It seem British Airways is withdrawing its unique shuttle service, operating between London City Airport and New York JFK.
The route which inherited that famous Concorde callsigns – BA1/2/3/4 – was the airlines premium shuttle, connecting London City Airport to New York (with a stop in Shannon for fuel and US immigration clearance).
The flight operated as an “all business class” product, with just 32 seats installed.
However, during today’s Investor update, IAG (the parent company of British Airways), it was announced the Airbus A318 – which operates the route – is to be withdrawn.
The LCY-JFK route originally had two flights a day, before being scaled back to one flight a day.
For now, British Airways will operate flights to New York from its Heathrow hub.
A special flight… eroded by other factors
In all by BA experiences, the passenger experience from the crew was superior compared to other US long haul routes, with the crew enjoying this route when I flew. However, many factors are at play
- The customer base to use it is vanishing – at the moment, the desire to travel is lower than ever. Banks and financial institutions won’t send people out for now.
- The seats are facing an uphill battle – whilst the aircraft was fitted with full-flat seats, they were all facing one direction with minimal privacy. Compared to the latest generation of seats, they’re not competitive (Although better than a Collins Aerospace Diamond for space)
And there are outside factors too, with Crossrail eventually coming – allowing for a one-seat ride to Heathrow Airport, outdated connectivity and a longer flight compared to the LHR-JFK route.
Opinion: I’m going to miss this flight
From a personal perspective – I’m going to miss this flight. It offered a personalised way to fly, with cabin crew that went the extra mile. It some ways, it was like stepping into a friendly home that took you from A to B.
The fact that there was a maximum 32 passengers and crew made it one of the most interesting ways to cross the Atlantic, with the ability to walk off an aircraft and straight into a cab to head downtown Manhattan.
Flight Numbers BA1/2/3/4 are something special to British Airways. It will be interesting to see which flights these numbers are assigned to next – and what special thing it will offer.
If you want, I’ve documented my BA1/2/3/4 experiences below
- Creating a Photo – To New York with British Airways Airbus A318 – Outbound (BA1) and Inbound (BA4)
- Book it Danno – To New York and Hawaii with British Airways and US Airways – Outbound (BA1) and Inbound (BA2)
For now, please raise class to BA1. I hope to see this flight in the air again one day.
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