British Airways this week announced that it will be commencing services to Austin, Texas in 2014.

The airline will commence flights in early March 2014, initially 5 times a week, before going daily from 5th May.

Austin will be British Airways 3rd destination in Texas, alongside Houston & Dallas, and 21st destination overall in the US, by far the airline’s most important market.

Although far smaller than both Houston & Dallas, Austin is home to a number of leading US tech companies such as ebay, Dell, Google & IBM. British Airways will also be the only airline to offer direct flights between Austin & Europe and, with its extensive route network out of Heathrow, will be able to benefit from extensive feeder traffic for passengers looking to fly to Austin, as well as numerous onward connections for anyone from Austin looking to travel onwards from London.

Even so, what has made this new route possible (and the airport authorities in Austin have made it clear that no financial inducements were offered to British Airways) is the arrival of the 787 Dreamliner. Prior to the arrival of the 787, which made its maiden British Airways flight to Toronto last weekend, British Airways had 3 long-haul aircraft in its fleet. The 767-300 is an ageing aircraft with poor fuel efficiency while both the 777 and 747 are simply too large for such a relatively ‘thin’ route.

The seating layout on a British Airways 787

The new 787-8 series, which will be configured in a 3 cabin layout without a First Class, is up to 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 as well as offering a far more pleasant inflight experience. Although fares on the Austin – Heathrow route are likely to be higher than from either Dallas or Houston, the airline is clearly confident that the convenience of direct flights, and the appeal of the new 787, will create enough demand to justify the new route.

Commenting on the news, Sean Doyle, the airline’s executive VP for the Americas stated: “We are very excited to be bringing British Airways to Austin. This new route presents an important opportunity for business growth across the Atlantic, particularly in the thriving technology sector. We know that London is among the top destinations for international travel from Austin and equally, Austin is home to some of the most important global cultural events. We are looking forward to providing a convenient and high-quality service to new and existing customers.”



As we enter a new month, British Airways enters a new era with its first scheduled 787 Dreamliner flight.

british airways 787The flight, from Heathrow to Toronto, departs on Sunday 1st September and is the first scheduled service for the new 787 Dreamliner of which British Airways has orders for 42.

Following on from Toronto, on 1st October British Airways will commence a daily 787 service between Heathrow and Newark, increasing to double daily from 27th October. These first two 787 destinations are currently included in the UK British Airways sale which ends at midnight on 24th September.

The seating layout on a British Airways 787

With an ageing fleet of 747′s and 767s, British Airways is embarking on a massive fleet renewal programme that, in addition to the 42 787 Dreamliners on order, includes 12 Airbus A380S, 18 Airbus A350s and 6 further Boeing 777-300s.

It is the Dreamliner however that is set to really dominate the British Airways fleet in years to come. Not only will the new aircraft offer far improved fuel efficiency and passenger comfort on existing routes, the same efficiency and far greater reach of the aircraft will allow British Airways to serve new routes that simply aren’t feasible at present. All that stands in the way of British Airways launching services to new destinations such as Portland, Lima and Saigon is the lack of slots at Heathrow.

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The countdown has begun for British Airways first scheduled 787 flight.

The inaugural flight, BA 093, departs Heathrow for Toronto on 1st September and, as part of the airline’s marketing effort, British Airways invited Lisa Snowdon, DJ, model and ex contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, to test out the aircraft for herself.

As befits a celebrity of her standing, Ms Snowdon doesn’t seem to have bothered testing out the World Traveller cabin although she does look very comfortable in her Club World Seat.


Commenting on the occasion, Ms Snowdon stated: ”As a breakfast DJ, I know the importance of a good night’s sleep – so when British Airways invited me to ‘road test’ its new Dreamliner aircraft, I couldn’t resist. Any aircraft that promises reduced jetlag, less dehydration and a smoother journey is a winner, especially as you arrive feeling refreshed and ready for action. I was really impressed with how spacious and airy it felt, with mood lighting and super comfortable seating to snuggle up in.”

