Category Archives: British Airways - Page 3

British Airways: We Won’t Refund Airfare Unless Mute Man Can Speak

You can read the whole story here, but here’s the short version:  A 22-year old booked a trip to Orlando on British Airways.  He gets into a very serious car accident, forcing him into intensive care for weeks on end.  He is bed-ridden and unable to speak.  His parents call British Airways to cancel the flight and get a refund.  The airline refuses, saying they need to speak with the passenger.  The parents explain that the passenger is physically unable to speak.  BA says they are sorry but they can’t refund the ticket without speaking to the man.

Blah blah blah, passenger privacy, blah blah blah now that the story is in the media we’ll probably refund.

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Passenger Sues British Airways for Making Men Feel Like Perverts (Um, Basically)

A male passenger is suing British Airways because of its policy that young children cannot sit next to male passengers who are not related to them (no, I was not aware of this policy).  In short:  a male passenger was in a middle seat next to his pregnant wife who was sitting in the window seat of a BA flight.  A 12-year old boy was in the aisle seat.

A flight attendant asked the male passenger to either move seats or switch with his wife.  He initially refused, saying that he wanted to stay with his pregnant wife, and that his wife shouldn’t be made to sit in the middle seat.  Things got a bit heated with the flight attendant, but eventually the passenger moved.  Then he got angry, suing the airline on sex discrimination charges, as the policy only applies to male passengers (it would be somewhat difficult to have a policy saying that unaccompanied minors could not sit next to male or female passengers).  The case goes to court next month.

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British Airways May Be Closing Down OpenSkies

The Guardian is reporting that British Airways may shut down OpenSkies, its all-business class subsidiary flying between New York, Amsterdam and Paris.  The airline has reportedly been losing money since launch and last year canceled its expansion plans (including plans for a 5th 757).  To bolster its Paris operations it purchased L’Avion about a year ago, but even that move could not help them generate the yields necessary to make the French route work.

Some have suggested that BA has kept OpenSkies running as a defensive move against other airlines entering the market.  And while I buy that to some extent, its a moot point in the current environment when it would be highly unlikely that anyone else would try to launch an all-business class service today.

Should BA shutter the carrier it would mark the end of the failed 3-year all-premium trans-Atlantic experiment that has seen the demise of MAXjet, SilverJet and Eos.  Without frequencies, continuing traffic and loyalty programs (even though OpenSkies was aligned with BA’s loyalty program you need all three of those components), new entrant trans-Atlantic business class airlines don’t really have a chance.

(For my review of a flight on OpenSkies read here.)

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British Airways: Workers Can Take 4 Weeks Unpaid Leave — Or You Can Work for Free for 4 Weeks

British Airways, which is facing the biggest financial crisis of its storied history, has offered its staff between 1 and 4 weeks unpaid leave as a means to cut budget.  The odd part of the story is this:  they have also told staff that they are welcome to work during that unpaid leave period if they’d prefer.

I have the sense that if Southwest offered this type of arrangement, that a sizable number of workers would actually show up to work unpaid, because they have built up that goodwill over 30+ years.  If I were a BA worker, though, I think I’d be pretty offended by the idea that I would come to work for nothing.

The larger part of this story is that BA’s CEO Willie Walsh says that there is no sign of recovery any time soon.  US Airways CEO Douglas Parker said something similar yesterday, though he did suggest that leisure bookings may be on their way back.  However, with massive cutbacks in business travel, the airlines are in crisis mode.  One of the world’s most prominent carriers asking their staff to work for free for a month is only the beginning of the rough road most airlines will face over the next 3 months.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see airlines face bankruptcy (again) this year (I’m talking to you, Midwest).

(Quick addition:  United just put out a release saying that their 2nd quarter Revenue per Available Seat mile (RASM) will be down nearly 19% over last year.  That’s a very rough proxy for average fares (very rough) – but the key takeaway is that they’re getting about 20% less revenue to fly 1 seat 1 mile than they were last year.  That’s basically saying business travel continues to shrink dramatically.  Oh, and while we’re adding to this post, Rick Seaney from FareCompare just wrote bascically the same column for ABCnews.com – just so he doesn’t think I stole from him :) )

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British Airways to Offer Email & Text on Its A318s Between London City and JFK

With its launch in September, British Airways will offer email and text messaging on its A318 aircraft flying between London City and JFK.  According to BA, this will be the first in-flight communication services on transatlantic flights.  OK.  Voice calls won’t be available initially, as that will drive people crazy, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see it rolled out later.

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What to Do If You Have a Flight Scheduled to Mumbai

A quick note about what airlines are doing if you have a flight scheduled to Mumbai:

US carriers have resumed flights to Mumbai, but all are offering to re-accomodate if you have a flight in the next week or so.

Continental:  If you have travel between now and December 2nd, you can change the flight to depart any date before December 9th without incurring a fee.

Delta:  If you have travel scheduled between now and December 3rd, you can change the flight to depart by December 10th as long as you re-book by December 3rd.

American: If you have travel scheduled between now and December 4th, you can change you flight to depart any time before December 4th without a fee.

British Airways:  If you have a flight before December 3rd, you can rebook to a different city in India or change your flight date (they don’t have a restriction on when you can change the date of the ticket).

Air India:  You can change the date of travel to Mumbai without penalty.

Interesting that US carriers have such tight restrictions, but if their restrictions don’t meet your needs, I would certainly speak with a supervisor to see if they can be a bit flexible with your flight dates or cities (even if that means putting you on a partner airline).

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British Airways Offers $1996 Club World Tickets to London (and $3996 First Class Tickets)

British Airways is offering Club World tickets to London from New York for just $1996 round trip (plus about $250 in various taxes) if you book by December 1st for travel through March 22. Though it’s twice the price, the $3996 sale they’re offering on First Class tickets is actually a bigger deal, as I’m not sure I ever remember BA discounting First Class to that level. Of course, if you’re paying $4000 for a flight to London, I’m not sure the savings matters all that much to you.

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Britain’s XL Leisure Shuts Down; Oddsmakers Guess Who’s Next

British leisure tour (and airline) operator XL Leisure shut down, stranding about 85,000 people around the world (about 10,000 people were flying their airline, XL Airways).

Bookmaker Paddy Power had put out a list on Wednesday of airlines it thought would shut down, and XL wasn’t on the list – but bettors put so much money on XL, that they had to close betting.  In case you were wondering, Air Berlin is the next best guess to close down (7-1 odds) and Vueling follows at 8-1.

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More Drunks Try to Open Airplane Doors

Two British women on an XL Airways flight from Kos, Greece, to Manchester were arrested after they attacked a flight attendant with a vodka bottle and tried to open the cabin door while screaming, “I need some fresh air.”  The two were arrested (to the cheers of other passengers) when their plane was diverted to Frankfurt.

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Bollywood Star Finds that British Airways Has Lost His Bag…for the 18th Time

Bollywood film legend Amitabh Bachchan has learned the hard way about British Airways’ miserable record losing bags (it misplaces 23 bags for every 1000 passengers):  The actor says that his bags were lost on a recent trip with his family to Toronto, marking the 18th time the airline has lost his luggage. There really isn’t any more to the story, but I thought that was impressive.

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