Last week at Heathrow Airport, British Airways debuted a retro -liveried Boeing 747 (registration: G-BYGC) painted in the iconic design of its predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).]
BA 100 will remain on this Boeing 747 until the plane is retired in 2023. And by then, British Airways, like most commercial carriers, will have retired the majority of its 747 fleet. To find out where you might spot the plane in person, check Flight Radar.
There’s another retro livery to look for this week.
An Austrian Airlines A320 aircraft (registration OE-LBO) is flying with a livery from the 1980s, when Austrian Airlines re-entered the intercontinental flight business, “after a very long break,” the carrier notes.
The design has an angular logo arrow, grey aircraft belly and the traditional red-white-red flag on the tailfin of the aircraft.
“Considering the colorful era of the 1980s, it was, all in all, a restrained branding on the part of Austrian Airlines”, said Isabella Reichl, Head of Marketing for the countrey’s national carrier.
The carrier says the the retro look is a homage to the destinations of Tokyo and New York. Th plane’s first appearance is in Vienna today.
A few month’s back I was invited – actually, challenged – to visit Paris and London in just four or five days.
“Not possible,” I insisted. But I was willing to give it a try.
Here’s a slightly edited version of the story I wrote for Travel + Leisure with some ideas for how to do it.
To make this fast trip work, fly into one city and out of the
other, and book a seat on the high speed Eurostar train to
travel between the two.
Plenty of airlines fly between the US and both London and Paris
and it is possible to find deals on a one-way or open-jaw ticket using tools on
airline comparison sites or a knowledgeable travel advisor.
British Airways currently offers up to 50 flights from the U.S.
to London each day, depending on the season, from 26 U.S. gateways and will be adding
flights from both Pittsburgh and Charleston to London in April 2019. The
airline allows passengers to cut the cost of flights by using Avios points towards
Air France currently offers more than 150 flights a week to
Paris from 12 U.S. cities and is adding Dallas/Fort Worth as its 11th
U.S. gateway on March 31, 2019. The French flag carrier offers flash fares to Paris (and other
destinations) about once a month, so sign up to follow the carrier’s Facebook
and Twitter accounts.
Eurostar trains make the trip from city center to city center,
between London’s St. Pancras International
Station to Gare du Nord in Paris, in
just over 2 hours for a little as $60 each way. Eurostar ticket pricing
fluctuates like airline tickets, with the lowest prices usually offered for
midweek travel. Be sure to hold onto your boarding pass: it offers 2-for-1
entry to many museums and exhibitions in both cities.
Where to stay; what to do
London, there are lots of hotel to choose from right near St. Pancras International railway station, which is steps from
the British Library and its many free events and
exhibitions. Nearby is the Wellcome
hip and free science and health-themed museum that markets itself to the “incurably
Coal Drops Yard, built in 1850 to handle the eight million tons of
coal delivered to London each year, has been
transformed into the city’s newest trendy destination. Located in King’s Cross,
just a few minutes’ walk from St. Pancras, the shopping and dining center
boasts more than 50 stores, restaurants and cafés, including the flagship store
of Wolf &
gathers cool offerings from independent brands, and Casa Pastor, serving Mexican-inspired tacos,
alongside mezcals, Mexican beers and imaginative margaritas.
For convenience and a
hefty dose of the historic, splurge on a two-night stay at the St.
Pancras Renaissance Hotel, inside St. Pancras station. The “Seat to
Suite” package includes lounge access as well as a concierge escort between your
room and your seat on the Eurostar train, which departs from St. Pancras
If you’ll be heading back to the states from Paris, choose a
hotel in the city center that offers easy access to museums, café and other top
The newly renovated 97-room Renaissance
Paris Vendome Hotel, near the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre in the city’s historic 1st arrondissement
is a good option. Book a breakfast-included package (croissants galore!); seek
out nearby “hidden gems” suggested by the hotel’s “Navigator”; and let the
front desk book you a seat (preferably at the chef’s counter) in the hotel’s
Restaurant, which serves an ever-changing menu of Israeli-inspired
Middle Eastern meals.
