Bits: BA cancelling strike flights from 1 July, Gatwick Express cancelling trains from Thursday

News in brief:

British Airways cancelling flights pre-strike

British Airways seems more worried about the upcoming 16-day strike by Mixed Fleet crew members than it was for previous strikes.  Perhaps it is the higher summer passenger loads, which make it harder to consolidate two flights into one.

As I wrote recently, BA is planning to lease nine fully-crewed Qatar Airways short-haul aircraft for two months.  This would cover the strike and give BA some extra flexibility over the summer.

No long-haul flights have been cancelled in previous strikes.  This is NOT the case this time.

The following services have already been cancelled:

1 July – BA079 (Muscat)
2 July – BA080 (Muscat) & BA083 (Abuja)
3 July – BA082 (Abuja) & BA125 (Bahrain)
4 July – BA124 (Bahrain) & BA109 (Dubai) & BA173 (NYC) & BA112 (NYC)
5 July – BA108 (Dubai) & BA133 (Jeddah) & BA075 (Lagos) & BA074 (Lagos)
6 July – BA132 (Jeddah) & BA67 (Phil’) & BA66 (Phil’) & BA083 (Abuja)
7 July – BA083 (Abuja)

More will presumably follow for the latter half of the strike.

British Airways is generally slow at telling people their flights have been cancelled.  The best thing to do is download the free MyFlights app to your phone (iOS only) (I reviewed MyFlights here).  MyFlights checks the Amadeus booking system on a regular basis and notifies you if there are any changes to your flights, well before BA will tell you.  This allows you to beat the rush to rebook.

As for other flights, BA is saying “we are still reviewing our shorthaul services.”

Remember that only Heathrow services will be impacted.  You have no chance of disruption if you are flying from another airport.

Gatwick Express new trains

Gatwick Express cancellations resume tomorrow

Drivers on Southern Railway and Gatwick Express are resuming their overtime ban tomorrow, Thursday.

This is an open-ended overtime ban which will lead to considerable disruption for the forseable future.

The RMT union has also called a one day strike for 10th July.

Details of the revised and much reduced Southern and Gatwick Express timetable from tomorrow are here.

If you are travelling to Gatwick, take a Thameslink service from Blackfriars or another Thameslink station which will be unaffected.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

My review of the Park Inn hotel, Southend on Sea
UK court ruling may lead to 6 years of refunds for cancelled returns on missed flights
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Comments

  1. Kathy H says:

    Wish My Flights app was available for Android – check my trip isn’t half as good.

  2. I just signed up for My Flights but noticed that it only checks for updates every 48 hours using the free service, for quicker checks you need to sign up for the gold or silver service for £7.99 or £4.99 a month respectively.

    It still looks very useful, but the only way to get anything quicker than 48 hrs is to refresh it manually every day or perhaps quicker when a flight gets near. Not too onerous, but not quite as fast as I’d mistakenly expected.

  3. OT – Anyone received the 3000 Amex MR points yet for taking out the Gold Credit Card and spending £500? It does say wait up to 1 month for points to show but they are usually immediate once you reach the spend target

    http://www.headforpoints.com/2017/05/27/3000-free-membership-rewards-points-adding-credit-card/

    • On the Platinum equivalent my wife just got the 3,000 MR with the points for the spend to make £500.

    • Mine were showing a day after reaching £500 spend on the Plat companion.

    • Ceri Chaplin says:

      Not had mine yet despite triggering the £500 spend.

    • Andrew says:

      I passed over the threshold during the weekend on my gold credit card. The 3,000 points posted today with the points for that transaction.

    • RussellH says:

      I phoned CS two weeks after hitting the threshhold. Agent told me, many times when I disputed it, that for /any/ Amex card one /always/ needs to wait for the /full three months from getting the card/ for the system to generate your bonus points, and then wait another 30 days for them to credit.

      I assured her that I had had bonuses on other Amex cards trigger immediately after reaching the threshhold, and that I knew many others with the same experience (ie HfP readers 🙂 ). She reiterated that that could not be true.

      I then remembered an e-mail from CS which I read back to her. It stated that I would get the bonus once the £500 spend was reached. I was put on hold while she tried to find a supervisor, but none was available. She then grudgingly agreed to apply the 3 000 points manually, saying it would take up to 24 hours to show. They appeared the next day.

