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
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
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

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little