British Airways Launches New Short Haul Routes

BA has launched four new summer seasonal routes from London Heathrow to Cluj-Napoca, Gdansk, Riga and Wroclaw.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Old Street Kramarska, Gdansk near the Long Market, Poland
Old Street Kramarska, Gdansk near the Long Market, Poland

British Airways has launched four new summer seasonal routes from London Heathrow to Cluj-Napoca, Romania; Gdansk and Wroclaw, Poland; and Riga, Latvia.

Flights to Cluj-Napoca (Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport), Gdansk (Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport) and Riga (Riga International Airport) will operate three times weekly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from Friday 2 July to Sunday 26 September 2021.

Flights to Wroclaw will operate twice weekly on Thursday and Sunday from Thursday 1 July to Sunday 26 September 2021.

It is not unusual to see BA launch new summer seasonal routes at Heathrow, but this choice of routes suggests a greater focus on Visiting Friends & Relatives traffic, rather than leisure.

Further route launches are likely when there is clarity on the lifting of travel restrictions from England in May.

At present, all flights are planned to operate from London Heathrow Terminal 3, but this is subject to the terminal reopening and BA restarting operations there.

As these are new summer seasonal routes, the operating dates and frequencies may change depending on their commercial performance.

It goes without saying that the operation of these routes is subject to travel restrictions and passengers must comply will all pre-departure and arrival requirements.

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BA Extends Gatwick Short Haul Cancellation To 31 October 2021

British Airways will not operate any short haul flights at London Gatwick Airport until Sunday 31 October 2021.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways, London Gatwick
British Airways, London Gatwick

British Airways has extended the transfer of all London Gatwick short haul flights to London Heathrow Airport up to Saturday 30 October 2021.

BA transferred all Gatwick short haul routes to London Heathrow in April 2020. This was initially a temporary move. It has been extended many times. The last plan was for short haul flights to resume in July.

The latest extension in no doubt influenced by the UK government’s plans to reopen international travel, which means a near normal summer travel season without restrictions is looking less likely. It does not bode well for BA’s long term presence at Gatwick.

At present, BA is operating a limited number of long haul flights at Gatwick to Antigua, Cancun and St Lucia. A number of flights to Antigua and St Lucia are expected to operate at Heathrow in the summer. BA is also due to transfer flights to Accra, Doha and Islamabad to Gatwick on 31 October 2021.

At the time of publication the latest extension is not reflected in online timetables but these should be updated shortly.

Passengers can check the status of their bookings using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com and should contact BA or their travel agent.

© Copyright London Air Travel 2021.

BA Launches London City – Gibraltar & Jersey

British Airways will fly from London City to Gibraltar and Jersey twice weekly from Friday 25 June 2021.

London Air Travel » British Airways

BA CityFlyer Embraer Aircraft
BA CityFlyer Embraer Aircraft (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has launched two new summer seasonal routes from London City airport.

BA will fly from London City to Gibraltar and Jersey twice weekly on Mondays & Fridays from 25 June 2021. Fights are due to operate until late September.

Whilst frequencies are relatively limited they can be mixed with BA flights to other London airports. Jersey is ordinarily served by BA from Gatwick but is currently operated from Heathrow, along with Gibraltar.

As these are new seasonal routes the operating dates and frequencies may be changed at short notice depending on commercial demand.

At present, BA is operating an extremely limited scheduled from London City to Belfast, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt. The resumption of other year-round and seasonal routes is subject to commercial demand and travel restrictions.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

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British Airways Extends Use of eVouchers To 30 April 2023

British Airways has extended the use of evouchers to pay for flights for travel up to 30 April 2023.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Wing Tip
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Wing Tip (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has extended the use of “eVouchers” for travel up to and including 30 April 2023.

Passengers who had booked to fly with BA and did not wish to travel have been issued with “eVouchers” which can be used online to pay for future flight bookings.

Until today, 28 January 2021, eVouchers could only be used for flight bookings that had been fully completed by 30 April 2022.

In a sign that there is limited prospect of international travel returning to normal until well into 2022, this deadline has been extended to 30 April 2023. This applies to all eVouchers. Any existing eVouchers issued with a previous deadline of 30 April 2022 are automatically extended.

It should be emphasised that this is the deadline for travel to be completed, not for bookings to be made.

The deadline for the use “Future Travel Vouchers” which were issued in the early stages of the pandemic has also been extended to 30 April 2023.

This follows a decision by the airline to remove the expiry date of its “Book With Confidence” policy, whereby change fees are waived for all new flight bookings with also the option to convert the value of their ticket into an eVoucher.

Detailed guidance on the use of eVouchers is available on ba.com

© Copyright London Air Travel 2021.

BA Extends Gatwick Short Haul Cancellations To June 2021

BA will not operate any short haul flights at Gatwick, except for Glasgow, until 30 June 2021 at the earliest.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways, London Gatwick
British Airways, London Gatwick

British Airways has extended the transfer of most Gatwick short haul flights to London Heathrow until Wednesday 30 June 2021 at the earliest.

