Here is the proposed British Airways operational plan going forward

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

There is still a big question mark over how British Airways will operate for the next couple of months.  IAG, BA’s parent company, has said that it intends to ground 75% of flights from April but that number was not broken out between Iberia, BA, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL.

On Wednesday I spoke to a friend who works at BA and he outlined the current thinking to me.  This is NOT heresay – I have seen written confirmation of what is outlined below.  That said, the situation is clearly moving quickly and this plan could easily end up on the back burner.

Long-haul flying:

75% of the long-haul schedule will be cancelled

The ONLY long-haul aircraft which will be flying are the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 fleets – these are generally smaller aircraft and very fuel efficient, with the newest interiors

The entire A380, Boeing 777 and Boeing 747 fleets are to be parked.  The 747 retirement plan has been accelerated and many of these aircraft will never fly again for BA.

Short-haul flying:

The medium-term position of short-haul routes is not clear.  A substantial number of services have already been cancelled but a core minimum is likely to remain if the Government allows.


Terminal 5C is to be closed.  This will be used to park aircraft (there are 22 stands available).

Short-haul aircraft are already being sent elsewhere where possible.  Aircraft are already parked at Glasgow, Southend, Norwich and Cardiff.

British Airways will leave Terminal 3, with all flights moved to Terminal 5.  (There are separate rumours that Terminal 4 will be closed entirely and the 50 or so daily flights moved to Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.)

The Concorde Room lounge in Terminal 5 will be closed (this happened yesterday) and parts of the Terminal 5 check-in and security areas closed.  We already know that the Galleries North and Terminal 5B Galleries lounges have closed.

As I said above, this plan may not survive a collision with reality, but as of a couple of days ago it was the current strategy.

How to earn 10,000 Avios points - or other miles - as a sign-up bonus with American Express Gold!
Iberia seeking to lay-off up to 90% of staff with no pay for three months

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

Amazon ad
Get points worth 15,000 Avios as a sign-up bonus!
15,000 Avios with Capital on Tap Mastercard
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.


  1. Hi Folks

    We are booked to leave Miami for london on sunday, starting to panic of a lockdown.
    I have elderly parents to get back too.

    Do you think they could close airports in next few days ?


    • Andy I think you will be OK. The US will be happy you want to leave and go home. There are 2 BA and 2 AA flights a day from MIA to LHR and according to both BA and AA websites all 4 are still scheduled to fly on Sunday so I think you would still get home even if you end up on a different plane or airline.

  2. Roy Thomson says:

    In view of the WHO chief’s statistical cockup and China’s reporting of no new cases, the pandemic could end almost as suddenly as it started. Hence, the pent up demand for flights could overwhelm BA and others. Are they making appropriate provisions one must ask?

    • What was the statistical cockpup?

      (Genuine question by the way)

    • ChrisBCN says:

      And your assumption is flawed I’m afraid. Wait and see what happens in China as the population begins to mix again. Pandemics like this tail off, rather than abruptly end. Sorry!

      • It’ll be interested to see what happens in China. If everyone stays inside and doesn’t mix for 2-4 weeks then it could be eradicated but every single infected person and their contacts would need to do it.

        IF they sealed Wuhan properly in Feb and IF they have identified all new cases and contacts outside of Wuhan and IF they close borders to international travelers then how could it pop up again?

        Some very big IF’s there.

        I still think if we all lock ourselves away for a month we could eradicate it. Economically that’s probably cheaper than the alternative.

        What we all need is reliable, cheap home tests for both virus and antibody.

        Anyone with antibodies should be able to carry on even now.

        • Lady London says:

          No : people who do not have it can still be carriers

          • Shoestring says:

            Plague Mary

          • I didn’t realise that, always thought these cases were so rare there must be another explanation but apparently not.

            Is there evidence that this is true for a virus?

            I can understand bacteria but a virus needs a host cell, having just read a bit it’s surprising how little is known.

      • Lady London says:

        Tail off and sometimes resurge a bit later. If mutation then more dangerous. After this first shakeout I am actually worried about a resurgence in winter and this. As I think I mentioned Spanish flu was even more vicious in the second year.

        • And the worrying thing about Spanish flu is that the first wave was as expected affecting old and vulnerable the most.

          The second wave hurt the young and healthy hardest.

    • ChrisC says:

      China is reporting no new cases arising locally but they do have new cases from people returning back to the country.

    • My friend this is almost certainly with us for 12-18 months (although I cannot imagine this extent of lockdown will persist that long: but certainly some degree).

      See the Imperial College’s report, widely noted in the news media.

      • Harry T says:

        Anyone who thinks we can crack this with a month or two of staying indoors is not well informed.

      • This lockdown is a walk in the park. In Wuhan they built fences around buildings to keep people in. It seems to have worked.

        I don’t see the appetite for dead loved ones that 12-18 months of this will bring. We are in the calm before the storm right now.

    • Wishful thinking … have you looked at the numbers in Italy ?

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      @ Roy Thomson. A psychic in 2008 predicted that we’d get a worldwide flu in 2020, and it would disappear as quickly as it arrived. Google it.

    • Not aware of this, care to share more details.

  3. Will BA use this time constructively?

    For example, to speed up the Club Suite upgrades, intensively clean all grounded aircraft, and now that lounges are closing, use this time to perform the upgrades that were already being planned?

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Where will the money to do all this come from, you know there is barely any revenue right? And someone else mentioned the factory can only make 3 suites a day. And who would invest in increasing that capacity right now? Plus that assumes people will be going to work in factories next week which is looking unlikely…

      • Now is when you act. Any smart company will be doing deals now.

