Asian bar with dishes prepared before guests, a new cocktail bar and a newly refurbished dining area with refreshed menus which can be used for private events.

There is also a new take-on-board Picnic Menu with breakfast, vegetarian, fish and meat options.

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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.

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.
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