BBC Two announces British Airways series

BBC Two has announced a new fly on the wall documentary series about British Airways. The three-part series will feature unprecedented access to British Airways, exploring many aspects of the airline from behind the scenes.

Two British Airways pilots under tailfin

Its not as easy as it looks..

The documentary will explore subjects from training new recruits to the future of the organisation and, the BBC says, will be the most in-depth analysis of British Airways in 25 years.

Emma Willis, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries BBC One, Two and Four, states: “From Transport for London to Keeping Britain Alive: The NHS In a Day, BBC Two has got to the heart of some of Britain’s most important organisations. This three-part series will capture the immense complexities of a business that powers the nation and will offer a unique insight into British Airways’ future.”

The BBC over the years..

Nick Catliff, Managing Director for Lion Television, says: “It took a long time to persuade BA to give us access but we are now in the thick of filming. BA is a business of course but it’s also an iconic British institution with a unique culture and history. This is just the right moment to be going to the heart of BA as it handles difficult transformational changes and introduces new planes, flies to new destinations, trains new staff and deals with everything from cyclones and bird strikes to demanding first-class passengers and fierce competition.”

The series will air in 2014 and will consist of three sixty minute episodes. It will be executive produced by Nick Catliff, Managing Director for Lion Television, and Samantha Anstiss, Commissioning Editor for the BBC.

We look forward to it.

Almost, but not quite, Minority Report style advertising..

British Airways has unveiled interactive digital billboards that sense when one of their planes fly overhead. The billboards, currently located in Piccadilly Circus and Chiswick, show a child on the billboard which stands up and points at aircrafts as they pass while the screen displays information about the aircraft, such as the kind of plane it is and where it has flown from. The adverts were developed by Ogilvy 12th Floor.

“We hope it will create a real ‘wow’ and people will be reminded how amazing flying is and how accessible the world can be,” Abigail Comber, the head of marketing at British Airways said.

However, for more personal interaction have a look at these, in Sydney.. not quite reading your eye ball yet..

Travelling with gifts, sparklers, party poppers and Christmas crackers.

If you intend to travel with Christmas presents/gifts and or sparklers, party poppers and Christmas crackers, BA has the following advice: -

Do you have to check my Christmas presents/gifts into the aircraft hold?

No, Christmas presents can be taken as hand baggage if they are unwrapped (for security purposes). You must not exceed your hand baggage allowance otherwise you will be charged to check in your extra baggage.

Please note that there are still controls on the volume of liquids that can be carried in your hand baggage – this regulation will apply to any gift items with liquid in them, as well as any liquid items you carry for your personal use.

Can I take Christmas crackers?

If you are departing from a US airport Christmas crackers are not permitted in any baggage.

If you are departing from a UK airport Christmas crackers are not permitted in hand baggage but may be carried in your checked baggage providing they meet the following restrictions:

  • Maximum two boxes per passenger
    The crackers must be commercially manufactured
    The crackers must be in the manufacturer’s original packaging
    The crackers must be for personal use only
    Homemade crackers are not permitted

Rules may vary in other countries. Please check with the airport before you pack to avoid disappointment.

Can I take party poppers in my hand or checked baggage?

Party poppers are not allowed on any British Airways aircraft.

Can I take sparklers (indoor or outdoor ones) in either my hand or checked baggage?

Any types of sparklers are not allowed on any British Airways aircraft.

In the Telegraph Festival of Business Willie Walsh comments on Michael O’Leary. He has some positive comments about how Ryanair is run, but also makes some interesting comments.

He said that he thought that for a while there they [Ryanair] were taking pleasure in irritating customers.

And here is Irish commedian Rosenstock on Michael O’Leary and the new ‘nice’ Ryanair.

The executive club news can be found here available in a language and region for you.

British Airways announced thier intention to close the arrivals lounge at Gatwick Airport at the end of October. The reason given was that there was very little demand for the lounge and closing it would enable BA to focus on departure facilities at the airport.

