As we’ve covered previously, British Airways is currently using Air Belgium to operate one of the two daily flights to Chicago.
It is a wet lease with Air Belgium also providing the pilots and crew.
Why Chicago? Chicago is a nine hour flight and a long haul aircraft typically sits on the ground for two hours between sectors. This allows British Airways to allocate this aircraft to a dedicated route, and all it will do is fly back and forth from Chicago.
Flying to New York, Boston or the Middle East would leave the aircraft on the ground for too long in London, assuming it was used for the same flight every day. Any flight over ten hours in duration couldn’t be done with just one aircraft.
According to AeroRoutes, the lease will now run until 14th November. It was originally showing as ending on 29th October.
Feedback on Air Belgium hasn’t been bad. It is using a new Airbus A330neo – you can see interior images in our original article on the swap here.
You have the option of swapping to the other daily Chicago flight which remains BA operated, with potential swaps to American Airlines too.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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.
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.
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.
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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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.