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What's New at British Airways?

May 21, 2012 By: Jena Tesse Fox

British Airways has seen some major changes in recent months, most notably with the purchase of bmi from Lufthansa, which was finalized in late April. While the flights and schedules will remain the same, codes and flight numbers will change as of May 23. Throughout the summer, BA will operate the regular bmi schedule so that existing bookings don't change.

New flights are also in the works. Steve Clark, SVP, NA Customer Service & Operations for British Airways, told Travel Agent that subject to finalizing agreements with the airports, the airline would launch flights from London Heathrow to Leeds-Bradford, Rotterdam and Zagreb and increasing frequencies to existing key destinations. More details, including the date these destinations go on sale, will be announced next month.

U.S. travelers will be able to fly between Las Vegas and Gatwick as of October 29, when the airline launches three-times-per-week service on a three-class Boeing 777 (the Club World cabin will have fully flat beds). Together with the Heathrow service, the airline will operate 10 flights a week to Las Vegas.

The first refurbished British Airways Boeing 767 aircraft has already entered service, and thirteen more planes will undergo renovations in the coming months.

Investing in Newark Liberty

In April, British Airways opened its new Galleries lounge at Newark Liberty International, twice the size of the previous lounge and relocated near the airline's new home at gates B50-58. The new lounge will reduce walking time by half and can seat 177 customers comfortably. The lounge has a dedicated dining areas, with private dining booths for First guests and self-serve preflight dining forClub World customers.

The plane renovation and the new lounge are both part of a plan to invest more than $8 billion in new  aircraft, smarter cabins, lounges and new technologies.

OpenSkies, the transatlantic subsidiary of British Airways, is adding a new "Eco-Cabin" class to its planes, offering more people access to a premium travel experience between Newark Liberty and Paris-Orly. Beginning June 19, OpenSkies will have a new three-class configuration on its planes. Eco Class will join the Biz Bed and Biz Seat classes, which will become Prem Plus. OpenSkies' new Eco class will have just 66 seats. Prem Plus (formally Biz Seat) will have 28 seats. Biz Bed, the business class cabin of OpenSkies, will continue to offer lie-flat seats in a 20 seat cabin.

Other enhanced offerings include individual iPads for onboard entertainment, access to British Airways business class check-in desks at New York-Newark, priority access through security checks for Prem Plus and Biz Bed passengers and access to the British Airways airport lounges at Orly and Newark for Biz Bed passengers.

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About the Author

Jena Tesse Fox
Jena Tesse Fox covers Europe, Africa, Australia/South Pacific and business travel for the Questex Travel Group's publications. The daughter of history teachers, she can spend...

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By Jena Tesse Fox | May 21, 2012
With new flights, new planes and new lounges, the airline is expanding dramatically. Here's the latest.
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