Learn more about British Airways
|Founded||1924 (as Imperial Airways)<tr><th colspan="2">Hubs</th><td>London Heathrow Airport|
|Headquarters||The Waterside Building, Harmondsworth, England, United Kingdom|
|Key people||Willie Walsh (Chief Executive)|
British Airways (LSE: BAY, NYSE: BAB) is the largest airline of the United Kingdom and the third largest in Europe (behind Air France-KLM and Lufthansa), with more flights from Europe across the Atlantic than any other operator. Its main hubs are London Heathrow and London Gatwick, with wide-reaching European and domestic shorthaul networks, including smaller hubs at other UK airports including Manchester, from which some longer-haul flights are also operated.
The company holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence, it is permitted to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.<ref>Description of UK Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence</ref>
The airline's origins date to the birth of civil aviation and the pioneering days after the First World War. On 25 August 1919 its forerunner company, Aircraft Transport and Travel (AT&T), launched the world's first daily international scheduled air service, between London and Paris. On 31 March 1924, Britain's four fledgling airlines - Instone, Handley Page, Daimler Airways (a successor to AT&T) and British Air Marine Navigation - merged to form Imperial Airways, which developed its Empire routes to Australia and Africa.
Meanwhile a number of smaller UK air transport companies had started flights. These merged in 1935 to form the original privately owned British Airways Ltd. Following a government review Imperial Airways and British Airways were nationalised in 1939 to form the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). Post-war, BOAC continued to operate long-haul services, other than routes to South America - these were flown by British South American Airways, which was merged back into BOAC in 1949. Continental European and domestic flights were flown by a new airline, British European Airways (BEA).
In 1952 BOAC flew the De Havilland Comet to Johannesburg, halving the previous flight time. The birth of the mass package-holiday business meant change for the airline industry. BEA met the challenge by establishing BEA Airtours in 1970. In 1972 BOAC and BEA were combined under the newly formed British Airways Board, with the separate airlines coming together as British Airways in 1974. British Airways, simultaneously with Air France, inaugurated the world's first supersonic passenger service with Concorde in January 1976.
Sir John King, later Lord King, was appointed as Chairman in 1981 with the mission of preparing the airline for privatisation. King hired Colin Marshall as CEO in 1983. King was credited with turning around the loss-making giant into one of the most profitable air carriers in the world, boldly claiming to be "The World's Favourite Airline", while many other large airlines struggled. The airline's fleet and route map were overhauled in the early years of King's tenure, with brand and advertising experts being recruited to change the airline's image. Over 23,000 jobs were shed in the early 1980s, though King managed the considerable trick of boosting staff morale and modernise operations at the same time.
The flag carrier was privatised and floated on the London Stock Exchange in February 1987 by the Conservative government, with the initial share offering being 11 times oversubscribed. In April 1988 British Airways effected the controversial takeover of Britain's second-force airline British Caledonian, and in 1992 absorbed Gatwick-based carrier Dan-Air.
 "Dirty tricks"
Soon after privatisation Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic, which began with one route and one Boeing 747 in 1984, was beginning to emerge as a competitor on some of BA's most lucrative routes. Following Virgin's highly publicised mercy mission to Iraq to fly home hostages of Saddam Hussein in 1991, King is reported to have told Marshall and his PA Director David Burnside to "do something about Branson".<ref>Martyn, Gregory (2000). Dirty Tricks: British Airways' Secret War Against Virgin Atlantic. London: Virgin. ISBN 0753504588.</ref> This began the campaign of "dirty tricks" that ended in Branson suing King and British Airways for libel in 1992. King countersued Branson and the case went to trial in 1993. British Airways, faced with likely defeat, settled the case, giving £500,000 to Branson and a further £110,000 to his airline; further, BA was to pay the legal fees of up to £3 million.<ref>"BA dirty tricks against Virgin cost £3m", BBC: On This Day, BBC News, 1993-01-11. Retrieved on 2006-10-23.</ref> Branson divided his compensation among his staff, the so-called "BA bonus".
 Changes and Subsidiaries
During the 1990s BA became the world's most profitable airline and trumpeted the slogan "The World's Favourite Airline". In 1992 Deutsche BA was established as a subsidiary operating in Germany. By the time it was sold in June 2003 dba was operating 16 Boeing 737s and was the second-largest German domestic carrier, after Lufthansa.
