News: BA substitutes charter flights for scheduled jets

The best deals, the latest hot spots and what's new in travel

Some British Airways passengers expecting to fly this weekend to Florida and Kenya on state-of-the-art jets will instead find themselves squeezed into a Portuguese charter aircraft.

Some British Airways passengers expecting to fly this weekend to Florida and Kenya on state-of-the-art jets will instead find themselves squeezed into a Portuguese charter aircraft.

The airline says that the Boeing 777 normally used for the Gatwick-Tampa service will be replaced by a 767 charter jet operated by EuroAtlantic Airways of Sintra, near Lisbon.

A BA spokesman said the change is "a knock-on effect" from the severe winter weather that affected the north--east US last month, causing dozens of flight cancellations and disrupting cabin-crew rosters. "Instead of cancelling the flight we chartered in another company," said the spokesman.

The flights are "wet-leased": pilots and cabin crew are supplied by EuroAtlantic. Business-class passengers are to be handed £250 in compensation when they turn up at Gatwick. Travellers in economy-class passengers get nothing, because BA describes the service as "broadly similar" to its own economy product.

Yet the seat pitch in EuroAtlantic's main cabin is an inch less than the BA standard. In addition, the Portuguese jet cannot fly as fast as the 777, extending the journey to around 10 hours.

Contributors to the online air-travel forum, FlyerTalk, have condemned the change of plane. One wrote "It's one thing to replace an aircraft, quite another to replace it with a seriously substandard (from a passenger perspective) machine, without any achievable advance warning or meaningful compensation." BA's spokesman said " We'd like to apologise to all customers affected by the change of aircraft. We're doing all we can to resolve it as quickly as possible".

The airline is trying to contact passengers to advise them of the aircraft, change, and offer the chance to re-book, re-route to another BA destination or claim a refund. Normal service to Florida is due to resume on Monday.

Travellers on some flights from London to the Kenyan capital will also travel aboard a charter aircraft. The airline said that "a maintenance overrun on the 767 fleet" had caused it to replace some scheduled Heathrow- Nairobi services with a Lockheed Tristar, also chartered from EuroAtlantic.

Careerists given gap-year chance

Career-break travellers are soon to get the opportunity to spend part of their "grown-up gap year" working on volunteer projects in the developing world. At present, Voluntary Service Overseas placements are for two years. But in April, VSO is to merge with Beso (British Executive Service Overseas), which specialises in enterprise development. Beso projects require volunteers with business skills, who use their commercial experience to help develop firms in poor communities.

Crucially, Beso's placements last for between one and three months.

To start with, the placements will only be available to Beso's existing volunteers, VSO's returned volunteers and those recruited through VSO's Business Partnerships scheme. However, by next year, the scheme will be open to all.

Mark Goldring, VSO's chief executive, says: "We can use the skills of a much wider section of the British public for whom long-term volunteering is not feasible."

Voluntary Service Overseas: 020-8780 7200; www.vso.org.uk

* A new gap-year show will take place at the Wembley Exhibition Centre on 28 and 29 June, where groups offering courses, seasonal work and volunteer projects will have stands.

Spanish fares set to fall

Travellers to the Asturias region of north-west Spain can expect fares to fall this summer: on 24 March easyJet is to start flying from Luton to the main city, Oviedo. The airline will be in competition with British Airways, which currently flies three times a week from Gatwick.

US boost for UK regional airports

North America will be easier to reach from regional airports this summer. Continental Airlines continues its expansion from UK airports with the launch, on 20 May, of flights from Bristol to Newark, New Jersey. A week later, Belfast will also be linked to the east-coast city. Besides offering easy access to New York, Newark has connections across the US and into Canada and Mexico. On 2 May, Continental restarts its summer-only flight from Gatwick to Cleveland.

American Airlines is to restart its Glasgow-Chicago and Manchester- Boston links on 2 May, continuing until 30 September and 29 October respectively. The Manchester service is an economy-only flight.

From June, Zoom adds Belfast to its UK regional network, with a weekly scheduled flight to Toronto.

American Airlines (08457 789 789; www.aa.com; Continental (0845 607 6760; www.continental.com) Zoom (0870 240 0055; www.flyzoom.com

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
i100
Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Sport
Neil Warnock
football'New' manager for Crystal Palace
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
    Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

    From strung out to playing strings

    Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
    The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
    Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

    Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

    The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
    On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

    On the road to nowhere

    A Routemaster trip to remember
    Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

    Hotel India

    Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
    10 best pencil cases

    Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

    Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
    Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

    Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

    Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
    Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

    Pete Jenson: A Different League

    Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
    This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

    The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

    Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis