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We can't ignore the fact that we see more and more children becoming frequent flyers nowadays. 2013 is the year for British Airways to cater to their smallest flyers with the addition of expanded kid-friendly products and services.
As much as we would rather not travel with children, it's inevitable and it makes sense for an major airline like BA to take the energy to ensure the youngest frequent flyers are taken care of and comfy both in the air and on the ground. Realistically, these young flyers will grow up and become full-fledged customers with their own spending power.
When British Airways launched their new route to Seoul on 2 December, we were disappointed that they didn’t seem to have made a big deal out of it (other than the amazing launch fares, which they released last month). Turns out they were waiting until this week to do a proper launch – a huge party in Seoul, with cabin crew doing Gangnam Style dancing to send off the flight packed with BA’s great and good, and half the UK’s business press.
The crew were led by Ola Jordan, one of the professionals on Strictly Come Dancing (the UK verson of Dancing With the Stars). But forget Ola and her fetching red dress – we’re in love with the guy on the far left, who looks like he’s having the time of his life. Put him on our next flight, stat!
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After much speculation, and a few glimpses in video clips the airline surreptitiously pulled from the internet, British Airways finally published seat plans for the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380, due to join its fleet next year.
So what can we expect on BA’s Dreamliner and Double Decker? We’ll start with the facts on both:
We knew that British Airways was giving its planes some Movember love, but it seems the pilots are getting in on the act as well. Take, for example, the gents who flew us last week; two out of three of them were sporting their finest facial hair.
Now, by and large, we like our pilots clean-shaven here at Jaunted. Like a tucked-in shirt, clean-shaven says said pilot didn’t go out last night; he slept for a reasonable number of hours in order to get us safely to our destination. Unless it’s carefully tended, stubble risks looking like he fell out of bed into the plane, which is definitely not something to ponder during take-off. But hey, since it’s for charity, we’ll let that fly.
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Beckham and BA in happier days, carrying the Olympic flame
You’re on a plane with a celebrity. What do you do? Stare? Snap a photo for Facebook? Attempt interaction? For us, if we were sharing airspace with David Beckham, we’d probably try all three. And we’re not the only ones, because according to the Sun, Becks has had to have words with British Airways because the cabin crew keeps on getting starstruck.
Beckham flies regularly between LA and London, and, by the looks of the article, usually picks BAperhaps because traditionally their crew would have been as surly to him as the person in row 63F.
But, as we keep noticing the BA staff getting customer-oriented, it seems they’re getting a bit over-friendly with Golden Balls. And, as a “source” told the Sun, being overattentive and lining up for autographs is one thing. Photographing him while he sleeps is quite another.
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Can we please have a moment of silence for airline BMI, which ceased to fly the skies earlier this year as it was sold and snatched up by International Airlines Group (ah hem British Airways).
[Moment of silence].
Okay, now we can be a little happy as it's just been announced that some former slots of BMI at London-Heathrow Airport have been awarded to Virgin Atlantic on the platform that, according to Virgin, "without the remedy slots, [British Airways] would continue to fly from Scotland to Heathrow uncontested but Virgin Atlantic said today that domestic flyers would now have a compelling alternative."
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When it comes to scoring their very first Boeing 787, airline officials over at British Airways are pretty far back in the line. That means there will be no new Boeing under the tree this holiday season, but we think they’ll be okay. That’s because the assemblers and engineers have once again taken out the airplane directions, and they’re starting to put together the pieces for the very first British Airways 787.
The first 787 is set to join the fleet as soon as next May, and in total there will be around a couple dozen of the new airplanes. That’s not the only new puppy heading into the hangar, as British Airways also has like 12 Airbus A380s on backorder as well. In fact, they’ll be the first carrier in Europe flying both of these new planes, so other airlines have been warned.
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Kickin' back in Club World between London and Tokyo
When Psy's music video "Gangnam Style" went viral at the end of the summer, our first thought was "oh man, this is going to be awesome for Seoul tourism." Seriously. We're geeks about this stuff, okay? Anyway, it's holding true as British Airways just announced a huge fare sale with the headline "Get to Gangnam in Style."
Brilliant, BA. Our cursor is already hovering over the "purchase" button. What's even better are those sale ticket prices for the 9.5-hour flights:
London-LHR to Seoul-ICN* on a Boeing 777:
In Economy (World Traveller): £377/$600 roundtrip (45% off)
In Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus): £577/$918 roundtrip (40% off)
In Business (Club World): £777/$1235 roundtrip (70% off)
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BA's mustachioed A319
If you can't tell by all the weird weather, it's definitely November. And that means Movember! "Movember" (moustache November) has, over the last few years, become more and more popular around the world as a time for guys to grow a moustache to draw attention to prostate cancer and men's health issues. It's essentially the male version of women wearing pink during Breast Cancer Awareness month (which was October), so just as airplanes love to sport pink tails, they too get in the spirit of Movember.
For 2012, four airplanes are sporting moustaches. In order from least to most facial hair:
British Airways' A319 (pictured above)
How much facial hair: A proper moustache in a style the airline calls "the connoisseur."
Why? To up awareness for the airline's November charity initiative to raise more than £80,000 for the Prostate Cancer Charity. It also hits home as BA's former CEO Lord Marshall suffered from the disease.
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Back in the day (though not all that long ago), there was no more exclusive way to travel from London to New York than on BA001, the British Airways flight number for Concorde. With the supersonic jet now retired, BA uses this famous flight label for the next best thing: one of its two daily all-business-class flights from London City Airport to New York JFK.
We recently flew this interesting service, which not only has the benefit of just 32 full-flat seats on a tiny Airbus A318, but also offers pre-clearance of US immigration during a brief refuel stop in Shannon, Ireland. We’ll give you the full breakdown of the BA “baby bus” experience below.
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Dominic Howard-Jones. The embodiment of BA’s "To Fly, To Serve" slogan
Zany cabin crew might be par for the course these days (if you fly Southwest or Jetblue at least), but it’s not often you get a pilot who gets the whole plane laughing, especially if you’re flying fusty British Airways, right?
A huge exception would be the man, Captain Dominic Howard-Jones, who flew us from Pisa this last week. Or, as he would say, “drove the beast” down to Pisa. From boarding to disembarkation, he kept us entertained (though never irritated), doing the usual piloty announcements with his own personal twist, as if he was actually happy to be leading this flight, rather than going through the motions.
For example, the cabin crew were “gallant staff,” the plane became “the beast,” the co-pilot was “driving us” and, at Pisa, we may as well sit down again because the jetbridge was making “excruciatingly slow progress” towards us.
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Showgirls in their scanties and an open champagne bar aren’t what you’d normally expect at London-Gatwick Airport at 9am on a Monday, but what happens in Vegas came to London this week, as Gatwick came over all Sin City in honor of British Airways’ inaugural LGW-LAS flight, which left on Monday.
Showgirls, Cirque du Soleil-style performers, a pianist and a bar, Oscar’snamed after former mayor and Vegas man about town Oscar Goodmanwere doing their stuff in the check-in hall, while, through security, an Elvis impersonator (attended by two more showgirls) took up residence at Duty-Free. There were speeches from Silla Maizey, BA's Gatwick Managing Director, as well as the Vegas tourist board. There was even a cake cutting ceremony! Unsurprisingly, most people gravitated to the sequins and champagne.