Lord King stepped down as chairman in 1993 and was replaced by former deputy Colin Marshall, who initially combined the roles of CEO and Chairman. Bob Ayling, who would later take on the role of CEO, was appointed Managing Director by Marshall. Lord King was appointed President, a role created specifically for him, and became President Emeritus in 1997, until his death in July 2005.
In 1995 BA formed British Asia Airways, a subsidiary based in Taiwan, to operate between London and Taipei. Owing to political sensitivities, British Asia Airways not only had a different name, but also had a diferent livery, with the Union Jack tailfin being replaced by Chinese characters. Many airlines followed the same practice, e.g. Qantas flew to Taiwan as "Australia Asia Airways" and KLM's Taiwan operations became "KLM Asia". British Asia Airways ceased operation in 2001 when the airline suspended flights to Taiwan due to low yield.
 Bob Ayling
In 1996 British Airways, with its newly appointed Chief Executive Bob Ayling, entered a period of turbulence. Increased competition, high oil prices and a strong pound hurt profits. BA management and trade unions clashed and the disruption cost the company hundreds of millions of pounds. In 1997 Ayling dropped BA's traditional Union Flag tailfin livery in favour of world design tailfins, in an effort to change its image from a strictly British and aloof carrier to a more cosmopolitan airline. The move was not a success and Ayling slowed the process, eventually declaring the fleet would sport a dual livery; half a Union Flag design, half the world design tailfins. Ayling pursued antitrust immunity with American Airlines, but this was unsuccessful due to the conditions placed on the deal by regulatory authorities, the most painful of which would have been the sacrifice of landing slots at Heathrow.<ref>Comments of Department of Justice on antitruts immunity.</ref>
Positive news during Ayling's reign included cost savings of £750m and the establishment of the successful, but highly subsidised, Go in 1998. Go was a low-cost carrier intended to compete in the rapidly emerging "no-frills" segment. After four years of successful operations, the airline was sold off to venture capitalists 3i and later merged with easyJet. Ayling also sought a reduction of capacity, cancelling Boeing 747-400 orders in favour of the Boeing 777 and rationalising BA's short-haul fleet with an order for the efficient Airbus A319/A320/A321 family.
 Rod Eddington
In 1999 British Airways reported a 50% slump in profits, its worst since privatisation. In March 2000 Bob Ayling was removed from his position. British Airways announced Rod Eddington as his successor in May. Eddington set about cutting the workforce further, dramatically so after the slump caused by the September 11th attacks in 2001. In May 2001 Eddington announced the return of the Union Flag to the entire fleet, reversing his predecessor's rebranding exercise.
During the fiscal year ending 2005, BA carried some 35m passengers on revenue exceeding £7.8bn, posting a pre-tax profit of £415m. It employs 51,939 staff.
 Willie Walsh
In September 2005 new CEO Willie Walsh announced dramatic changes to the management of British Airways, with the aim of saving £300 million by 2008, the cost of the move to Heathrow's Terminal 5. He has also announced his intention to sell off BA Connect to Flybe, with Walsh stating "Despite the best efforts of the entire team at BA Connect, we do not see any prospect of profitability in its current form." BA will retain a 15% stake in FlyBe on completion of the sale.
Since 2004, BA has strongly marketed the full-service nature of its domestic flights (i.e the use of principal airports, complimentary food and drink) in response to the low cost operators aggressive pricing, even though its main full-service UK rival bmi has now abandoned some "frills" on its domestic network. Walsh on the other hand pledged to retain the full-service model, and sees it as a means of distinguishing BA from the competition and that customers will still be willing to pay extra for added levels of service.
