BA launches “day tripper” weekend tickets from London Heathrow

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BA Airbus A319 aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
BA Airbus A319 aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways continues to battle to regain lost market share in the European short-haul market from easyJet.

The airline has today, 5 March 2014, announced a new fare enabling passengers to do “out and back in a day” trips to a number of short-haul destinations in the UK and mainland Europe on Saturdays and Sundays.

The lead-in return fares are £79 to Dublin and Geneva, £89 for Edinburgh and Rome and £99 for Vienna and Munich. These fares are available for booking now and we note that relatively short notice weekend fares for these destinations are significantly cheaper than others.

BA claim that these fares may be extended to other short-haul destinations in due course. We infer these fares are something of an experiment to help fill otherwise relatively quiet early morning and late night flights on weekends.

That said, this is a welcome innovation and certainly something we can see ourselves taking advantage of.

If the experience of “Hand Baggage Only” fares is anything to by, it should be extended across the network very quickly.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

BA launches its inaugural flight from London Heathrow to Austin

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British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Today, 3 March 2014, at 12:35, a Boeing 787 operating as British Airways flight BA191 will depart from London Heathrow Terminal 5. 10 hours and 25 minutes later it should land at Bergstrom International airport in Austin, Texas, completing the inaugural flight from London Heathrow to Austin.

Initially the service will operate five times a week, increasing to daily from 5 May 2014.

This is the first new transatlantic route launched by BA since Las Vegas in 2009 and San Diego in 2011.

It is noteworthy as this is the first route launched specifically for the Boeing 787 which has, to date, been used to either replace Boeing 767s on transatlantic flights or Boeing 777s on “thinner” Asia routes.

Although much has been made by BA and its parent company International Airlines Group that the Boeing 787 will aid the launch of new routes between London and Asia, we expect further transatlantic routes to by opened up by the 787, particularly because of the support provided by BA’s transatlantic joint-venture partner, American Airlines.

Not only do more routes give BA network strength against Delta and Virgin Atlantic, but also the Middle Eastern carriers who have only begun to scratch the surface of the North America market.

Flights to Austin can be booked via BA.com or as codeshares via American Airlines.

BA adds Chennai to its roster of Boeing 787 destinations

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British Airways Boeing 787-8
British Airways Boeing 787-8 (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways continues to expand its network of Boeing 787-8 destinations as it takes delivery of further aircraft. Some 42 of them are on order in total.

The Boeing 787-8 is currently flying on selected flights from London Heathrow to Toronto and Newark.

From 24 October 2014, the aircraft will fly to Chennai daily. This currently served six weekly by a Boeing 777-200.

Also joining the list of 787 destinations later this year are:

Austin

A new route from 3 March 2014, initially five weekly.

Hyderabad

Replaces daily Boeing 777-200 from 30 March 2014.

Chengdu

Replaces current thrice weekly Boeing 777-200 from 5 May 2014 with five weekly 787 flights.

Philadelphia

Selected daily flights from 5 June 2014, replacing Boeing 767.

Calgary

Replaces daily Boeing 767 from 5 July 2014.

Singapore will be the fifth destination to be served by BA’s Airbus A380 from 28 October 2014

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 37

A British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft takes off at London Heathrow airport.
British Airways Airbus A380 at take off, London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

British Airways has today confirmed that Singapore will be the fifth destination to be served by the airline’s Airbus A380 fleet of aircraft. 

The airline is currently operating the A380 on selected flights to Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Johannesburg.  Washington will be added to the A380 network from September of this year.

The Airbus A380 will replace a Boeing 747 on three flights a week between London Heathrow and Singapore from Thursday 28 October 2014.

BA will continue to serve Singapore twice daily, with the second Boeing 777-300 continuing on to Sydney from Singapore.

It’s worth noting that BA has departed from its strategy of deploying the A380 on routes that are not currently served by the A380 from London Heathrow as the London Singapore route has long been served by Singapore Airlines’ A380. 

BA has a total of 12 Airbus A380s on order, of which four have now been delivered to the airline.  BA also has options for a further 7 aircraft (instincts tell us BA will probably maintain its order at 12 aircraft).