BA temporarily transferred all Gatwick short haul routes to London Heathrow in April last year.

This will continue until 30 June 2021, with the exception of flights to Glasgow which will start at Gatwick on Thursday 24 June 2021.

Another delay is not surprising given there is very little chance of travel restrictions in Europe being relaxed in the coming months. If restrictions continue throughout the summer and a waiver is issued which allows BA to cancel flights without forfeiting slots, it is likely to be extended.

At present, BA is operating a limited number of long haul flights at Gatwick to Antigua, Bermuda, Cancun and St Lucia.

Passengers can check the status of their bookings using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com and should contact BA or their travel agent.

Update March 2021

BA has delayed the start of Manchester flights at Gatwick until Sunday 31 October 2021. Flights to Accra and Islamabad will also continue to operate at London Heathrow throughout the summer season.

© Copyright London Air Travel 2021.

BA Introduces Pre Paid Short Haul Catering

BA is to replace its buy on board menu on short haul economy flights with a pre order menu called “Speedbird Cafe”.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways, Short Haul Economy Speedbird Cafe, January 2021
British Airways, Short Haul Economy Speedbird Cafe, January 2021 (Image Credit: British Airways)

When British Airways introduced buy on board catering to short haul flights in 2017 then CEO Alex Cruz was convinced that it was only a matter of time before its network rivals followed suit.

Four years and a global pandemic later, events have taken an interesting turn.

Whilst Lufthansa is introducing buy on board across its airlines from March 2021, BA has pulled a minor volte face.

Since COVID-19, BA has offered a limited service in short haul economy of complimentary water and a light snack, with no buy on board to limit passenger / crew interaction.

This is now permanent. From Wednesday 20 January 2021, buy on board will be replaced with a fully pre paid service known as “Speedbird Cafe”.

BA will no longer sell M&S branded products. It will continue to offer a range of soft and alcoholic drinks, ambient snacks, as well as some sandwiches designed for the airline by Tom Kerridge. Worry not, the infamous Afternoon Tea box is still available.

You can download a full PDF menu here – note this is a large file.

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How The Boeing 747 Transformed Flying From London

Concluding our series on the Boeing 747, how it transformed flying from London bringing new airlines, new routes and reducing journey times.

London Air Travel » British Airways

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

Concluding our series on the story of the Boeing 747 at BA, here’s a broader look at how the aircraft transformed flying from London over the past 50 years.

The 747 Brought New Airlines To London

Air New Zealand, Avianca, Cathay Pacific, Braniff International (aided by deregulation of the US market) and Virgin Atlantic all launched their first services from London with the Boeing 747.

As you can see from Air New Zealand advert below it, as many airlines did, likened the Boeing 747 to a flying hotel.

Air New Zealand, London Gatwick - Auckland, August 1982
Air New Zealand, Boeing 747 London Gatwick – Auckland, August 1982
Avianca, London Gatwick - Bogota, via Madrid & Barranquilla, May 1978
Avianca, Boeing 747 London Gatwick – Bogota, via Madrid & Barranquilla, May 1978
Braniff International, London Gatwick - Dallas / Fort Worth, February 1978
Braniff International, London Gatwick – Dallas / Fort Worth, February 1978
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British Airways’ Special Boeing 747 Charter Flights

Our story of the Boeing 747 at BA continues with special charters, including flights for sports teams and members of the Royal Family.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Dreamflight, London Heathrow, 2015 (Image Credit: British Airways)
Dreamflight, London Heathrow, 2015 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Continuing our series on the story of the Boeing 747 at BA, here are some of more memorable BA 747 flights from the past 40 years. 

Unlike yesterday’s more controversial flights, these are special charter flights for moments of celebration and significance:

Dreamflight

Dreamflight, London Heathrow, Sunday 27 October 2019
Dreamflight, London Heathrow, Sunday 27 October 2019 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Founded in 1986 by former staff members Patricia Pearce MBE and Derek Pereira, Dreamflight raised funds to charter a BA 747 to fly children with a serious illness or disability to Orlando.

Approximately 200 children travelled on the flight with BA cabin crew and a dedicated medical team.

Each flight was given a special send-off at London Heathrow with BA staff and celebrity guests. Since the first flight in 1987 more than 5,800 children have flown on Dreamflight.

Sadly, Dreamflight did not take place in 2020 due to COVID-19. Hopefully, it will be able to resume, with a different aircraft, in 2021.

Dreamflight, London Heathrow, 2017
Dreamflight, London Heathrow, 2017 (Image Credit: British Airways)
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British Airways’ Most Memorable Boeing 747 Flights

Our series on the story of the Boeing 747 at BA continues with some of the most memorable flights of the past 40 years.

