British Airways intents to replace classic paper tags and is testing reusable luggage tags made from electronic paper.
Flight information can be transmitted to the tag via the ticket holder’s smartphone, using data from the airline app stored after digital check-in.
Currently operators print off individual paper tags for every bag checked in before each flight.
The electronic tags are to be tested by staff before being made available to some passengers later in the year.
If these tests are successful, the tags will launch in 2014.
BA is testing reusable luggage tags made from electronic paper
Despite various changes to try to speed up airport check-in procedures, the process of dropping off luggage had remained time consuming, said a BA representative.
“The old security questions such as, <<Did you pack your bag yourself?>> are no longer a legal requirement, but the idea of queuing to check in your bag has never gone away,” he said.
“The e-tag still involves going to a desk, but you literally just drop your bag off and someone has a scanner.”
Customers at some airports can now print out their own luggage tags at kiosks, but that still requires more time – and paper – than scanning information direct from a phone, although it is considerably cheaper for the airline.
“[The e-tag] is more expensive, but ultimately it is re-usable – you would acquire and use it multiple times,” said Lewis Freeman, an industrial designer from Designworks, which worked on the electronic tag casing.
“The life of the product is up to five years. I imagine the technology would move on faster than the tag would need replacing.”
British Airways is to become the first European airline to let passengers switch on their mobile phones and other devices just after landing.
From 1st of July, once an aircraft has got off the runway people can power up their electronics, rather than having to wait until it has stopped.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said it is satisfied there are no safety implications.
Airlines from other countries have allowed similar rules for some time.
Passengers have generally been forbidden from using their electronic devices on planes owing to fears of interference, especially when taking off and landing.
BA’s new rules will allow mobiles to be switched on and used as soon as the aircraft is off the runway.
“Customers will no longer have the frustration of having to wait until their plane has arrived at the terminal building before being able to use their mobile phones and other handheld electronic devices,” said Ian Pringle, BA flight training manager.
British Airways is to become the first European airline to let passengers switch on their mobile phones and other devices just after landing
“Now they’ll have that extra time to phone ahead for that important business meeting, check their emails, or make sure someone is there to meet them at the airport.”
The rules will not affect restrictions during take-off, however, where devices will still have to be switched off until the plane reaches 10,000 ft (3,050 m).
The change, which will apply to BA flights landing anywhere in the world, is in response to feedback from customers, the airline said.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the equivalent of the CAA in the United States, has also been looking at allowing wider use of personal electronics on flights.
A draft proposal published last week said existing rules, first drawn up in 1966, had become “untenable” in an age of modern technology and communication.
Several studies later, the FAA has agreed to change guidelines, but is still debating to what degree.
The FAA agreed with experts that advances in technology, both in aviation and consumer electronics, mean any threat of interference is either minimal or non-existent.
But there is greater concern about take-off and landing, with authorities keen both to ensure aircraft equipment is not interfered with and that passengers are not overly distracted at “critical” moments.
It is likely that pressure on aviation authorities worldwide to relax rules has been driven by a major revenue opportunity for airlines.
Technology exists, and is in limited use, for passengers to use Wi-Fi internet and to make calls at high altitude, usually at premium rates.
Any change in policy would be welcome news for actor Alec Baldwin. In December 2011, he was kicked off an American Airlines flight before take-off after refusing to stop playing the popular Scrabble-like game Words With Friends.
Nadia Eweida, a British Airways employee, suffered discrimination at work over her Christian beliefs, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.
Judges ruled Nadia Eweida’s rights had been violated under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
She took her case to the European Court of Human Rights after BA made her stop wearing a cross visibly.
Judges ruled that the rights of three other Christians had not been violated by their employers.
They brought cases against the government for not protecting their rights but ministers, who contested the claims, argued that the rights of the employees were only protected in private.
British Airways said: “Our own uniform policy was changed in 2007 to allow Miss Eweida and others to wear symbols of faith and she and other employees have been working under these arrangements for the last six years.
“Miss Eweida has worked continuously for British Airways for 13 years.”
Following the rulings, Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “delighted” that the “principle of wearing religious symbols at work has been upheld”, adding that people “shouldn’t suffer discrimination due to religious beliefs”.
