British Airways cancels Christmas for Gulf expats
The opening of Heathrow’s second runway may have resulted in a return to normal operations for Gulf carriers, but the cancellation of British Airways flights from the region has continued.
Two of the three British Airways flights from Dubai to Heathrow were cancelled on Wednesday.
Making matters worse, the British Airways website also states that two flights from Dubai will also be cancelled on Thursday, with only BA0104, which departs from the emirate at 1530 UAE time, leaving as normal.
The airline is planning to offer a full schedule from Dubai on December 24.
The cancellations are likely to heavily disrupt the plans of the Gulf’s expatriate community, many of whom are planning to return home at the end of the regional working week.
“I only found out because two of my friends were on the same flight and called me in a panic last night as they’d checked on line and it said it was cancelled,” said one Dubai-based expat.
“I doubled checked online too and then I just immediately searched and booked another flight, pretty much at exactly the same time with Emirates, but to Gatwick.
“It seems odd that Emirates are absolutely fine and have flights pretty much at the same time while British Airways is still a complete mess.”
The airline has worsened the confusion by allowing some passengers to check in for flights on the British Airways website, despite the fact that those flights had already been cancelled.
"I've got the boarding pass, and I could have gone to the airport," another Dubai-based Briton told Arabian Business. "But I've just rung the number to be told the flight is cancelled and they don't have any spare seats until Christmas Day".
Emirates announced on Tuesday that it had resumed normal operations and that flights in and out of Europe were operating as close to schedule as possible.
However, the UK has warned that worse weather may be on the way.
The UK’s Met Office said that there was still a risk of 25cm of snow in some places through Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
“Wintry weather is expected to continue as Christmas approaches, with heavy snow in some areas potentially leading to further disruption to travel networks,” the agency said.
The national forecaster also said that temperatures in the country would start to rise back above freezing by around midday on Thursday.