London Air Travel » British Airways

BA Flight 149, BBC News, August 1990
BA Flight 149, BBC News, August 1990

Continuing our series on the story of the Boeing 747 at BA, here are some of the most memorable BA 747 flights from the past 40 years.

These are flights, some of which are still controversial to this today, that are remembered for the wrong reasons. More BA 747 flights from happier times will be shared tomorrow.

BA9 “All Engines Fail” – June 1982

On 24 June 1982, a BA Boeing 747-236 aircraft en route from Kuala Lumpur to Perth plunged 25,000 feet.

All four engines had failed after the aircraft hit a cloud of volcanic ash from Mount Galunggung in West Java, Indonesia.

Captain Eric Moody, who at the time did not know the cause of the engine failure, told passengers: “This is your captain speaking. We have a small problem and all four engines have stopped. We are doing our damndest to get them working again. I trust you are not in too much distress.”

Captain Moody, First Officer Roger Greaves and Engineering Office Barry Townley-Freeman spent 13 minutes trying to regain power on the engines. The aircraft subsequently diverted to Jakarta, where it landed safely.

The Last Flight To Kuwait – August 1990

The circumstances surrounding flight BA149 on 1 August 1990 remain a source of controversy to this day. The flight was scheduled to depart London Heathrow at 16:15 GMT for Kuala Lumpur, via Kuwait and Chennai.

There had been news reports on the day of escalating tensions between Iraq and Kuwait. BA claims it was advised by the British embassy in Kuwait that the situation was calm and there was no reason for the flight, operated by Boeing 747-136 G-AWND, not to operate.

The aircraft was in radio contact with BA in London during the flight. At no point were the flight crew advised of an impending invasion or to divert the aircraft.

The aircraft landed in Kuwait at 04:13 local time.  At around 05:00 local time the airport closed. In the next hour the runway was attacked by Iraqi forces and the aircraft was evacuated.  Passengers and crew immediately went to an airport hotel.

According to BA, 310 passengers and 82 BA employees were held hostage by Iraqis.   Women and children were allowed to return home in late August.  The remaining hostages were dispersed to various sites and some were used as “human shields”.  The last remaining passengers and BA employees were released on 9 December 1990.

The aircraft was destroyed following the liberation of Kuwait.

British Airways Boeing 747-137 Aircraft G-AWND, Kuwait
British Airways Boeing 747-137 Aircraft G-AWND, Kuwait

The controversy surrounding this flight is why it proceeded to operate when other airlines had suspended operations and who in BA and the UK Government knew what, and when.

It has been alleged that the UK Government wanted the aircraft to land in Kuwait to enable an intelligence gathering exercise to take place.

BA has always denied any knowledge of a group of intelligence operatives boarding the aircraft at Heathrow.  The UK Government maintained that the aircraft landed in Kuwait before the invasion and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made a statement to that effect before Parliament.

BA has always maintained that it had no knowledge of the impending invasion of Kuwait and that it would never put its aircraft, passengers and crews at risk. No passenger list has ever been released for the flight.

A number of passengers sued BA in different jurisdictions. The airline settled cases brought in the US out of court, citing the cost of litigation. Passengers from France sued the airline and the courts found BA to be negligent and passengers were paid substantial damages. In the UK, attempts to bring the matter to court have been unsuccessful there has been no public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the flight.

Continue reading “British Airways’ Most Memorable Boeing 747 Flights”

The Queen Of The Skies Ends Its Reign

Our series on the story of the Boeing 747 at BA continues with its abrupt and unplanned retirement in 2020.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Boeing 747-436 Aircraft
British Airways Boeing 747-436 Aircraft (Image Credit: British Airways)

Had 2020 gone to plan, around 25 BA Boeing 747 aircraft would now be despatching passengers between London Heathrow and numerous destinations around the world.

Those seeking Christmas in New York or winter sun in Cape Town, heading for the alternative reality of Las Vegas, or skiing in Colorado or Whistler via BA would have been carried on a 747.

Some may have complained about ageing interiors or antiquated inflight entertainment systems on certain aircraft. Those sat on the Upper Deck or in the nose of the 747 would have sat comfortably knowing they had at least another three years to enjoy their favourite seats in the house.

Events, as we know, took a very different course in 2020. 31 Boeing 747s met an abrupt and undignified end, save for four that will be preserved at Dunsfold Aerodrome, Kemble Airport and Bro Tathan Business Park, Glamorgan.

It’s not the first time unforeseen events have had an impact on BA’s 747 fleet.

After the events of 11 September 2001, BA’s 747-236 aircraft followed the 747-136 fleet into retirement. 747s at Gatwick were transferred to Heathrow as the airline switched routes to Africa and Central & South America to the airport.

The 57 747-436 aircraft that remained at Heathrow were still the flagship of the long-haul fleet. They were the first to benefit from refreshed First Class, new Club World, and new World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins.

BA Club World IFE Screen
BA Club World 2006 (Image Credit: British Airways)
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