British Airways Launches Online Centenary Archive

British Airways has launched a new online archive of photos and videos to mark its centenary year.

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Her Majesty The Queen, Concorde, 1977
Her Majesty The Queen, Concorde, 1977 (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has long maintained a “heritage collection” of archive materials and photographs from its near 100 year history.

This is based at its Head Office near Heathrow. It has also been online, though much of the photographs were scanned for uploading in an era when websites had to accommodate much slower internet connections.

As part of its centenary BA has launched a new dedicated archive microsite with many newly released images, videos and features on its history.

It covers many aspects of BA’s history, including staff uniforms and deliveries of new aircraft. There are also many videos including the launch of the turn-up-and-go domestic Shuttle Service from London to Glasgow in 1975 and the groundbreaking “World’s Biggest Offer”marketing campaign in 1991.

BA has also issued newly released photos of Her Majesty The Queen, who visited BA’s Head Office earlier this week, with British Airways aircraft.

Her Majesty The Queen, Malta
Her Majesty The Queen, Malta (Image Credit: British Airways)

The Queen has a long history with BA and its predecessor airlines.

On 31 January 1952, The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, bid farewell to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at London airport before departing on a BOAC aircraft with Prince Philip for a world tour of Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This was cut short following the death of King George VI and Princess Elizabeth returned a week later from Kenya on a BOAC Argonaut as Queen Elizabeth II.

BEA, BOAC and BA have flown The Queen on many state visits and tours. These include the 1953 Commonwealth tour, Canada and the US in 1957 (on a BOAC DC-7C aircraft), Bermuda and Jamaica 1963 (on a BOAC Stratocruiser), New Zealand in 1974, the Commonwealth Silver Jubilee tour 1977 (on Concorde), the Middle East in 1979 (on Concorde), and Australia 2011 (non-stop from London to Perth on a Boeing 777). The Queen also officially opened London Heathrow Terminals 1 and 5 and Gatwick’s North Terminal.

Back to the archive itself, the history of BA obviously depends on who is telling it.

Understandably, there are some events not touched on, such as aircraft incident and BOAC and BA being caught up in major geopolitical events such as the 1970 Dawson’s Field hijackings and 1990 Gulf War. Nor are corporate controversies. However, there are subjects barely mentioned, such as the Newell and Sorrell redesign of BA’s corporate identity of 1997, controversial at the time, but now worthy of reappraisal.

BA Club World Seat Selection Charge Changes

British Airways has changed its pricing structure for selecting seats in Club World.

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British Airways Refurbished 52 Club World Seat Aircraft, November 2018
British Airways Refurbished 52 Club World Seat Aircraft, November 2018 (Image Credit: British Airways)

For the past ten years or so BA has required passengers other than Silver and Gold members of the Executive Club to pay a fee to select a seat at the time of booking.

This applies to all cabins except First Class, even Club World. Please see here for a full guide to BA’s seating policy.

Even though BA is one of the only, if not the only, airlines in the world to charge business class passengers to select a seat, and it is seen as somewhat egregious, this policy has survived.

As BA has learned of passenger preferences it has applied dynamic pricing to different parts of the same cabin with differential charges by row and proximity to aisles and windows.

In Club World, this has meant higher charges for the much loved upper deck of the Boeing 747. On the main deck of the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 and in all other Club World cabins, there were three tiers of prices, Front, Middle, and Rear. There were higher charges for forward rows and lower charges for rear rows.

Changes from 14 May 2019

Since Tuesday 14 May 2019, BA has split the pricing of seats on the main deck of Club World into no less than six tiers.

These are Front Side, Front Centre, Middle Side, Middle Centre, Rear Side, Rear Centre.

In the example of an 86 Club World seat Boeing 747 below, there are now higher prices to select a seat on the side of the aircraft, which are £87 per person at the front of the cabin, £80 in the middle of the cabin, and £67 at the rear of the cabin.

Centre seats are at reduced prices of £79, £72 and £59 per person. Charges will vary by aircraft, and are higher on other aircraft such as the Airbus A380.

Continue reading “BA Club World Seat Selection Charge Changes”

BA Phoenix & San Diego Heathrow Terminal Swap

BA flights from London Heathrow to Phoenix and San Diego will swap terminals from Sunday 27 October 2019.

