Posts Tagged ‘BA’

British Airways plane because of bed bugs

Monday, February 28th, 2011

A Californian business executive has set up her own website after she was dissatisfied by British Airways’ response to complaints about bed bugs on their aircraft. Zane Selkirk, 28, claims she first saw the creatures when she was travelling from Los Angeles to London. She describes how there was a bug on the seat in front of her when the aircraft was taxiing for take-off and that she saw more of them on her shirt when she visited the toilet later on in the flight.

On a flight to London from Bangalore, Selkirk claims she was bitten some 90 times. On her site, the businesswoman describes how she was horrified not only by the bed bugs but also by the way she was treated by the airline’s staff.

According to Selkirk, BA offered its apologies after the media started to take an interest in her website. She also asserts that the carrier has offered her financial compensation for her ordeal, although she claims to have turned it down

A spokesman for BA has confirmed that the aircraft in question, a Boeing 747, has been removed from service so that the problem can be dealt with. He added that complaints about bed bugs on BA flights are extremely rare and that the airline took the problem very seriously when it did occur.

There has been a resurgence in complaints about bed bugs recently in New York clothing stores and hotels. There have also been complaints from guests staying in hotels in Paris and London.

British Airways celebrates growth in UAE

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

To celebrate regional growth in the United Arab Emirates, British Airways has announced discount fares on business class travel to Europe and the US. The UAE is one of the territories in which the airline industry is seeing rapid growth. BA is keen to tap into this by offering customers who book before the end of February a range of cut-price opportunities.

In January, BA saw an increase of 7.4 per cent in premium class travel on the same period in 2010. Middle East regional commercial manager, Paolo De Renzis, said BA is keen to sustain the increased activity, whether people are travelling for pleasure or for business, by rolling out some unbeatable offers on business class tickets. Those booking tickets before the end of the month will be able to use them in Club World until the end of September.

De Renzis said BA was determined to continue to offer competitive prices to customers flying to and from the UAE in order to maintain growth in the area. He added that BA was also striving to improve the services it offered. The airline is currently investing £100 million in introducing an upgraded first-class cabin on all Middle Eastern routes.

By the end of February, a newly refurbished premium class lounge is due to be unveiled to the public at Dubai International Airport.

Customers flying to the UAE in Club World are already able to experience seats which have been made 25 per cent wider and beds which are designed to lie fully flat.

British Airways cabin crew to vote on industrial action

Monday, February 14th, 2011

British Airways cabin crew are preparing to go to the polls once more to vote on whether further strikes are deemed necessary. The airline and its employees have been engaged in a battle over working conditions, pay and travel privileges since the end of 2009. If crew members decide to vote in favour of a walkout, disruption could potentially upset the plans of those aiming to travel with the airline at Easter or over the bank holiday marking the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

Leader of Unite, Len McCluskey, has said it is unlikely that members will want to strike over the holiday period, but if they do, they will receive his full support.

Last year saw 22 days of industrial action cost BA around £150 million. The flag-carrier has since employed ancillary staff to make sure that all of its long-haul services will operate as usual in the event of a strike. A recent ballot was declared invalid after lawyers for the airline made objections over how the ballot was conducted.

A spokesman for BA urged Unite to go back to a deal struck at the end of last year. Although union bosses agreed that deal, more militant members said it remained unacceptable.

Although the recent vote was not declared valid, 5,700 union members appear to have been keen to continue their fight with BA. The latest ballot is expected to be conducted before the end of this month meaning strike action could take place as soon as April.

BA flight makes two unscheduled stopovers

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

British Airways passengers travelling from India to the UK this week, on Flight BA 142, were frustrated by two unscheduled stopovers which meant they landed in London nearly 13 hours later than they were supposed to. The first city added to the itinerary was Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The pilot requested permission to land after a female passenger was taken ill.

