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This is what British Airways slot sitting looks like

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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.

British Airways BA 777X 777 9X

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.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

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