British Airways cancels the planned 100th anniversary Boeing 747 domestic flights

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Last week we reported that British Airways was sending its three ‘retro’ repainted Boeing 747s in BOAC, Landor and Negus heritage livery to Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow on 25th August.

These flights are now cancelled.

Once these planes had been spotted in the timetable, people piled in to book.  Tickets were soon selling for many times the amount you would usually pay for a flight from London – in some cases as much as £400 for an Economy return which is, frankly, absurd for a thirty minute flight.

The general assumption was that, since the August bank holiday marks British Airway’s ‘official’ 100th birthday, these flights would be involved in some sort of celebration event.

British Airways put out a statement yesterday saying there would be no ‘celebrations’ on these flights, and that passengers could have refunds if they wanted.  The flights were then switched back to the usual short haul aircraft to ram home the point!

In its statement, BA said that it is “still considering our options for that weekend and will release details in due course”.  This suggests that something will happen over the late August Bank Holiday weekend, but these Boeing 747 flights will no longer be part of it.

(BA may also have been stung by criticism from some quarters that this was an environmentally unsound move, although as the flights were virtually sold out this seems a little unfair.)

The actual position here is clouded by the fact that BA’s travel trade announcement blames:

“Some aviation websites [which] made a guess at what we were planning, but we were very clear that this was speculation.”

However, a Flyertalk moderator and uber-heavy BA flyer claims that advance notice of the flights was given to some top customers – including himself – so that they could book straight away if they wished ……

HFP was not promising anyone a great spectacle.  Rob wrote:

“I am confused by the enthusiasm. These are all very old Boeing 747 aircraft which are, literally, on the way to the scrapheap.  They look good in the new liveries but inside there is nothing special about them.  I doubt British Airways can do anything creative on-board in such a short flying time – I doubt there is time to serve anything at all.

If you are SO keen to fly a British Airways long-haul plane on a short-haul route, remember that you can fly a Boeing 777 to Madrid every day of the week.  During August, although it is not yet in the timetable, you will be able to fly to Madrid on the brand new A350 with Club Suite in Business Class.  Now that is worth doing ….”

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  1. Roger says:

    A couple of queries for VS redemption on ANA.

    1) Does it work for Open Jaw i.e. dparting from EU and returning to LHR? This is purely to save taxes.

    2) Are taxes the same whether it is for First or J?

    3) Does this redemption allow any other perks such as free car to / from airport etc?

    4) Assume connecting further on wards from HND is a separate award and therefore not a good value.

  2. Prune says:

    O/T this is a bit of a random question but I’m hopeful someone will know the answer. I preferably like to fly to the Caribbean every other October half term with the family. The past 2 times we have gone to Barbados using 2 x 2 for 1s and have found that ba are pretty generous with availability coming up over the preceding year for club / first.
    Thinking ahead (I know a bit early) for next October I now have a 3rd child (will be 2) and was hoping to choose somewhere different like Cancun as Barbados is crazy expensive now.
    As I’m now looking for 5 tickets I was curious which routes to the Caribbean tended to have good availability over the year. I know it fluctuates with demand but just generally.

    • I would spend some time with rewardflightfinder which can show you this for any route you choose in 5 seconds.

      • Prune says:

        Hi Rob,
        The problem is that it’s hard enough finding 4 seats let alone 5 without a little bit of knowledge of how much the redemptions come up. For this summer I managed to book club for 4 out to Orlando but coming back I booked 2 club (the wife, baby and small child) and 2 economy from Tampa . Luckily with the RF site we are all in club now. I was confident this would happen as there are lot of flying options to Florida. However to and from Caribbean islands I am not too sure.

        • rewardflightfinder can show you, as of now, how many days over the next 355 days have 5 seats. That is the best guidance you’re going to get.

    • I’m guessing there might be a real issue with getting 5 award seats. Have you considered Florida; the Keys look very similar to the Caribbean and the US is generally far cheaper than the Caribbean for families? Availability for Miami seems very good at the moment (I’ve got 3 F seats for next Easter) as well.

      Otherwise, have you considered a flight plus hotel or car package for one or two of you, in conjunction with the rest of you getting award seats? This can be extremely good value if you can’t get award seats for the whole family (if you’re using the hotel option you would need to select a room which takes 5 of you, or select 2 rooms, but apart from that there shouldn’t be any issues).

      • Prune says:

        Hi Anna,

        The problem is I’m looking for a nice resort holiday where I can throw the kids into the pool for most of the day and not have to cook/clean/food shop. This is why I really like Barbados but wow it was so expensive last time.
        The keys sounds like a cool idea even though there is still slight nervousness after watching true lies 🙂

        • Miami Beach and slightly further out Palm Beach have resorts like this. The beaches are great and often the rooms are condo-style so you’ll get plenty of space plus a kitchen which cuts down on costs, although as it’s the US, eating out is generally great value anyway. I would definitely class it as a good alternative to the Caribbean unless you’re looking for specialised activities like scuba diving (you can dive in Florida but it’s not as mainstream as in the Caribbean, or as good).

          • Also, Prune, I know you don’t want to cook or shop but I find that we are usually all happy with toast and coffee on the balcony for breakfast which makes for a more relaxing start to the day than trekking to the hotel restaurant!

        • Freddy says:

          Please let us know what you find as I’m in the exact same position

          • The problem with the Caribbean is that there was a very severe hurricane a couple of years ago; reduced accommodation options plus the clean up costs have pushed prices up for tourists. We’ve been ok as our timeshare costs in GCM are fortunately guaranteed, however other hotels on the island are now sky high because of the overspill from the Virgin Islands and other Eastern Caribbean islands. If I was looking for an autumn holiday spot just now I’d go with the Canaries or Middle East.

