British Airways has announced a shake-up of its services to Orlando in Florida.
The Heathrow service is being scrapped from December until April 2023 with extra Gatwick services launched instead. The two will overlap for a few weeks.
These changes were not reflected at ba.com last night but may be there this morning. It isn’t clear if we will see the usual 14 Avios seats per flight opened up on the additional Gatwick services but it seems likely.
What is happening with British Airways flights to Orlando?
British Airways has decided to terminate the Heathrow to Orlando service from 2nd December for the rest of the Winter season.
Flights from 2nd December onwards are still bookable on ba.com at the time of writing, but by the time you read this they may have been pulled. It is due to return in April.
Additional Gatwick to Orlando services will operate for the Winter season.
The extra services starts on 30th October at six flights per week, with Tuesday flights added from 15th November.
There will be a crossover period during November when both the Heathrow and Gatwick services are operating on the same days. From 2nd December, Orlando will only be served from Gatwick.
What are the flight times?
The existing Heathrow service departs at 12.05, arriving in Florida at 16.55. The return flight leaves at 18.55, landing in Heathrow at 08.00.
The extra Gatwick flights will depart earlier at 11.25, arriving at 16.15. The return flight leaves at 18.15, arriving into Gatwick at 07.20.
The only exception is Tuesday, when it will depart at 13.00 and arrive at 17.50 from 29th November. The return will leave at 20.05, landing at 09.10.
Will passengers be moved automatically from Heathrow to Gatwick flights?
It is very likely, yes, if you are booked for travel from 2nd December. You may be allowed some flexibility to change your dates which could be helpful if your original dates were not exactly what you wanted.
Will Avios seats open up on the extra Gatwick flights?
By the time you read this the answer might be clear, but I would suspect that they will.
This is NOT a straight swap of a flight from Heathrow to Gatwick, and as a new service British Airways would be obliged to open up 14 Avios seats per flight.
The fact that the flight numbers are different (BA205/BA204 become BA2037/BA2036) and, for a few weeks in November, both services operate simultaneously, are good reasons to argue that this is a ‘new’ service and not a transfer between airports.
If you keen to redeem your Avios for an Orlando trip this Winter then you may find Avios seats wide open today, even for Christmas, New Year and February half term.
Remember that British Airways guarantees to release 4 x Club World business class, 2 x World Traveller Plus and 8 x World Traveller seats per flight. You won’t get the new Club Suite seat in Business Class as this is not available from London Gatwick.
Note that, if the additional Gatwick flights are not bookable by the time you read this, I would expect them to open up during Wednesday.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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 with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
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.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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.