Various online sources, some of which include comment from a Spanish trade union representing crew, are reporting that British Airways has signed a contract with sister airline Iberia Express to operates some London Gatwick services this Summer.
The deal covers four aircraft, which will come with their own Iberia Express crew.
It is likely that around 25% to 33% of BA short-haul flights from Gatwick will be operated by these aircraft.
Whilst Iberia Express doesn’t have a great reputation for comfort, the aircraft layout is virtually identical to the densely configured Airbus A320 fleet that BA was planning to use.
Will these aircraft have Business Class?
Iberia Express does operate Business Class on its own services, so anyone who has booked Club Europe should receive the standard service. The catering would be provided by BA’s usual suppliers.
Business Class cabins on Iberia Express are capped at six rows. It’s not clear if this is due to any physical limitation (eg food storage, leg room) which would require BA to match, or if it is an economic decision, in which case BA could sell far more if required.
Will these aircraft have wi-fi and at-seat power?
Do they have reclining seats?
According to this seat plan, no.
The A320 fleet reportedly has non-reclining Recaro SL3510 slimline (ie not well padded!) seats.
Why is BA using Iberia Express aircraft and crew?
BA Euroflyer, as British Airways is calling its new Gatwick-based short-haul airline, was meant to have around 17 aircraft in use at the peak of the Summer 2022 season, albeit the starting number was far lower.
Whilst British Airways has the aircraft, it doesn’t have enough trained crew and will not be able to get them in place by 29th March. Taking the Iberia Express aircraft – which BA doesn’t need – and the crew – which it does need – is presumably due to training or regulatory issues.
What is Iberia Express like?
As you can see, it was typical 3 x 3 seating:
I was the only business class passenger on that flight! Here is the legroom I had when sat in the front row:
My conclusion in 2017 was:
“I had heard decent things about Iberia Express in business class and, for a low cost carrier, I wasn’t disappointed.“
Can I cancel my BA flight if it is operated by Iberia Express?
Historically, British Airways has allowed passengers to cancel or change their flight without penalty if it was to be operated by another airline.
To be honest, I can’t see any genuine reason to cancel purely because you are being swapped from a sardine-like BA A320 to a sardine-like Iberia Express A320.
However, the potential ability to get a refund is worth bearing in mind if you have seats booked and now cannot travel or would prefer to travel from Heathrow and see this as a reason to request a switch.
Which British Airways routes will be operated by Iberia Express?
We don’t know. It’s very likely that most routes from Gatwick will see these aircraft at some point.
The lease runs, apparently, for the entire Summer season from April to October. As BA Euroflyer services are being ramped up slowly, the Iberia Express fleet is likely to be running a high percentage of flights in April, but dropping as more BA aircraft and crew come in to cover the Summer peak.
As a reminder, here are the 35 routes which BA Euroflyer will be running from Gatwick this Summer, together with their start dates:
- Alicante – 1st April
- Antalya – 2nd April
- Amsterdam – 29th March
- Athens – 4th May
- Bari – 3rd April
- Berlin – 8th April
- Bordeaux – 15th April
- Cagliari – 17th April
- Catania – 31st March
- Dalaman – 23rd April
- Dubrovnik – 4th April
- Faro – 30th March
- Heraklion – 24th April
- Ibiza – 5th April
- Kos – 24th April
- Lanzarote – 30th March
- Larnaca – 29th March
- Las Palmas – 2nd April
- Madrid – 14th April
- Mahon – 11th April
- Malaga – 31st March
- Malta – 30th March
- Marrakech – 31st March
- Milan – 15th April
- Nice – 31st March
- Palma – 7th April
- Paphos – 29th March
- Rhodes – 28th April
- Santorini – 15th April
- Seville – 29th March
- Tenerife – 29th March
- Thessaloniki – 14th April
- Turin – 4th April
- Venice – 8th April
- Verona – 29th March
Looking at ba.com, all flights still seem to show ‘British Airways’ as the operating carrier but this is likely to change.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 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. You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.
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 10,000 Avios.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
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