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.
We have also prepared a more detailed analysis of BA’s fleet plans for 2020.
Update: This article was published before COVID-19. Please see here to see which BA routes are currently operating. Long-haul flights are currently being operated with Airbus A350-1000, Boeing 787 and Boeing 777 aircraft. The Airbus A380 is grounded. BA has also retired the Boeing 747.
In summary by airport:
London City & London Stansted
All short-haul BA flights are operated using Embraer E170 or E190 aircraft.
These are 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 Manchester airport.
The one exception is that some flights may be occasionally operated using aircraft wet-leased from other airlines.
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 either Airbus A319 or A320 aircraft in a 3-3 configuration in EuroTraveller and a 2-2 configuration in Club Europe. In the medium term, BA plans to move to all Airbus A320 operation at Gatwick.
BA’s parent company IAG has signed a Letter of Intent with Boeing to buy the Boeing 737 MAX which will operate at Gatwick. However, this has yet to be converted into a firm order.
London Gatwick – Long-haul
All long-haul flights are operated using Boeing 777-200 aircraft.
These are 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 has completed a refurbishment of its Gatwick based Boeing 777s to increase seat density in economy, as well as install new in-flight entertainment systems and new World Traveller Plus seating.
London Heathrow – Short-haul
Almost all short-haul flights are operated using either Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft.
BA does also operate a Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft on selected flights (BA460 and BA461) between London Heathrow and Madrid. Iberia also operates an Airbus A340 on flights IB3167 and IB3166. 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.
BA has now retired the Boeing 767 from its fleet. BA is progressively introducing the Airbus A320 Neo and Airbus A321 Neo at Heathrow. As at January 2020 there are ten Airbus A320 Neo and six Airbus A321 Neo aircraft in the fleet.
London Heathrow – Long-haul
At London Heathrow, BA operates the A350-1000, Airbus A380, Boeing 747, Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300, Boeing 787-800, and 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. BA will also begin to take delivery of the Boeing 787-10 aircraft from January 2020.
BA has started to take delivery of the first of 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.
The first long-haul routes are London Heathrow – Dubai (BA107 & BA106), London Heathrow – Toronto (BA93 / BA92), London Heathrow – Tel Aviv (B163 / BA162) and London Heathrow – Bengaluru (BA119 / BA118).
Full images of the Airbus A350-1000 interior can be seen here.
BA has 12 Airbus A380s in service.
It operates on selected flights to Boston (summer seasonal), Chicago O’Hare (summer seasonal) Singapore, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver (summer seasonal) and Washington Dulles. Please see here for full details of Airbus A380 routes for 2020.
BA has 32 Boeing 747s in service.
BA expects to retire the Boeing 747 in February 2024. The number of Boeing 747s will reduce to 12 by 2022.
17 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, Lagos, New York JFK, Philadelphia and San Diego.
Some of the remaining 52 Club World seat 747s are now being refurbished. They regularly operate on routes such as Accra, Cape Town, Denver, Las Vegas and Vancouver.
It 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 777-200 on routes such as New York JFK.
BA has 12 Boeing 777-300s in service at London Heathrow.
All operate in a four class configuration. It operates routes such as Austin, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Singapore-Sydney, and Tokyo Haneda. BA will also take delivery of a further 4 aircraft in 2020.
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 much all parts of the BA network.
Three class Boeing 777-200s operate on routes such as Bangkok and Buenos Aires.
Four class Boeing 777-200s operate on routes such as Boston, Houston, New York JFK, and Seattle.
The 777 can also regularly alternate / be paired with the Boeing 787 on routes such as Atlanta, Delhi, Jeddah, New York Newark, Shanghai and Toronto.
BA has begun to refurbish its fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft at London Heathrow. This encompasses a reduction in First Class seats to 8, the installation of BA’s new Club Suite and increasing seating in World Traveller from 9 to 10 abreast.
BA has 12 Boeing 787-800 in service. These all operate in a three class configuration, with no First Class.
They operate on routes such as Baltimore, Charleston, Chennai, Durban, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Montreal, Nashville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Seoul and, from 1 June 2020, Portland.
BA has 18 787-900 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, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Mexico City, Muscat, Phoenix, San Jose (California), Santiago, The Seychelles, Shanghai and Tokyo Narita. It also operates selected frequencies to Atlanta, Los Angles, Newark and Washington Dulles. It can also operate on a number of Boeing 787-800 routes above on selected days.
A number of routes are subject to blanket and tactical cancellations up to late August due on ongoing checks and maintenance to the Rolls-Royce engines of the Boeing 787 fleet which is expected to continue well into 2020.
In March 2020, BA will begin to take delivery of the first of 12 Boeing 787-10 aircraft, with six to arrive next year.
These aircraft will operate in a four class configuration. The first confirmed route is Atlanta from Sunday 29 March 2020.