British Airways has stopped selling short haul flights – for now

After a summer of increasing travel chaos, British Airways decided to put a pause on sales of short-haul journeys from its base at London Heathrow Airport. The move comes after a summer of steady criticism on everything from the queues and mayhem at many British airports to the number of delayed and cancelled flights.

In July 2022, Heathrow announced a controversial cap on the number of flights leaving its runways daily. The team announced that the airport would limit passenger traffic to 100,000 departures per day during the peak summer season, and asked airlines to stop selling summer and early autumn plane tickets until 29 October. At the time, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said, “We have seen 40 years of passenger growth in just four months. However, over the past few weeks, as departing passenger numbers have regularly exceeded 100,000 a day, we have started to see periods when service drops to a level that is not acceptable.”

Now, British Airways have put a pause on ticket sales for short-haul flights for a couple of weeks. A statement from BA said, “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.”

The suspension is currently scheduled to last until Monday 15 August but could be extended.

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Which routes are BA stopping?

The pause covers the sale of tickets on short-haul routes leaving from Heathrow. Short haul flights are defined as flights less than three hours – which covers many domestic and European flight paths. 

Are more British Airways flights being cancelled?

No further cancellations have been announced as part of this move.

Will the suspension on ticket sales continue?

It’s possible. At the moment, BA says it plans to limit sales “dynamically” after 15 August rather than extending a blanket ban. 

How can I minimise the impact on my summer travel plans?

If you’re already booked onto a British Airways short-haul flight from Heathrow this summer, this news shouldn’t affect your plans. Get to the airport at least two hours early to manage airport stress and make sure you’ve checked the latest Covid requirements for your destination to avoid nasty last-minute surprises. 

If you’re yet to book a BA short-haul flight and are planning to travel later in August or September, it’s a good idea to book a ticket sooner rather than later in case the ban is extended, or look at other ways of travelling such as by train. 

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