      Something wrong here.

      • Mzungu says:

        +1
        I passed the £500 threshold about a week ago, still no points. I’ve also been given the line about waiting anything up to 3 months or more. Amex don’t seem to be doing themselves any favours recently.

        • Wally1976 says:

          Mine haven’t appeared yet either. I sent them a secure message and got some nonsense reply about some of my earlier transactions being before the required date!? I waited a couple of days and sent another secure message and this time they said I HAD reached the spend target and so they would escalate it to the Rewards team who would resolve the matter in 7-10 working days. That was 6 days (4 working days) ago and I’ve heard and seen nothing since. It’s all very unlike the kind of superb customer service I’ve had from Amex in the past and a little worrying if this is how things are going!

    • Mine appeared within a few days (maybe 3?) of hitting the £500 spend

  4. OT – Does anyone have any experience with a award ticket with QR with the current embargo?

    I have an award ticket booked from AUH- DOH- LHR for 21st of August. Obviously with the current embargo that will not go ahead. I am planning to wait as long as I can before getting in contact but was wondering if anybody was in the same boat but with more current experience.

    No contact was made by QR, but I assume thats normal as it is still quite a while away

    thanks

    marco

  5. OT: HELP! Last night I spent several stressful hours trying to book the SYD-LHR BA flight using my Lloyds Upgrade voucher – and failed. Can anyone who has tried this help me understand what I was doing wrong. When you select you want to use the voucher it removes the offer of selecting a one way flight because the voucher allows either a one person return or a 2 person one way. If I put in from SYD and to LHR and select 17/6 as was last nights date it said no flights available as it assumed you were coming back at a later date which was not yet bookable.If you change the outbound the date to say 2 days before it forces the flights page to appear and allows you to then select the 17/6 and select the option of 2 flights either inbound OR outbound but it still does not remove the return date section so makes you select a return date you don’t actually want. It came up saying 65k and use voucher option so I selected that for the outbound flight but it then says no return flight available even though I have selected the one way voucher – no way of clicking through to the next page once you selected the flight.
    So I changed it round to show from LHR to SYD and again had to put an outbound date a couple of days before to force the flight page up. I selected 2 inbound flights this time and it came up showing 65k and use the voucher – but there was no way to get rid of the outbound econ flight so it added 325000 + 65000 to give 195k. I clicked through from here and it still would not let me get rid of the other flight and proceed with just one leg for 65k.
    After 3 hours of hair pulling and much cursing I had to admit defeat. I was very lucky in that the flights were still available at 6 am so I rang BA and got them added to my existing BA 241 flight so I have in fact got it all booked but had those flights not been available I would have lost out totally.
    What on earth was I doing wrong – has anyone else tried to use the voucher online before.
    The voucher is not subject to you booking a return flight as I understand it and applying the voucher to just one leg – or is it? I couldn’t see that in the T&c’s.

    • Callum says:

      I only skim read that as it was so long, but if you want to book a one-way flight you have to call them up.

      • That would explain it then! Can’t believe you have to call up for a voucher which allows one way bookings. Defeats to object of the voucher – you are at a disadvantage to the BA voucher as you can call up at 6am as opposed to 8am at Avios. Luckily I had both options and the flights were still available at 6am – too much stress!

        • pauldb says:

          Surely it would have been a waste of the Lloyds voucher anyway if you had the 241 return leg open to use. You could have used that by calling BAEC Japan/HK at 1am BST.

        • Genghis says:

          And a waste of avios given BA would have been 50% off and Lloyds only difference J->W off? Why were you doing this anyway, Liz? Any tax saving?

        • I was doing it because I thought I could do it online at 1 or 2 am rather than wait till the phone lines opened and possibly lose the flights. I booked the outbound on the 241 but I won’t be using the Lloyds voucher before it expires so thought I would be able to jump in a few hours early. Been following it this past week and sometimes it was still there in the morning but several times not. Had the flexibility of 4 or 5 days. The day before it was snapped up quickly. I couldn’t phone Japan as I am away from home and didn’t want to use my mobile for a possible long long distance call. Fortunately it was still there at 6am and all worked out. The difference in miles between Lloyds upgrade voucher was only 5k – Lloyds was 2 x 65k – BA 125k.