 Financial performance
|Year ended||Passengers flown <ref>BA Shares British Airways shareholder 'Reports & Accounts' archive</ref>||Turnover (£m)||Profit/loss before tax (£m)||Net profit/loss (£m)||Basic eps (p)|
|31 March 2006||35,634,000||8,515||620||467||40.4|
|31 March 2005||35,717,000||7,772||513||392||35.2|
|31 March 2004||36,103,000||7,560||230||130||12.1|
|31 March 2003||38,019,000||7,688||135||72||6.7|
|31 March 2002||40,004,000||8,340||(200)||(142)||(13.2)|
|31 March 2001||36,221,000||9,278||150||114||10.5|
|31 March 2000||36,346,000||8,940||5||(21)||(2.0)|
|31 March 1999||37,090,000||8,915||225||206||19.5|
|31 March 1998||34,377,000||8,642||580||460||44.7|
|31 March 1997||33,440,000||8,359||640||553||55.7|
|31 March 1996||32,272,000||7,760||585||473||49.4|
- BA will inaugurate a nonstop service between London Heathrow and Calgary in December 2006. It will operate 5 flights a week, using a Boeing 777-200. It will increase the frequency on its London Heathrow - São Paulo Guarulhos route from 7 to 10 flights a week. All 10 will use Boeing 747-400s.
- It will increase the frequency on its London Heathrow - New York JFK route from 7 to 8 flights a day in December 2006.
- It will, according to sources, serve Cardiff International Airport to New York JFK from Summer 2007 onwards to rival Continental Airlines daily service from Bristol International Airport.
- As part of it's "low-cost" style operation at London Gatwick, the company will inaugurate a daily service to Dresden, and a 3 times weekly service to Sarajevo from Summer 2007. At the same time, services to Riga, Newcastle, Athens and Kiev from London Gatwick will cease
- From Summer 2007 BA will inaugurate a 3 times weekly service from London Gatwick to Port of Spain using a Boeing 777, attached on to the end of their daily Bridgetown, Barbados service
Until the late 1990s BA had been mainly a Boeing customer. This has always been a subject of controversy, as many expect that as a British carrier it would be natural for BA to support the British manufacturing industry and buy Airbus jets (many Airbus subcontractors are based in the UK). The company has defended its decision by arguing that, with the exception of 29 of its 777 fleet, it has always equipped its Boeing aircraft with British-made Rolls-Royce engines (examples include the Trent 800 on its Boeing 777s, the RB211-524 on its 747-400s and 767s and also RB211-535s on its 757-200s). This goes back to the 1960s when the company ordered Boeing 707s - a condition was placed on the company that it used Rolls-Royce power for the new jets.
However, it has operated non-Boeing planes in the past mainly as a result of takeovers and joint agreements with other airlines. One example of this was planes acquired through the buyout of British Caledonian Airways in the 1980s; it successfully operated the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and Airbus A320 for a number of years. In the late 1990s British Airways placed its own first direct Airbus order, for over 100 A320/A319s to replace its own ageing fleet of Boeing 737s.
BA was an operator of the supersonic Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde supersonic airliner, with a daily service between Heathrow and New York JFK (although the original service was from London to Bahrain). Initially, Concorde was very much a financial burden, placed on the national carrier by the government, and attracted criticism from the press as a white elephant. However Lord King recognised the charismatic importance of Concorde to British Airways. BA used Concorde to win business customers, guaranteeing a certain number of Concorde upgrades in return for corporate accounts with the airline - a key factor in winning business from transatlantic competitors.
With the Paris Crash in 2000, the September 11, 2001 attacks and escalating maintenance costs, the future of Concorde was limited despite the expensive modifications after the crash. It was announced (on 10 April 2003) that, after 24 October 2003, they would cease scheduled services with Concorde, due to depressed passenger numbers. The last day of its Saturday-only London Heathrow to Barbados Concorde flight was on 30 August 2003. The airline still owns 8 Concordes which are on long term loan to museums in the UK, US and Barbados.