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British Airways Boeing 747, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
British Airways Boeing 747, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways flights from London Heathrow to Phoenix and San Diego will swap terminals with effect from Sunday 27 October 2019.

BA flights from Heathrow to Phoenix (BA289 & BA288) will move from Terminal 3 to 5. Meanwhile, BA flights from Heathrow to San Diego (BA273 & BA272) will move from Terminal 5 to 3.

Both routes will also change aircraft. Flights to Phoenix will be operated with the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner until Sunday 29 March 2020, when it switches to a Boeing 777-300 aircraft. This brings to an end a very long run of Boeing 747 operations to Phoenix. However, as this route has been operated with a 52 Club World seat Boeing 747, passengers will benefit from more modern cabin interiors and a guarantee of better of in-flight entertainment.

Flights to San Diego will be operated with a Boeing 747 year-round, having previously operated with a Boeing 747 in the winter and a Boeing 777-300 in the summer.

For passengers who are connecting at London Heathrow, there are different minimum connection times of 90 minutes for Terminal 3-Terminal 5 connections, and 60 minutes for Terminal 5-Terminal 5 & Terminal 3-Terminal 3 connections. Passengers with existing bookings should check carefully that their itineraries comply with minimum connection times and contact BA or their travel agent accordingly.

Passengers can check the status of their bookings using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

BA Introduces Pay Excess Baggage Fees With Avios

You can now use Avios to pay for excess baggage charges on British Airways flights.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Avios
Avios (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has introduced the ability to pay for excess baggage charges using Avios.

This follows a move last year to allow passengers to use their Avios to pay for seat selection charges.

This applies only to British Airways operated flights. Rather unhelpfully, BA has not published a set tariff of Avios charges for excess baggage and this is unlikely to be the best use of Avios.

Excess baggage charges can vary widely by route, cabin, and type of fare. These charges have become more prevalent with the rise of “basic economy” short and long-haul fares. They can range from £20 to £120 per bag, so this may be at least a good way for some to take the edge off parting with cash.

Passengers can use Avios to pay for excess baggage charges in full or in part and passengers with existing bookings can compare charges using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

Full details of BA’s current cash seat selection charges can also be viewed at ba.com

BA Refreshes Heathrow Elemis Travel Spas

BA has refreshed its Elemis travel spas at London Heathrow with new soft furnishings and an updated complimentary treatment menu.

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British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has relaunched its Elemis travel spas at London Heathrow with new interiors and soft furnishings designed by the acclaimed Kelly Hoppen MBE, and a new spa treatment menu.

The structure and format of the spas remains the same with an updated complimentary treatment menu for passengers travelling in First Class, Club World, and Gold members of the Executive Club when flying long-haul.

Only passengers in First Class can book an appointment in advance. Access to spa treatments for all other eligible passengers is dependent on availability on the day. This can vary widely – it is generally much better in the arrivals lounge, rather than the departure lounges.

British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow
British Airways Elemis Travel Spa, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

The Elemis spas are located in London Heathrow Terminal 3 departures, Terminal 5A South departures, Terminal 5B departures and the Terminal 5 arrivals lounge. There is also an Elemis spa in BA’s recently updated lounge complex at New York JFK Terminal 7, which will benefit from a new treatment menu later this year.

Continue reading “BA Refreshes Heathrow Elemis Travel Spas”

BA Suspends Heathrow – Kiev & St Petersburg

British Airways has suspended routes from London Heathrow to Kiev and St Petersburg from Thursday 3 October 2019.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

British Airways has suspended its routes from London Heathrow to Kiev, Ukraine and St Petersburg, Russia.

Based on timetables on ba.com, the last flights from London Heathrow to both Kiev and St Petersburg are currently scheduled to operate on Thursday 3 October 2019.

The affected flight numbers are BA882 & BA883 for Kiev and BA878 & BA879 for St Petersburg.

At present, BA has not provided any details of arrangements to accommodate passengers whose flights have been cancelled. It normally takes at least a week for rebooking arrangements to be agreed with other airlines and passengers are best advised to wait until these have been confirmed.

Alternatively, passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund.

