British Airways is currently running test flights for its Airbus A350-1000 aircraft on London Heathrow – Madrid (flights BA464 / BA465) ahead of its inaugural long-haul flight to Dubai on Monday 2 September 2019.
BA has also this week carried out a full test flight from London Heathrow to Dubai. This involved performing the complete in-flight service for an aircraft full of passengers exactly as it would be run on a flight, apart from the fact that the aircraft never left the ground at Heathrow!
Here are some pictures of the in-flight service from earlier this month. Like previous pictures, these are professionally staged and shot, but do give a bit more of a flavour of the aircraft and the cabins.
As you can see from the pictures below, the in-flight service follows the same format as for other aircraft. In terms of the experiencing the service for yourself, it will take time for crews to get used to the layout of the aircraft so the service may be a little slower than usual to begin with.
British Airways has officially unveiled its first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, G-XWBA, which arrived at London Heathrow on Saturday 27 July 2019.
This is the first of 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft delivered to BA, with the first aircraft not featuring First Class. The aircraft features an entirely new business class cabin, branded the Club Suite, as well as new World Traveller Plus premium economy and World Traveller economy cabins.
As is to expected, the aircraft is fitted with high definition personal on-demand in flight entertainment from Panasonic, at seat power, WiFi, and mood lighting in all cabins.
However, with BA’s parent company IAG keeping a watchful eye on its configuration there are no on board bars or social spaces as passenger density takes priority.
The aircraft will fly on selected flights between London Heathrow and Madrid in August to allow for crew familiarisation. It will begin long-haul operations to Dubai from 2 September 2019. Flight BA107 from Heathrow to Dubai will be operated with the A350 from 2 September, except for 7-8 September and 1 – 7 October 2019. Flight BA106 from Dubai to Heathrow will be operated with the A350 from 3 September, except for 8-9 September and 2-8 October 2019.
The Airbus A350 will then fly to Toronto (flights BA93 & BA92) from 8 October 2019, Tel Aviv from 1 December 2019 (flights BA163 & BA162) and Bengaluru (flights BA119 & BA118) from 1 January 2020. For both Tel Aviv and Bengaluru, the return flights to Heathrow operate with the A350 from the following day.
Here’s the Airbus A350-1000 pictured at London Heathrow today, in far better weather than the day of its arrival!
It is quite an aircraft, notably for its curved wing-tip featuring BA’s Chatham Dockyard flag.
Club Suite – Business Class
The aircraft features BA new Club Suite which provides, for the first time on BA, direct aisle access for every seat with all seats in 1-2-1 configuration, as well as optional privacy for all by way of a door.
The TV monitor is fixed into position meaning all passengers in business class can watch the in-flight entertainment gate to gate for the first time. The seat also features vastly more storage options, particularly at shoulder and arm level, compared to BA’s existing Club World seat.
As per the seat map on ba.com, the Club cabin is split into 11 rows at the front of the aircraft and a 3 row “demi-cabin” between the galley and World Traveller Plus. Had this demi-cabin been at the front of the aircraft, it would be very popular.
British Airways has advised that the planned launch of Airbus A350-1000 flights from London Heathrow to Dubai has been brought forward.
Flights BA106 and BA107 between London Heathrow and Dubai were due to be operated with the Airbus A350-1000 from Tuesday 8 October 2019.
This has now been brought forward to Monday 2 September 2019.
The Airbus A350 will not operate BA107 on 7 & 8 September, nor BA106 on 8 & 9 September.
As the Airbus A350-1000 does not have a First Class cabin, passengers booked into First Class will be downgraded to Club World if they remain on these flights.
This also means that Toronto will no longer be the first BA long-haul route to be served by the A350 from Tuesday 1 October 2019.
If you did book a flight to Toronto to specifically fly on an early Airbus A350 flight, BA has in the past exercised discretion when there are changes to schedules for new aircraft, but this cannot be guaranteed.
Schedules for new aircraft do of course remain subject to changes at very short notice.
BA’s first Airbus A350-1000, G-XWBA, is due to arrive at London Heathrow next week and will operate passenger flights between Heathrow and Madrid for crew familiarisation purposes.
Whilst this is not the first long-haul order for Airbus by either BA or IAG, for Airbus this is still a significant long-haul order by BA as the A350-1000 aircraft is likely to form a major part of BA’s long haul fleet as a replacement for the Boeing 747-400.