        • Genghis says:

          If you’re avios rich you could try the book online then call up following morning to sort out method?

        • That was my Plan C Genghis – I had enough to do 2 x 125k if necessary and then phone up later but it didn’t come to that – I thought I had all bases covered but not being able to book the one way online with the voucher threw me – don’t remember reading that before but maybe I did and totally forgot! Will write that in my Lloyds notes for the future!

        • Glad you got it sorted in the end, Liz. I’ve never used a Lloyds voucher online (onto my 3rd one now!) as they can’t handle domestic connections either – hadn’t realised it didn’t also do one-way!

          For future reference, if you’ve got decent WiFi (or very strong mobile signal) then Skype on you phone can work fine (I used it quite often for US toll-free numbers). If you have variable data then Rebtel is very good, it will dial a local number as a normal call then connect you through to the international number. Call charges with both very reasonable.

        • @Alan – I did actually try the Japan number on Skype as I remember someone mentioning it before but it said I didn’t have any Skype credit for dialling that number. I was in panic mode by then! If I had lost those seats my next plan was to buy both seats the next night. I’ve read back all Rob’s articles on the Lloyds voucher and it doesn’t say you can’t book online one way. I’m going to ring Avios when we get home and ask them. It needs to go in his articles as a restriction of the voucher.

    • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

      Call them, I did this AUH-LHR a few months ago. No calling fee either (explain that you can’t do it online if they try to charge it).

      • Mzungu says:

        The last time I called to make an open-jaw booking, I was charged the £30 fee. I protested that I couldn’t make the booking online, so the fee should not apply – I was told that the fee was now charged in all cases irrespective of reason.

        Anyone comment whether I was robbed, or is this another of Alex’s improvements?

        • Genghis says:

          Robbed

        • Callum says:

          No you weren’t robbed (assuming you’re talking about ba with the reference to Alex?). While people keep insisting the policy is “if you can’t do it online it’s free via phone”, the actual policy is “if you can normally do it online but can’t for technical reasons, it’s free via phone” and has been for years.

          Many agents still follow the old rules though so you can keep calling back until you get one if you want.

        • Genghis says:

          Fair enough but I’ve never had to pay

        • the real harry1 says:

          me neither 🙂

        • Callum says:

          I usually get away with not paying it too, I guess the call centre staff also don’t think it’s very fair!

  6. OT – Virgin MBNA sign up at Virgin Clubhouse, does anyone know whether you have to apply whilst in the lounge or can you take the sign up forms home and send in the post? Mrs Tom is using the lounge later this week and would like to take advantage myself.

    • Jonathan says:

      They give you a laptop in the lounge to do it there and then.

      • Genghis says:

        Didn’t @Alan apply for the Black in the lounge and then the White at a later date?

        • Indeed he did 😛 PINs just arrived for White, card should be here any day. Already hit the spend target on Black (= 1 transaction!). Going to move a recent £1 Curve on IHG transaction over to White Virgin when it arrives.

        • the_real_a says:

          Have they launched that feature yet? Its not on my app right now.

        • Not launched yet but in testing and works flawlessly to date, so I’d expect it to come out soon.

    • I used the lady’s ipad to apply and it took me 5 mins to complete all the info, which included an immediate response on my acceptance. I didn’t see any paper forms but might be worth asking if you can still get the higher signup bonus by applying at your leisure.

    • They’ve got a tablet to complete there and then. They’ve got glossy brochures for both, you might be able to persuade them to let you take it away for white, not sure about for black though.

    • When does the Virgin clubhouse offer expire?
      And do you have to do it from the lounge? If so, I’m assuming you have to pay to get in?
      Have 2 loungeclub passes with Amex gold, hoping to use in August, so unsure what to do?
      Thanks

      • You can’t pay, Upper Class / Gold only.

      • We don’t know when it expires, but it is now even more generous than the standard offers given they dropped today. Looking at the expensive print of the brochures I can’t see them changing the amounts in the Clubhouse offer anytime soon. You need to be flying Upper Class/Delta One/VS Gold/Delta ?Plat to get in though.

  7. the real harry1 says:

    do I get the right to re-routing if my flight is cancelled due to a strike?

