One of the many perennial criticisms of British Airways is its handling of disruption at its hub at London Heathrow. The airport is full, so when there is severe weather, the airline is forced to cancel flights, with short-haul flights always bearing the brunt. What usually follows is long queues at ticketing desks to be rebooked.
BA announced at the annual Capital Markets Day of its parent company International Airlines Group last year that it was working on automatic rebooking tools during disruption.
BA has today released an update for its smartphone app which includes the option to rebook on to alternative flights during disruption. However, this will initially only be for selected customers. We presume this is for testing purposes.
In addition, most if not all customers should now have a “timeline” feature for each booking on the app which provides a countdown for future bookings and services that are available in connection with that booking.
If you haven’t already done so, we do recommend that all travelers (whether a frequent or once a year BA flyer) download the BA smartphone app. It is the easiest way to keep track of flights both before the day of travel and at the airport. From experience we find it is often ahead of other sources for learning of delays.
It is also an easy way to keep on track of fixed price upgrade offers for existing bookings and being able to book flights without tripping over adverts for hotels and car hire as you do on ba.com!
We also recommend that for security reasons software updates for apps are downloaded as soon as they become available.
If you have tried to visit the BA website ba.com at any point today, you will have no doubt received the error message above.
The BA website has been down all day today. No reason has been given for this, other than “technical issues”. Whatever the issue is it must be very substantial. As BA.com is BA’s main selling channel, you can be confident there is a lot of pressure to get the website back up and running.
It is also not possible to check bookings via the BA smartphone app. However, live flight information appears to be available on the app.
In light of the fact that online check-in is not available you are strongly advised to allow plenty of time to check-in at the airport.
Given the nature of the issue is unknown, when the website is back up it is worth checking your Executive Club account and any future bookings to confirm everything is in order.
If you are travelling today you can also check live flight information on the websites of Gatwick, Heathrow and London City airports.
Edit: The website appears to be up and running at 20:00 BST.
International Airlines Group (“IAG”), the parent company of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, has announced the names of four tech start-ups that will work with the group to develop new technology solutions for airlines and passengers.
This is all part of IAG’s tech accelerator Hangar 51 which it has developed with L Marks.
IAG received some 450 applications. 26 applicants were invited to attend a pitch day (video above) and the following four tech start-ups were selected:
easyJet held its “Innovation Day” today at Milan Malpensa airport.
The airline has outlined a series of innovations under consideration to improve the operating efficiency of the airline and improve the passenger experience.
These include the use of automated drones to perform visual inspections of aircraft (video below), the use of 3D printing to produce spare parts, virtual reality technology in cabin crew training, and (in partnership with Airbus) the use of real-time flight information to predict aircraft maintenance requirements.
An 11 hour transatlantic flight from San Francisco to London in a passenger configured BA aircraft may not seem the most conducive environment for 100 thinkers to come up with solutions to the world’s problems, but BA thinks otherwise with the launch of Ungrounded.