British Airways is the largest airline at London City and London Heathrow airports. It also has a substantial presence at London Gatwick.
It is a subsidiary of International Airlines Group which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling who all have a presence in London.
BA is also a member of the Oneworld alliance and many of its fellow members such as American Airlines and Cathay Pacific have a substantial presence in London. BA therefore features very heavily on this site.
Now we are half way through the year, it’s a good time as any to look back at what has happened so far, what to expect, what may have to wait until 2019, and a good measure of speculation and guesswork.
Here we take a look at the route network, fleet, in-flight service and airport facilities.
New Long-Haul Routes
Long-haul routes that have launched, or are due to, include:
London Gatwick to Las Vegas launched three times weekly on Tuesday 27 March 2018.
London Gatwick to Toronto launched three times weekly on Tuesday 1 May 2018 until Friday 19 October 2018.
London Heathrow to Durban three times weekly from Monday 29 October 2018.
London Heathrow to Nashville, Tennessee launched five times weekly on Friday 4 May 2018.
Just under a year ago, having long eschewed the concept of the viral airline safety video, BA finally relented and gave in.
It updated its near ten year old safety video with a new film. It featured the likes Rowan Atkinson, Gordon Ramsay, Gillian Anderson and Sir Ian McKellen auditioning in front of comedian Chabuddy G for a part in the airline’s new safety video.
The video also serves to promote BA’s “Flying Start” charity partnership with Comic Relief.
Having seen fellow passengers watch it, the reaction in the cabin could be described as “varied”. However, it did win industry acclaim including a Bronze Film Lion for Screens & Events at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
A second video has now been released. It features Joanna Lumley, Sir Michael Caine, Olivia Colman, Jourdan Dunn, David Williams, and Naomie Harris and the return Chabuddy G. It is once again directed by Becky Martin of 2am films.
At around a minute shorter than the current film, it will be rolled out across short-haul flights during July 2018 and on long-haul flights from Wednesday 1 August 2018.
Here are details of two temporary lounge changes affecting BA passengers flying out of Miami and New York JFK in July 2018:
BA’s designated lounge at Miami airport is the Premium Lounge which it shares with other Oneworld alliance members such as Iberia, Finnair and Qatar Airways.
This is located on the fifth floor of Concourse E in the Central Terminal. This lounge is temporarily closed for repairs from Monday 2 July 2018 for approximately five weeks.
If you’ve ever visited the lounge you would know that whilst it is certainly spacious, the decor does scream “1980s office lobby”. I was told well over a year ago by a member of staff that the lounge was due to be refurbished, but there seems to be no sign of this happening yet.
Whilst the lounge is closed, BA passengers can use the American Airlines Flagship® lounge near Gate 30 of Concourse D in the North Terminal.
This is a relatively new lounge. By any measure, it will be a significant improvement with much more modern decor and a better choice of food and beverage more suited to pre-departure on an international flight. Like the Premium Lounge, it does have showers. Under Oneworld alliance lounge access rules, eligible BA passengers have access to this lounge in any event.
Whilst Concourses D and E are interlinked, it will be much longer walk from the lounge to the BA departure gates. Note that if the BA flight is departing from Gates E20-E33 there is a train to these gates on level four of Concourse E, as per this official map.
(From experience of flying into and out of Miami many times over the years, the only thing that can be said with any certainty is that each time it’s different so the best advice is just be prepared for it not to be the same as before.)
As part of this, the Elemis travel spa and showers in the Galleries Club lounge are closed from Saturday 7 July 2018 to Monday 30 July 2018 for refurbishment, so there will be no pre-flight showers available.
The Galleries First lounge appears to be still closed for refurbishment and there are no showers in the remaining BA lounge at JFK Terminal 7, the Concorde Room, which is for First Class passengers and Concorde Room cardholders only.
British Airways Boeing 787 flights continue to disrupted by additional maintenance to the Rolls-Royce engines of its Boeing 787 fleet.
Here is a summary of the issue as of Sunday 17 June 2018.
Operators of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are required to comply with an Air Worthiness Directive issued by the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States.
