On the heels of London Heathrow announcing a capacity cap on passengers as it (like many airports around the world) grapples with operational problems, Air Canada has announced a flexible booking policy for clients flying out of the UK's largest and busiest airport.
To provide customers with “greater flexibility with their travel plans,” Canada’s flag carrier, on July 20, revealed that customers at Heathrow are welcome to make “voluntary changes” to their itinerary if:
- They purchased an Air Canada ticket no later than July 20, 2022, for travel between July 15 and August 10, 2022.
- And their departing airport is London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).
If you are scheduled to travel during this period, Air Canada will allow you to retrieve your booking and change your flight out of London-Heathrow, free of charge, up to two hours before departure, to another date between now and August 31, 2022, and to depart from one of several other airports (listed here).
There are currently no changes to Air Canada’s schedule, the carrier confirmed, and everything is subject to availability in the cabin originally purchased.
“Otherwise, any fare difference will apply,” Air Canada says.
Customers that purchased a ticket with Aeroplan or Air Canada Vacations are being advised to contact them directly.
The update comes after Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye, on July 12, asked airlines to stop selling summer tickets as the airport will limit its number of departing travellers at 100,000 a day this summer amid a fierce rebound in demand.
The call to stop selling seats is aimed at limiting the impact on passengers, Holland-Kaye wrote.
This may include provisions for improving the system for delivering luggage.
“We recognize that this will mean some summer journeys will either be moved to another day, another airport or be cancelled and we apologize to those whose travel plans are affected,” Holland-Kaye wrote in an open letter to customers.
Heathrow, which launched a recruiting drive in November, says it expects security staffing to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of July.
"However, there are some critical functions in the airport which are still significantly under-resourced, in particular ground handlers, who are contracted by airlines to provide check-in staff, load and unload bags and turnaround aircraft," making it a "significant constraint" to overall capacity, Holland-Kaye wrote.