British Airways

History and Overview

British Airways (BA) is the largest airline in the United Kingdom based on fleet size, number of international flights and international destinations. It is the flag carrier airline of the UK and has its main hub at London Heathrow Airport.

BA traces its origins back to 1974 when the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) merged with British European Airways (BEA). It adopts a mixed fleet model, operating a combination of new wide-body long-haul aircraft like the Boeing 787 as well as narrow body aircraft like the Airbus A320 family for short-haul routes. Some key facts about British Airways:

– Founded in 1974 (from merger of BOAC and BEA)
– Headquarters in Waterside, London
– Hub airports – London Heathrow, London Gatwick
– Alliance – Oneworld
– Fleet Size – Over 280 aircraft
– Number of Destinations – Over 200 worldwide
– Annual Passengers – Over 40 million
– Revenue – £12.2 billion (2020)
– Employees – Over 30,000 worldwide

Route Network and Hub Airports
As the UK’s flag carrier, British Airways has an extensive global route network flying to over 200 destinations in 80 countries across 6 continents. It primary long-haul hub airport is at London Heathrow Airport (LHR). This hub connects BA passengers to major cities in North America, Asia, Middle East and other regions with direct flights. The airline’s second hub is London Gatwick Airport (LGW) which serves leisure and holiday destinations in Europe and long-haul resort destinations. BA also has operations at London City Airport and connects various regional UK airports to its hubs.

Some of the major international destinations in British Airways’ network include:

North America – New York, Chicago, Toronto, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami
Asia – Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok
Middle East – Dubai, Abu Dhabi
Africa – Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi
Europe – Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Amsterdam

Within the UK, British Airways has an extensive domestic route network linking airports like Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow and more.

Fleet Information
The British Airways fleet consists of over 280 aircraft with a mix of wide-body long haul planes and narrow-body short haul planes. The long-haul fleet consists of Boeing 777, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 aircraft. The short haul fleet utilizes Airbus A320 family aircraft. Select highlights:

Long haul fleet:
– Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner – newest long haul jet with modern amenities and fuel efficiency
– Boeing 777-300ER – high capacity aircraft serving busy routes
– Airbus A380-800 – flagship double decker superjumbo jet

Short haul fleet:
– Airbus A320
– Airbus A321
– Airbus A320neo (new engine option) – latest single aisle plane with fuel savings

Cabin Classes
British Airways offers a choice of cabin classes across its long haul and short haul network.

Long haul cabins:
– First Class – Fully enclosed suites with lie flat beds and direct aisle access. Fine dining, amenities and lounges
– Club World Business Class – Lie flat seats in 2-4-2 configuration providing privacy. Lounges and priority service.
– World Traveller Plus Premium Economy – Wider seats with 38″ pitch, legrests, amenity kits and priority checkin/boarding
– World Traveller Economy – Standard economy seats with 31″ seat pitch

Short haul cabins:
– Club Europe Business Class – Wider seats in 2-2 configuration with middle seat blocked
– Euro Traveller Economy – Standard seats in 3-3 layout

Inflight Amenities and Entertainment
British Airways offers a good selection of inflight entertainment and amenities across its fleet.

Key amenities by cabin:

First Class
– Luxury amenity kits, sleepwear, and fine dining
– Access to First Class lounge with spa, dining and concierge
– Turndown service and luxurious bedding
– Majority of fleet offers fully flat beds

Business Class
– Bedding, amenity kits and toiletries
– Inflight entertainment with movies, TV shows and music
– Noise cancelling headphones
– Power ports and WiFi connectivity

Premium Economy
– Wider seats, extendable footrests and cocktail table
– Enhanced meal service
– Amenity kits on longer flights
– Inflight entertainment system

Economy Class
– Complimentary meals and beverages
– Inflight entertainment system
– Blankets and pillows
– Headphones

In terms of inflight entertainment, British Airways has high quality systems across its fleet including:
– Over 1,000 hours of movies, TV shows and music
– Personal on-demand entertainment screens
– Streaming entertainment to personal devices
– Inflight WiFi connectivity (for a fee)
– Noise cancelling headphones in premium cabins
– Power ports throughout aircraft

Frequent Flyer Program – Executive Club
The British Airways Executive Club frequent flyer program allows members to earn Avios points on British Airways and partner flights. Avios can then be redeemed for reward flights, upgrades and other rewards. There are 4 membership tiers:

– Blue (entry level)
– Bronze
– Silver
– Gold

Key benefits for upper tiers include lounges access, priority check-in/boarding, extra baggage allowance, fast track security and the ability to use Avios for upgrades and Business Class reward seats.

Airline Lounges
British Airways operates elegant lounges for its First and Business class passengers under the ‘Galleries’ brand. Lounges locations include Heathrow, Gatwick, New York JFK, Philadelphia, Geneva and more. The Heathrow Terminal 5 Concorde Room lounge offers exclusive amenities for only First Class passengers.

Lounges offer comfortable seating, business centers, spa treatments, fine dining with personalized service, showers, and more. Access is available for upper tier Executive Club elite members.

Baggage Allowance
British Airways has a free baggage allowance for carry-on and checked bags based on class of travel:

First Class
– 3 bags up to 70 lbs (32 kg) each

Business Class
– 2 bags up to 70 lbs (32 kg) each

Economy Class
– 1 bag up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
– Checked bag fees apply for additional/oversized bags

Premium members of Executive Club get additional baggage allowance.

Customer Service
British Airways invests heavily in customer service with initiatives like:

– Extensive training programs for flight and cabin crew
– Digital teams available 24/7 on social media and messaging for customer needs
– ‘High Life’ magazine with destination tips and content
– Partner lounges across airports provides spaces to relax and refresh
– ‘Fly With Confidence’ program provides flexibility for bookings

Some recent accolades British Airways has won demonstrating its service excellence:

– Best Business Class Airline Lounge Dining by Skytrax (2020)
– Best Transatlantic Airline by Global Traveler (2020)
– Best Airline UK and Best Airline Transatlantic by Business Traveller UK Awards (2019)
– Most Punctual Airline from London Heathrow by OAG Awards (2019)