British Airways has been one of the single biggest names in commercial airlines for as long as many people can remember. The flagship service for air travel to and from the UK, the airline continues to ferry people all over the world, having merged with numerous leading names in air transport elsewhere over the years. Millions depend on BA for commercial air travel as well as business flights, meaning that they are responsible for holidays and many an important meeting.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the history of BA, and why the airline remains one of the biggest players in the industry to this day. You may well have flown with British Airways before, but how much do you actually know about the brand and its well-flown legions of planes? Let’s take a closer look with these fun facts about British Airways…
1. British Airways is likely older than you think.
BA’s roots date all the way back to August 1919 with AT&T – who ferried the world’s first international passenger flight. The trip took passengers from Hounslow Heath to Paris.
2. Mergers have grown BA worldwide.
BA has grown massively over the decades to become a world-leading airline. Along the way, they have merged with the likes of Iberia. As a result of this merging in 2011, BA and Iberia created the IAG. The IAG is, at the time of writing, the third-biggest airline group for revenue the world over.
3. Flight fleets are massively diverse via BA.
A has employed all manner of aircraft over the years and is thought to have once had one of the most diverse fleets in global air travel. For example, they are said to have offered everything from the BN Islander, a piston-powered twin, to the world-famous Concorde.
4. They were a huge proprietor of Boeing 747-400.
BA was also known for holding more Boeing 747-400 aircraft than any other airline at their peak – with around 63 of the aircraft available to board through British Airways at any one time.
5. Their website cost millions to secure.
British Airways is commonly abbreviated to BA, however, for a long time, they didn’t hold the rights to the domain name BA.com. They soon bought the web domain, but it likely cost more than you’d imagine to pay for any kind of internet address – the sale is thought to have cost BA around £5 million! Worth paying for, it seems – domain names are big business.
6. One route made them a billion.
BA became the first commercial passenger airline to make a billion from one route. Specifically, from April 2017 to March 2018, British Airways saw revenue of over $1 billion arise from their route covering JFK Airport in New York to London’s Heathrow.
7. BA’s commercials are well-loved.
British Airways is also famous for its high-profile TV advertisements, with their ‘Face’ campaign, created by Saatchi and Saatchi, thought to have cost the company around £1 million. It’s also thought to be one of the most iconic TV ads of all time and was a huge award winner.
8. They’ve been a household name since the 70s.
BA has been around, as a brand, since 1974. It’s technically a merging of the British European Airways and British Overseas Airways Corporation. The merger also included two smaller airlines in the Northeast Airlines and Cambrian Airways, too. It’s a bigger merge than you may have imagined!
9. Care for a glass?
British Airways remains the only airline to have its own sommelier! This means that they rely on an expert palate and nose to fine-tune their first class wine lists. To test the wine, a hyperbaric chamber is used – as a result of the taste changing due to atmospheric pressure while up in the air!
10. Supersonic travel was a big deal.
British Airways was responsible for pitching the world’s first supersonic flight, which took place between Heathrow and Bahrain back in 1975.
11. Trial and error!
It’s thought that the BA Terminal 5 building was half-built in a large Yorkshire field to check whether or not it would be operative when transferring to an airport setting!
12. They’re arguably living up to their slogan.
British Airways has largely led with its slogan ‘The World’s Favourite Airline’ for a reason – that’s because they are still thought to fly more international passengers around the world than any of their competitors.
13. It used to be nationalized.
British Airways wasn’t always a private organization – it used to be owned by the British state. At this time, it’s thought that more than 106,000 people came under BA’s employ, which gave them a huge employee to passenger ratio, higher than any of their competitors at the time.
FAQs about British Airways
Is it free to call British Airways?
Calls to BA customer service are free when you dial 0800 727 800 from the UK or 877-767-7970 if you are calling from the USA.
Do I have to wear a mask on British Airways flights?
At the time of writing, yes - British Airways requires mask wearing on all their flights to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Are drinks included on BA flights?
It all depends on the length of your flight as well as the route. Long-haul flights, for example, generally include free beverages.’ - no, really.
Do you know any fun facts about British Airways? Share them in the comments below!