British Airways starts to trial Covid-19 document certification on ba.com

British Airways has said that customers eligible to travel to India will now be able to upload their negative Covid-19 test results and other travel declaration forms directly into their booking on the airline’s website ba.com, in advance of travel.

Running on all flights from London to India, the new trial is part of the airline’s efforts to simplify the departure process as it prepares for the return of international travel. The trial will certify that customers have the correct documentation needed for their flight before they arrive at the airport, allowing them to check-in online and avoid queuing in the terminal.

Customers will receive an email three days before the date of departure, directing them to the ‘Manage My Booking’ function on ba.com where they can find the relevant entry requirements, including a negative Covid-19 test result and a digital declaration form. The customer will then upload each document via ‘Manage My Booking’ which will be certified by the airline within six hours to ensure they meet the entry requirements.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘At British Airways we are preparing for the meaningful return to international travel in the coming months. This means doing everything we can to simplify the journey for our customers, allowing them to travel with confidence and create the best possible seamless, frictionless experience in a new Covid era.

‘We know that innovation and technology hold the key to unlocking international travel. We are already offering access to travel app ‘VeriFLY’ on selected routes and IAG has been helping develop ‘Travel Pass’ with IATA. Now it’s also time to look at what we can offer through our own website. The key benefit of customers being able to upload the correct travel documentation into their booking, is that it enables them to check-in online, speeding up the airport process. We are continually exploring the best possible options to help our customers return to the skies, safely.’

British Airways is planning to roll this trial out to more destinations over the coming weeks and is also working to add this functionality for those destinations to its British Airways app. This will enable customers to securely upload the documentation for their booking directly from their mobile device. The required documentation is decided by the country of destination that a customer is travelling to, which could include negative Covid tests and / or vaccination information.

Digital health travel passport, VeriFLY, is currently available on the airline’s flights from the UK to the US and Canada, as well as all inbound flights to the UK. The app is optional for customers and can be downloaded to a mobile device. The app helps meet the entry requirements of their destination by providing digital health document verification and confirming eligibility.

British Airways appoints new Sustainability head

UK-based airline, British Airways, has today announced the appointment of Carrie Harris as its new head of Sustainability, which it says reflects the increasing importance that it attaches to its sustainability.

Harris joins British Airways from the airline’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), where she has been group sustainability manager for the past five years. She is a chartered environmentalist, fellow of IEMA (the accreditation body for sustainability professionals), registered environmental auditor and holds two Master’s degrees in Environmental Science and Management.

In her role at British Airways, reporting to Louise Evans, director of External Communications & Sustainability, Harris will be responsible for a team of eight who work on the airline’s strategy for environment, diversity, inclusion & wellbeing, and community investment.

The company stated that last year Harris helped launch IAG’s Flightpath Net Zero, committing the Group to achieving net zero by 2050, which it says is a global first for an airline group and a landmark climate strategy for the aviation sector. During her time at IAG, the company says that she has successfully embedded sustainability into the Group’s business activity and financial planning processes. Her work saw her win IAG the CDP A-list for investor rankings and most improved sustainability report for FTSE 100 and IBEX companies.

Announcing the appointment, Louise Evans, British Airways’ director of External Communications & Sustainability said: ‘Sustainability is absolutely fundamental to British Airways’ future strategy and I am delighted to welcome Carrie to British Airways as head of Sustainability. This is a crucial role in our organisation, and I know Carrie’s expertise, as well as her ability to deliver, will have a hugely positive impact on our sustainability agenda.’

Carrie Harris, in her new role as British Airways’ head of Sustainability said, ‘We know our customers, colleagues and investors want to see sustainability at the heart of everything we do at British Airways, so this is an incredible opportunity for me to build on the great work that is already well underway.

‘As we head into 2021, we’ll be taking a fresh look at all we do to ensure sustainability is embedded in our culture, our operation and our customers’ experience; from technological solutions such as zero emissions hydrogen aircraft and sustainable aviation fuels for the medium to long-term, to operational efficiency and carbon offset and removal projects in the short-term. We’ll also be focused on improving diversity, inclusion and wellbeing within the organisation and ensuring we contribute meaningfully to the communities where we operate in the UK and around the world.’

Later this week British Airways is expected to retire the final 747 aircraft in its fleet, four years earlier than originally planned. The aircraft are being replaced by more modern models such as the A350 and 787 which are between 25 – 4o percent more fuel efficient.

British Airways launches flights and holiday packages to sun destinations for 2021

British Airways has announced the launch of its holiday programme to sun destinations for 2021.

The airline is offering flights and holiday packages at a discounted rate for travel throughout 2021 to sun destinations across its network, including the Canary Islands, the Caribbean, the Seychelles, Florida and Dubai.

