UK News: Virgin Atlantic Service Changes, British Airways Completes 747 Refurb & More

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A roundup of some of the more UK-centric news that I’ve noticed over the past week or so. The news includes Virgin Atlantic making changes to its Boston and Dubai operations, British Airways completing an aircraft refurbishment project and Etihad adding more A380 service to London.

Virgin Atlantic Service Changes

London – Boston

From 30 October Virgin Atlantic will be operating its London – Boston route with a 787-9 Dreamliner which will replace the A330 and A340 aircraft that currently fly this route.

There’s no change from the planned schedule…..

VS011 LHR 16:45 – 19:20 BOS (Daily)
VS012 BOS 21:40 – 09:00+1day LHR (Daily)

…but if you have a reservation to fly this route I would check to see that you’re still seated in a seat you’re happy with because it’s almost a certainty that you’re not still seated in the same seat you selected at the time of booking.

virgin-atlantic-787-9-mark-harkinVirgin Atlantic 787–9 Dreamliner – image courtesy of Mark Harkin via Flickr

The Virgin Atlantic Dreamliner has fewer Premium Economy and Upper Class seats than both the A330 and A340 aircraft so I suspect this won’t do much for award availability on this route.

London – Dubai

Also from 30 October Virgin Atlantic will continue to serve its London – Dubai route with an Airbus A330 aircraft instead of replacing it with a 787-9 Dreamliner as originally scheduled.

Considering the change to the London – Boston route I think we can probably tell where the Dreamliner has gone…..and this makes sense. The Dreamliner has fewer seats in all three cabins than the A330 and I suspect there are more people wanting to visit Dubai in the European winter than there are people wanting to visit Boston.

Once again there’s no change to the schedule…..

VS400 LHR 22:35 – 09:40+1 day DXB (Daily)
VS401 DXB 12:00 – 16:10 LHR (Daily)

….and, once again, I strongly suggest that anyone with a pre-assigned seat on a flight on or after 30 October checks their reservation – you may have been in an exit row before but you’re probably not any more.

British Airways Completes 747 Refurbishment

This is an especially interesting bit of news for me because Joanna and I recently flew a British Airways 747 in First Class to Las Vegas and boy did the aircraft need a bit of work! The funny thing is that I think we had an aircraft due for the bone yard because, per British Airways, the Las Vegas bound 747s aren’t on the list for refurbishment:

The revamped jumbos now operate on selected flights to New York JFK, Chicago, Johannesburg, Dubai, Boston, Riyadh, Kuwait, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington DC.

British Airways First Class to Las VegasBritish Airways 747 – the refreshed look

So what has BA done?

The 747s hat were deemed worthy of a few more years in the BA fleet have all had a “refreshed interior”, a “state-of-the-art Panasonic entertainment system” and a few more seats in Club World.

The new interiors have:

  • LED mood lighting
  • New fabric on the seats
  • New seat foam
  • 16 more Club World seats
  • New carpets
  • Universal power ports for all World Traveller Plus seats
  • USB ports at all World Traveller seats

The Panasonic entertainment system offers travelers…..

 [O]ver 1,300 hours of entertainment including more than 130 movies and 400 TV programmes on larger, hi-resolution screens, capable of touch and swipe gestures, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet.

That definitely sounds like an upgrade from the 1998-esque entertainment system on the 747 we flew recently!

Etihad Adds More A380 Service To London

Etihad Business Class A380

I’m an unabashed fan of Etihad’s A380 Business Class cabin and service so I’m always happy to hear when the airline is adding more A380 service to a city I find myself in quite a bit 🙂

Between 30 October and 17 November Etihad will be adding an A380 into the mix of aircraft (which include a 777-300 and an A340-600) which operate flights EY17/18 but the big change comes after that….

From 18 November 20 out of Etihad’s 21 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and London will be operated by A380 aircraft and the extra A380 is set to remain on the schedule for the rest of Etihad’s winter season. That’s a nice capacity increase for Etihad A380 fans.

If anyone wants to try out the Etihad’s Business or First Class products (and you really should) the most cost-effective way is to use American Airlines AAdvantage miles (London – Abu Dhabi is 42,500 miles  each way in Business and 62,500 miles each way in First Class).


If you don’t have AAdvantage Miles then Etihad’s own reward program may work for you. You can transfer both Amex Membership Rewards points and Citi ThankYou points into the Etihad Guest program….just be aware that you’ll need quite a few points!

London – Abu Dhabi in Business Class will set you back 65,786 miles in either direction while First Class costs 87, 518 in either direction at saver (the cheapest) level.

Featured image courtesy of Paolo via Fickr


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