Buy before you fly…

British Airways and Tourvest Duty Free have launched a ‘buy-before-you-fly’ service for long-haul customers, with the goods delivered direct to your seat when you fly on selected routes.

Christmas tree and presents copyright Amelia Lyons

Socks and soap on a rope I just know it..

British Airways customers will be able to pre-order from a selection of products, including top brands and travel exclusives, at highlifeshop.com

British Airways think that this will be welcome news to a number of travelers that accidentally leave presents at home.

The new service has been launched ahead of Christmas, one of the busiest times for onboard shopping, and BA say, with nearly a third (32 per cent) of customers revealing that they would consider buying their Christmas gifts on board flights.

The selection of gifts include; accessories, apparel, souvenirs, beauty, children’s gifts, cigarettes, confectionery, fragrances, gadgets, gifts, jewelry, liquor, sunglasses, watches and writing instruments.

In the run up to Christmas, the airline’s in-flight retail team have compiled their top gifts, for high flyers to buy in advance:

Boo, world’s cutest dog, £18 (save £3): Boo is a small plush Pomeranian dog with a funky haircut. He is loved by millions of people worldwide with his own Facebook page and book.

Swarovski Rocking Santa, £32 (save £7): Cute and playful, this adorable Santa wears a bright red outfit in Light Siam crystal.

Classic Mini Wireless Computer Mouse White, £35 (save £5): Based on the 60′s classic mini cooper, this is a fully functioning wireless executive gadget, computer mouse, featuring left and right click, scroll wheel and authentic design and styling.

Aviator Foldable Sunglasses, £155 (save £5): Ray-Ban Folding Aviator sunglasses bring an element of fun and space conservation to the iconic design. The tubular metal temples have a hinged curve that allows you to fold your sunglasses into a compact size that fits in a unique smaller Ray-Ban lens case.

Barbara Rihl Crossover bag London Chic £100 (save £25): This bold, graphic bag from Parisian brand Barbara Rihl combines a colourful travel-themed design with innovative pouches designed for travel.

Does any of this appeal to you? We would like to know what you think about in flight shopping, and pre-flight shopping?

BA posts its- “Where to be seen in 2014″ list.

Published November 5, 2013, in Features, Longhaul, News

British Airways has compiled its top 14 destinations for 2014. From Britney in Vegas to football in Brazil, and the hidden ski slopes of Moscow to the bliss of the Greek islands – there’s something for everyone.

Claire Bentley, British Airways Holidays managing director, said: “… All eyes will be on Brazil with the World Cup taking place; we’re even planning extra capacity to fly out supporters. There’s also eagerly anticipated new flights to Texas, and top European destinations just in time for summer. For the adventurous traveller there’s still plenty to discover in destinations such as Johannesburg and Chengdu. We’re also upping services to popular destinations including Orlando, Ibiza and Marrakech.”

The top destinations for 2014 are:

· Austin, USA
The self-proclaimed ‘live music capital of the world’ is booming right now. From hundreds of live music venues to barbeque pits and gleaming shopping centres, as well a growing technology industry in the ‘Silicone Hills’. The Texan capital has drawn a young hip crowd thanks to the popularity of its South by Southwest festival. From March, British Airways will operate its new 787 Dreamliner on the route, with flights from £537 return.

· Johannesburg, South Africa
The imminent film release of ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ is a timely reminder of the social regeneration the country has undergone. There’s so much to discover in this vibrant country, from the Apartheid Museum to the world heritage site of the Cradle of Humankind, as well as game reserves and safaris. From February, British Airways’ A380 will operate the route, with flights from £637 return.

· Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Caiprinhas at the ready – revellers from around the world will descend on Brazil, for the ‘Copa do Mundo’, which comes to a climax in Rio on July 13. Despite its many cultural attractions, the reason to come in 2014 is to enjoy the party atmosphere and camaraderie among 25,000 British fans, cheering on Roy Hodgon’s men. British Airways flights to Rio de Janeiro start from £927 return in June.

