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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.

  • TimM says:

    No IFE. The 757s were originally fitted with ceiling-mounted CRT monitors spaced every few rows. They must have been removed to save weight.

  • Nick says:

    I remember well GB Airways, which was a franchise of BA, flying regularly on business from Gatwick to Malta throughout the 90’s. Their operation, in terms of crew, meals and service, was always far better than BA ever was on other Euro routes.

    • Speedbird676 says:

      Good old GB Airways – they used to operate the LGW-DLM flight as well 🙂

      • Nick says:

        Yup, sadly another no surprise here, as WIKI points out, “The company was profitable throughout much of its existence but encountered hardship during the 2000s, largely due to the increasingly competitive European market, as well as an inflexible franchising agreement.”

        BA infelxible, surely not?!

  • ChrisC says:

    Been wondering if you have any idea as to when BA will announce which short haul routes it will operate from LGW for this winter season and next summer was well.

  • jeff77 says:

    “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 ”

    Brits abroad. A stain on our great nation

    • DevonDiamond says:

      Don’t see how you can infer his nationality from the information provided.

      • ashic says:

        If the red stilletto fits…

      • Rich says:

        Well he was certainly speaking English, unless Rob is multilingual of course. Whatever, treat this as a general point and it’s hard to disagree with Jeff.

      • Rob says:

        He was ….

        • Erico1875 says:

          It’s all nations.ive seen Dutch and Danes behaving badly on the Venetian Riviera, French in Lloret, Portugese in Benidorm, Germans in Arenal, Brits in Magaluf, Swedes in Gran Canaria.
          Just a numbers game

          • meta says:

            At least everyone else will admit that they behaved badly, Brits won’t😀

  • NvT1115 says:

    Currently sat in row 1 on the 757 Malta flight. Very slick service from Titan crew so far – unlike the chaos of BA check in… Only five computer terminals currently working at BA counters and ongoing since last night apparently. Leave some extra time if travelling this morning

  • Thywillbedone says:

    Speaking of BA, I was booking a short haul yesterday and the first attempt failed with a ‘something has gone wrong’ message after the payment page. I then re-started the booking …the payment page took well over a minute to pass only for TWO separate tickets to land in my inbox a few minutes later. Now I have to cancel one of them …have already failed to get through multiple times yesterday. I assume the least painful route is for me to apply for an eVoucher? The value is only £100. (BA obviously content to see its reputation slide further into the abyss by not bothering to fix 2+ year old call centre issues)…

    • BJ says:

      Further speaking of BA, yesterday we had three sectors cancelled on our USA trip next month. Every single booking I’ve made since July 2019 has been affected by camcellations. BA have simply lost the plot!

    • John says:

      If you’ll definitely spend £100 with BA on flights flown by September then yes evoucher would work, otherwise you are entitled to a full refund, not only within BA’s normal 24 hour cooling period for any reason, but also as a duplicate transaction error which does not have the 24-hour limit. Perhaps you can tweet BA as a record that you have attempted to contact them.

      • Thywillbedone says:

        Thanks John. Good idea re the tweet. Yes, will almost certainly spend that £100 as valid to Sept 2023 I believe.

    • SamG says:

      Chat can do this – just keep copy + pasting “speak to an agent” until it puts you in the queue

  • meta says:

    Finnair crew last night told me they are rostered on BA routes until the end of September.

  • Dubious says:

    “There is a 50% chance that the aircraft above is the one I flew.”
    True, but sadly not the same one. The one in the picture is GPOWH, whereas the one that operated Gatwick to Venice yesterday was G-ZAPX.

    Interesting to see the BA seats onboard. I assume they installed these at Gatwick the afternoon before it’s first BA operation on the 1st of May – quite a fast installation.

    • Dubious says:

      Correction: I see it was only the business seats that were swapped out (and with Titan seats, not BA seats), so I assume they were done at Stansted.

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

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