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The all new and updated Ultimate BRITISH AIRWAYS Guide

The all new and updated Ultimate BRITISH AIRWAYS Guide

Old Jul 25, 06, 7:44 am
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
Posts: 5,016
Arrow The all new and updated Ultimate BRITISH AIRWAYS Guide

READ THIS FIRST! The Ultimate BA Guide…

Welcome to the BA Forum and the new ‘Ultimate BA Guide’. This thread is meant to be a collection of information and frequently asked questions which are useful to new visitors and old hands alike. Before asking a new question, please have a read (or search) of this thread first and see if what you want to know is already covered.

Say my name
The airline is called ‘British Airways’ which is often abbreviated to ‘BA’ (the same as the flight prefix). One thing people here tend to get a little touchy about is referring to our favourite carrier incorrectly! So, ‘British Airways’/’BA’ ^ ‘British Air’/’Brit Air’/’British’ or other variations

This thread is a revised and updated version of the original ULTIMATE BA Guide thread which Dave_C pioneered. Using that as a basis, Dave_C and some other regulars gave it a bit of a ‘spring clean’ in July 2006. In addition to Dave_C’s excellent work, thanks are due to G-BOAC, More Champagne Sir?, Raffles, Shuttle-Bored and Swanhunter on the big effort to review and update the guide.

If you have comments, questions or suggestions for this guide – great! The constant revision and feedback is what makes the BA Board such a useful resource. However, to ensure this main thread does not become too daunting for new visitors and get bogged down in too many responses, we’ve had our friendly moderators lock this thread and created a new one for comments. Please use this:


thread to provide feedback.

Also note that the dreaded U-word (*cough* ‘Upgrade’) comes up very regularly on here. So regularly, in fact, that it has its own dedicated sticky! If you have an upgrade story to share, please post it there. Likewise, if you’re looking for how the sure-fire way to blag a free upgrade, (1) don’t because it doesn’t work like that and (2) have a read/search of that thread for all the ‘advice’ there is (and more!).

This guide covers two main topics:

1. An ‘ULTIMATE’ guide to ex-EU travel (originally pioneered by dnw)
2. A general guide to BA and the Executive Club with various hints, tips and frequently asked questions (the collective wisdom of many FTers!)

Who’s Where?
Sometimes it’s nice to know who is flying where – especially with a view to coordinating lounge access or meeting up. There is now an excellent calendar tool to help with this. Although it’s not BA-specific, it was launched by some of our most (in)famous board members and the extremely helpful BA97 hosts and maintains it on his website. It’s free to use and very useful, so check out:


and see if you can ‘put a handle to a face’ (not literally, that sounds painful)…


The BA Board

The Guide Itself
Each item in the contents page will link to a separate post in the thread, allowing easier access to each part.

Change Log
Say what!? (AKA Common Acronyms…)
The ULTIMATE ex-EU Travel Guide
Travel Classes
Fleet Overview and Seat Map Links (AKA “What’s the best seat…”)
Lounges and Lounge Access
ceBA – BA’s Web Services
Joining the Executive Club
Tiers and Tier Points
Membership Countries
Household Accounts
Earning Miles
Spending Miles
oneworld / Franchises / Airline Partners
American Express
Earning BA Miles at Tesco and other Partners
Fare ‘Buckets’/Letters
Some Suggestions for Travelling with Children
What London Airport, and What Terminal is my BA Flight?

This thread is designed to be a first stop for new people to the forum and a useful ‘dip in’ resource for existing FTers. It hopefully will address the most common questions to do with flying BA, and membership of the Executive Club.

Last edited by Shuttle-Bored; Jun 27, 07 at 3:14 pm
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:45 am
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Change Log

2006-07-xx: First version of the new guide, based on the old thread which is still available here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=368179.

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:17 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:45 am
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Say what!? (AKA Common Acronyms…)

With many thanks to More Champagne Sir? for collating these originally and submitting them to this thread.

241 or 2for1 - Voucher received from BA when set level of expenditure on BA American Express card is reached. This gives a free ticket when purchasing one full miles redemption ticket.
AVOD Audio Video On Demand - An updated IFE system allowing users to watch TV programs/movies etc when they want with the option to pause, rewind, stop etc as needed.
B/H - Bulkhead Seat (At the front of each cabin, often providing extra legroom. However, BEWARE bulkhead often = bassinet = babies screaming )
BA - British Airways
BA AmEx PP - British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card (or without PP to represent BA AmEx standard card)
BACON - BA Connect - BA regional domestic service
BAEC or EC - British Airways Executive Club
BMED - British Mediterranean Airways (franchisee of BA operating flights to Africa, Middle East & Central Asia. Tickets booked through ba.com)
CC - In context of Tesco, refers to Clubcard
CCR - Concorde Room - for pax ticketed in First class ex-LHR T4 only (or the lucky ‘101 Dalmations’ who hold a special Concorde Room pass, first issued on 2003 after the retirement of Concorde)
CE - Club Europe (European Business Class)
CPN - Coupon - Refers to Paper Tickets (becoming more and more unusual)
CSD - Cabin Services Director (Most senior member of cabin crew)
CSDM - Customer Service Duty Manager (Most senior member of airport ground staff)
CW - Club World (L/H Business Class)
DO - officially a gathering of 12 or more at an event intended for FlyerTalkers. In reality, a gathering of any number of people involving large amounts of Alcohol. Click here for a list of all upcoming Dos.
Dusking - not an acronym/abbreviation, but often seen on the board - refers to the process of a plane going from OCW to NCW, and also adding WT+ to L/H aircraft.
DYKWIA - Do You Know Who I Am? - Often heard by Gold BAEC members after being refused an upgrade. (Also Rick's handle!)
ECCA - Executive Club Corporate Agreement – a legacy scheme which BA ran for major corporate clients, with reduced thresholds for qualifying for Gold, Silver, etc. and various other benefits. Removed from use in July 2003, but still referred to on FT occasionally.
EF - www.expertflyer.com - useful website which shows flight & seating availability for all carriers (incl. BA). Subscription is £2.95 per month, which can be cancelled at any time.
ex-EUR - refers to starting a journey from an out-station in Europe which often results in a significant discount in fare. Click here for more info
Fare Classes - Not an acronym, but click here for details
FBD - Fast Bag Drop (to be used at the airport after using SSCI or OLCI)
FFP - Frequent Flyer Program (e.g. BAEC)
FSB - Friends & Supporters of BA (new way of scoring BAEC members - only listed on the CSD's manifest) - this one's a fun fake, that I completely fell for!!
GB - GB Airways (franchisee of BA operating flights to destinations around the Med. Tickets booked through ba.com)
GEx - Gatwick Express (Fast train between LGW and London Victoria)
GUF2 - Gold Upgrade for 2 voucher - voucher given to Gold members upon reaching 2500 TPs and again at 3500 TPs.
HA - Household Account
HEx - Heathrow Express (Fast train between LHR and London Paddington)
H.I. - Him/Her Indoors (Not a BA acronym but a very common FT one and deserves a place on this list)
IFE - In-flight entertainment
ISTR - I seem to recall/remember (not BA, but useful)
L/H - Longhaul
MCO - Miscellaneous Charge Order (a form of credit note given to passengers from BA
MFU - Miles for Upgrade (Method of redemption using cash + miles to upgrade)
MHC - Mile High Club (Ahem )
MIC - BA missed interline connection
MMB - Manage My Booking (Tool for seeing details about your booking)
MVCC - Most Valued Corporate Client
NCW - New Club World (New style of Business Class - flat beds)
NGCW - Next Generation Club World (New style of Business Class replacing NCW)
NOCW - New Old Club World - Only found on BMED, this is a new style of BA's OCW Cradle seat.
NSFU - Not Suitable for Upgrade
OCW - Old Club World (Cradle style seats – now only found on BMED flights)
OLCI - Online Check-In
Op-Up - Operational Upgrade (free upgrade given for no specific reason)
OW or 1W - oneworld (Aer Lingus, American Airlines, BA, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, LAN, Qantas)
PCPM - Part Cash Part Miles (Another method of redemption using cash + miles. Generally considered a poor use of miles)
PFUG - Pre-Flight Upgrade
PNR - Passenger Name Record - also known as the BA Booking Reference
PUTI - Posting Under the Influence - VERY common on this board
PYOBP - Print your own Boarding Pass
RDUG - Redemption Upgrade
RTW - Round the World ticket
S/H - Shorthaul
SAU - Space Available Upgrade
SEx or StEx - Stansted Express (Fast train between STN and London Liverpool St.)
SFU - Suitable for Upgrade
SM or SPML - Special Meal (e.g. Vegetarian, Kosher etc)
SS or S/S - Special Services (BA Staff as the airport usually in suits, to help VIP or Premier passengers with anything they need)
SSCI - Self Service Check-In
SSSS - Selected for Secondary Security Screening (printed on selected boarding passes usually ex-USA meaning you're going to be extra checked by security)
T1/T2/T3/T4 - LHR (London Heathrow) Terminal
TATL – TrAnsaTLantic (as in a ‘TATL trip’)
TCP - To Complete Party - Used where you have two separate bookings on the same flight (e.g. you and spouse) and want to join the bookings up to ensure you sit together.
TFTG - Tales from the Galley (kindly provided to us from Pucci, Purserette, Tits (see below) and a few other BA Lurkers. Click here for a great example)
Tits - Again not an acronym, but worth mentioning to avoid confusion... Tits is short for Tits McGhee who is one of our BA Cabin Crew Lurkers.
TP - Tier Points
WT - World Traveller (Economy)
WT+ or WTP - World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy)
WW - Willie Walsh (aka "The Boss"), BA’s current CEO.
YUP - Type of American Airlines fare (pronounced Y-Up) that books into very cheap First class, but gets full allowance of BAEC F TPs

And finally.... FT - FlyerTalk!!!

In addition, check out the official FT Glossary for general (non-BA specific) abbreviations, click here.

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:17 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:46 am
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Posts: 5,016
The ULTIMATE ex-EU Travel Guide

This guide is based on what was written by the divine dnw who pioneered the use of ‘ex-LIS’ fares (i.e. fares which began by flying from Lisbon) on the BA Board a few years ago. The ex-LIS deals themselves have now ceased to be so attractive but the principle remains and does apply to other European cities. Thanks to a tool posted by pauldb and a process honed by Raffles, this guide should still explain everything you need to try and take advantage of this (perfectly legitimate) approach to getting cheaper premium travel.

What's all this about cheap BA premium fares from Europe?
What is the catch?
How much/when/where?
What are the rules and restrictions?
So how do I find/book these fares?
But I want to book further ahead / I'm worried they won't renew the offer?
But I have a UK/other credit card and ba.com wants a local one?
Can I do the EU part of the trip back2back?
Can I use Miles to upgrade the trip?
Will I ever be able to go back to Economy?

What's all this about cheap BA premium fares from Europe?

The worst kept secret on the BA board…if you want to save thousands (literally!) on J (Club World) and F (FIRST) travel on BA to a number of destinations just by doing a quick roundtrip to somewhere in Europe first, read on…

Although this guide will often use LIS (Lisbon, Portugal) as an example, the principle applies to many other cities. At present, the cheapest starting point for an ex-EU trip is generally Milan – but where you see the word LIS here, substitute wherever is currently cheapest. You’ll learn where to find the cheapest point later.

