British Airways is a full service global airline and the largest international carrier in the United Kingdom. In fact, the home base at London Hearthrow, is the world’s busiest international airport. They fly to more than 170 destinations in 70 countries carrying over 40 million customers each year; they have approximately 40,000 employees—15,000 cabin crew, 3,600 pilots and 5,500 engineers—and nearly 300 aircraft in their fleet, which is made up of Airbus, Boeing and Embraer planes. British Airlines celebrated their 90th anniversary on August 25, 2009. This large, historically significant company can trace its origins back to the very beginning of civil aviation in 1919.


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The Good

  • In-flight services
  • Travel insurance
  • Help with cancellations
  • Frequent flyer program

One exciting thing about flying with British Airways is the list of amenities they offer with each and every flight. All passengers have access to in-flight entertainment systems, with differing system options dependent upon flight class. Entertainment options include, but are not limited to movies, music and games. Additionally, each flight, no matter how short, includes a free snack or meal and bar service. With locally sourced ingredients from trusted suppliers, passengers can really look forward to the enjoyment of a fresh, satisfying dining experience. Options from the full bar service include award winning wines and champagnes, a variety of spirits, non-alcoholic drinks, coffee and tea. Depending on the length of the flight, passengers traveling over breakfast, lunch or dinner can enjoy a three-course meal. Light meals are also available if desired, and mid-flight snacks are offered to quench any hunger that may creep up between mealtimes.

Receive peace of mind with the purchase of travel insurance provided through Preferential Direct. With options for coverage on single trips and annual multi-trip policies, customers are sure to find a comprehensive policy that can be tailored to fit their specific needs at a highly competitive price. The two main packages are Value and Deluxe, but there are options for specific needs such as sports cover, golf cover and wedding cover. Detailed quotations, including all policy coverages and exact pricing, can be obtained through British Airways’ website.

-Value packages include coverage up to nearly $4,400 (4,000 EUR) on cancellations and nearly $825 (750 EUR) on personal property. Coverage is unavailable for pre-existing medical conditions.

-Deluxe packages include coverage up to nearly $10,100 (10,000 EUR) on cancellations and nearly $2,200 (2,000 EUR) on personal property. Screening is available for pre-existing medical conditions.

Of course airline initiated flight cancellations are something passengers hope to avoid entirely. Still, if there ever is a cancellation in your travels it’s nice to know the airline has a policy in place to offer assistance. At British Airways, passengers experiencing a flight cancellation are able to rebook their flight for a later date at no extra charge, or cancel booking entirely and claim a refund. If booking includes a hotel, a rental car, a transfer or an experience in conjunction with a cancelled flight, then passengers may proceed with one of the following options:

-For no charge, rebook to travel within a 14-day period after the scheduled departure time of the original flight. This is done on a like to like basis

-Rebook to travel 15 days or more after the scheduled departure time of the original flight. No fees will be charged; however, any difference in the price of the hotel, rental car, transfer or experience will be paid by the passenger or refunded to the passenger.

-Cancel entire booking and claim a refund to be received in the form of the original payment.

British Airways offers a free frequent flyer program referred to as The Executive Club. Members collect Avios, the reward currency of the Club, on each flight with British Airways or any of their one world partners, plus a variety of hotel, credit card, car rental and shopping partners, which vary by location. Avios can be traded in for a range of benefits, some of which include reward flights and cabin upgrades.

The Bad

  • On-time percentage

Punctuality is one of the most important aspects of a good airline. So the fact that British Airlines was on-time with only 79% success isn’t very assuring. With 9% of flights being late, 4% being very late, 9% being excessive late and 1% being cancelled altogether, passengers need not be completely surprised to find their flight running a bit behind schedule.

The Bottom Line

British Airways is an impressive airline. They have been around for many years and have taken the time to incorporate features and amenities passengers appreciate. Competitively priced airline tickets, including Hand Baggage Only fares, a wide list of amenities, options for travel insurance, and a free-to-join rewards program—there’s no reason to believe a flight with British Airlines would be anything but enjoyable and hassle-free.

The cost of checking bags at an airport can quickly run up additional expenses for travelers no matter where they are flying. Specifically, when flying with British Airways, the checked baggage pricing and policies is laid out on their website for all customers to view prior to travel. Some of the highlights from the policy are listed here.

