Up to 140,000 miles in compensation, each way?
If you go to board a British Airways flight, only to be surprised by a barrage of purple – fear not – you’re not hallucinating and you are in the correct place. Qatar Airways will be lending a “helping” hand to British Airways while a slew of British Airways 787 Dreamliner’s undergo inspection under new safety guidelines. Even on a flight booked through British Airways, with BA flight numbers, a few select destinations will see Qatar Airways planes, with Qatar Airways crew. Here’s everything you need to know about British Airways temporarily Qatar operated routes, and what’s being done for passengers who are less than enthused.
According to Turning Left For Less, effective June 9th, Qatar Airways planes and crew will operate British Airways flights between London Heathrow, Delhi and Muscat through the end of August, and to Kuwait through June. These routes will feature Qatar Airways Airbus A330 aircraft, with business and economy cabins only. There will be no first class or premium economy cabins on board these jets. Naturally, the size of the cabins will vary from those of British Airways, and some passengers will experience downgrades. British Airways has laid out prescribed compensation and dealing procedures, and all passengers affected by these changes will be emailed in advance.
If you’re presently booked in First Class on one of these flights, you could say its your lucky day. British Airways will still offer Concorde Room access, but for the downgrade from first class to business class the airline is awarding 700GBP vouchers per sector, or 140,000 points. That’s £1400 or 280,000 Avios for a round trip – and you’d still fly business class. For business class passengers who are downgraded to economy due to the smaller business cabin size on Qatar’s planes, a £400 per sector or 80,000 Avios goodwill gesture applies. That’s up to 160,000 Avios for a round trip. Premium passengers with at least Bronze Executive Club status will receive 20,000 Avios per sector of goodwill for the downgrade to economy. First, Business and World Traveller Plus customers who don’t wish to fly on a Qatar operated flight are allowed to cancel for a full refund. Since economy is economy, and there’s no downgrade, economy passengers do not have the option of cancelling. With this level of compensation, why would anyone cancel?
Rolls Royce’s Trent 1000 engines continue to be the thorn in the side of airlines around the world, plaguing an otherwise remarkable aircraft. Additional safety guidelines have upped the number of required inspections for 787’s operating these engines, and further restrictions involving maximum distance one of these planes can fly from a landing strip are forcing 787’s in service to burn more fuel. GSTP spoke with a British Airways cabin crew member who highlighted a recent 11.5 hour journey to San Jose, California, a journey which should take no longer than 10.5 hours. Under the new safety guidelines these planes are being forced to take a circuitous route, in favor of proximity to landing strips in the event of issue. Kudos to British Airways and Qatar for working out a very palatable solution for customers in the interim.
What do you make of this temporary Qatar Airways “wet lease” set up?