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As we reported earlier this month, BA has recently acquired a portfolio of slots at London Gatwick from the airline Monarch which suspended operations late last year. As BA is required to make use of the slots to avoid forfeiting them, its fleet of Airbus short-haul aircraft is going to quite stretched over the coming months as it scrambles to fill the slots.
A consequence of this is that BA has called on Aer Lingus, which is a fellow subsidiary of BA’s parent company International Airlines Group, to operate selected flights between London Heathrow Terminal 5 and Dublin and Hamburg from early Feburary 2018.
At the outset, we should mention that this should not be confused with BA’s existing codeshare arrangement with Aer Lingus. BA has long codeshared on Aer Lingus operated flights from London Heathrow Terminal 2 to Dublin. These flights have the numbers BA59**.
BA flights between London Heathrow Terminal 5 and Dublin to be operated by Aer Lingus
BA0824 London Heathrow – Dublin
BA0826 London Heathrow – Dublin
BA0828 London Heathrow – Dublin (certain days only)
BA0827 Dublin – London Heathrow
BA0831 Dublin – London Heathrow
BA0833 Dublin – London Heathrow (certain days only)
This typically represents two of up to eight daily return BA flights between London Heathrow and Dublin.
BA flights between London Heathrow Terminal 5 and Hamburg to be operated by Aer Lingus
BA0962 London Heathrow – Hamburg
BA0969 Hamburg – London Heathrow
This represents one of up to five daily return BA flights between London Heathrow and Hamburg.
Aer Lingus will not operate a business class cabin on these flights
The most significant aspect of this wet-lease arrangement is that Aer Lingus will not provide a business class cabin equivalent to BA Club Europe. Business class has been removed from sale for these flights and business class seats are not available for selection.
The most likely reason for this is that Aer Lingus removed business class well in excess of ten years ago and does not have a supply chain set up to offer complimentary catering.
(There was a proposal for Aer Lingus to introduce a new business class product “AerSpace” on certain short-haul routes but this seems to have been put on the back burner.)
BA has not yet published any official guidance but passengers booked into Club Europe on these flights should have the option of moving to an alternative flight. If you are downgraded to EuroTraveller you should be entitled to a partial refund and downgrade compensation.
What economy service will Aer Lingus offer on these flights?
Aer Lingus has long offered Buy-On-Board so it should largely mirror that of BA. BA has not said whether Aer Lingus’ own Buy-On-Board service “Bia”, or BA’s version “M&S On Board” will be offered.
Here are details of Aer Lingus’ “Bia” Buy-On-Board service.
Update 9 February 2018: It has since been confirmed that all passengers will receive complimentary drinks and snacks.
How do I know if my flight will be operated by Aer Lingus?
If you have not yet made a booking you can check the timetable on ba.com The flight will either say “Operated by BA” or “Operated by EI [Aer Lingus]”
If you have an existing booking you can check it using the Manage My Booking tool and it should be clear in the booking which is the operating airline.
Are further wet leases likely?
Yes. BA has some 20 extra daily return flights to operate from Gatwick so further wet-leases are likely from both Gatwick and Heathrow.
Indeed, BA is already using airlines such as Germania and Titan Airways to operate some flights from London Gatwick. BA may call on other IAG group airlines, Iberia and Vueling, to operate some flights from London Heathrow.
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