British Airways’ Airbus A380 superjumbo will soon be flying to more North American airports.
From March 27, 2022, Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Vancouver (YVR), and Washington, D.C. (IAD) will be added to BA’s A380 route network, joining Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Miami (MIA), and San Francisco (SFO), which was previously announced.
Here are the planned starting dates for A380 service (note that these are subject to change):
- Boston (BOS): May 15, 2022
- Chicago (ORD): June 1, 2022
- Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW): July 1, 2022
- Vancouver (YVR): June 1, 2022
- Washington, D.C. (IAD): March 27, 2022
Each of these cities, with the exception of Dallas, was served by BA’s A380 before the pandemic.
This latest A380 service expansion comes just 1 month after the British flag carrier announced it would be deploying its largest aircraft to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) with daily service from July 1, 2022.
Let’s take a closer look at what this means for flyers.
More Plane, More Capacity, More Comfort
The A380 — sometimes known as “The Whale” — is by far the largest jet in British Airways’ fleet. These aircraft have the capacity to carry a whopping 469 passengers across their 2 levels.
With that comes more comfort, especially for those with tickets in World Traveller (economy) or World Traveller Plus (premium economy), as these cabins feel much more spacious thanks to the sheer size of the superjumbo jet.
The A380 also features first class. While it’s not the latest version of BA’s first class product, some of the airline’s jets don’t feature a first class cabin at all, such as its new Airbus A350s, the -8 variant of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners, as well as some of its Boeing 777s.
The increased capacity doesn’t necessarily have an impact on passengers, other than maybe taking longer to board and deplane.
The real benefit here is for the airline, which is able to carry almost the same number of passengers in 1 flight as it would in 2 on smaller aircraft. This means it can save money on reserving precious take-off and landing slots both in London and the airports across the pond, as well as some operating costs.
Hot Tip: Check out the definitive guide to British Airways’ direct routes from the U.S. (including plane types and seat options).
While the news of the arrival of the A380 may be welcome news for some, it may not be for others.
BA’s new A380 routes are part of a schedule reshuffle in which Los Angeles (LAX) will no longer be an A380 destination as of January 10, 2022.
LAX has been a longtime node in BA’s A380 network, so frequent travelers on the route may be sad to see it go.
It does, however, mean that you’re more likely to get BA’s Club Suite product in business class, as the A380s feature the far inferior Club World product.
Club World vs. Club Suite
There is a big difference between the business class experience in a Club World seat versus a Club Suite.
For new A380 routes, such as Vancouver, business class passengers will have a guaranteed downgraded experience when the aircraft takes over the route.
The Vancouver route is currently served by a combination of the Airbus A350 and the retrofitted Boeing 777, both of which feature BA’s very competitive Club Suite. The A380 doesn’t have this new product.
British Airways deploying its biggest aircraft on more North American routes shows that there must be sufficient demand to increase capacity on these routes. This is a good sign for the commercial aviation industry’s sustained (albeit slow) recovery from the depths of the pandemic.
In terms of what this means for passengers, it’s likely to divide opinion: AvGeeks and economy/premium economy flyers are likely to appreciate the A380’s arrival, while it might be a bitter pill to swallow for frequent business class flyers on these new A380 routes.
Featured Image Credit:
Nick Morrish via British Airways