 Current Fleet
The British Airways fleet includes the following aircraft as of November 2006:<ref>UK CAA Aircraft Register</ref>
|Airbus A319-100||33||126||From LHR|
Europe and UK Routes
|Short Haul Routes|
|Airbus A320-100||5||149 (149)||From LHR|
Europe and UK Routes
|Short Haul Routes|
Europe and UK Routes
|Short Haul Routes|
Europe and UK Routes
|Short Haul Routes|
|Boeing 737-300||5||126||From LGW|
Europe and UK Routes
|Short Haul Routes|
|Boeing 737-400||19||147||From LGW|
Europe and UK Routes
|Short Haul Routes|
|Boeing 737-500||9||110||From LGW|
Europe and UK Routes
|Short Haul Routes|
|Boeing 747-400||57||291 (14/70/30/177)|
|From LHR||Long Haul Routes|
|Boeing 757-200||13||180 (180)||From LHR|
Europe and UK Routes
|Short Haul Routes|
|From LHR and MAN|
North America, Europe, Caribbean
|Short-Long Haul Routes|
|Boeing 777-200||3||229 (14/48/40/127)||From LHR|
Middle East, North America, East Asia, Africa
|Medium-Long Haul Routes|
|Boeing 777-200ER||40||288 (0/48/24/216)|
|From LHR and LGW|
Middle East, North America, East Asia, Africa
|Medium-Long Haul Routes|
In March 2006, the average age of British Airways fleet was 9.7 years.
British Airways offers between two and four classes of service on their longhaul international routes. World Traveller (Economy Class) and Club World (Business Class) always feature. Most aircraft are also fitted with World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) and FIRST (First Class).
Current longhaul international seat pitches are as follows:
- World Traveller (Economy Class): 32" (127 seats on the 777-200 and between 177 and 272 seats on the 747-400)
- World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy): 38" (40 seats on the 777-200 and between 30 and 36 seats on the 747-400)
- Club World (Business Class): 6' flat bed (48 seats on the 777-200 and between 38 and 70 seats on the 747-400)
- FIRST (First Class): 6'6" flat bed (13 seats on the 777-200, as one is given over as a crew rest area and 14 seats on the 747-400)
British Airways has 32 outstanding options with Airbus, which may be taken as any member of the A320 family. Secured delivery positions on 10 Boeing 777 aircraft are held. <ref>BA Interim Financial Results 2006 Q3</ref>
The shorthaul and domestic fleet at London's Gatwick Airport is the next in line for replacement, with the current 32 Boeing 737 series aircraft dating from the early to mid 1990s. A decision is set to be made by early 2007 and it remains to be seen whether new Airbus A319/A320 aircraft will be ordered, British Airways has options for 99 Airbus A320s, this option applies to the total A320-series.
On 17 October, 2006 the airline announced that it was seeking responses for initially 34 airplanes to replace its existing longhaul fleet. BA, which said it planned to place the orders in 2007, said it was considering the Airbus A380, as well as the A330 and A350; and the Boeing 787, 777 and 747-8. Analysts estimate the airline would ultimately spend at least $7bn (£3.7bn) <ref> BA to buy new long-haul aircraft </ref>.
 Tail fins
- Further information: British Airways ethnic liveries
Since its formation in 1974, though to a limited extent until all aircraft were repainted, British Airways aeroplanes carried a Union Flag scheme painted on their tail fins. In 1997, they began to be repainted (and the planes re-named) with abstract world images, Delft pottery or Chinese calligraphy for example, relating to countries they fly to. This caused problems with air traffic control: previously controllers had been able to tell pilots to follow a BA plane, but because they were each painted in different colours they were harder to identify.
Margaret Thatcher famously covered the tail fin of a model aircraft with the new design using her handkerchief at the 1997 Conservative Party conference. She slated it, claiming they made it look like a third world airline. "We fly the British flag, not these awful things."
British Airways is based at London Heathrow Airport in London, England. It also has a commanding presence at Gatwick and Manchester International Airport. BA has succeeded in dominating Heathrow to the point that the airport is commonly referred to as Fortress Heathrow within both the airline and its competitors.
As an incumbent airline, BA had grandfather rights to around 36% of takeoff and landing slots at Heathrow, many of which are used for the lucrative trans-Atlantic market. Some competitors, such as Virgin Atlantic and bmi, assert that this stifles competition and some political think-tanks recommend an auction of slots. In recent years British Airways has been buying slots from other airlines including United Airlines, SN Brussels and Swiss International Air Lines, and now owns about 40% of slots at Heathrow.
Although British Airways is described as the 'National Carrier of the United Kingdom', it has been criticised for its lack of presence in Northern Ireland, with BA now still only offering flights from George Best Belfast City Airport to Manchester, leaving no direct route to London. Neither does it serve any destinations to or from Wales. It does however, have a large engineering base in Cardiff where it carries out all large scale modifications to its fleet.
