In a bid to minimise ongoing travel chaos, British Airways (BA) has announced that it has suspended the sale of all short-haul flight tickets from Heathrow International Airport until August 8, in a bid to mitigate problems travellers are encountering with flight delays and cancellations. The move has also been taken to enable existing travellers who have had their flights cancelled to more easily rebook their flights.
The decision will affect all domestic and European flights out of Heathrow. This move by BA comes on the heels of a recent announcement by Heathrow Airport that to avoid baggage delays and flight cancellations, carriers will have to limit the number of outgoing passengers from the hub to 100,000 a day. This caused BA to cancel 10,300 flights between now and October, affecting approximately one million passengers. Heathrow has said that the implementation of this limit has already seen an improvement in the punctuality of flights and improved baggage handling.
“As a result of Heathrow’s request to limit new bookings, we’ve decided to take responsible action and limit the available fares on some Heathrow services to help maximise rebooking options for existing customers, given the restrictions imposed on us and the ongoing challenges facing the entire aviation industry,” BA said in a statement.
Last month airlines were accused of “harmful practices” that were putting profit before passengers. These include selling more tickets for flights “than they can reasonably expect to supply”, not always “fully satisfying obligations” to offer flights on alternative airlines to passengers affected by cancellations, and failing to give consumers “sufficiently clear and upfront information about their rights”.