Unfortunately, because the woman did not have the required visa for the country, the authorities would not allow the plane to depart without her. According to reports, the pilot was not keen to take to the air again with a sick passenger on-board. The situation was eventually sorted some six hours later and BA 142 was once again on its way.

However, the crew had by now used up the number of hours they are permitted to operate an aircraft, so the second city passengers were treated to was Istanbul in Turkey. The plane landed briefly to take on new crew and to feed and water the increasingly agitated BA customers.

The flight then left for London without any further changes to its itinerary and landed at Heathrow at 7.40 pm local time when it should have touched down nearly 13 hours earlier.

A spokesperson for BA said the carrier offered its apologies to the affected customers explaining that the onward journeys after both stopovers were made as soon as it was practical to do so. The spokesperson added that BA hoped passengers would appreciate that it looked after their safety first and foremost.

British Airways faces fresh wave of strikes

Monday, January 24th, 2011

British Airways customers planning to go away with the airline over the school half-term or at Easter may have to rethink their plans as cabin crew once again vote in favour of industrial action. Although no dates have yet been confirmed, the union has not ruled out staging strikes over the holidays.

The latest ballot to strike was supported by 78.5 per cent of those who turned out. According to Len McCluskey, the general secretary elect of Unite, the vote proves that staff at BA are still unhappy with the way in which they are being treated.

In October last year it looked as if the long-running row between BA and the union had come to an end as the airline’s chief executive, Willie Walsh, and joint general secretary of Unite, Tony Woodley, finally agreed on a solution. However, more militant members of the union were not happy and called for the latest ballot.

According to a spokesman for BA the latest ballot was only supported by 43 per cent of crew members. He added that since the dispute started 2,500 members of the airline’s cabin crew have actually left the union. He went on to say that contrary to what union bosses claim, the percentage of those voting in favour of industrial action is falling every time a ballot is announced.

He urged Unite to look again at the deal which was agreed in October pointing out that it guaranteed pay rises for staff over the coming two years and secured conditions which are already the best in the British airline industry.

Tour companies scramble to get Brits out of Tunisia

Monday, January 17th, 2011

British Airways customers are angry that while many tour companies were doing everything in their power to get customers out of riot torn Tunisia, the airline was continuing to take passengers in. One woman claims she called the airline after seeing reports of the violence to ask if everything was alright. Apparently BA said it was, even though the foreign office was issuing danger warnings.

Thomas Cook said it managed to get most of its 1,800 customers out of the country on Friday by providing and extra six flights. It also added services over Saturday and Sunday, according to a spokeswoman. British Airways said it has no plans to lay on extra services and that the next flight out with the flag-carrier would be on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Tui, which owns Thomson and First Choice, said it had now managed to get all of its customers out of Tunisia. Many Brits fleeing the violence have described how unofficial roadblocks have been erected by those searching out supporters of the deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Reports are that around 100 have already lost their lives in the fighting. One of the President’s nephews has apparently been stabbed to death and three policemen have been lynched.

Passengers arriving home at Gatwick Airport have described scenes of carnage and dead bodies lying in the streets. There are reports that tensions are beginning to grow in neighbouring Libya and the leaders of countries across North Africa are likely to be concerned.

BA accused of bullying by Unite

Monday, January 10th, 2011

A survey conducted by the union representing the interests of British Airways’ cabin crew suggests that most employees of the airline have witnessed or been the subject of bullying. The result of the poll of 2,000 employees is unlikely to ease tensions between the flag-carrier and its staff.

A dispute between cabin crew and the airline is entering its third year with no sign of a resolution. The row started out as a protest against staffing cuts, but has since morphed into a battle over travel perks. If the latest vote is in favour of industrial action then cabin crew could walk out by the end of January.

Tony Woodley, Unites outgoing general secretary, urged BA boss Willie Walsh to return to the negotiating table. He said the company’s war on its workforce was ruining what was once a great airline. BA has assured passengers that if fresh strike action goes ahead it will still be running all long-haul flights. Services will also not be affected at either Gatwick or City airports.

