We receive a lot of search enquiries from readers regarding what type of aircraft is due to operate on their flight, so this page we’ve sought to set out an overview of what different type of aircraft BA operates and how it makes a difference to the seating configuration and in-flight experience.
Whilst the vast majority of passengers choose flights according to schedule and price, it is of course useful to know what to expect in advance.
In summary by airport:
London City & London Stansted
All short-haul BA flights are operated using Embraer E170 or E190 aircraft in a 2-2 configuration in both EuroTraveller economy and Club Europe business class cabins. This aircraft is also used on weekend leisure flights to non-London destinations from Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester airports.
The one exception is that some flights may be occasionally operated using Saab aircraft wet-leased from Eastern Airways.
BA’s daily service to New York JFK (BA1/BA2) is operated by an all business class Airbus A318 in a 2-2 configuration.
London Gatwick – Short-haul
All short-haul flights are operated using Airbus A320 aircraft in a 3-3 configuration in EuroTraveller and a 2-2 configuration in Club Europe.
Note that as BA has very recently expanded at Gatwick it is chartering aircraft and crews from Germania and Titan Airways so that it can cover its schedule.
London Gatwick – Long-haul
All long-haul flights are operated using Boeing 777 aircraft in either a three class (Club World, World Traveller Plus, World Traveller) configuration or a four class (First Class, Club World, World Traveller Plus, World Traveller). Please see here for a list of routes that operate with and without First Class. The Boeing 787, 747 and Airbus A380 do not operate at Gatwick.
BA is due to reconfigure selected Boeing 777s to increase seat density later in 2018.
London Heathrow – Short-haul
Almost all short-haul flights are operated using either Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft.
BA does have 7 Boeing 767s which operate on a small number of routes such as Larnaca and selected flights to high volume destinations such as Edinburgh, Frankfurt and Stockholm. The Boeing 767 should be retired from the BA fleet by the end of 2018.
BA does also operate a Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft on selected flights (BA460 and BA461) between London Heathrow and Madrid. Iberia also operated an Airbus A340 on flight BA522 and BA523. This is so BA can transfer large volumes of cargo to Iberia which is owned by the same parent company, International Airlines Group. This is one of the few pleasures of short-haul travel in Europe and should be selected if possible.
London Heathrow – Long-haul
At London Heathrow, BA operates the Airbus A380, Boeing 747, Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300, Boeing 787-800, Boeing 787-900.
The Airbus A380, Boeing 747, Boeing 777-300 and Boeing 787-900 all operate in a four class (First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller) configuration. The Boeing 787-800 operates in a three class configuration. Please see here for a list of routes that operate with and without First Class. The Boeing 787, 747 and Airbus A380 do not operate at Gatwick.
As at 31 December 2017, BA has 12 Airbus A380s in service. It operates on selected flights to Singapore, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Miami (winter seasonal), San Francisco and Vancouver (summer seasonal). It has previously flown to Boston and Washington. It will also fly to Chicago from May 2018.
BA has 36 Boeing 747s in service. BA now expects to retire the Boeing 747 in February 2024. The number of Boeing 747s will reduce to 12 by 2022.
18 aircraft have been refurbished with new interiors and in-flight entertainment systems. These are the Boeing 747s with 86 Club World seats. These regularly operate on routes such as Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Fort Worth, Lagos, Kuwait, New York JFK, Philadelphia and San Diego.
The remaining 747s have not yet been refurbished. However, an unspecified number are due to be refurbished this year. These are the aircraft that have 52 business class seats. They regularly operate on routes such as Accra, Cape Town, Denver, Las Vegas, Nairobi, Phoenix and Vancouver.
Note is quite common for 52 / 86 Club World Boeing 747 routes to swap on certain dates depending on commercial demand and aircraft availability.
The Boeing 747 can also regularly alternate / be paired with the Boeing 777 on routes such as Seattle.
BA has 12 Boeing 777-300s in service at London Heathrow. All operate in a four class configuration. It operates routes such as Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Singapore-Sydney, Tokyo Haneda, Tokyo Narita.
BA has 47 Boeing 777-200s in service across London Gatwick and London Heathrow.
The Boeing 777 is the mainstay of BA’s long-haul operation and touches pretty all parts of the BA network. It operates to destinations such as Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Luanda and Tel Aviv. It can also regularly alternate / be paired with the Boeing 787 on routes such as Atlanta, Dehli, Jeddah, New York Newark, Shanghai and Toronto.
BA has 9 Boeing 787-800 in service. These all operate in a three class configuration, with no First Class.
They operate on routes such as Baltimore, Calgary, Chennai, Hyderabad, Montreal, New Orleans, Seoul and, from next year, Nashville. The 787 also operates selected frequencies to Toronto.
BA has 16 787-900 aircraft in service,. These aircraft all operate in a four class configuration, with an 8 seat First Class cabin.
It operates on routes such as Abu Dhabi, Austin, Beijing, Dehli, Kuala Lumpur, Muscat, San Jose, Santiago and Shanghai. It can also operate on a number of Boeing 787-800 routes above on selected days.