Reply To: LHR Snow Disruption – Jan 2010 Views

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I think the lesson BAA can learn is that Prague is used to weeks of similar temperatures and serious snow event; London simply isn’t, and is therefore not geared up to deal with that level of disruption.

BAA have failed significantly over the past few days, but similarly I do not think they should have the level of snow fighting capability witnessed at airports which suffer this sort of weather for extended periods; it just doesn’t make sense to do so.

What is clear is that this was a lack of the right kit, which was made significantly worse by numbskull management from BAA taking decisions like de-icing larger planes ahead of smaller aircraft, and principally its total failure to communicate anything of value to the airlines.

Dear VK

As you will be aware, British Airways has been affected by severe weather conditions that have swept across the UK and much of Europe.

As a valued customer, we wanted to explain what action we are taking to mitigate.

Severe weather was forecast for Saturday December 18 and we took the decision to cancel much of our flight programme. We took this action early so we could immediately communicate with customers. Although we were criticised in some quarters it was proven the right call as Heathrow was subsequently closed for 20 hours.

Until late yesterday, only one runway at Heathrow had reopened, meaning we were restricted by the BAA to only running one-third of our flight programme.

But where are we now? We will aim to operate the vast majority of flights from Heathrow on Thursday, however, we now have hundreds of crew and over 40 planes out of position so it will take some days to return to normal.

Throughout this period of disruption we have extended our call centre opening times and added extra phone lines to deal with the 150,000 calls we’ve received – that’s double what we would normally expect. has been regularly updated with the latest information and has three times its usual traffic. We have mobilised 1,000 volunteers to assist our customers either at the airport or over the phone and arranged thousands of hotel rooms for our customers.

I do however appreciate that the unprecedented level of disruption has meant that we have not been able to help all of our customers in the way that they, or we, would have liked and I would like to say a sincere thank you for your patience and understanding during what has been a very difficult time.

We would offer the following advice to customers who are due to travel:
Please do not travel to the airport unless you have a confirmed booking on a flight that is operating
If you are booked to travel in the next few days and your flight has been affected, you can manage your booking via or call our call centre team. We would like to apologise in advance for the extended call waiting times, given the very high call volumes we are currently experiencing
If you are travelling from Heathrow and your travel is not essential and/or you have the flexibility to change your plans, please could you consider canceling your flight in return for a full refund or changing it to another date in the next 12 months
If your travel is not imminent please can we ask that you contact us at a later date as we are trying to do everything we can for our customers who have been disrupted and/or who are due to travel in the next few days
For the latest information and updates please visit or follow us on Twitter @British_Airways
We know how important it is for our customers to be with their friends or family at this time of year and please be assured that we will do everything possible to help them.

Yours sincerely,

Willie Walsh
CEO British Airways

I wonder if the Simpson woman is American/Canadian. It certainly reads like it was written by an American.

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