Initially BA closed sales over the last weekend of July, but the restriction has now been extended to 15 August– and could continue beyond that date.
The move follows Heathrow capping departing passengers up to 11 September at 100,000 per day. The hub is urging carriers to stop selling seats on flights from the airport.
Between London and Nice on 2 August, for example, ba.com is selling flights from Gatwick at £534 one-way. None of the five flights from Heathrow to the French city on that date is shown on the British Airways website.
In the reverse direction, though, seats for all five BA departures from Nice to Heathrow on 2 August are on sale.
A spokesperson for British Airways said: “As a result of Heathrow’s request to limit new bookings, we’ve decided to take responsible action and limit the available fares on some Heathrow services to help maximise rebooking options for existing customers, given the restrictions imposed on us and the ongoing challenges facing the entire aviation industry.”
Rob Burgess, editor of the frequent flyer website Head for Points, said: “With Heathrow’s cap on passenger numbers due to last until at least mid-September, it is very possible that we will see ticket sales restricted for the rest of the summer – at least until we get past the August bank holiday weekend.
“BA was always going to struggle to meet its share of the Heathrow passenger cap, given that holiday seats are usually sold well in advance. It needs to retain flexibility to handle short notice cancellations due to cabin crew or ground handling shortages.
“There is also the threat of a pilot strike on the horizon as well.
“Anyone who needs to travel from Heathrow during August on a British Airways service and who hasn’t yet booked a ticket should considering booking as soon as possible in case booking is closed for additional dates.”
On Tuesday 16 August, for example, seats are available from Heathrow to Nice for £265 one way.
At times of strong demand – as the summer of 2022 is proving to be – airlines usually hold a few seats back until shortly before departure and make prodigious profits from late bookings.
All six of the easyJet departures from Gatwick to Nice on 2 August are sold out.
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