This is what British Airways slot sitting looks like …..

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Heathrow Airport has a ‘use it or lose it’ system for take off and landing slots.  This is, arguably, a sensible approach to take – with such huge demand for Heathrow slots, it wouldn’t be acceptable if airlines were allowed to sit on valuable slots without running flights.

In simple terms, an airline has to use a slot on 80% of dates during an airline ‘season’, which typically runs from March to October or October to March.  Failure to do so means an automatic surrender of the slot to be reallocated to another airline.

This means that British Airways has a problem.  As we covered last week, one of the two daily Hong Kong flights – the one which lands at Heathrow at 4.45am in a hugely valuable ‘curfew breaking’ landing slot – has been cancelled due to a collapse in demand.

Because the Government is still recommending travel to Hong Kong, unlike China, there are no extenuating circumstances.  The flight was cancelled purely for commercial reasons.  BA needs to land a flight at 4.45am on enough days to keep up the 80% average or the slot will be lost.

This is unfortunate news if you live in Athens.  The first daily flight from Athens usually departs Greece at 8am:

British Airways slot sitting

In early March, it now departs at 2.40am to land exactly at 4.45am in the Hong Kong slot 🙂

British Airways slot sitting

The only upside here is that no person in their right mind will want to fly this, which may lead to some good deals.  As Athens is a 160 tier point route in Club Europe, it may be possible to pop down to Athens after work and be back in the office, 160 tier points better off, by 7am the next day!

To be fair to BA, this is a better solution than flying a totally empty plane between, say, Gatwick and Heathrow at 4.30am just to fill the 4.45am landing slot.

(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.)

How to earn easy Virgin Atlantic Silver and Gold status flying with KLM and Air France
Last call to buy Hilton hotel points with a 100% bonus ... which I took up

Click here to join the 15,000 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Double Rewards
Amazon ad
AMEX Gold 20,000 bonus points
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.