What is the catch?

There isn't one! Instead of paying, say, £3000 for a semi-flexible Club World ticket LHR-BKK-LHR, you can buy one for £1700+ if you start your journey in LIS instead of LHR. You simply need to buy a cheap one-way ticket to LIS first. You can also, for a fee, build in a stopover in London – so you could, for example, fly to LIS for a weekend break in August (using the first leg of your BKK ticket for the return) and then do the LHR-BKK leg in September.

The only catch is that you MUST MUST MUST start your journey in LIS! You CANNOT discard the LIS segment and just turn up for the longhaul at LHR – BA will automatically invalidate your entire trip (and don’t go crying for a refund either, this is just one of the rules!)

However, you don't need to take the final segment back to LIS if you don’t want to. If you are on a J ticket (where stopovers are chargeable) and are worried about BA wanting to check your bags all the way through to LIS and you’re coming off a longhaul flight at LHR, then book your return segment back into OPO or FAO which go from LGW instead. In these cases, the LHR/LGW transit means they CAN'T through check your bags (the same principle works particularly well for AMS too, which is served from both airports). If you cannot book your last leg from the ‘other’ airport, you may want to book it for the next day (but less than 24 hours from arrival, so it is not treated as a stopover). This gives you far more leverage with BA if check-in at, say, BKK try to insist – incorrectly - that you must check your bag to your final destination.

If you are on an F ticket then a neat trick is to take advantage of the free stopovers and book your final LHR-LIS segment a long time in the future – you can then use this to get down to LIS to start your next trip!

How much/when/where?

Following the steps below (idiot-proofed by FTers for over a year now!) to find the cheapest starting point for your trip.

(1) Go to http://matrix.itasoftware.com

(2) Complete "From" as


Be careful - if you can see gaps between any of the three-letter airport codes above, they shouldn’t be there. This is an FT formatting error and you will have to remove them manually. For completeness, you may want to do a second search on the rest of the EU and potential EU member states:


Do also bear in mind that some of the airports there are quite far way from London (e.g. ATH, CAI, IST, HEL, MLA) and you may not want to have the hassle of such a long flight to begin your journey. If so, you can come up with your own list based on the above with airports (or others) that suit you best personally.

(3) Complete "To" as:

YYY :: BA+

Where YYY is your destination - if you don't know the airport code, use the glossary under 'Search' on FT.

(4) Enter rough dates which suit you and LON as "sales city" to get GBP prices

(5) Click "More Options", change cabin to "Business" or "First" and uncheck "Check seat availability"

This will bring up the cheapest listed fare for the route on that day, although it does not necessarily mean that tickets will still be available at that price. You can use dnw's method below to find days with actual I (Club) or A (First) availability. You can also use a tool such as www.expertyflyer.com or KVS, though these are not free.

If you're looking for WT+ pricing (e.g. to MFU), set the cabin as "Cheapest" and add " / F BC=T" to the "From" & "To" lines. The results will say "Coach", but it will be a WT+ T class fare. You will need to delete a couple of cities from the list to fit in the extra bit of text.

When comparing WT+ prices for potential MFU's, don't forget that MFU's from countries further away from the UK ('Europe 2' zone in BA terminology) require more miles than MFU's from 'Europe 1'. You should factor in the worth of the extra miles needed when considering which fare offers best value.

(6) Click "Go". Scroll down the results if you don't fancy the first options (usually TIP/CAI/IST) or just delete them in the first place.

Note that you may need to click on 'Cost' to reorder your results in price order, as the default is to list CAI flights first as they offer Club and FIRST on all legs, not just the longhaul one. If searching for FIRST flights, be careful as it sometimes lists itineraries where only one longhaul leg is in F and the return is in J.

Now that you know what the cheapest fare is, you need to find days on which it is available. In order to get a special fare you need availability in the following booking classes on your required flights. Again, taking LIS as an example:

LIS-LHR segment I-class (sometimes D on FIRST fares but we'll say I to be safe)
LHR-<DEST>I-class for Club, A-class for First

You can use THIS PAGE to check availability by I/A code but you MUST fill out every field for it to work. If you get Japanese you have not filled in all the fields. Once you have found the right flights you can put them in to the ba.com site with your departure location set as Portugal and it should price it up perfectly. If you have problems, you may like to go directly to the local BA site in question (for example, for ex-LIS bookings the Portugal site at: http://www.britishairways.com/travel/fx/public/en_pt) but this has not been an issue of late.

For example, I want to go to Sao Paulo in F and I want to go on the 20th Dec and back on 2nd Jan. So I check the following (hypothetical results) using the link provided:

LIS-LHR on 15th Dec I9 - OK
LHR-GRU on 20th Dec A5 - OK
GRU-LHR on 2nd Jan A3 - OK
LHR-LIS at some random date in the future - I9 - OK

So I go to ba.com and using the stopover section on Fare Explorer plug in these dates:

Departing on 15th Dec, returning on 2nd Jan
I want to make a stopover on my outward Journey
I want to stop in LON and leave there on 20th Dec
I want to make a stopover on my return journey
I want to stop in LON and leave there on <some random date in future>

Hey presto the nice F fare I want comes out. If it doesn’t, and you don’t know what you have done wrong, then please post all the key information and someone will try to help you!

What are the rules and restrictions?

Cancellation penalties and stopover fees change from fare to fare and from country to country, although stopovers are usually Euro 200 each-way if you break your journey in London for > 24 hours. Also remember you need to factor in the cost of getting to your point of departure, and potentially the cost of a hotel if you are travelling too far to return in a day (e.g. Cyprus, Athens). whichbudget.com lists budget airlines flying to all major cities.

In general, you will see the rules are much more flexible for the equivalent fare bucket ex-UK. Again, taking ex-LIS as the example at the end of 2005, the rules were:

FIRST fares:

- Unlimited free Changes
- Unlimited free Stopovers*
- No cancellation penalty
- Return within 12 months

Club fares:
- Changes charged at E200 each
- Stopovers* charged at E200 each
- Cancellation penalty E250
- Return within 12 months

*A stopover is a transit of an intermediate point that exceeds 24hrs.

A neat trick for the Club fares – if you time your arrival into London and the departure of your longhaul segment right, you can essentially have a free nightstop in London without having an 'official' stopover. For example, you arrive from LIS on a Monday at 2115 and you can then book your longhaul flight the next day (Tuesday) at any time up to 2114 (<24hrs) and it is NOT charged as a stopover. Book it for 2115 or later and that'll be E200 please!

But I have a UK/other credit card and ba.com wants a local one?

If you are booking on ba.com from your home country and just varying the departure city on the front page, all should be well – BA will quote your fare and advise you of the estimated GBP price but your card will be charged in the local currency (typically EUR). If you are booking on ba.com and using the local site directly (e.g. the BA Portugal site as in dnw’s method), then you have two choices:

1) Just put your number/details in anyway. It has been reported to work but the choice is yours.
2) Call the nice folk at the local BA office in question. For example, at BA in Portugal, they speak perfect English, are very helpful and well used to people phoning up for the cheapo J/F fares. They'll be happy to take your card. Their number is: +351 21 415 4151. Telephone numbers for all other BA overseas offices can be found at ba.com.

Can I do the LIS part of the trip back2back?

Yes you can. However, if you plan to return on the same plane you arrived on, then you MUST ensure that you arrive at an airport where departing and arriving passengers are not separated. It will often not be possible to go through passport control and back through security before the gates are closed, even if you are already holding a boarding pass.

Destinations where a back2back is possible include AMS, DUS, FRA, LIS and BLQ at least.

Can I use miles to upgrade the trip?

In short, yes provided (a) there is availability (always a tricky one!) and (b) you booked it correctly. The MFU ‘rule’ is that you can (in theory) only upgrade tickets booked in your registered membership country – if you book directly on ba.com (using the standard MFU engine from the start) this works fine (but you may have to play around with a few dummy bookings and dates to hit the right availability and price you expect). The only stumbling block may be if you use the ‘old’ method above and phone the local BA office to issue the ticket then subsequently try to phone BA and MFU (if, for example, availability opens up later on). In this case, the ticket would have been issued outside your member country and the MFU will probably not be possible.

As with ‘normal’ ex-LON bookings, the best use of MFU is usually WT+ to Club World. Using the ‘new’ method above to isolate the cheapest T class fares, you can then play around trying to find award availability for the trip to match those flights. Doing this, we have seen it possible to MFU a journey like EU-JFK for as little as 650 UKP (ex-BUD at the time of writing). Generally, an ex-AMS MFU routing consistently prices up at around 750UKP.

Will I ever be able to go back to Economy?

What’s Economy?

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:18 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:47 am
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
Posts: 5,016
Travel Classes

BA has four different classes of travel. They are:

Club World and Club Europe (Business Class)
World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy)
World Traveller and Euro Traveller (Economy / Coach)

Note: From July 2006 AVOD (Audio Video On Demand) should begin rolling out across the entire fleet, in all classes of service. There is no public plan or way to predict if your particular flight will have AVOD – it is not being done as a route-specific deployment and BA rarely dedicate planes to specific routes anyway. The current plan at the time of writing is that the 767s will be fitted first, then the 38J 747s, then the 70J 747s, then the 777s.

FIRST (Picture) is on all 747 equipment, located in the nose, and on some 777 aircraft. The 747’s have 14 seats, the 777’s have 13, 14 or 17 depending on type. It is a 6’6” bed that goes totally flat. Also there is an ottoman, which, if travelling with a companion, can be used by them to sit on, allowing you to dine facing each other. The seat also features EmPower which is what most airlines use for providing in-seat power. There is a video screen, which gives access to the 12 or 18 channel entertainment system on the aircraft. Additionally there’s a Hi-8 video player allowing you to watch movies supplied by the crew. On some routes (primarily 777s which have the “small” video screens) your crew will also provide a portable DVD player and a selection of DVDs for your use. You also get a nice amenity kit, with an Anya Hindmarch designed bag, and on night flights, dark blue pyjamas (emblazoned with the FIRST logo).

BA has a flash animation that shows the product’s features in more detail:

Club World (Picture) comes in two varieties, New Club World (NCW) and Old Club World (OCW). The New product is on all BA Mainline aircraft (i.e. 747, 777 and 767). NCW is a 6-foot, fully flat and horizontal bed. Like FIRST, it also features Empower and the same IFE options, though there is no tape player. The seats alternate forward and backwards facing to fit together in an almost yin/yang like shape. OCW is the more typical Cradle seat first implemented in 1996, featuring a 50” pitch (Picture). This is only now present on the BMED franchise fleet of Airbus aircraft. The Club World amenity kit features nice Molton Brown Products.

BA has a flash animation that shows the product’s features in more detail:

World Traveller Plus (Picture) is an improved economy product, and definitely not a downgraded business class. It features eight abreast seating (6 abreast on the 767), instead of nine or ten abreast, and a 38” pitch. They are new seats, specially designed by Recaro and have foot rests and extra recline. They also have Empower. The discounted WT+ fares are typically around £400 more than the cheapest WT fares (£200 each way). WT+ passengers receive the same food as World Traveller passengers, but do benefit from being served first (oh, and getting a real glass not a plastic cup for their wine!). There is no stated benefit of dedicated check-in desks for WT+ but gradually more and more airports are offering them (e.g. LHR T4, LAX, IAD at least). In general, however, WT+ passengers check in with the rest of World Traveller.

