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British Airways moves its Maldives flights to Heathrow Airport

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Whilst this has not been officially announced, British Airways is moving its Maldives flights to London Heathrow this Winter.

The service, which runs three times per week between November and March, will now depart and arrive from Heathrow Teminal 5 using a Boeing 777.

If you are booked on this service, you should double check your seat reservations since they may have changed.  It is now a four class service which means First Class is available.

British Airways moves Maldives flights to Heathrow

Rob discussing coronavirus and aviation on BBC World News

I was on ‘Talking Business with Aaron Heslehurst’ on BBC World News yesterday, discussing coronavirus and its effects on the global aviation industry – or as much as you can discuss in 3 minutes.  Nothing like live TV in front of a few million people to keep you on your toes ….

Ironically, the only reason I was able to go on the BBC to discuss coronavirus is that the trade show I was meant to be attending in Berlin was cancelled …. due to coronavirus.

The video is here if you want to take a look.  If you can’t see it below, click here for our YouTube channel.

Comments (209)

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  • David Cohen says:

    American Samoa is also on the ‘almost banned’ list. You have to be 14 days in either Hawaii or Samoa before you’re allowed to board, plus also have a variety of medical certificates and tests done within three days of travel. I’m in Samoa myself and was planning to get there this morning and was denied boarding. To be fair, Samoa is not an unpleasant place to be stuck, but it’s just a faff to arrange alternatives.

  • Alex says:

    “I also wouldn’t bother if you only have British Airways Silver status, since Star Alliance Silver status is pretty useless.”

    I think you mean BA bronze. BA silver is oneworld sapphire, which the website says is matching to Star Gold.

    • Alex says:

      Good news. The Tajikistan travel ban has been reversed. The border is now shut only to citizens of China, Iran, South Korea, Afghanistan and Italy

      • Sussex Bantam says:


      • Toby says:

        Oh goody. I am a resident of China, but not a Chinese national/citizen. Time for a quick run across the border to get away from the hysteria.

    • Rob says:


  • Liam says:

    Given that I am a US resident with AA Platinum (OW Sapphire), is there any reason not to go for this, even if don’t end up flying United or any other Star Alliance carrier before the temporary status expires? Rob, you mention it isn’t free, but on the OMAAT link it just says you need to sign up to Miles & Go OR buy miles. As I am not a Miles & Go member, my reading is that signing up will be sufficient.

  • TripRep says:

    I actually tried booking the LHR-MLE at midnight last night, website refused to complete the booking, gave up after a dozen times of getting as far as the payment page, Was also on hold for > 40mins on the phone to US Exec club number, gave up as needed sleep by nearly 1am.. Will try again for other dates…..

    Interestingly First Class did not come up as an option for redemptions

    • BJ says:

      First didn’t come up because it’s a three class 777 route. Other routes operated by three class 777 are showing various four class planes operating them at times this year but First is never available to book for either cash or avios. So anybody hoping for First might be disappointed although it is easy to see MLE justifying a First cabin. I don’t think the 77W will ever fly this route, BA only has a few of them IIRC and mostly they will be used in high volume daily rotations. I suspect the reasons we see this aircraft version of musical chairs going on at the moment is due to the fitting of Club Suite to existing fleet.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        I read elsewhere yesterday that it would be a remitted 777 with Club Suite!

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        @BJ – its a 4 class refitted 777 with new Club Suites. I’ve just checked & booked and it showed availability in First.

        • BJ says:

          Great result then 🙂 curious how many will choose CS over F.

          • MD says:

            I did! Better use of a companion voucher, in miserable rainy December. 😉

          • MD says:

            @BJ Oops, misread your comment. I booked First over Club Suite, better use of the voucher… Don’t care that much about a half door. 🙂

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          All F gone! 😢

        • Elliot Harris says:

          How can you tell that it’s the new club suite? Used my companion voucher for Club – now tempted to cancel and use it for First!

