From Heathrow With Love – Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter
Last month, I attended an ultimate behind-the-scenes airport tour, courtesy of London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR). LHR’s Digital Communications Manager, Chris Loy, welcomed a select group of aviation publications to showcase its daily operations and on behalf of AirlineReporter I was thrilled to be a part of it.
Control Tower – Photo: LHR Airports Limited
I always enjoy traveling through LHR, especially Terminal 5 (T5), and revel in what is generally a calm and serene travel experience. This is despite handling more than 75 million passengers and about 1.5 million tons of cargo (the non self-loading variety) per year.
I compare this to the utter chaos that is London’s Luton Airport (LTN) while they undergo extensive construction, or the holiday-maker maelstrom that is Gatwick Airport (LGW) during the summer. That said, I have never transited through LHR. Nor have I ever suffered from any extensive flight delays at the airport.
“Yes, transiting is an operational challenge at Heathrow,” remarks LHR Filming Coordinator and Airside Safety Officer, Joe Audcent. “The airfield is just so big from one end to another.” Chris and Joe would be our intrepid tour guides and I was looking forward to learning more about my hometown airport.
London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5
I recently had the opportunity to fly both British Airways and Iberia in short-haul economy, and talk about a 180-degree difference, especially striking when both are owned by the same parent company. While short flights don’t generally get much consideration, when one carrier offers so much more than another on the exact same route (namely between London and Madrid) for the exact same price, it’s probably better to go with the airline that will offer more and avoid the one that (spoiler alert) won’t even give you water.
British Airways flight BA85 rolls out on YVR’s Rwy 26L – the first scheduled A380 in Vancouver –
Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo
Western Canada’s first scheduled Airbus A380 service began on Sunday evening, with the arrival of British Airways flight BA85 at Vancouver International Airport. YVR is the airline’s only Canadian A380 destination, and is one of only nine city-pairs worldwide served by one of British Airways’ eleven megajets.
The A380 replaces British Airways’ daily London-YVR Boeing 747 service for the summer season. ’œThis is a terrific market for us, it does tremendously well, so the A380 just perfectly suits the market’ says Robert Antoniuk, British Airways VP Customer Service and Operations, North America West & Mexico. ’œThis flight is absolutely full to capacity today.’ The four-cabin A380 has a total of 469 seats, a significant jump from the 345-seat 747 it replaces.
Concorde G-BOAA prepares for the first commercial flight from LHR to BAH on January 21, 1976 – Photo: British Airways
Today is the 40th anniversary of Concorde’s first commercial flight. On January 21, 1976, Concorde successfully completed its first supersonic flight by British Airways, from Heathrow to Bahrain, while Air France flew to Rio de Janeiro via Dakar.
Concorde is one of the most iconic airliners ever built and was created with huge dreams; dreams that sadly never became a reality.
Visiting Boston – Photo: BA
Four flying in formation – Photo: BA
One beautiful aircraft – Photo: BA
To celebrate this milestone, British Airways shared information about the historic aircraft and some thoughts from one of its former pilots. What better place to chat with a former pilot than next to one of the aircraft? Captain Leslie Scott recently spent some time, along with others associated with the plane, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum to share his memories.
One of the British Airways Airbus A318s at JFK – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer Lindgren | JDLMultimedia
When it comes to long-haul flying, typically the bigger the aircraft the better. Whether it’s the Boeing 747 or Airbus A380, these are the aircraft typically associated with extreme luxury – private suites, on-board showers, and maybe even a fully stocked bar. Sometimes, though, smaller might actually be better. British Airways operates a pair of tiny Airbus A318s between New York JFK and London City Airport (LCY) with a business class-only configuration featuring only 32 seats (by comparison, Air France carries 131 passengers on their A318s). It sure is a strange (but great) way to fly. To give you a sense of just how small the A318 is, here are some numbers to help size it up: The Airbus A380 sports a total length of 238 feet with a 261-foot wingspan. The A318 is just 103 feet long with a wingspan of just under 112 feet.
The British Airways A318 cabin only has 32 seats – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz
I was recently able to fly from JFK to LCY and experience what it’s like flying into London on the A318. Spoiler: It’s wonderful and actually quite a different experience. While the London to New York flight involves a stop in Shannon, Ireland for fuel, the reverse flight is non-stop.