BA has a flash animation that shows the product’s features in more detail: http://www.britishairways.com/travel...p/public/en_gb

World Traveller (Picture) is standard economy. It’s 3-4-3 on the 747, 3-3-3 on the 777 and 2-3-2 on the 767. It’s got a 31” pitch and each seat has a personal TV with either 12 or 18 channels depending on the aircraft. There is no at seat power.

Club Europe (Picture) is the European business class seat. On the narrow body planes, it’s configured with convertible five-abreast seating. This means on the left hand (ABC) side of the aircraft, the B seat squishes, leaving wider A C seats (an extra two inches or so). On the right hand (DEF) side, they expand giving around an extra couple of inches per seat. If the flight is busy, BA will sell the E (middle) seat. The front two thirds of the aircraft can be converted like this according to how many Club passengers they are expecting. The curtain also gets moved to wherever the divide is that day. Club Europe has around a 34” pitch, so not particularly generous, but adequate. Some newer Airbuses have 120V European style plug sockets, although there aren’t too many of these. The new A321’s should have them. On the 767 aircraft, Club Europe is configured 2-2-2 with the ‘collapsed’ seat being in the middle block (DF).

The diagram below (created by jamespvg) illustrates this convertible seating:

1 A--C    D--E--F
2 A--C    D--E--F
3 A--C    D--E--F
4 A--C   D-E-F
5 A-B-C  D-E-F
6 A-B-C  D-E-F
7 A-B-C  D-E-F
Here, rows 1-3 are Club Europe, row 4 is the first row of Euro Traveller (with the AC seats still in Club Europe format) and rows 5 and onwards are standard Euro Traveller.

BA has a flash animation that shows the product’s features in more detail:

Euro Traveller (Picture) is the European economy class. On the narrow bodies, it’s in a normal 3-3 configuration, while on the 767, it’s 2-3-2. Again it has a 31” pitch. One side effect of the convertible seating on the narrow body aircraft is that the very first row of Euro Traveller, on the left hand side also features this A C configuration, with no B seat. They are the best in Euro Traveller.

UK Domestic (aka Shuttle) is the single economy class available on all UK routes using Airbus A319/20/21 and Boeing 757 to/from LHR; Boeing 737 to/from LGW. These types feature 3-3 configuration throughout. Regional services operated by subsidiary BA Connect feature Avro (configured 3-3) and Embraer 145 (configured 1-2) regional jets with a small number of routes operated by Dash-8 props (configured 2-2) and a ‘buy on board’ service. All mainline flights still retain ‘full service’ in all cabins (i.e. complimentary catering).

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:18 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:48 am
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
Posts: 5,016
Fleet Overview and Seat Map Links (AKA “What’s the best seat…”)

The BA fleet currently consists of the following aircraft:
Airbus A319
Airbus A320
Airbus A321
Avro RJ-100’s
Boeing 737-300
Boeing 737-400
Boeing 737-500
Boeing 747-400
Boeing 757-200
Boeing 767-300ER
Boeing 777-200
Boeing 777-200ER
Embraer ERJ-145

The BA website shows which plane will be operating your flight if you click on the flight number on ba.com during the booking process. You can also work it out from ‘Manage My Booking’ (if your booking permits seat pre-selection).

The mainstay of the longhaul fleet is the 747-400. These are currently all based at LHR. There are two versions, one of them has 38 Club World seats, and the other has 70 Club World seats. It’s a fairly even split between the two types (often referenced here as ‘38J’ or ‘70J’).

The other main longhaul aircraft is the 777-200. BA has three different types, which are configured in four different seating plans. They have three of the oldest 777-200’s which are powered by GE engines. They have FIRST (17 seats), Club World, a three row World Traveller Plus cabin and World Traveller. The main bulk of the fleet are GE-powered 777-200ER’s which are also four class, but have three less FIRST seats (14), and five rows of World Traveller Plus. BA more recently took deliver of some RR powered 777-200ER’s. These are split fairly equally into a four-class variant, and a three class variant. The three class plane has Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller (no FIRST). There are also some three class GE-powered aircraft based at LGW (the 777s are the only longhaul planes based at LGW). All RR-powered aircraft have large TV screens and an 18 channel IFE system. Some of the GE-powered 777s unfortunately have an older (GMIS) IFE system which has 12 channels, much smaller screens and a huge, retro-looking 1970s control pad! Sadly, it is pot-luck as to which type of plane you will generally get.

The 767-300 does both shorthaul and medium to longhaul. The shorthaul version is configured with Club Europe and Euro Traveller. The longhaul variant has Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller. All the 767’s are LHR based, just like the 747s.

The mainstay of the shorthaul fleet at LHR is the A319/20/21 fleet. They are configured with convertible seating as described in ‘Travel Classes’. The 757 fleet is much smaller than it once was. BA used to operate over 40, but now is down to about 12. It is the same seating as described for the Airbus fleet. Note that from 2008 when BA move to Terminal 5 at LHR, the 757s will be operated exclusively on routes to Spain.

The 737 fleet is all based at LGW and in theory BA plan to replace them all with A319/20/21 planes over the next few years. Again, the 737s feature the same seating as the Airbus.

The ERJs and Avros are part of BA Connect (was ‘BA CitiExpress’) and they are operated from BA’s regional bases.

BA’s franchise partners operate a varied fleet. GB Airways (code ‘GT’) operated A320’s and A321’s in a standard Club Europe/Euro Traveller configuration. British Mediterranean (or BMED, code KJ) operate A320’s and A321’s fitted with old Club World cradle seats in addition to World Traveller.

What's the best seat?

This is a question which comes up time and time again - and quite understandably too, particularly for newbies looking to make the most of their first time in a particular cabin. I think we all remember that initial excitement of our first trip in FIRST or Club World The purpose of the rest of this post is to collate the 'collective wisdom' on the topic to try and prevent the same question coming up over and over again.

The first thing to remember is, like upgrades, there is no definitive answer! A lot of this comes down to personal preference and circumstances. The following are some general tips and advice, by plane and by cabin.

There are also two sites which can prove useful:


The latter currently has more detail and is widely referenced in this post.

Rule 1 - Know Your Plane!
As described above, BA operate several different types of plane and several different types of configuration within each plane type! Yes, it's confusing. However, you can normally get a good idea of which type of plane you are on from the layout you see in 'Manage My Booking'

Rule 2 - Shorthaul Is Easiest
The rule on shorthaul is pretty simple.

Club Europe
On anything but the 767s, get on the left hand side in Club Europe (the A or C seat) which has the most space. The DEF seats are wider than in Euro Traveller and OK if the 'E' seat is empty, but you can't always guarantee that. On the 767s, try for the middle seat pairs (D and F) because the 2-2-2 format in Club Europe vs. the 2-3-2 format in Euro Traveller means these are actually the equivalent to the AC seats on the other aircraft already mentioned (i.e. 3 seats which have been collapsed in to 2 for Club Europe). The window pairs on the 767 in CE are especially poor. They do expand – but only by around 0.5 inch. Some like the bulkheads as there is nobody to recline into you but others find the reduced legroom irritating (especially if you are 6ft plus). The only exception to this are certain 737-400’s operating from LGW which have loads of room on the AC side.

You can pre-assign (on most routes) Club Europe seats in 'Manage My Booking' to try and reserve these in advance. If the left sided is not available, the right side is much of a muchness, though obviously avoid the 'E' seat at all costs! Some excluded routes pre-assignment include DUB and JER (and SZG it seems).

Whether or not you want to be in Row 1 is personal choice. Some people don’t like having their feet against the bulkhead (although 1C often has no bulkhead in front) whilst others like not having a seat in front of them (and therefore running the risk of having that seat recline).

Euro Traveller
You can't pre-assign seats in Euro Traveller, so will have to get the best you can at check-in. In general, the seats closest to the curtain are best because they have the Club Europe seat pitch, if not width (or service!) due to the way the convertible seating is installed. On flights where Club Europe does not stretch very far back, this means you can get extra legroom in Euro Traveller by sitting towards the front of that cabin.

Additionally, on anything but the 767, the very first row of Euro Traveller on the left is still in Club Europe format (for safety reasons, so the crew can emerge with the trolley through the curtain and not hit anyone's legs!). These are the prize seats (as long as you don’t mind having the curtain right in front of you!) and often assigned to Premier/Gold/Silver cards by the airport before check-in officially opens.

On the 767, the best seats are on either of the left or right side 2-blocks, but again get as far forward as possible - right at the back, the seating which cannot be converted to Club Europe is cloth not leather and has less pitch. You need to be forward of the second emergency exit to benefit from the CE seat pitch - but beware that row 13 and 14 are missing windows!

On the 737-400, any seats in Row 11 or 12 have extra leg room due to the emergency exits located in these rows. The exit rows on all flights have additional legroom, and these are clearly marked at OLCI if you wish to select one of these seats.

The 737-300 and -500 have the emergency exit at row 9.

On the 757, beware of 12AF and 14AF. These window seats have ‘blankers’ in place and as such offer less elbow room and can feel more claustrophobic.

UK Domestic (Shuttle)
BA Golds and Silvers (or oneworld equivalents), as well as those who buy fully flexible tickets, can pre-reserve seats on UK Domestic services (subject to BA’s usual pre-allocation limit). Generally, the best bet is to bag a seat at the front of the cabin, as you’ll invariably be in a position to get off first. “B” seats are to be avoided at the front of the plane, as often your aircraft will have come off of a European trip, and the conversion back to regular domestic seating can often leave the “B” seats a touch on the narrow side.

Rule 3 - Longhaul Will Vary

The good news is the mainline fleet now all have at least Club World flatbeds, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller, and some aircraft retain FIRST too. The bad news is, the setup varies by aircraft:

747-400 (70 Club World Seats)
FIRST: 1A or 1K are deemed by many as the best seats in the house. They are close enough for 2 people travelling together to chat quietly without disturbing the cabin and offer a great sense of isolation. However, some dislike that isolation and thus swear by 2AK instead (though the gap is too large for a ‘quiet chat’ if there are 2 of you). Also, 1AK have no overhead locker (but there’s no shortage of storage space in F anyway) and are next to the cupboard at the front. Again, some report ‘excessive traffic’ to this during the night and find it disturbing, others report no issue with this at all – it seems to be a risk, but a small one. Note if there’s more than 2 of you, the staggered layout means that 3AK are set much further forward from 4EF (3A can just about see 3E’s feet if they look sideways), so the only row you can really aim for which is ‘aligned’ is row 5, however some report seats in row 5 can experience excessive noise from the galley directly behind these seats. All of F is now available to Golds/Emeralds to pre-assign (1AK are held back for them). There are bassinets at 1AK. 4EF and 5EF are nice if you are travelling as couple and want to share the experience, though some complain about the exposed position of row 4 which is somewhat more 'open' to the rest of the cabin.

