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Iberia to operate some British Airways flights from Heathrow this Summer

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In a sign that it is still struggling with the ramp-up in flights this summer, British Airways has now tapped sister airline Iberia on the shoulder to operate select flights from Heathrow Terminal 5.

The major hold up is with crew training and security clearances, which are currently taking over 100 days on average. Although BA has enough planes to go around, the only way it can bring in crew at short notice is by leasing an entire aircraft complete with staff, something called a ‘wet lease’ in the industry.

Iberia to operate British Airways flights

Iberia Express is already operating around 25% – 30% of BA’s flights out of Gatwick and Finnair is also operating some flights from Heathrow Terminal 3. Rob was recently on a BA flight operated by Titan Airways on a Boeing 757.

Anyone with an existing booking will be emailed if the flight is to be operated by Iberia. It is also displayed quite prominently when you make a new booking, although it looks like flights have only been loaded a week or so in advance:

You will still get Club Europe and Euro Traveller food and service, and the aircraft seats are virtually identical, so it won’t be hugely different from any other BA flight. That said, you can change your flight to a BA-operated service from Heathrow or another London airport if you so wish.

Feedback from people who have flown the Iberia Express services from Gatwick has been very positive, almost entirely because of the cheerful cabin crew. That said, this is an opportunity to switch to a potentially better timed BA-operated flight at no cost ….

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Comments (95)

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

  • Nick says:

    Delta needed an official exemption from the US authorities to allow Virgin’s booking system (i.e. the one they forced on them) to handle Cuba. I’m guessing therefore that they didn’t get it.

    • NorthernLass says:

      Presumably they are on the hook for re-routing anyone who had booked a flight though?

      • Yakov says:

        Probably not. AFAIK there isn’t any successful precedent of invoking EU 261/04 rerouting rule when the cancellation happens significant time before the first flight.

        • NorthernLass says:

          Why would it make a difference? Re-routing rights apply regardless of when the cancellation occurs.

  • Mikeact says:

    I guess Tui and Easyjet have the same or similar issues, not just BA.

  • Mikeact says:

    Looking to book a long haul, but where to ? Apart from the Far East where are the best value for money hot spots…MrsT fancies South Africa again but where else are people going? Shortly off to the US but seems pretty expensive nowadays.

    • Michael C says:

      Ours will be Brazil (albeit for family reasons), but I’m also a massive fan of Argentina.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      You answered your own qn. Asia is the best option now, considering they’re desperate for tourism revenues and China outbound tourism is not back to usual yet.

      • Gordon says:

        Correct. East beats west…. I would also factor a Privé agent into your calculations if choosing a Hyatt or Marriot property, [email protected]
        One of the properties I Booked back in January with Emyr is the Grand Hyatt Bali (Ocean view club access) cost now direct with Hyatt 8 nights £1,872.97 inc taxes, Cost via Emyr £813.12 inc taxes.
        As well as the usual extras there was a 3rd night free promotion so the booking had two free nights factored in.
        It’s worth checking with a Privé agent first just in case there’s a free night currently on offer as a bonus.

  • John D says:

    I am a regular on the Malaga/London trip and am now pleased when I see a change to Iberia Express. Yes the free are certainly more friendly and helpful.
    Has anyone got an e mail address for Sean Doyle that will work. I write a letter 5 weeks ago with no acknowledgement. I have tried to e mail it but most search engine suggestions get bounced back. BA. Com and British get no where some search engine suggest Sean.l.Doyle but that does not work.
    He is proving in-accessible with no deputation, hiding behind the executive Club logo when writing claiming to understand the problems.

    • Gordon says:

      Good luck trying to get hold of him, He’s gone…..

    • Marcw says:

      He is counting the olives in the salad. Maybe reducing 1.5 olives reduces costs by £xxx millions on a yearly basis.

      • Richie says:

        Airline CEOs are still excited about the olives in the salad thing even though it’s so long ago.

  • Terwri says:

    We eventually flew yesterday on an Iberia operated flight to Malaga after a 31 hour wait at LGW due to cancellation of our Seville flight on Sunday. The Iberia crew are aeons ahead of the BA crews in terms of friendliness AND efficient service. I would choose an Iberia Express operated flight any time. Menus were BA menus. The smiles came at no extra cost.

  • Miguel says:

    Interesting to know that: if you buy a ticket on BA but flight operated by IB… You may get less avios than one operated by BA. Quite tricky

    • Lady London says:

      You can ask for original routing credit, if that does turn out to happen

  • John T says:

    The complexities of flying to Cuba are the long standing government sanctions against Cuba. Virgin are not allowed to sell flights only, for example, they have to be package holidays I believe.

    I assume the only reason Virgin ever bothered to fly there was that no other full service airlines flew there non stop from the UK (this would also explain their Pakistan experiment).

    • Rhys says:

      These aren’t new flights though! They were flying there pre-covid, so it was clearly possible 3 years ago

      • NorthernLass says:

        Also Tui is still flying to Varadero, so the problem can’t be with Cuba, per se.

    • Travel Strong says:

      They did not have to be package holidays. They sold flight only pre-covid but *via* virgin holidays. The virgin atlantic agents had to do some back and forth with virgin holidays to get tickets issued (whether cash of points).

      • Travel Strong says:


      • ChrisA says:

        I did a completely normal one way redemption via the Virgin app in 2018. Quite what happened behind the scenes, though, I don’t know!

  • Paul says:

    The best part of flying on the Iberia Express operated routes was the IFE, why can’t BA have this.

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

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