Why did British Airways stop selling short haul flights from Heathrow?

Why did British Airways stop selling short haul flights from Heathrow?

British Airways extended the suspension of short-haul sales from Heathrow until mid-August (Steve Parsons / PA)

British Airways extended the suspension of short-haul sales from Heathrow until mid-August (Steve Parsons / PA)

British Airways has extended the suspension of ticket sales on short-haul flights from Heathrow until mid-August, due to continued air travel disruptions in recent weeks.

The airline initially stopped sales on domestic and European destinations until August 8 to help maximize flight rebooking options for existing customers, but this suspension has now been extended to August 15.

The first bookable departures from Heathrow to destinations such as Athens, Gibraltar and Naples are on August 16th.

Here’s everything you need to know about BA’s suspension of ticket sales on short-haul flights from Heathrow.

Why has BA suspended the sale of tickets on short-haul flights from Heathrow?

Last month, Heathrow, like Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, told airlines to limit the number of tickets they sell during the summer after limiting the number of passengers flying from the hub to 100,000 per day.

In a statement, BA said: “Following Heathrow’s request to limit new bookings, we have decided to take responsible action and limit the rates available on certain Heathrow services to help maximize rebooking options for customers. existing, given the restrictions imposed on us and the ongoing challenges facing the entire aviation industry “.

This decision comes in the midst of struggles faced by airlines and airports in Britain and Europe to cope with the rebound in travel demand after the lockdown, with many failing to recruit enough staff.

Problems with baggage handling systems at Heathrow Airport have also led passengers to see huge delays in baggage claim.

Heathrow’s passenger cap, put in place to limit queues, baggage delays and cancellations, will remain in effect until 11 September.

How will the suspension affect ticket prices?

BA’s suspension of ticket sales already appears to have had an impact on prices.

According to flight comparison site Skyscanner, on Tuesday morning, a direct flight from Heathrow to Barcelona next Saturday cost as little as £ 650, compared to £ 295 the following weekend.

Flights from Heathrow to Frankfurt cost up to £ 553, compared to £ 248 the following weekend.

The suspension of ticket sales, particularly on late booking routes such as London Heathrow to Edinburgh, has also led to higher fares on BA flights from other airports.

On Sunday 7 August, the only available BA departure from the English capital to the Scottish capital is an evening flight from London City, at a fare of £ 426 for a 75-minute flight.

Other airlines, notably easyJet, are benefiting from BA’s suspension, as they are able to garner additional late bookings at high fares.

Flybe will sell its Heathrow-Belfast City flights on 3 August for £ 300 one way, with only one small hand bag weighing 7kg included in the fare, compared to BA’s 46kg hand luggage allowance.

How are other airlines responding to Heathrow’s maximum passenger limit?

Last month, Emirates rejected Heathrow’s order to cancel flights to meet the limit, accusing the airport of showing blatant disregard for consumers by attempting to force it to deny seats to tens of thousands of travelers.

Virgin Atlantic also criticized the airport’s actions and said it was responsible for the breakdowns that were contributing to the chaos.

A Heathrow spokesperson said it would be disappointing if an airline wanted to put a profit ahead of safe and reliable passenger travel.

A joint letter was sent by the Competition and Markets Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority to carriers expressing concern that consumers could suffer significant harm if airlines fail to comply with their obligations.

The letter stated: “We are concerned that some airlines may not do all they can to avoid engaging in one or more harmful practices.”

These include selling more tickets for flights “than they can reasonably expect to provide”, not always “fulfilling their obligations” to offer flights on alternative airlines to passengers affected by cancellations, and not providing consumers with “sufficiently clear information. and anticipate their rights “.

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