BA to fly the Airbus A380 to Vancouver from 1 May 2016

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A British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft takes off at London Heathrow airport.
British Airways Airbus A380 at take off, London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Vancouver is to join BA’s roster of Airbus A380 destinations from 1 May 2016 until 2 October 2016 as one of its daily flights to the Canadian city will be upgraded from a Boeing 747 to an Airbus A380:

Flight BA085 Depart London Heathrow 17:15 – Arrive Vancouver 18:40
Flight BA084 Depart Vancouver 20:50 – Arrive London Heathrow 14:00

This does mark the end of, temporarily at least, BA Boeing 747 services to Vancouver. The service will revert back to a daily Boeing 747 from 2 October 2016. There is no doubt that the Airbus A380 is a significant upgrade over the Boeing 747 in all aspects, particularly with regard to seating in World Traveller Plus, in-flight entertainment aircraft condition and overall cabin comfort.

Other BA A380 destinations include selected flights to Los Angeles, Washington, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Singapore, San Francisco and, from 25 October 2015, Miami.

For passengers looking to book specific A380 services we should note that schedules are subject to change and aircraft can also be substituted at short notice.

Update January 2018:

The Airbus A380 is next due to operate on this route from Tuesday 1 May 2018 to Sunday 30 September 2018. The route continues to otherwise operates with a Boeing 747.

BA to introduce new boarding & hand baggage rules to improve punctuality

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British Airways Self Boarding Gates - London Heathrow Terminal 5
British Airways Self Boarding Gates – London Heathrow Terminal 5

Punctuality has been a perennial difficulty for British Airways.

Shortly before Terminal 5 opened in 2008, the airline suffered the ignominy of having the worst punctuality record of any European airline.

Once Terminal 5 bedded down, its punctuality proved radically. However, this has proved not to be permanent. The airline has experienced another deterioration in punctuality.

Whilst operating from London Heathrow can often be a cause of poor punctuality, the volume of hand baggage being brought on to the aircraft is cited in a lot of anecdotal observations about flight delays.

Punctuality, known to be very important to passengers travelling on short-haul in particular, is currently back in focus.

Following trials on selected routes, the airline is to introduce new boarding procedures and processes for hand luggage.

Please see here for more details of BA’s new system for boarding by groups from 12 December 2017.
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BA launches London Gatwick – Valencia

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London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

BA continues its fight back at London Gatwick with the launch of a new service to the Spanish city of Valencia from Friday 6 November 2015.

The route will initially operate four times weekly, increasing to six times weekly from late March 2016, and flights are on sale now on ba.com

London Gatwick – Valencia

Flight BA2794 Depart London Gatwick 09:00 Arrive Valencia 12:20 (Tue, Wed)
Flight BA2794 Depart London Gatwick 06:45 Arrive Valencia 10:05 (Fri)
Flight BA2794 Depart London Gatwick 09:00 Arrive Valencia 12:20 (Sun)

Flight BA2785 Depart Valencia 13:05 Arrive London Gatwick 14:35 (Tue, Wed)
Flight BA2785 Depart Valencia 11:10 Arrive London Gatwick 12:40 (Fri)
Flight BA2785 Depart Valencia 13:30 Arrive London Gatwick 15;00 (Sun)

Valencia is BA’s fifteenth Spanish destination with flights already operating to Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Fuerteventura, Granada, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malaga, Mallorca, Menorca, Seville and Tenerife from a combination of London Heathrow, Gatwick and City airports.

BA to suspend London Heathrow – Almaty (Kazakhstan) from 11 October 2015

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

British Airways has announced it is to suspend its thrice weekly flight from London Heathrow to Almaty in Kazakhstan from Sunday 11 October 2015.

The last flight (BA159) will depart from London Heathrow to Almaty on Sunday 11 October 2015. The last flight from Almaty to London Heathrow (BA158) will depart on Monday 12 October 2015.

This means London will lose a direct link to Kazakhstan.

The airline has cited commercial reasons for the suspension of the route. This route was inherited from the merger of bmi into British Airways in 2012. It joins a long list of former bmi Heathrow routes suspended by BA (Damascus, Addis Ababa, Dammam, Bishkek, Khartoum, Tehran, Yerevan, Amristar, Casablanca, Marrakech and Tbilisi).

Currently, affected passengers have the option of a full refund or taking an earlier flight whilst the route is still operational.

BA do say they are looking at re-accommodation options on other airlines. It normally takes at least a couple of weeks for these to be announced and we would advise waiting before taking any action.

Passengers looking at alternative options have the option of Lufthansa (via Frankfurt) and Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul). There are other options with lesser known airlines and hubs.

Update 28 July: BA is now offering affected passengers the option of a re-route on Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi up to 15 July 2016. Passengers should contact either their travel agent or BA directly to change their tickets.

BA to suspend London Heathrow – Entebbe (Uganda) from 2 October 2015

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

British Airways has announced it is to suspend its four times weekly flight from London Heathrow to Entebbe in Uganda from 2 October 2015.

The last flight (BA63) will depart from London Heathrow to Entebbe on 2 October 2015. The last flight from Entebbe to London Heathrow (BA62) will depart on 3 October 2015.

This means that London Heathrow will not have a direct link to Entebbe after the route has been suspended.

The airline has cited commercial reasons for the suspension of the route. It is likely that competitive pressure from Middle Eastern carriers are a factor. BA suspended Lusaka in 2013 and Dar es Salaam in 2012.

Currently, affected passengers have the option of a full refund, taking an earlier flight whilst the route is still operational, or taking an alternative BA flight to Nairobi (BA will not meet any onward travel expenses).