British Airways has a total of 42 Dreamliners on order, split between all 3 models, the 8, 9 & 10 series. Initial orders are all for the 8 series, the smallest version, which will be used to replace British Airways ageing fleet of 767s on flights across the Atlantic to the US & Canada. So far British Airways has only announced the first 2 destinations for its new 787: starting on 1st September with Toronto and following up later the same month with Newark.

As well as being up to 20% more fuel efficient than the 767, the 787 Dreamliner should also offer a far more comfortable in-flight experience for passengers. The aircraft itself boast larger windows and over-head lockers, as well as superior atmospheric conditions which should mean that passengers arrive at their destination fresher and less drowsy. In addition, British Airways is fitting all 787 Dreamliners with its most up to date seating and inflight entertainment in all 3 cabins – World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World.

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British Airways will today welcome its first passengers onboard the new 787 Dreamliner.

The invited members of the press and frequent flyers will board the 787 in Edinburgh as it operates a short flight to the north of Scotland and back.

Commenting on the flight, Simon Scholey, who will be at the controls of the aircraft, stated: “Serving the people of Scotland is enormously important for British Airways so it seemed right that the first-ever customer flight will take place here. We’re very much looking forward to showcasing it to the people both on board and on the ground.”

En-route to Edinburgh, the 787 will also make a stop-over at Newcastle airport. Commenting on this, Richard Tams, Head of UK Sales & Marketing stated: “We’re very excited to have flown our new Boeing 787 Dreamliner into Newcastle International Airport, which hundreds of thousands of our customers use every year to transfer onto international flights at Heathrow. Our customers in the north of England are hugely important to us, and we wanted them to be among the first to see the new aircraft and to learn about all the benefits it brings”.

British Airways offer frequent flights from both Newcastle & Edinburgh to London Heathrow so the airline will be keen to maximise this marketing opportunity.

The airline have a total of 42 787s on order, with the first scheduled service to Toronto set to commence in September of this year, followed shortly after by flights to Newark.

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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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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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To celebrate the arrival of their first 787 Dreamliner, British Airways have launched introductory fares to both Toronto & Newark.

british airways 787Flights to Toronto commence on 1st September with lead-in fares starting at £619 in World Traveller, £1028 in World Traveller Plus and £2857 in Club World. Flights to Newark follow, commencing on 1st October, with lead-in fares starting at £444 in World Traveller, £787 in World Traveller Plus and £2505 in Club World.

Travel dates for these spaecial offer fares are from 21st October to 13th December and 25th December to 27th March. Fares are subject to availability and must be booked by midnight on 16th July.

Launching these new special offer fares for British Airways was Kim Cattrall, star of ‘Sex & The City’, who was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and lives in the US (although currently appearing on stage in London). “I fly regularly between London, Canada and the USA with British Airways and I love their service” commented the actress. “I need to be ready to work when I land, so to know that I can fly on their 787s and arrive feeling really rested and refreshed is a definite bonus for me.”

Cabin noise on the 787 is much less than on older aircraft types. Different pressurisation means the internal cabin altitude is the equivalent of 6,000ft, which is 2,000ft lower than on other aircraft. This leads to greater humidity, reducing the drying effect of the cabin air, so customers arrive feeling more refreshed. The aircraft’s smooth ride technology also provides extra comfort during any turbulence.

The bespoke lighting in every cabin can be set to reflect the time of day, helping to lull travellers to sleep at night and to wake them in the morning. Customers can also enjoy much larger windows, offering views of the horizon from every seat.

Mitch Preston is British Airways’ first 787 pilot to fly the aircraft from Boeing’s Seattle home to London. Preston said: “It was a real pleasure to fly the 787 home to Heathrow today – it’s a joy to operate, and a really smooth ride. It’s exceptionally quiet and the cabin environment, combined with the service customers would expect from British Airways, will make for a great experience. I for one can’t wait to welcome our customers on board.”

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British Airways today welcomed the first of its 42 Boeing 787 Dreamliners to its home base at Heathrow.

K65936The 787-8 series aircraft departed Paine Field in USA last night and arrived at Heathrow this morning where it was met, amongst others, by Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways parent company IAG. Commenting on the new arrival Mr Walsh stated: “The 787 is a tremendous, innovative aircraft which sets new standards for environmental performance and operating efficiency and I’m sure British Airways’ customers will love it. The 787 will become a mainstay of the British Airways fleet over the next few years.”