It limits the scope of the ETOPS (“Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standard”). ETOPS allows twin-engined aircraft like the Boeing 787 to operate between 60 and 330 minutes’ away from the nearest airport that can handle a diversion of the aircraft.
This affects aircraft with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 “Package C” engines. Rolls-Royce has also issued a statement on Monday 11 June 2018 advising that additional checks may be required on “Package B” engines. BA has not commented on the issue since the latest Rolls-Royce statement.
British Airways is now more than a third of its way through the refurbishment of its fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft at London Gatwick.
The refurbishment programme includes new seats in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus, new in-flight entertainment systems and cabin interiors. Most importantly of all, the seats in World Traveller are increased from 9 to 10 a row.
Please see here for images of the first refurbished aircraft which were unveiled on Monday 5 March 2018.
At the moment only three class Boeing 777-200 aircraft have been refurbished. As at Saturday 16 June 2018, three Boeing 777-200 aircraft (registrations G-VIIR, G-VIIX, G-VIIO) have been refurbished. A fourth aircraft (registration G-VIIP) was sent to Singapore for refurbishment on 9 June 2018. Each refurbishment takes around a month.
It is expected that the refurbishment of three class Boeing 777-200 aircraft will be complete by late October 2018. The refurbishment of four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft should be complete by late March 2019. Once the Gatwick fleet is complete, BA will then refurbish some Heathrow aircraft.
Seating Plans Of Refurbished Aircraft
BA has updated the seat maps on its website to include the new cabin configuration.
If you are flying on a 9 abreast Boeing 777 you should see the following cabin configurations on the seat map for your reservation in the Manage My Booking tool:
Club World – Rows 1 – 11 (40 seats)
World Traveller Plus – Rows 12 – 14 (24 seats)
World Traveller – Rows 16 – 40 (3-3-3 configuration)
If you are flying on a 10 abreast Boeing 777 you should see the following cabin configurations on the seat map for your reservation in the Manage My Booking tool:
British Airways has suspended its daily service from London Heathrow to Calgary for the winter season.
The last outbound and inbound flight operates on Saturday 27 October 2018. The service resumes on Sunday 31 March 2019. The affected flight numbers are BA102 and BA103.
No specific reason has been given for the cancellation. However, it is a reasonable assumption that unsatisfactory commercial performance is behind the decision.
BA started flying from London Heathrow to Calgary in December 2006, initially with a Boeing 767 aircraft. The route then changed to a Boeing 787 in July 2014.
Air Canada will continue to fly direct from London Heathrow to Calgary year-round.
Rebooking Options as at Wednesday 6 June 2018
Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund.
Alternatively, passengers can also rebook to a date when BA is flying to Calgary.
Passengers can also rebook to an alternative BA destination in the US and Canada. However, any additional costs will be at your expense.
BA is in discussions with local airlines about rebooking arrangements. It is likely that further options will be announced in the next few days. Unless you would prefer a refund or to fly to another destination, we would recommend waiting until these have been confirmed before taking any action.
Passengers who need to change their booking should contact either BA or their travel agent.
Rebooking Options As At Tuesday 12 June 2018
BA has now secured a rebooking arrangement with United Airlines.
Passengers can rebook to Calgary by connecting to United Airlines from either Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston or San Francisco.
Clearly, unless you enjoy taking circuitous routings, Chicago O’Hare is the only logical option!
In all cases, passengers must connect from a British Airways flight from London Heathrow. As United Airlines does not offer premium economy, passengers booked in World Traveller Plus will be booked into economy on United Airlines.
Rebooking Options As At Tuesday 19 June 2018
BA has also secured a rebooking arrangement with Alaska Airlines.
Passengers can rebook to Calgary by connecting to Alaska Airlines from Seattle.
Again, passengers must connect from a British Airways flight from London Heathrow. As Alaska Airlines does not offer premium economy, passengers booked in World Traveller Plus will be booked into economy on Alaska Airlines.
Rebooking Options As At Wednesday 27 June 2018
BA has now secured a rebooking arrangement with WestJet.
Passengers can rebook to Calgary by connecting to WestJet from Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego or Vancouver.
Clearly, Vancouver is the most logical option, not least because you don’t have to deal with US Customs & Immigration.
Again, in all cases passengers must connect from a British Airways flight from London Heathrow. WestJet does not offer business class. It does offer premium economy. However, all BA passengers will be booked into economy.
In theory, in addition to the options above, passengers should be also be able to be accommodated on American Airlines. However, its flights to Calgary from the US are relatively limited.
Flights operated by Qatar Airways will be operated by Qatar Airways A330 aircraft and its pilots and cabin crew. The aircraft will not have a First Class or premium economy cabin. In addition, there will be differences to special meals and other aspects the in-flight service. All flights will continue to operate from London Heathrow Terminal 5.
Rebooking options are available to passengers, including on alternative routes and airlines. However, these depend on which cabin you are booked in.
Please note this guidance is based on BA’s advice first issued to the travel trade on Monday 4 June 2018. It has already been subject to change and will no doubt continue to be so.
Affected Routes & Flights
Qatar Airways will operate BA’s daily Boeing 787-9 service to Delhi:
Flight BA143 London Heathrow – Delhi (Saturday 9 June – Monday 20 August 2018)
Flight BA142 Delhi – London Heathrow (Sunday 10 June – Tuesday 21 August 2018)
BA will continue to operate flights BA256 and BA257 between London and Delhi with a Boeing 777-200.
Qatar Airways will operate BA’s daily Boeing 777-200 service to Kuwait:
Flight BA157 London Heathrow to Kuwait (Saturday 9 June – Saturday 30 June 2018)
Flight BA156 Kuwait to London Heathrow (Sunday 10 June – Sunday 1 July 2018)
Qatar Airways will operate BA’s daily Boeing 787-9 service to Muscat:
Here are known changes at London Gatwick so far. Note this is very much work in progress. Further changes, particularly to short-haul, are expected to be announced. Also, it is expected that significant changes will be announced for Summer 2019 as BA beds in the extra slots it has acquired from Monarch.
Flights at London Gatwick can be booked now at ba.com
Cape Town resumes for the winter, three times weekly, from Monday 12 November 2018 to Saturday 30 March 2019.
Las Vegas will now operate year round.
Lima is suspended for the winter from Friday 26 October 2018 until Sunday 31 March 2019.
Male resumes for the winter from Sunday 28 October 2018 to Friday 29 March 2019.
Oakland is suspended from Monday 22 October 2018. It was planned to resume on Monday 1 April 2019, but the route now appears to be permanently suspended.
In the very early days of commercial aviation, the principal means by which airlines advertised their services was the poster.
American Airlines, Braniff International Airways, Pan American World Airways, Swissair, Trans World Airways, United Airlines and many others all used the medium to great effect. This was not only to sell the relatively new idea of flying to a small constituency of wealthy travellers, but also their respective fleets and route networks, to passengers in their home markets and around the world.
In his latest book on British Airways, Paul Jarvis has selected 200 posters from a collection of over 1,000 posters from BA’s near 100 year history.
It begins with a poster from the very first BA predecessor airline, Aircraft Transport & Travel, which operated the first commercial air service from London to Paris on 25 August 1919.
The book also features an extensive collection of posters from other predecessor airlines including Imperial Airways, BEA and BOAC.
Not only do the posters cover developments in technology such as the VC-10, Boeing 747 and Concorde, but also major occasions of the 20th Century, such as the 1948 Olympic Games, 1951 Festival of Britain and 1953 Coronation. They all rely heavily on illustration and feature a variety of styles, notably the modernism of Imperial Airways’ posters in the 1930s.
The book inevitably focuses on advertising between the 1920s and 1960s as television took over as the principal advertising medium for airlines. BA of course used television advertising to great effect in the 1980s and beyond.
However, there are many more recent posters in the book such as BBH’s 2012 Olympics campaign and illustrations by Carla Lucena for the launch of London Gatwick – Lima in 2016.
Sadly, the book’s author passed away in the week of publication.
Paul Jarvis was a much respected and liked colleague who for over 15 years has volunteered as the curator of the British Airways Heritage Collection. This is particularly untimely as next year BA will celebrate its centenary. There can be no doubt Paul’s work has played a vital role in airline’s preparations for its centenary.