British Airways is to resurrect its flagship BA1 callsign for a special one-off flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK on November 8, 2021. The callsign once belonged to BA’s iconic Concorde service between London and New York but was most recently used by a unique all business class service from London City to New York City.
The airline is bringing back the callsign to celebrate the reopening of the United States to non-U.S. citizens who have spent time in the UK for the first time in nearly 20 months.
Under the Biden’s administration’s border easing plans, the United States will welcome foreigners who are both fully vaccinated and have tested negative to COVID-19 within three days of departure beginning November 8.
British Airways is planning to ramp up services to the United States and has already restarted flights to a slew of destinations including San Diego and Phoenix. Services to Las Vegas and Baltimore will also restart soon and in December, BA plans to resume flights to New Orleans and Nashville in December.
But BA’s flagship route has long between London and New York City which the airline dominated before the pandemic. Between April 2017 and April 2018, British Airways became the first airline in the world to operate a billion-dollar route with its flights between London and NYC.
To mark the importance of the route, British Airways assigned its flagship BA1 callsign to the 10:30 am Concorde departure from Heathrow to JFK until the supersonic plane’s retirement in 2003.
The callsign remained unused for several years until British Airways launched an all business class flight from London City airport to JFK on a small Airbus A318 aircraft in 2009. With just 32 fully flat seats, the service was popular with high revenue business travellers but the pandemic forced BA into a rethink and last summer the airline announced it would be permanently ending the service.
There’s still no permanent plan for the BA1 callsign but on November 8, the airline will be operating an extra flight between London Heathrow and New York JFK on its flagship long-haul aircraft, the Airbus A350-1000.
The flight will depart at 8:30 am and arrive in New York at around 11:15 am. Prices for the nearly eight-hour flight start at a whopping £1,731 for a seat in Economy.
In a statement, a spokesperson for British Airways told us: “8 November 2021 is a pivotal moment for the entire travel industry, it’s fitting we mark our first flight to the US by using flight number BA1.”
“We can’t wait to welcome our customers back on board BA1 and reconnect friends and families across the Atlantic and rebuild US-UK business relationships.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.