How British Airways Prepares For Christmas

Historically the festive period is a cause for celebration for British Airways, as a surge of passengers board flights to travel home for Christmas. Unfortunately, this Christmas will be very different for the airline, exacerbated by the current travel restrictions affecting UK travelers. With this in mind, Simple Flying decided to look back at British Airways in Christmases past.

British Airways, Christmas, Brussel Sprouts
While this year may be a little different, British Airways usually takes Christmas very seriously! Photo: British Airways

An alarming number of Brussels Sprouts

Typically British Airways serves Christmas dinner onboard its flights in the days running up to the 25th. This has seen the airline needing an alarming number of Brussels sprouts that continues to climb each year. In 2016, the airline served just 300,000 Brussels sprouts. However, in only three years, the number grew by half to 450,000 sprouts.

It’s not just the sprouts that are served in alarming quantities by the airline in the run-up to Christmas. Last year, the airline also served an estimated 360,000 roast potatoes and 11,000 kg of turkey. Some 135,000 mince pies accompanied this.

British Airways, Christmas, Brussel Sprouts
British Airways gets through an absurd amount of Brussels sprouts each year. Photo: British Airways

A trip to Paris?

Last year, Paris was British Airways’ number one short-haul destination, with many passengers opting to travel to the French capital for Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. This year things are likely to be very different. Having banned flights earlier in the week, France has now allowed them again, albeit with a pre-flight test. In 2018, the airline’s top Christmas destination was Geneva.

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It goes without saying that a considerable number of bags accompany those flying for Christmas. After all, those Christmas presents that aren’t delivered by Santa himself won’t get to their destination on their own.  In the days from December 15th to December 27th last year, British Airways estimates that it carried 1.5 million pieces of baggage across its network.

A Christmas delivery

In years gone by, British Airways crew have gone the extra mile to make December delivery flights extra special. In 1994 when G-CIVD was delivered to the airline from Seattle, it carried 14 accountants and three flight attendants.

British Airways, Christmas, Brussel Sprouts
In 1994 three British Airways crew members went above and beyond to make a Boeing 747 delivery flight extra special. Photo: Gilly Conway, Robin Williams, and Malcolm Reeves via British Airways

Rather than just operating the flight, the crew, Gilly Conway, Robin Williams, and Malcolm Reeves, went the extra mile to make the flight a special one. The three decorated the cabin with Christmas decorations and a welcome poster. To top off the look, they also donned Christmas jumpers for their departure from Seattle.

Simple Flying wrote about the flight in more detail back in August when G-CIVD was retired.

Christmas this year

British Airways still has some flights scheduled on Christmas day this year. However, the airline is currently operating a modified service due to fluid schedule changes. This includes presently three flights to Dubai, a destination that has a travel corridor with the UK.

Have you ever flown on Christmas Day? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!