Heathrow Havoc As Strikes Threaten To Cancel 177 Flights Next Week

Passengers flying to and from London’s Heathrow Airport on August 5th and 6th should pay close attention to their flight. A strike is planned that threatens over 170 flights. Passengers should, therefore, add additional time for delays at the airport due to reduced staffing. This action comes after an earlier strike was called off.

Heathrow is expected to face strike action on Monday and Tuesday. Photo: Heathrow Airport

The action

As of writing, the BBC reports, that 177 flights will be canceled across Monday and Tuesday. These cancellations are in anticipation of close to 2,500 Heathrow airport employees missing work as part of strike action. In addition, these cancellations will allow Heathrow to offer more reliable operations rather than rendering chaos at the airport. Nevertheless, the airport experience may not be as pleasurable for many affected by these cancellations.

Passengers Heathrow
Passengers at Heathrow should closely monitor their flights and arrive early. Photo: Heathrow Airport

A press release from the Unite union indicates that the pay disparities raised by the union were not rectified after various negotiations. Thus, votes from security guards, firefighters, engineers, passenger service operatives, and passenger service drivers overwhelmingly indicated approval for strike action.

Heathrow firefighter
Heathrow firefighters will be some of the airport personnel on strike. Photo: Heathrow Airport

Several airlines have also begun to prepare for the anticipated strike action.


Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is moving several of their flights from Heathrow to London’s Gatwick Airport. Most of the flights affected are on the busy London to New York route. Here is the full list of flights that will be served at Gatwick instead of Heathrow:

Virgin Atlantic 787
Virgin Atlantic will schedule some flights to and from Gatwick instead of Heathrow due to anticipated strike disruptions. Photo: Simple Flying
August 5th Arrivals
  • VS138 from New York-JFK will arrive into Gatwick instead of Heathrow
  • VS154 from New York-JFK will arrive into Gatwick instead of Heathrow
  • VS104 from Atlanta will arrive into Gatwick instead of Heathrow

Note that the aforementioned departures leave their respective departure airports on August 4th, 2019.

August 5th Departures
  • VS3 to New York-JFK will depart from Gatwick instead of Heathrow
  • VS153 to New York-JFK will depart from Gatwick instead of Heathrow
  • VS1 to Newark Liberty International will depart from Gatwick in lieu of Heathrow
  • VS157 to Boston will depart from Gatwick instead of Heathrow
August 6th Arrivals
  • VS4 from New York-JFK will arrive in Gatwick instead of Heathrow
  • VS138 from New York-JFK will also arrive in Gatwick over Heathrow
  • VS2 from Newark Liberty will instead arrive in Gatwick
  • VS158 from Boston will arrive in Gatwick instead of Heathrow

All flights, except for the Boston departure, depart their respective airports on August 5th.

August 6th Departures
  • VS3 to New York-JFK will depart from Gatwick over Heathrow
  • VS153 also to New York-JFK will depart from Gatwick instead of Heathrow
  • VS1 to Newark will instead depart from Gatwick
  • VS157 to Boston will depart from Gatwick instead of Heathrow

Note that Virgin Atlantic has tentatively scheduled the aforementioned flights on August 6th. Thus, other changes remain likely. Passengers with bookings are advised to confirm their contact information under their manage booking page.

Virgin Atlantic A330
Some of Virgin Atlantic’s flights scheduled on August 6th may change airports. Photo: Simple Flying

British Airways

Unlike Virgin Atlantic, British Airways is instead advising passengers of anticipated disruptions at Heathrow on August 5th and 6th. British Airways advises passengers of the following:

  • There will be fewer security lanes available. Furthermore, the Fast Track and The First Wing will be closed. Passengers should budget additional time for security
  • Passengers may only take one small personal item of hand baggage that will fit under the seat in front of you. Other hand baggage must be checked in
  • Due to the higher volume of checked bags, passengers should help keep the number of checked bags to a minimum and remain within the weight allowance
British Airways 777
British Airways is reducing the amount of personal baggage allowed on board during the strike action. Photo: Simple Flying

Other airlines

Other airlines flying into Heathrow will undoubtedly also be affected. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, two of the largest carriers at Heathrow, will likely bear the brunt of this action. Passengers should check their flight status before departing for the airport. Furthermore, airlines will likely notify passengers of disruptions to travel plans.

Tailfins at Heathrow
Passengers should check with their airline regarding flight disruptions during the strike action. Photo: Heathrow Airport

Are you scheduled to fly through Heathrow on Monday or Tuesday? Do these strikes affect your travel plan? Let us know in the comments!


Leave a Reply

2 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

My policy is avoid Heathrow entirely unless London is my final destination. It is poorly laid out, inefficient and generally a lousy experience.


We were scheduled to arrive in heathrow tomorrow morning en route to Amsterdam from newark. They cancelled our Amsterdam flight and changed our departure from the US to JFK to gatwick with no notification. Spent an hour on the phone with them sorting it all out. We lost the seats we booked in advance (paid for) though they refunded that charge. They did pretty good considering they were fed a sh-t sandwich. Just a bit more legwork on our end which, while annoying, isn’t the end of the world if it has a positive impact on the working conditions of… Read more »