British Airways has a large fleet of 787-9 aircraft that they operate to various long-haul routes, including to Mumbai and Delhi. BA has been having some trouble with these aircraft, purely on account of the preventive engine maintenance these planes are going through. It is an industrywide issue, so not just isolated to British Airways.
To overcome the shortage of aircraft during the period, British Airways was considering leasing some A330 aircraft from Qatar Airways, who is a shareholder in their holding company. This arrangement has been now finalised. Qatar Airways will operate many flights on behalf of British Airways during the summer.
British Airways operated by Qatar Airways Routes
Qatar Airways will operate flights on the following British Airways routes:
- BA143 / BA142 London Heathrow & Delhi between June 9 and August 20, 2018.
- BA157 / BA156 London Heathrow & Kuwait between June 9 and June 30, 2018.
- BA79 / BA80 London Heathrow & Muscat between June 9 and August 20, 2018.
Many Passengers will be rebooked
British Airways’ 787-9s operate in a four-class configuration, operating a first class, business class, premium economy and economy cabin. Qatar Airways’ jets are two-class configuration and don’t offer first class or premium economy. Also, they have fewer business class seats.
British Airways will rebook passengers on these flights, and of course, offer a compensation, which we discuss later.
- First Class Passengers will be rebooked in Business Class
- Premium Economy Passengers will be rebooked in Economy
- If Business Class is oversold, Business Class passengers would be also rebooked to the economy cabin.
Important to note, that BA offers 50 premium seats on their 787-9s and Qatar Airways offers 30 Business Class seats.
If you don’t like your options or are in for the British stiff upper lip, you can have your ticket refunded at no extra cost. For customers who are downgraded, they will get the original offering apart from the seat. For instance, lounge access, baggage allowance and miles and tier points they earn.
British Airways compensation to downgraded passengers
BA will offer compensation to passengers who will be impacted due to aircraft changes. You find out the changes on your PNR if you received an email from British Airways indicating that your flight will be operated by Qatar Airways.
You get a refund on the fare difference due to change in the cabin, and also the following:
- If you are downgraded from First Class to Business Class, you receive a GBP 700 e-voucher or 140,000 Avios per sector
- If you are downgraded from Business Class to Economy, you receive a GBP 700 e-voucher or 80,000 Avios per sector
- If you are downgraded from Premium Economy to Economy, you receive 20,000 Avios per sector. This would only be offered to passengers with status on BA Executive Club.
While I don’t feel like I would be complaining overall if I was booked on one of these planes, even if in First, your mileage may vary. Qatar Airways flights, operated by Qatar Airways crew, will be a good experience.
To claim the compensation, you would need to connect with British Airways Customer Relations to indicate your preference.
This is overall a very proactive and pro-customer move from British Airways. If you are booked to travel during the peak summer season, you should contact BA Customer Relations to claim your compensation if applicable.