Club World (Upper Deck): The best place to sit in Club World! It’s smaller, in 2-2 configuration and has a very ‘private cabin’ feel. Seats up here are second only to F in most peoples’ opinion. 62AK and 63BJ are exit seats and held back to OLCI, as is the bassinet 64A (unless occupied by a parent and child). Rows 60 and 61 are available to all, the rest are available to Emeralds only until OLCI. Wisdom dictates that 62AK are prize seats (as exit rows, for ease of egress – i.e. you don’t need to step over anyone to get to the aisle due to the extra space) as are 64AK for the same reason, though some complain 64K can be disturbed by the toilet and/or light and noise from the galley. Note that despite being on the emergency exit, you do not get any additional legroom when reclined in 62AK because the end of the bed is still constrained by the seat moulding in front of the exit door.

Club World (Main Deck): 14AK are widely regarded as excellent seats because of their privacy and the fact you do not have to climb over anyone to get out. Other seats are much of a muchness – though the standard ‘rule’ of avoiding the EF seats (unless you’re a couple together) applies, in which case 14EF are the best seats for ease of egress once more – though beware these are bassinets so may not be available to you if occupied by a baby. In the second cabin, 20AK offer similar advantages to 14AK – though with the caveat that they are closer to the WT+ bassinet. Again, 20EF are a bassinet too.

World Traveller Plus: The prize seats for the lone traveller are 28BJ since they are single seats with nearly unlimited legroom. Second best are 29AK because there is no seat in front, so they also offer excellent room. The other seats are all much of a muchness. The last row has the same recline as the other rows, so this is not a concern. Note that 28BDEFGJ and 29ABJK are counted as exit rows so cannot be pre-assigned, even by Emeralds

World Traveller: Exit rows are the prime seats for the extra legroom - however, sadly you cannot pre-assign these (even an Emerald) until OLCI opens. Even when OLCI does open, note that these seats may have been taken by someone on a connecting flight who would have been allowed to check-in earlier, so don't be surprised if you still can't snag them at T-24. If travelling alone, 29A or 29K are great seats as they’re next to a window but have nobody sitting in front of you and you can therefore simply get up and walk forwards out of your seat. If travelling with others, any seats in row 28 are nice due to extra legroom. Other than row 28, 51BC, 52BC, 51HJ and 52HJ are the only pair seats in WT. Apart from the advantage of extra privacy if travelling as a couple, these are slightly roomier due to the ‘missing’ 3rd seat and the rear curvature of the plane. However, the downside is these suffer from being close to the toilet queues and since you're right at the back of the plane, you’ll be right at the back of the queue for immigration upon arrival which can be a real pain (especially to the USA).

747-400 (38 Club World Seats)
FIRST: As above.

Club World (Upper Deck): As above.

Club World (Main Deck): As above (but without the second cabin advice!)

World Traveller Plus: 17AB and 17JK are bassinet positions which offer good legroom and privacy when not occupied by babies. The other seats are all much of a muchness. The last row has the same recline as the other rows, so this is not a concern.

World Traveller: 33ABC and 33HJK have the advantage of extra legroom on the 38J plane. However, they are also bulkhead seats which can mean there is a risk of crying babies. The ‘pair seats’ at the rear of the plane are subject to the same advice as above.

777-200 (4-class)
FIRST: The centre rows (1EF, 2EF, 3EF) are good for couples – none of the other seats (e.g. 1A and 1K) are close enough like on the 747. Beware of the window seats in Row 1 as they only have two windows so can make some people feel slightly claustrophobic. Others, however, still like the privacy they offer.

Club World: Row 10 is held back for Emeralds (but opens up at OLCI to everyone if the seats are still free) and 10AK are seen as the best window seats, with excellent privacy (and slightly less engine noise). The best aisle seats onboard are 10B, D, G or J as these seats have nobody climbing over them to get to the aisle. 15AK or 15EF are good for ease of egress, but are right next to the WT+ bassinets so there is a slim chance of disturbance. 15AEFK are also the Club World bassinet positions. The rest of the seats in the 4-class 777 Club cabin are much of a muchness, and the cabin tends to be least popular amongst FTers because of its large, unbroken nature. That aside, the seats are still very good, as should the service be. Row 11 has a missing window because of the way the plane is built, so avoid the window seat here if possible.

World Traveller Plus: All seats are much of a muchness, although row 21 has slightly more legroom. However, they are also bulkhead seats which means there is a risk of crying babies.

World Traveller: Any feedback or wisdom welcome!

Note: there are 3 planes configured with 17 FIRST seats. These are 'A' Market planes and most often used to the Middle East and sometimes on the New York routes. These all, sadly, have the older IFE and the tiny screens.

777-200 (3-class)
Club World: 4A an excellent seat with a high degree of privacy and easy egress (on the LGW 3-class planes, this applies to 4K too). The bassinet positions are 3EF and 11EF.

World Traveller Plus: Any feedback or wisdom welcome!

World Traveller: Any feedback or wisdom welcome!

Note: the seatmap above relates to the LHR based configuration. For the 3-class planes based at LGW, they are generally used on shorter routes so do not have the crew rest area shown at row 4 on the right above - 4JK are valid (and very good, like 4AB) seats.

767-300 (3-class)
Club World: Uniquely in the fleet, this plane has a forward facing window seat in Club World. As such, 1A is highly sought after and offers a little extra legroom to boot. 4K is also very good, though some find the window seats a little claustrophobic owing to the smaller 767 cabin. All seats facing the bulkhead seem to offer a little more legroom.

World Traveller Plus: On the 767 WT+ is configured 2-2-2 (like Club World) compared to 2-4-2 on the other widebody longhaul planes so this is often considered the best WT+ cabin on the fleet.

World Traveller: Any feedback or wisdom welcome!

For completeness, here are some shorthaul seat plans from ba.com – though note they will rarely resemble reality since the curtain is moveable:

757-200, A320 and 737-400 Club Europe seating plans from ba.com

757-200, A320 and 737-400 Euro Traveller seating plans from ba.com

Note: if you can find seating plans for the A319, A321, the 737-300, 737-500, 767-300 (European Version) or the 777-200 with only three rows of WT+, please let us know! Other seating plans that are missing at the A320 and A321 operated by British Mediterranean. They have OCW seats in a 2-2 configuration with no plans to upgrade to NCW. Bulkheads in the Club cabins of the BMED planes offer good legroom and decent privacy. The A321 also has a solo seat in row 6 on the right.

GB Airways A321
There are 2 exits between rows 7 & 8 and 20 & 21. The bulkhead row is row 1 and seems as tight for legroom as the mainline Airbus fleet. Pitch in rows 2-7 seemed a little tighter than the CE norm (although some have said something similar about the mainline A321s too). The other seats with Club Europe pitch are rows 8-13 and they feel significantly more spacious. 9D is a weird seat - behind the crew position in row 8. More knee room, but less space to really stretch your feet out. Row 20 has seats in the BD and DE positions. 20A and 20F are rear facing crew seats. If you want to go for an exit row, 8 is much more generous than 21 plus 8EF is nice pair because of the crew position. The seat pitch from rows 21 backwards seems very tight, plus you get a huge queue for the toilets forming after the meal service. Avoid!

Below is the full fleet breakdown as of March 31st 2006, according to the 2005/6 annual report..

Number in service with Group companies at March 31, 2006

			On balance 	Operating Leases	Total 	Changes 					2005/06 	Average 	Average
			sheet 		Off Balance Sheet	March 	since March 	Future 				revenue 	hours per 	age
			aircraft 	Extendible	Other 	2006 	2005 		deliveries 	Options 	hours flown 	aircraft/day 	(years)
											(Note 7) 	(Note 8)
Airline operations (Note 1) 							

Boeing 747-400 		57 					57 							275,548 	13.25 		11.8

Boeing 777 		40 				3 	43 							211,494 	13.47 		7.3

Boeing 767-300 		21 					21 							71,664 		9.39 		13.1

Boeing 757-200 		13 					13 							33,363 		7.03 		11.5

Airbus A319 (Note 2) 	21 		10 		2 	33 					32 		106,809 	8.87 		5.4

Airbus A320 (Note 3) 	9 		2 		16 	27 	1 		7 				79,340 		8.24 		8.7

Airbus A321 		7 					7 	1 		3 				20,238 		8.33 		1.4

Boeing 737-300 						5 	5 							16,929 		9.28 		16.7
Boeing 737-400 (Note 4) 19 					19 	1 						60,433 		9.00 		13.6
Boeing 737-500 						9 	9 	(1) 						28,157 		8.39 		13.5

Turboprops (Note 5) 					8 	8 	(1) 						18,777 		5.99 		8.6

Embraer RJ145 		16 		3 		9 	28 							78,341 		7.67 		6.1

Avro RJ100 (Note 6) 			10 			10 	(6) 						34,669 		6.38 		10.5

British Aerospace 146 	4 					4 	(1) 						10,019 		6.41 		15.1

Hired aircraft 21,087

Group Total 		207 		25 		52 	284 	(6) 		10 		32 		1,066,868 	10.14 		9.5

(1) Includes those operated by British Airways Plc and BA Connect.
(2) Certain future deliveries and options include reserved delivery positions, and may be taken as any A320 family aircraft.
(3) Includes one Airbus A320 aircraft returned to service from sub-lease to GB Airways.
(4) Includes one Boeing 737-400 aircraft returned to service from sub-lease to Air One.
(5) Comprises eight de Havilland Canada DHC-8s. Excludes five British Aerospace ATPs stood down pending return to lessor, and 12 Jetstream 41s subleased to Eastern Airways.
(6) Excludes six Avro RJ100s sub-leased to Swiss International Air Lines.
(7) Future deliveries have increased by four to ten to replace ten A320 aircraft due to leave the fleet from 2007.
(8) Excludes secured delivery positions on ten Boeing 777 aircraft.
You can usually find a full, current fleet breakdown from the official BA accounts on the BA shareholder site.

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:19 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:49 am
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Lounges and Lounge Access

There are currently four types of lounge on the BA network, the Concorde Rooms, FIRST lounges, Club Lounges / Terraces, and Arrivals Lounges.

BA has just added an excellent table that shows exactly the entrance criteria for all of their lounges, based on either your status or class of travel. It can be accessed at the following url:

There are only two Concorde Rooms on the network, one at LHR and one at JFK. They are only open to people in ticketed FIRST on BA or QF, people who are BA Premiers, Qantas Chairman’s Lounge members or the lucky holders of special ‘Concorde Room’ cards (which cannot be earned and were issued after Concorde’s retirement to its best customers). Guests are only permitted to BA Premiers, and Qantas Chairman’s Lounge and anyone travelling in BA FIRST can also bring an extra guest (regardless of the status/travel class of either person) who is travelling with them.

The FIRST lounges are open to people travelling FIRST, and oneworld Emerald members. oneworld Emeralds are allowed one guest.

The Club lounges (sometimes referred to as Terraces) are open to people travelling FIRST, Club World, or Club Europe and to all oneworld Emerald and Sapphire passengers, and Qantas Club members. AA Admirals Club members are NOT granted access (unless they fulfil one of the other class of travel and/or status criteria). oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members are allowed one guest (subject to capacity). Full fare "Business UK" Domestic travellers are also invited into the Terraces lounges located at most UK airports (currently excluding Inverness, the Isle of Man, and Southampton).

Arrivals lounges are open to people travelling in FIRST or Club World, BA Premiers, BA Golds (on longhaul only), Qantas Chairman’s Lounge and Qantas Platinum members (again from longhaul only), but NOT any other oneworld Emeralds. Premiers and Chairman’s Lounge are permitted one guest.

