Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Behind at the scenes of the British Airways A350 arrival event

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

This is the first of two posts about the British Airways A350 arrival event.  In this article I will focus on the event whilst the second article will be a closer look at the Club Suite itself.

To celebrate the arrival of the aircraft, and to give us our first glimpse of the new Club Suite, British Airways invited us down to Heathrow last Friday.  The plan was to catch the first A350 arriving from the Airbus factory in Toulouse where it had been completing its flight testing.

With Rob unavailable due to family commitments I headed up to Heathrow myself – although I didn’t get off at any of the terminals. Due to the busy nature of the airport the event took place at one of BA’s many aircraft hangars, which involves getting off at Hatton Cross and walking through an industrial wasteland to its flight training centre.

Unfortunately – as you may have seen – the original event was cancelled. Serious issues with the air traffic control radar operations meant there was congestion at Heathrow. This wasn’t helped by the leftover disruption from Thursday’s thunder storms. In the end, British Airways prudently decided to postpone the arrival of an empty A350 in favour of passenger services.

With the A350 on scheduled operations to Madrid from the 5th August, however, British Airways needed the aircraft (and its crew!) back as soon as possible. It was flown in with little fanfare on Saturday, as you can see in this video:

…. whilst the press event and aircraft walk-through was rescheduled for today (Monday).

This time, everything went to plan. We were shuttled airside to one of the BA hangars, which had been partitioned off. It was beautifully decorated:

BA A350 Arrival event

We were offered drinks and a light lunch before entering this large ominous looking black box:

BA A350 Arrival event

…. which was home to a 360 degree video projection and laser show. British Airways has very helpfully uploaded a video about it:

Sajida Ismail, head of inflight product, then gave a short speech.

BA A350 arrival event Sajida Ismail

Bringing the A350 into service understandably takes a huge amount of collaboration between departments, with engineering, logistics, design groups and product experience people all working together to deliver the aircraft.  

The post delivery phase of a new aircraft launch requires a lot of work before it can enter service and the engineering teams managed to squeeze an already short schedule into an even tighter one to allow this press event to re-run.

After Sajida Ismail’s short speech the aircraft was towed from its stand at engineering:

BA A350 Arrival event

The 22 cabin crew and pilots who ferried the aircraft from Toulouse on Saturday also emerged for a quick photo opportunity:

BA A350 Arrival event cabin crew

It is always surprising how large these planes are. It is hard to get a good sense of scale from airport terminals but, standing on the ground, it becomes clear what behemoths they are. Here I am, next to the Rolls Royce engines:

BA A350 Arrival event

After a few minutes we were allowed to board the aircraft and take a look inside and – most importantly – our first look at the Club Suite.  To read about our first impressions of the Club Suite on the A350-1000 please click through to part two of this article.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

30,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital on Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (30)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • john russell says:

    BA is due to take 18 A350-1000’s. Taking of buses, how many do you know that have to travel through -40f any weather and carry over 350 passengers, travel over 1million miles before finally b eing changed for another one? Far from a bus thats for sure and 1000% more reliable. Engineering at its finest-pity so many have not a clue about engineering.

    • Shoestring says:

      it’s a public transport bus as regards function, not engineering

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.