British Airways: ParalympicsGB arrive home “victorious”

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

It was another morning of celebration at Heathrow Terminal 5 today (September 20), as ParalympicsGB arrived home from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on British Airways flight “BA2016”.

Arriving home in style, the 300 athletes and support staff travelled on “victoRIOus” – the same gold-nosed aircraft that brought Team GB home last month.

As the athletes disembarked flight “BA2016” a number of medallists, including Sarah Storey, Will Bayley, Lee Pearson and Hannah Cockroft, proudly posed for a photo with their medals.

Upon entering arrivals, athletes were greeted to an emotional and rapturous reception with a VIP zone for “friends and family” welcoming them home, including Paralympic superfan Stephen Mangan.

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, said: “We are honoured to be part of such a special moment of national pride and celebration. It has been a privilege to fly the athletes home from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“I’d also like thank everyone across the airline who worked tirelessly for months to deliver a truly memorable homecoming that Team GB and ParalympicsGB so rightly deserve.”

Fans and athletes have been using #BAckSupercharged on social media to share their messages of celebration – the hashtag also features on the aircraft livery.

Tim Hollingsworth, British Paralympic Association CEO, said: “The performance of ParalympicsGB at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games has surpassed our expectations. It is right that our athletes return to the UK proud of their achievements and are celebrated by our partner British Airways, flying them home in style. It is the perfect ending to an incredible two weeks.”

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

On her 11 hour 15 minute journey from Rio de Janeiro, “victoRIOus” carried 585 items of equipment, some of which included; archery tackle, racing chairs, tennis chairs, throwing frames, leg bags, prosthetic bags, running blades, fencing foils, paddle tubes, solo bikes and tandem bikes. The heaviest piece of kit is a hand bike weighing 32kg.

Extra water, champagne, snacks and treats were loaded on board and passengers were treated to a three-course menu and full English breakfast before landing. Some of the dishes available to choose from include; Gaucho-style beef tenderloin with kale and tomato, Grilled salmon and ginger-infused noodle salad, chicken in a white wine sauce, thai fish curry and chicken with polenta au gratin.

Over  1,300 hours of films, top TV shows and audio programmes were available to enjoy on the flight, including a ‘swimming with dolphins’ documentary with Paralympic athlete Ellie Simmonds, classic sporting movie ‘Chariots of Fire’ and a number of new movies including; The Jungle Book, Dad’s Army, Hail Caesar, Me Before You, Love & Friendship and The Nice Guys.

Source: British Airways.

British Airways offers free upgrades to First

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways’ ever popular free upgrade to First promotion is back.

Customers who book a Club World (business class) seat for travel between September 7 and December 11, 2016 will have the opportunity to upgrade to First one-way for free.

Customers who would like to take up the offer can do so by contacting their travel agent, or calling the British Airways contact centre on 0344 493 0787.

Sara Dunham, British Airways’ head of marketing, retail and direct, said: “We always get a great reaction from customers to our upgrade to First promotions. For no additional cost, travellers receive all the extra benefits of First, from the bespoke lounges to the comfortable suites on-board and personalised service. It’s a really nice way for us to recognise our customers and give them something back as a thank-you for their booking and their loyalty.”

Customers booking can expect to be whisked through fast-track before making their way to the First lounge or Concorde Room (outbound from Heathrow Terminal 5). Once on-board the sophisticated cabin they can settle in to their suite with its 6ft 6inch bed, personal blinds and wardrobe and  experience a personalised service, complete with an a la carte menu, fine wines and champagne.

Customers flying on one of British Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will experience the airline’s very latest First class, introduced in late 2015. The cabin is a very private eight-suite space, with four additional storage areas around each seat, including an ottoman, a personal suiter, a locker for small personal effects and a device stowage space complete with device powering capability. In-flight entertainment is shown on a 23-inch fixed screen and a smart ‘jog-dial’, manages the seat’s recline, headrest and lumbar inflate and a ‘global’ lighting control to set both ambient and reading lighting.