Andrew Brem, British Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: ‘As we edge into the winter months and Brits are asked to stay at home, we know our customers are looking forward to booking warm holidays to get away and soak up some sun. It’s been quite a year, and our very special prices reflect that. With travel dates available in 2021 we’d encourage people to make the most of these special prices and jet off on a well-deserved break.’

The holiday packages on offer include a seven-night beach break with flights and hotel starting from £219 per person (pp) to Lanzarote or Tenerife in the Canary Islands in March 2021.

Holidaymakers looking to enjoy Portuguese sun can fly to the Algarve for a seven-night stay including flights from £199pp, also for travel in March next year.

For those looking to enjoy Caribbean beaches, a seven-night hotel stay and flights are available from £599pp to Saint Lucia in June 2021. Alternatively, customers can choose a seven-night stay and flights to St Kitts from £619pp for travel in May 2021. Barbados is another destination on offer for sun-seekers with a £599pp seven-night stay and flights for travel in June 2021.

Further, the company is offering a seven-night stay (including flights and hotel) to the Seychelles in June 2021 for fares from £999pp. Alternatively, customers may holiday in Mauritius with a seven-night stay and flights from £729pp in the same month.

British Airways Holidays is also offering a three-night stay and flights from £419pp for travel on selected dates to Florida in April and May next year. And finally, customers can take World Traveller flights to Dubai for a minimum of three days from £334 return on selected dates up until June 2021.

The airline’s flexible booking policy offers no change fees, or a voucher exchange, for bookings made during the sunshine campaign. Customers can move their flights or holiday in case of any change of plans, as long as their initial travel dates are before the end of August 2021.

British Airways announces flight schedule for November

British Airways has said that it will operate 52 long haul routes alongside its short haul network this month as the airline continues to adapt to changing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline will continue to operate to US gateways including New York JFK, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, with Newark added to the schedule. Flights to the Caribbean continue to destinations including Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia, and flights will operate to destinations across Africa, the Middle East and Asia such as Dubai, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Flights to Santiago, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, are also set to return.

Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said: ‘We continue to connect Britain with a substantial number of destinations across the globe and customers tell us they are reassured by the safety measures we’ve put in place, including personal protection packs, screens, sanitiser stations, adapted meal services and customers and colleagues in masks.

‘The risk of contracting Covid-19 during a flight is incredibly low. IATA, the global aviation industry body, suggests that since the start of 2020 there have been as few as 44 cases of Covid-19 linked to flights. Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled. This figure amounts to one case for every 27 million travellers.

‘We believe the best way to get people flying again is to introduce reliable and affordable testing before flying. When this happens and demand returns, we stand ready to reintroduce even more destinations to our network, and carry on connecting even more families, friends and businesses.’

British Airways will also continue to serve domestic destinations including Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Newquay. In continental Europe, cities like Paris, Munich, Geneva and Amsterdam, among others, will be connected to Heathrow by frequent, direct flights. There are also regular flights to beach destinations such as Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

The operation of any flight is subject to changes, international restrictions and government approval, British Airways said, adding that the airline has a range of measures to keep customers safe when they travel, both at the airport and on board.

British Airways launches luxury flights and holidays deals

British Airways (BA) has said that it has launched a range of luxury flight and holiday deals, offering discounts for travellers and available for a wide range of destinations across its network.

The airline said that Club World, its long haul business class flights to New York will start from £1,199 return, while Club Europe, BA’s short haul business class customers can choose return flights to Bologna from £147 return. Customers can also enjoy return business class flights to Rome from £165, Athens from £195, Montego Bay and Toronto from £1,299, Antigua and Barbados from £1,399.

The holiday offers include three-night getaways to Dubai from £1,325pp and seven-night trips to St Lucia from £1,479pp. For looking to experience the USA, offers include four-nights to New York from £1,299pp, five-nights in Los Angeles from £1,749pp and seven-nights in Orlando from £1,699pp. Seven-night beach breaks to Mallorca are from £349pp, whilst three-night city breaks to Rome are from £259pp, it said.

Claire Bentley, Managing Director of British Airways Holidays, said: ‘We know that our customers need absolute reassurance and flexibility right now to enable them to plan their trips, which is why we recently launched our ‘British Airways Holidays Customer Promise’. This outlines exactly what a holiday booking with us guarantees, including the high standards we set for our hotels partners, the unrivalled flexibility we offer to customers and the high quality service we provide to them, from the point of booking to landing back home. We believe that this, combined with these great premium offers, will give customers the confidence to book that special trip and enjoy travel again, knowing that if their plans have to change, their holiday is protected.’

Further, customers looking to reduce the price of their ticket even further using Avios can avail return Club World flights to New York for £299 and 183,000 Avios, Orlando for £279 and 252,000 Avios or Antigua for £299 and 227,000 Avios. In Club Europe, return flights are available to Bologna for £73 and 15,000 Avios, Larnaca for £81 and 23,000 Avios or Athens for £85 and 23,000 Avios.

