BA news snippets – restrictions on kids to South Africa, service changes, special meals dropped

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A few British Airways service announcements have dropped into my inbox in the last few days.  Here is a round up:

Big restrictions on taking children to South Africa

This seems to have come out of the blue, and does sniff of excess bureaucracy.

From 1st October (EDIT, September 2014 – this has now been delayed until June 2015), you MUST take a FULL birth certificate with you for each child if you are travelling to South Africa with children under 18.  You will not be allowed into the country without one.  The birth certificate must name the parents and those must be the two people travelling with the child.

Even worse, if only one of the two parents is travelling, you must produce an affidavit (presumably a formal one drawn up by a solicitor) from the other parent giving permission for the child to enter South Africa.  If the other parent is dead, a death certificate must be produced.  If the parents are separated, a court order must be produced to prove this.

If you are with a child who is not your biological child, you must produce a copy of the passport of the biological parent and an affidavit from them, as well as the birth certificate of the child.

Don’t even ask about the situation for unaccompanied minors which is even more complex.

I can see the market for family holidays in South Africa taking a big dip ….

British Airways logo

Special meal changes

British Airways is dropping the following special meals across all travel classes from 1st October:

  • Fruit platter
  • Bland meal (no jokes please)
  • Jain meal
  • Seafood meal

Existing bookings which include one of these meals will be respected.  If you have already booked but have not already selected one of these special meals, you will not be able to do so after October 1st.

Service changes for Summer 2015 timetable

British Airways is dropping a number of flights from the Summer timetable, which runs from the end of March.  If you are booked to any of these destinations you may want to check that your flight has not been cancelled.

New York Newark – 6 of the 20 weekly services are to be dropped.  This is an aggressive reduction.   BA is also removing the Boeing 787 from this route with all services operated by Boeing 777’s.

Buenos Aires – 2 of the 7 weekly services are to be dropped (it will return to 7 for the Winter timetable)

Cape Town – 1 of the 10 weekly services to be dropped.  The Boeing 747 service will not be selling First Class but will be sold as Club World with customers able to book themselves into the old-style First Class seats if demand justifies it.

Accra – 3 of the 10 weekly services to be dropped. The upside is that it is the Boeing 767 services which are going, the Boeing 747 flights will remain.

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  1. They appear to have managed to go one step beyond Canada. Which is bad enough to get children through Customs if both parents are not present!

    • I assume the children policy would be in place for all airlines flying into SA?

      • Yes it’s all airlines.

        Rob – the South African thing isn’t out of the blue. I have friends who have S African family and it’s common for one of them to fly out for holidays with the kids and the other to catch up a few days later because of different leave entitlements/shift patterns. They’ve known about this for a few months. I think there are lots of other visa rule changes kicking in too.

        • It was going to be implemented in June but the tourist board seems to have halted it for a while – especially because it takes 6 months to get a birth certificate from SA if you don’t have the full one or lost it etc

  2. Feistyfish says:

    The South African travel restrictions seem extreme. But if they help to tackle child trafficking they are worthwhile.

    • Better never let them go away and make them stay within sight of the parents always.

    • That’s a big “if”. For example, there is no requirement to have birth certificates translated so I cannot see how this will be effective. It must be the easiest thing in the world to forge one if you do want to traffic children. And can you imagine this being enforced at ZA land borders?

      Politically motivated idiocy. On the one hand ZA refuses the Dalai Lama a visa because they don’t want to make the Chinese government cross. On the other they introduce this birth certificate rule allowing ZA to pretend it has a moral government. Pah!

  3. Only one of the two CPT rotations will stop selling F this (Northern) winter. The other has New First which continues as F.

    I’m booked in CW one which has Old First, sitting in the old First cabin, returning on the other which has New First, so am sitting in new CW upstairs.

    Unless they change aircraft …

    • … which they have done for Northern Summer 2015: 1x daily 747 and 2x weekly 772 instead of 2x 747.

      (My ticket is for Northern Winter so not affected this time.)

  4. Cheshire Pete says:

    I was booked on the Newark dreamliner returning to Uk next May. Quite disappointed when the email arrived 2 weeks ago as it was specifically to try out the dreamliner!

    They offered to change my flight to Calgary but at my cost to get there…… Yet to verify and accept the default change they offered….. Which is an earlier 777 from Newark.

  5. I assume that all the required documents will need to be in English (or Afrikaans, Swazi, Tsonga etc.) which can mean translation costs of several hundred pounds for many foreign travellers (depending on the number of words in the document). This alone will put people off, but I am sure a group of experts has given these new rules a lot of thought.

  6. Joe McDougall says:

    “If you are with a child who is not your biological child, you must produce a copy of the passport of the biological parent and an affidavit from them, as well as the birth certificate of the child.”

    That’ll be fun for adoptive parents :/

  7. Shame they are taking 787s off Newark.

    Will they put them back on do you think?

    What route will they be move to service??

  8. Why the reduction to Newark? I thought New York was an important route for ba? Is it concentrating more on JFK?

    • I’d guess it’s because their OW partner (AA) doesn’t have much of a presence at EWR (it’s a UA stronghold) so onward flights/connections aren’t as plentiful for their customers. But that’s just my guess 🙂

  9. I have return flights to Newark in F booked for next Summer. I only booked last week. Have they published the flight numbers that will be cancelled?

  10. Originally the SA government announced this in May, to be enforced from 1st July. There was enough uproar that implementation was delayed for 3 months. As part of the same legislation, I was advised to apply now for permanent SA residency, even with no intention of emigrating.

    • If you have the chance of getting permanent residency anywhere, you should always take it even if you don’t want to live there, bearing in mind the obligations (e.g. Singapore – male children of PRs required to do military service, USA – tax obligations)

      With regards to this country, before July 2012 it was very easy for any Brit married to a foreigner for over 4 years to get permanent residency for their spouse, even if they didn’t want to spend much time in the UK as long as they had an address here. Now the process takes 5 years and requires the Brit to work in the UK and the people I advised to do it 2 years ago are regretting their procrastination.

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