Some airports have separate FIRST and Terraces lounges, even outside the UK – e.g. Boston. At others, all eligible passengers use the Terraces lounge.

BA Golds and Premier are also allowed to use BA operated Club/Terraces lounges regardless of the airline they are flying on - this is known as "Open Doors". Guests are not permitted.

Qantas Club is a club run by Qantas (not surprisingly!) which was designed to offer lounge access to Qantas fliers in Australia. However, the scheme also allows members to use any BA-operated Terraces lounge in the world when flying on BA. Qantas Club is the ONLY way that you buy your way into BA lounges. Membership is good value if your flying pattern means you never earn enough tier points to reach Silver – it costs about £100 per year (plus a c. £150 joining fee at today’s exchange rate). See the Qantas Club website to apply. Note that it will not get you into lounges at airports where BA shares a third-party lounge, e.g. Paris CDG.

Nearly all BA lounges have WiFi provided by BT OpenZone. As the list will probably get longer, I won't include it here. However here is a link to the AskBA? article that should have the correct info:
AskBA? Answer 2802

Outside the lounges at LHR, there is T-Mobile WiFi access for those of you who subscribe to their service.

BA has a comprehensive list of worldwide lounges on their website, but unfortunately it's rather out of date now. I've included it from completeness though.

They also have a list of all the "Terraces" styled lounges. If you follow this link and then click "Locations".

BA also use contract lounges in many locations. These are of variable quality!

Zone R
Not really a lounge, but a very nice benefit to remember for most of the situations where lounge access is also a consideration at LHR Terminal 1.

If you’re flying in Club or FIRST (or are oneworld Ruby or above) from LHR Terminal 1 you have access to ‘Zone R’. This is BA’s check-in area dedicated to premium passengers and it’s one of the most wonderful innovations BA has introduced for a long time! The special zone is quiet, well-staffed and most importantly of all has its own dedicated security line which deposits you airside in a Duty Free shop about 1 minute away from the excellent BA lounge complex. Although the security line can back up a bit for the early morning rush, it’s still a Godsend and far, far quicker and more pleasant as an environment than the main terminal. Sadly no such clever fast track was introduced when BA revamped the FIRST check-in area at LHR T4…but we all have high hopes and crossed fingers for a ‘Zone R Equivalent’ in T5! Do remember that Zone R is basically in a separate part of T1 to the other check-in desks – follow the signs carefully. For reference, the BA Arrivals Lounge is right next to Zone R too.

Other Notes

At LHR T1 and T4 and at JFK T7, there are Molton Brown travel spas. They offer various free treatments such as massages, facials, etc. They are open to people travelling FIRST, Club World and BA Premiers and Golds (on longhaul). Other oneworld Emeralds, and people travelling in other travel classes are not entitled to a treatment. The MB spa is first come, first served. Flying F does not enable you to jump the queue! Do note that tipping spa staff (or lounge staff, or any other BA staff!) is NOT expected.

When flying with a oneworld partner that uses a non-oneworld lounge in a particular airport, BA Gold and Silver members may not always gain entry to that lounge.

It is also worth noting that, strictly speaking, the BA rules say 'Guests must be travelling on the same carrier as Executive Club member' in order to access any BA lounge.

BA’s own lounge access policy also contains the following useful scenario (thanks to Fraser):

'7. Lounge access for connecting passengers

Passengers travelling inbound or outbound in First, Club World or Club Europe on a British Airways flight have access to the applicable British Airways departure lounge prior to their onward flight, regardless of class of travel - so long as travel is on a BA or oneworld flight.

British Airways lounge access also applies when travelling inbound in First Class or Business Class on a oneworld carrier.

For example: Travel Chicago to London Heathrow on AA in First Class arriving LHR T3, departing on BA ex LHR T1 to Stuttgart in Euro Traveller. Passenger is entitled to use the BA First lounge upon production of their AA boarding stub and onward BA boarding card'


Nice (NCE) – Only oneworld Emeralds and Sapphires are allowed access; NOT Club Europe passengers with no status.

Lisbon (LIS) - oneworld Emeralds and Sapphires are allowed access; Club Europe passengers with no status will require an invitation (usually given at check-in).

Gatwick (LGW) – AA Admirals Club members are admitted when travelling on AA only.

Miami (MIA) – They are just odd here. AA members seem not to be welcome here, in contravention of the oneworld rules.

Hanover (HAJ) - Only oneworld Emeralds and Sapphires are allowed access; NOT Club Europe passengers with no status (although this route has recently been dropped from both LHR and LGW, this information is preserved in case it returns on a seasonal basis).

Geneva (GVA) - Open Doors for Golds on CHARTER flights doesn't apply during the ski season due to lack of space. You're OK if you're on a non-oneworld scheduled flight. Again, this seems to be a bit contradictory to BA's rules.

Tel Aviv (TLV) and Cairo (CAI) - The BA (contract) lounges at TLV and CAI are open to Silvers/Golds/oneworld Emeralds & Sapphire but you must ask for an invitation at check-in if you're not flying in a premium cabin. Showing your card at the lounge reception is likely to prove unsuccessful.

Paris (CDG) - only admits BA J/F and BA Silver/Golds, not other oneworld elites. This is due to it being an Air France contract lounge.

London City Airport (LCY) – this has no lounge at all, for any airlines! However, with a generous check-in closing time it is not necessary to arrive too early.

I’m sure there are more to add in – if there are, please let us know.

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:19 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:50 am
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ceBA – BA’s Web Services

ceBA stands for ‘Customer Enabled British Airways’. This covers a multitude of sins such as the website, manage my booking (MMB), online check-in (OLCI) and the self service kiosks.


Ba.com is (unsurprisingly) BA’s website, allowing you to book tickets for any BA flight. There’s also an area for Executive Club Members.

BA.com has also recently been updated to properly support Macs. Previously, it was coded so badly that you couldn’t even bring up your Executive Club statement. They’ve ironed out most of the bugs now though. However, they are only supporting Safari under MacOS X. Any other browser is NOT supported. Under Windows, they are only supporting IE. Gecko based browsers such as Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox tend to work mostly (especially since it’s been re-written for Safari support), but some things may not work properly.

If you’re booking a flight that’s a single hop, you’ll be presented with the Fare Explorer to choose your times. It’s an easy colour-coded way of selecting the cheapest fare. It’s recently been enhanced to allow you to upgrade either one, or both legs of the flight (if applicable). If you’re logged in to the Executive Club area, it’ll tell you how many miles you’ll earn too. The fare explorer won’t come up, if you’re booking flights with a connection.

Paying for Flights

It’s a little more of a pain to book flights that don’t depart from your country of residence, but it is possible. On the current website, you can directly select a different starting destination from the front page. However, if that doesn’t work you can force the issue…

In the navy blue bar near the top of the site, the country you selected when you first visited the site will be displayed (for the majority of people it’ll be United Kingdom or USA). Clicking on it brings up a country list, where you can change your starting point. Proceed through the booking process as normal. When you get to the payment page, the country in the field is irrelevant despite what the website says. As long as the credit card number, name on the card, expiry date, and security digits are correct (and it’s not a nicked card), it will process and authorise regardless of the billing address.

BA currently accept:

American Express
Switch / Maestro
Visa Debit (Visa Delta)

Note that all credit cards (even BA’s branded AmEx) are now subject to a booking fee on ba.com (currently 3.00 UKP)

Shareholder discount

Shareholders who hold a minimum of 200 shares or more on a record date in early November each year are entitled to a Shareholder Discount Coupon. This coupon entitles the shareholder and up to five travel companions to a 10% discount on BA flights. Coupons are sent automatically to those shareholders who hold their shares on BA’s register - those holding their shares through a PEP, ISA or in nominee account need to ask their plan manager or stockbroker to apply for the coupon, by e-mailing [email protected]. Your stockbroker may have a “Perks” department which will handle this sort of request.
Once you have the coupon, which BA distribute in early December each year, you can access discounted fares via www.bashareholders.com. The shareholders discount cannot generally be combined with any other special offer which is running, and under the terms and conditions, cannot be MFU’d. However various FT’ers have reported success with this, so YMMV

The discount can be used to cut 10% off the price of any published British Airways fare, for a journey from or within the UK, for leisure travel only, subject to the normal terms and conditions. The fares include any British Airways class of travel worldwide - from UK Domestic, Euro Traveller, World Traveller or World Traveller Plus to Club Europe, Club World or FIRST. 'World Offers' fares are also included. Tickets issued through this scheme are no different from regular tickets - the rules, restrictions and conditions associated with the type of fare or holiday package involved, covering such items as advance purchase requirements, still apply. Note that the discount applies to the base fare only – it does NOT apply to any of the taxes, surcharges etc.

It’s also worth noting that if you hold the shares in November, your annual discount will run from 1st January to 31st December of the following year. However, this is the period in which you can book flights – the travel period can be any point within BA’s normal period of sales (i.e. 350 days in advance). There is no limit to the number of times you can use the discount during the discount period. Note that you do NOT get the discount immediately, so there is no point in buying shares in advance of buying a one-off ticket.

If you do not have a stockbroker, there are a number of Internet stockbrokers available in the UK who can generally set up accounts fairly quickly and easily, and trade equities for a very reasonable £10-£15 per trade. Alternatively, British Airways offer their own service, and various recommended brokers via www.bashareholders.com

Finally, the discount only applies to private individuals who hold shares, and only to those who hold BA shares listed on the London Stock Exchange. Shares held via the NY listed ADR are not eligible for discount status.

Can I get a refund if the price goes down?

No! BA do not follow this practice which some North American carriers have. If your ticket is not explicitly flexible or refundable, you will not be able to get any kind of refund just because the current market price is now lower – which is quite fair because you wouldn’t like it if BA came calling asking you for the increase if the fare went up.

However, BA do have a ‘price promise’ in place – if you can find the exact same fare elsewhere cheaper, BA will refund you the difference. The devil, as usual, is in the detail – specifically proving the booking is exactly the same. This will include the same dates, times, flights, cabin and more importantly booking class/fare bucket too.

Manage My Booking (MMB)

Once you’ve booked a flight, you should get a reference number. It’s called a PNR (Passenger Name Record). It’s a 6 character alphanumeric string, which will start with either, X, Y, Z or 2. MMB will allow you to do the following:

• add your Executive Club number to your booking
• request a seat
• advise dietary requirements
• view, print or email your itinerary
• print or email your e-ticket receipt (if applicable)
• provide Advance Passenger Information for travel to relevant countries (e.g. USA)
• check in online

MMB is a great way of selecting what seats you want to sit in. However, not all seats are made available for selection in advance:

• some are held back to allow seating at the airport
• exit rows are always held back until check-in opens
• some seats (e.g. 1AK in FIRST or Row 1 in Club Europe) are only available to people with the shiniest of cards in MMB

If you’re stuck in less than desirable seats, wait until 24hrs (23 if flying from the USA) before the flight, and OLCI. If you are not able to get your preferred seats (i.e. two together, upper deck, etc.) with pre-selection, it is still highly likely that you can get them using OLCI if you check-in as soon as it opens.

On-Line Check-In (OLCI)

This brings us nicely to OLCI. OLCI is a great tool, but has some limitations.

