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British Airways extends the Air Belgium charter on the Chicago route

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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.

Air Belgium A330neo leased to British Airways for 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (32)

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

  • Mutley says:

    There must be some opportunity here to get a load of points from deported asylum seekers, along the lines of Belkin and his Thai rice farmers, now where’s Suella’s number…..

  • Paul T says:

    If you want to see what the extension to the Hilton looks like – just watch the Aheses this week. It’s already built, but clearly not open yet apart from the restaurant and ‘Jimmy’s BR’ below it.

  • John says:

    Could be worse. I remember Transport Minister Dikko being crated up for a one way trip back to Nigeria in 1984. Special Branch scotched the plan by arresting the instigators at Stansted.

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

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