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HEATHROW STRIKE UPDATE: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic emergency measures

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EDIT 7pm Sunday: The strike has been suspended for Monday 5th August. Strikes for Tuesday 6th August are still scheduled. Read our latest update.

EDIT:  The list of British Airways cancellations and terminal switches for Monday 5th August is in this HfP article.  The article below has not been re-written to reflect the fact that cancellations have now been published.

British Airways has published the list of emergency measures it is taking in light of the strike due at Heathrow Airport on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th August.

ALL airlines operating out of Heathrow will be impacted by this strike which is by staff directly employed by the airport. I have focused on BA in this article but you will also be hit if you are flying with someone else.

Heathrow has told airlines to cancel 172 flights, of which half will be BA services.  The list is not public. BA will not trigger these until the last minute in case the strike is called off.

First, a quick Virgin update ….

Virgin Atlantic has announced that some Heathrow flights will depart and arrive via Gatwick instead.

This is now confirmed – on Friday night it was just a possibility. Check the Virgin website here for details.

Back to the British Airways changes ….

The bottom line is – if you can change your BA short-haul flight you probably should, although cancellations are not being allowed.  At present, the A350 media flight to Madrid is still going ahead.

No long-haul changes are being allowed.

You won’t be taking much hand baggage, you may not be fed, security will take a long time and flights will be cancelled whenever the airport gets too busy.

Rebooking is available on any BA Heathrow, Gatwick or City flight between now and 12th August.

The full guidelines can be found on here.  However, the catering changes listed below have not been publicised.

I have summarised them here but you should read the full version if you are impacted:

If you choose to travel and not rebook your flight:

No hand baggage will be allowed onto aircraft except for ‘small personal items’, eg a purse.  Checked baggage weight allowances will not be increased to compensate.  This rule also applies to connecting passengers who start their trips outside Heathrow.

You can check in your baggage from 6pm the day before your flight

Only minimal catering will be offered on the shorter British Airways short-haul routes, either free (in Club Europe) or paid-for (in Euro Traveller)

The First Wing in Terminal 5 will be closed, as will all Fast Track security lane

Security queues will be substantially longer than usual

The catering information has been released to the travel trade but not to the public:

There will be minimal catering on the following routes (apologies for the use of airport codes):  ABZ, AMS, BHD, BLL, BRU, BSL, CDG, DUB, DUS, EDI, FRA, GLA, GVA, HAJ, HAM, INV, LBA, LUX, LYS, MAN, MPL, NCL, NTE, STR, TLS, TXL, ZRH

If you are in Club Europe you will receive a voucher to spend in the terminal and a muffin or flapjack on the aircraft

If you are in Euro Traveller you will be offered tea, coffee, water and a biscuit

For clarity, British Airways is not allowing you to cancel your flight.  

However, half of the 172 flights identified for cancellation are likely to be BA services.  BA knows which flights are on the list but will not inform passengers until the last minute in case the strike is called off on Sunday.

Further strikes are planned for 23rd / 24th August.

Comments (164)

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

  • Andrew says:

    “No hand baggage will be allowed onto aircraft except for ‘small personal items’, eg a purse. Checked baggage weight allowances will not be increased to compensate. “

    This looks like breach of contract.

    • marcw says:

      You can check in your big hand luggage free of charge. But that weight is not added to your normal checked in piece. So in real terms, you can add 2 pieces: your normal check-in allowance + hand luggage (but don’t put your hand luggage inside your check in luggage). If you have no check in allowance, you can check in free of charge your hand luggage.

    • Lady London says:

      Exactly what I thought.
      I don’t have any active bookings to check the t’s and c’s in, but they had better have something in their t’s and c’s that lets them do this.

      Having said that, I am often not contactable /not online, for days on end. So there would be no guarantee I would be even aware of such proposed changes.

      • Crafty says:

        Really?! I’m sure you post on here 20 plus times per day!

        • Lady London says:

          Crafty.. .i’m either on or off, depending how busy i am and whether i have access to technology. For example i’ve not been posting much at all since 29th July up still today August 4th. Other than the strike, July has been a bit of a “silly season” though hasn’t it, i.e. not much real news.

          PS i needed most of this week off, to recover when Rob saïd you only get 9 chips now with a meal in London ! I almost accompanied a nice Australien couple i met on my way to the airport, on their tapas crawl in San Sebastian, in order to forget this misery in London dining …!

  • marcw says:

    BA started releasing cancelled flights tomorrow. Check flightstatus on BA

  • Shoestring says:

    …and Monday’s strike is called off to allow time for more talks

    • pking says:

      Wonder who is the most annoyed, the people whose flights have been cancelled, or the workers not getting their day off.

      • Shoestring says:

        don’t call me a cynic 🙂

        it’s their legal right to threaten to withdraw labour to get a better pay settlement, many of them are on not much more than £9.50/ hr so I have sympathy with that

        even if your day earns you (say) £100 gross, I’m sure in that position you’d rather work the day than lose the pay for a strike/ day off work

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

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