Strike update: Virgin Atlantic deploys larger aircraft to accommodate stranded air travelers

virgin2You knew this would happen.

Virgin Atlantic Airways just announced it would deploy larger aircraft on key routes over the 12 days of the planned British Airways cabin crew strike “in order to carry stranded passengers.”

Virgin Atlantic has identified a number of flights on routes such as New York (Newark), Boston, Washington and Delhi where it is feasible to operate the flights with larger aircraft. These selected flights will now be operated by an Airbus A340-600 rather than an A340-300, thereby providing 68 extra seats per flight. The extra seats will go on sale over the next 24 hours.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are bitter rivals, of course. Which makes the following quote from Virgin’s Richard Branson so — well, let me just play the clip for you:

It is a nightmare for passengers, and you have to feel for them at Christmas time. Any strike would obviously be extremely damaging to everybody – the company, employees and most importantly the traveling public.

But a good PR opportunity for Virgin Atlantic. Why else would you issue a news release on this? (Actually, let me rephrase: What took you so long?)

Meanwhile, British Airways has bigger fish to fry. It’s going after its own employees.
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If British Airways strikes, will anyone fall into the “codeshare gap”?

ba3Looks like British Airways may be shut down by a strike — just in time for the holidays. I’ll let the beat reporters dissect this story, but there’s one angle that appears to be getting overlooked: What’s going to happen to passengers with “codeshare” reservations?

Codesharing the practice of selling seats on another airline but claiming them as your own. The problem is, there are passengers with seats on one airline that are actually booked on a British Airways flight. (Codesharing arrangements must be disclosed by law, but who pays attention to the fine print in a reservation?)
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British Airways fat-finger compensation: $300 off India ticket

ba2As promised, British Airways has begun sending make-good offers to passengers who were affected by last weekend’s fare error. The airline is issuing a $300 voucher off any published retail World Traveller fare from the US to India booked between now and Nov. 12.
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British Airways does it again

heathrowBritish Airways can’t seem to stay out of the news this week. First, there was its fat-finger fare fiasco — still unresolved, as many customers wait to hear how they’ll be compensated. And just yesterday, I received word about a resolution on another case involving the airline.

Reader Nancy Ostrofsky was stranded in Miami twice while she waited to fly to London to see her son’s college graduation this summer. The first time, BA covered some of her expenses. But the second time, it fell short and eventually made her miss her son’s big day.
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British Airways will offer compensation to fat-finger customers

balogoIf you booked a British Airways ticket from North America to India between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. last Friday evening, you already know the bad news: Your trip has been canceled.

But this morning, there’s some good news. The airline is planning to compensate customers who were affected by this fare error, and at least one online travel agency is offering more than just an apology.
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Sorry, those $40 fares on British Airways weren’t for real

baSome things are just too good to be true. Like a British Airways flight to Mumbai for $40, offered briefly yesterday. Such a deal!

Such a … mistake! (Here’s an update on the story.)
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