A week ago, something I didn’t really consider especially newsworthy happened. BA scheduled 744’s on to domestic flights for the 25th August. They were planned for Manchester, Glasgow and Newcastle.
That date happened to be it’s 100th anniversary.
Now this is the important bit: at no time did BA ever announce it or claim it to be anything to do with the date, the anniversary or anything else for that matter.
With airline schedule updates publicly available to anyone who wants them, it took only hours for enthusiasts to spread the word.
The word was full of assumptions. It was for the 100th anniversary, the airline would be using the special livery aircraft.
Sales of tickets on these flights soared.
Meanwhile the anti-flyers and especially the anti-Heathrow expansion groups launched an attack on BA saying it was irresponsible to use such big, noisy and polluting aircraft (and be honest, they are noisy and they are not efficient especially on short routes), for domestic flights.
BA appeared unmoved for a day or two. Then yesterday it suddenly cut the flights and offered refunds for people who no longer wanted to fly on the usual A320 services.
It didn’t offer an explanation.
So BA never said why it was using 744’s on domestic routes, and never said why it was cancelling their use.
Yet all over the various forums enthusiasts hyped up the prospects of what would happen and why.
BA is quite adept at forum oversight- many of its own staff are members and information spreads quickly.
So now the forums are buzzing by all accounts, over who said what and how wrong they were, or were they right but BA got upset that it was the anti-flyers who got their message into the media and daily papers, so killed the idea?
Or because it was a really busy holiday weekend, with the Monday as a public holiday, did they just up capacity on key flights – they used to do this all the time with 767-300’s when they had them.
It seems we may never know, but if you work on the Holmesian principle that the simplest answer is usually the right one, I’d go for capacity issues, as being the cause of the idea and it’s cancellation tinted by the media criticism.
The media may never have known if the enthusiasts hadn’t got carried away, and alerted the climate critics, and someone at BA has egg on their face for having tried to do their job without thinking it through.