Simple Flying recently attended part of the Boeing Innovation Forum in Glasgow, where the US manufacturer displayed its latest ‘ecoDemonstrator.’ Getting to the event involved an hour-long domestic hop with UK flag carrier British Airways, originating at its Heathrow hub. Let’s take a look at how the flight went, and what you can expect from BA on this route.
A key domestic destination
London to Glasgow is a key UK domestic corridor for both the aviation and rail industries. It is directly served by two airlines (BA and easyJet) and three train companies. British Airways flies to Scotland’s most populous city from three of London’s airports.
These are Heathrow, Gatwick, and London City. Simple Flying traveled up to Glasgow on a Tuesday. This particular day of the week typically sees six departures from its Heathrow hub, as well as three from City, and one from Gatwick. BA also flies to Belfast City from Glasgow, as well as internationally to Palma de Mallorca on a seasonal basis.
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The particular flight that I took up to Glasgow earlier this week was numbered as BA1476. According to data from RadarBox.com, this service operates four times a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday). It has a planned departure time of 10:10, and is scheduled to arrive at Scotland’s second-busiest airport 90 minutes later at 11:40.
The aircraft involved
The aircraft that operated my flight up to Glasgow was an Airbus A320-200 that bore the registration G-EUYA. According to data from ch-aviation.com, this 12.93-year-old twinjet has been with BA for its entire career. It first flew on November 5th, 2008, and the UK flag carrier took delivery of the 180-seat narrowbody 19 days later, on the 24th.
As of July 31st, 2021, G-EUYA had accumulated a total of 26,435 flight hours over 16,030 cycles. this gives an average cycle length of one hour and 39 minutes. Based on an average of 2074.11 annual hours across 1,258 cycles a year, its average daily usage amounts to five hours and 41 minutes. Its market value, according to ch-aviation’s data, is $15.8 million.
On the ground at Heathrow
I arrived at Heathrow just after eight in the morning, whereupon I briefly got stuck in a lift with some other passengers! Following this, I was able to get through all the formalities at Terminal 5 fairly quickly. With Glasgow being a domestic route, traveling there doesn’t entail the same paperwork levels that going aboard in the current climate can demand.
With no checked baggage, I was able to head straight to security, which was rather more comprehensive than my last flight from the tiny St Mary’s Airport in Cornwall! I did have to queue for a few minutes, but, with plenty of time to spare, I was able to reflect on the potential recovery for the industry that the presence of such crowds suggests.
After security, I was able to take in my traditional Giraffe airport breakfast. While not a significant part of the journey, it was nice to be able to return to a routine that used to be a more common occurrence in the pre-pandemic era. Our flight boarded from gate A23 which, while fairly distant, was at least closer than the satellite B and C concourses.
There were a total of nine boarding groups on my flight on Tuesday. Despite being in the seventh group, and the service being more or less full, I was able to find ample overhead space for my carry-on. There were eight rows of Club Europe, which hinted at the beginnings of a recovery for business travel despite the advent of technology like Zoom.
My seat was 21A, between the overwing exits and the rear doors. I found its legroom to be slightly lacking, although, at 6’1, I am around four inches taller than the average UK male. While this wasn’t a problem on a short domestic hop, it is worth considering that G-EUYA has also recently operated flights of nearly three hours to Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
We pushed back at 10:15, with a remote-controlled tug doing the honors. Takeoff from Heathrow’s runway 27R took place at 10:34, following a lengthy taxi from the western end of the UK’s busiest airport. After takeoff, I noticed that WiFi was available at one of two prices (see above). However, I didn’t feel the need to be online during the short flight.
Simple Flying reported in July that British Airways had brought back buy onboard catering for its short-haul flights. However, in addition to this, passengers are entitled to a free bottle of water and a snack. In this case, this was a bag of crisps. As seen below, the other thing handed out onboard was, in keeping with the current climate, an antibacterial wipe.
A punctual arrival
After just under an hour in the air, we touched down under sunny skies on Glasgow’s runway 05 at 11:31. In contrast to our departure from Heathrow, we were treated to a much shorter taxi to our gate. This lasted just five minutes, and we arrived on stand at 11:36. Despite pushing back five minutes behind schedule, our overall arrival was four minutes early.
While BA boarded by boarding groups, it disembarked by row numbers, allowing a few rows to go at a time. Being situated towards the rear of the aircraft, I was among the last to leave, particularly after waiting to collect a jumper I’d left behind! While I wasn’t in a rush, disembarking by rows is worth remembering if you have a tight connection.
It was a bit of a hike from our gate to the arrivals area. However, the domestic nature of our flight did at least mean that we could skip passport control, saving a few minutes. Overall, I had a pleasant enough trip up to Glasgow with BA. Its high frequencies and load factors on this route are surely a good thing when it comes to UK aviation’s recovery.
What do you make of British Airways’ domestic offering? Have you ever flown on this particular route? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.