British Airways (commonly known by its acronym, BA) is the flagship carrier of the United Kingdom, and was, the largest airline in the UK based on passenger numbers until 2008 (the low-cost airline, EasyJet, over took their numbers that year). BA has started its plans to merge with Iberia, with the full merger expected to be completed by the end of 2010. The new combined group will be known as International Airlines Group and it will then be the third largest airline in the world (in terms of annual revenue), and the second largest airline group in Europe, operating 419 aircrafts.
Cape Town to Durban: On average three flights per day. Flight takes about two and a half hours. BA flies to King Shaka International Airport.
Cape Town to Johannesburg: On average five flights per day. These flights take about two hours. BA flies to OR Tambo International Airport only.
Cape Town to London: On average three flights per day (two flights via Johannesburg) A direct flight to London takes about 12 hours, and these flights fly to Terminal Five at London Heathrow Airport.
In 1998, BA formed the oneworld airline alliance with American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Canadian Airlines (now defunct), and it has grown to be the third largest airline alliances in the world. BA has partnerships with American Airlines and Iberia Transatlantic joint business, Executive Club, BA CityFlyer, OpenSkies, and PrivateConnect. BA has also extended its service offerings into travels, offering its website visitors holiday packages, car rental and accommodation options as an add on to their flight booking. BA especially focuses on UK holidays, such as London hotels, theatre tickets and sightseeing tours.
BA offers its passengers an SMS notification service for departure and arrivals information. However, according to their website, this is only offered to UK and US registered cell phones. Alternatively, you can download the BA application for your iPhone, BlackBerry or Android phone. The app. includes all BA travel information, travel times, mobile check-in and other features. If you have an iPhone, the app. is will even generate a mobile boarding pass for you, complete with all your travel information (however this is only available for certain European destinations).
BA and its code-share partners have different weight allowances for checked baggage for different destinations. Checking the weight allowance before you get to the check-in counter would be worthwhile because you can get a discount if you pay for extra weight online before the flight. The biggest bag allowed is 90cm x 75cm x 43cm, with the exception for sporting equipment and musical instruments, where the maximum dimensions are 190cm x 75cm x 65cm. For any bags bigger than those dimensions or exceeding 45kg per piece, you will have to send them as cargo.
BA offers its passengers four options for checking in: online at www.ba.com; on your cell phone (with internet); at an airport kiosk; or the traditional BA check-in desk.
If you fly with BA in First, Club World or Club Europe; or you are a BA Executive Club Silver or Gold member, then you can enjoy the over 60 BA (and their partners’) lounges in airports around the world. Check online for details of these airport lounges.
BA’s main base is at London Heathrow airport, with most of its flights operating form the new Terminal 5 Building. Heathrow is the largest airport in the UK and the fourth busiest airport in the World in terms of passenger traffic. It is situated 22 km west of central London and covers 12.14 km2. Heathrow began as a military airfield during World War I, but through the decades it has grown considerably: today, it is used by over 90 airlines and connect passengers to over 170 destinations worldwide. The airport has five passenger terminals and one cargo terminal. The latest terminal building, Terminal 5, was opened on 14 March 2008 by Queen Elizabeth II.
BA has a proud history of being one of only two airlines (the other being Air France) to operate the supersonic airliner Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde, from 1976 to 2003. The destinations (from London) included Washington, New York, Singapore and Miami.
Click here to visit the official BA South Africa site.