You can save time by combining touring and fine dining by having
lunch or dinner at (or on) Ducasse sur Seine, chef Alain
Ducasse’s new restaurant on an electric boat offering diners a 90-minute cruise
on the Seine. Or board the Bustronome, a restaurant
inside a double-decker bus that drives by many of the city’s top sights during
a three-hour tour. (There’s a London version of this as well.)
You may not get your fill of croissants, baguettes, macarons or
other French pastries during a quick two-day visit, but you’ll learn some
professional French bakers’ tricks to take home during a gourmet walking tour
or a French breach-making class organized by a local tour group such as Meeting
British Airways has shared a preview of the flight plan the Jeppesen charting company has prepared for Santa for the evening of December 24th.
For those who aren’t well versed in reading flight plan charts, BA says that the chart shows the approach for landing Santa’s sleigh back at the North Pole, having completed deliveries around the world.
“The chart shows that on approach, the sleigh will descend to 2,500ft on a track of true North between SANTA and CLAUS. The sleigh will further descend on the final stages of its approach from COMNG to TOWNN, but in the event that the weather conditions are not good enough to land then Santa will climb back to an altitude of 2,500ft before turning right at MSLTO. That will lead to KSSNG where he will hold until the weather improves.”
Here’s some more detailed information about the plan:
“With Rudolph’s nose lighting system, the sleigh has a ‘decision height’ of just 250ft which will help Santa manage any bad weather, resulting in a safe landing. Safety is obviously a priority for Santa and his team, so the plan warns that reindeer and elves will be on the runway and that reindeer games could slow down ground operations. Other aircraft are advised to look out for the blinding red nose.”
“We’ll be cheering on Santa and his reindeer on December 24 as he flies around the world,” said Simon Brooks, British Airways’ senior vice president sales, North America, ” He has priority over the skies that night so customers traveling should look for the sleigh and wave to Santa.”
My favorite parts of the flight plan are the ‘Hot Cider Deice Pad” and “Letters to Santa Drop Zone,” and that little elf, but the whole darn thing is charming.
On my way to London via British Airways from Terminal 7 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday, I was invited to tour the newly refurbished British Airways First lounge, look inside the exclusive Concorde Room and spend time in the Galleries lounge.
Here are a few snaps from the day:
The new First lounge is now 60 percent bigger than the previous lounge – and includes a pre-flight dining area (shared with the Galleries /business lounge), a pleasant quiet work area and this lovely large bar area.
When I passed through it seemed to be both self-serve, with bartenders nearby.
Around the corner from the bar is a Wine Room with an enomatic dispenser serving 1-ounce tasting pours of a variety of specially chosen wine. Right now “Chardonnays of the World” are featured.
In addition to a quite bountiful buffet in the dining area, there was this dim sum bar nearby.
And (my favorite, after the complimentary 15-minute facial offered in the Elemis spa) – a roving Gin and Tonic cart that was visiting both the First and Galleries loung areas.
Have you visited these lounges? Let us know what you think of the new and improved (and almost finished…) spaces.
Before he sang with Queen, Freddie Mercury was a baggage handler at London’s Heathrow Airport.
And today, September 5, 2018 – on what would have been Mercury’s 72nd birthday – Heathrow Airport and British Airways came up with the idea to put modern-day baggage handlers together with choreographers to create a performance of Queen’s “Break Free.”
If you happen to be in Heathrow Terminal 5 today, keep an eye out of these baggage handlers performing the dance in person during the airport’s “Freddie for a Day” tribute.
Or watch a video of the dance here.
Want more Queen and Freddie Mercury?
On September 5, passengers at Heathrow will find Queen songs on the Arrivals boards in Terminal 5.
Also on September 5, any travler named Freddie, Frederick or Farrokh (Mercury’s real name) departing from Terminal 5 will be invited (along with their traveling companions) to use British Airways’ First class lounge.
And on November 2, Twentieth Century Fox will release a film about Queen and the life of Freddie Mercury, called “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in the U.S. (The UK opening is October 24.)