British Airways is the largest airline at London City and London Heathrow airports. It also has a substantial presence at London Gatwick.
It is a subsidiary of International Airlines Group which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling who all have a presence in London.
BA is also a member of the Oneworld alliance and many of its fellow members such as American Airlines and Cathay Pacific have a substantial presence in London. BA therefore features very heavily on this site.
British Airways and the Transport Security Administration have today, Thursday 17 May 2018, officially confirmed that the airline is now participating in the TSA PreCheck® programme.
The TSA PreCheck® programme allows eligible members to go through an expedited security screening process at US airports when flying on participating airlines.
BA has in fact been participating in TSA PreCheck® for a while. Indeed, the BA press release issued today refers to the imminent launch of Nashville, which actually happened two weeks ago. However, for reasons unknown, an official announcement has only been made today.
Members of the Global Entry scheme for citizens of the UK and many other countries are eligible, as are US citizens and lawful permanent residents enrolled in TSA PreCheck®, NEXUS or SENTRI and Canadian citizens who are members of NEXUS.
You can enter your Known Traveller Number or Pass ID on the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com
There are some limitations at the moment for BA passengers:
1. You must have a printed boarding pass, either at home or the airport. Mobile boarding passes are not yet enabled for TSA PreCheck®. You should have no difficulty whatsoever asking for a printed boarding pass at the airport even if you have checked in online.
2. TSA PreCheck® is not currently available at New York JFK Terminal 7 which is currently undergoing renovations.
Both should be available from summer this year. For the avoidance of doubt, TSA PreCheck® is not available at Heathrow or any other UK airport.
British Airways has this week opened its new lounge in Aberdeen.
It follows a similar design aesthetic to its recently opened Rome Fiumicino airport. As with Rome there is a distinctly Scandinavian feel. It is a sharp contrast to the rest of BA’s lounge portfolio.
At 380 m2 in size, the lounge features a wide variety of seating options, with views of the runway. The centrepiece of the lounge is a self-pour granite topped bar. BA also promises food appropriate to the time of day.
The lounge also includes posters and art work from the airline’s collection and “The Long Winding Shores” by artist Maddie Rose Hills.
As is clear from the images below, there is no shortage of powerpoint throughout the lounge.
For airlines, charging for seating selection is the ultimate revenue raising exercise.
For passengers, the certainty of knowing where on the aircraft you will be seated can be of huge value. Whilst some can live the uncertainty. Others can’t bear it.
Not only that, beyond the initial IT expense, it costs airlines nothing to offer this service. All the extra revenue from seat selection charges goes straight to the bottom line.
BA has for nearly ten years charged for seat selection, except primarily for those travelling in First or Bronze, Silver and Gold Executive Club cardholders.
It was one of a number of measures introduced when the airline was scrambling to survive the post-Lehman Brothers financial crisis. Although many balked at the idea at the time, not least charging to reserve a seat in Club World, it has survived.
Flights will be operated with a three class Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
This is the only direct route between Europe and Durban. Emirates flies direct to Durban from Dubai. Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines also serve Durban via Johannesburg.
Although flights do not operate daily, it will be possible to connect to domestic BA services to/from Cape Town and Johannesburg on flights operated by BA’s franchise partner Comair.
This does solidify BA’s position on the London – South Africa market. BA is the sole operator on London Heathrow – Cape Town, to where BA can despatch up to three Boeing 747s a day in the winter. BA also operates up to two Airbus A380s a day on London Heathrow – Johannesburg, where South African Airways is cutting capacity.
One noteworthy difference to Cape Town and Johannesburg is that the return flight to London is a day flight rather than an overnight flight, which is obviously a matter of personal preference.
IAG, the parent company of British Airways, provided an update yesterday, Friday 4 May, on the impact of a recent Federal Aviation Administration Directive on Boeing 787 aircraft with certain Rolls Royce engines.
This affects the ETOPS certification of the aircraft which determines how far they can fly away from the nearest diversionary airport.
At the time of writing, one Boeing 787-8 and one Boeing 787-9 aircraft has been out of service for at least a week. BA has 9 Boeing 787-8 and 17 Boeing 787-9 aircraft in service. Together, they represent about 20% of BA’s wide body long-haul fleet.
IAG CEO Willie Walsh has not hidden his dissatisfaction over the issue. Given that IAG is currently in negotiations with Airbus and Boeing over future long-haul aircraft orders, there will be even more pressure on Rolls Royce to resolve this.
