British Airways chairman criticizes US airport security practices

British Airways chairman Martin Broughton recently spoke to a conference of airport operators, and openly criticized the way the US operates its airport security.

In his speech, Mr. Broughton suggested that the practice of being told to remove all shoes and laptops should be dropped. He also complained about inconsistent security measures – something I completely agree with.

He also criticized the US for demanding increased checks on US-bound international flights but not on its own domestic services. In his speech, he said the UK should stop “kowtowing” to US security demands.

Unfortunately, many of the inconvenient measures put in place seem like they are here to stay – and the arrival of whole body imaging machines will only make things worse. It is highly unlikely that complaints by the boss of one of the largest airlines in the world will help change things for passengers.


[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]

British Airways lets Osama Bin Laden try their new mobile boarding pass solution [Updated]

In a serious case of “what were they thinking”, a British Airways company magazine used a boarding pass issued to Osama Bin Laden to show off their latest mobile ticketing service.

The name was obviously put there as a joke, but the timing couldn’t be any worse – a month after severe disruptions caused by volcanic ash, British Airways is now in the middle of a series of five day strikes – so customer satisfaction is already at a pretty low point.

A British Airways spokeswoman told ABC News that “A mistake has been made in this internal publication and we are working to find out how this occurred”.

According to the boarding pass, Mr Bin Laden flies in First class, and has a frequent flier number with Northwest Airlines. Sadly, knowing the brilliant minds behind the anti-terror organizations, the terror level will be raised to “red hot” on October 26 2010 while airport police all around the world try to figure out which airport the most wanted terrorist in the world will be flying to.

UPDATE from @BritishAirways, via their Twitter stream —

@Gadling A mistake has been made in this internal publication and we are working to find out how this occurred.less than a minute ago via CoTweet

British Airways announces more upcoming strike dates

British Airways just can’t catch a break – the airline is still recovering from the massive disruptions caused by the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, and now they will have to deal with four different five-day strikes.

The first of the strikes will take place on May 18, followed by May 24, May 30 and June 5.

Unite, the union behind the strike said that 81% of cabin crew voted in favor of the strike, which will no doubt hurt passengers more than it’ll hurt the airline.

During the last strike, British Airways retaliated against striking cabin crew by removing their free flight perks, with that threat looming, I’m surprised so many union members were in favor of this strike – but I’m guessing they assume the union will fight to get those rights restored.

British Airways has posted a brief statement on their web site, but travelers with flights during the strike will need to keep checking for flight updates. During the last big strike, BA was able to keep a large number of flights in operation – albeit with a reduced schedule.

Sooner or later one of the parties will need to give in to the demands – because 20 days of strikes during the upcoming summer season will cause massive amounts of disruption to an already battered airline.

Breaking news: British Airways Christmas strike canceled

Good news for passengers who had planned to fly British Airways during the Christmas holiday – Their planned strike has been blocked by a British court.

The strike was scheduled to begin on December 22nd, and last till January 2nd, essentially shutting down the entire airline during one of the busiest periods of the year. Thankfully, Judge Laura Cox decided that the disruption could not go ahead.

Sadly, there are still a couple of issues that could screw up holiday plans, as baggage handlers and check-in staff are planning to do three separate “walkouts” at Heathrow. This dispute is unrelated to British Airways, though the walkout is being organized by the same union behind BA strike.

British Airways In-Flight Mag Goes Online

High Life, the 35-year-old in-flight magazine of British Airways, is headed from airspace to cyberspace. The famous rag launched its online incarnation on October 9th. BA hopes that the success of the print version will translate to the online world and raise the airline’s profile amongst travelers. The publisher of High Life’s print version, Ceder, teamed with web development company Reactive on the project. They are aiming to attract advertisers eager to have their name and product associated with High Life. Perhaps they are also hoping that well-heeled cannabis aficionados will happen across the site after Googling “high life” and decide, on the spur of the moment, to book a flight to one of the site’s featured destinations.

The first online issue has a food theme and is guest edited by celeb chef Heston Blumenthal. It seems mainly aimed at gourmets and those with an taste for the upscale aspects of travel. There is a bit of hipness, with contributions by the likes of Hot Fuzz’s Simon Pegg. Still, the site maintains the glossy feel of its printed kin.