And the Archbishop of York said Christians and those of other faiths “should be free to wear the symbols of their own religion without discrimination”.
The other cases involved nurse Shirley Chaplin, 57, whose employer also stopped her wearing necklaces with a cross, Gary McFarlane, 51 – a marriage counsellor fired after saying he might object to giving sex therapy advice to gay couples – and registrar Lillian Ladele, who was disciplined after she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.
All four lost separate employment tribunals relating to their beliefs and made individual applications to the court, but their cases are being heard together.
Nadia Eweida, a British Airways employee, suffered discrimination at work over her Christian beliefs, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled
Nadia Eweida, 60, was banned from displaying her white gold cross at work.
The four Christians claimed their employers’ actions went against articles nine and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protected their rights to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and prohibited religious discrimination.
Nadia Eweida, a Coptic Christian from Twickenham in south-west London, was asked to leave her job in 2006 after refusing to remove her cross.
An employment tribunal found she had not been subjected to religious discrimination.
BA had already altered its uniform code, prior to the tribunal, to allow symbols of faith, including crosses.
Lillian Ladele was disciplined by Islington Council, in north London, after saying she did not want to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies. Her lawyers said the service could have been performed by other employees who were prepared to carry them out.
The Christian Institute said it was “disappointed” by the ruling, adding that it showed Christians with traditional beliefs about marriage were “at risk of being left out in the cold”.
Gary McFarlane, a Bristol relationship counsellor, worked for the Avon branch of national charity Relate but was sacked for gross misconduct in 2008 after saying on a training course he might have an objection to discussing sexual problems with gay couples.
He said the decision taken by European judges in his case was “a regrettable judgment” for all faiths, not just Christians, and said he would discuss his next move with his lawyers.
Shirley Chaplin, from Exeter, was transferred to a desk job by Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital for failing to remove a confirmation crucifix on a small chain, which she had worn to work for 30 years.
Following the rulings, Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu released a statement in which he said: “Christians and those of other faiths should be free to wear the symbols of their own religion without discrimination.
“Christians are not obliged to wear a cross but should be free to show their love for and trust in Jesus Christ in this way if they so wish.”
He said the Equality Act 2010 “encourages employers to embrace diversity – including people of faith”, adding: “Whether people can wear a cross or pray with someone should not be something about which courts and tribunals have to rule.”
Keith Porteous-Wood, of the National Secular Society, said his organization was “absolutely delighted” about the rulings because it wanted to make sure “we don’t end up with a hierarchy of rights with religion at the top”.
He said the idea that there was a form of ban on wearing crosses was “absolutely risible” because hundreds of thousands of people wear crosses around the UK “with no problem at all”.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said the judgment was “an excellent result for equal treatment, religious freedom and common sense”.
She said British courts had “lost their way” in Nadia Eweida’s case and “Strasbourg has actually acted more in keeping with our traditions of tolerance.”
“However the court was also right to uphold judgments in other cases that employers can expect staff not to discriminate in the discharge of duties at work,” she added.
British Airways-owner IAG has announced 4,500 job cuts at Iberia as part of a widely anticipated restructuring of the Spanish carrier.
Iberia is cutting its 156-strong fleet by 25 aircraft, and reducing 15% of its network capacity, with the airline focusing on the most profitable routes.
The plan aims to stem Iberia’s cash losses by mid-2013, and raise profits by at least 600 million euros ($766 million).
IAG also revealed a 30% drop in pre-tax quarterly profits to 221 million euros.
The drop was due to the poor performance at Iberia and at the recently-purchased UK regional airline BMI, as well as rising fuel, operating and engineering costs.
“The group performance is coming back to the levels seen in 2011 and this is particularly true if you strip out the BMI losses of 31 million euros in the quarter,” said IAG chief executive Willie Walsh.
“However, there remains a strong difference between the performances of British Airways and Iberia.”
IAG has announced 4,500 job cuts at Iberia as part of a widely anticipated restructuring of the Spanish carrier
The parent company said it now expected to make an overall operating loss of 120 million euros for the year – excluding any costs associated with the Iberia restructuring – with further losses likely in the remaining three months due to the impact of storm Sandy in the US.