 Subsidiaries and Franchisees
- British Mediterranean Airways, UK, franchisee since 1997.
- Comair, South Africa, franchisee since 1996.
- GB Airways, UK, franchisee since 1 February 1995.
- Loganair, UK, franchisee since July 1994.
- Sun Air, Denmark, franchisee since 1 August 1996.
British Airways is pioneering the use of "flat beds" in the premium cabins on their long-haul routes, with introduction of a new flat bed in Club world Summer 2006 and on demand video IFE system keeping up to date with the competition. On 8 September 2004 British Airways announced that it was to sell its 18.5% stake in Qantas, but would continue their alliance (such as sharing revenue), particularly on the Kangaroo routes. Commentators have suggested that while the expected £425m from the sale will be used to reduce the airline's debt mountain it may also be used to fund expansion.
It owns a 9% stake in Spanish airline Iberia.
 World Cargo
BA is, through its subsidiary British Airways World Cargo, the world's fifth-largest cargo airline. BA World Cargo has global reach through the British Airways scheduled network. In addition to the main fleet, BA World Cargo wet lease three Boeing 747-400F dedicated freighter aircraft from Global Supply Systems on a long term basis, as well as utilising space on dedicated freighters operated by other carriers on European services. Dedicated freighter services allow the airline to serve airports not currently connected to the scheduled network, such as London Stansted, Glasgow Prestwick, Frankfurt-Hahn, Vitoria and Seoul.
British Airways opened its £250m World Cargo centre, Ascentis, at Heathrow in 1999. As one of the largest and most advanced automated freight handling centres in the world, it contains a handling centre for unusual and premium cargo, and a perishables handling centre for fresh produce, of which it handles over 80,000 tons per year. BA World Cargo also handles freight at London's Gatwick and Stansted airports, and, through its partner British Airways Regional Cargo, at all of the main regional airports throughout the UK.
 Executive Club
Executive Club is British Airways' frequent flyer program. Its purpose is to encourage loyalty amongst British Airways' passengers by rewarding regular passengers with free flights and access to additional amenities and services. It follows a similar pattern to most European carriers' programs, and forms part of the network of frequent flyer programs in the Oneworld alliance.
The Executive Club has three levels, or tiers of membership: Blue, Silver, Gold. It also has an invitation-only Premier program. Membership of the Blue tier is open to anyone over the age of 18 who has flown a 'qualifying flight' in the past three months. Qualifying flights are those in premium cabins (FIRST, Club World/Europe and World Traveller Plus) or some of the most expensive flexible economy tickets. For each flight taken, the member receives both Tier Points and BA Miles. The total number of tier points earned in a year determines whether the member's level is Blue, Silver or Gold. BA Miles can be redeemed against air travel or in some cases to upgrade to a premium class.
The criteria for membership of the Premier program of the Executive Club are not publicly disclosed by the company. It is issued (following consideration by the British Airways Board) to those customers who are considered to control extremely large travel budgets or to those with whom the company particularly wishes to be associated. It is not possible to obtain a Premier card simply by flying a great deal with the airline.
A characteristic of the British Airways Executive Club is that, in comparison with other frequent flyer programmes, it is relatively difficult for leisure travellers and those who only fly on the cheapest tickets to advance above the Blue tier. Travel on discounted economy fares do not aid in the advancement of tier status, whereas other airline programs often allow partial credit for discounted economy fares. At Blue level the programme allows customers to accrue BA miles which can be used to purchase flights or upgrades on all BA flights and purchase flights on all Oneworld flights. Cheaper leisure fares also accrue BA Miles, but no Tier Points (which are needed to progress to Silver or Gold status). Balancing this the benefits of the Silver and Gold cards are considerable, including access to airport lounges and dedicated reservation lines.
 Tier Levels
Blue – Entry 20
Silver – Entry/Renewal 600 (400 in Continental Europe)
Gold – Entry/Renewal 1500 (800 in Continental Europe)
Premier – Membership: estimated to be £1m a year in business with British Airways (only by personal invitation of BA's CEO)
 FIRST Cabin
FIRST is the longhaul first class product of British Airways. The FIRST Cabin provides passengers with 14 private demi-cabins on the 777 and 747 which are fully adjustable 6' 6" beds that are provided with duvets and full sized pillows. Also provided are in-seat power for laptops and phones, that are activated shortly after take-off and remain available right up to landing.
