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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 3rd October

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are at home, we want the HfP community to have a place to chat.

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Comments (453)

  • JSemity says:

    Had some excellent customer service from Virgin Atlantic yesterday. They really do excel in this area compared to BA in my experience. The Virgin CC, 241 & Upper Class product has put chasing Avios on the back burner for me. I’d pick VS UC over BA CW any day, just a shame VS don’t have the route network BA does!

    • BJ says:

      Wish they would pick up Bangkok now that BA has gone seasonal.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Same, they could crush the seasonal route and Thai are struggling so wouldn’t be able to finance an aggressive competition

        • BJ says:

          Problem is the ME3 have slowly but surely mopped up the regional leisure market in recent years. Pre-pandemic Qatar alone served five cities in Thailand. Finnair had three. EVA will almost certainly return and I cannot see Thai letting both LHR slots go. Still, a shadow of the days when there were 6 or 7 direct flights daily.

    • Christina says:

      Thanks for letting us know Richard.

    • Harry T says:

      They’ve been great on the phone and via whatsapp, in my recent experience. I’ve still shockingly never flown with them, but I apparently have three Virgin Rewards Plus CC vouchers to use, so it’s only a matter of time…

      • Babyg says:

        virgin are pretty flexible on how you use the vouchers too… i stacked two vouchers with their 50% off sale and paid something like like 80k points for 3 of us to in upper to Barbados…

  • Cambridge Dad says:

    We had a good experience with Virgin Atlantic recently – my wife and I both sent messages to transfer Virgin miles to Hilton points – as Virgin themselves could still be looking a bit wobbly plus we’ll use the Hilton points – and both got emails back the next day saying ‘will be done, immediately’.

    Beats Virgin just ignoring all my requests to transfer miles to Hilton the last 18 months, I guess.

  • Nick says:

    Seems BALPA got scared as a result of BA closing LGW SH and have agreed to reopen a ballot tomorrow. There are a few shakeups of conditions so they can pretend they’ve ‘won’ but it’s essentially the same deal as last time. Let’s see what happens… but the story isn’t closed yet!

    • Tim says:

      That’s a strange way to position that one! BA said if it was voted down there’d be no second deal. BALPA presented the offer and it was voted down. BA came back to the table. Who’s scared of NewCo shutting down in that situation??

      It’s BALPAs job to negotiate for, and offer deals to, it’s members. How is doing that being ‘scared’?

      BA insisted the rubbish terms would be to make it profitable. They said they simply couldn’t afford more than what was offered. Now they’ve improved what was offered. So who is to blame for the last deal being a failure?

      Struggling to see how BALPA can be blamed for BA offering rubbish and making statements they later didn’t follow up on!

      • ChrisC says:

        Important to realise that the deal wasn’t voted down by the pilots which has been claimed here before (incorrectly) because the ballot was pulled because BA wouldn’t put into legal writing some of the things they had agreed with BALPA for some strange reason.

        If it’s essentially the same deal then BALPA wouldn’t be reballoting on it.

        • Tim says:

          @ChrisC did you read BALPA’s reason for pulling the deal? It specifically listed that there was a significant majority against the deal and that they had no interest in keeping the ballot up due to a mixture of a disagreement and its members response.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Odd way of spinning that one but ok…

      100% sure it wasn’t BAs fear of losing LGW to one of its arch rival like Virgin or heaven forbid Easyjet!

    • Richie says:

      I’m going to wait for Rob to find out more before commenting.

      • Tim says:

        Not sure there will be a post from Rob or Rhys until BALPA publish new deal tomorrow.

        But in BALPA’s own words:

        “ Background
        The BACC terminated the first consultative ballot on the proposed Gatwick NewCo shorthaul agreement because we had not been able to resolve issues related to the contract of employment that BA would have used for new joiners recruited to operate for NewCo.

        Although these specific concerns were subsequently resolved, the BACC decided not to restart the first ballot because a considerable proportion of members were clearly opposed to it and the BACC did not think a further ballot extension appropriate, having not concluded an agreement by the original deadline.
        The principal areas of concern were:
        • The pay structure was too heavily dependent on variable rather than basic pay. • The scheduling agreement had inadequate fatigue and lifestyle protections.
        Following our decision to not restart the first ballot, BA announced both internally and externally that it had scrapped its plans for a LGW shorthaul operation and said that it would pursue alternative uses for its LGW short-haul slots.
        At a formal meeting with BA on 29 September, the company reiterated to BALPA that it was both

        no longer proposing to use its LGW shorthaul slots for a BA-branded short-haul operation and was actively exploring:
        • Leasing the slots
        • Selling the slots
        • A combination of the two – selling some slots and leasing some slots Talks reopened – Improved deal secured by the BACC
        However, further dialogue on 30 September yielded a renewed opportunity to discuss improvements to the previous proposal. As a result of further discussions between 1-3 October the BACC has secured material improvements to the LGW Newco shorthaul draft agreement in the following key areas: pay structure and scheduling.
        Full details of the revised LGW shorthaul draft agreement, including these improvements, will be sent to members tomorrow, Monday 4 October.”

      • Rob says:

        BALPA says BA has caved in with ‘material’ improvements.

        BALPA will vote down a bad deal, because BA will come for them next.

  • Cambridge Dad says:

    Getting soldiers to deliver fuel to petrol stations seems a very good way to keep the drivers on minimum wage.

    Any sign aviation fuel is under pressure? Surely most cos agree contracts with 12 or more months advance price agreed?

    • Anna says:

      Aircraft don’t need to go to petrol stations to refuel so they’re not really vulnerable to panic buying!

    • Patrick says:

      The reports from a few days indicated there were 150 drivers in the Army on standby – hardly enough to make a difference to wages.

    • ChrisC says:

      Jet fuel isn’t tankered in. There is a network of pipelines so no drivers required.

  • Sunny says:

    Does anyone know if Morrisons sell Nike gift cards?
    Thanks.

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