British Airways rejigs its A350 launch route

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British Airways announced a major change last night which will impact anyone hoping to catch the new A350 – and the new Club Suite – in action.

The original plan was that Toronto would see the first flight on 1st October, although there was always a view that this date would come forward if the plane was delivered on time and in working order.  Dubai was due to follow from 8th October.

BA has now torn up this plan.

The first A350 flight will now be to Dubai on Monday 2nd September.  As the A350 has no First Class, passengers booked on the affected Dubai service will offered a downgrade to Club Suite:

First British Airways A350 route

…… which is not a bad alternative. does not yet reflect this but it has been announced on the BA Travel Trade website.  It will be the day flight out and the overnight flight back.

BA A350 first route

This also means that the plans for training flights to Madrid have been changed.  A draft schedule has been circulating on Flyertalk for a few weeks but we didn’t publish it here because we were told that it was a draft which would see considerable changes – it seems this was true.

Don’t worry – as soon as the Madrid training flights appear in the timetable we will let you know.

In terms of timing, there is a special arrival event for the media at Heathrow on Friday 26th July.  This is followed on Monday 5th August by a media / VIP flight to Madrid, for which the Club Suite cabin has been blocked, followed by a party.  We will be at both events.

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  1. SimonW says:

    O/T – BA strike concerns – Next week I am due to pay the balance of my hotel booking for August trip to Portugal….. Obviously it could be affected by a potential BA strike (we have 4 avios seats to Faro). If i pay the hotel balance on my Amex Plat AFTER BA confirm strike action, will I be uninsured if we lose a day or more of the holiday ?? Or should I pay on my BAPP for some sort of section 75 cover? Not sure what to do in this situation…..

    • Is the hotel booking with BA or another provider? In either case what’s stopping you paying today? Use any credit card and you’ll get s75 protection which you should already have if the deposit and it was £100 or more and you.paid by credit card.

      Paying today will mean you are covered for cancellation due to strike as it will be before the strike is announced. Also your travel insurance should cover you for the same reasoning.(assuming you have travel insurance).

      • SimonW says:

        Hotel is through a Travel Agent. And my travel insurance is through Amex Platinum. Thinking about it, the booking was made months ago, the booking is binding, so I should be covered regardless of what date I actually transfer the money. But I think you are right, pay the balance before Monday…. I will put £100 on BAPP and the bulk on the Platinum to hit the spend £5000 get 5700 bonus MR points!

  2. If you are downgraded from first to club I am right in saying that you are entitled to the 75% refund of the fare (per EU rules)?

    • Does that apply as you are getting substantial advance notice and will be offered a switch to the later flight if you want?

    • Actually i would like to know the answer to this, assuming that it is an involuntary downgrade to which the rules definitely apply. I thought that there were some people getting jack-all for F to J downgrades, it was that just people using the 241?

      • Even more specific, it was the 2nd person on the 241, who BA claimed had a ‘free’ ticket. These were downgrades on the day of travel though, not two months in advance.

  3. Jacqueline says:

    Interesting. So I’ve just had my WTP seat ‘changed’ for a Sept Toronto return to London. Or at least I have the same number seat, but the cabin layout has changed and I’m now two rows forward. I just double checked this on Seatguru and they are showing the original layout for that same 777 plane – anyway I’m happy – my previous ‘window’ seat didn’t actually have a window. Could this be a new upgraded flight? I do hope so.

    • Doug M says:

      Seatguru is out of date rubbish for BA. Use for proper BA seat maps.

  4. Sorry, noob question:

    Flights booked by employer on Corp card, how does this impact Amex plat insurance for the trip if at all?

    • Genghis says:

      You’ll be OK for big stuff but not the inconvenience stuff. But should you not rely on work travel insurance policy?

  5. Albert says:

    OT – 40% Clubcard avios bonus
    Has anyone successfully transferred points from CC to BAEC and got the 40% ex-Shell bonus?

    My shell drivers club account has transferred to avios in the last 3 years but I didn’t get the promotional email

    I did a test transfer of £2.50 and only got the 600 avios with no bonus

    • Harvey says:

      Think bonus takes a month

    • The bonus is supposed to show up later (BA have said 21 days to me)

      Of more general interest, my last Shell transfer was end of the 2nd quarter of 2016, so end of June/start of July. That is slightly >3 years before the promotion started, but BA have confirmed I am eligible for the bonus. I don’t know what the cut-off date is though.

