British Airways flight BA492 to Gibraltar became the first service to a ‘green list’ destination as when it took off from Heathrow at 0710 as lockdown rules were eased.
The airline was operating a number of flights throughout the day (May 17) to other destinations on the UK’s ‘green list’ including a flight to Lisbon, three flights to Faro and one flight to Funchal in Madeira. The airline has suspended flights to Tel Aviv for safety reasons.
On May 17 in 2019, the airline operated hundreds of flights, compared to just 70 departures* that it plans to operate today, highlighting the devastating impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the airline industry.
Sean Doyle, British Airways Chairman and CEO, said: “Today, the first day of a return to international travel, is a special day for many people, because for so long now families have been separated, business has suffered, and we know that our customers haven’t been able to take the breaks abroad that they’ve wanted. After more than a year of limited flying, we’re pleased to be back in the skies – albeit with a very small number of flights.”
The airline has introduced changes to the flying experience to help ensure a frictionless experience, including trials of travel apps to upload documentation and a virtual queuing system, as well as the introduction of pre-flight food ordering for Euro traveller customers and delivery of menu items in the lounges to seats by QR code.
British Airways also recently launched its new advertising campaign, putting its people and its customers at the centre of the story about its return to the skies. Over the coming months those flying with the airline will receive a special welcome back with personalised boarding announcements, cards and chocolates.
Customers travelling with British Airways can do so with peace of mind, as the airline has introduced a range of safety measures to make the travel experience simple and safe during and after the pandemic. Customers can visit the airline’s Covid-19 hub page to find out more information on all of the safety measures in place.
British Airways has consistently championed testing as way to re-open travel safely and has ensured its customers have access to a wide range of discounted Covid-19 pre-departure, return to the UK and arrivals testing options. The airline has a dedicated webpage on ba.com where customers can find the right test to meet the entry requirements for their destination.