For more details on the upgrade promotion, customers can visit www.ba.com/upgrade.

For more details on First class, visit: http://www.ba.com/first.

Today the airline has also launched two of its biggest ever Avios and On Business promotions, enabling travellers to earn triple points, visit ba.com/onbusiness or ba.com/tripleavios for details.

Editor’s Note:

  • The offer is only available on published fares.
  • All routes with a First cabin are included, with the exception of Bermuda.
  • Terms and conditions apply. See ba.com/upgrade for full details.
  • Bookings must be made and flown between September 6 and December 11, 2016.

Source: British Airways.

British Airways completes Boeing 747 cabin refresh

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways has completed the major makeover of 18 of the airline’s iconic Boeing 747s to give them the look and feel of their newest aircraft.

Each jumbo jet now features a refreshed interior and state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system – as well as extra seats for customers flying in Club World.

The first aircraft to be refreshed departed for New York, on the airline’s flagship transatlantic route, while the last one also goes back into commercial service tomorrow (August 4) as the BA117, flying customers from Heathrow to JFK airport.

Troy Warfield, British Airways’ director of customer experience, said: “We have recently taken delivery of our 12th A380 super jumbo and have now have 13 Dreamliners in our fleet, however the iconic Boeing 747s remain an important part of our fleet, that many of our customers love.

“We know customers who fly the revamped 747s really appreciate the improved interiors, with their mood lighting, better seating and new state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system, making their flight just fly by.

“Our engineers have made these amazing aircraft look and feel like new, with enhanced comfort, cutting edge technology and cool, clean design.”

Across all 18 aircraft the 11 month refit has involved:

  • 61 miles of wiring for the new Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system
  • Enough new carpets to cover 34 tennis courts
  • Nearly six miles of new LED lights
  • 4,500 light fittings
  • Fabric changes to 4,950 seats
Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

The refit means the aircraft cabin interiors are similar in look and feel to the airline’s newest aircraft, with 16 additional Club World lie-flat seats.

New carpets, seat covers and mood lighting have been fitted throughout each aircraft to match the new colour pallet of the airline’s new A380 and 787s, including new seat foams and new style seat covers in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus to increase customer comfort.

All eighteen refreshed aircraft have also been fitted with Panasonic’s next generation eX3 entertainment system, which gives customers a choice of over 1,300 hours of entertainment including more than 130 movies and 400 TV programmes on larger, hi-resolution screens, capable of touch and swipe gestures, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet.

Lightweight in design, the system from Panasonic Avionics Corporation helps to reduce the amount of fuel used by the four-engined Boeing 747s.

As part of the upgrade, customers in World Traveller Plus now have access to a universal power socket at every seat, capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe. World Traveller customers also have their own personal USB socket to power phones and tablets.

The revamped jumbos now operate on selected flights to New York JFK, Chicago, Johannesburg, Dubai, Boston, Riyadh, Kuwait, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington DC.

British Airways has a fleet of 142 long-haul and 143 short-haul aircraft operating flights to almost 200 destinations around world.

Source: British Airways.

British Airways: Slope off to the top of the Tyrol from Heathrow

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways customers will soon be able to slope off and enjoy the best of scenic Austria with flights to Innsbruck from Heathrow starting on December 4.

Skiers will now be able to fly to the former Winter Olympic city from two UK airports as the airline already operates direct flights from Gatwick to the Tyrolean capital.

Flights will operate four-times-a-week during winter and twice-per-week during the summer season, with return fares starting from £88 in Euro Traveller and £338 in Club Europe.

Neil Cottrell, British Airways’ head of planning, said: “We’ve launched 15 new routes already this year but now it’s time to turn our attention to the ski season.