· Albuquerque, USA
Thanks to its cult following, ‘Breaking Bad’ has put Albuquerque on the map and boosted local tourism. But there’s more to New Mexico than chicken shops and car washes – it boasts spas, golf courses, dormant volcanoes, hot air ballooning, ghost tours, sunshine 310 days a year, and of course tours from the programme! British Airways operates services to Dallas and Chicago, with connecting flights to Albuquerque with American Airlines, from £574.

· Leeds, UK
Just an hour’s flight away and you could be digging for Roman coins, visiting unique breweries and enjoying countryside walks – all in Britain. Boosted by popular TV including ‘Educating Yorkshire’ and ‘Downtown Abbey’, it’s no surprise that Yorkshire came third in Lonely Planet’s top destinations for 2014. British Airways flights to Leeds start from £94 return.

· Chengdu, China
In the next seven years, China will become the most popular tourist destination, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. With high end hotels such as the Ritz Carlton and Six Senses popping up in Chengdu – now’s the time for intrepid travellers to discover this Eastern mystery. While many come for the giant panda sanctuary, British Airways flights have also opened up the possibility of onward travel to Tibet and the rest of China too. Flights start from £591 return.

· Las Vegas, USA
When you thought it couldn’t get any better, Britney Spears comes along and announces a two-year residency in Las Vegas. This isn’t the only new attraction – there’s the Aria Hotel and soon-to-open Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Plane Food’ at McCarran international airport. Three nights stay at the luxury Aria Hotel, including British Airways flights, from £967 per person, for travel 3-6 January.

· Santorini, Greek Islands
The romantic and magical island of Santorini is expected to be one of the airline’s most popular honeymoon destinations when it launches in May. The warm reception and great value for money still make Greece one of top holiday spots for Britons. British Airways offers seven nights at the four star Scorpios Beach Apartments & Studios with breakfast, from £399 per person in June, including flights from Heathrow.

· Glasgow, Scotland
Get among the Scottish spirit when the Commonwealth Games come to town on July 23. One of Europe’s most vibrant cities, enjoy a warm friendly welcome and good times. British Airways operates flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City, from £77 return.

· Oporto, Portugal
The historic town of Oporto is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. Wine lovers have long enjoyed its charms and from March British Airways customers will be able to as well. A three-night break in Oporto, staying at the four star Mercure Porto Centro, including flights, start from £299 per person in June.

· Hong Kong, China
There’s still so much to discover in Hong Kong. From the rawness of Kowloon market, to the luxury of the Four Seasons Hotel, there’s something for everyone. Big in 2014 is the merging of venues, such as Duddel’s art-gallery-cum-restaurant, one of many collaborations to seek out. British Airways’ A380 superjumbo serves the route, with flights from £563 return.

BA posts its 14 top destinations for 2014

Just another day at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong







· Moscow, Russia
Russia may not instantly come to mind when you think of ski and snowboarding breaks, but the Sochi Winter Olympics has raised its profile as a serious contender for thrill seekers. Moscow is home to the centrally located ‘Three Hills’ resort, or take a quick connecting flight to Sochi with its ‘Rosa Khutor’ resort. British Airways flights to Moscow start from £229 return in February – connecting flights to Sochi are available using the airline’s codeshare partner S7 Airlines.

· Mykonos, Greek Islands
Launching in May, British Airways will start flights to the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos. A great party destination for those that like their cocktails strong and evenings long. Enjoy seven nights at the four star Pelican Bay Art including breakfast, from £539 per person in June, with flights from Heathrow.

· Malta
Glorious weather, picture perfect beaches and the bustling nightlife of St Julian’s make Malta a firm favourite for the year ahead. Often used as a setting for Hollywood films, names such as Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Rachel Weisz have been spotted here. From March, British Airways operates a new service from Gatwick. Five nights at the five star Le Meriden St Julians, including flight start from £489 per person.

British Airways ‘A Ticket To Visit Mum’

Published August 3, 2013, in Features

British Airways new ad, ‘A Ticket To Visit Mum’, was created to highlight the airline’s numerous flight options between India and North America.

The ad, created for British Airways by Ogilvy & Mather in New York, tells the story of Ratesh who moved from Mumbai to New York aged just 17 and who still pines for his mother’s homemade bhindi. Why send the meal to the boy when you can take the boy back to his mother so easily?