        Ryanair owes much of its success to the deal Boeing gave it for 200 x 737s in the weeks after 9/11. Even 15 years old their second hand value is probably more than they paid.

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          This epidemic may have saved the 737 max too. The pressure is off boeing.

          • Unfortunately, Boeing is most definitely not ‘off the hook’, certainly as far as its finances are concerned. The company is now actively seeking a bailout from the U.S. government. Look at what the share price has done over the last few weeks; it’s been decimated. Most, if not all, of the ‘battle’, will, if nothing else, be to keep Boeing in there, fully operational, and on no account to provide Airbus with any opportunity at all to monopolise the commercial aircraft market!

        • ChrisBCN says:

          That’s for stuff that doesn’t need funding today though, different things.

      • Contact the bank and government, tell them what you want to do, demonstrate it’s employing people now and its to build or improve capacity in the future so the future will bring in increased revenue to pay off the government backed loan.

        You have to believe in capitalism, and if capitalism fails the money you borrowed means nothing anyway along with the money you tried to protect so you really have nothing to lose.

  4. Regarding cancellations do the airlines HAVE to reimburse in cash? Vueling seem to only be offering vouchers

    Do they have to give cash if asked?

  5. Nick Jablonski says:

    Quick question to you, Rob.

    I’m due to fly from Heathrow to Glasgow on Friday 27 March and back from Glasgow to Gatwick on the following Monday. B.A. have now told me that the return flight is cancelled, but not the outward flight. Where does that leave me as regards a full refund? I’d more or less accepted that I won’t be going, and had consigned myself to asking for a voucher, but when only half the flight is cancelled, do I still qualify for an automatic cash refund?

  6. Bill B says:

    I live in New York and have a 241 BA/Chase Visa voucher expiring December 2020 which I used last October to book round-trip business class flights JFK-LHR, April 2nd through 21st.
    BA has now cancelled the outbound leg. How do I get the Avios back in my account, the taxes and fees refunded, and the voucher extended?
    Will there be any fees for this?

    • No fees if the flight is cancelled. If you want the voucher extending now then you’ll need to call to trigger the cash refund. If you’re happy to wait a few months to extend it then take the refund online – the voucher will probably be extended anyway and if not you have plenty of time to call up and extend.

  7. Harry T says:

    SeatSpy appears to be inventing a lot of First and Business Class availability that doesn’t exist. Reward Flight Finder is remaining accurate when compared to BAEC availability. Plenty of alerts from SeatSpy but none from RFF on the same routes.

    • Robert Norris says:

      Was going to post the same. Can’t imagine this is genuine; can you imagine BA would want their call centres flooded with attempted rewards bookings right now? I assume SeatSpy will put out some kind of correction shortly so people don’t call BA immediately?

  8. James F says:

    Apologies if already dealt with, but I have had a CASH booking from LHR to MIA in F cancelled by BA in May. I click the refund option within manage my booking and it defaults to an application for a voucher – this despite the flight being cancelled!

    Do I really need to call them and spend hours on the phone to get them to process a refund?


    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      Yes. But it gave me the time to read the news and have my breakfast this morning!

    • I may be imagining it, but I thought someone (Shoestring perhaps?) said that the workaround in Rob’s “workaround article” might work also work with getting a refund for cash bookings? If so, it would be a comment under that article.. Sorry, I don’t have time to check it at the moment.

    • Lady London says:

      As you will read from multiple comments across multiple articles in the past 1-3 days @James F (I can assure you that even a cursory look has all the information you need), it seems British Airways has deliberately changed their website to try to avoid giving customers their cash back when British Airways cancels their flight.

      This is completely illegal and the CAA has issued a reminder that passengers are entitled to cash back and do not have to accept a voucher. However it seems British Airways thinks they are above the law or they are doing this because they believe they will be punished more now if they give people their cash back, than at some later point if they do get punished (ever).

    • James, try the work around as listed in the comments in the “Workaround found! How to trigger an online Avios flight refund using Google Chrome”. Or since you booked First Class you can phone the YouFirst line and get them to do it manually.

  9. James Watson says:

    I think Qatar Airways are now trying to avoid refunding and sainted only offering the travel voucher. I’ve been holding out for cancellation of our ARN-SIN via DOH trip on 2nd April, as I wanted a cash refund as opposed to voucher Finally today a message popped up on my booking stating the return flight had been cancelled and…..

    “If you wish to cancel and refund your booking, please click the Request a refund button and fill up the refund form accordingly”.

    However on clicking the Request a Refund button it just takes you through to the page to request a voucher for future travel. Am I right in thinking that when QR cancel the outbound ex ARN, by EU law they have to offer a refund back to original payment method?

    • Lady London says:


      Make reasonable attempts to get them to return your cash, say 3 requests that you keep a record of, then turn to your credit card co and request s.75 refund or chargeback

      • James Watson says:

        QR customers tweeting their bookings have disappeared and no longer exist / are accessible and no ability to get through to customer service. Thank goodness I paid on my Amex Plat as I don’t see any refunds forthcoming from QR. For weeks they have been promoting free date changes but their IT does not permit that online and charges £300+ per person. The free date change has been withdrawn and it’s voucher only, if you still have a booking in existence to reference.

        • Lady London says:

          Just go to Amex Plat and request money back if you’ve made a reasonable number of attempts that you’ve kept a record of

    • Yes

  10. Hope I can fly in may to the Philippines with Philippine airlines as it’s been booked for 1 year now

  11. Patrick says:

    Rob your article discussed LHR. Any crystal ball view on LGW long haul? As I believe most of these are 777, I would assume they are toast.

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