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.
Having previously travelled onward from Heathrow to UK cities by train, we are well aware what a fraught experience it can be.
Aside from the hassle and expense of travelling from Heathrow to one of the mainline railway stations in Central London, there’s the added dilemma of either buying a flexible train ticket (some times at a cost of hundreds of pounds) or an advance train ticket for a specified train which, if missed, has to be thrown away.
Whilst Lufthansa and Air France have offered Rail & Fly tickets for many years, BA has only now announced joint rail & fly tickets with First Great Western and Heathrow Express (who both serve London Paddington).
From Friday 5 December 2014, passengers will be able to buy joint tickets for BA flights from London Heathrow to/from the following railway stations served by Great Western with a connection between Paddington to Heathrow on the Heathrow Express:
Before the formation of International Airlines Group (IAG) in early 2011, British Airways offered shareholders (who held shares above a certain minimum) a 10% discount on BA flights booked with the airline.
It was very popular with private shareholders and a self-funding means of acquiring substantial savings for frequent flyers.
The future of the discount has been the subject of much speculation as it was never extended to other IAG airlines Iberia and Vueling. Nor was the BA discount ever offered to former Iberia shareholders or new shareholders in IAG.
Last month IAG announced its intention to resume dividend payments to shareholders after a long hiatus.
Following this, IAG has now confirmed that the shareholder discount scheme will end on 31 January 2015.
Here is the text of the e-mail sent to shareholders.
I am writing to advise you that from midnight on 31 January 2015 the shareholder discount scheme for former British Airways shareholders will come to a close.
Since the merger in January 2011 we have been reviewing the discount scheme. It was kept open to former British Airways shareholders, but it has not been available to former Iberia holders or new IAG shareholders. It has never been available to institutional shareholders, who own the majority of our shares.
After continuing with the discount for almost four years, with the recent announcement of our intention to resume dividend payments we feel it is the right time to close the scheme. We will of course continue to offer competitive prices via ba.com and hope that you will continue to support British Airways’ business.
However, you will still have the opportunity to book flights using the shareholder discount between now and midnight on 31 January 2015. Flights can be booked 355 days in advance.
Whilst we appreciate that this will come as a disappointment to some of you, in reality the take-up of the discount was extremely low and feedback from shareholders has been that they value a dividend more. We hope that in light of the dividend announcement you will continue to support us as a valued shareholder.
British Airways is to introduce pre-ordering of main course meals for passengers travelling in World Traveller Plus, Club World and First Class on select long-haul flights departing London Heathrow from Monday 1 December 2014.
British Airways has confirmed that its London Heathrow – Miami route will be served exclusively by the Airbus A380 from Sunday 25 October 2015.
The A380 will operate twice daily, replacing up to three daily Boeing 747/777 flights.
The A380 currently operates on selected flights to Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Singapore, Washington, and, from April 2015, San Francisco.
There’s more information on BA’s A380 operations at ba.com. As this announcement has been made nearly a year in advance, we should sound a note of caution that further changes could be announced in the interim.
BA flights from London Heathrow to Miami are also due to move from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to 3 from 14 October 2015.
Update January 2018:
BA now operates one of two daily flights to Miami (BA208 / BA209) with the Airbus A380 in the winter season until Monday 30 April 2018. The route then operates with a Boeing 747 twice daily until Saturday 27 October 2018. The A380 then returns on Sunday 28 October 2018.
As part of a wider set of terminal moves at London Heathrow and the consolidation of BA’s operations into Terminals 3 and 5, a number of long-haul BA flights are to move from Terminal 5 to 3 from Wednesday 14 October 2015.
These flights are Accra, Cape Town, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, Nairobi, Phoenix and Vancouver.
The opening of Terminal 2 at London Heathrow this year has resulted in a large number of airlines moving out of Terminals 1 and 3.
As a consequence of this, Terminal 1 is due to close next year and BA will also be consolidating its operations in Terminals 3 and 5.
A series of terminal moves will be taking place next year. As part of this, from Tuesday 30 June 2015 BA’s medium haul flights to Amman, Beirut, Baku and Cairo flights will move from Terminal 1 to Terminal 5.
From this date, BA will have no further flights from Terminal 1.
With the exception of Cairo, these routes were inherited by BA following the acquisition of bmi by its parent company International Airlines Group in 2012.
Here are some small items of news we’ve gleaned so far, principally concerning London Heathrow
As expected, BA will move out of Terminal 1 in 2015 and consolidate its operations in Terminals 3 and 5.
Work will also be underway to improve the experience for connecting passengers at Terminal 3.
All departures from Terminal 3 are now from boarding gates with coaching from remote stands eliminated.
Automatic check-in is to be introduced for domestic flights (this was trialled on some short haul routes some time ago).
Self baggage tagging at check-in and automated boarding gates are also to be introduced.
There is likely to be limited growth in BA’s long-haul network in 2015, beyond what new routes have bed announced, namely Kuala Lumpur.
The Boeing 767 is to be retired from BA’s long-haul fleet by 2016, to be replaced by the Boeing 787. A small number of Boeing 767s will operate in a short-haul configuration until 2018. This will then leave all short haul flights operated with Airbus A319/320/321 aircraft.
BA referred to its Oneworld alliance partner Qatar Airways and a potential codeshare partner in China providing growth opportunities. However, it has to be said these have been mooted for some time.
The presentation also included a section on Avios which is the currency used by the British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus frequent flyer programme. It is also the name of a travel regards programme in its own right, formerly known as Airmiles. This is likely to be a growth area in the coming years with more potential airlines joining the programme, in addition to Meridiana Fly and FlyBe.
We’ll update this page further with any more points of interest from the presentations and Q&A session.
British Airways has today announced it is to launch a twice daily service from London Heathrow to Bilbao in the Basque region of Northern Spain.
Bilbao is currently served from London Heathrow by BA’s IAG sibling Vueling. It will move its four weekly flights to London Gatwick.
Flights launch on Sunday 29 March 2015.
BA’s flights will initially operate from Heathrow Terminal 1 and will move to Terminal 3 on Tuesday 30 June 2015.
London Heathrow – Bilbao
Flight BA466 Depart London Heathrow 09:20 – Arrive Bilbao 12:20
Flight BA468 Depart London Heathrow 16:05 – Arrive Bilbao 19:05
Flight BA467 Depart Bilbao 13:05 – Arrive London Heathrow 14:00
Flight BA469 Depart Bilbao 19:40 – Arrive London Heathrow 20:35
Whilst a popular leisure destination in its own right (Bilbao is of course home to a Guggenheim museum) we understand the service has been operated to attract corporate clients in the area to BA’s London network and cargo traffic from the port of Bilbao.
British Airways is to suspend its thrice-daily service from London Heathrow to Rotterdam from 28 March 2015.
BA has served Rotterdam since late 2012 and was one of three new short-haul routes announced shortly after BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group, bought bmi. The other two routes were Leeds-Bradford and Zagreb.
BA has since launched a service between London City and Rotterdam and will continue to operate this route.
It’s a reasonable assumption that an unsatisfactory commercial performance is a reason for the suspension of the route. According to Civil Aviation Authority statistics, just over 8,000 passengers flew in both directions between London Heathrow and Rotterdam in September 2014, a fall of nearly 30% year on year. August’s numbers show a similar trend.
Affected passengers have the option of being rerouted on either a London Heathrow – Amsterdam flight or London City – Rotterdam flight.