Affected passengers should check the status of their booking at ba.com and contact either BA or their travel agent.

Update Tuesday 21 May 2019

For passengers due to travel to St Petersburg, BA has secured a rebooking agreement with SAS Scandinavian Airlines, for travel after 27 October 2019. Passengers can fly on SAS via either Copenhagen or Stockholm. In all cases, passengers must fly on a British Airways operated flight between Heathrow and Copenhagen or Stockholm.

Update Thursday 23 May 2019

For passengers due to travel to Kiev or St Petersburg, BA has also secured a rebooking agreement with Lufthansa. Passengers can fly on Lufthansa via either Frankfurt or Munich. In all cases, passengers must fly on a British Airways operated flight between Heathrow and Frankfurt or Munich.

BA Johannesburg Lounges Close For Refurbishment

BA is to close its lounges in Johannesburg for refurbishment from Thursday 23 May. The new lounges will open in October.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Galleries lounge, O.R. Tambo International Airport International Departures Terminal, Johannesburg
British Airways Galleries lounge, O.R. Tambo International Airport International Departures Terminal, Johannesburg (Image Credit: Oneworld alliance)

British Airways is to close its Galleries Club and Galleries First lounges in Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo International Airport) for refurbishment from Thursday 23 May 2019.

The new lounges will open in October 2019. It is not known what format the new lounges will take and whether BA will adopt the “Concorde Bar” format adopted in Dubai and Singapore, which is exclusively for ticketed First Class passengers only.

In the interim, First Class passengers will be able to use the Slow lounge. This lounge is used by BA’s franchise partner in South Africa, Comair. It is located after security, on the upper level of the international departures terminal.

Passengers in Club World, and Silver and Gold Executive Club cardholders in World Traveller Plus and World Traveller will be able to use the Aspire lounge. This lounge is located after emigration. Passengers are advised to follow directional signage to gates 7-30, passing through the duty free shop. The lounge is on the left just before the esclator to the International Pier.

Aspire lounge, O.R. Tambo International Airport International Departures Terminal, Johannesburg
Aspire lounge, O.R. Tambo International Airport International Departures Terminal, Johannesburg (Image Credit: Oneworld alliance)

Given this route is served by an Airbus A380 and an 86 Club World seat Boeing 747 that depart within two hours of each other in the evening, crowding is likely to be an issue.

This is the last lounge closure of the planned refurbishments for 2019. BA’s lounge in Geneva will close for refurbishment on Tuesday 28 May 2019. The San Francisco lounge is currently closed for refurbishment and should reopen this summer.

British Airways Flight Number Changes

British Airways flights on certain routes from London Gatwick and Heathrow are changing flight numbers.

London Air Travel » British Airways

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

British Airways in the progress of changing flight numbers on selected routes from London Gatwick and Heathrow.

If you are flying on a route subject to a flight number change you should receive an e-mail from BA to advise that your flight has been cancelled and that you have been automatically rebooked on a new flight under the new flight number.

Affected passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

London Gatwick – Edinburgh

The following flights between Gatwick and Edinburgh change numbers on or around Monday 2 September 2019:

London Gatwick – Edinburgh

BA2936 – BA2500
BA2944 – BA2502
BA2946 – BA2506

Edinburgh – London Gatwick

BA2937 – BA2501
BA2945 – BA2503
BA2931 – BA2507

London Gatwick – Glasgow

The following flights between Gatwick and Glasgow change numbers on or around Monday 2 September 2019:

London Gatwick – Glasgow

BA2956 – BA2510 / BA2514
BA2960 – BA2512
BA2964 – BA2516
BA2968 – BA2518

Glasgow – London Gatwick

BA2957 – BA2511 / BA2515
BA2961 – BA2513
BA2965 – BA2517
BA2953 – BA2519

London Heathrow – Hong Kong

BA’s twice daily return flights between London Heathrow and Hong Kong swap flight numbers of Sunday 29 March 2020.

London Heathrow – Hong Kong

BA27 swaps with BA31.

Hong Kong – London Heathrow

BA28 swaps with BA32.

BA’s 10 Abreast Economy Boeing 777 May 2019 Update

An update on the progress of the refurbishment of British Airways Boeing 777 fleet at Gatwick.

