Tag Archives: British Airways

British Airways launches a dedicated support team for customers with accessibility needs

British Airways has made this announcement:

  • Airline announces next phase of multi-million pounds investment for customers requiring additional assistance with introduction of 20-strong team of accessibility experts
  • Team will assist more than half a million customers with disabilities who fly each year – their enquiries were formerly handled by airline’s general customer service team
  • New direct phone line now connects customers straight to specialist team
  • Part of British Airways’ £6.5bn investment for customers and follows the launch earlier this year of airline’s new staff training programme to improve assistance for customers with hidden and visible disabilities

In the latest phase of its £6.5 billion investment for customers, British Airways has launched a dedicated customer care team for travelers who require additional assistance to ensure every journey they take with the airline is as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

The hand-picked team of customer service professionals received specialist training* to enable them to answer any questions customers have when they get in touch via phone or email and will help them understand what to expect during their journey.

They will also be able to help:

  • Make new flight, hotel and car hire bookings
  • Arrange bespoke assistance for customers
  • Pre-book seating
  • Inform airport staff and cabin crew about specific requirements
  • Provide information and support to empower more customers to have the confidence to fly

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience said: “I am really excited about the possibilities the new team will open up for the 50,000 customers requiring additional assistance who travel with us each month. Every member of the team is incredibly passionate about helping our customers and enabling them to relax and enjoy British Airways’ unique service.”

In April, British Airways became the first and only airline to be awarded the renowned Autism Friendly Award by the National Autistic Society and has now become the first airline to produce a Visual Guide to Flying to help customers prepare for their flight. The guide, which can be found on the airline’s website ba.com, is endorsed by the National Autistic Society and explains the sights, sounds, smells and experiences customers may encounter during their journey**.

Accessibility training program

Earlier this year British Airways began its largest ever accessibility staff training programme for almost 30,000 customer-facing colleagues. Since the introduction of the Beyond Accessibility Programme in January, the carrier has seen a significant increase in customer satisfaction from travellers who require additional assistance.

Aiming to become the airline of choice for customers with both hidden and visible disabilities, British Airways has worked with disability specialists to produce materials for the new programme. They include a new library of short videos providing information about different types of hidden disabilities and practical advice on how to support customers at each stage of their journey, and a new training video to help staff support and confidently interact with customers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Victoria Williams, Founder of terptree, which produced the video said: “We are delighted to have worked with British Airways to help its employees understand how to support their deaf customers. This has included collaborating with a team of professional deaf filmmakers who produced, directed and shot a training film to teach staff simple British Sign Language.”

Photo: British Airways.

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British Airways cancels nearly all flights today and tomorrow

British Airways was forced to cancel most of its flight today and tomorrow due to a strike by its pilots, represented by BALPA.

The airline issued this update today:

We understand the frustration and disruption BALPA’s strike action has caused you. After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this.

Unfortunately, with no detail from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100 per cent our flights.

We remain ready and willing to return to talks with BALPA.

Our customer teams – supported by additional colleagues – have been working tirelessly to help as many of you as possible and to provide options, including a full refund or re-booking to a different date of travel or alternative airline.

We are offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date of travel or alternative airline.

  • Flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair are not affected
  • We’re working with our partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers

Our customer contact centres are extremely busy, so we recommend that you check our Frequently Asked Questions below in the first instance. If you’re flying with us, please make sure we have your latest contact details. You can update these, as well as find out about your refund and rebooking options in Manage My Booking. If you have booked with a travel agent, please contact them directly.

If your flight is part of a British Airways Holidays booking, please review the additional information below.

We will keep this page updated with further information as it becomes available.

 

If you are travelling on or around 9 and 10 September

If your flight is cancelled, please do not go to the airport. You can rebook or refund your booking online at Manage My Booking. You can also call us  to discuss other available flight options.

If you have booked via a travel agent, please contact them directly to discuss arrangements for your booking.

