British Airways has begun tentatively scheduling in at least some of its A380s for service over the winter season. Routing information suggests at least six A380s could be in operation from October 25th onwards, four on transatlantic services to the US, and a pair flying down to Johannesburg. Here’s what you need to know about these flights.
Heathrow to Jo’burg
The A380 is hoping to make a return to South Africa from October 25th. Once a day, an A380 will fly down from London Heathrow to Johannesburg, a trip that lasts just slightly longer than 11 hours. Flights are booked as redeyes in both directions, leaving LHR at 21:10 for a 10:15 arrival into JNB the next day, and leaving JNB at 22:15 for a 07:35 arrival back to London.
Right now, based on Google Flights prices, a two week trip in early November can be snagged for as little as £420 for a basic economy ticket. This means no seat selection and only one free carry on. For £70 more, a standard economy seat gives you a checked bag.
Bumping up the cost to just over £1,000 gets you a premium economy seat, which includes two checked bags, more legroom and a seat in the separate cabin. Business class comes in at just over £2,400 and comes with all the trimmings of business. This includes a dedicated check-in area, a fully flat bed, and two checked-in bags.
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Heathrow to LA
Also for the winter season, BA has scheduled the A380 on the Heathrow to Los Angeles rotation for a daily service. Be careful if you’re keen to book this one, as not all the BA services are A380 offerings. Only the 15:30 outbound from LHR is scheduled for the A380, which arrives into LAX at 19:50 the same day. Coming back, the A380 service leaves at 21:05 for a 15:25 arrival into LHR the next day.
At the time of writing, the cheapest return for around two weeks away can be had for £342. Again, this is basic economy, with the most threadbare of services. Standard economy starts at £432, while premium economy will cost from £767. Those with cash to splash should be able to get a seat in business for £4,200 and up.
Heathrow to Miami
The last A380 route making a comeback in October will be the LHR to Miami service. Operating daily, this will complement BA’s existing daily service, which uses its Boeing 777.
The A380 service departs LHR at 09:35, arriving into Miami at 15:35. Coming back, it’s an overnight service, leaving Miami at 17:15 for a wheels down in London at 06:35 the next morning.
Price-wise, these flights are currently a bit of a bargain. Date combinations are available from £309 return in basic economy for travel in early November. Standard economy is about £90 more, while premium economy will set you back from £760 and up. Business class is currently available from £3,600.
Heathrow to San Francisco
Although it’s not making a return until next year, it’s worth mentioning the final A380 service that’s been scheduled in by the British flag carrier. From February 1st, Routesonline reports that the Heathrow to San Francisco service will restart.
Rotations are scheduled for a 10:45 departure from London, arriving at SFO at 13:55, and then a 16:10 departure from SFO, arriving in London at 10:35 the next day. Current prices start at £321 for basic economy. As with the other services, this will be a daily flight.
50% of the A380 fleet back in operation next month?
While these schedules are subject to change, as always, it’s positive news for the Airbus A380. With many airlines retiring the type early or parking them long term, British Airways has always remained optimistic about the type’s return to its fleet. Throughout the grounding, it has been committed to the regular maintenance schedules of its A380 fleet, suggesting these aircraft were always planned for an early return.
If the A380 does indeed make a return to these routes in October, it would require six of the airline’s 12 A380s to run the services. With long flight times and a daily rotation promised, each route would require at least two A380s to be in service. This would see 50% of the A380 fleet back in the skies by the end of next month.
However, there is still a big question mark over whether the A380s will be coming back at all. Those with an eye for detail will notice we didn’t mention pricing for First on the A380, and that’s because it is not being offered for sale. Singapore Airlines did a similar thing with their A380s a few days ago and confirmed to us that this was “due to potential aircraft deployment changes.”
This could mean that British Airways is proceeding with caution and that the probability of the aircraft being swapped out remains high. Simple Flying has reached out to British Airways regarding this and will update when a response is received.