          • Rob says:

            Seatmap shows 1-2-1 if CS. However, BA could be scheduling a plane which hasn’t yet been converted but is due to have been done by late October, meaning there always some risk until the day you actually board.

          • Lady London says:

            Worth booking F in case they downgrade you ?

          • e.thomas says:

            Still lots of club J seats in jan and feb. And def four class with 1 2 1 seating in club acc to seat map. Great use of my 241

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      First is available 22nd Jan but nothing inbound.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Triprep: Check now, BA are loading F & J avios Seats as speak. Nothing 20 mins ago now a fair amount been loaded.

    • Rhys says:

      Had the same problem last night for Bangkok – ended up having to call in. Real pain in the arse. Must have been a site wide IT problem.

  • Cat says:

    That was a great interview Rob!

    • BJ says:

      Pity the interviewer wasn’t somebody else

      • Shoestring says:

        Heslehurst is a great presenter IMV – big personality, articulates well in his half Ozzie, half mid-Pacific accent (!), lots of gestures to emphasise points – sure, he’s in the Peston model – but they are TV presenters making the news interesting.

        • Freddy says:

          The interviewer was quite loud and brash for my liking. Slow down, tone down, calm down would be my message to the interviewer. Nice interview Rob, alot covered in not alot of time

          • where2travel says:

            Totally agree, the interviewer’s poor style makes this incredibly difficult to watch. Looks like he’s a marmite interviewer though as clearly some people think the opposite.

            Good one on Rob for being able to get the points across that he did.

  • Shoestring says:

    @Cat we were (politely) disagreeing about the quality of information regarding the real mortality rate of coronavirus, because without accurate base information you can’t calculate % odds etc

    Just heard an interview with (ie an expert in his field) – Imperial College London, Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health.

    He specifically looked at Italy, where the WHO numbers are 2036 confirmed cases, 52 deaths. He said that because coronavirus is so mild and therefore under-reported, his Faculty’s model (& I understand they effectively input this to the Govt model) had as a more realistic number of cases in Italy 50,000-100,000. Ie 0.5-1%.

    • Cat says:

      Indeed (and with the greatest respect). Any idea where I can find this interview? I’ll have a listen later – manic day ahead!

    • Polly says:

      Yes, he’s very informative, and good to listen to. Been popping up in radio 4 i programmes regularity. Much worldwide under reporting going on it appears.

      • Cat says:

        I tend to leave the flat just after the Maths puzzle of the day, and only listen between 06:45 (when OH gets up) and 07:00, so often miss the best bits of the Today programme 🙁.

    • Stanley says:

      50 of 50,000 to 100,000 is 0.1-0.05% ie 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 2,000……

      • Shoestring says:

        my bad math, cheers

        • Shoestring says:

          though don’t get your hopes up that coronavirus is as mild as that – Professor Ferguson made the same mistake in his interview (link above) and did actually say along the lines ‘and that means a mortality rate of 0.5%-1%’

          • Stanley says:

            So he does the maths, then says “ignore the maths” !!?? I guess anything sub 1% is ok in my view

          • Cat says:

            I’ll listen later, but if he can’t handle the basic Maths to work out a percentage (which the middle set 11 year olds that I’m teaching in about 5 minutes can do, incidentally), I struggle to consider him an expert in a field that is as Maths heavy as comparing epidemiological risks!

          • Shoestring says:

            he was live on air and just made an understandable mistake

            when I wrote down his 50,000-100,000, I immediately thought that sounds a bit high compared to the official WHO figures – but unfortunately didn’t follow my instincts and check the math for myself 🙁

    • Genghis says:

      Or 0.05-0.1%?

    • Shoestring says:

      and he goes on to say: ‘The only way to be sure [of the real extent of COVID-19] is by looking for COVID-19 antibodies in large numbers of people, and several countries are now doing those studies. This will give us further insight into the extent of infection in populations over time.’

      In other words, the 3.4% figure could easily be below 1% – we simply don’t know how many people already caught it, had a mild flu-like reaction for a few days without being tested – then went back to their ordinary lives.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        I have a slight background in probability and epidemiology but am not an expert in the field.

