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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 UK credit cards (February 2023)

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

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

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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.

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