The flight and holiday offers are only on sale until November 3, 2020. Amid the continuing Covid 19 risks, British Airways and British Airways Holidays offer booking flexibility and enhanced safety measures. In case of any change of plan, customers can change their booking for free, paying any difference in price, or can choose to cancel their holiday and obtain a voucher for travel up until April 30 2022. This now applies to bookings made from March 3 2020 onwards for journeys that are due to have been completed by August 31, 2021.

British Airways’ chief executive and chairman quits

British Airways’ chief executive and chairman, Alex Cruze is stepping down from the roles.

Cruze is to take the reduced role of non-executive chairman with immediate effect, and will be replaced in his current positions by Aer Lingus boss, Sean Doyle. The change at the top of BA’s hierarchy was instigated by Luis Gallego, the new chief executive of IAG, the holding company for both BA and Aer Lingus. It was Gallego’s first major announcement since taking over as IAG head from the company’s former boss, Willie Walsh. Doyle’s replacement as interim CEO at Aer Lingus will be its current chief corporate affairs officer, Donal Moriarty.

The moves come at a time when the IAG businesses, along with the rest of the civil aviation industry, are suffering a major downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on travel.

Gallego said, ‘I want to thank Alex for all that he has done at British Airways. He worked tirelessly to modernise the airline in the years leading up to the celebration of its 100th anniversary. Since then, he has led the airline through a particularly demanding period and has secured restructuring agreements with the vast majority of employees.

Sean Doyle has extensive experience at British Airways having worked there for 20 years before moving to head Aer Lingus nearly two years ago where he has done an excellent job. I am confident that will continue at British Airways.’

Alex Cruz, a 54-year old Spanish national, started his career at American Airlines in London. He was made BA CEO by Willie Walsh in 2016.

Doyle had been with Aer Lingus for nearly two years and prior to that he served 20 years at British Airways.

British Airways launches daily flights from London Heathrow to Bermuda

British Airways has said that it will operate daily flights from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Bermuda, starting from March 28, 2021.

The flights will depart from London Heathrow at 14:55, landing in Bermuda at 18:25. The route will be operated by a Boeing 777-200, which will soon feature the airline’s new Club Suite. Tickets are now on sale, with return fares from £510.

Situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda’s islands boast fantastic reefs for scuba diving or snorkelling, along with luxury accommodation options selected by British Airways Holidays. This will be the first time the airline has flown from London Heathrow to Bermuda since 1989.

BA’s Director of Network and Alliances, Neil Chernoff, said: ‘We are delighted to launch flights from Heathrow to Bermuda. This is the first time we have flown to Bermuda from London’s biggest airport for over three decades. We look forward to welcoming customers to experience our world class facilities at Heathrow Terminal 5.

‘Whether our customers are travelling on business, visiting friends and family or taking a holiday, Bermuda is now even more accessible from the UK’s largest airport – a gateway for many of our destinations worldwide.’

‘We are delighted to continue our partnership with British Airways, an airline connecting Bermuda to London for more than 85 years’, confirmed Bermuda’s Minister of Transport the Hon. Neville Tyrrell. ‘The island’s leading industry groups see clear benefits for international business and tourism as a result of this decision, which should prove pivotal in the island’s pandemic recovery.’

British Airways has introduced a range of measures to keep its customers safe and is asking customers to abide by the new measures to help manage the wellness of everyone travelling. These include checking-in online, observing social distancing and using hand sanitisers placed throughout airports; wearing a facemask at all times, asking customers not to travel if they think they have any symptoms of Covid-19; mandatory PPE for cabin crew and a new food service, and asking customers to carry their necessities in hand luggage before departure, and where possible, storing their carry-on bag under the seat in front of them.

British Airways announces September sale

British Airways has announced the launch of its annual September Sale with deals to some 150 destinations across its global network.

With the new schedule of flights, customers can take a trip to New York for £299 return, San Francisco for £348 return or Miami for £349 return. Those looking for a trip to the Caribbean beaches of Antigua or St Lucia can do so for £384 return and £399 return respectively or to Seychelles for £499 return. Dubai return flights start from £299, and Muscat flights start from £399 return.

The airline is also offering a range of holiday packages in the sale this year. These include seven-night European beach breaks (including flights and hotels) from £179 per person, including to Corfu and Sardinia, seven-night holidays to the newly launched destination of Montego Bay from £619 per person, seven-night holidays to Barbados from £549pp, Orlando from £399pp and New York from £379pp. During the September Sale, British Airways Holidays is offering complimentary access to the Galleries Club Lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 5 when booking a flight + hotel package for seven nights or more for travel between September 3 and December 24, 2020, subject to certain conditions.

