British Airways is refusing to sell tickets for any of its short-haul flights from its Heathrow hub that are scheduled to depart up to 8th August because the airline is trying to artificially limit capacity on flights with spare seats.
Late last week, BA started to ‘hate sell’ tickets by only offering the most expensive fares in an attempt to dissuade customers from booking a flight but now BA has gone one step further by removing from sale all of its short-haul flights from Heathrow, reports London Air Travel.
The embargo has been put in place because the airline is trying to keep seats free for passengers whose flights could be cancelled at the last minute. British Airways continues to axe flights due to staffing shortages and as a result of Heathrow Airport’s controversial capacity cap.
On Friday, BA’s parent company revealed the airline was suffering higher than normal sickness rates which was limiting the airline’s ‘operational resilience’ from its main hub at Heathrow.
The airline has already limited its capacity to just 69 per cent of pre-pandemic levels due to a ‘challenging operational environment’ at Heathrow and since May, BA has slashed 18 per cent of its flight schedule due to ongoing resourcing issues.
As well as limiting ticket sales, British Airways continues to contact passengers with flights already booked up to August 7 and is trying to convince them to give up their travel plans.
The airline has been emailing passengers with flights booked over the next year, offering to provide a voucher if they choose not to travel. In addition, short-haul passengers are being given the option to easily change their travel date without penalty to a date in the future.
In a statement, British Airways said it was limiting ticket sales as a direct results of a request from Heathrow Airport. A spokesperson told us: “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.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.