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What you get when your British Airways Gatwick flight becomes a Titan Airways Boeing 757

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This wasn’t part of any grand plan, but a trip to Venice yesterday accidentally gave me first hand experience of the Boeing 757 which British Airways has leased from Titan Airways.

Titan joins Iberia Express, Vueling and Finnair in providing fully crewed aircraft to operate British Airways short haul flights this Summer.

Ironically, British Airways isn’t short of aircraft – it is only short of crew. The only way it can get crew is by leasing an entire aircraft (known as a ‘wet lease’ in the industry) together with staff, which must lead to an astonishing £ per hour cost for each crew member BA gains.

Titan Airways Boeing 757

There is a 50% chance that the aircraft above is the one I flew, since Titan Airways only has two Boeing 757 aircraft in its fleet. Titan has provided aircraft to British Airways in the past to cover shortages, although its bread and butter business is charter flights – all those Premier League times have to get to their European games somehow …..

HfP readers in their 20s may never have knowingly flown on a Boeing 757, since the last one was manufactured back in 2004. British Airways retired its final Boeing 757 in 2010.

Titan offers to supply the aircraft in various seating configurations. There is one with attractive 2×2 business class seating:

Titan Airways Boeing 757

….. but sadly British Airways did not choose that. It went for the standard 3×3 layout used on its own short haul aircraft.

What was it like to fly?

Here is all you need to know, based on my Club Europe flight yesterday:

You board though the middle set of doors, which is a novelty, although we deplaned via the front as usual. This is the view looking towards the back as you board:

Titan Airways Boeing 757

The legroom by the middle set of doors – which are used for boarding – is ludicrous, well over a metre. See:

Titan Airways Boeing 757

Legroom elsewhere looks acceptable, potentially better than British Airways.

The bulkhead, where I sat, has decent legroom:

Titan Airways Boeing 757

There is no IFE despite the old-style headphone jacks in the arm rests:

Titan Airways Boeing 757

There is a huge galley area – I was in 1D and was probably 15 feet from the cockpit door:

Titan Airways Boeing 757

If you are sat in Row 1, you’re going to be putting your bag above Row 2 or Row 3 as the first couple of bins are taken:

Titan Airways Boeing 757

In terms of food and drink, it was exactly the same as British Airways Club Europe. Standard Club Europe meals are being loaded. I don’t know if Economy passengers were able to order High Life Shop items to be delivered on board, but they did receive the usual drink and snack.

There were some tweaks:

  • a bottle of water was handed out before departure
  • tea and biscuits was served before the meal
  • food orders were taken verbally (there was no printed menu, but you wouldn’t get one on the Venice route normally anyway)
  • food was served from the galley by hand – there was no trolley
  • my English breakfast was the warmest meal I have ever had on a BA flight, which was a good thing
Titan Airways Boeing 757

A standard alcohol service seems to have been available – although I didn’t ask due to the 7.20am departure – because as we were leaving the plane, a man sat a couple of rows behind me was ringing his friend to boast about how drunk he was at 9.45am UK time ……

Overall, I was impressed by the Titan Airways crew (noticeably more experienced than the BA crew I had to Amsterdam recently), the space on the plane (although clearly the seating and interior has seen better days) and the way the crew dealt with heating and serving unfamiliar British Airways meals.

If you find that your Gatwick flight has been swapped to a Titan Airways Boeing 757 (it will show on if you do a dummy booking for a new ticket) then you absolutely have nothing to be concerned about. You certainly shouldn’t be calling BA to exercise your legal right to change flights.


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Comments (93)

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

  • Happeemonkee says:

    One of my worst ever flights was on an Air 2000 757 in the early 90’s. We were stuck in the back row with no recline on a flight from Manchester to Crete. Knees were never the same again 😂

    • TimM says:

      That is the new normal. In fact the seat pitch will have likely reduced with thinner, harder seats and walking after a 4 hour flight in economy is a challenge. Hate, hate, hate it. Please add 20% to the fare and 20% more legroom – or at least give us the choice. Short-haul economy is dehumanising.

  • Matt says:

    No printed menu to Venice? Is it too short? I flew back from Malaga yesterday and printed menus were handed out.

  • Roger The Dodger says:

    “…we deplaned…”

    Rob, I’m disappointed in you. Not angry, just disappointed. We tolerate this guff from Americans but you are held to higher standards.

    Unless, of course, you are also in the habit of detraining, detaxiing, or decarring either side of deairporting and enplaning, in which case: carry on!

  • Peter Bedson says:

    Titan have always been fine – they used to have a very dodgy livery (fairground art meets acid trip) but were always professional. They used to do lots of “scheduled” flights for travel agents that served the expat market going to dodgy places in Africa that the big airlines wouldn’t offer.

  • Dansk says:

    feel it’s very much the luck of the draw with BA. flew from Berlin to London on Wednesday in CE. around 75% full but staff courteous, welcoming, warm, knew the menu and described each option, gently asked if I wanted another drink when I was almost finished. appreciate this may be an outlier!

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

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