“We are sure the new route from Heathrow to Innsbruck will prove popular with those looking to hit the slopes this winter as it offers ideal access to some of the very best ski resorts in Europe, including Mayrhofen, Alpbach and Niederau.

“Innsbruck is also a popular tourist destination for non-skiers and the service will launch just in time for the picture-perfect Christmas markets.”

Flights will depart from Terminal 5 and the route will be served by a two-class cabin A320 aircraft.

Those choosing a ‘Plus’ or ‘Plus Flex’ fare can check their ski equipment in for free as part of their 23kg baggage allowance, as well as the hand luggage allowance of one cabin bag and a handbag or laptop bag per person.

Other routes the airline has launched this year include San Jose in California, Palermo, Biarritz and Kalamata from Heathrow and San Jose in Costa Rica, Lima and JFK from Gatwick.

Flights to Cape Town from Gatwick will operate from November 24 and services to Santiago from Heathrow will start from January 3, 2017.

Source: British Airways.

British Airways announces its longest long-haul flight to Santiago, Chile

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways is launching the only direct flight between London and Santiago in Chile from January 3, 2017.

Santiago will become the airline’s lengthiest long-haul route, taking 14 hours 40 minutes, nearly an hour more than the current longest flight of 13 hours 50 minutes service to Buenos Aires.

The four-a-week flight will be served by the airline’s newest aircraft, the four-cabin Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, complete with a new First cabin.

Santiago will be the latest destination in Latin America to join British Airways’ route network.  The airline recently launched new services to San Jose in Costa Rica and Lima in Peru.  In addition, it also operates flight to Rio and Sao Paulo in Brazil and Buenos Aires in Argentina.

New First Class / Courtesy: British Airways.

New First Class / Courtesy: British Airways.

Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways said: “In recent years we have been increasing our services to South and Central America reflecting the area’s continued growth in both business and tourism. This year we’ve already launched flights to Costa Rica and Peru, and the addition of Santiago will secure another important link between the UK and the region.

“The Chilean economy has been steadily growing, with increasing trade links to Europe so this new direct route will respond to the need for travel between the two Capital cities to do business face-to-face.”

“Equally, Chile is of enormous appeal to leisure travellers, especially those looking for adventure, exploration and experiences, thanks to its outstanding and diverse natural beauty and attractions and its great food and wine.”

There’s something for everyone in Chile as a destination. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy skiing and snowboarding around Santiago, trekking around the Andes or water-sports along the extensive coast-line. Thanks to the country’s natural wonders, from the driest desert in the world, to the lakes and glaciers, and the huge swathes of national park there’s many different animals and birds to be seen.

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

Chile also has a rich culture to explore, from Easter Island with its Moai statues to Valparaiso’s old quarter, which has UNESCO heritage site status. The city of Santiago is also fascinating and the region’s food and drink, especially the wine, is renowned. And thanks to all that coastline and the islands around Chile, there’s plenty of beach holidays for travellers wanting a relaxing break.

To celebrate the launch, British Airways is offering a special fare of £749 return in World Traveller (economy), £1,299 in World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and £1,999 in Club World (business class).

British Airways is taking delivery of 21 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, five of which arrived in 2015 and 11 of which will arrive this year. The final five will be delivered during 2018.

They feature a new First cabin, thanks to the fact the 787-9 is 20ft longer than the 787-8. The cabin is a very private eight-suite space, with four additional storage areas around each seat, including an ottoman, a personal suiter, a locker for small personal effects and a device stowage space complete with device powering capability. In-flight entertainment is shown on a 23-inch fixed screen and a smart ‘jog-dial’, manages the seat’s recline, headrest and lumbar inflate and a ‘global’ lighting control to set both ambient and reading lighting.

