View Full Version : BA Cancels All Heathrow Flights
E-mail I just got from CNN:
British Airways cancels all flights in and out of London's Heathrow Airport until 1 p.m. ET (1700 GMT) Friday.
They should have a TV special:
"When European Labor Unions Attack!"
Cynical, yes, but I just got seriously delayed!
I hope no one else is suffering the same problems as I am, and that everyone here is doing well.
Yep, not terrorism -- it's a union:
British Airways cancels all Heathrow flights
20,000 passengers stranded
Thursday, August 11, 2005; Posted: 5:33 p.m. EDT (21:33 GMT)
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- British Airways cancelled all its flights from London's Heathrow Airport on Thursday at the peak of its summer holiday season, stranding some 20,000 passengers, following a series of wildcat strikes.
Suitcase-laden travellers crowded the entrances to the world's busiest international airport after baggage handlers, loaders and bus drivers walked out in sympathy with workers at Heathrow caterer Gate Gourmet, which is caught up in a row with management.
BA Chief Executive Rod Eddington said the company had cancelled 120 flights Thursday.
The company later said it cancelled all flights into and out of Heathrow until 1 p.m. ET (1700 GMT) Friday.
"I apologise unreservedly to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans and cancellation of our flights," he said in a statement.
Around 100,000 passengers fly daily with the airline during August.
Some 14 aircraft due to land at Heathrow on Thursday afternoon were diverted to other British airports, a BA spokesman said.
The disruption at Heathrow intensified after BA suspended check-ins for its passengers at terminals one and four as a result of the dispute at Gate Gourmet.
"We've planned this holiday for 18 months and we're going to a wedding. We've saved long and hard for it. I'm gutted," said Ian Thompson, 51, who was trying to catch a flight to Los Angeles.
Hundreds of flights by British Airways, Europe's third-largest airline, left London earlier in the day without meals on board for passengers.
The spokesman said earlier that around 1,000 BA baggage handlers stopped work during the dispute.
Food bags and vouchers
The airline was struggling to put up passengers who had already checked in for their flights in hotels around Heathrow and advising others to return on Friday.
British Airways said it had booked "a few thousand" hotel rooms for passengers but many faced the prospect of spending the night at the airport.
Airport staff handed out free bottles of water, and engineers began to erect large marquees on the forecourt so that people would have somewhere to shelter.
BA said it was contacting passengers to warn them about the situation before their flights.
Passengers caught up in the disruption over airline meals earlier in the day, before the cancellations, were provided with food bags or vouchers at the airport before boarding flights.
The dispute worsened on Wednesday when Gate Gourmet sacked around 350 workers who went on strike over the company's decision to hire seasonal workers, unions said.
A Transport & General Workers Union spokeswoman said the union was seeking further talks with Gate Gourmet and wanted to see the workers reinstated.
A Gate Gourmet spokesman was not available for comment.
A company statement on Wednesday said the strike action, following more than 30 meetings between management and the union, had put the jobs of 2,000 of its workers at Heathrow under threat.
"These actions not only jeopardise the livelihoods of our entire workforce at Heathrow but also the services of major airlines and their customers," Managing Director Eric Born said in a statement.
He added, "If we don't change, the company will not survive, and there will be no future. We now have to take control of this situation swiftly, which may lead to restructuring to avoid the total collapse of the company."
What's frustrating is that from what I hear, it's a sympathy strike and not a simple cancellation of services.
Apparently, the in-flight food guys went on strike due to a bout of firings, and then some of their BA chums in other unions threatened to strike too. I guess BA just cut their losses, and allowed the union to avoid the legal penalty of sympathy striking.
Either way... I can imagine that such a large crowd of people will really test the security around Heathrow.
Reminds me of a flight out of Paris many moons ago. We waited in the plane while union strikers walked down the air strip in protest against something :rolleyes: , then we were allowed to take off after they cleared the runway.
I wished we had ran over a few of them when we left.
Organized Labor (or should it be Labour?).
You gotta love it.
"BA Cancels All Heathrow Flights"
That's cause there's too much jibber-jabber going on. You know how much he hates to fly.
LOL. I loved that show, long before I had any clue what an "A Team" was.
But the title of the show probably bothered you guys, right?
But the title of the show probably bothered you guys, right?Probably not nearly so much as this photo, though perhaps it inspired or motivated many a young officer trying to make it through the Q.
It didn't bother me because I was too busy with other things to watch it. He was only an actor anyway, someone that stands in front of people pontificating and putting on a show.
Stories from Paris:
Two guys I know were stuck at Charles De Gaulle shortly before its roof collapsed. They were told that their only option to fly out was to reach a plane on the other side of the airport which would take them where they wanted to go. The problem was that the bus driver [initiate French accent] "Woould not leaf for zes Yankees puts!"
They solved the problem by grabbing their bags and walking across the tarmac to the other plane. Apparently, the authorities weren't too happy about this development... but could do little because the two were on 'government business' :D
My utter favorite story, however, was actually my Dad's method of boarding a certain flight. He was trying to fly to America to see my Mom before she was my Mom, but was stuck in meetings all days. As this was long before 9/11, the people at check-in would often issue boarding passes and let the passengers 'see if they could make it'.
An old hand at this sort of thing, my Dad sprinted through security and all the queues, all the way to the gate... only to find the gate attendant shutting the door to the boarding arm.
"Monsieur, ze flight is closed."
My dad looks to the plane and sees that the door is still open.
"I'm getting on this flight."
"I cannot let you do zes [you Yankee capitalist pig!]"
My Dad told him to 'try and stop him' before tearing his own ticket stub, opening the door, and sprinting down the boarding arm with the frenchman in hot pursuit.
By this point, the arm had already started pulling away from the door, which was still opened. Sensing his moment (and realising that if he didn't get on the plane, he would PROBABLY go to jail), my Dad leapt across the gap, landed inside the plane, gave a smart wave to the Frenchman and settled down in his seat.
I love that story.