        The best we have for the moment is any “closed system” where every member of the population will be tested so we can be pretty confident that everyone infected was accounted for. The best example of that so far is the Diamond Princess. At the moment the figures are running at about 5% of infected people seriously/critically ill and 1% fatal.

        It’s worth noting that this is very much not a representative sample (crucially cruise-ships will have a massive skew towards older age-groups). Given this it does give us a worst-case upper boundary for serious/fatal given the provision of 1st world medical care. If you had the age profile data of those infected you could extrapolate to the general population risk although a relatively small sample size will mean it is a low-power extrapolation. Given rough typical assumptions of cruise ship vs general population age and health, 0.1-0.2% fatality does seem reasonable with the caution that this could be out by about 70% in either direction (so anywhere between 0.03% and 0.66% fatalities – told you it was a low-power technique!)

        • Shoestring says:

          Now we’ve got the theory of 2 strains, one mild, the other aggressive: [The researchers identified two strains, with the more aggressive accounting for 70 per cent of those they analysed and a less aggressive strain making up the rest. The less aggressive strain, identified as ‘S’ appeared to be the ancestor of the more aggressive one, ‘L’. Strain ‘L’ was found to be more prevalent at the start of the original outbreak in Wuhan but began to subside in early January. The S type has since become more common. The study, published in the journal of the Chinese Academy of Sciences National Science Review, suggests this could be due to the rush to treat patients infected with the L strain, whose symptoms are easier to detect.]

  • Rob says:

    Yes, sorry, it was the video (again). Mailchimp has developed an aversion to YouTube embeds.

  • Marcw says:

    Where does it say that the status match/challenge is only open to US residents?

    If you go to TAP UK website, you can find the offer there too.

    • Rob says:

      It has been promoted to the US bloggers as a way of building up the US membership. No-one has been in touch with us.

      • marcw says:

        UK website, under Promos and Offers:

        “Are you a member of another programme? You can get Silver or Gold status!
        If you are already a member of other miles programmes and have a similar status, we have a very special offer just fir you… Complete the TAP Miles&Go Challenge to apply for TAP Miles&Go Silver or Gold status and enjoy all of their benefits!
        Check below to see if your programme status is eligible and to find out what you need to do to qualify.”

        For Clients to be eligible to take part in the TAP Miles&Go Challenge, they must provide a digital photograph of their partner programme membership card along with their application;
        This card must contain the following information: name, status/category and eligible validity;
        This card must be currently valid;
        Clients with Star Alliance company cards are not eligible;
        See the table above for information on eligible programmes and statuses;
        Only registered TAP Miles&Go Clients will automatically be eligible to participate in the Challenge from Mars 2, 2020.
        If you are already registered in the Program since January 1, 2020 you can participate in the Challenge by sending an email to, with your name and TAP Miles&Go —Client number, as well as your Customer Card from another eligible Miles Status/Program that proves you have a status that is the equivalent of the TAP Miles&Go status you are applying for.
        In addition to proving membership of an eligible partner programme, Clients are only eligible for Silver or Gold status upon joining a Club TAP Miles&Go (any one of the plans is valid) or by purchasing miles in the miles store (no minimum purchase) by 31 March 2020;
        Allocation of Silver or Gold status depends on meeting the eligibility requirements and upon validation of the TAP Miles&Go Programme application;
        Silver or Gold status is allocated for a period of 6 (six) months, until 30 September 2020;
        Notification of Silver or Gold status allocation will be confirmed by email, by April 20.
        It is possible to extend TAP Miles&Go Gold status acquired via the Challenge by earning 25,000 Status Miles by 30 September 2020.
        It is possible to extend TAP Miles&Go Silver status acquired via the Challenge by earning 10,000 Status Miles by 30 September 2020.
        TAP Miles&Go Silver or Gold status extensions will be valid for one annual accumulation period.
        Gold or Silver Star Alliance clients are not eligible to take part in these challenges.

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