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.

Striking British Airways crew members to lose free travel perks

British Airways isn’t messing around when it comes to retaliating against their cabin crew members that decided to go on strike this week.

Those crew members will now lose the one perk that is almost as important as their pay check – free and discounted travel.

Unite – the union that organized the strike called the measure “vindictive” – which is the same way I describe the strike and the inconvenience it has caused thousands of travelers. Of course, the union says the removal of the perk will be challenged in court.

BA’s chief executive, WIllie Walsh had warned striking staff that the perk would be removed if they did not show up for work – so the staff were certainly given enough warning. The airline describes the travel perk as “discretionary” and “non contractual”, so I’m sure they have the law on their side – poorly performing staff members can and will lose the perk.

While I do understand the aggravation over lack of pay rises, British Airways is an airline in trouble, and airlines in trouble simply don’t have the cash lying around to increase the salary of their workers. Resorting to a strike is something that puts the airline in even more financial trouble, and causes major headaches for passengers.

Gadling TV’s Travel Talk 002: Google goes Trans-Siberian, BA Strike, Aircruises, S.F. in 24 hrs and more!

Gadling TV’s Travel Talk, episode 2 – Click above to watch video after the jump

Travel Talk is Gadling’s version of a travel show. In each episode, we’ll discuss hot travel news; share fun, useful tips for both traveling and bringing your travel experiences back home; spotlight exciting travel destinations; and much more.

In this week’s episode – we discuss Google’s new project on the Trans-Siberian Express, break down the latest looming British Airways strike, discuss Seymourpowell’s lofty Aircruise concept, and discuss the latest blunders from Ryanair and the TSA.

Bruce is back for another travel tip; we’ll also show you the best spots in San Francisco in a new segment called 24 hour turnaround and show you what it’s like to rock climb in the California Wilderness.

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

Be sure to tune in next week, for Episode 3 of Gadling TV’s Travel Talk with special coverage of Virgin America’s Fly Girls Premiere!

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Moscow to Vladivostok on Google
Seymourpowell’s Aircruises (+video)

Hosts: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea
Special guest: Bruce!
Travel Hero: Mark Beaumont

Produced, Edited, and Directed by: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea

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The Pacific
“Live In A Dream”

Poll of the Week!


Passengers left without luggage because of airlines refusal to pay overtime

Oh how the mighty have fallen. A decade ago, British Airways referred to itself as “the world’s favorite airline”. Now, they are quickly becoming the world’s worst.

After their planned strike was canceled, it became obvious that staff morale was at an all time low – something that became painfully obvious last Friday night at London Heathrow. A flight arriving from Prague got into the airport over an hour late, mainly due to the bad London weather.

Sadly, the baggage handling team at terminal 5 reached the end of their work day, and nobody at British Airways was willing to authorize overtime pay. End result — luggage stays on the plane, and the staff all go home.

Passengers had to wait for hours till the morning crew arrived at the airport. Some of these customers had been stuck at the airport for almost 6 hours. Of course, British Airways blamed everything on the bad weather, and apologized for the situation. Sadly, this is the same airline that once left 100’s of bags out in the rain, so they have a pretty nasty history in dealing with luggage.