          • Lady London says:

            Why not Dubaï? From what Rob says they’re ideally set up for resort hols with nids.

    • Shoestring says:

      Do your research on Cancun to avoid disappointment? I travelled past it on my way to Playa del Carmen & Cozumel a few years ago – it looked from the outside to follow the ‘Benidorm of Mexico’ model.

      • We stayed at the top end of Cancun years ago and it was much quieter and more pleasant than the main strip. I’d also consider the Dominican Republic – although it has a reputation for low-cost All-Inclusive resorts, it also has some amazing 5 star hotels, especially at the Punta Cana end of the island.

        • Waddle says:

          I agree. We stayed at the Now Onyx (part of AMResorts) which I believe to be among the best value in Punta Cana especially if booking the ‘Preferred’ with private pool category rooms. It is also next to ‘Breathless’ which is adults-only and has more of a party vibe but guests have access to both so party at Breathless and relax at Now Onyx. The main pool is quite large and very family friendly. All the rooms on the ground floor are swim-up which means a family could have their kids in the pool while they relax on their deck.

  3. Mighty hike update : 4 down, 22 to go and I’ve caught up with the stragglers from the group who left 20 mins before me!

  4. Anyone know when to book the A350 for?

    • I was told it would be the 06.20 out of Heathrow, but this is not guaranteed. And no idea when it will start. Mid August is a safe bet.

  5. OT: what’s the cheapest way to book an aerlingus reward flight with Avios? Contacts? Need to book an urgent one way for today, not a BA route

    • Long haul, by telephone. Short haul is cheaper via has better availability so you might have no choice anyway.

  6. Bent Rover says:

    OT question – seating 747 upper deck. Current seat 62B exit seat

    Will land into NYC in a rush and will need every second. Does upper deck passengers get let out the plane first or last for CW? Should I choose the lower deck and get closest to the front in order to save time?

    Lastly, am I correct in assuming there is no person stepping over me in 62B isle exit seat ?


    • Tom Cook says:

      In my experience upper deck takes a bit longer to disembark as you end up merging with Economy & PE PAX. That said you end up in the same passport queue which at Christmas took a while to get through anyway!

    • We may just have been lucky (also we were in F!) but there was NO immigration queue at JFK at 5 pm a week last Wednesday and we were 2nd to go through off our (early arrival) flight. We were out of the airport and waiting for our car by the time the flight was due to land! They’ve done away with immigration cards as well, and customs checks seem to be none-existent nowadays. Fastest I’ve ever got into the US by a long, long way.

    • Jonathan says:

      If you fly to the US more than 5x every 5 years then get Global Entry. $100 for 5 year membership & a one off criminal records check costing £46. Makes US Immigration & airport security a doddle (Precheck is included). I’ve been through Chicago, JFK, Boston, Miami & LAX at peak times in less than 10 mins from doors open to in a taxi. Similar story on return legs from drop off to lounge with none of the queuing, shoes off, laptop out malarkey.

      • Shoestring says:

        Sounds like a serious security risk on the return journey – why, just because you passed the initial GE check, wouldn’t USA Security check you out the same as all other passengers when departing USA & getting on a plane?

        • ChrisC says:

          with Pre Check you still go through security screening so bags scanned and you go through the scanner etc And pre check passengers are generally more experienced so are more prepared and as relatively few people have pre the lines are shorter

          The rules are just slightly different to laptops and liquids (still within the size limit) can stay in your bag.

  7. Shoestring says:

    Data point: no problem using Morrisons vouchers to buy diesel this morning. Easy way to hit a target if you have a new card, or just enjoy the saving.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Not on a single one of my 4 AMEX card types or my 9 cards including supps

      • Shoestring says:

        Has anybody ever mentioned getting card offers on the app that are not visible online? ISTR yes. I’m not really into apps so maybe a few people could check it out.

    • Rooster says:

      Yes if you have a Morrisons offer then its a substantial saving on fuel!

    • Harry T says:

      Thanks, Harry – my partner and I are planning to fill up both our cars to take advantage of the Amex offer (I have 10% off 30£+ spend) and the 5p off per litre.

      Did they let you combine the Morrisons gift vouchers with the 5p off per litre?

      • Shoestring says:

        I didn’t need £40 of groceries, so no 5p voucher.

        @Peter K – buying Morrisons vouchers at the kiosk, I believe you can also buy them at tills though the tills won’t hold high quantities so you’ll hold up the queue. [You can’t get these from the normal Card Display Unit.]

      • EwanG says:

        @Harry T. Yes you can use both together.

    • Peter K says:

      Is that buying Morrisons gift cards in store and then using those same cards on petrol?

      • Shoestring says:

        heh heh! from elsewhere:
        [Thanks OP. 7% on over £30 on my platinum card.
        Never known them to vary the payback on different cards before.
        Pity it can’t be used in Morrisons petrol stations.]

  8. Gavin says:


    Just been emailed a quasi competition from IHG to win rugby world cup final tickets.

    Have to register for competition and then pay for a stay using a MasterCard between 7th June and 31st August. Currently the link in the email says “bandwidth exceeded” but will try again later

  9. Roger says:

    I am looking fr flights to Far East and thinking should I avoid Alitalia J which is may be only 30-40% more expensive than Y tickets on BA for my dates of Travel. This is from LHR.

    J of course earns 300% miles on EY which may allow better future redemptions?
    Any chance of AZ going kaput in next 3 to 6 months?

  10. Roger says:


    Any chance of getting AW upgrade codes for existing accounts?


  11. I’m now singing Bon Jovi.

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