If you are travelling on or around 27 September

If you are travelling on or around 27 September, we’ll be in contact in the next few weeks if your flight is impacted. Please ensure your contact details are up to date in Manage My Booking.

BALPA and British Airways are trading words as the strike nears

BALPA issued this statement:

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) says it could call off proposed strikes set for September 9-10 if British Airways agrees to come back to the negotiating table.

The pilots’ union has put forward a new proposal in a letter to BA CEO Alex Cruz in a bid to come to a deal with the company.

The strikes, voted in favour by 93% of BALPA’s BA members, could still go ahead if the airline continues to refuse meaningful discussions.

BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:

“Our members’ resolve is very strong and they remain very angry with BA, but they also want to leave no stone unturned in trying to find a resolution to their dispute.

“Avoiding strike action and agreeing a deal with their pilots surely must be the desired outcome for British Airways.

“We urge BA to join us to discuss the new proposal – which shows pilots are willing to be flexible but still stand united in getting a better deal.”

British Airways stated:

We’re extremely sorry for the problems caused by the strike action called by the pilots’ union, BALPA on September 9, 10 and 27.

Our customer teams – supported by additional colleagues – have been working tirelessly to help as many of you as possible and to provide options, including a full refund or re-booking to a different date of travel or alternative airline.

We continue to be available for constructive talks with BALPA, on the basis that there are no pre-conditions to those talks.

If you have a flight booked with us on those dates, it is likely that you will not be able to travel as planned due to BALPA’s strike action. We are offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date of travel or alternative airline.

  • Flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair are not affected
  • We’re working with our partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers

We proposed an offer of 11.5 percent over three years to BALPA, a deal already accepted by members of the Unite and GMB unions, which represent 90 per cent of British Airways’ staff, a deal which we believe is fair.

We will keep this page updated with further information as it becomes available.

If you are traveling on or around September 9 and 10:

If you have a flight booked with us on or around those dates, it is likely that you will not be able to travel as planned.

We have emailed customers travelling on impacted flights, however please check your flight status in Manage My Booking.

If your flight is cancelled, please do not go to the airport, you can rebook to another date of travel or airline, or refund your cancelled flight online. To review your options, go to Manage My Booking.

If you are traveling on or around September 27:

If you are travelling on or around 27 September, we’ll be in contact in the next few weeks if your flight is impacted. Please ensure your contact details are up to date in Manage My Booking.

We’re very sorry about the impact BALPA’s action has had. We don’t underestimate the inconvenience caused, for which we are deeply sorry.

And this previously:

It is completely unacceptable that BALPA is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers with this unjustifiable strike action.

BALPA has given us notice that they will strike on September 9th, 10th and 27th. We are extremely sorry that after many months of negotiations, based on a very fair offer, BALPA has decided on this reckless course of action.

We are now making changes to our schedule.  We will do everything we can to get as many people away on their journeys as possible. However, it is likely that many of our customers will not be able to travel and we will be offering refunds and re-bookings for passengers booked on cancelled flights.

  • Flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair are not affected
  • We are exploring options to supplement our fleet by using aircraft and crew from other airlines (wet-leasing)
  • We are working with our partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers

Our proposed deal of 11.5 percent over three years is very fair and well above the UK’s current rate of inflation, and by contrast to BALPA, has been accepted by the members of the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90 per cent of all British Airways colleagues including engineers, cabin crew and ground staff. In addition to basic pay, pilots also receive annual pay increments and regular flying allowances.

We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to avoid industrial action and protect our customers’ travel plans.

British Airways celebrates its centenary birthday

British Airways made this announcement:

On Sunday, August 25, 2019, marked British Airways’ 100th birthday and the airline is marking its centenary by celebrating with customers.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “We have had a fabulous year so far marking our centenary and thanking our customers for making us the airline we are today – we wouldn’t be here without their pioneering spirits and sense of adventure.