London Heathrow Cancellations
Since mid-April a number of flights have been proactively cancelled on selected Boeing 787 routes from London Heathrow. This issue is going to continue until at least August of this year.
Routes that have been prone to cancellation include Baltimore, Luanda, Newark, Philadelphia, San Jose California, Tokyo Narita and Toronto Pearson.
British Airways celebrates its centenary in 2019. The airline itself will no doubt be planning a lot of events to mark the occasion.
The official date of BA’s 100th anniversary is not until 25 August 2019. However, Channel 5 is well ahead of the game as it will take a look at the history of BA in a two part series “British Airways: 100 Years in the Sky”.
The first episode airs at 21:00 on Tuesday 1 May 2018 and will be available to watch on demand at My5 after broadcast.
There’s actually not much that has been released in terms of pre-broadcast publicity, beyond “The first passengers sat in wicker chairs with no toilets.” Also, it is not known whether BA has co-operated with the production, which would influence how much archive material has been available. Researchers were looking for contributors online earlier this year, which suggests the production turnaround is quite quick.
Having just watched the first episode, Title Role has done a very creditable job at covering a very broad subject. There’s a lot of high quality archive footage and a good range of informed contributors including journalists, social and cultural historians and former staff of BA and its predecessor airlines.
If we had one complaint about BA Club World above all else, it’s not the lack of direct aisle access for all passengers, it’s the quality of the coffee.
It has always been awful.
The coffee should improve considerably from May, as BA partners with London based Union Hand-Roasted Coffee to provide coffee in First, Club World and BA’s UK lounges.
It a dedicated blend developed by Union to account for changes in taste at altitude. The coffee is a medium roast blend sourced from Peru.
BA says the new coffee should be available by the end of May 2018, which suggests it may be rolled out progressively across long-haul routes.
There won’t be any changes to equipment on board aircraft which means that BA will continue to offer only filter coffee in Club World. BA will continue to offer a choice of latte, cappuccino, filter coffee and espresso in First. There are no changes in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus, nor on short-haul flights.
The coffee stations in the UK lounges will also be revamped as part of the changes (staff with tape measures were spotted at Heathrow last month).
As has widely been reported, operators of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are required to comply with an Air Worthiness Directive issued by the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States.
The FAA Directive
The FAA Directive applies to operators of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with certain engine models manufactured by Rolls Royce.
It limits the scope of the ETOPS (“Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standard”). ETOPS allows twin-engined aircraft like the Boeing 787 to operate between 60 and 330 minutes’ away from the nearest airport that can handle a diversion of the aircraft. This Directive may be modified subject to remedial action by Rolls Royce.
Rolls Royce issued a statement on 13 April 2018 outlining which engines are affected. This has been acknowleged by Boeing.
The requirement for additional maintenance to Rolls Royce engines has been going on for some time and has impacted a number of airlines, notably Air New Zealand, Norwegian and Virgin Atlantic. All have leased in aircraft to cover some flights. BA has also cancelled its flight to Doha for an extended period of time to release aircraft for other routes.
BA has made no official statement on the impact of this directive on the airline. As such, it is not known how many of its aircraft are affected. However, as BA currently operates the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on a number of long-range routes to Asia and Latin America, it will inevitably have an impact on the airline’s operations.
British Airways has today, Monday 16 April 2018, opened its new lounge at Terminal 3 of Rome Fiumicino airport.
The lounge is 460m2 in size with capacity for nearly 140 customers.
The lounge features a granite topped bar as its centre piece. In peak times, the bar will be staffed by a mixologist. At other times, it will operate as a self-pour bar.
Whilst there is clearly ample table seating in the lounge it’s not clear from the BA press images and release what is on offer in terms of food.
The lounge also features artwork from artist Patrick Caulfield and a number of pieces from his series of 22 screen prints from 1973 entitled “Some Poems of Jules Laforgue”.
This lounge is a radical departure from recent BA lounge developments such as London Gatwick and the “Galleries” lounges developed by both Davies & Baron and Graven. Indeed, with its relatively muted tones and clean lines, at first sight you would be forgiven for thinking this lounge belonged to SAS Scandinavian Airlines or SWISS. This lounge would certainly not look out of place on the pages of Wallpaper* magazine.
The lounge may also provide some clues to what to expect for future BA lounge developments. BA is also due to open refurbished lounges in Aberdeen and New York JFK Terminal 7. Please see here for BA’s lounge refurbishment plans for the coming years.