British Airways is facing strong headwinds as their operations continue to meltdown. As one of the largest carriers for Transatlantic traffic, air traffic to and from the United Kingdom is facing serious operational difficulties after British Airways cancels more than 1,500 flights. The flight cancellations effects summer travel through July and are in addition to the 10% schedule reduction already announced. As British Airways returns to many cities, they are struggling to serve their entire network.
The airline initially announced in the spring that it would cancel 10% of its flights between April and October to avoid having to call off flights on the day of departure. Turns out that reduction was not enough. The current wave of cancellations comes ahead of Friday’s deadline, for slot amnesty. Providing airlines a short window to hand back airport slots in the summer season they are not able to operate.
British Airways Flight Cancelations
Airlines around the world are suffering from staff shortages in jobs ranging from luggage handlers to security personnel. British Airways is canceling flights due to ongoing staffing shortages. The sold out summer headaches continue as there is a surge in demand for travel following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in many places. Airlines which decreased staffing during the pandemic are now having a harder time retaining workers and rehiring fast enough to meet demand.
Over 1,000 summer flights from both London Heathrow and London Gatwick have already been canceled. Yet now, the airline will pre-emptively further reduce their schedule, affecting over 100,000 travelers.
Heathrow Strike Looming
The British Airways cancellations are about to worsen as a strike is looming. Workers at Heathrow Airport will be staging a walkout in a dispute over pay. The workers, including check-in staff, are deciding on strike dates, but they are expected to take place during the peak summer vacation period. Worsening summer travel and likely to create similar airport chaos that we’ve seen in Amsterdam this summer.
Furthermore, workers at Heathrow who refuel planes for 70 airlines including Virgin, KLM, Air France and Emirates have announced a 72-hour walkout on 21 July in protest at a three-year pay freeze. Thankfully, for BA, they have a separate supplier and will not be directly affected by this strike. Yet, overall it will lead to airport delays for other airlines. With inflation at all time high, workers are uniting to fight for better pay across the industry.
Flight Cancellation Rights
If British Airways cancels your flight be sure to know your rights and file for compensation when deserved. If your flight is canceled or delayed you are entitled to compensation under the following circumstances. Although the UK left the EU, UK261 rules still applies.
- In the event of 2 hour or longer delays, passengers must be offered free meals and refreshments plus two free telephone calls ( or telex or fax messages or e-mails)
- If you are delayed overnight, hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and the place of accommodation must be available.
- If the delay is five hours or longer, passengers may opt for reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket together with, when relevant, a return flight to the first point of departure.
- If your flight is delayed or cancelled and your rerouting does not get you to your original destination within 3 hours of original scheduled time, you may be entitled to cash compensation depending on the length of the flight.
You will not receive compensation if:
- the cancellation was due to extraordinary circumstances for example due to bad weather, or
- you were informed 2 weeks before the scheduled flight date, or
- you were offered an alternative for the same route with a similar schedule to the original one.
|Cash Compensation||Length of flight|
|€250||Less than 1500KM (932mi)|
|€400||Great than 1500KM, but less than 3500KM|
|€600||Greater than 1500KM (2175mi)|
The sold out summer of travel is creating headaches for nearly all airlines. With the dollar and Euro near parity Americans are jet-setting to Europe and saving money on their vacations. Meanwhile, airlines across the world are struggling as travel comes roaring back. Airline employees and those in their headquarters are not aligned. Staffing levels across airports and airlines are not matching demand. Although airlines are adding back flights, staffing levels are not keeping up. If you are traveling this summer expect delays and cancellations. If an airline cancels your flight, try to ask to be re-routed. Even consider a nearby airport. You may find yourself with better luck if you add some flexibility to your own travel schedule.