BA has released a promotional video for the A380 launch to Singapore on YouTube featuring a very excited Sex and the City star Kristin Davis:

Update January 2018:

BA now flies the Airbus A380 on one of its two daily flights between London Heathrow and Singapore (BA11 / BA12). The remaining flight (BA15 / BA16) which continues from Singapore to Sydney is operated with a Boeing 777-300 aircraft.

“Go Further To Get Closer” What airlines are fundamentally about

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Some time ago we took a look at British Airways’ most memorable advertisements, spanning no less than four decades.

Whilst much has changed in that time, a common theme was that the most effective airline marketing focuses not on the hardware and mechanics of aviation, but what airlines are fundamentally about: bringing people together.

Last year, British Airways released a special “A Ticket To Visit Mum” video featuring a surprise reunion between a mother and son in Mumbai. And it has today, on Valentines Day, released a further video “Go Further To Get Closer”.

We would defy even the most weary hard-nosed traveller to be moved by these videos!

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BA to move Heathrow – Belfast & Dublin flights to Terminal 5

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

British Airways has today confirmed that its flights from London Heathrow to Belfast City and Dublin airports (together making 12 return flights a day) will move from Terminal 1 to Terminal 5 from Sunday 24 October 2014.

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BA turns up the pressure on CityJet at London City

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BA Embraer E170 London City Airport
BA Embraer E170 London City Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has often been criticised in the past for failing to prove it can compete with rival airlines outside its base at London Heathrow, where it now commands nearly 50% of take off and landing slots. Witness how the airline withdrew entirely from regional point to point operations five years ago and, as reported yesterday, has ceded a significant share of traffic at London Gatwick to easyJet.

The one exception to this is at London City. Some five years ago CityJet, an airline with a complex history and structure, but now under the ownership of Air France KLM, dominated short-haul operations at the airport, with more than twice the share of take off and landing slots as British Airways.

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easyJet expands at Gatwick whilst BA seeks to regain lost ground

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

easyJet posted a good set of financial results last week solidifying its transition from an upstart low cost carrier to a mature pan-European short-haul airline.

The airline also announced a significant expansion at London Gatwick. This has been aided by its acquisition earlier this year of Flybe’s portfolio of slots at Gatwick which now gives easyJet nearly 50% of take off and landing slots at the airport.

New easyJet routes

In addition to recent route launches to cities such as Bergen and Moscow, next year easyJet will launch new routes to Brussels, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Jersey, Newcastle and Strasbourg. The airline will also increase frequencies by one flight a day on routes to Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Geneva, Inverness and the Isle of Man.

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BA to trial pre-ordering of meals in First & Club World on London – New York JFK

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

Many airlines have long offered passengers in first and business class the opportunity to pre-order their meals in advance of boarding their flight. Singapore Airlines has its “Book The Cook” facility. Qantas offers the same facility under the guise of “Q Eat”.

The passenger benefits in securing their preferred choice of meal and the airline benefits in reducing wastage – catering being one of a very few areas where airlines can actually control costs.

One notable exception in offering this service is British Airways, in spite of it carrying very large volumes of first and business class passengers (some 84 on most Boeing 747s) and having one of the highest proportions of revenue attributable to first and business class traffic.

From an as yet unspecified date in the second quarter of next year (so possibly some six months away), BA is to trial the pre-ordering of meals in Club World business class and First class on the London – New York JFK route.

From what is known so far, passengers will only be able to choose from the existing menu and will not have additional menu choices (and opting out of “Afternoon Tea” does not seem to be an option!). No doubt this is being driven by the desire to reduce wastage, but it would be good to see the proceeds in any savings reinvested in the improving catering.

Update: This facility is now available on all long-haul routes from London Heathrow and Gatwick. You can pre-order your meal through the Manage My Booking tool.

BA to move out of London Heathrow Terminal 1 in 2015

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 37

London Heathrow Terminal 1 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Ever since BA took over bmi 18 months ago, it has found itself returned to a situation it was in three years ago at London Heathrow.  That is operating across three terminals in the airport (1, 3 and 5).

This is plainly undesirable from the perspective of both passenger experience and efficiency.  Terminal 1 is unpopular for many reasons, not least the general condition of the terminal which is due to close in 2016.

BA has now confirmed that it will consolidate its operations in Terminals 3 and 5 from 2015. The new Terminal 2 will not be used by any Oneworld carriers.

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