Gordon Ramsay Plane Food has reopened at London Heathrow Terminal 5

Gordon Ramsay Plane Food restaurant has reopened at London Heathrow Terminal 5 following a refurbishment.

Gordon Ramsay - London Heathrow Terminal 5
Gordon Ramsay – London Heathrow Terminal 5 (Image Credit: Gordon Ramsay Restaurants)

Gordon Ramsay Plane Food restaurant at London Heathrow Terminal 5 has reopened today (Monday 14 August 2017) after a refurbishment.

The restaurant first opened in 2008.  It was groundbreaking in two respects.  First, for raising the bar for airport dining with such a well known chef committing to an airport restaurant.  It also introduced well publicised dedicated takeaway “picnics” for eating in-flight.  Heston Blumenthal followed suit with The Perfectionists Cafe at London Heathrow Terminal 2.

The new restaurant promises a new Asian bar with dishes prepared before guests, a new cocktail bar and a newly refurbished dining area with refreshed menus which can be used for private events.

There is also a new take-on-board Picnic Menu with breakfast, vegetarian, fish and meat options.

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BA In-Flight Entertainment Guide

What In-Flight Entertainment system does BA use and what films and TV will be available to watch on my flight?

BA Boeing 787-9 First Class IFE Screen
BA Boeing 787-9 First Class IFE Screen (Image Credit: British Airways)

We receive a lot of enquiries about what in-flight entertainment (“IFE”) systems are used by BA and what programming is available, so we thought it would be useful to set out what we know.

Long-haul flights

All BA long-haul flights feature a personal IFE screen at every seat with on demand TV and audio programming.   However, the systems used and, by extension, the quantity and picture quality of content vary by the type of aircraft.

The one exception is BA’s all business class Airbus A318 flight from London City to New York JFK.  There is no IFE system fitted on this aircraft, so passengers are offered iPads with pre-loaded content instead.

Short-haul & medium-haul flights

There are no at seat IFE systems on any Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft which operate the vast majority of short-haul flights at London Heathrow or Gatwick.

A small number of BA’s fleet of Airbus A321 aircraft feature at seat entertainment screens.  These operate selected flights to destinations such as Amman, Beirut, Moscow Domodedovo and Tel Aviv.

There are also no at seat IFE systems on any Embraer E-170 or E-190 aircraft at London City airport.

Overhead screens with a limited range of films and TV programmes are available on BA’s soon-to-be-retired fleet of Boeing 767 aircraft which operate on selected flights to Athens and Larnaca.  There is also a selection of audio programming available at seat.

Let’s look at entertainment on long-haul flights in more detail:

BA In-flight entertainment systems on long-haul flights

BA uses three types of IFE system.  In order of sophistication and quality these are:

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BA Cabin Crew Strike Flight Cancellations 23 – 31 August 2017

Updated daily, these are the confirmed cancelled flights at Heathrow due to strike action by BA cabin crew from 23 – 31 August 2017

British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)

Unite, the union which represents British Airways “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow, is currently taking industrial action through to 30 August 2017. The industrial action may well be extended beyond this date.

Here are the confirmed cancellations to date from to Wednesday 23 August to Thursday 31 August.

Please note this page is updated regularly.  Please keep checking for updates for flights up to Thursday 31 August 2017.

The following flights should be operating normally:

  • All flights from London City and London Stansted
  • All flights from London Gatwick should operate as normal. However, some flights to New York JFK may be cancelled.
  • All flights from UK regional airports (apart from flights to London Heathrow)
  • The majority of flights from London Heathrow except London Heathrow – Doha
  • Flights operated by codeshare partners, Oneworld alliance members and other airlines owned by BA’s parent company IAG are also not affected
  • If your flight is cancelled you will offered the opportunity to rebook to an alternative flight or a refund
  • Passengers who are due to travel to Doha will also be re-accommodated on Qatar Airways

The best advice is to check your booking using the Manage My Booking tool and ensure your e-mail and telephone contact details are up to date.  In addition, it is a good idea to download the BA app to your smartphone to receive notifications about your flight.

You can also check live flight information on the websites of Heathrow and BA.  The Heathrow website shows flight information up to the next day, and the BA site shows flight information (by number and route) for the next ten days.

In terms of the risk of further industrial action, the union is required to give 14 days’ notice to BA.  So if there are no announcements two weeks before your flight you can assume it is not a risk of strike action.
Continue reading “BA Cabin Crew Strike Flight Cancellations 23 – 31 August 2017”

BA to fly the Airbus A380 to Chicago

BA is to fly its Airbus A380 between London Heathrow and Chicago from May 2018.

British Airways, First Class, Airbus, A380
British Airways First Class, Airbus A380 (Source: BA Press Office)

British Airways is to fly its Airbus A380 aircraft to Chicago O’Hare from Tuesday 8 May 2018.

This will be the first time the BA A380 has flown to Chicago.  BA will continue to fly to Chicago twice daily.