    • the real harry1 says:

      My plane has been cancelled due to industrial action

      If your flight is cancelled due to an exceptional circumstance, you are automatically entitled to the care and assistance set out above (meals, accommodation, transport etc). In addition to this you are entitled to re-routing at the earliest opportunity, or for a refund and a return to your original departure point (ie If you are flying from London Heathrow to Sydney via Charles de Gaulle and industrial action leaves you stranded in Paris, you can request to be flown back to London).
      http://www.bottonline.co.uk/flight-delay-compensation/claim-guides/strike-action-effects-on-flight-compensation

    • the real harry1 says:

      My plane has been cancelled due to industrial action

      If your flight is cancelled due to an exceptional circumstance, you are automatically entitled to the care and assistance set out above (meals, accommodation, transport etc). In addition to this you are entitled to re-routing at the earliest opportunity, or for a refund and a return to your original departure point (ie If you are flying from London Heathrow to Sydney via Charles de Gaulle and industrial action leaves you stranded in Paris, you can request to be flown back to London).

  8. Wally1976 says:

    Completely OT – thought this might appeal to some on here…win a stay in the original flight control tower at Stockholm Arlanda Airport!

    https://www.homeaway.co.uk/lp/arlanda/?utm_campaign=HAUK_TRV_34442_ACQ_REC_NTB_1706&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Adhoc&

  9. Brian W says:

    O/T Bits – MyFlights app had notified me today of an aircraft change on my flight on Friday TXL – AUH from an A330 to a B772. As Air Berlin don’t have any triple 7’s does anyone know if they have started using Etihad aircraft?

    Just trying to figure out whose metal I’ll be on now. Amy thoughts appreciated.

  10. Nick M says:

    Sorry, completely OT – I am looking to book a seat (not lap) for a 4 month old, and the BA twitter team told me that this needs to be done over the phone (I’m fairly sure I have done this online before though) – am I correct in thinking that they will therefore waive any additional fees? Do you think I’d have much luck asking to also make/add an Avios booking to the same reservation?

  11. the real harry1 says:

    O/T Tesco is to axe 1,200 jobs at its head office as part of a major cost-cutting drive.
    The supermarket giant informed affected staff on Wednesday morning about the cull, which amounts to 25pc of employees at offices in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield.
    Tesco is in the midst of a turnaround plan under chief executive Dave Lewis and last week said 1,100 jobs would be axed after confirming plans to shut its call centre in Cardiff.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/06/28/tesco-axe-quarter-jobs-head-office/

    These are pretty big cost-cutting changes.

    I wonder what the Clubcard strategy will be going forward? Often money saved in one part of a business is [partly] used to re-invest in promotional activity.

    • I can see Tesco scrapping avios points to concentrate more on price.

      • the real harry1 says:

        I can see Tesco zoning in on stuff it did extremely well in the past – Dunhumby & understanding consumers – Tesco Boost – truly exciting & innovative Clubcard Rewards/ loyalty prog

        & using that to gain competitive advantage

  12. OT: what’s the cap on amex points for referrals. I had the gold originally. Referred 4 ppl giving 36k. I upgraded to plat and it says limit is 90k. But does that only apply if I’m referring plat to plat? I’m hoping to refer 3-4 gold cards soon and want to make sure they’ll all go through. Thanks

  13. Are the any android equivalent apps that check the flight status on Amadeus?

    • Londonbus says:

      Checkmytrip?

    • Not yet, although now MyFlights has a paid-for option they might develop one. In the meantime you can still use the web version and register your flights there.

    • the_real_a says:

      Tripit does the same. There is a free version, it will send SMS of changes. Web and Android apps available.

    • I have MyFlights on Android. It has just notified me that one of my BA flights on Saturday has changed, but only 30 minutes later than normal.

  14. OT – But Gatwick related !!

    Which is the best Gatwick North Priority Pass lounge ?? Is No 1 Lounge still vastly overcrowded due to BA’s closure of its lounges ???
    Not sure I want to fight through all the grumpy BA passengers angry at the lack of champagne (As I would be too – I’m O/W Emerald). In fact I hear that Priority Pass members will be turned away to keep space for BA passengers available.
    So is this still happening at No 1?
    And what’s the best lounge at the moment.
    Have 5 people in total, 4 able to get access via PP from Amex Plat and one we’ll need to pay for.
    Cheers.