After the retirement of Concorde, British Airways assigned its flagship flights 0001, 0002, 0003 and 0004 to a new and exciting service, with the introduction of all business class flights between London City Airport and New York JFK, with unique travel benefits tailored to the modern exec. After decades of prestige, the flight has been axed with immediate effect.
Although the London City – New York JFK flight, operated by a modified Airbus A318 with an all business class configuration was nowhere near as quick in the air as the mighty Concorde, it came with unique advantages at the time.
A quick stop in Shannon meant pre-clearance for USA immigration, which allowed busy business passengers to hop out in New York like it was a domestic flight. The introduction of Global Entry on arrival, even for UK citizens diminished that benefit, and the technical stop in Shannon became a burden, rather than a competitive advantage.
On the return to London, landing directly into London’s “only” actual airport meant just minutes to the office, most of which were a stones throw from City Airport.
Bespoke features like garment pressing and access to a full breakfast and shower suite at the nearby Radisson Blu hotel certainly helped win seats, as did the virtually private immigration experience, thanks to the early arrival.
With only 32 all business class seats on board, half of which were usually empty, this was the closest many travellers would ever come to the feeling of a private jet on a transatlantic flight.
BA crew on the service were regularly among the best in the business, and took great pride in operating the historic flight numbers.
Per Executive Traveller, British Airways is exiting the Airbus A318 fleet with immediate effect, ending a passenger favourite flight forever. The flight has been suspended, but hopes of a reboot have now been extinguished.
With business travel on life support and unexpected to recover, the flight became a haven for points enthusiasts ticking a box on the bucket list, but struggled to create the revenues necessary to justify all the maintenance and upkeep for the bespoke route.
After recent announcements for the retirement of British Airways 747 fleet, and the sale of the airlines art collection, it’s just the latest chop in a gruelling series of blows. British Airways parent company, IAG, reported its worst ever operating quarter in history, with a loss of €1.3 billion.