Len McCluskey, Unites new leader, will be talking to members of the union at a meeting at Kempton Park today. He is expected to announce his total support for BA’s cabin crew for as long as it takes them to reach a deal with the carrier.

A spokeswoman for BA said it completely disagreed with any accusations of bullying in the workplace. She added that the carrier had very strict regulations in place for dealing with such behaviour and that these regulations had been agreed upon with Unite.

Heathrow delays to continue through Christmas

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

It might not be a very happy Christmas for thousands of passengers expecting to catch a flight home from Heathrow. The airport has been thrown into chaos by the recent snow and its owners are warning that cancellations and delays should be expected through 25 December. BAA has said it is unable to run more than a third of scheduled services as it struggles to keep just two runways in operation.

BAA boss, Colin Matthews, said workers had not managed to clear ice and snow from below aircraft quickly enough and that the operator had been too optimistic in assessing the time it would take to clear the snow. For this, he said, he was sorry.

Transport secretary, Philip Hammond, said he had been told by BAA that it was wrong to have attempted to operate a complete service on Saturday as congestion was caused when the snows came again. Airlines will now struggle to clear their backlog of customers. Former BA manager, John Strickland, pointed out that any services able to run over the festive period will already be close to capacity. There will therefore be no seats for those who have had their flights cancelled.

Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, said he was baffled as to why Heathrow could not get out a few shovels, a couple of snowploughs and some diggers and shift the snow.

Mr Hammond has said it is time to look at whether the UK seriously invests in the technology and equipment it so obviously needs to prevent situations like this in the future.

New British Airways strike could happen during Royal Wedding

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Leaders of the union representing British Airways cabin crew have said they cannot rule out the possibility of industrial action during peak holiday periods in the first part of the New Year. If the result of a new ballot is for fresh strikes then the half-term holiday is under threat as is Easter and Prince William’s wedding on 29 April.

Unite’s militant leader, Len McCluskey, warned families against booking with BA. The latest strike ballot will begin next week and is set to run until 21 January. After this, assuming the vote is in favour, Unite will need to give BA a weeks notice that strikes will take place. Those strikes can then happen over a period of three months before a new vote is called.

Mr McCluskey has made no secret of the fact that he is in favour of industrial action to prove a point. He is well known for saying that he feels strikes can never be irresponsible and has also challenged the strike laws in the UK.

In parliament Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the hard-line leader for his attitude adding that he could not believe Mr McCluskey had been voted into the top position of one of the largest unions in the country.

The disagreement between Unite members and BA began last November when the airline introduced plans to reduce cabin crew numbers on flights and freeze wages. Since then the fight has focused on issues such as the confiscation of travel perks and punishment of union members taking part in industrial action.

Oil prices cause BA to push up fuel surcharge

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

As a reaction to the rising price of oil, British Airways has announced that as of this Thursday it will be adding an extra £10 to the fuel surcharge on its long haul tickets. Because the new charge applies to each sector of a journey taken, the price of a return ticket to many destinations will rise by £20.

Airlines around the world first started adding a surcharge to ticket prices on longer journeys as a way of combating the rising price of jet fuel. The additional ‘tax’ now makes up a substantial portion of the value of most tickets. BA said it would not be placing the charge onto the price of its short haul flights.

The surcharge could now be as much as £108 depending on how far a customer is flying and the type of class they have chosen to fly in. BA has not increased its jet fuel surcharge since the middle of 2008 and has actually reduced it twice since that time.

According to the International Air Travel Association (IATA) the rising price of crude oil is going to be a major problem for many airlines over the next twelve months. The body predicts that the average price of a barrel of oil in 2011 will be $84. This year it was $79.

In August, the price of oil was hovering around the $72 mark; it is now just over $90 for a barrel. According to IATA, the price of jet fuel has risen by 17.6 per cent over the past year.