Currently, the route is operated by the Boeing 747 and 777. The A380 will be a significant upgrade over the albeit recent refurbished Boeing 747s which will continue to ply this route, particularly with regard to seating in premium economy and First Class.

A380 flights to Chicago are on sale now at ba.com. Please note that the operation of the A380 may be subject to seasonal adjustments.

The BA A380 currently operates on selected flights to Boston, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Singapore, Vancouver and Washington. It also operates to Miami in the winter months.

The latest addition to BA’s A380 network will be sourced from aircraft servicing its existing network.  BA has taken delivery of all twelve A380s it has ordered from Airbus.

The airline has options to purchase a further seven aircraft from Airbus but has not exercised them. Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s parent company International Airlines Group, has expressed an interest in leasing second hand A380s for BA and possibly other IAG group airlines, but nothing has come of this.
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BA launches London Heathrow – Nashville, Tennessee

British Airways is to fly direct to Nashville, Tennessee five times a week from May 2018.

Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is to fly direct from London Heathrow to Nashville, Tennessee from May 2018.

BA will fly to Nashville International Airport five times a week from Friday 4 May 2018.  The route will be operated with a three class Boeing 787 Dreamliner with Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy, and World Traveller economy cabins.   Flights will depart from London Heathrow Terminal 5.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

This is the fourth new route between London Heathrow and North America which BA has launched with the Boeing 787 after Austin, San Jose, and New Orleans.

In terms of possible future expansion in North America, there could well be another 1-2 new routes to be launched by BA. History has shown that BA prefers to launch new routes from London Heathrow where it is (at least initially) the sole operator to London and/or Europe. Therefore, new destinations are likely to North American cities without a direct link to Europe. However, whatever growth potential there may be BA is likely to continue its very steady growth of no more than one new transatlantic route a year.

London Heathrow – Nashville

Flight BA223 Depart London Heathrow 15:45 – Arrive Nashville 18:50
Flight BA222 Depart Nashville 20:20 – Arrive London Heathrow 10:30

BA Cabin Crew Strike Flight Cancellations 16 – 22 August 2017

Updated daily, these are the confirmed cancelled flights at Heathrow due to strike action by BA cabin crew from 16 – 22 August 2017

British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)

Unite, the union which represents British Airways “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow, is currently taking industrial action through to 30 August 2017. The industrial action may well be extended beyond this date.

Here are the confirmed cancellations to date from to Wednesday 16 August to Tuesday 22 August.

Please note this page is updated regularly.  Please keep checking for updates for flights up to Tuesday 22 August 2017.

The following flights should be operating normally:

  • All flights from London City and London Stansted
  • All flights from London Gatwick will operate as normal. However, some flights to New York JFK may be cancelled.
  • All flights from UK regional airports (apart from flights to London Heathrow)
  • The majority of flights from London Heathrow
  • Flights operated by codeshare partners, Oneworld alliance members and other airlines owned by BA’s parent company IAG are also not affected
  • If your flight is cancelled you will offered the opportunity to rebook to an alternative flight or a refund
  • Passengers who are due to travel to Doha or Muscat will also be re-accommodated on Qatar Airways

The best advice is to check your booking using the Manage My Booking tool and ensure your e-mail and telephone contact details are up to date.  In addition, it is a good idea to download the BA app to your smartphone to receive notifications about your flight.

You can also check live flight information on the websites of Heathrow and BA.  The Heathrow website shows flight information up to the next day, and the BA site shows flight information (by number and route) for the next ten days.

In terms of the risk of further industrial action, the union is required to give 14 days’ notice to BA.  So if there are no announcements two weeks before your flight you can assume it is not a risk of strike action.
Continue reading “BA Cabin Crew Strike Flight Cancellations 16 – 22 August 2017”

British Airways Pilots Take Off On Twitter

How BA pilots are gaining a huge following on Twitter and engaging with the airline’s passengers.

British Airways Pilots
British Airways Pilots (Image Credit: British Airways)

Social media has long been a tool used by airlines to engage with their passengers.  YouTube and Instagram allow airlines to share slickly produced videos showcasing new aircraft, cabins and routes.  Snapchat, for those that have embraced it, allows airlines to take passengers behind the scenes and show case live events such as inaugural flights on new routes.

Arguably, the most significant social media tool is Twitter.  But it is something of a double-edged sword for airlines.  At its best, it can be effective tool for rapid responses to customer queries and for distilling information quickly.  But every airline is one tweet away from a social media storm.

Twitter not only provides a direct line of communication between passengers and airlines, but also their staff. And a growing number of BA pilots have amassed quite significant followings on Twitter. Not only that they are starting to co-ordinate their presence under the hashtag #BASMART

Leading the initiative is British Airways A380 pilot Dave Wallsworth who has amassed some 25,000 followers. Dave frequently dispatches updates as he plies BA’s Airbus A380 network to destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Los Angeles.

Here’s a video Dave recorded from the flight deck taking off from Vancouver, bound for London Heathrow:
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