  6. jason says:

    OT looking at family holiday in Singapore and Malaysia any sweet spots i should be looking at out of Europe, iIhave BA and virgin miles not sure in the when KLM will be bookable

    • Helsinki would have been but not so much now given increases in partner flight redemptions. If avios and/or money is tight then consider flying out to BKK (zone 7 exUK, KUL and SIN are zone 8) from INV and using Air Asia from DMK to SIN or any place you might want to go in Malaysia. Air Asia back from there to HK for cheap one way redemption back to UK if BA and Virgin are still doing that cheap at time of booking. Doubletree Penang is only 10k Honors points per night, or 5 nights for 40k. If time permits and this is a first visit to Asia you could do a lot worse than a couple of nights each in Bangkok, KL, Singapore and HK with 5 to 7 nights at the beach some place. Or if you are really adventurous take the train journey from Bangkok to Singapore with stop in Penang and KL.

    • QatarFan says:

      You should look at Qatar deals. We just got back from Singapore having paid £1300 return in business from Stockholm. Qsuites on the Doha to Singapore leg too. No point wasting points when those kind of prices are frequently available.

  7. BlueHorizonuk says:

    OT –
    INV airport will be closed this Sunday 21st July due to industrial action
    No flights will operate to/from the airport for any carrier
    BA’s LHR-INV operation will now be cancelled including the night-stop for Saturday and the early morning departure on Monday

  8. Hi all

    I am avid follower of this site and post occasionally. I’m after some advice please..

    For the first time I bit the bullet and booked a Club World flight to NY from LGW (BA2273). The flight experience on the whole was good except that on our approach to NY we were told there were storms and the flight was diverted to Boston. We were advised that the plane needed refuelling and we would be on our way ASAP. Unfortunately then the inevitable happened and the flight crew went beyond their restricted hours so we were all turfed out. It was 1030pm. Despite being told there would be help airside there was no assistance with hotels or onward travel. Many passengers spent the night in the terminal with a belated message being sent the next morning apologising and asking us all to make our own way to NY. I had to get a $215 Amtrak train the next morning to be in NY on time. BA have said they will provide ‘reasonable’ expenses though this seems to be a maximum of £150 for transportation.

    What would be the best approach here? I feel BA attitude and communication have been atrocious and want to take whatever action available to recover my costs and compensation available?

    Thanks in advance

    • Shoestring says:

      Covered fully by EC261 law.

      Duty of care – hotel, food & communications – you could have got these (about £200 budget per person for the hotel) and charged it to BA.

      And of course they must pay your reasonable expenses until you get to booked destination.

      • Thanks Rob and Shoestring.

        A very kind family member (who I had not spoken to for a few years) helped me out for accommodation. Does EU261 mean that they also need to pay additional compensation above reasonable expenses?

        • Shoestring says:

          Bad weather would indicate no compo is payable

          • Duty of care covers expenses only? I’m consistently shocked at the lack of care supposedly premium airlines have for their customers when things don’t go right..

            I reckon BA will try to wriggle out of as many ‘reasonable’ expenses as possible..

          • Shoestring says:

            duty of care means hotel accommodation c.£200 per night per passenger, food & drink (not alcohol), communications eg a couple of phone calls or internet cost, taxi to & from your hotel

            answering your other bit: there won’t be any compo if the cause of the disruption was outside the airline’s control, eg air traffic controllers on strike or bad weather

  9. As of this week BA have finally paid for the rights to use the in-flight entertainment on B777 & A350s operating the London – Madrid route.

    • I am booked on the BA461 MAD to LHR on 777 this week. Does that mean the IFE will be working? Or does it kick in in Aug?

  10. OT: Bonus avios have just hit my BAPP account for the amex BA and selected partners offer. Only got 500 as opposed to expected 1000 avios so check your account carefully. Unless I have another 500 avios to come my guess is the offer was not totally cummulative. My first transaction was £494 but although my second was £240 it might be that this only counted towards the £6 required to hit the first 500 bonus avios. The balance of £234 looks like it may not have counted towards my next £500 spend required to trigger a second 500 avios bonus.

  11. Claire says:

    O/T… Any decent prices/discounts on lounge access for Manchester T1 for a friend who doesn’t have any memberships/cards? Thanks!

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