British Airways History

British Airways History original BOAC plane

British Airways is the largest airline in the world if you base the numbers on fleet size and second largest in the world if you base the numbers on passengers carried. They helped to found the oneworld alliance and the International Airlines Group (IAG) with Iberia, which is now the third largest airline group in the world.

British Airways was created by the dissolution of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and the British European Airways (BEA) in 1974. By 1976, they were operating a supersonic airliner, the Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde, which was the world’s first supersonic passenger plane with its first flight traveling from London’s Heathrow airport to Bahrain. They also opened up service to the U.S. this year with a flight to Washington-Dulles airport and New York’s JFK.

1981 brought along privatization and profitability. With the appointment of a new chairman, Sir John King, the airline that was struggling managed to become one of the most profitable airlines in the world. This allowed them to takeover British Caledonian, Britain’s second airline, in the same year.

British Airways didn’t see much major competition following the takeover until 1984 when Virgin Atlantic Airways was established. This sparked a fueled rivalry and eventually a lawsuit that left British Airways footing the bill.

As 1992 approached, they were able to acquire Dan-Air, thus expanding both their routes and their space at Gatwick Airport. 1993 allowed them to buy a 25% stake in Qantas, an Australian airline, as well as purchase Brymon Airways. These two purchases launched British Asia Airways (stopped operations in 2001) and British Airways Citiexpress to handle the shorter route flights. British Airways then went about creating an alliance with American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and Canadian Airlines called the Oneworld alliance. Their partnerships started in 1999 and continue to be the third largest alliance in the world.

With the money-saving techniques employed by the current CEO, Bob Ayling, British Airways created Go in 1998. Unfortunately, Go was sold in 2001 due to the effect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the drops in air travel business. 1999 also had British Airways reporting an 84% drop in profits; a worst in seven years.

They sold their stake in Qantas in 2004 and in 2005, a new CEO, Willie Walsh, the managing director of Aer Lingus, was hired. British Airways then turned their attention to creating OpenSkies in 2008. With the change in transatlantic traffic rights between Europe and the U.S., British Airways was able to create non-stop flights from Paris to JFK and Newark. Also in 2008, they announced their merger with Iberia. Each would keep their original brand, but operate as one airline; thus creating the International Airlines Group (IAG): the world’s third largest airline. However, this merger forced British Airways to stop trading independently in the London Stock Exchange.

In 2010, British Airways started devising a list of possible other airline acquisitions and did purchase British Midland International from Lufthansa in 2012. This established a new subsidiary at the London City Airport. Also in 2012, they became the official airline partner of the 2012 London Olympic Games and flew the Olympic flame from Athens International Airport to RNAS Culdrose.

As one of the world’s largest and most profitable airlines, British Airways continues to set the standards of first class travel, expert business purchases and mergers, and with their flights touching down in every permanently inhabited continent, there’s a large possibility your next flight will be on British Airways.


British Airways and the oneworld Alliance

British Airways History oneworld logo

British Airways is part of the oneworld alliance with several other airlines:

  • Air Berlin
  • American Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LAN Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • TAM Airlines


British Airways Main Hubs and Where They Fly

British Airways History london heathrow airport

British Airways flies to all of the six permanently inhabited continents, which includes 160 destinations. Their headquarters are in Waterside, England with their main hub at London Heathrow Airport.

Main Hubs:

  • London Heathrow Airport
  • Gatwick Airport

Where They Fly:

  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bermuda
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guernsey
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jersey
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United Kingdom
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States
  • Uzbekistan
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe


British Airways Executive Club and How it Works

British Airways History executive club logo

British Airways frequent flyer program, Executive Club, allows you to gain Avios for all of your flights whether they’re on British Airways or any of the oneworld alliance partners. Earned Avios can be used for free flights, cabin upgrades, or several other travel rewards. They use a tier system where the more you fly, the more you gain access to exclusive rewards.

But first, what are Avios and Tier Points? Avios are the frequent flyer miles for British Airways and Tier Points help you move between the Executive Club Tiers to gain exceptional rewards. Avios can be earned on any British Airways Flight or any oneworld alliance member flight and they can also be bought and shared. They do expire if you do not use your account for three years. Tier Points, the other hand, can’t be spent, bought, or shared and they reset every year. You must earn a certain number of Tier Points within a year to keep your current membership status or move to the next tier.

When you first join the British Airways Executive Club, you are a Blue member. As a Blue member, you can collect both Avios and Tier Points and receive notifications for Executive Club only deals.

In order to move to Bronze, you need at least 300 Tier Points. You gain 25% bonus Avois per flight, collect additional Tier Points, have priority check-in and boarding, and free seat selection 7 days before departure.

Moving to Silver membership means you’ve acquired at least 600 Tier Points. Silver membership comes with a 100% bonus Avios per flight, collect Tier Points, member’s-only deals like the other Tiers, priority check-in and boarding, free seat selection from time of booking, access to the business lounges, and you are allowed to bring additional baggage.