As we reported yesterday, the first two destinations to receive the new aircraft will be Toronto (from 1st September) and Newark (from 1st October). Flights onboard the new aircraft are now on general sale to both destinations.

The seating layout on a British Airways 787

British Airways has a total of 8 787-8 series aircraft on order, all of which will be configured in a 3 class cabin. The new aircraft is set to replace the airline’s ageing fleet of 767s, a mainstay of flights to the east coast of the USA and Canada.

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With British Airways taking initial delivery of its 787 Dreamliners in the next few days, it appears that Newark &  Toronto will be the first destinations to benefit.

To promote the new aircraft, passengers who book the introductory 787 fares on ba.com between 27th & 30th June will be entered into a free draw – the lucky winner earning 78,787 Avios points!

British Airways new 787-8 series aircraft have been fitted in a 3 cabin configuration split between World Traveller, World Traveller Plus & Club World, with a total seating capacity of 214 passengers.

The seating layout on a British Airways 787

New seating in British Airways New World Traveller cabinPassengers in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus will enjoy the airline’s brand new seating and improved in-flight entertainment featuring larger screens and a much greater selection of on-demand audio and visual programmes. Passengers in Club World will benefit from the most up to date Club World product with the only recognisable difference being the 3 seats in the middle as  opposed to the usual 4.

British Airways has ordered 42 Dreamliners in total, split between all 3 models – the 787-8, 787-9 & 787-10 – with at least 24 of the first 2 models set to be delivered to the airline before the end of 2017. Initially, the 787 will be used to replace the airline’s ageing fleet of 767s on existing routes (mainly medium haul routes) although, in the future, they may well be used to open up new destinations in Asia and South America.

On 4th July, British Airways will also take delivery of the first of its 12 A380s on order; this will make the airline the first in Europe (and second in the world) to operate both the 787 and A380.

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Boeing officially launched their new 787-10 series today with orders for 102 aircraft, including 12 from British Airways.

The orders for the new, stretched version of the Dreamliner, worth nearly $30 billion at list prices, came from Air Lease (30), GE Capital Services (10), Singapore Airlines (30), United (20) and British Airways (12). British Airways had already confirmed an option for a further 18 Dreamliners earlier this year so it is now apparent that 12 of those are for the 10 series; what is not clear is how the remaining 6 will be split between the 8 & 9 series.

The 10 series isn’t expected to be ready until 2018 so Boeing were busy showing off the existing 8 series in Paris with an Air India plane, showing of its paces. It does have a certain grace we must say.

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British Airways today announced that it would take delivery of its first two 787 Dreamliners on 26th & 27th June, with the first A380 set to arrive on 4th July.

British Airways 787 Dreamliner

Commenting on the announcement, Keith Williams, CEO of British Airways had this to say:

“The delivery of these exciting aircraft opens a new chapter in British Airways’ history. We are proud to be leading the way in Europe in operating both these aircraft types. Over the next 12 months, we will take delivery of new long-haul aircraft at an average rate of one every two weeks. These deliveries form the centrepiece of the £5bn investment British Airways is making in new aircraft, smarter cabins, superb lounges and new technologies to make travel more comfortable in the air and on the ground. Both aircraft types make major environmental advances and will contribute toward our ambitious targets for noise and carbon reduction. Following their arrival, both aircraft types will begin a complex ‘entry into service’ programme, which will see pilot and cabin crew training taking place at Manston Airport in Kent, customer service trials at Heathrow and short-haul flying for both aircraft, including flights within the UK”.

British Airways has ordered some 42 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 12 Airbus A380s and 18 A350s. The second of the A380s is set to be delivered in September and, although the airline has already announced that they will be used for flights to Los Angeles (from 15th October) & Hong Kong (from 15th November), as yet there has been no such announcement as to where the new 787s will fly to and / or when tickets will be available for sale. As per our previous article however, we expect the new aircraft to replace some of the airline’s oldest 767 on routes to the east coast of the USA and Canada.

British Airways first A380 on tarmac