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.
International Airlines Group has today confirmed that WiFi will be rolled out across the short-haul and long-haul aircraft of its airlines: Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling.
To date, IAG airlines have adopted a piecemeal approach to WiFi. BA has WiFi on just one Boeing 747. Aer Lingus has WiFi on its transatlantic Airbus A330s. Iberia and Vueling also have WiFi on some aircraft.
On short-haul aircraft IAG is expected to adopt an Inmarsat “Air To Ground” system which should deliver fast internet access speeds. The first aircraft will be in service by 2017.
On long-haul aircraft, new deliveries of Airbus A330 (to Aer Lingus & Iberia), Airbus A350 (to British Airways and Iberia) and Boeing 787-10 (to British Airways) are expected to be fitted with WiFi.
IAG will also aim to retrofit 100 long-haul aircraft (primarily British Airways aircraft) with WiFi. IAG will target rolling out WiFi to 90% of long-haul aircraft by 2019.
The fit-out of WiFi on long-haul aircraft is likely to be subject to IAG being satisfied that the technology is sufficiently robust for the global long-haul networks of BA and Iberia and the cost of retrofitting aircraft makes the investment worthwhile
IAG has not yet indicated what pricing model it will adopt for WiFi, which is likely to vary by airline.
As well as providing passengers with in flight internet access and the opportunity for new In Flight Entertainment services, it will be interesting to see what customer service initiatives will arise as consequence of equipping cabin crews will in flight internet access.
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.