British Airways is adding thousands of extra seats on key routes to the UK from the USA and EU, following a huge increase in interest in travel to London since the UK Government announced that quarantine restrictions would be lifted for fully-vaccinated US and EU customers when travelling to the UK.
Within a couple of hours British Airways saw bookings from the US surging by 95%, following the recent UK Government announcement mainly from cities such as New York and Los Angeles in the USA, and European cities such as Berlin, Geneva and Hamburg. The additional flights will play a key part in kickstarting the British economy by welcoming much-needed tourism back to cities all over Britain.
Flights between New York-JFK and London Heathrow will increase to 21 services per week (up from 17 per week), Los Angeles and Chicago will increase to 10 per week (up from 7 per week), starting from 16 August 2021. From 23 August 2021, flights between Seattle and London Heathrow will increase to 7 services per week (up from 4 per week), and Los Angeles will further increase to 14 per week. BA also plans to continue to broaden its schedule between the USA and UK throughout September.
Customers from the US will be able to take advantage of the increased timetable, as well as services to the UK with American Airlines. Our partnership with AA allows for seamless connections across American’s key hubs in the US, providing one-stop connections from most US cities into London. British Airways and American Airlines operate more flights between the US and London than any other transatlantic partnership, offering regular direct services to/from 12 airports.
In addition, passengers can connect to British Airways’ extensive UK domestic network to cities throughout the rest of the UK, such as Newquay, Edinburgh, and Belfast, and to a range of destinations across Europe, where entry requirements allow.
Additional flights will also be added from European cities such as Berlin, Geneva and Hamburg, and the schedules will be continually reviewed to ensure the number of seats available matches customer interest. Customers flying in the Euro Traveller cabin can also enjoy the newly launched Speedbird Café at-seat ordering system, recently launched in addition to the existing pre-order service as well as complimentary water and snacks served on all routes.
The news comes after a successful trial was conducted between British Airways, Heathrow Airport and Virgin Atlantic, which showed that the Government’s amber policy for fully vaccinated travellers could be rapidly expanded for US and EU citizens. As part of the 10-day trial, fully vaccinated customers on selected flights from Los Angeles, New York, Montego Bay and Athens agreed to share their vaccination status at their departure airport, showing the industry is ready to rapidly adapt and operationalise further vaccination checks, to support a safe reopening of the skies at scale.
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming new visitors from the US and EU to the UK from next week, many of which will be reuniting with their family members for the first time in many months. This move will also help boost the British economy and the hospitality sector, which like aviation, has been crippled by the effects of the pandemic.
“We will support our customers as we emerge from this crisis and hope for crucial travel corridors to be established to allow reciprocal agreements. This will allow UK nationals to travel as the UK’s Covid cases fall and vaccination rates continue to rise.”
British Airways has partnerships with a range of testing providers and has teamed up with mobile travel health app VeriFly to make customers’ journeys through the airport as smooth as possible. Once a customer has had their travel documentation certified through the app they will be able to check-in through either ba.com or the British Airways app and download their boarding pass before arriving at the airport.
Customers booking with British Airways can do so with absolute confidence, thanks to the airline’s flexible booking. They are able to exchange their booking for a voucher or move their dates without incurring a change fee. British Airways’ existing online Covid hub includes information on flexible bookings, testing, how to use a voucher and what the British Airways flying experience looks like for those that haven’t travelled for some time.
British Airways has also introduced a number of measures at the airport and onboard to look after the safety and wellbeing of its customers and crew. These include social distancing measures, the wearing of face masks (which remain in place) and hand sanitiser stations. Prior to travel customers will also receive details of how they can prepare for their journey, including information on discounted testing providers.
The airline is cleaning all key surfaces including seats, screens, seat buckles and tray tables after every flight and each aircraft is completely cleaned from nose to tail every day. The air on all British Airways flights is fully recycled once every two to three minutes through HEPA filters, which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with over 99.9% efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating theatre standards.