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British Airways 787 Seat Configuration

Published July 10, 2013, in Features

With British Airways having just taken delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner, we take a moment to look at the cabin layout.

Thus far, only the smallest model in the 787 range, the 8 series, is in operation; that means that exact like-for-like comparisons are possible between the various airlines.

British Airways has 8 of the 787-8 series on order and all 8 will be configured with a 3 cabin layout consisting of 154 seats in World Traveller, 25 in World Traveller Plus and 35 in Club World.

The seating layout on a British Airways 787


The 787-8 series has a cabin interior width that is some 38cms wider than the Airbus A330 but 41cms narrower than the 777-200. In World Traveller, British Airways has opted for a 3-3-3 configuration, the same as for its fleet of 777s (and therefore affording less individual space). Only a handful of airlines have opted for the more spacious 2-4-2 configuration, including the 2 largest operators of the aircraft, ANA & JAL. The majority of airlines, including Ethiopian Airlines, United, LAN, LOT, Qatar Airways and Air India have followed British Airways with a 3-3-3 cabin. The only other UK airline to currently operate the 787, Thomson, also operate a 3-3-3 cabin but with 2 inches more legroom than British Airways!

Although there will be those who expected British Airways to opt for the more generous 2-4-2 configuration, to be fair to the airline it should also be pointed out that their 3-3-3 configuration on the 777, even the largest 300 series, is more generous than many airlines, Emirates included, who have opted for a 3-4-3 cabin.

In front of World Traveller, British Airways have a small World Traveller Plus cabin consisting of just 3 rows. Unlike World Traveller however, where the seating configuration is the same as the 777 series, passengers flying World Traveller Plus on the 787-8 will enjoy a bit more elbow-room with the 2-3-2 configuration contrasting with the 2-4-2 layout found on the 777.

At the very front, and taking up a fair share of the aircraft, is Club World. Here too the airline have diverged from the norm with a slightly strange seating configuation of 2-3-2, 1 seat less than the 2-4-2 found on both the 777 & 747. Losing 1 seat does provide a bit more cabin space although the passenger in the middle of the row of 3 might feel slightly odd. It also contrasts with a number of British Airways competitors who have opted for an even more spacious 2-2-2 cabin in business class.

Of course there is more to passenger comfort than just the seating configuration and one thing that all passengers on British Airways new 787 will appreciate is the  airline’s latest seating and in-flight entertainment in World Traveller & World Traveller Plus.

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British Airways & Rolls Royce flying high

Published July 9, 2013, in Features

With British Airways taking delivery of its brand new 787 & A380 aircraft last week, pretty much all of the attention was on the aircraft themselves.

What very people commented on, despite it being such a great success story for UK industry, was the airline’s choice of Rolls Royce engines to power both aircraft. The A380 is powered by 4 Trent 900 engines while the 787-8 series is powered by 2 Trent 1000 engines.


The Trent 1000 in action

British Airways is at the start of  massive fleet investment program as its looks to replace its ageing fleet of 747′s and 767′s in particular. So far the airline has ordered 42 new 787s, 12 A380s, 18 A350s and 6 777s for delivery between now and 2021. Of these new aircraft, all but the new 777-300s will be powered by Rolls Royce engines.

Commenting on events last week, Eric Schulz at Rolls Royce had this to say:  “We are proud to power British Airways into a new era of passenger service. Our technology is helping to deliver better fuel efficiency and environmental performance on a new generation of aircraft operated by a valued customer.”

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British Airways trials new baggage tags – the way forward?

Published June 28, 2013, in Features

Does this grab you? British Airways is to trial a brand new, electronic baggage tag which, it is hoped, could soon replace the need for paper tags.

The new luggage tags have been designed by Designworks and simply require that the passenger scan the new baggage tag with their smartphone after checking-in; this then updates the baggage tag with the relevant flight details and an easy-to-read description.