All users can now check in online from 24hrs before their first flight (or 23hrs if departing from the USA). This applies to Executive Club members, registered users of ba.com or anyone else (so long as they have their PNR and can remember their own surname!) We highly recommend that you OLCI at as close to -24hrs from departure as possible in order to guarantee yourself the best seat. This is especially true if you want an emergency exit row. Despite CAA rules to the contrary, you can get usually book an emergency exit seat through OLCI at -24hrs, even though BA check-in staff have not been able to physically check that you are capable of opening the exit door (though they can always move you at the airport if you’re deemed unfit). When OLCI is finally available for children, it is likely that exit rows will not be available to you if you have a child under 12 in your booking.

If you have a multiple segment itinerary, you will be able to OLCI for all segments from 24hrs before the first one. This means that for some segments, you will be able to check-in greater than 24 hours in advance. This also works if you have a return flight on the same day – i.e. you’ll be able to check in for the return segment 24hr before the outbound.

OLCI on its own, will NOT give you a boarding pass. More and more airports are now using ‘Print Your Own Boarding Pass’ (PYOBP) though. If available, you will be offered this option on the final screen of OLCI.

OLCI looks pretty similar to MMB, but they are totally different web-based application, written by different teams, which interface with different systems. MMB for example, can pick the seats of all the passengers within the PNR. OLCI cannot. You have to OLCI for each passenger separately. This could potentially lead to you picking a seat, doing OLCI, and when you then get to your travelling companion, the adjacent seat being taken by someone else. The way around this is to have two browser windows open.

Recently, BA has added a feature that allows you to check in all passengers on a PNR. This is basically a bodge job, as you still have to go through the process separately for each person, but you don’t have to login and logout of the EC secure area. If you still manage to lose the seat next to you during that short period, once you’ve OLCI’d, you can always go through the entire process again, and move to another seat.

Note: you can OLCI as many times as you wish (e.g. if you’re obsessive about checking for a specific seat you still can’t get, ‘just in case’) normally but if you PYOBP then you will not be able to re-enter OLCI once this has been done. So if you end up with the situation where a companion can't sit next to you, you'll have to change seats at the airport.

The ‘Choose your seat’ function will not work on any web browser using the Gecko rendering engine (Netscape / Mozilla / Firefox), nor will it work on Safari. You will need to use IE5/6 for Windows or IE5 for MacOS X.

Sometimes, you may not be able to pick your seat. This could be because the flight is very full, or the airport have taken control of the seating or because OLCI is having a bad day! It is worth waiting a few hours, and going through the OLCI process again, seats may have opened up. You can use OLCI as many times as you want during the 24 hour window. Worth doing on a busy flight as seat availability can change quite a bit.

Historically, if there were children or infants in the booking, NO passenger could OLCI. BA’s (somewhat spurious) reasoning for this was that potentially the child or infant could OLCI by themselves, which would leave BA with an unaccompanied minor on the flight. This is expected to change from summer 2006.

OLCI can be used if you have baggage to check-in. Most airports have a “Fast Bag Drop” (FBD) desk where you can tag the bags, and obtain your boarding passes (if you haven’t already). The advantage of using the FBD desk is that the queue is usually very short (though the more people who use OLCI, the less true this becomes ). At some airports, the FBD desk doubles as the Club/FIRST counter, meaning it’s even quicker. You can also drop your bags at a normal counter if the queue is shorter – the Club line (assuming you have a Silver card or are travelling Club) is often quicker than Fast Bag Drop.

You can OLCI through several routes depending on how you accessed your booking, but a reliable way is to ‘go direct’ – if you know your flight is (or should be open) for OLCI, you can use this link:


and simply select your departure point. The system should then find your booking automatically.

Self Service Check-in Machines (SSCI)

Most UK airports, some European airports, and JFK have self-service check-in machines. From these you can select your seat and obtain your boarding passes (with an e-ticket receipt). You don’t need to be an Executive Club member to use them, however it does speed things up. The machine will also normally require you to insert the credit card the booking was purchased with. There are usually a few staff milling around to help customers with them, however they are very straightforward and easy to use.

If you are travelling on a UK Domestic flight, it is now compulsory to use the SSCI machine. If you have baggage, it should be checked in at a ‘Fast Bag Drop’ desk. Unfortunately, this is now likely to have a queue as long as the old-fashioned check-in queues used to be!

Note: if your credit card has expired or been re-issued since you made the booking, this will delay things (and you’ll need to queue at a ticket desk) – it’s always worth holding on to your old credit card if you can for these situations!

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:20 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:51 am
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
Posts: 5,016
Joining the Executive Club

Most frequent flier programmes are open to anyone to sign up for. BA’s is not. To join, you must have a flight booked that will earn you Tier Points. This means that if you are on a cheapo economy ticket, you will not be able to join.

The eligible booking classes are:

Euro Traveller/World Traveller/UK Domestic: Y B H
World Traveller Plus: W T
Club Europe/Club World: J C D I
First: F A

If you are not booked in any of these classes, you will not be able to join. The website ‘sign up’ form now quite rigorously checks eligibility too. However…there are often other ways to join, most often via partners. If you are based in the UK, the other way to join the EC is to take out a BA AmEx card. In the USA, you can join by taking out a BA Visa card. At the time of writing, this link (thanks to TEX277) also works:


Should that link fail to work, another option is to book yourself a flexible BA flight and then cancel it as soon as you have signed yourself up (though you may incur some cancellation and booking fees if you do this). On Travelocity, it is even easier – you can put a business class flight on hold for 24 hours without making payment. The booking is lodged in the BA computer anyway, which gives you 24 hours to join before your booking is automatically cancelled.

If you are based in Australasia, you will not be able to join the Executive Club. BA recommends you join the Qantas programme instead.

If you are based in Asia, you will also not be able to join the Executive Club. BA recommends that you join the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles / Marco Polo Club instead.

For more information on this, see the membership countries section, later on.

You also need to be 18 or over to join the EC. The only exception to this is the household account, which has its separate section, later on.

Comping from other FF programmes

BA very rarely comp status from other FF programmes. The exception to this is if you’re an employee of a large corporate that has a deal with BA. Your best bet is to speak to your account manager to see what he/she can arrange. Comps can also come through contact with your local country office – obviously this would be easier in somewhere like Romania rather than the US.

BA's official position on matching status (‘comping’) is:

Originally Posted by BA Executive Club
It is very rare for BA to match the tier status you hold with another airline. There are a few examples that I’m aware of in the US where this has been done for individuals from specific corporate clients, however as a general policy we don’t match tier status.

Kind Rgds

Lyndsay Meldrum
Executive Club Customer Service
British Airways

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:20 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:52 am
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Tiers and Tier Points

Most airline programmes work on the principle that if you fly “n” thousand miles in a twelve-month period, you’ll get elite status. BA’s programme doesn’t work like that – it essentially exists as a reward programme for those flying in premium cabins and on flexible tickets, rather than purely from accruing miles from flying. So instead, each flight, if it’s booked in an eligible fare class, will earn a certain number of points. Get enough points, and you get promoted to the next tier.

There are four tiers in the BA Exec Club;


Blue is the basic level and is what you start on. Once you reach the required number of points, you will be promoted to Silver. From Silver, with another load of points you’ll get to Gold.

Premier is an invitation only level. There are only around 1500 Premiers worldwide. You can’t get to it by just flying a lot. They are generally given to people that BA consider are important, and each new Premier has to be approved by the board (BA’s Board of Directors, not the FT Board – would that it were so simple!).


The promotion process is not as simple as it could be. First off, you need to have four flights on BA in your membership year that earn Tier Points. If you don’t have this, as your flights are all on partners, you will remain forever Blue! Also, the number of points required for each level, depends on where you live. The levels are given below.

		Normal		Europe (excl. UK/Ireland)
Silver		600		400
Gold		1500		800
The chart shows that if you are a UK/US resident, you need to get 600 Tier Points, before you can be promoted to Silver. A resident of the rest of Europe (or someone with a European mailing address) only needs to get to 400. To reach Gold, a UK/US resident would need a further 1500 points, and someone living in the rest of Europe, only a further 800.

When you reach or exceed the number of points required for promotion, your Tier Points will be reset to zero. Your membership year will also be rest immediately. This means that from that date you are promoted, you will have one further year to maintain your status.

So (for a UK member) to get to Gold from Blue, you will need at least 600 Tier Points to get to Silver, these will then be reset to zero, and you will need a further 1500 points to get to Gold. Once you hit 1500 points, these will again be reset and your new Gold membership year will commence. From then on, your points continue to build (for the next year) – if you exceed 1500 when you are already Gold, they do not reset (they continue to add up towards other perks such as the GUF2 or Partner Silver Card as mentioned elsewhere).

There are some additional pitfalls that you need to be aware of during the promotion process. For most people, it’s fairly unlikely that they will hit 600 points exactly. When I was promoted, I got to 680 points, which then got reset to zero. So what happens to those extra points over the 600 mark? Well, you lose them. BA will not credit them back to you. So if you’re on 580 points, and you take a FIRST flight, you are effectively losing 160 points. As with most “rules”, there are some exceptions. A few people have managed to get these points credited so if you desperately need the points, it may be worth a try.

Secondly, the promotion process itself can take a few days. This means that you can get several hundred points over the promotion threshold. When you do get promoted, and reset to zero, you will lose these points as well. However, do not fret. You will need to contact BA, and they will put a note on your account saying that you are “owed” how ever many points got reset. When it comes to getting promoted or renewed, you will need to contact them for them to manually process things.

You have probably wondered by now whether – if you live in the UK – you could get promotion to Silver or Gold more quickly by changing your mailing address in your profile to one in Europe? Well, yes, you can! However, there are five things to remember if you are thinking of doing this:

1. You can only have a BA Amex if your Executive Club account is UK based. If you already have a card, it WILL be cancelled right away.
2. You cannot transfer Tesco Clubcard points to BA if your account is not UK based. One way around this is to keep the paper vouchers (they are valid for 2 years) and move your account back to the UK for six months once every two years.
3. You will not longer be eligible (or targeted) for UK-based promotions (although you will instead be targeted for promotions in your new region, which may work out better or worse – but either way, you can’t really complain!)
4. The European address you give BA must exist, because they will send your shiny new card to this address.
5. You can only change your address once every six months (i.e. you can’t just move, get promoted then return).

If your account is moved to Europe when you already exceed the next new, lower Tier Point threshold you require, you will automatically be promoted and your membership date reset to the day you move. If you move your address back you will retain your current status until the end of your membership year (for example a Euro Silver who has 500 Tier Points and a membership year end date of September 8th moves to the UK on March 20th and does not earn any more Tier Points – they stay Silver until September 8th when they get demoted to Blue for not having hit the UK renewal level of 600).


Renewal is fairly simple. Again, you need to achieve the required number of Tier Points and make four Tier Point earning BA flights within the year to maintain your status. The number of Tier Points required for renewal is exactly the same as the number required for promotion.

Gold card holders who do not retain their card benefit from a 'soft landing' in the first year - i.e. they will drop from Gold to Silver for a year and then either go back up to Gold or retain silver (if they reach the required number of points), or drop down to Blue the year after.

Earning Tier Points on one-way BA Flights

Tier Points can only be earned on oneworld flights. Tier Points cannot be earned on discount economy tickets. This means, if you only ever fly cheapo economy, you will never get status. In economy, you will only earn Tier Points on Y B H fares.