The seats are also equipped with large touch activated TVs that provide access to the audio and video services provided, which include 18 video channels and 12 audio channels. Also available is access to a selection of games and the "Moving Map" display. FIRST passengers also have the option of browsing the on-board video selection that they can watch at their leisure through the in-seat video player. Passengers are also provided with complimentary noise-cancelling headsets.
Passengers can choose from an á la Carte menu and the FIRST crew will then prepare the meal to order and serve it at any time, an extensive wine list is also provided. Also provided are classic British meals that remain the same for a month.
FIRST passengers can check in via the British Airways website from up to 24 hours before the flight is scheduled to depart. In addition, passengers can choose their seat on the aircraft to save time at the airport. FIRST passengers can also check in and choose their seat at the airport using self-service touch-screen check-in kiosks. Passengers then have to take their luggage to 'Fast Bag Drop' points for it to be checked-in. BA currently has installed self-service check-in at selected airports. BA also offers a dedicated check-in area at London Heathrow, London Gatwick, New York JFK and Barbados for FIRST passengers, and also offers dedicated desks at other airports around the world.
In July, British Airways announced that in conjunction with the refitting of its business class cabin, 'Club World', the first class cabin will also receive a redesign with new seating and entertainment improvements that will include a new AVOD (Audio Visual On Demand) system.
 Club World
Club World is the longhaul business class product of British Airways.
Club World passengers can check in via the British Airways website from up to 24 hours before the flight is scheduled to depart. In addition, passengers can choose their seat on the aircraft to save time at the airport. Club World passengers can also check in and choose their seat at the airport using self-service touch-screen check-in kiosks. Passengers then have to take their luggage to 'Fast Bag Drop' points for it to be checked-in. BA currently has installed self-service check-in at selected airports. BA also offers the standard 'old-fashioned' check-in desk option to all passengers. Club World passengers have their own check-in area at most airports, avoiding queues and being served by Club World agents.
Club World passengers have access to BA's Terraces lounges at most airports where they can enjoy a bar, larder, business facilities, washrooms, libraries/quiet areas, and toy areas for younger Club World passengers. Complimentary pre-flight suppers are available in the lounges before selected overnight flights to and from North America. Complimentary treatments and massages for both women and men are also available (from Molton Brown Travel Spa) at London Heathrow Terminal 1 and 4 (departure and arrival lounges) and New York JFK (departure lounge only).
The Club World product is available on all British Airways long haul flights. On the main deck of British Airways' Boeing 747 aircraft and Boeing 777 aircraft, Club World seats are arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration. The Boeing 767 aircraft feature a configuration of 2-2-2, while the upper deck of the Boeing 747 is entirely dedicated to Club World and is configured in a 2-2 layout.
The Club World flat bed features a fully electronically adjustable mattress, foot stall, reading light, privacy divider and a personal TV screen. Also provided are plump pillows and thick blankets, and complimentary overear headphones. The seats are also equipped with large touch activated TVs that provide access to the audio and video services provided, which include 18 video channels and 12 audio channels. Also available is access to a selection of games and the "Moving Map" display.
Club World also benefits from an improved inflight cabin service, with a wide range of meals available from an "À la carte menu", and on longer flights a "Raid the Larder" option for passengers who feel hungry between meal services.
On 13 November 2006, British Airways launched its brand new Club World service. British Airways has spent £100 million on upgrading its business class product which is its most profitable product. It has increased the size of its Club World flat-beds, making them 25% wider and extending them to almost two metres (6 feet 6 inches) long. A new onboard Club Kitchen will be available for hot and cold snacks between meals. Moreover, Club World capacity will be increased by an average of 8%.<ref>http://travel.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1946778,00.html</ref> Along with the seat and service revamp, the in-flight entertainment system has been upgraded with new 10-inch digital screens and a choice of over 100 films and TV programs on demand.
