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.
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:
….. 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:
The legroom by the middle set of doors – which are used for boarding – is ludicrous, well over a metre. See:
Legroom elsewhere looks acceptable, potentially better than British Airways.
The bulkhead, where I sat, has decent legroom:
There is no IFE despite the old-style headphone jacks in the arm rests:
There is a huge galley area – I was in 1D and was probably 15 feet from the cockpit door:
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:
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
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 ba.com 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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express 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 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 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 £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
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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
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.