BA do say they are looking at re-accommodation options on other airlines. It normally takes at least a couple of weeks for these to be announced and we would advise waiting before taking any action.

Full rebooking options are detailed on BA’s trade website.

For passengers looking at alternative routes, options include KLM (via Amsterdam), Brussels Airlines (via Brussels), Emirates (via Dubai), Qatar Airways (via Doha), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Turkish Airlines (via Istabul).

Update 28 July: BA is now offering affected passengers the option of a re-route on either Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi or Brussels Airlines via Brussels up to 15 July 2016. Passengers should contact either their travel agent or BA directly to change their tickets.

BA to fly the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner to Dehli from October 2015

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Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Image Credit: British Airways)
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has today confirmed the first route to be operated by the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner.

The aircraft will operate on selected flights from London Heathrow to Dehli (Indira Gandhi International Airport) from Sunday 25 October 2015.

One noteworthy aspect is that First cabin on this aircraft has just eight seats, compared to the usual 14 seats on most other aircraft.  The exact design of the cabin is yet to be revealed. However, BA claim the First cabin features extra storage space and a single dial to control seat recline, headrest, lumbar adjustment and lighting. It also features a larger TV screen and a new touchscreen handset.  That said, the seat plan for the cabin shows two rows of seats in a 1-2-1 configuration so we do not expect any radical changes.

The Club World business class, World Traveller premium economy and World Traveller economy cabins are expected to be the same as the Boeing 787-8 aircraft that are currently in operation.

The aircraft will have 216 seats in total with 42 Club World business class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, 39 World Traveller plus premium economy seats in a 2-3-2 configuration and 127 World Traveller economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.

The Club World cabin is split between two parts of the aircraft with just two rows of seats in a demi-cabin behind First class (a further four rows are behind the galley) and we suspect this will prove quite popular.

There are a lot of anecdotal comments about the relatively poor comfort of the Boeing 787-8 cabin on BA so it will be interesting to see if any improvements are to be made.

The flights will operate five times a week on the BA257 from London Heathrow to Delhi on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and the BA256 from Delhi to London Heathrow on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.  This replaces a Boeing 777 on this rotation.  The other daily flight to Dehli (BA143 & BA142) will continue to be operated by a Boeing 747.

Further route announcements for the Boeing 787-900 are expected in due course.  Future routes are expected to include Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Kuala Lumpur.

Changes to BA routes to Bodrum, Dubrovnik, Gothenburg & Nice

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BA Airbus A319 aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
BA Airbus A319 aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

BA has recently announced a number of schedule changes to some of its short-haul routes from London Heathrow and Gatwick:

London Heathrow – Gothenburg

From 25 October 2015, BA will add a year round third daily flight on this route which will operate at the following times until 27 March 2016:

Flight BA802 Depart London Heathrow 19:15 – Arrive Gothenburg 22:15
Flight BA803 Depart Gothenburg 08:00 – Arrive London Heathrow 09:15

This is what’s known as a “night stop” which means it is timed for an early morning departure from Gothenburg.

London Gatwick – Bodrum

This twice weekly, summer seasonal, route to Bodrum in Turkey will now end on Monday 19 October 2015, instead of Monday 2 November 2015, as was planned.

This means that flights BA2566 and BA2567 are cancelled on 22, 26, 29 October and 2 November. Alternative flights to Dalaman and Istanbul, with no onward connections, are available for affected passengers.

London Gatwick – Dubrovnik

The Monday departure from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik in Croatia will be cancelled from 26 October 2015 (flights BA2678 and BA2679).

BA will continue operate the route on other days. However, the Friday departure will also be cancelled between 8 January 2016 and 5 February 2016.

London Gatwick – Nice

BA will reduce its frequency on this route from 14 to 12 flights a week from 22 November 2015. Flights BA2622 and BA2623 will be cancelled on Wednesdays and Sundays.

It is likely that there will be further schedule and route announcements over the next couple of months in advance of the launch of the Winter timetable on 25 October 2015.

BA introduces catering improvements to World Traveller & Club World

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BA Club World Cabin - 2006 (Image Credit: British Airways)
BA Club World Cabin – 2006 (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has announced it is to introduce a series of improvements to in flight catering in World Traveller economy and Club World business class.

The improvements to World Traveller include an improved main meal tray with a better starter. Cheese and biscuits will also be added on most outbound flights from London Heathrow and London Gatwick (except flights to India, Japan and Korea).
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BA offers 10% discount on flights from Australia to London

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British Airways, BBC First, Sydney - London Offer
British Airways, BBC First, Sydney – London Offer

British Airways is marking 80 years of flying to Australia from London (albeit on routings far more convulted than today!) with a special 10% discount on return flights from Australia to the UK and Europe.

The discount is offered in conjunction with BBC First, the BBC’s recently launched commercial TV channel in Australia.

Note this only applies to flights from Australia and not flights originating in the UK or Europe.
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BA upgrades Heathrow – Austin to Boeing 777

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British Airways First Class Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways First Class Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has today announced it is to upgrade its recently launched London Heathrow – Austin route from a three class Boeing 787 to a four class Boeing 777 from Sunday 25 October 2015.

The announcement has been confirmed in a press release from the city of Austin.

This will increase capacity from 214 to 224 seats on each flight. This may seem a modest increase, but the difference is 14 first class seats, 13 additional business class seats, from 35 to 48, and 15 additional premium economy seats, from 25 to 40. The number of economy seats will actually fall from 154 to 122.

This continues the trend of very successful new transatlantic route launches by BA in recent years. At a recent investor update, International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh said he considered that there are three-five additional US cities BA could serve profitably, so we should expect to hear more new route announcements in the coming years.