“From that first customer who flew from Hounslow Heath to Paris on 25 August 1919 in a single-engine De Havilland DH4A to the millions who choose to fly with us every year on more than 800 flights a day to 200 destinations around the globe – we thank them all. Our customers truly enable us to bring Britain to the world and the world to Britain and we look forward to serving them for the next 100 years.”

Back on that day in 1919, the very first international flight by the airline’s predecessor, Air Transport & Travel (AT&T) operated from Hounslow Heath, very near to what we now know as London Heathrow, to Paris. To commemorate that first service the aircraft that was painted in the original British European Airways’ (BEA) livery earlier this year will operate the BA314 service to Paris Charles de Gaulle on Sunday, before flying around the airline’s UK network throughout the rest of the bank holiday weekend.

As the Principal Partner to Twickenham Stadium and the Official Airline Partner to England Rugby, the airline is going all-out for the England vs Ireland match on August 24, kicking off with the airline’s choir performing the national anthems on the pitch. Special centenary edition drinks including Speedbird 100, a Brewdog IPA, and Hattingley Valley English sparkling wine, will be served at selected venues around the stadium, and fans will be in with a chance at half-time to win one million Avios, enough to reach Sydney twice in the airline’s First cabin.

Customers flying with British Airways from around the world this weekend will be greeted with bunting and decorations. Those on short-haul services will be treated to Hotel Chocolat giveaways, while on long-haul flights customers will be served menus from Michelin-starred British chef, Tom Kerridge, featuring great British flavours that work at altitude. Those in First and Club World can also collect and enjoy special edition centenary amenity kits.

Younger flyers travelling through Heathrow Terminal 5 and Gatwick on selected dates this summer can pick up a limited-edition backpack by personalised children’s gift brand, My 1st Years, and will be given a special branded luggage tag and a pin badge in their Skyflyers Packs.

And these are just the latest activities that have been taking place throughout 2019 to mark the centenary.

In February, the airline launched its heart-warming centenary advertising campaignfeaturing a love letter to Britain brought to life by some of Britain’s biggest names, including Gary Oldman, Olivia Colman and Riz Ahmed, sporting stars Anthony Joshua, Ellie Simmonds, Nicola Adams, Chris Robshaw, Harriet Millar-Mills and Anthony Watson, musical icons Paloma Faith and The Kingdom Choir (with a cameo from David Bowie). Contemporary artist Grayson Perry, anthropologist Jane Goodall, chef and TV presenter Matilda Ramsay and Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space also all featured and were brought together as leaders in their respective fields. The campaign has continued throughout the year with more faces joining the BA100 who represent the best of business, environment, fashion, film and entertainment, food and drink, music, art and design, philanthropy, science and technology, and sport.

The airline also launched its future-facing programme, BA 2119, which has been leading the debate on the future of flying, exploring the future of sustainable aviation fuels and the customer experience of the future.

The first element, BA 2119: Future of Fuels programme, in collaboration with Cranfield University, was launched by then Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg on 30 November 2018 and called on British universities to develop a new or different pathway to achieve global leadership in the development of sustainable aviation fuels.  The airline posed the question of how to power a long-haul flight for at least five hours and produce zero CO2 emissions.

The winner, University College London, was unveiled in May and proposed a solution that would turn household waste into jet fuel, building plants to convert the waste near landfill sites across the country. The team estimated that this could deliver 3.5 million tonnes of jet fuel annually by 2050, resulting in negative emissions and the equivalent of taking more than 5.5 million cars off the road every year.

The next section, BA 2119: Flight of the Future saw the airline commission research into the future customer experience with the leading data-led trends agency Foresight Factory. The report, which surveyed 13,000 consumers across ten countries and consulted with leading sector experts and futurologists delivered a clear picture of what flying will look like in 20, 40, 60 and even 100 years identifying a future with hyper-personalisation, immersive virtual realities, 3D printed health solutions, modular aircraft connected to city infrastructure, hypersonic flying and the rise of super-slow ”flight cruises”.

