Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Airlines Cancel Flights, Issue Advisory for UK Public Sector Strike

Travellers with scheduled flight to London today (Wednesday, 30 Nov) would do well to check out their flight status as airlines around the globe are cancelling services in the wake of nationwide industrial unrest in the United Kingdom.

Many public sector unions, including the UK border agency staff and those representing immigration have joined the protest that erupted over planned changes to public-sector pensions. Chaos and long waiting queues are expected at different airports around the country, especially London Heathrow.

While almost every airline that operates to and from the UK has issued travel advisory for the passengers, few airlines have gone ahead and cancelled flights to London to avoid any sort of inconvenience at the airports.

British Airways, UK’s flag carrier, has plans to run a normal flight schedule on the day of strike. BA is the largest operator at Heathrow and is offering free of charge flight changes to travellers who are willing.

Hong Kong’s flag carrier, Cathay Pacific has confirmed on its website that it will be operating normal schedule. However, the carrier advised passengers to avoid non essential travel on the day. Travellers will not be charged anything for flight tickets changes if they opt to do so, the website said.

Delta Air Lines has cancelled few flights to and from the UK. The airline posted a travel advisory on its website warning customers to expect delays of up to eight hours. Passengers who are planning for a ticket reissue must do so on or before Dec. 2 for a travel no later than Dec. 7.

Singapore Airlines’ flight SQ308 (Singapore-London) and SQ319 (London-Singapore) have been cancelled for 30 November due to the strike. The airline’s website said that alternative travel arrangements will be made for the impacted passengers.

Air India, India’s national carrier, has also decided to cancel four flights to London. Amritsar-Delhi-London (AI-115), London-Delhi (AI-116), Delhi-London (AI-111) and London-Delhi (AI-112) will be grounded and arrangements for travellers have been made on other flights.

Ryanair, an Irish airline popular for cheap flights, is operating a normal flight program for 30 November. However, the budget carrier has made it clear that travellers may face delays at passport controls/immigration. Another airline popular in Europe for doling out cheap flight tickets, EasyJet is also operating a full schedule of flights.

Emirates, the Dubai based carrier, has cancelled flights to the UK on the day of walkout to avoid any sort of disruptions. Emirates grounded EK029 from Dubai to London Heathrow and EK030 from London Heathrow to Dubai.

Virgin Atlantic’s flight program is unaltered by the industrial action. However, the airline has suggested travellers to mull over flight changes so as to avoid inconveniences.


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