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May 30, 2017

Air Travel: British Airways Outage, Laptop Ban Update

british airways

The British Airways outage, a new update on the laptop ban and an aircraft upgrade plan from Brussels Airlines are the latest air travel headlines this week impacting the meetings and events industry. 

British Airways to Offer Refunds Following Massive Computer Outage

Following a computer outage that stranded thousands of passengers over Memorial Day weekend, British Airways has announced that passengers with cancelled flights will receive a full refund. Alternatively, they can rebook for dates through the end of November.

As reported in our partner publication Travel Agent, under European Union (EU) air travel laws, passengers with short-haul flights delayed for over three hours are entitled to compensation of €250. The compensation rises to €400 for medium-haul flights delayed for more than three hours. For long-haul flights, passengers can get €300 for delays of between three and four hours and €600 for delays of more than four hours.

A power surge in the airline’s IT system caused it to fail, also knocking out a backup system. The disruption forced the airline to cancel flights over the busy Memorial Day travel weekend from London Heathrow and Gatwick, affecting about 75,000 passengers.

Laptop Ban on Flights From Europe “Likely” But Not “Imminent”

Following a new meeting between security officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the European Union (EU), reports indicate that an expanded laptop ban is “likely” but not “imminent,” Travel Agent reports. 

Following the meeting DHS spokesperson Dave Lapan said that, while a final decision has not been made, an expanded ban is taking shape that is “likely” to contain a “substantial increase in the number of airports to include major airports in Europe.”

At the same time, Lapan said there was “nothing imminent” that would require an immediate decision to expand the laptop ban, and that there has been no discussion on expanding the ban to domestic flights within the U.S. or those leaving the United States.

Brussels Airlines to Replace Seven of Ten Long-Haul Aircraft

Over the course of 2018-2019, Brussels Airlines will replace seven of its 10 long-haul aircraft. The airline will welcome seven Airbus A330-300 CEO aircraft, to replace seven older A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft that are close to the end of their leasing period.

Brussels Airlines, together with the Lufthansa Group, conducted a comprehensive study on the replacement of seven of their ten long-haul aircraft. Based on this study, the Brussels Airlines Board has recently approved the purchase of seven Airbus A330-300 'CEO' aircraft. The Airbus A330 CEO's will be equipped with a new cabin in all three travel classes, offering even higher quality of comfort. More details about the seat configuration and the state of the art in-flight product will be announced at a later stage.

While Brussels Airlines is currently flying with different engine types, the ‘CEO’ aircraft will all be equipped with Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines. This engine type that consumes less fuel and emits less noise and CO2, is already in use at several other airlines of the Lufthansa Group.

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