British Airways' helpline has crashed after it announced it will cut a further 10,300 short-haul flights until the end of October, in yet another
British Airways‘ helpline has crashed after it announced it will cut a further 10,300 short-haul flights until the end of October, in yet another blow for holidaymakers planning a summer getaway.
BA are so overwhelmed with calls due to the announcement they have told customers they will contact them first if their flight has been cancelled.
The news comes after BA earlier this year slashed around 17,600 flights in a bid to address the staffing crisis currently gripping airlines and airports across the UK.
The move, which BA insists will help reduce the chance of last-minute changes, takes the percentage of cancellations across the UK’s flag carrier airline to a total of 13 per cent this summer.
BA has been one of the worst affected carriers in terms of schedule disruption in recent months as the aviation industry battles increased demand and staff shortages.
In a statement the airline said it was ‘not where we wanted to be’ but believed the cuts were ‘the right thing to do for our customers and colleagues’.
It said: ‘The whole aviation industry continues to face into significant challenges and we’re completely focused on building resilience into our operation to give customers the certainty they deserve.
‘The Government recently decided to give the whole industry slot alleviation to minimise potential disruption this summer.
‘While taking further action is not where we wanted to be, it’s the right thing to do for our customers and our colleagues.
British Airways (pictured: Library image) has announced it will cut a further 10,300 short-haul flights until the end of October. It comes after the airline cancelled 17,600 flights up to the end of June – equivalent to 2.8 million seats
When the fitness and wellbeing writer arrived in the UK, she was told by Air Canada staff that her bag had been lost
Passengers resorted to sleeping on the floor near rubbish bins at Heathrow this week as they waited for their flights to board
‘This new flexibility means that we can further reduce our schedule and consolidate some of our quieter services so that we can protect as many of our holiday flights as possible.
‘While most of our flights are unaffected and the majority of customers will get away as planned, we don’t underestimate the impact this will have and we’re doing everything we can to get their travel plans back on track.
‘We’re in touch to apologise and offer rebooking options for new flights with us or another airline as soon as possible or issue a full refund.’
It comes after it was reported earlier today that the airline had cancelled 17,600 flights up to the end of June – equivalent to 2.8 million seats.
Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 further flights have been cancelled so far this month alone, including 785 from Heathrow and 186 at Gatwick.
The airline has said it is facing the ‘most challenging period in its history’ and has ‘regrettably’ had to make further reductions to its schedule.
In May, BA said it would be reducing its schedule by 10 per cent, but this figure has already reached 11 per cent for the summer.
Friday marks a deadline for airlines to cancel summer flights without having to hand back unused ‘slots’, with BA currently holding the majority of permits to take off from and land at Heathrow, The Independent reports.
But rival airlines are unlikely to step it and take the slots as it would mean having to launch new flights and the further expense of their marketing.
As a result, fares are expected to continue rising as availability falls.
In total, 72 flights from Heathrow to Nice have been cancelled to July 15, resulting in fares soaring to an average of £1,180 tomorrow.
A further 58 flights to Dublin, 54 to Amsterdam and 52 to Edinburgh have been cancelled in the coming ten days.
A BA spokesperson said: ‘We took pre-emptive action earlier this year to reduce our summer schedule to provide customers with as much notice as possible about any changes to their travel plans.
‘As the entire aviation industry continues to face into the most challenging period in its history, regrettably it has become necessary to make some further reductions. We’re in touch with customers to apologise and offer to rebook them or issue a full refund.’
Regarding slot alleviation, a statement added: ‘We welcome these new measures, which help us to provide the certainty our customers deserve by making it easier to consolidate some of our quieter daily flights to multi-frequency destinations well in advance, and to protect more of our holiday flights.’
It comes as after a passenger spent three hours wading through mountains of luggage at Heathrow Airport after she was left without any of clothes for her trip.
Lori Harito, 35, was told by Air Canada staff that her bag had been lost when she flew from Toronto via Montreal on June 20.
But after waiting for a week, she decided to take matters into her own hands and travelled to the airport to spend three hours unsuccessfully combing through mountains of baggage herself.
She has now said it could take ‘months’ before she is finally reunited with her belongings and ‘there seems to be nothing I can do about it’.
Lori Harito spent three hours wading through mountains of luggage at Heathrow Airport after she was left without any of clothes for her trip from Toronto
Ms Harito recalled having to wade through mountains of luggage in an unsuccessful attempt to find her lost belongings
She had to travel to London with only the clothes on her back while desperately waiting for a call from baggage services on the whereabouts of her belongings
Ms Harito had walked from her flight to the baggage reclaim area as normal, but was told her bag was ‘somewhere in the airport’ when she approached a lost baggage desk when it did not arrive on the conveyor belt.
Instead, it had been placed on the wrong flight to Heathrow when she caught her connecting flight at Montreal.
She had to travel to London with only the clothes on her back while desperately waiting for a call from baggage services with an update to its whereabouts.
The fitness and wellness writer said: ‘I had to make a claim with lost baggage who told me that my bag was somewhere in the airport, but they didn’t know where.
‘I was told my bag was lost when I arrived, so after a week I went back to the airport to try and find it myself.
‘There were more people with lost luggage than there were people with luggage, which just shows the magnitude of the chaos.’
She recalled enormous piles of abandoned suitcases at the airport’s lost luggage department.
Air Canada has sent her a $60 eCoupon for her lost luggage, but she claims it cost her $75 to check her bag in in the first place.
Ms Harito has had tp spend a fortune on clothes while she waits to be reunited with her own.
She added: ‘The customer service people at the luggage terminal told me they have thousands of bags to process and deliver.
‘I still don’t have my bag, and you can’t even get through to Air Canada’s customer service line anymore.
‘When I arrived to look for my bag, I was then told the layover caused the issue, and my luggage was actually put on the wrong flight.
‘The majority of flights from Montreal were either cancelled or delayed – mine included.
‘So when we made it to Montreal from Toronto, the gate for my flight to London changed, but my luggage still went on the flight that was at my original gate.’
It comes after holidaymakers were this week forced to sleep by the bins in Heathrow as airport chaos took yet another turn for the worse.
A young family were spotted catching up on rest in the most uncomfortable of positions, as terminals up and down the country are once again packed with frustrated, queuing passengers.
Misery for passengers at Heathrow appears set to worsen, too, as plane refuellers have voted to go on strike.
The Unite union announced around 50 staff at Heathrow who fuel planes will strike for 72 hours from 5am on July 21.
Covid infections have shot up in England to over 2 million according to the latest Office of National Statistics data
Lengthy queues pictured at Heathrow Airport yesterday as passengers continue to face chaos across the UK
And the chaos appears set to worsen amid expected strike action from plane refuellers this month
It has been designed to cause maximum damage, covering the first weekend of the school holidays – when millions of families are planning getaways.
The workers are employed by Aviation Fuel Services, one of four firms at Heathrow, who re-fuel around 150 planes daily.
Unite wants a double-digit pay rise for workers to call off the strikes after pay fell by 15 per cent over three years, it claims.
Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said: ‘Disruption can be avoided if AFS returns to the negotiating table and makes an offer that meets our member expectations.’
Covid is also again threatening to jeopardise summer holiday plans for millions of Brits as experts fear foreign destinations may reinstate tough curbs to counter surging infections.
Tests, facemasks and vaccine passes could return to favoured holiday hotspots and airports could see further chaos if the number of self-isolating workers skyrockets.
Now MPs and experts have publicly shared their concerns for the future of millions of Brits’ summer holiday plans which could hang in the balance.