Below is a table that shows how many points you’ll earn for a single segment flight that has a BA flight number:

Cabin			Economy		WT+	Club		First
Fare Class		Y B H		T W	J C D I	F A
UK Domestic		20			20
Europe			20			40
Longhaul		60		75	120		180
Australia		110		135	220		330
A small point with the Australia flights; if you’re booked to travel to Australia, but with a stop over (i.e. booked as two flight numbers), it will count as two longhaul flights, so you will actually earn slightly more than it booked as a single flight.

I Class
Within Europe, a great way to earn Tier Points is to take advantage of Club Europe’s cheapest (discounted, totally inflexible) fares. These book in to the I fare bucket so you will see ‘I Class’ referred to a lot on this board. These can be a great way to ‘just top off’ your account if you’re short of a threshold…and great fun for weekend breaks or even daytrips. The list of destinations and the best fares is somewhat seasonal and will also depend on fare sales, offers, etc. However, LGW is usually better than LHR. You can check the official BA fare rules for the base fares (i.e. excluding taxes/surcharges) in the PDF files on their Travel Trade site:


You can search the European listing for the fare basis ‘IEUNBA’ to turn up the I Class fare to each destination (other possible useful searches/fares can be ‘IGOBA’ or ‘IEULGW’). These fares are perfectly valid Club Europe fares and you get all the services and benefits, including the full miles and 40 Tier Points each way.

Some flights also (for now) appear to earn longhaul Tier Points and miles, even though they are flown on a shorthaul plane and marketed as Club Europe. The current known example is SSH in Egypt. Whether it’s worth over 5 hours on an Airbus in a Club Europe configuration, however, is debatable!

Fifth Freedom Flights

Also, BA operates a number of short flights that do not originate, or travel to the UK, these are known as fifth freedom flights. The full list is below:

Abu Dhabi - Muscat
Antigua - St Lucia
Bahrain - Doha
Sao Paulo - Buenos Aires
Singapore - Sydney
Singapore - Melbourne
Bangkok - Sydney
Baku - Bishkek

These are available to book by anyone, and for the short flights, can be fairly cheap, sometimes as low as £300 for a return in FIRST for BAH-DOH. The Asia to Australia flights aren't that cheap but BAH-DOH-BAH in FIRST (for example) can be a potential bargain for 360 Tier Points if you’re already out there, and is a route well-travelled by some members.

Earning Tier Points on one-way oneworld Partners

Most oneworld flights (as long as they are in an eligible fare class) can earn you Tier Points. The only exception to this are flights with a oneworld airlines code, that are operated by a non-oneworld airline. For example AA put their codes on to Alaska Airline flights. These would not earn Tier Points.

Below is a basic table that shows the Tier Points earned on oneworld flights. Later, in the oneworld section of this guide, I will document which exact fare classes for each carrier are eligible for points.

				Economy		Business	First
Flights < 2000 miles		20		40		60
Flights > 2000 miles		60		120		180
YUP (pronounced ‘Why-Up’)
These are fares on American Airlines which carry an Economy (Y) booking code but as soon as you book them, they actually book in to a confirmed First Class seat. The great thing about them from our point of view is, they earn First Class miles and Tier Points as above too. With this in mind, there are some real Tier Point bargains to be had with YUPs (e.g. if you’re in America already on another trip). Our friends over on the AA Board:


have lots more information. And there is a very useful tool on the FareCompare website where you can check what the YUPs are from a specific location:


Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:29 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:53 am
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Location: London, UK
Posts: 5,016
Membership Countries

As I briefly touched on in the “joining information” and in the “Tier Points” section, BA has a different set of Tier Points, rules, and regulations depending on what part of the world you’re from.

Residents of these countries, BA recommends join the Qantas Frequent Flier programme:
New Zealand
Surrounding Islands (whatever that means)

Residents of these countries, BA recommends join the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and/or Marco Polo Club:
Hong Kong
North Korea
People’s Republic of China
South Korea

You are allowed to change your country of residence once every six months and as mentioned in the “Tier Points” section, those living in North America, the UK and Ireland and Africa, have to get more Tier Points, than those living in other locations, such as Mainland Europe. Other items of note with regard to countries of residence include credit card programmes. You have to have an address in the USA to have a BA Visa card, and a UK address for the BA AmEx. If you subsequently change address after having one of these accounts, it will be CLOSED. More info on the AmEx is in the AmEx section, later on.

The North American region consists of:
Canada, Mexico, and the USA.

The African region consists of:
Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo (both), Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Mainland Europe consists of:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine.

The UK & Ireland includes the Channel Islands.

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:21 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:54 am
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Posts: 5,016
Household Accounts

IMPORTANT CAVEAT: If you set up a Household Account then you will NOT be able to redeem miles for someone outside the HA, unlike standard account holders.

Household accounts (HHAs), or family accounts as they are sometimes referred to are a way of pooling miles for redemptions. They are also a way of allowing under 18’s to join and earn miles.

Each member must have the same address. You previously (and in some regions may still have to) needed to fill in a form, and fax it to BA. They will then lose the form, not do anything, and you’ll probably need to call (and fax) a few times before they manage to set it up However, now the process should be greatly simplified and can all be done online from your account.

Once it is set-up, you will have two mileage balances when you log into the website, a personal one, and a household one. The household one is the mileage balance of all the members, combined.

Mileage is the only thing that is shared; status is NOT shared i.e. if one member is Silver and the other is Blue, the Blue member travelling alone, will not have lounge access, Club check-in etc.

As you have to be 18 or over to join the EC, the HHA is a good way to let kids join. There is no age restriction when joining a family account.

The maximum number of members in a HHA is eight (one primary member, and seven others).

You can only make one change to a HHA (which means adding and removing members, changes to your address) every six months.

Spending Miles from a household account

There’s a specific formula that calculates how miles are get removed from each members account.

Where a is the first member, b is the second member, c is the third and so on; and x is the number of miles being redeemed:

Miles deducted from a = (a/(a+b+c+...)) * x
Miles deducted from b = (b/(a+b+c+...)) * x

What this means in English is:

If I have 20,000 and my partner has 40,000 (for a total of 60K), they would deduct twice as many miles from his account as mine. e.g. for a 10,000 mile award, they'd take 6667 from his and 3333 from mine.

Members of the HHA who are under 18 cannot redeem miles for tickets.

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:22 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:54 am
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Posts: 5,016
Earning Miles

Well, we finally get down to the business of actually earning miles!

First off, you need to actually work out how long a trip you’re travelling on. A great tool for determining the distances between two points is this website:


The distances aren’t exactly what BA use, but they are pretty accurate.

BA are pretty stingy with miles if you’re not travelling on a Y B H fare or higher. In fact, anything less than that (i.e. most cheap economy tickets), only earn 25% of the total miles (subject to a minimum award of 125). That means if you’re on a flight that’s 1000 miles, you’ll only get 250 miles credited.

The chart below shows how many miles you’ll earn, depending on what class you’re in. BA call this a “Cabin Bonus”:

Cabin			Economy		Economy		WT+	Club		FIRST
Fare Class		NVRKMLOS	Y B H		W T	J C D I	F A
Miles			25%		100%		125%	150%		200%
Award fares don’t earn any miles or Tier Points at all. These are tickets booked in to X, P, U and Z respectively.

In addition to this, Silver members get a 25% bonus on the base mileage, and Golds get a 50% bonus on the base mileage. BA call this a “Tier Bonus”.

For short flights, there is a 500-mile minimum. However, if you’re travelling on a cheapy ticket, you still only get 25% of this (which is 125 miles as mentioned above). The Gold and Silver bonus is actually calculated from the 500, so Golds then have the bizarre situation of your Tier Bonus being more miles than the actual flight.

Right, these are the rules, but how does it actually work?

I’ll take an LHR-BOS flight as first example. A Gold is travelling World Traveller Plus:

Base mileage 3265
Cabin bonus 816
Tier Bonus 1633
TOTAL 5714

Let’s take an example of a Silver travelling LHR-CDG on a cheap N class economy ticket:

Base mileage 125
Cabin bonus 0
Tier Bonus 125

I hope that makes sense. Another very useful link is:


which is BA’s own calculator tool and will give you the exact miles they will award you.

In addition to earning miles for flying, you can also buy miles from BA. You can buy up to 15,000 miles per calendar year, in 1,000 mile increments.

Below is a table, illustrating how much it costs to buy miles

1,000		£31
2,000		£47
3,000		£63
4,000		£79
5,000		£95
6,000		£111
7,000		£127
8,000		£143
9,000		£159
10,000		£175
11,000		£191
12,000		£207
13,000		£223
14,000		£239
15,000		£255
You can also buy miles for other members in your HHA, up to 15,000 per year each.

Buying miles looks expensive, but can be good value if you’re just short of an award. A few hundred pounds worth of miles, when compared the cost of a revenue premium class ticket, compares quite favourably. However, unless you definitely need the miles in the short term, there are cheaper ways of accumulating them – for instance buying products from Tesco which come with bonus points.

Miles can’t be transferred between accounts.

I’ll talk about earning miles from places partners such as Avis, Tesco, Shell and others in the partners section.

Last edited by Dave_C; Jul 25, 06 at 8:27 am
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Old Jul 25, 06, 7:55 am
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Spending Miles
So you’ve got a great wodge of miles, how do you spend them?

Well, being an airline, flights would be the logical thing, but you can donate them to Unicef’s Change for Good programme, among other things.

Award tickets and MFU’s (miles for upgrade) on BA book into one of four fare buckets, X for Economy, P for WT+, U for Club, and Z for FIRST. The amount of seats left in each bucket is only viewable to BA. It isn’t made public on GDS’s such as Sabre. To check availability, you can either call them and ask, (they’re usually very obliging), or just check yourself on ba.com – this shows the same availability as BA can see themselves.

Availability varies considerably. To destinations such as the US and Canada, where there a lots of flights, you can generally get awards in all cabins on roughly the dates and flights you want. Unfortunately, especially to popular places, such as the Caribbean, India, South Africa, and South America availability is rubbish, or even non existent – even more so for premium cabins. Even if you book 11 months in advance, you will often find that certain days of the week are permanently blocked for reward flights.

We strongly recommend redeeming for Club or FIRST seats as this is by far the best way to get the best value for your miles. You should also ensure that you get a BA Amex if you are UK based to benefit from the ‘2 for 1’ voucher each year.

If you only have a modest number of miles, the best value redemption is probably a 25,000 mile MFU from World Traveller Plus to Club World to North America (or another equivalent ‘zone’ at that redemption rate).

When spending miles for flights, there are several options.

Part Cash, Part Miles (PCPM)

Firstly, part cash, part miles. This isn’t actually a very good deal normally, as you can only do it for Economy tickets. It reduces the number of miles you need for an award by 25%. For example, if you need 12,000 miles for an award, this will reduce it to 9,000. PCPM are best avoided, except on the most expensive of shorthaul routes (e.g. DME – Moscow).

