With European airports already struggling with the increased demand in travel and with UK airports currently being hit particularly hard, it looks like things may get a lot worse for some passengers once the summer holidays are upon us.
Like pretty much every major airline around the world, British Airways introduced a flexible cancellation policy shortly after the Covid pandemic started playing havoc with everyone's travel plans. The policy was designed to encourage travelers to make future bookings at a time when the travel environment was highly unstable so with the worst of the pandemic apparently now behind us, the airline has chosen this moment to roll back its 'Book With Confidence' policy and to go back to its historic fare rules.
A few weeks ago, BA had one of its bigger meltdowns of recent years when an unspecified IT failure meant that, among other things, BA crews (both air and ground) could not be scheduled correctly which led to the airline canceling most of its short-haul flights on Saturday 26 February.
A couple of days ago, British Airways announced that it would be dropping its rule that requires passengers to wear face coverings onboard all of its flights but then, 24 hours later, we heard that British Airways was telling staff that it was backtracking on that decision and that face coverings would continue to be required. It was hard to know what was going on. Now, finally, we have a bit more information.
48 hours ago, we first started to hear stories that British Airways was planning to remove its rule that requires passengers to wear face coverings on all flights. Less than 24 hours ago, British Airways announced that as of today, face coverings would only be required onboard flights where the relevant authority with jurisdiction over the flight requires masks to be worn. Now, a story has emerged which suggests that British Airways has had a change of heart.
While guidance has remained in place in some areas, the UK population has been free of domestic Covid restrictions for almost a month and despite a sign that hospitalisations due to Covid may be on the rise, the UK government has announced that all remaining travel restrictions are being lifted and the UK's two long-haul carriers have announced an end to mask-wearing onboard.
British Airways has announced plans to launch a new daily service between London Heathrow and Newark Liberty later this year as the airline continues to revive its long-haul network following two years in the doldrums.
Following on from yesterday's announcements that select Executive Club members will be having their elite statuses extended and that lower tier points targets will be in place for the whole of 2022, British Airways has now also announced that it is extending its offer of double tier points on bookings made with British Airways Holidays.
After more cancelled flights than I care to think back upon, I have finally had the chance to try out the (relatively) new Club Suite that British Airways is slowly using to replace its outdated Club World (Business Class) seats. A full review of the Club Suite will appear on TFM once I've experienced the seat on an overnight flight but, for now, I thought that I'd share my first impressions.
If you've tried to get through to British Airways to deal with a booking issue, you will probably have noticed that getting to speak to a fellow human being has become almost impossible. It doesn't matter what time of day you call, the automated phone service will almost inevitably hang up on you. Fortunately, there appears to be an incredibly simple way to get around this problem and it relies on the airline's greed.