British Airways is preparing to welcome an increased number of holidaymakers back to the skies from July 19 in time for the start of the school summer holidays.
Within a couple of hours of this morning’s Government statement around the elimination of quarantine for Britons who are double vaccinated, the airline had seen a 96% increase in the number of views on its website as compared to the same day last week. The top destinations being searched included Barbados, Palma, Ibiza, New York, Antigua, Malta and Malaga. As it stands, British Airways flies to more amber and green list countries than any other UK airline, 43 in total.
To coincide with the announcement, British Airways has agreed further reassurance measures which mean customers travelling until 30th September 2021 to a country which is added to the red list from amber while they are at their destination will be able to change their flight without any change to the cost of their flight, subject to availability. The move is expected to support Britons when they travel to a country that might be on a Government watchlist to help them get home.
British Airways Holidays quickly released an offer this morning with up to £300 off for people wanting to book to selected amber list countries (see notes to editors). Their offer of a reduced deposit for holidays of £60 per person also remains in place which will also allow customers to wait until three weeks before they travel to make the final payment. This sits alongside the company’s Customer Promise policies which afford customers the flexibility to change bookings at no charge.
During the pandemic British Airways has further enhanced its customer experience and made changes to ensure that Covid safety remains front of mind, such as:
A renewed focus on technology which includes digital apps to order table service in the lounge, and trialling the option to book a place in a check-in queue
Expanded and reduced cost Covid testing partners which includes Qured, the test customers can carry in their suitcase to enable pre-departure on the way home, Wren Healthcare which can facilitate PCR tests in the comfort of their own home
The launch of digital travel passes to facilitate seamless travel, including VeriFLY and IATA Travel Pass
A partnership with Dettol which provides hand santiser stations and wipes on board their aircraft for customers as they board
A new Speedbird Café proposition for short haul flights featuring food from chef, Tom Kerridge
Sleep pods in the Heathrow lounges
Increased access to Avios reward seats for customers
The airline has already publicly confirmed that its rules around the wearing of masks will remain in place to protect travellers, provide reassurance and boost customer confidence. Despite the relaxation of the mask rules, the Government has also recommended the wearing of masks in busy public areas and British Airways asks its customers to remain mindful of the rules around mask wearing in airports at a customer’s destination.
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO said: “This is an important step for Britain as we start to make travel possible again after 18 difficult months. There is still more to do, including opening the US, but we are enthusiastic about welcoming more of our customers back over the summer period and reassuring them that British Airways is ready. Our people have been working relentlessly behind the scenes to make important changes to the customer experience that will ensure our customers receive a first-class experience and complete peace of mind.”
The airline has announced a proving trial this week in partnership with Heathrow and Virgin Atlantic to demonstrate that all WHO approved fully vaccinated travellers can safely enter the UK seamlessly using digital technology to prove vaccination status. VeriFLY, which already provides British Airways customers with access to an app to host verification documents, will be a key partner.