First British Airways Airbus A350 Departs On Inaugural Flight

British Airways’ first Airbus A350 has taken its first passenger flight. The aircraft, registered G-XWBA, departed London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 earlier this afternoon for a 1-hour and 50-minute flight to Madrid. Simple Flying was onboard to bring readers the latest!

British Airways, Airbus A350, Inaugural Flight
British Airways’ inaugural Airbus A350 flight operated to Madrid today. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The first Airbus A350 delivered to British Airways was revealed to the world on Monday, as well as to members of the press. Here the media were able to see the aircraft arrive and tour the interior. We certainly weren’t disappointed by what we saw. However, today was a chance to put the aircraft to the test during flight.

Pre-departure celebration

British Airways really put on a show when it came to the first flight of their brand new Airbus A350-1000. The celebration started at check-in where a special desk was set up to welcome those invited on the flight.

British Airways, Airbus A350, Inaugural Flight
A special check-in desk was set up for guests. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

After this, we proceeded to the Galleries Lounge in Terminal 5B. Here British Airways served drinks and canapes while guests took time to mingle. At around 11:30 am Alex Cruz, CEO of British Airways gave a speech on the new aircraft and British Airways in general. After some time for Q and A, it was time to head down to the aircraft. Upon arrival, we were presented with a keychain, and a certificate commemorating our part in the first flight of the British Airways Airbus A350.

British Airways, Airbus A350, Inaugural Flight
Each passenger was given a certificate. Photo: British Airways

There were also cakes laid out to spell A350:

British Airways, Airbus A350, Inaugural Flight
Cakes were distributed to passengers. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The aircraft

Members of the media were then directed to the aircraft around 45 minutes before boarding. Here, we were allowed to tour the cabin some more before taking our seats. You can read our thoughts on the new Airbus A350-1000 cabin from our previous visit on the aircraft.

The flight departed from London Heathrow at 13:40, 20 minutes after its scheduled departure. Unfortunately for those on board, this time was made up during the flight which ended up landing 15 minutes ahead of its scheduled arrival time.

Onboard the aircraft, we were able to experience the new Club World suite which is debuting on the A350. However, we won’t give away too much on this as a full trip review of the new Club World cabin is set to follow. (spoiler alert: it was every bit as great as it sounds!)

London to Madrid
The flight flew almost straight to Madrid. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

G-XWBA is the first of 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft which British Airways has on order. The British flag carrier is expecting to receive three more of the aircraft by the end of the year. Following training flights to Madrid during August, G-XWBA will make its long haul debut to Dubai on September 2nd.

Following this, the second Airbus A350 will begin serving Toronto in October. Further aircraft will serve Tel Aviv and Bengaluru with more destinations to be announced when more aircraft are due to be delivered next year.

What do you make of British Airways’ brand new Airbus A350? Let us know in the comments!

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Henry Zagan

Short sectors at the start of a new long range fleet to get more crew more experience. Neither Airbus or Boing have come up with an overhead bin that closes quietly. Hail pellets all night long.