After you’ve gained at least 1500 Tier Points, you can move to the most elite membership, Gold, and enjoy a plethora of membership bonuses. You receive 100% bonus Avios per flight, collect Tier Points, enjoy member’s-only offers, first class check-in and boarding, free seat selection from time of booking, access to First lounges, you can bring additional baggage, and you receive additional reward travel availability. Household accounts are available to pool Avios and Tier Points to help move you up in the award ranks towards free trips.

You earn at least one Avios per mile that you fly. Each Avios reward amount is calculated based on flight distance so the farther you fly, the more Avios you’ll earn. Additionally, you’ll earn Avios at over 8,000 partner hotels, shopping portals, grocery stories, clothes, and electrical goods.

When you want to book an award ticket, you can use the British Airways website or you can call 1-800-AIRWAYS (1-800-247-9297). The amount of Avios you need for an award ticket depends on what zone your destination resides in. In addition to Avios, you can pay with Cash and Avios if you don’t have enough to fly for free. There are also additional chargers up to $1,265.35 in taxes, fees, and carrier charges for Zone 9 award travel, which starts at 100,000 Avios.

Since British Airways is one of the world’s largest airlines, joining their Executive Club is in your best interest. The points and account don’t expire for three years and chances are that you’ll be flying on British Airways or one of their numerous partners on your next flight.


British Airways First Class and Business Cabins

British Airways History british airways first class

British Airways History british airways business class


Best British Airways Award Travel Flights

British Airways History air berlin


How to Book British Airways Award Travel

British Airways History british airways award chart

British Airways Award Travel starts a 9,000 Avios for a round-trip ticket and 4,500 Avios for a one-way ticket. On their website they have a chart that explains the number of Avios you need for each Zone 1-9 for Award Travel. The British Airways website has a lot of useful information and if you still can’t find what you need there to book your award ticket, call 1-800-AIRWAYS (1-800-247-9297). The website also has a handy Avios calculator to help you determine how many Avios you need for that weekend getaway or your ultimate dream vacation.

When you’re considering where to travel for your award ticket, make sure to use the calculator and the chart. The distance between your departure city and your destination city determines which Zone you’ll be flying in. As the Zone number increases, so do the miles between take-off and landing cities. Additional taxes, fees, and carrier chargers will also apply when you book your Avios Award Ticket.

Your best bet is to do the research online before booking an award ticket and then book the ticket online. They have tons of useful links and information to help you get the best bang for your Avios miles.


How to Earn British Airways Avios

British Airways History british airways credit card

British Airways allows you to earn Avios on almost anything travel related from flights to hotels to rental cars to online shopping to magazines. British Airways gives various amounts of Avios depending on how you’re using them. For example, if you book a British Airways Vacation package, you earn 2 Avios per $1 when you book a flight, hotel, and rental car together. You also earn 2.5 Avios per $1 with the British Airways Visa Signature Card on British Airways purchases.

Basically every trip you go on, you can earn double the points on all the essentials. There are tons of hotel partners to transfer Avios to in order to keep your account active or enjoy a free stay. Each time you stay at a partner hotel or rent a car from Avis you earn Avios that can be used towards free travel.

Avios can also be bought and transferred. If you’re just not close enough to that free vacation, you can purchase discounted Avios to get you all the way there or pay with cash and points. You can also create a household Executive Club account and transfer points among members. Transferring also includes transferring points to partners. Additionally, you can use your Avios to upgrade your seat.

The best way to earn British Airways Avios is to get the credit card and use it to purchase everything from flights to flowers. You’ll earn extra Avios on qualifying purchases and more than 1 Avios per $1 on everything else.


British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after $2,000 of purchases in the first 90 days
  • Earn 2.5 Avios per $1 spend on British Airways purchases and 1.25 Avios per $1 for all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chip and Signature technology
  • If you spend over $30,000 per year on your British Airways Credit Card you earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years
  • Annual membership fee of $95


British Airways Transfer Partners and Codeshare Agreements

British Airways History partners

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Berlin
  • American Airlines
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Flybe
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • LAN Airlines
  • Loganair
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Meridiana Fly
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • WestJet
  • TAM Airlines
  • Accor Hotels
  • Carlson Rezidor Hotels
  • FRHI Hotels and Resorts
  • Global Hotel Alliance Members
  • Hilton Worldwide
  • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
  • InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Langham Hospitality Group
  • Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
  • Marriott International
  • Preferred Hotel Group
  • Protea Hotels
  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
  • Small Luxury Hotels of the World
  • Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide
  • Taj Hotels, Resorts, and Palaces
  • Avis
  • British Airways Vacation Packages
  • Chic Outlet Shopping Villages
  • Heathrow Rewards
  • High Life Shop
  • Business Traveler Magazine