BA plane

British Airways is bracing for a 12-day strike by union employees that will likely ruin Christmas travel plans for over 1 million passengers with the cancellation of 7,000 flights.  The walkout is planned to last from December 22nd thru January 2nd, making it the longest  strike in UK airline history.

Because of certain code sharing arrangements, some Qantas flights were also thought to be impacted, though Qantas officials say that will not be the case and only British Airlines passengers would be affected.

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic, EasyJet and Ryanair are all now making plans to capitalize on British Airways’ woes.  Virgin will add 1,600 seats by deploying larger planes for service to New York, Washington and Boston.  EasyJet and Ryanair are working to schedule extra flights.  Regardless of what airline British Airways customers choose as their alternate carrier, they will likely be charged a premium.  BusinessWeek reports that as of Dec. 14th, “the lowest economy return fare on the world’s premier intercontinental air route, Heathrow to New York JFK, on the first day of the strike, rose to £3,300. Other flights had more than doubled in price.”

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner left the runway for the first time in Everett, Wa. – exactly 6 years after the Boeing board gave the go-ahead to offer the jet for sale.  There was a series of big delays that had pushed this first flight out 28 months, so seeing this plane get off the ground has generated a lot of excitement – especially here in the state of Washington.  The 787, which utilizes lightweight composite materials, is popular with airline customers (such as Japan’s All Nippon Airways) because it enables them to save about 20% on fuel compared to current aircraft.
  • JetBlue announced today that it will restore daily nonstop flights between San Jose and Boston beginning May 13.  Connecting two of the nation’s high-tech capitals, the San Jose-to-Boston flight will be another version of the so-called “nerd bird” flights, which is what frequent fliers call the twice-daily Alaska Airlines flights that connect Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas.  (Note: If you’re flyingJetBlue, be sure to use Yapta as your airfare tracker. JetBlue has an excellent guaranteed airfare policy that entitles you to a credit for the full difference in price if your flight becomes available for less.)Dead MacBook
  • Okay, this one is totally bizarre.  A couple of border security guards apparently didn’t like the answers a young American traveler had during her travels through Jerusalem, so they put three bullets through her suspicious MacBook, handed it back to her and allowed her to go on her way.  The amazing part is that not a single piece of information was destroyed: The bullets miraculously missed the MacBook’s hard drive.  (Now, do you think a PC can dodge bullets?  Do ya feel lucky?  Well, do ya… punk!) The MacBook owner, Lilly Sussman, blogged about her experience here.