Long time BA flyers may recall there was once a time where you could check-in for your flights before heading to the airport at either London Paddington or Victoria railway stations.
This form of pre-airport check-in is making a comeback at Heathrow of sorts, as BA is now trialling a check-in at the Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5.
This hotel is of course connected directly to Terminal 5. If you’re staying at the hotel you can now check-in for any BA Heathrow flight between 05:00 and 13:00.
The one downside is that whilst your luggage will be tagged at the Sofitel you have to take itself to the terminal!
This does sort of defeat the object but direct luggage transfers may be added if it becomes permanent.
As this is a trial, it is a case of “use it or lose it”. If you value it do make your views known in post-flight surveys.
In any event, we would always recommend checking in online as soon as practicable when online check-in opens. It’s an extremely rare occurrence, but if there’s a problem with your booking which means you can’t check-in, you do have 24 hours to address the issue, rather than a fraught couple of hours at the airport.
British Airways is suspending its service from London Heathrow to Tallinn from Friday 29 March 2019.
The route currently operates twice weekly on Tuesday and Friday. BA will continue to serve Tallinn indirectly via a codeshare with Finnair from Helsinki.
Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a refund.
BA has also secured a rebooking agreement with SAS Scandinavian Airlines. Passengers can reroute via Copenhagen or Stockholm. In all cases, passengers must connect via a BA operated service between London Heathrow and Copenhagen or Stockholm.
It should also be possible to rebook on to BA’s codeshare with Finnair from Helsinki.
Affected passengers should contact either BA or their travel agent.
British Airways is to launch a new summer seasonal route from London Heathrow to Charleston, South Carolina.
The airline will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Charleston International Airport twice a week on Thursday and Sunday from Thursday 4 April 2019 until Thursday 24 October 2019.
Flights will be operated with Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft in a three class, Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy, and World Traveller economy, configuration.
This will be BA’s 29th destination in the United States. It will also launch a new route to Pittsburgh from London Heathrow from April 2019. Together with American Airlines, BA will offer more than 70 flights a day to the US from London.
Nobody was expecting this
BA has launched many new transatlantic routes from London Heathrow with the Boeing 787.
However, this announcement is different. It is extremely rare for BA to launch seasonal long-haul routes from London Heathrow. New long-haul routes require a considerable amount of planning with arranging ground handling and catering. With only two flights a week, this is clearly aimed at the leisure market.
BA of course has access to considerable data through its joint-venture with American Airlines to identify possible new direct routes. BA is not an airline to adopt a “dart board” approach to route planning. It also goes without saying that Charleston would very much like this to be a year-round route. Its press release alludes to years of contact with BA to secure a long-haul route. It may well become a year-round route in time.
If this route is a success we may well see another tranche of low-frequency summer seasonal routes to the US from London Heathrow in 2020. Just in the same way that BA operates a large number of low frequency summer seasonal short-haul routes from London Heathrow.
BA has also produced a summary PDF for the launch. Note as this is a new seasonal route, flight schedules may be subject to change subject to commercial performance, particularly in the shoulder season.
London Heathrow – Charleston
Flight BA221 Depart London Heathrow 17:20 – Arrive Charleston International Airport 21:20 (Thursday and Sunday)
Flight BA220 Depart Charleston International Airport 22:50 – Arrive London Heathrow 11:50 (Thursday and Sunday)
British Airways is to suspend its summer seasonal route from London Heathrow to Murcia.
The route to Murcia San Javier airport launched in 2017 and is currently scheduled to operate twice weekly until Saturday 27 October 2018.
It was due to return from 2 April 2019 to 26 October 2019. However, the route has now been suspended in its entirety.
Murcia San Javier airport (airport code MJV) is in fact due to close to scheduled passenger flights in the coming months. Another airport serving the region, Corvera, also known as Región de Murcia International Airport (airport code RMU), is currently scheduled to open to passenger flights in early 2019. easyJet is to transfer operations to Corvera from the summer of 2019.
Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund. Passengers can also travel to an alternative BA destination in Spain such as Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga or Valencia. However, any consequential costs such as ground transportation will be at your expense.
When BA has previously suspended summer seasonal routes, it has secured rebooking options on alternative carriers. However, these were on network carriers via their hubs in mainland Europe – who don’t currently serve Murcia – and not on low cost airlines that fly direct from London.
British Airways is to return to Osaka after a near 20 year absence.
BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Kansai International Airport four times weekly from Sunday 31 March 2019.
Flights will be operated with a three class Boeing 787-8 aircraft. The flight operates from London Heathrow on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. It operates from Kansai International Airport on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
BA used to fly to Osaka via Tokyo Narita. However, the route was suspended in October 1998. Japan Airlines also used to fly direct from Heathrow to Osaka.
Kansai International Airport has only just restored operations to normal following more than two weeks of disruption after its facilities were flooded following Typhoon Jebi.
The route will be codeshared with Japan Airlines which, along with Finnair and Iberia, operates a joint-business with BA between Europe and Japan. It will also be possible to combine direct flights between Heathrow and Osaka with indirect flights via Helsinki on Finnair and Tokyo Haneda on Japan Airlines.
