British Airways (or BA, as it's affectionately known) is the flag carrying airline of the United Kingdom and, based on fleet size, the UK's largest airline. In terms of passenger numbers, it comes second to the budget airline easyJet. British Airways main hub is Heathrow Airport, where the majority of its services depart from the (very plush) Terminal 5. There are 268 aeroplanes in the British Airways fleet, and the carrier flies to 183 global destinations. Their most popular flight routes include London to New York and London to Dublin. It's worth noting that BA are one of a handful of airlines flying to all six inhabited continents. They offer flights from most British airports, but often with a pitstop in London.
British Airways is a founding member of the Oneworld Alliance, and as such has codeshare agreements with numerous airlines including Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and Qantas. British Airways has been partnered with Iberia since 2011, and together they form the International Airlines Group (IAG).
Information correct as of March 2017
How to check in
You can check in with British Airways online, at the airport, or via their mobile app. Online check in opens 24 hours before departure, and your boarding pass will be delivered via email or as a PDF download. There's also the option to print straight away. If you happen to leave your boarding pass at home (or don't have a printer), you can print it out again at the airport using a check in kiosk. The British Airways app is available for phones, as well as iPad and Apple Watch. You can download boarding passes for up to eight people onto one device, provided you're all on the same booking. At the airport you can use a check-in kiosk, or pop over to one of the BA service desks. You can check in the day before your flight if you're departing from Gatwick before 15:15.
Seat selection is free at check-in, unless you've booked a Basic ticket in which case a seat will be allocated to you. It's possible to reserve your seat in advance for a fee. The cost of this depends on where you want to sit, which type of ticket you've booked, and which class you're travelling in. Seat pitch (the distance between your seat and the one in front) is quite generous in BA economy, with an average of 31 to 34 inches. Seats tend to be 17 to 19 inches wide.
If you decide to pay by credit card rather than debit card, you'll need to pay a 1% transaction fee (capped at £20). Until December 2016, British Airways would charge a flat rate of £5, so the new figure is good news for people making flight bookings of £500 and under.
Service on board
Short- and mid-haul flights have two classes, Economy and Business. On long-haul flights there are two additional classes, Premium Economy and First Class. In short haul economy, the food menu is designed by Marks & Spencer. All choices are £5 and under, and passengers have the option to pay with Avios points. Food is provided as part of the ticket price on short-haul business and all classes during long-haul flights. In-flight entertainment is also included on longer flights, with plenty of new films and TV shows to watch. If you're travelling with little ones, SkyFlyer activity packs are available on two-hour-plus flights from London-Heathrow and London-Gatwick. There are two different packs, one for kids aged 3 to 5 and one for children aged six and over. You'll need to ask a member of the cabin crew once you're on board.
During 2016 British Airways was the most punctual airline at London City Airport, and the most punctual airline on seventeen routes including London to Dusseldorf, London to Berlin, London to Brussels and London to Sydney. The average delay for BA flights is just under 15 minutes, with more than 73% of flights leaving right on time.
Baggage Allowances and Fees
We've put together a guide covering everything you need to know about British Airways luggage allowances. There's no point in repeating ourselves, so pop over and read it here: British Airways baggage allowances explained.
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