Canadian flyers scramble after strike forces British Airways cancellations

About 3,500 passengers on more than a dozen Canada-to-London flights are expected to be affected

British Airways planes sit parked as a Turkish Airways plane takes off above them at Heathrow Airport in London, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

British Airways planes sit parked as a Turkish Airways plane takes off above them at Heathrow Airport in London, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Canadian travel agencies are scrambling to help passengers whose British Airways flights have been cancelled on Monday and Tuesday after a pilots strike grounded the global carrier.

The airline says more than a dozen flights between Canada and London are slated to be cancelled over the two days, affecting about 3,500 passengers based on the size of the scheduled aircraft.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is most impacted with four flights each day. One arrival and one departure are cancelled over the two days in Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.

“Customers were sent email notifications if they have been affected,” British Airways said in an advisory to travel agents.

Passengers can receive refunds or rebook for later flights. They may also be able to rebook on partner airlines such as American Airlines, Finnair and Aer Lingus, if seats are available.

Toronto travel agency TTI Travel says some customers have called to inquire but there doesn’t appear to be any alarm.

“We’ve been looking at flights and trying to re-accommodate them and make some decisions around how we support them and what those options are,” said TTI vice-president Lucy Lavigna.

Air Canada says it has added larger aircraft on the route between Toronto and London-Heathrow to accommodate increased demand it has seen in recent days.

“Last night we operated one flight on the route (we have four flights daily) with a 400-seat, Boeing 777 instead of the scheduled 298-seat Boeing 787-9, and will do the same tonight,” said spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick by email.

“That makes for a total of about 400 extra seats in the market. We continue to monitor the situation, but there are no plans for additional capacity at this time, in part because our aircraft are already committed under the existing schedule.”

WestJet Airlines said it’s “business as usual” for the Calgary-based airline.

READ MORE: Four-hour tarmac delay violates charter rights of Canadians with disabilities, lawsuit claims

British Airways cancelled almost all its flights for 48 hours, affecting as many as 195,000 travellers, due to a strike by pilots over pay.

The U.K.’s flagship carrier said in a statement Monday that it had “no way of predicting how many (pilots) would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly.”

As a result, it said it had “no option but to cancel nearly 100 per cent” of its flights for the duration of the strike.

“We have supplemented our fleet by using aircraft and crew from other airlines (wet-leasing) and working with our partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers,” said the trade support website that details customer guidelines.

— With files from The Canadian Press

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Three new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

The Central zone sits at 849 active cases, with 52 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

Kyler Corriveau, of the Eckville area, was found dead on Sunday southeast of Red Deer. Police are investigating his death as a homicide. (Contributed photo).
Young Red Deer homicide victim is remembered as a caring friend

Police are investigating Kyler Corriveau’s untimely death

Sylvan Lake Winter Village. File Photo
3 charged in connection to vandalism at Sylvan Lake Winter Village

Sylvan Lake RCMP were able to identify the suspects thanks to community assistance

Sabrina Armeneau
Sylvan Lake RCMP search for woman missing for five years

Sabrina Armeneau was reported missing on Jan. 15, but has not been seen in five years

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton, Friday, March 20, 2020. Hinshaw says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta long-term care residents remain priority in looming slowdown of COVID vaccine

There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Calgary flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Lucas Berg, left, with the backpacks filled with essential items he donated to the Red Deer Mustard Seed Jan. 19, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Central Alberta teenager donates filled 20 backpacks to Red Deer Mustard Seed

Lucas Berg, 14, of Ponoka County says he ‘just wants to help people’

A conveyor belt transports coal at the Westmoreland Coal Co.’s Sheerness mine near Hanna, Alta., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Coal mining impacts are already occurring in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains even as debate intensifies over the industry’s presence in one of the province’s most beloved landscapes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
As Alberta debates coal mining, industry already affecting once-protected Rockies

UCP revoked a policy that had protected eastern slopes of the Rockies from open-pit coal mining since 1976

Most Read