Bits: BA losing all US ground staff, United drops three UK/IE routes, 40% bonus buying Hyatt points

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News in brief:

British Airways to make remaining US ground staff redundant

According to reports from BA sources on Flyertalk, it was announced internally on Friday that remaining British Airways ground staff in the US are to lose their jobs.  A private contractor will be taking over the handling of British Airways flights.  It is likely that the current staff will be given the chance to transfer, although I don’t know if there are similar rules to the UK on protecting existing pay and conditions.

This follows the recent decision to transfer the Manchester and Newcastle call centre staff to Capita.

Even New York JFK is included in this move.  You would have expected British Airways to want to keep direct control of its staff at such a key gateway, but it seems not.  The airports affected are San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Washington, Philadelphia, New York Newark, New York JFK and Boston.  All of the other BA US bases are already outsourced, I understand.

In case you’re wondering, this is not the normal way that long-haul airlines operate.  Most of the major foreign long haul carriers at Heathrow use their own dedicated staff and it is generally seen as a better way of keeping control of the situation on the ground when things go wrong – which, in the airline business, they often do.


United Airlines drops three UK and Irish routes to New York

United has announced that it is ending services between New York and three UK and Irish destinations:

Birmingham to Newark will close on 5th October

Glasgow to Newark will move from year-round to Summer-only, with no flights between 28th October and 4th May 2018

Shannon to Newark will move from year-round to a 75% service, with no flights between 25th November and 9th March 2018

Aer Lingus will continue to fly from Shannon to New York, and Norwegian is likely to pick up the slack elsewhere over time.

Hyatt Regency Churchill

Up to 40% bonus when you buy World of Hyatt points

Until 9th August, Hyatt is offering a 30% – 40% bonus when you buy World of Hyatt points.

You get a 30% bonus when you buy 5,000 to 9,000 points and 40% on any larger purchase.  This is a better deal than those we have seen recently from Hyatt which have tended to cap out at 30%.

This is obviously worth a look if you need to top up your account.  It may also be worthwhile if considering a stay in a top tier Park Hyatt such as the ones in Paris or Sydney, where buying the points may be cheaper than paying cash.

The new Park Hyatt resort in Mallorca is another location where buying points may make sense.   Prices for cash are still a little scary – rooms from Euro 545 in August, or Euro 680 if you want a cancellable one – despite being about 25% lower than they were in 2016.  A redemption at 20,000 points per night ($336 / £256) would be a good deal.

The Hyatt ‘buy points’ site is here.

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  1. Speaking of BA’s use of Capita, I had the misfortune of dealing with them yesterday. Perhaps this is old news, but is anyone else aware that calls to the BA Executive Club Silver contact centre are first routed through Capita’s ‘General Enquiries’ desk? I only found out about this after spending nearly 30-minutes to get a simple change made to my profile, which the website would not allow for some reason. Imagine asking the same question 6 times, politely explaining to the agent that they don’t understand the request, and then repeating it. I could go on, but I think you get the point. Finally we got to the point in the call where the agent figured out he couldn’t actually help me, and to my surprise, explained that I was being transferred to the BA Executive Club Silver contact centre. After getting connected to an agent in the Manchester centre, she fixed the issue in less than 60-seconds.

    This is worse than cost-cutting. Personally, I would love to see Alex Cruz have to deal with this level of uselessness on every future service interaction he makes.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Capita are generally fine in terms of professionalism, once they understand the remit. They are just bloody expensive. About twice or 2.5x the cost of employing somebody yourself.

      I guess once you factor in pensions & the ease of getting rid of people, it is worth it for the likes of BA.

    • Never one to let facts get in the way of good hyperbole, eh? Capita currently have no contract with BA and do not handle any calls for them. The discussion is a proposal to do this in the future. But not now.

  2. the real harry1 says:
    The secret system that prevents pilots who hate each other from sharing a cockpit

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