The concepts were then brought to life by post-graduate students at the Royal College of Art in a special exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London which continues until August 26.  The exhibition included a one-of-a kind, full motion, virtual reality experience, Fly, which enabled visitors to become a time-travelling pilot, from the earliest imaginings of Leonard da Vinci and his ornithopter, to the Wright Brothers’ success on Kitty Hawk, to that first inaugural passenger flight to Paris, through Concorde, the brand new A350 and the imagined flight of future.

Her Majesty The Queen visited British Airways’ headquarters in June to meet colleagues and explore airline’s museum, The Speedbird Centre, where she was shown artefacts and memorabilia relating to her own many historic journeys with the airline throughout her reign.

And that same archive collection, plus more never-before-seen memories from British Airways’ history were unveiled to the public through the Centenary Archive Collection. The interactive year-by-year timeline illustrates how British Airways became one of the world’s leading airlines and is hosted on the airline’s dedicated Centenary site – ba.com/100/centenary-collection.

The airline also launched four heritage aircraft earlier this year, starting with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) livery on a Boeing 747, which flew between 1952 and 1974. It was followed the airline’s British European Airways (BEA) heritage on an A319, which flew predominantly on European and domestic routes between 1959 and 1968. A final two B747s received the Negus livery (1974 to 1980) and Landor (1984 to 1997). The BOAC aircraft also flew with the Red Arrows at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire.

Throughout the year the airline has formed partnerships with other British brands including Scottish craft brewers, Brewdog, who created a transatlantic IPA known as Speedbird 100 for customers and Fife-based distillers, InchDairnie, which created a limited-edition whisky. British Airways has also teamed up with Marmite, who have created a centenary branded jar, launched an English Sparkling Wine from Hampshire-based vineyard, Hattingley Valley and partnered with British luxury watch makers, Bremont, on a Concorde edition known as The Supersonic. Centenary editions have also been available to buy through in-flight retail.

 

British Airways to be struck by BALPA in September

BALPA made this announcement:

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has given notice to British Airways that it will call on its members to strike on 9th, 10th and 27th September 2019.

Over several days of ACAS talks BALPA put forward a number of packages that we believe would have resolved this dispute without a strike, and which we could have recommended to our members for acceptance prior to strike action. BA did not accept any of these packages, and it is clear following discussions with members over the last few days that BA’s most recent offer will not gain the support of anywhere near a majority of its pilots.

In these circumstances, with a 93% vote in favour of taking industrial action, and with no prospect of any further meaningful talks, we have no choice but to call this action.

A day of strike action will cost BA around £40m. Three days will cost in the region of £120m. The gap between BA’s position and BALPA’s position is about £5m. Our proposal remains on the table should BA wish to reach agreement prior to strike action.

British Airways is an extremely profitable and successful company, and pilots have been proud to play their part in that. In 2018 the company announced profits of £2bn. Over recent years BA pilots have made sacrifice after sacrifice to assist the company such as taking a pay cut, productivity increases, closing the final salary pension scheme, giving up annual leave days, a new rostering system, and reducing flying pay.

In what is British Airways’ centenary year, this will be the very first time its pilots will go on strike. They do so as a last resort and with enormous frustration at the way the business is now being run.

Our ballot is valid until January, and more dates may be announced until such time as this matter is resolved.

British Airways made this announcement:

It is completely unacceptable that BALPA is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers with this unjustifiable strike action.

BALPA has given us notice that they will strike on September 9th, 10th and 27th. We are extremely sorry that after many months of negotiations, based on a very fair offer, BALPA has decided on this reckless course of action.

We are now making changes to our schedule.  We will do everything we can to get as many people away on their journeys as possible. However, it is likely that many of our customers will not be able to travel and we will be offering refunds and re-bookings for passengers booked on cancelled flights.

  • Flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR and Comair are not affected
  • We are exploring options to supplement our fleet by using aircraft and crew from other airlines (wet-leasing)
  • We are working with our partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers

Our proposed deal of 11.5 per cent over three years is very fair and well above the UK’s current rate of inflation, and by contrast to BALPA, has been accepted by the members of the Unite and GMB trade unions, which represent nearly 90 per cent of all British Airways colleagues including engineers, cabin crew and ground staff. In addition to basic pay, pilots also receive annual pay increments and regular flying allowances.

We continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to avoid industrial action and protect our customers’ travel plans.

 

 

British Airways launches its Celebrate BA100 channel

British Airways has made this announcement:

As British Airways turns 100 this weekend, the airline has created a dedicated channel on board to highlight the very best of inflight entertainment from over the years.

The channel, named Celebrate BA100, includes The Lost World, the very first film ever shown on an Imperial Airways flights in 1925.

Customers will be able to enjoy best of British favourites including Billy Elliott, romantic comedies Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill and award-winning movies including Shakespeare In Love. The television selection includes iconic episodes from Blue Planet to Ab Fab, as well as Downton Abbey.

In audio, 100-minute centenary mixes have been specially created by leading DJs including Groove Armada, Paul Oakenfold and Deadmau5.

The channel will be featured on board throughout August, September and October.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said: “We know that for many of our customers, being able to settle down and enjoy the inflight entertainment is one of the best bits of travelling so we’re serving up some of the best of film, television and audio throughout the ages to help our customers celebrate our centenary.”

Customers who fly with British Airways on long-haul flights have free access to over 1,000 hours of films, top TV shows and audio programmes via their personal seatback screen. The content is updated regularly, with categories often added for major holidays or key calendar events.

These changes to British Airways’ in-flight entertainment system are just one of a number of ways that the airline is improving experiences for its long-haul customers. This year it was announced World Traveller customers will receive a renewed food offering on board including, on longer flights, a full second meal, while in Club World new dining and White Company bedding is being rolled out across the network. These changes come as part of the airline’s £6.5 billion investment for customers over the next five years.

British Airways to showcase the BEA A319 at the Jersey Air Display

Ferried SNN-LHR, in service LHR-MAN March 4, 2019, in 1959 BEA retro livery

British Airways has made this announcement:

Jersey residents will step back in time when British Airways celebrates 100 years of flying with a nostalgic entry in this year’s International Air Display on September 12.

One of the airline’s heritage aircraft, an Airbus A319 in the former British European Airways (BEA) livery, will take part in the flypast, one of the highlights of the Jersey show which attracts more than 25,000 visitors.

The A319, registration G-EUPJ, has been painted to mark British Airways’ centenary and is one of a collection of four heritage aircraft with vintage livery.

BEA flew predominantly on domestic and European routes between 1959 and 1968. However, there is one significant difference with the replica; the aircraft has a grey upper wing, rather than the traditional red, to meet current wing paint reflectivity requirements.

The historic lookback during the air show will continue on the ground where British Airways’ ambassadors in various heritage uniforms will welcome visitors to the show. There will be a special Club Europe fare on offer and a chance to win flights from Jersey to Milan, a new destination from London Gatwick this year.

British Airways operates a year-round service to Gatwick from Jersey, with 34 departures a week.

The airline has a long association with Jersey which began in 1933 when Jersey Airways, a forerunner of BEA and British Airways, launched its new route from Portsmouth. Until Jersey Airport opened in March 1937, the aircraft arriving on the island landed on the beach at St Aubin’s Bay.

The airline will be working with expert partners to identify BA’s 100 Great Britons; the people up and down the country who are currently shaping modern Britain, and of course, the year would not be complete without some special flying and moments for customers.

The centenary activity is taking place alongside the airline’s current five-year £6.5bn investment for customers. This includes the installation of the best quality WiFi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. The airline will also be introducing new Club World seat with direct aisle access later this year.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): BEA – British Airways Airbus A319-131 G-EUPJ (msn 1232) LHR (SPA). Image: 945875.

British Airways aircraft slide show: