BA to increase Club World seats on some Boeing 747 aircraft

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BA Club World 2006
BA Club World Cabin – 2006 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Some time ago, we wrote of British Airways’ plans to refurbish 18 of its 40-odd fleet Boeing 747 aircraft. Full details of the refurbishment programme are here.

As part of this refurbishment programme, BA is to also reconfigure the capacity of its Club World business class cabin on these aircraft.

Currently, BA has two Club World configurations on the Boeing 747, with either 52 or 70 business class seats.

The former is a relatively unusual arrangement introduced just under ten years ago whereby World Traveller Plus premium economy is located between first and business class. Although many bawked at the idea at the time, it did allow BA to increase its business class capacity by 8%, which was roughly the entire business class capacity of Virgin Atlantic.

On 6 Boeing 747 aircraft the number of business class seats will be reduced from 70 to 52.

On the 18 aircraft earmarked for refurbishment the number of business class seats will increase from 70 to 86, with an additional two rows of Club World seats.

This means there will be 66 business class seats on the main deck (with the remaining 20 seats on the upper deck). This will make for a very large cabin, so it will be interesting to see how this works in practice.

The number of World Traveller economy seats will be reduced to accommodate the extra seats. The number of First class and World Traveller Plus premium economy seats will remain the same.

The new larger cabin is expected to operate on routes with high business class demand such as New York, Boston, Chicago and Lagos.

NB. We should add we receive a lot of search enquiries about the condition of BA’s Boeing 747 aircraft, so it’s clearly a very live issue for passengers.

“Better By Design – Shaping The British Airways Brand”

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Better By Design - Shaping The British Airways Brand
Better By Design – Shaping The British Airways Brand

We’ve long been fans of aviation branding and advertising so we’re really pleased to see another title from Paul Jarvis, curator of the British Airways Heritage Collection.

Paul has followed up his illustrated history of British Airways (published last year) with “Better By Design – Shaping The British Airways Brand”.

This is an illustrated guide to BA’s visual identity from its predecessor airlines BOAC and BEA to the BA of today. The book explores the evolution of advertising, aircraft interiors, on-board experience and crew uniform fashions, and how these have come together to shape not only the BA brand but the way we view commercial aviation.

The 160 page paperback title is published by Amberley Publishing which has a special pre-order offer (at the time of writing) of £13.79.

For an example of more recent work for BA, we suggest visiting the website of David Davis and Stuart Brandon who have worked on the most recent brand identity for the airline.

We have also taken a look of the evolution of BA’s television advertising in our look at BA’s most memorable TV advertisements.

BA Singapore lounge is closed for refurbishment

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Gwyneth Paltrow at the Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore
Gwyneth Paltrow at the Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore (Image Credit: British Airways)

The BA lounge in Terminal 1 of Singapore Changi airport is currently closed for refurbishment, which is expected to be completed by late summer of this year.

In the interim, eligible passengers (eg those travelling in Club World business class, First Class, and Silver and Gold Executive Club cardholders) will be able to use the highly regarded Qantas Singapore lounge.

There was a time when BA and Qantas jointly operated a business and first class lounges in Singapore, but for reasons we do not know, the two airlines decided to move to separate lounges.

For completeness, we should add that, under Oneworld alliance lounge access rules, passengers eligible to use the BA lounge are also eligible to use the Qantas lounge in any event!

BA to close Gatwick First lounge at 3pm from Monday 13 April 2015

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 36

London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

British Airways has announced that its First Class lounge at London Gatwick will close from 3pm each day from Monday 13 April 2015.

The lounge is one of two provided by BA at London Gatwick. The other being a Terraces lounge for Silver Executive Club cardholders and passengers travelling on flexible UK domestic tickets, and in Club Europe and Club World.

Patronage of the lounge has declined over a number of years. BA moved routes such as Dallas Fort Worth and Houston to London Heathrow many years ago. American Airlines withdrew from the airport after the 2008 Open Skies treaty removed restrictions on what routes BA and American could operate from London Heathrow.

Whilst the published rationale is that the last flight with a first class cabin departs from Gatwick shortly after 3pm (BA2233 to Bermuda) this moves seems driven by cost-cutting. Although it may not be the intention, coupled with other recent announcements such as removing seat selection on hand baggage only fares, this will be seen as part of a narrative of removing benefits from its frequent flyers.
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BA launches London Gatwick – Vienna from September 2015

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London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

British Airways is to launch a new route from London Gatwick to Vienna from 17 September 2015.

BA will fly from London Gatwick to Vienna daily, except Saturdays. The service will reduce to four weekly from the start of the winter timetable from late October 2015.

Flight BA2560 Depart London Gatwick 16:00 – Arrive Vienna 19:10
Flight BA2561 Depart Vienna 20:00 – Arrive London Gatwick 22:30
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BA removes seat selection for Executive Club members on “Hand Baggage Only” Fares

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 36

British Airways Short Haul Economy Cabin (Credit: British Airways)

Two years ago, British Airways introduced “Hand Baggage Only” fares on its short-haul route network. As their name suggests, passengers purchasing these fares have to pay a separate fee if they wish to check in a bag into the hold of the aircraft.

BA has long claimed that these fares have been a success. They enable the airline to keep headline fares low when competing against low cost carriers (who have the advantage of generating considerable ancillary revenues from pasengers).

In a somewhat surprising move, BA has today announced that Silver and Gold Executive club cardholders will no longer be able to choose a seat free of charge at the time of booking when booking a hand baggage only fare from Thursday 26 March 2015.

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What are BA’s plans to refurbish & retire the Boeing 747?

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BA In Flight Entertainment - Boeing 747 World Traveller
BA In Flight Entertainment – Boeing 747 World Traveller (Image Credit: British Airways)

We’ve received a lot of search enquiries of late regarding BA’s Boeing 747 fleet. We suspect this may be in part due to the condition of some of them! It’s an issue we have looked at previously and we thought we’d cover some of the most frequently asked questions:
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BA suspends Gatwick – Gran Canaria from 29 March 2015

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London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

British Airways was due to launch a twice weekly service from London Gatwick to Gran Canaria from 29 March 2015. However, for “commercial reasons” (we assume poor forward bookings), the airline is to suspend the route.

Passengers will be accommodated on either a new Iberia Express service from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Gran Canaria which launches on 30 March 2015 or BA’s Saturday service to Gran Canaria which also operates from Heathrow Terminal 5.

Alternatively, passengers have the option of flying to another nearby BA destination from London Gatwick (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote), or via Iberia’s hub in Madrid. Passengers are also entitled to a full refund.

Other direct flights from London Gatwick to Gran Canaria are available from easyJet, Norwegian and Thomas Cook.

BA launches Cambridge – Gothenburg

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 36

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

As we have remarked before, British Airways has long earned itself the moniker “London Airways” for the fact that it does not fly internationally from any UK city other than London.

The one exception are routes operated by its franchise partner Sun Air which flies from Manchester to Billund and Gothenburg.

Another new route launched by Sun-Air is Cambridge to Gothernburg. We know Cambridge strictly isn’t London, but many airports have been flexible in this regard!

This route launches on 2 March 2015 and operates once a day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The outbound flight originates in Manchester, which is also where the inbound flight terminates.
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Which BA routes operate from London Gatwick with First Class?

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 36

British Airways First Class Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways First Class Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)

A short while ago, we compiled a list of the British Airways routes from London Heathrow that operate with a first class cabin.

To complete the list, here’s a list of long-haul Gatwick routes that operate with and without a first class cabin.

It’s a relatively easy list to compile. BA’s routes from Gatwick are operated exclusively with either three or four class Boeing 777 aircraft.
Continue reading “Which BA routes operate from London Gatwick with First Class?”