• Free checked baggage

• Excessive baggage charges

• Free carry-on luggage

All flights through British Airways have different checked baggage pricing depending on the departure location and the destination. Locations can all be found listed on the British Airways website but the majority of flights allow passengers at least two free checked bags. These two free bags are standard for Economy class as well as First and Business class tickets. Luggage can be up to 51 pounds for each of the two bags checked in with British Airways.

If a customer would like to bring more than the allotted two bags as part of their checked baggage, excessive baggage fees will apply. These fees while all calculated in Euros on the British Airways website, are generally $100 and more depending on flight destination and weight of the luggage.

One of the best benefits British Airways offers their customers as part of their baggage policies is their carry-on regulations. Like many other airline companies, British Airways passengers are allowed to bring one bag and one personal item such as a purse, laptop, briefcase, or backpack. However, the difference is that the bag which is allowed as a carry-on item has a much greater weight limit than many other airlines companies policies. Carry-on bags can be up to 50 pounds in weight, all British Airways asks is that customers are able to lift the bag over their heads to fit inside the overhead compartments.

There are many different events that can occur during travel that could cause interruption to flight plans. These events are important to know how an airline company would handle such situations and what options would be available to passengers. Here are some of the most important questions about flight procedures:

• Trip Cancellations and refunds

• Airport delay or cancellations

• Baggage loss or delay

British Airways gives all customers who are purchasing tickets a 24-hour window during which time any cancellations or changes can be made to travel plans without any penalty fees. Any refunds given during this time will be returned in the original form of payment but must be processed through the British Airways contact centers. After this 24-hour grace period, refunds for ticket cancellations depend entirely on the type of ticket purchased and whether or not a customer elected for travel insurance to be included with their airfare. These refunds will almost always be charged a service fee which will be deducted from the return payment or from any credit given to a customer for future British Airways travel. However, most service charged with British Airways for ticket cancellations is very minimum. For example, tickets purchased for travel to or from the United States will be charged a $10 service fee for any changes made. Of course these fees vary depending on a customer’s locations and ticket type, but all estimated service fees can be found online or by calling the British Airways contact center.

For flight delays or cancellations that happen as part of the airline itself, British Airways does their best to rebook travel for customers, provide seating changes and full refunds if necessary. In addition, British Airways will also allow customers to file claims for reimbursement for any additional travel expenses that occurred because of tarmac delay or flight disruption.

Baggage loss or delay must be reported to British Airways staff as soon as possible. Deadlines for eligible claims to be made are 21 days for missing baggage and expenses that occur because of missing baggage, and 7 days for damaged bags or single items missing from bags. These claims must be reported by the deadlines or British Airways will not be liable for the damage or loss. It is also important to note that in general British Airways has very minimum liability for the loss of these items and strongly suggests that customer purchase additional travel insurance to cover their baggage prior to their flight.

As for customer service and support, British Airways is available for questions or concerns 24/7 through their telephone contact centers or through their website. Any passengers who are in need of special assistance during a flight can request help prior to travel. All British Airways staff and aircrafts are capable of handling any special assistance passengers might need.

The Executive Club through British Airways allows customers to collect points that can then be used to purchase a variety of products including future air travel through British Airways. The Executive club is run in two different groups, each allowing customers to spend and collect points differently.

• Avios

• Tier Points

Through the Avios program, customers can join for free and collect points by purchasing travel through British Airways or one of their partnering airline companies. Points can additionally be collected through purchasing a wide variety of products. These points can then be used to redeem for air travel and flight upgrades with British Airways or any of their oneworld airline partners. However, Avios points are subject to blackout dates and seat availability when being redeemed for airfare. Customers can search online or call a contact center to find available dates and routes for reward purchasing. Avios points can be bought and shared through a Household account that can include up to six people. These points can then be pooled together to purchase more air travel or upgrades faster. Additionally, Avios points do not expire unless a balance is inactive for three years.

Tier points through the British Airways Executive Club are slightly different from Avios points in that they cannot be spent. Like Avios points, Tier points can be collected through travel purchase of any British Airways tickets or partnering airline companies, but instead of spending the points, customers move automatically through tiers with more points collected. These tiers then allow for different benefits aboard British Airways and partnering airline flights as well as benefits for a wide variety of products through partnering Executive Club companies. Tier points cannot be bought or shared and they reset every year.

These two different types of reward point system through British Airways allow customers to access reward points how they wish. Compared to other airline companies, the rewards program is different but has many benefits for all of the Executive Club members.

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