What On Earth Is Going On With British Airways At Heathrow Airport?

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If you fancy booking a last-minute short haul holiday with British Airways from Heathrow anytime soon, you’re out of luck…

As a result of the passenger number limitations that Heathrow has insisted on this Summer, airlines operating from the airport have had to take extraordinary steps. This has impacted British Airways more than most, simply because it is the largest operator at Heathrow.

British Airways has therefore now announced that outbound short haul flights from Heathrow Airport will be closed for sale until 15 August 2022.

What’s going on?

A spokesperson for British Airways explained the situation as follows:

“When Heathrow introduced its passenger cap, we took a small number of additional flights from our schedule and to continue to comply with the cap, we’ve been taking responsible action by limiting sales or all the available fares on some of our Heathrow services to ensure more seats are available to rebook customers,”

(Picture by: Nick Morrish/British Airways)

What does this mean for passengers?

If you already have a ticket, breathe a sigh of relief. Existing flights are not affected by the latest announcements. In fact, the decisions taken by British Airways might give you a better chance of avoiding substantial delays and cancellations.

If you were hoping to grab a last-minute break away this Summer, you are going to have to look elsewhere – at least for your outbound flight. You can still book one way short haul flights with BA back to Heathrow.

Perhaps the most important thing to note in terms of future planning is that the current BA sales policy is in force for travel dates up to 15th August, but this could well be extended again. Heathrow Airport’s cap on numbers is set to remain in place until 11 September, so if you are thinking about a trip between mid August and early September, it would make sense to book as soon as possible.

Bottom line

This really is a remarkable situation. Politicians, airline and airport executives will argue about the causes and who is to blame, but from a passenger perspective the reality is simple (if bizarre):

In the middle of the first Summer Holidays without widespread travel restrictions since the pandemic hit, unless you already have a ticket, it is currently impossible to get an outbound short haul flight with the UK’s largest airline from the country’s largest airport…

Have your travel ideas been disrupted?


  1. Craig Sowerby says

    I breezed through Terminal 5 security yesterday without much delay. The day before we made it through passport control without much of a queue. Luggage even arrived safely…

    Even though it is notionally Heathrow capping passenger numbers and causing BA to stop selling tickets, it didn’t really seem like Terminal 5 was about to burst from over-capacity…

  2. Eppleby Green says

    I don’t understand why, when there are at least 6 airports close to London, BA cannot use capacity at these airports. I believe that Southend have been canvassing for some of the BA business!

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Because a passenger arriving into Southend cannot then connect onto a long-haul flight. And as BA’s experience at Gatwick shows, the airline isn’t all that sure that it makes money with leisure travellers flying to/from London only when it has to compete with Easyjet, Ryanair, Wizz, etc. for those passengers.

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