Lewis Freeman, Designworks lead designer for the project, said: “This step into digital tagging of luggage is a huge leap forward enabling your luggage to become a connected object, providing a seamless experience for frequent travellers with British Airways.”

Thousands of bags are lost or delayed every year, often because existing paper baggage tags can become smudged or ripped, making the bar codes impossible to read.


lost luggage mountain

Lost luggage anyone?
Image courtesy of the BBC

As one of the biggest problems that airlines face, anything that can resolve, or least reduce, this problem will be eagerly anticipated.

British Airways bag tag





British Airways 777-300 – The forgotten one

Published June 27, 2013, in Features

With British Airways soon to take delivery of both its brand new 787s and A380s, we look at the ‘forgotten’ addition to the airline’s fleet, the 777-300.

british airways 747For the last decade plus, British Airways long-haul fleet has been split between the 747-400 (just over 50 still in operational service), the 777-200 (just under 50 still in service) and 767-300 (21 in service). The 747s & 767s operate exclusively out of Heathrow while the 777-200 flies from both Heathrow & Gatwick and is split between 3 & 4 class configurations.

Many of these long-haul aircraft, but especially the 747 & 767, have been showing their age for some time now and are in need of replacement. British Airways placed orders for 24 Dreamliner 787s and 12 A380s in the mid noughties but delays to the introduction of both new models left the airline (like many others) having to alter their plans. Step forward the 777-300.

The Boeing 777-300 is a whole 10 metres longer than the 777-200 (longer even than the 747-400) and British Airways already has 6 aircraft operational with a further 6 on order. The existing 6 operational aircraft are set up in a 4 class configuration with 14 seats in First, 56 in Club World, 44 in World Traveller Plus and 185 in World Traveller; a total of 299 seats, the same as the airline’s low density 747-400. To the best of our knowledge, the next 6 aircraft will also have the same configuration.

Sating in Britsh Airways new World Traveller cabinThe 777-300 operates exclusively out of Heathrow and tends to be used on the airline’s most important routes (ie routes which can support First class) such as to Singapore, Sydney, Dubai, Hong Kong and selected US destinations. All 777-300s are equipped with the airline’s most up to date product across all 4 cabins. Passengers travelling in World Traveller & World Traveller Plus in particular will notice a significant difference between the seating and in-flight entertainment in the airline’s older aircraft with that provided on the 777-300. This new product will also be fitted on all British Airways new 787s and A380s as well as being retro-fitted to some of the airline’s 777-200s (but not those operating out of Gatwick).

British Airways A350 on order for 2017So will British Airways order any further 777-300s to add to its planned fleet of 12? The airline has some 120 747s, 767s and 777-200s to replace in the coming years and, so far, has ‘only’ placed orders for 78 replacement aircraft to be delivered by 2023 (42 787 Dreamliners, 6 777-300s, 18 Airbus A350s and 12 A380s). Even the largest Dreamliner, the 787-10 series, which British Airways ordered last week in Paris, doesn’t have the capacity of a 777-300; nor does the Airbus A350. British Airways could order additional A380s but we don’t feel that they will. With the failure of its extended 747-800 to win-over airlines, we feel that Boeing will soon proceed with a new, even larger version of the 777-300 (already known as the 777-x) and that British Airways will come-a-knocking.




British Airways UnGrounded – VIDEO

Published June 25, 2013, in Features

British Airways have released their latest video taken from this month’s Innovation Lab in the Sky.

The overnight flight from San Francisco to London on 12th June included 100 of the tech world’s leading innovators. Where will the next one take place – London & Africa?

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Bird strike – what is it?

Published June 19, 2013, in Features

A bird strike is sometimes called avian ingestion if the bird is sucked into the engine.

When it happens it can cause major damage to an engine and it is a major hazard for aircraft. Because of this much effort is expended in mitigating the risk and because of this the incidence of birds strike is quite low.

Flock of birds around a plane

Flock of birds

Notwithstanding this, the estimated annual cost of damage to aircraft caused by birdstrike has been estimated at £1.2 bn.

So when is a plane at risk from bird strike and what can be done about it?