Editor’s Note:

  • The new Santiago flight will depart from Heathrow on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 22:00 and arrive in Santiago at 09:40 local time the following day. The return flight will depart at 18:45 arriving back in London at 12:05 local the following day.
  • The new route from Heathrow to Santiago is approximately 11,645km, while Buenos Aires is 11,083km.
  • Although this is British Airways’ first direct flight to Santiago, the airline previously operated there as a ‘tag-on’ from Buenos Aires between 1993 and 2000.
  • The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has 216 seats and is the most technologically advanced aircraft in British Airways fleet.
Source: British Airways.

Direct to Doha and Muscat with British Airways

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways customers will soon be able to experience uninterrupted, direct flights to Doha and Muscat from Heathrow Terminal 5.

Previously, customers flying to the Middle Eastern cities had to stop off in Bahrain en route Doha and Abu Dhabi en route to Muscat, but from October 30, both services will fly direct, reducing the journey time to both cities by approximately two hours.

British Airways will operate daily flights between Heathrow and Abu Dhabi, Doha and Bahrain and a five-per-week service between Heathrow and Muscat.

Customers travelling to Abu Dhabi will be able to fly in the airline’s brand new 787-9 Dreamliner. The 787-9 includes a new First cabin which has just eight seats in comparison to the 14 seats available on other British Airways long-haul aircraft, giving even more exclusivity and privacy to customers.

To celebrate British Airways has sale fares on offer until May 17 with return fares between London and the four cities starting from £349 in World Traveller and £599 in World Traveller Plus.

The sale runs until May 17, 2016 and is valid for travel between October 30 and December 8, 2016 and January 9 and March 21, 2017.

Source: British Airways.

British Airways’ boost for Business travellers as T5 Club Lounge gets a revamp

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways has refurbished its main lounge for business travellers at its Terminal 5 home.

The Club World Galleries South at T5A has been given a careful make-over, sprucing up the busy business class lounge for the airline’s premium customers.

A new furniture layout has been thoughtfully designed to enhance individual seating and privacy.

Premium customers can now relax before their flight on a range of brand new contemporary and stylish furniture, and enjoy the added convenience of a big boost in extra power points throughout the lounge to charge laptops, phone and tablet computers.

The lounge has also benefitted from new carpets while its extensive oak wooded floors are being re-sanded, waxed and will be beautifully polished.

The refurbishment to the airline’s Club World lounge, follows an earlier upgrade made by British Airways to its First lounge at its Heathrow home, unveiled last month.

Troy Warfield, British Airways’ director of customer experience, said: “It’s important that our premium customers flying in Club World can start their journey on the ground with the best service and surroundings, to ensure they are relaxed and comfortable even before they board their flight.

“We hope our customers will appreciate the new look, extra power points, better furniture and enhanced layout to start their journey in comfort and style.”

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

As part of the extensive refresh, over 400 new pieces of furniture, ranging from stylish sleek chairs, occasional tables, new dining furniture and leather sofas have replaced the original furniture.

Since it opened in 2008, the Club World Galleries South lounge has been the airline’s biggest lounge for business class travellers looking to relax, dine and refresh themselves before departing London on long-haul flights.

It is part of British Airways’ extensive ‘Galleries’ lounge complex, featuring six individual lounges for Club and First customers, including the exclusive Concorde Room, and the recently refreshed First lounge.

Customers using the Club Galleries South lounge can relax in calm and tranquil surroundings and choose from a selection of fine wines, spirits, soft drinks from the lounge’s ‘Silver’ bar, all under the glow of a Swarovski crystal chandelier, or can ask for a nicely chilled glass of champagne.

They can also enjoy the extensive pre-flight dining options, and can choose from a wide range of light meals and snacks, which have been especially prepared to maximise customer’s sleep on board.

There is also an exclusive work and entertainment zone to enable travellers to catch up on last minute emails, or watch live sport or selected entertainment in the airline’s 20 seat cinema.

A dedicated British Airways customer service team is on hand to help customers to arrange or amend flights and answer any queries, while customers can also pamper themselves before their flight with complimentary 15 minute treatment at the Elemis Spa.

Source: British Airways.