In addition, British Airways has over one million seats available for £39 or less each-way. Destinations include Geneva, Venice and Rome.

Andrew Brem, British Airways’ chief commercial officer, said: ‘We know that many of our customers are eager to start exploring the world again and that’s why we are offering them great prices coupled with flexible booking options. Customers who book during the September Sale can take a voucher if they change their minds and we believe that this, alongside enhanced safety measures at the airport and onboard, will give customers the confidence to book their next getaway and get travelling again.’

As part of the September Sale, the airline is also offering a number of Avios part payment deals.

British Airways starts new route to Montego, resumes services to Caribbean Islands

British Airways has recently announced plans to commence a new route between Gatwick and Montego Bay in Jamaica from October 13, 2020.

Montego Bay is a sought-after tourist hotspot, known for its beaches, water sports, resorts and nightlife. Flights to Montego Bay, which will be operated by a three-cabin (World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World) Boeing 777, will depart on Tuesdays and Saturdays and are now on sale on ba.com, with prices starting from £427 return. The Montego Bay service will operate over the winter period until Easter 2021.

As part of its commitment to the Caribbean, the airline resumed flying to Antigua, Barbados, Kingston and Jamaica and St Lucia in July, although with reduced frequencies.

Diane Corrie, British Airways’ commercial manager for the Caribbean, said: ‘We’re excited to be extending our network once again between London Gatwick and the Caribbean with the start of this new flight to Montego Bay in October, as well as resuming our services to Antigua, Barbados, Kingston and St Lucia.

‘We know people are keen to travel and the sunshine and beaches across the Caribbean combined with great resorts and entertainment makes it a winning destination. And with flights to our new Montego Bay route starting from under £500 return, what’s not to love?!’

Colin Pegler, Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation Chapter UK & Europe, said: ‘The CTO Chapter UK & Europe is greatly encouraged by BA’s return to the Caribbean. As one of the Caribbean’s most crucial and longstanding flight partners we are delighted to see such endorsement from our national carrier. It is vital to the region, our tour operator, hotel and destination partners that the resumption of airlift is quick and comprehensive as we look forward to welcoming tourists once more.’

British Airways has introduced a range of measures to keep its staff and customers safe from the health risks of Covid 19. These include: checking-in online, downloading boarding pass and where possible self-scanning their boarding passes at the departure gate; observing social distancing and using hand sanitisers that are placed throughout airports; wearing a facemask at all times and bringing enough to replace them every four hours for longer flights; urging customers to avoid travel in case of any symptoms of Covid-19; requiring cabin crew to wear PPE and a new food service, which reduces the number of interactions required with customers, among others.

British Airways announces August schedule, to resume services to more destinations

British Airways has said that it will resume services to more destinations throughout August, although on low frequencies due to the continued impact of Covid-19 across the globe.

In Europe flights will resume to the holiday destinations of Bari, Bastia, Bodrum, Bordeaux, Catania, Figari, Frankfurt, Genoa, Kefalonia, Lyon, Luxembourg, Malta, Paphos and Pula, while Antigua, Islamabad and Nairobi will join the long-haul line-up. Flights currently start from £31 each way to Europe.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and CEO, said: ‘We’re gradually returning to more of our network and will be flying to some great holiday destinations over the summer with seats from as little as £31 each way.

‘We know people want to be able to book with confidence, so we’ve introduced a range of flexible booking options to set their minds at rest, such as being able to change a booking free of charge or cancel and receive a voucher for travel at a later date.’

BA Holidays is offering a range of deals for customers, including: seven nights holiday to Paphos, Cyprus with stay at the Helios Bay Hotel Apartments & Villas from £459 per person; two nights holiday to Milan with stay at the 4-star Marconi Hotel from £149 per person; seven nights holiday to Catania, Sicily at the Best Western Hotel Mediterraneo from £489 per person; and two nights holiday to Frankfurt at the 4-star Bristol Hotel from £149 per person. In addition, British Airways’ lead-in flight only fares to Europe for this summer include Nice with fares from £31 each way, Venice from £35 each way, Palermo from £39 each way and Corfu from £48 each way. Reservations for the respective destinations can be done until August 9, at ba.com, available for travel until August 31.

To reduce the risks due to Covid-19, British Airways has introduced a range of measures for customers and crew to follow. These include: checking-in online, downloading boarding pass and self-scanning their boarding passes at the departure gate where possible; observing social distancing and using hand sanitisers placed throughout airports; wearing a facemask at all times and bringing enough to replace them every four hours for longer flights; urging customers to avoid travel in case of any symptoms of Covid-19; PPE for cabin crew and a new food service, which reduces the number of interactions required with customers.