London Air Travel » British Airways

BA World Traveller cabin on LGW based Boeing 777 aircraft
BA World Traveller cabin on LGW based Boeing 777 aircraft (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is now approximately two thirds of the way through the refurbishment of its fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft at London Gatwick.

The primary reason for the refurbishment is to increase the number of seats in the World Traveller economy cabin from 9 to 10 a row.

As at May 2019, eight Boeing 777-200 aircraft, registrations G-VIIO, G-VIIP, G-VIIR, G-VIIT, G-VIIU, G-VIIV, G-VIIW and G-VIIX have been refurbished. A ninth aircraft, G-VIIY, was sent to Singapore for refurbishment on 5 May 2019 and should return to Gatwick in June.

Non-refurbished aircraft include registrations G-VIIK, G-YMMA, G-YMMC, G-YMMR and G-YMMS.

Of refurbished aircraft so far, six are three class Boeing 777-200 aircraft. On these aircraft, BA has installed a new seat in a now larger World Traveller Plus premium economy cabin. It has decreased the number of Club World business class seats. The in-flight entertainment system has also been upgraded and it is a radical improvement on the previous system.

The remaining two refurbished aircraft are four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft. The overall change in seating configuration is much more modest.

This year, BA will also begin refurbishing its Heathrow based Boeing 777s. Two four class aircraft will receive a full refurbishment. This will include a smaller First Class cabin with 8, rather than 14, seats and an entirely new Club World cabin.

Continue reading “BA’s 10 Abreast Economy Boeing 777 May 2019 Update”

British Airways Boeing 787 Cancellations

British Airways has cancelled flights on a number of Heathrow routes up until August 2019 due to Boeing 787 engine checks.

London Air Travel » British Airways

BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff
BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways continues to selectively cancel flights to allow for additional checks and maintenance to the engines of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.

Previously Announced Cancellations

BA has applied blanket cancellations to the following Heathrow routes during May and June of this year:

BA123 from London Heathrow to Doha is cancelled from Thursday 9 May until Monday 27 May 2019.

BA122 from Doha to London Heathrow is cancelled from Friday 10 May until Tuesday 28 2019.

Passengers will be re-accommodated on Qatar Airways serves between London Heathrow and Doha.

BA139 from London Heathrow to Mumbai is cancelled from Friday 14 June to Sunday 30 June 2019.

BA138 from Mumbai to London Heathrow is cancelled from Saturday 15 June to Monday 1 July 2019.

Passengers will be re-accommodated on alternative BA services between London Heathrow and Mumbai.

BA73 from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi is cancelled on 8, 9, 10, 11 and 21, 22 June 2019.

BA72 from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow is cancelled on 9, 10, 11, 12 and 22, 23 June 2019.

Passengers will be re-accommodated on alternative BA services between London Heathrow and Dubai, with any consequential costs at passenger’s expense.

Tactical Cancellations

BA has, today Friday 10 May 2019, also announced the following tactical cancellations up until late August 2019:

BA123 London Heathrow – Doha 24 & 25 June
BA122 Doha – London Heathrow 25 & 26 June 

BA69 London Heathrow – Philadelphia 5 July 
BA68 Philadelphia – London Heathrow 5 July 

BA73 London Heathrow – Abu Dhabi 9 & 10 July 
BA72 Abu Dhabi – London Heathrow 10 & 11 July 

BA215 London Heathrow – Boston 20, 21, 27 & 28 July
BA214 Boston – London Heathrow 20, 21, 27 & 28 July

BA193 London Heathrow – Dallas Fort Worth 3, 4, 5 & 6 August 
BA192 Dallas Fort Worth – London Heathrow 3, 4, 5 & 6 August 

BA167 London Heathrow – Tel Aviv 17, 18, 19 & 20 August 
BA166 Tel Aviv – London Heathrow 18, 19, 20 & 21 August 

BA197 London Heathrow – Houston 28 & 29 August
BA196 Houston – London Heathrow 28 & 29 August

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled will be re-accomodated on alternative BA flights or those of partner airlines. Alternatively, passengers are entitled to a full refund.

Affected passengers should check the status of their booking at ba.com and contact either BA or their travel agent.