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Bits: Etihad cancels London A380’s, British Airways terminal changes tomorrow

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News in brief:

Etihad cancelling more London A380 departures

Much as I enjoy flying on Qatar Airways, it has been a bit of a lucky dip for the last few years as to what you end up flying.  A typical day out of London can see A380, Boeing 787, Boeing 777 and Airbus A330/340 aircraft in the mix.  Until the end of October, the A319 ‘all business class’ service is also there.

This wouldn’t matter as much if it wasn’t for the huge gap in seat product across aircraft.  Even then …. it wouldn’t matter much as long as you could be sure that the plane you booked is the plane you would get.  From what I can tell, Qatar has got more reliable on this over the last year.

Etihad, on the other hand, is getting worse.  Last time I wrote about Qatar’s timetable hijinks, I praised Etihad for ‘playing it straight’.  The plan, six months ago, was for Heathrow to be operated an ‘all A380’ service this Autumn.

One of the three services was then switched over. Last week, a second batch of services got changed.  Etihad has not told passengers about these changes – I only know because I use the excellent My Flights app which notifies me as soon as any change is made to any of my flights.

On the day I am flying to Abu Dhabi in December, the original line-up of A380, A380 and A380 is now a Boeing 777, an A380 and an A340, of all things.  Having flown it, I don’t rate First Class on the Boeing 777 much higher than the Business Class Suite on the A380 so these are major changes.

When I called Etihad, they were not willing to move me onto the A380 service five hours later, despite my Etihad Gold status.  Luckily – very luckily – the A380 service the following day did have one First Class reward seat so I have pushed my trip back 24 hours.  At least Etihad does not charge you for your first date change request.

I have incurred £105 in charges because I had to change the other three flights on my itinerary which were booked using Avios.   My luck is in, though, as I could at least get Avios seats on all three flights in the cabins I originally booked, despite travelling in just six weeks.

If you have an Etihad A380 trip booked, I recommend you double check your aircraft allocation.

Heathrow Terminal 3 forecourt

British Airways terminal changes from 14th October

Finally, a reminder of some BA terminal changes which take effect tomorrow.

The following routes are moving from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3:  Accra, Cape Town, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, Nairobi, Phoenix and Vancouver.  No more Concorde Room for First Class passengers on those routes ….

Comments (48)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Erico1875 says:

    If it was Ryanair treating their customers this badly, the press would slaughter them.

  • Stu R says:

    For info, apparently, LHR is subject to equipment changes more than other routes (for QR at least) as LHR is operated by ‘mixed fleet’ crews whereas other lesser served routes might be dedicated fleet crews. This makes LHR a target for last minute changes as there’s less impact on crew changes.

    Considering all the trumpeting and fanfares airlines give to their new aircraft and how you should be the ‘first to fly’ on them, annoyingly, buried away in the small print is a clause to the effect that aircraft type is subject to change.

    I have twice suffered this with Qatar Airways, firstly when we were booked on the 787, the second when we were booked on the A380, both from LHR.

    On the first of those occasions, I was so enraged that even after an hour on the phone to their call centre the day before we were due to fly, they refused to move us to the morning A340 which would’ve got us to our final destination 13 hours sooner, that I wrote a huge complaint directly to Aqbar Al Baker, their CEO.

    Much to our stunned amazement a week later, the sitting by a pool in Phuket, when my phone rang in it was his secretary wanting to put him through! Whilst he was defensive of the need to change aircraft for operational reasons, he was apologetic at the attitude of their call centre and promptly upgraded us to biz for the journey home.

    Upon our arrival at the airport to travel home, a quick look at our booking and the guy nearly leapt over the counter to greet us; suddenly, we were royalty; that set the scene for the next 36 hours including being met at the top of the stairs in Doha as we deplaned (the old Doha) by a personal chaperone who escorted on our own private coach to the terminal and through immigration and saw to it that we were driven by chauffeur to our hotel!

    The following day we got to fly the 787 back to LHR, up front, courtesy of AAB.

    With the A380 change, after a little persuasion, I was allowed to push my booking forward to a day earlier (which was still an A380) at no charge after I cited my previous antics!

    Sometimes, it pays to complain!!

    • @mkcol says:


    • Waribai says:

      How about trying that with BA? 🙂

    • polly says:

      Good to know Stu. Will keep that in mind if we’re changed to a different plane in future. We got our dreamliner all 4 sectors to Hkt his trip. Even though we had to return home early.

  • Will says:

    I would imagine, although I haven’t followed the thread, that the EY change is to do with JFK now going to the 380.