The majority of bird strikes occur in the transition between take off/landing and cruising altitude. At cruising altitude the craft is by and large above the altitude that birds fly.

 So what can be done about it?

Make the planes more resistant.

This can mean engine improvements to the engine and other critical parts of the plan. An engine is designed to safely shut down after a strike.

Manage the birds

Numerous strategies are employed to scare birds from the airfield and flight path. This includes electronic devices and even birds of prey.

Avoid the birds

This can involve choosing a flight path which avoids areas of high bird density when taking off and landing.


VIDEO: British Airways UnGrounded

Published June 17, 2013, in Features

After months of planning and preparation, British Airways first Innovation Lab in the Sky finally touched down in Heathrow last week.

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British Airways black & white Chengdu promotion

Published June 13, 2013, in Features

To promote its new service to Chengdu in China, British Airways recently invited some very special guests on one of its flights.

Chengdu is the is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status and, as well as being a major business destination, is also the closest city to the natural habitat of pandas; accordingly, the city has strong tourist appeal.

British Airways will be the first and only airline to offer direct flights between the UK & Chengdu and, to mark the occassion, has some great introductory special offers. Flights in World Traveller start from just £508 per person, World Traveller Plus from £808 and Club World from £1888 – the number 8 is of course considered lucky in China.

Flights will be operated 3 times a week from Heathrow Terminal 5 to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) using a 3 cabin 777-200. Flights will depart London at 15:30 arriving Chengdu at 08:55 the following morning while the return flight departs at 10:55, getting back into London at 15:00 the same day.

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VIDEO: Levi Roots Perfect Day in Jamaica

Published June 12, 2013, in Features

Levi Roots has got together with British Airways to describe his perfect day in Jamaica.

The entrepreneur, (real name Keith Valentine Graham Bilal Musa!) who shot to fame on ‘The Dragon’s Den’, was born in Jamaica and likes to get back to his homeland as often as possible. Luckily for him, British Airways fly direct, non-stop between London Gatwick and Kingston.

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VIDEO: Trailer for BBC’s ‘Airport Live’

Published June 12, 2013, in Features

The BBC’s new Airport Live begins next Monday, 17th June, at 8pm on BBC2.

This brand new, one-off program from Heathrow feature a mix of live and pre-recorded coverage. For 4 nights, presenters Dan Snow, Anita Rani and Dallas Campbell will get behind the scenes at the world’s busiest international airport.

Airport LiveCommenting on the show, Dan Snow had this to say : “Air travel has become an everyday luxury that we take for granted, but behind the scenes it’s a fascinating web of processes all precisely managed to maintain equilibrium. Over four nights we’ll get the chance to see how it all works. We’ll take a look at the complex choreography of air traffic control, learn to fly the world’s largest passenger jet, the A380, and discover how weather plays a crucial role in keeping the whole operation running smoothly. Airport Live will be a thrilling journey through the skies and a definitive account of modern air travel.”

British Airways Terminal 5 Check-InAirport Live will mark the most complete exploration of Heathrow’s grounds and skies and will feature a mix of live and pre-recorded footage that will explain how an airport works. BBC Two will go behind the scenes airside; into the heart of the air traffic control tower; onto the tarmac as a plane is turned around for departure; and into the hub of engineering to watch a service on a plane. Everything and everyone is on a deadline and BBC Two will be there to watch this daily race first hand.

Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two, says: “In recent years, BBC Two has enjoyed great success with live events, from Stargazing Live to Volcano Live. Now, in one of our most ambitious broadcasts ever, we’re going behind the scenes at one of the world’s busiest airports. Over four nights, BBC Two will be based at the air traffic control tower, offering a completely unique perspective on how an airport works around the clock.”

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VIDEO: British Airways UnGrounded

Published June 7, 2013, in Features

As the countdown begins to the inaugural UnGrounded flight from San Francisco later this month, British Airways have released this latest video conference involving just some of those involved.

The theme of this particular video conference, chaired by Chris Pirillo, is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) so, if like us, you’ve never come across this acronym before, sit back and enjoy…….

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