British Airways Turns 100 Years Old: An A To Z

Today marks British Airways’ 100th birthday. That is to say, 100 years ago today Air Transport and Travel flew the first regular international air service. The service flew between London and Paris. To celebrate this occasion, Simple Flying has created an A to Z guide to the world’s oldest airline.

British Airways Centenary
Today British Airways celebrates its centenary. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

A. Air Transport And Travel Limited

Air Transport And Travel Limited was the name of the airline which took its first flight 100 years ago today. Through a series of takeovers and mergers, the company went on to become what we now know as British Airways.

Air Transport And Travel
Air Transport and Travel operated its first flight 100 years ago today. Photo: The Flight magazine archive from Flightglobal via Wikimedia

B. BOAC & BEA Merger

BOAC (the British Overseas Airways Corporation) and BEA (British European Airways) merged on the 1st of April 1974 to create the present-day British Airways.

British Airways Boeing 747 BOAC
BOAC merged with BEA to form British Airways. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

C. Concorde

C is for Concorde, the supersonic icon of the skies. British Airways owned seven of the 20 Concordes that were built. One still stands at Heathrow in the British Airways livery today.

Concorde is an icon of the aviation industry. Photo: British Airways

D. Do&Co

Do&Co is the current food supplier for British Airways. Their contract was announced in September 2018, and the supplier should be fully integrated into providing British Airways’ by March 2020 according to Head For Points.

Do&Co Food Meal
Do&Co provides food onboard British Airways flights. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

E. Executive Club

E is for Executive Club. The Executive Club is British Airways’ frequent flyer program. It has four regularly attainable tiers. These are Blue, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

Executive Club
BA’s frequent flyer program is called Executive Club. Photo: British Airways

F. Flag Carrier

F is for Flag Carrier. British Airways is the flag carrier of the United Kingdom.

UK Flag Carrier
British Airways is the UK’s Flag carrier. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

G. Galleries Lounge

Galleries is the name of British Airway’s lounges. At Heathrow, there are Galleries Lounges in Terminals 3 and 5.

Galleries Lounge
British Airways’s Galleries lounges. Photo: British Airways

H. High Life

High Life is the name of British Airways’ in-flight magazine. It is produced once a month, and there are 12 covers to collect in August to celebrate the carrier’s centenary.

High Life
This month there are 12 High Life covers to collect. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

I. International Airlines Group

IAG is short for International Airlines Group. This is the airline holding group which owns British Airways.

British Airways Turns 100 Years Old: An A To Z
British Airways is owned by the International Airlines Group. Photo: British Airways

J. Jet Fuel From Waste

British Airways is currently investing in a site in North East Lincolnshire where the carrier hopes to make sustainable jet fuel out of household waste.

British Airways, Jet Fuel, Household Waste
A plant like this would convert waste to jet fuel. Photo: British Airways

K. 8K

8K was the seat Simple Flying was assigned on the inaugural British Airways Airbus A350 flight from London to Madrid.

British Airways, Airbus A350, Inaugural Flight
Simple Flying sat in seat 8K on the inaugural British Airways Airbus A350 flight. Photo: British Airways

L. London

L is for London, home of British Airways. BA’s main hub is at Heathrow, where their Waterside offices are based, however, the carrier also has a significant presence at London Gatwick airport.

London Heathrow
London is the home of British Airways. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

M. Manchester

British Airways flies to a small number of destinations from Manchester, its hub away from London.

Manchester Airport
Manchester Airport is BA’s home away from home. Photo: Manchester Airport Group

N. Negus

Earlier this year, British Airways painted a Boeing 747 in the old Negus livery alongside three other liveries. This was part of the carrier’s 100th-anniversary celebrations.

British Airways Boeing 747 Negus
A British Airways Boeing 747 repainted in the carrier’s old Negus livery. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

O. oneworld

20 years ago on the 1st of February 1999, British Airways was a founding member of the oneworld alliance. Earlier this year, oneworld airline CEOs met in London to celebrate the alliance’s 20th Birthday.

oneworld alliance
The oneworld alliance celebrated its 20th birthday in February. British Airways was a founding member. Photo: British Airways

P. Painted Wingtips

British Airway’s new Airbus A350s are the only aircraft in the carrier’s fleet to have painted wingtips. The carrier’s South African franchise, Comair, also has painted wingtips on its Boeing 737 aircraft.

British Airways Airbus A350 Wing Tips
BA’s new Airbus A350 has beautifully painted wingtips. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Q. Queen

Just under a year ago, British Airways baggage handlers performed Bohemian Rhapsody in Terminal 5 to pay homage to the band’s singer, Freddie Mercury.

British Airways Queen
Last year British Airways baggage handlers played homage to Queen singer Freddie Mercury. Photo: British Airways

R. Royal Mail

British Airways helps Royal Mail carry letters and packages across the world. This is recognized by the Royal Mail logo hiding on aircraft.

Royal Mail
BA’s livery incorporates the Royal Mail Logo, here seen on BA’s retro Negus livery. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

S. Suites

British Airways has revitalized its business class offering for the first time in 13 years. The carrier is beginning to roll out suites on its new Airbus A350 aircraft, and some older Boeing 777s.

Natural light
BA is starting to roll out suites on new aircraft. Photo: British Airways

T. Terminal 5

Terminal 5 is the Home of British Airways at London Heathrow. The carrier moved into the new terminal when it opened on 27th of March, 2008.

Terminal 5
Terminal 5 is the home of British Airways. Photo: British Airways

U. Uniform

British Airways is currently in the process of designing a new uniform in collaboration with the designer Ozwald Boateng.

Ozwald Boateng Uniform
Ozwald Boateng is designing new uniforms for British Airways staff. Photo: British Airways

V. VR Headsets

VR Headsets will be trialed on select flights to New York until the end of the year.

British Airways, Virtual Reality, New York
BA’s virtual reality system will be available to trial on BA117 until the end of the year. Photo: British Airways

W. Waterside

Waterside is the name of the airline’s head office. It is located not too far from the airline’s London Heathrow Terminal 5 home.

Waterside is the name of BA’s head office. Photo: Matt Davis via Wikimedia


G-XWBA is the registration of BA’s first Airbus A350. The aircraft took its inaugural flight to Madrid 20 days ago and features the airline’s new business class suite.

British Airways’ new A350-1000 in all its glory. Photo: Simple Flying

Y. Yin-Yang Club World Seat

Yin-Yang is the name of British Airway’s current business class seating. At eight abreast, it is due to be completely replaced by the carrier’s new Club Suite cabin.

The old BA Club World seat design is called Yin-Yang. It was the world’s first flatbed aircraft seat. Photo: British Airways

Z. Zulu

Last but by no means least, Z is for Zulu. This is the standard time that pilots around the world use in order to avoid getting confused between time zones.

Zulu is the international time used by pilots around the world. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

What is your favorite memory of British Airways? Let us know in the comments!