The new Club World cabin will be introduced on Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft. The first aircraft to be fitted with the new Club World cabin will go into service in late November 2006 and will be rolled out across the fleet over the next 18 months.<ref>New Club World Cabin Unveiled(Official Press Release: November 13, 2006)</ref>
 World Traveller/World Traveller Plus
There are two economy services, World Traveller (standard economy, offering a 31" seat pitch) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy, offering a 38" seat pitch). Passengers in the premium economy cabin receive the same meal and service as those in economy, however they are often served first due to their position in the cabin, and disembark the aircraft ahead of the economy passengers.
World Traveller Plus passengers receive 7" extra legroom, as well as in-seat telephones and a fully adjustable legrest. With the new business class being rolled out, 747s will be reconfigured so that the World Traveller Plus section is situated behind First. This will not cause any alteration to the service.
 Other facts
- British Airways and Air France were the only two Concorde operators. British Airways did operate Concorde services briefly for both Braniff International Airways and Singapore Airlines.
- British Airways was the first airline to implement full-flat beds in Business class; many airlines subsequently followed the practice.
- The airline is the largest operator of the Boeing 747-400, with 57 aircraft. JAL has the largest fleet of 747s, but only 45 are Series 400s.
- British Airways aircraft generally use the Airline call sign "Speedbird" in ATC radio transmissions. On UK Domestic routes from Heathrow and Gatwick the call sign "Shuttle" is used. Christmas charters use the call sign "Santa".
- British Airways is featured prominently in the James Bond films Goldeneye and Die Another Day. This relationship appears to have ended with 2006's Casino Royale.
- The Boeing airline code for British Airways is XXX-X36, i.e. 737-236, 747-436, 777-236.
- British Airways' Frequent Flyer Program is one of the largest in the world, and is known as the Executive Club.
- In recent years, British Airways has transported Queen Elizabeth II and the British Prime Minister on official duties, using Boeing 777 aircraft. Royal Air Force transports were traditionally used in such roles.
- British Airways was, together with Virgin Atlantic, a premier partner of the London 2012 Olympic bid campaign. One of the airline's Boeing 747-400 aircraft became a "flying petition" for the games, with Prime Minister Tony Blair being the first to sign the aircraft. The official bid campaign video also featured BA and Virgin flight attendants 'competing' in a race to cross a road.
- The music used on BA advertisements for many years was "Flower Duet" by Léo Delibes.
- British Airways is part of the InterCapital and Regional Rail alliance, which in 1998 was awarded the contract to manage Eurostar (U.K.) Ltd. The company, which is the UK arm of Eurostar, the cross-Channel rail operator, makes up 10% of the alliance that also includes SNCF, SNCB and National Express Group.
- British Airways is an investor in Public-Private Partnership Guided Bus system which operates in Crawley and Horley for Gatwick Airport that is called the Crawley Fastway network, and can be used by Gatwick Airport workers to get to the airport.
- The airline is the principal sponsor of the British Airways London Eye observation wheel, one of the main tourist attractions of the UK. From its inception BA held a 33% stake in the Eye, but sold this to the Tussauds Group (who already held a 33% stake and operated the Eye) in November 2005.
- British Airways was awarded 2006 Airline of the Year in the World Airline Awards run by Skytrax.
- British Airways is the official airline of The Championships, Wimbledon.
- British Airways has officially banned rapper Snoop Dogg from its airlines due to an altercation on April 26, 2006.
 Flight Numbers
Generally, odd numbers are for services departing Britain, even numbers are for services entering Britain.
- Flight numbers 1-1500, 1502-1503 and 2000-3999 are operated by British Airways.
- Flight numbers 1501-1999 are operated by British Airways Connect.
- Flight Numbers from 1-199 are for long haul intercontinental international flights from Heathrow.
- Flight Numbers from 200-299 are for flights between Heathrow and the Americas (except Canada, New York City, Newark, Seattle). *Flight Numbers from 300-999 are for European flights to and from Heathrow.
- Flight Numbers from 1000-1999 are for domestic services from Heathrow
- Flight Numbers from 2000-2999 are for services from Gatwick.
- Flight Numbers from 6000-6999 are for GB Airways Franchise Operated Services.
- Flight Numbers from 4000-8999 are code share services operated by other airlines (including BA Connect), and also for some flights from London Gatwick (such as Bordeaux, Tolouse, Dublin and Newcastle).