Its pre-tax losses for the first nine months of the year have now reached 169 million euros, compared with a 355 million-euro profit in the same period last year.
Iberia has been suffering record losses, and IAG flagged up three months ago that job cuts were likely to come.
“Iberia is in a fight for survival,” said the Spanish subsidiary’s chief executive, Rafael Sanchez-Lozano.
“It is unprofitable in all its markets.
“Unless we take radical action to introduce permanent structural change, the future for the airline is bleak.”
The 4,500 job losses are not as steep as the 7,000 figure that reportedly had been expected by the airline’s unions.
IAG said the restructuring would safeguard 15,500 posts at the airline.
However, the restructuring plan also includes “permanent salary adjustments to achieve a competitive and flexible cost base”.
The airline has set a deadline of 31 January next year to reach agreement with unions over the cuts.
“Time is not on our side,” said Rafael Sanchez-Lozano.
“The company is burning 1.7 million euros every day,” he added.
“If we do not reach consensus, we will have to take more radical action, which will lead to greater reductions in capacity and jobs.”
The restructuring plan comes a day after IAG announced that it would pay 113 million euros to buy up the remaining 54% stake in Spanish budget airline Vueling that it did not already own.
Willie Walsh had said that the acquisition of Vueling would be “good for Spain” and “create new Spanish jobs”.
On Wednesday, IAG released its latest passenger figures for October, which showed that traffic rose by 6.2% at British Airways from a year earlier, while at Iberia traffic was down 3.7%.
The airline’s woes in part stem from the weakness of the eurozone economy, including a sharp downturn in its Spanish home market. However, according to Rafael Sanchez-Lozano, the airline’s problems are also “systemic and pre-date the country’s problems”.
Kim Kardashian has sparked a new row over Heathrow baggage handlers after she accused British Airways workers of stealing “irreplaceable” items from her luggage after a recent flight.
Kim Kardashian, 31, says staff at the airport, which is already facing claims it will struggle to cope with the surge in passengers during the Olympics, took several handbags and “priceless” sunglasses she inherited from her late father, Robert Kardashian.
The allegations spark new fears that security at Heathrow may be returning to the lax levels last seen in the 1980s when it was nicknamed Thiefrow due to its reputation for high rates of luggage theft.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell also accused BA staff of stealing her possessions during the 2008 baggage debacle and claimed she was a “martyr” after being arrested following a row at Terminal 5.
Kim Kardashian, whose father Robert was the lawyer who sensationally helped clear OJ Simpson of murder, is said to have arrived back in Los Angeles from France on Friday night to find that her luggage was significantly lighter than it had been on the way out.
Kim Kardashian says staff at Heathrow airport took several handbags and “priceless” sunglasses she inherited from her late father, Robert Kardashian
On further inspection, Kim Kardashian is reported to have discovered that the sunglasses, which Robert Kardashian gave her before he died in 2003, were missing from her case.
U.S. website TMZ.com also claim that “several extremely expensive purses and Tumi luggage” were missing.
Kim Kardashian had earlier written on her Twitter page: “Very disappointed in British Airways for opening my luggage & taking some special items of mine! Some things are sentimental ¬ replaceable.
“What happened to the days when you could lock your bags! We need to get back to that. There’s no sense of security & no trust! Shame on you(sic)”
Kim Kardashian, who is back in Los Angeles after a whistle-stop promotional tour of London, and then a week at the Cannes International Film Festival, is now said to have approached BA to look into the apparent theft by analyzing CCTV footage.
It is understood that the reality star may take the matter to the police if the airline do not provide a satisfactory response.
British Airways, which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2009, is expecting to have one of its busiest summer ever as the main airliner carrying visitors to the Olympics.
Heathrow, which will handle 80% of Games traffic, is expected to handle 50,000 extra bags a day as it deals with an extra 600,000 passengers during the course of the sporting spectacle.
Last week staff successfully carried out a dry run in practice for the Olympics when the processed 3,000 extra bags an hour.
But memories of the 2008 Terminal 5 baggage debacle – when thousands of passengers at BA’s exclusive hub – were left waiting days to be reunited with their luggage have triggered fears of fresh chaos this summer.
British Airways said that they “have received a complaint and are investigating”.