Miles Only Awards

Secondly, you can spend miles for “free” flights! BA break up the world into different zones. The cost depends on what zone you’re travelling to and from. To work out how many miles a flight will cost, go here:


or this link will give you the table, and you can work it out for yourself:


This will give you the “base mileage” i.e. the amount of miles needed for an Economy class award. If you want to travel in a premium cabin, simply multiply the “base mileage” by the following amounts:

Economy 1x
Traveller Plus 1.5x
Club 2x

Miles only award tickets are flexible up to 24 hours before departure (however someone has managed to change it on the day of departure). After departure they are non-changeable. Now this is a really silly rule, and it would be great if BA was to change it, but so far it hasn’t. The easiest way to avoid it is to book two one-way awards, unless you have an AmEx voucher to use.

The ability to change the dates or fully cancel your seat are, in the view of most people here, the ONLY acceptable reasons for using BA Miles to book a short-haul flight in Europe! In 2004 and 2005, BA ran ‘50% off sales’ for redemptions on its European routes which reduced the number of miles for a certain period. At these levels, they are worth considering - though this is the exception rather than then norm. Although it should be noted that if you are relatively 'miles rich' and 'time poor', you may find yourself with an AmEx 2-for-1 voucher which is about to expire...in which case, one of the longer Club Europe redemption for a long weekend somewhere nice may be better than letting it lapse totally!

Changes that require a re-issue of the ticket (changing destination, changing class, cancellations), cost £25 per person. Date only changes are free.

Note that these “free” tickets will still be subject to departure taxes and surcharges, etc. so don’t be surprised to see your “free” FIRST ticket still costs you 150 UKP or so along with the miles. Yes, this is disappointing…but compared to the market value of the seat, still a very good deal (hence our advice to look to redeem for Club or FIRST tickets only).

Miles For Upgrades (MFU)

A third way to spend miles for flights is to pay and upgrade (note this is different to PCPM in that you pay the entire base fare, then apply miles and it can be used in any class). This is usually referred to as a MFU (miles for upgrade). This can be an extremely good deal. Generally the best option will be to upgrade from WT+ to Club, but I’ll explain the process for any fare.

MFU’s can be from Economy to WT+; from WT+ to Club; and from Club to FIRST.

You can only upgrade from Economy to WT+ if you ticket is a Y B H fare. You CANNOT upgrade from a cheapy economy fare to WT+, although you can upgrade from a cheap WT+ fare to Club World. The one caveat is the ‘special’ fare sale seats – if you booked your WT+ (T class) or Club World (I class) fare under a special offer (normally indicated by a big red ‘D’ for Discount throughout Fare Explorer), these are not normally eligible to MFU (the T&Cs usually explicitly exclude the fare being combined with mileage, although a recent 2006 ‘Travel Shop’ discount/sale promotion did not, so it’s always worth checking closely).

Another extremely important caveat is that you can only upgrade a ticket that has been purchased directly from BA. This applies to ba.com or over the ‘phone. If you are in North America, you can upgrade a ticket, but it must have been purchased from a “BA Preferred Travel Agent”.

Also, for return flights you can't upgrade only one segment (e.g. the return flight only) just because you want to. If you want to do an MFU, you must upgrade both segments. However, you can get round this, as BA will allow you to MFU (and charge half the miles) if only one segment has availability for the upgrade. Actually getting an agent to book this however, can be quite problematic. It may require escalation, or in the worst cases a PM to our friendly ‘lurker’ Lyndsay (BA Executive Club) to sort out. Generally, if you quote ‘AskBA 1056’ to the agent (which is the ‘AskBA’ article which describes this valid practice), they will relent and be able to book what you need.

The good thing about MFU’s is that you’ll earn Tier Points and miles for the fare you PURCHASED i.e. the fare you are upgrading from.

You can only upgrade one class at a time.

The cost in miles for an MFU is the base mileage multiplied by a certain amount:

Economy to WT+ 0.5x
WT+ to Club 0.5x
Club to FIRST 1.0x

When it comes to changing MFU’s it can get complicated. If you MFU from a restricted ticket, then those restrictions still apply. If you MFU from a full fare, unrestricted ticket, then you LOSE that flexibility. The ticket will have the same rules as a normal award ticket i.e. after departure, no changes. Again, this is crap, but it’s the rules.

The Shareholders discount cannot technically be combined with an MFU, however you are able to book it over the web.

MFU’s can be extremely problematic when it comes to actually getting credit for the fare you paid – many here regard BA’s back-end systems as a disgrace in this respect! MFU’s are an oddity, as the system needs to track two fare classes, the one you paid for, and the one you booked into. The problem is, the fare class you book into, is the same as for award tickets. So the system can incorrectly log it as an award ticket, and it comes up on the statement as earning no points or miles.

For example, a normal MFU from WT+ to Club, should appear on your statement as J/T (i.e. you sat in J but paid for T). Most of the time, it comes up as J/U instead. To correct this, you need to speak to someone at the service centre. This can take anywhere from two weeks to months to credit. Some people have had tens of phone calls, and numerous faxes before it was sorted. What’s crazy is that it actually takes about five minutes for them to do. If you don’t get anywhere, a PM to the ever-helpful Lyndsay (BA Executive Club) will usually help ^ Luckily, however, in recent months BA has managed to dramatically increase the number of MFU’s which post correctly.

Gold (High Value) Upgrades for Two

At 2500 and again at 3500 Tier Points a Gold members earn one of these (so-called GUF2) upgrade vouchers (and if they hit 4500 Tier Points, they receive a ‘Silver Partner Card’ which can be given to anyone they nominate). For EU Gold members the threshold for the first voucher is 2000 Tier Points. There is no second voucher or Silver Partner Card as far as we know.

These are a very nice perk, allowing the upgrade of the member and one person to the next cabin for a return trip on any BA flight number including franchise flights but excluding code-shares. Unlike MFU, a Gold upgrade can be used on any revenue ticket (even deep discounted Y). Pre 1st July 2003, the upgrade booked into revenue fare classes (i.e. T, I, A) making them extremely easy to use – and often resulting in Tier Points and miles for the higher cabin being (erroneously) awarded. Post 1st July 2003, award-booking classes are used, with a consequent lack of availability. If you redeem your GUF2 on a booking made with BA, this is still the case. However, if you are booking through a Travel Agent they will still be able to use the easier-to-find revenue buckets (they do not have access to the award redemption buckets). You can find BA’s instructions to travel agents by clicking here.

Note: You can also use it for just one person if you really wish to. Also, bear in mind that BMED flights are good value for redeeming a GUF2 as you go straight from cheapest WT to Club World. An ex-EU WT+ ticket would also be a good value GUF2 redemption.

Expiry of BA Miles

BA Miles will expire if there is no activity on your account for 36 months (three years). If you're getting close to the end of three years, there are a lot of things you can do to extend the life of your account. You can buy miles, donate them to charity, order flowers, stay in a hotel, rent a car, or even take a flight! Anything that appears as an item on your statement will mean the account is active for another 36 months.

For Household Accounts, each account needs activity to keep its own miles alive. The easiest way to ensure this is a redemption (where miles are taken pro-rata from each account), or buying the minimum miles for EACH account – just buying miles for one account will NOT keep the whole household account active.

Partner Awards

You can also redeem miles on oneworld partners. Beware however, they are NOT changeable, and NOT refundable. So if you book one of these, make sure your plans are set in stone. This link is a table on the BA website showing the mileage requirements:


If you really have loads and loads of miles, you can redeem them for a oneworld award. This is an award based on the number of miles flown. The table that illustrates the number of miles needed is here:


As with all awards, if you want to travel in business class, you need to multiply the miles you need by 2x, and if you want to travel in first, by 3x.

Spending Miles for Children and Infants

Infants (less than 2 years of age) travelling with a Member on a flight Award will travel for ten percent of the Mileage required for the Member's flight Award if they do not have their own seat. Children (2 years of age or older) and infants who require their own seat will be "charged" the full Mileage for the relevant destination. This also applies for MFU's too i.e. a MFU for an infant will only cost 10% of the miles.
Dave_C is offline  
Old Jul 25, 06, 7:56 am
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
Posts: 5,016
oneworld / Franchises / Airline Partners

British Airways is a founding member of the oneworld alliance. At the time of writing, there are eight members, however Aer Lingus have confirmed they will be leaving in 2007.

The members (with their codes in brackets) are:
Aer Lingus (EI)
American Airlines (AA)
British Airways (BA)
Cathay Pacific (CX)
Finnair (AY)
Iberia (IB)
Lan* (LA)
Qantas (QF)

*Lan is Lan Chile, Lan Peru and Lan Ecuador. However Lan Ecuador is NOT a member of oneworld as it is only partially owned by the Lan group.

On the plus side, Malev Hungarian (MA) and JAL (Japan Airlines -JL) are on course to join, as are Royal Jordanian (RJ).

Within oneworld, there are three different elite tiers. This is an effort to identify a common elite standard across the different programmes.

They are:

There is no level in the BA programme that equates to oneworld Ruby. Ruby allows business class check-in, and that’s pretty much it. It does NOT grant lounge access.

Sapphire is equivalent to BA Silver and gives access to business class lounges, and business class check-in.

Emerald is equivalent to BA Gold and gives access to first class lounges, and first class check-in.

BA Premier members are also given oneworld Emerald status.


BA also has a number of partners that are not a member of oneworld. These partners allow you to earn miles, but not Tier Points. You can also redeem miles on non-oneworld partners.

BA’s other partners are:
Alaska Airlines (AS)
SN Brussels (SN)

The most recent departures from these partnerships are Emirates and America West – you can no longer earn or redeem BA Miles on these airlines.


Sometimes when you fly on BA, you’re not actually flying on BA. In several parts of the world, BA has franchises. You’ll still get a BA flight number, the crew will still be in BA uniform, the planes will still be in BA colours. In fact, with some franchise operators like GB Airways, the service is often better than BA themselves!

The franchise carriers are:
British Mediterranean Airways Ltd
BA Connect (was British Airways CitiExpress Ltd)
Comair Pty Ltd (South Africa)
GB Airways Ltd
Loganair Ltd
Sun–Air of Scandinavia A/S

Earning Miles and Tier Points on oneworld and Partner Airlines

Earning miles and Tier Points on partner and oneworld airlines isn’t as simple as on BA flights. In fact, depending on what fare class you’re booked into, and what cabin you’re in, it can be quite complicated. Rather than explain the “n” number of possibilities, I’ll link to the table on ba.com that does a pretty good job of listing all the possibilities.


Most of the time, you’ll need to travel in Y B H to earn anything other than 25% of miles. Business tends to earn 125% of miles flown. First tends to earn 150%. For Tier Points earning, see the “Tier Points” section of this thread, although the most important point for those hunting Tier Points to note is the '2000 miles rule'. If you can make this work for you, status gets a great deal easier - it can make an RTW trip especially lucrative, for example.

One very important point - you cannot earn miles or Tier Points, or redeem miles when flying on AA between the USA and the UK. This is the same for AA people, they can't earn miles or redeem miles on BA services between the USA and the UK. However, they can on BA flights between the UK and Canada or Mexico. This is due to UK/US government restrictions.

Note: You only get the Silver/Gold tier bonus on BA and QF – no one else.

It may be somewhat heretical to say in a guide to BA (!), but if you travel a lot on oneworld flights (especially in cheaper classes), you may be better served by completing a 'Platinum Challenge' on AA and crediting the miles there. There are more details on the AA Board for all the ins and outs of doing this and getting to oneworld Sapphire relatively quickly.
Dave_C is offline  

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