    • Mark says:

      I think is linked that. It was always planned though and I suspect that Etihad was always going to struggle to profitably fill such a sudden increase in capacity from Heathrow (3×777 to 3xA380) and presumably knew that from the start.

      It makes me wonder whether scheduling them across all three flights was a deliberate bait and switch ploy.

    • Phillip says:

      Yes, it explains how EY are bringing the JFK A380 launch forward!

  • Jason says:

    I’m planning an etihad trip, in 2017, from Heathrow.
    Depending on what is happening with the A380, at the time, would I be better flying Emirates from London and etihad return, it being more likely the A380 would operate from Abu Dhabi with less change of aircraft.

    • Stu R says:

      It depends – what is your final destination?

      Assuming you’re flying business, and that you don’t mind being surrounded by a plethora of horrid fake walnut, then maybe Emirates is the answer if you’re wanting to fly on the A380; personally, I think they’re a bit ‘old hat’ ….

      • Jason says:

        We’ll be doing Lhr- Dxb( Auh)
        11-12 nights.
        Looking to fly etihad F and J( 2 in each cabin)
        Our preference is the 380.

    • Mark says:

      It won’t make any difference at all. What goes out must come back, so a change in aircraft type from London implies a change in type from Abu Dhabi on the corresponding outbound flight.

      • Rob says:

        By 2017 I doubt this nonsense will still be happening because they will have enough new aircraft. Although I said that about Qatar a year ago …..

        • James67 says:

          There are two issues for the ME3 (less so EK) while awaiting new aircraft. The first is that they have come to realise that outside their own hubs the sweetest spot for a380s is becoming BKK rather than LHR. Secondly, their marketing teams cannot resist the temptation to deploy them, at least for a time, on other high profile routes such as NYC even though the traffic may not merit them. Eventually I think all the ME3 carriers will be 100% a380 to both LHR and BKK but perhaps with so&me seasonal adjustment. I disagree with your asseftion ghat the metal doesn’t matter so much so long as you get the latest seats. Personlly I would rather fly any comfortable flat seat on the a380 than the best seat on the market on a 777; I have yet to try either the 787 or a350. While I understand the frustration of of substitution with inferior products I don’t think I personlly could be bothered with the time and hassle you and others are going to, to reschedule a seven hour flight. I could understand it more if it was a honeymoon or somebody who was on a once in a lifetime vacation but not for regular flyers. While the problem may end soon at LHR, elsewhere it could persist much longer as the bulk of the new metal is not scheduled for delivery until 2018 onwards.

    • John G says:

      What goes into LHR must come out of LHR, hence if they are swapping the aircraft out of LHR it must also have been swapped out of AUH into LHR.

  • james says:

    Fingers crossed our EY12 service is still showing A380. It will be a massive disappointment if we lose that experience 🙁

    • Rob says:

      Only EY20, the 2pm, is safe – I assume they wouldn’t dare cancelling all the A380 flights.

      Worth remembering that the A380 is far bigger than their other planes. The fact they can do this implies loads are not so great.

      • Jason says:

        That’s not a huge surprise when you can depart ex eu for a third of the price sometimes, especially with Qatar.
        I’ve got an avios redemption on a Qatar a380, next April, the cash price, per ticket, was £3500 when I booked. Final destination is Dubai.
        Bru – Dxb, via Doha, was about £650 cash at the time. I did consider cancelling the avios booking which was done at the old rates. If it had been current rates ( which I probably wouldn’t have booked in the first place) I would have definitely gone from Brussels.

  • Tom C says:

    We were discussing this the other day, but I can’t remember if I mentioned to you that I actually had a flight in April ’16 that was originally not an A380 but has now been moved to one. I took your advice though and downloaded the My Flights app to track everything. If they move our paid for F flights from an A380 in December I will start the never ending complaints and see if it gets me somewhere, like some people have on FT have reported where they were allowed to be moved to another plane.

  • Stu says:

    Flying back First this Sunday from AUH to LHR. Originally booked due to it being A380 but now it’s listed as A340. Called Etihad and we told that there is nothing they can do because we are on a reward ticket and the other 380 flights don’t have any fare types remaining…

    Any thoughts what we should do to get this moved?

    • Rob says:

      They wouldn’t move me and I am also Etihad Gold, so I can’t offer much help! I just got lucky that there was a reward seat 24 hours later.

  • Ant says:

    Booked reward seats for 10Nov the 8pm flight. Annoyingly my flight is now showing as a346. I am not familiar with Etihad planes can anyone tell me the main difference between this and the A380? Is it much worse?

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