 Incidents and Accidents
- On 10 September 1976, British Airways Flight 476, a Trident 3B aircraft flying from London Heathrow to Istanbul, Turkey and Inex-Adria Aviopromet flight 550, a Douglas DC-9 flying from Split, Croatia to Cologne, West Germany, collided in mid-air over the Zagreb VOR in what was then Yugoslavia. The two aircraft struck the ground near Vrbovec, a small town northeast of Zagreb. All 176 aboard both aircraft died.
- On 24 June 1982, Flight 009, a Boeing 747-200, G-BDXH, City of Edinburgh flew through a cloud of volcanic ash and dust from the eruption of Mount Galunggung, causing all four engines to fail. The aircraft managed to glide out of the dust cloud and restart three engines, allowing it to make an emergency landing at Jakarta.
- On 10 June 1990, Flight 5390, a BAC 1-11 flight between Birmingham and Málaga, suffered a windshield blowout. The pilot was partially blown out of the cockpit but was held back by the crew. The co-pilot landed the plane safely at Southampton Airport with no fatalities.
- On August 2, 1990, Flight 149 landed at Kuwait International Airport four hours after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, leading to the capture of the passengers and crew, and the destruction of the aircraft.
- On 19 February 2005, the No 2 engine of a Boeing 747-400 (G-BNLG) surged and suffered internal damage just after take off from Los Angeles on a flight to London Heathrow with 16 crew and 351 passengers on board. The crew shut the engine down. They continued the climb and, having checked the performance figures, decided to continue the flight, in line with BA's standard operating procedures for 4 engined aircraft. Because it was unable to attain normal cruising speeds and altitudes, the aircraft was forced to divert to Manchester, England. The United States Federal Aviation Administration had been critical of the Captain's decision, but there was no breach of regulations and both BA and the UK CAA have given their full support (ref:Flight International, July 2005).
- On 25 February 2005, a crew flying the same aircraft (G-BNLG) also had to shut an engine down, this time in the cruise from Singapore to London, and the Captain again elected to continue. This time they landed without any further incident at their destination (ref: Flight International, July 2005).
- On 10 August 2006 the airline had to cancel a large number of its flights to and from London Heathrow Airport due to a foiled terrorist plot to destroy jet airliners travelling from the United Kingdom to the United States. BA would later say the disruption cost it £40 million and forced it to cancel 1,280 flights between 10 and 17 August. <ref> "BA says terror alert cost it £40m", BBC News, 2006-09-05. Retrieved on 2006-09-26.</ref>
- On 29 November 2006 BA announced that three Boeing 767 aircraft had been grounded while forensic tests were carried out for traces of radiation, in relation to the investigation of the death of Alexander Litvinenko the previous week. Two aircraft were being tested at Heathrow, the other at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport <ref> "Radioactive traces on BA planes", BBC News, 2006-11-29. Retrieved on 2006-11-29.</ref>. It was later revealed that this third aircraft would be flown back to Heathrow without passengers or cabin crew for testing <ref> "BA passengers in radiation alert", BBC News, 2006-11-30. Retrieved on 2006-11-30.</ref>. Initial results of the forensic tests have shown very low traces of a radioactive substance onboard two of the three aircraft. 
- In October 2006, Nadia Eweida, a Christian employee of British Airways, became involved in a dispute over BA's uniform policy when she was asked to cover up a necklace which depicted a Christian cross. Eweida planned to sue the airline for religious discrimination.<ref>"Woman to sue BA in necklace row", BBC News, 2006-10-15. Retrieved on 2006-11-21.</ref>
- Further information: British Airways cross controversy
- In November 2006, it was revealed that British Airways has a policy of not seating adult male passengers next to unaccompanied children, even if the child's parents are elsewhere on the plane. This led to accusations that the airline considers all men to be potential sex offenders. The policy came to light following an incident in which Michael Kemp, a retired journalist, was asked to move from his seat next to a 9-year-old girl; he was told that the aircraft would not be taking off until the issue was resolved. The policy was condemned by Michele Elliot of British children's charity Kidscape, who said: "It is utterly absurd... what message does it send out to children - that men are not to be trusted? ...this is just totally lacking in common sense." <ref> "Revealed: How BA bans men sitting next to children they don't know", Daily Mail, 2006-11-04. Retrieved on 2006-11-21.</ref>
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