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EXCLUSIVE: British Airways is bringing 5 x A380 aircraft back, starting with Frankfurt and Madrid

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If you need a sign that airline traffic is returning to normal – or at least that the airlines hope that it is returning to normal – here it is.

According to internal scheduling documents which we have seen, British Airways is bringing five of its 12 A380 aircraft back into service from next month.

The first flights will be to the glamorous long-haul destinations of, erm, Frankfurt and Madrid.

(EDIT, Wednesday 6th: British Airways has now made its official announcement about the A380 restart which you can read here. Dallas Fort Worth is not mentioned and the release only talks about four aircraft.)

British Airways to restart A380 services

This information below is, of course, subject to change but it is the current British Airways operating plan.

Short haul routes start on 8th November

Before it can resume long haul flying, British Airways needs to get its A380 cabin crew back in the air and up to speed.

In order to do this, the A380 is scheduled to operate, from 8th November:

  • a morning rotation to Frankfurt
  • an afternoon rotation to Madrid

These are not currently in the British Airways timetable. If you wanted to try one for the experience, remember that you will not get the new Club Suite. All of the A380 aircraft still feature the older Club World business class seat.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that British Airways will open the Upper Deck to bookings due to the short European turn around times. The First Class cabin is also likely to be closed.

But if it does open it is worth sitting up top, where you really notice the difference over a standard aircraft because of how high you are from the ground and the additional storage next to the windows. Our British Airways A380 seat guide is here.

British Airways A380 returning

Long haul routes start on 3rd December

This is still TBC, but the current British Airways plan is:

  • Miami to launch 3rd December
  • Dubai to launch 5th December
  • Dallas Fort Worth to launch 7th December
  • Los Angeles to launch 9th December

DFW may be delayed as the necessary facilities to handle a BA A380 are not yet in place.

We will let you know when these flights are showing as A380 services online.

The aircraft swaps may lead to additional Avios availability due to the large number of additional seats compared to the aircraft they will replace. There may even be a glut of First Class availability given that the A380 fleet have 14 F seats. Of course, some people may be disappointed to see an A380 on their route if it means swapping out an A350 or a Club Suite-equipped Boeing 777.

PS. Qatar Airways has also confirmed to us that the A380 will be returning to Heathrow soon. With 13 A350 aircraft out of service due to a quality dispute with Airbus, the airline is bringing five of its 10 A380 planes back from November.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2022)

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £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

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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 £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee 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

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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 (136)

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

  • Cheryl D says:

    BA have recently added their normal second daily flight to Cape Town back into their schedules with CW Avios seats being released fairly regularly at moment They seem to be operating 777s with no F. Any knowledge of any of the flights having club suites?

    • Rhys says:

      A quick look at the seat map should confirm. 1-2-1 for Club Suite

      • Cheryl D says:

        Sorry if this is a daft question but how do I see that prior to booking the flight,

        • Tom says:

          If you attempt to book on you typically get offered the opportunity to select a seat between entering the passenger info and paying – so that’s one easy way. Although be aware, the aircraft types are changing frequently these days so unless you are booking for a flight in the next month there is no guarantee what you see will stay the same by the time you fly.

    • Biki says:

      I’ve got flights booked to Cape Town in March and BA0059 outbound is showing the old seats, but BA0058 on the return is currently showing club suites.

  • DeB20 says:

    They will not be getting their B777X soon, or even in the next few years (rumours had it that they were cancelling the order anyway).

    Next year they will start using the A350 – 1000 on routes that show a surge in bookings. If bookings go higher than they currently anticipate for the introduction of this aircraft, then expect them to do a U turn on the A380.

    Despite all the negative comments from a certain airline CEO, the cost per seat for flying more than 500 passengers on a route remains the lowest on the A380.

    • DeB20 says:

      That was a reply to Zed and Andrew on page 2 of the comments. Not sure what happened, displacing my reply to a separate comment.

  • Dominic says:

    Is there really the demand for such a massive plane to go to Madrid? Admittedly most flights I’ve been on have been long haul, but they are generally still pretty empty (excluding summer holiday hot spots)…

    • Richie says:

      There’s demand for refresher crew training, and FRA and MAD are suitable.

      • The cyclist says:

        This is great, I’ve always enjoyed the 380 in J. I told all of my Spotting acquaintances, if I’m honest I got so excited at the news that a bit of wee came out!

    • Rich says:

      There doesn’t need to be demand – it’s being done because it’s the cheapest/ easiest way to accomplish crew (re)training.

  • Lev441 says:

    A380 now popped up in to Miami over Xmas

  • Richie says:

    It seems A380 is appearing on for Miami in December.

  • Babyg says:

    BA just added another daily flight to LHR-DXB from december 9th… not a380 (yet) ba108/109

  • Kishan Majithia says:

    Rob – any idea if the additional flight to DXB will go over February 2022 half term?

    • Babyg says:

      currently it seems the 3 flights a day go for a month from Dec 9 – Jan9 … perhaps its a wait and see approach from BA?

    • Rob says:


      • Kishan Majithia says:

        ‘No’ as in no idea; or ‘No’ as in it will definitely not be over half term?

        • Rob says:

          No idea, it’s not even in the system for December yet.

          • Babyg says:

            additional LHR-DXB flights are in the system (and for sale/rewards) now (dec 9 to jan 9), no a380, but all the fares are in the expensive bucket, so i am guessing this is the one that will be swapped for an a380 (ba108/109)

          • Rob says:

            Just done an article, thanks for the heads up.

  • Babyg says:

    Airline: British Airways

    FIRST A380
    Aircraft: BA0107 (Airbus A380 Jet)

    Depart London: Terminal 5, Thu, 9 Dec 2021, 12:35

    Arrive Dubai: Terminal 1, Thu, 9 Dec 2021, 23:45

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