BA has also prepared a short PDF summary of the new route.
British Airways has suspended its route from London Heathrow to Muscat for the summer 2019 season.
Currently, the route operates five times weekly. The last outbound flight from London Heathrow, BA79, is scheduled to operate on Saturday 30 March 2019. The last inbound flight from Muscat, BA80, is scheduled to operate on Sunday 31 March 2019. At present, the route is due to return from late October 2019.
No reason has been given for the suspension. However, as the route is operated with a Boeing 787 a need to generate some slack in Boeing 787 schedules is likely to be a factor. The route was also subject to blanket cancellations during industrial action last year, which suggests it is one of BA’s more lightly loaded routes.
Oman Air will continue to fly from London Heathrow to Muscat twice daily.
At present, BA has not confirmed any rebooking options with other airlines.
However, it has long been standard practice for BA to only begin discussions after a route suspension has been announced. In addition, progressively more options become available over time. As such, we would recommend waiting a couple of weeks before rebooking to see what options are available. We will update this page accordingly as rebooking options become available.
Alternatively, passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a refund or should be able to rebook on an alternative date near to their original date of travel.
Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.
American Airlines Codeshare
This route is codeshared with American Airlines under flight numbers AA6421 and AA6420.
Rebooking options for passengers who were due to travel on this flight as part of an itinerary booked through American Airlines (with a ticket number beginning 001) may have different rebooking options to those who have booked through BA (with a ticket number beginning 125). Affected passengers will need to contact American Airlines accordingly.
Rebooking Options – Friday 14 September 2018
BA has secured a rebooking option with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.
In all cases passengers must connect to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Istanbul to connect to/from a Turkish Airlines flight between Istanbul and Muscat.
This is not ideal. London Heathrow – Istanbul is treated by BA as a short-haul flight, so First and Club World business class passengers will be booked into Club Europe with the same leg room as EuroTraveller. World Traveller Plus premium economy passengers will be booked into EuroTraveller.
Turkish Airlines also operates a two class service between Istanbul and Muscat so First Class and World Traveller Plus passengers will be downgraded.
Rebooking Options – Friday 21 September 2018
BA has secured a rebooking option with Etihad via Abu Dhabi.
Again, in all cases passengers must connect to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi to connect to/from a Etihad flight between Abu Dhabi and Muscat.
Etihad operates a two class service between Abu Dhabi and Muscat so First Class and World Traveller Plus passengers will be downgraded. However, it is only a short flight of just over one hour.
These rebooking options are available for passengers travelling between 30 March 2019 and 1 November 2019.
BA and Iberia have long operated a joint schedule between London Heathrow and Madrid with the two airlines codesharing on each other’s flights.
Normally, when two airlines codeshare on a flight there is a “prime” flight number for the airline operating the flight. There is also a codeshare flight number for the codeshare partner that is merely selling another airline’s flight.
Airlines apply distinctly separate flight number sequences for their own flights and codeshare flights. On most occasions, the rules of the operating airline apply regarding seat selection, luggage fees etc.
BA & Iberia London Heathrow – Madrid Codeshare
Shortly after the merger of BA and Iberia in 2011, it was decided that Iberia would move into London Heathrow Terminal 5 to maximise connectivity between the two airline’s respective hubs.
However, there was a complication in that until then BA was the sole tenant of Terminal 5 and all of the systems and processes had been designed for BA’s operations.
A consequence of this was that flights from London Heathrow to Madrid operated by Iberia were treated by BA as its own flights and given a BA “prime” flight number.
British Airways has suspended its route from London Heathrow to Tehran.
The last outbound flight (BA153) will operate from London Heathrow on Saturday 22 September 2018. The last inbound flight (BA152) will operate from Tehran on Sunday 23 September 2018.
The route was relaunched in September 2016 having been suspended four years earlier. Whilst no reason has been given for the suspension, it is likely that the imposition of sanctions on Iran by the United States has had an impact.
This follows similar suspensions by Air France and KLM. Austrian and Lufthansa continue to fly to Tehran from Vienna and Frankfurt respectively. Iran Air will also continue to fly from London Heathrow to Tehran.
Passengers whose flights are cancelled are entitled to a refund or to change their dates of travel before the route is suspended.
BA is in the process of discussing rebooking options with other airlines. When routes are suspended it normally takes at least a few days for BA to secure rebooking agreements. In addition, options with more airlines tend to progressively become available.
As such, unless it is urgent, we would recommend waiting at least a week to see what rebooking options are available. We will update this page with rebooking options as they become available.
Update: Tuesday 28 August 2018
BA has secured a rebooking agreement with Austrian and Lufthansa via Vienna and Frankfurt.
In all cases, passengers must connect to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Vienna or Frankfurt. It should also be noted that Austrian does not operate a premium economy cabin on this route. This option applies for travel up to Saturday 30 March 2019.
Update: Wednesday 5 September 2018
BA has also secured a rebooking agreement with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.
In all cases, passengers must connect to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Istanbul for travel up to Monday 30 September 2019.
Also note, not all of the above options may be available to passengers who have made bookings using Avios or group bookings.