1 Day Only: BA Celebrates The US Reopening With Its Flagship A350

British Airways is planning to send its flagship aircraft to New York to celebrate the reopening of the United States to travelers from the UK and Europe. The Airbus A350 will fly out to New York, reviving the airline’s most prestigious callsign for one day only on November 8th.

British Airways, Airbus A350, New York, BA1
British Airways’ flagship aircraft will be flying to New York for one day only. Photo: British Airways

November 8th is set to be a day of massive celebration for airlines on both sides of the Atlantic. Since March 12th, 2020, most travelers from the Schengen area have been unable to fly directly to the United States. On March 14th, 2020, this was extended to include the United Kingdom and Ireland. Now the rules which have attracted much criticism are set to be rescinded.

BA 1 is back for one day only

The callsign “Speedbird one” will soon be heard on both sides of the Atlantic for the first time since late March 2020. British Airways intends to apply the airline’s callsign to a special Airbus A350 flight marking the opening of the United States. The flight was spotted by Flyertalk user HFHFFlyer. According to schedule information on ba.com, the following flight will be operated as a one-off on November 8th,

  • BA1 – London Heathrow (LHR) 08:30 – New York (JFK) 11:15 – 07h45m
  • BA114 – New York (JFK) 18:55 – London Heathrow (LHR) 06:40+1 – 06h45m
British Airways, Airbus A350, Flagship Aircraft
British Airways has been positioning the A350 as its flag carrier since the Boeing 747’s retirement. Photo: British Airways

The special A350 celebration flight had previously been scheduled to take place on July 4th to celebrate an expected reopening earlier this year, but the flight was canceled when it became clear that the borders weren’t close to being reopened.

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Speaking to Simple Flying, a British Airways spokesperson commented,

“November 8th, 2021 is a pivotal moment for the entire travel industry, it’s fitting we mark our first flight to the US by using flight number BA1. We can’t wait to welcome our customers back onboard BA1 and reconnect friends and families across the Atlantic and rebuild US-UK business relationships.”

Flying the flagship

With the retirement of the Boeing 747 last year, it had seemed as though British Airways was positioning the Airbus A350 as its new flagship with the release of a new advertising campaign earlier this year. The fact that British Airways has decided to give its most prestigious flight number to the type for one day further suggests that this is the case.

London to New York has always been British Airways’ flagship route, but one flight was just a notch above the others. It was the main route regularly operated by Concorde, with the supersonic jet flying out as BA1 and BA3 and flying back as BA2 and BA4.

British Airways, Airbus A350, New York, BA1
Concorde used to have the privilege of flying as BA1. Photo: Getty Images

Following the retirement of Concorde in 2003, the flight numbers were given to the carrier’s exclusive all business A318 services from London City to New York via Shannon. However, the airline scrapped its only remaining A318 last year. September 19th marked 12 years since British Airways first operated the service.

A busy day for BA

It seems as though November 8th will be a hectic day for British Airways. Not only is it operating five flights to JFK and back, but the airline will also be bringing the giant of the skies back into service. From November 8th, the mighty A380 will be flying from London Heathrow to Frankfurt and Madrid for crew training before the aircraft returns to long-haul flying in early December.

Are you excited to see British Airways flying the Airbus A350 to New York? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!