Video: British Airways’ Club World London City Route From The Cockpit

British Airways has an incredibly unique route between New York and London City Airport on an Airbus A318, called Club World London City.

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The all business class aircraft features just 32 flat bed seats, spread across eight rows. It’s as close as you’ll get to feeling like you’re in a private jet on a transatlantic flight while still flying commercial.

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The A318 is specially configured to be able to make the transatlantic crossing. It operates nonstop from New York to London City Airport, though on the return it makes a stop in Shannon, Ireland. In Shannon passengers clear US immigration, though the primary motivation for the stop is that the runway in London City is so short, so the A318 can’t take off with enough fuel for the transatlantic journey from there.

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I had the chance to take the route back when it first launched in 2009, and it was a really awesome flight.

While it’s cool from a passenger perspective, it’s arguably equally awesome from a pilot’s perspective. British Airways has just released a video showing how awesome this flight is from a pilot’s perspective, in the form of a narrated approach into London City Airport.

Per British Airways’ press release:

During its final approach into London City Airport the view from the flight deck affords unique views of several of London’s most recognised sights, including the London Eye, The Shard and Tower Bridge – previously only enjoyed by the airline’s pilots.

The video shows British Airways Captain Karen Atherton and Senior First Officer Paul Riglar at the controls of one of the airline’s specially modified A318 aircraft which enable it to perform the special steep approach required at London City Airport, one of the most challenging landings of any of the carrier’s 190 plus worldwide destinations.

Captain Karen Atherton is one of only 27 British Airways Captains qualified to carry out this challenging landing. Only very experienced Airbus pilots at the airline can apply to fly on the route, and all must pass a rigorous extra training programme, involving simulator testing and route flying, before being accepted into the fleet.

British Airways Captain Karen Atherton, said: “The views flying into London are breathtaking, and are a constant reminder of what an incredibly beautiful city it really is.

“The level of training required is demanding, and rightly so, but the flying is extremely rewarding.

“I have one of the best commutes home in the world, and it’s great to be able to share the experience with our customers with this video.”

Due to the airport’s proximity to Central London, and because of its slightly shorter runway, the A318 aircraft is specially modified to allow it to fly this approach, using spoilers on the wing to produce enough aerodynamic drag to maintain the approach speed.

Here’s the awesome video:

Ah, it makes me want to take the flight again!

Comments

  1. Lucky, over the years you have been consistently been bashing BA.
    Except for your Club World London City review, where you enjoyed the service/food and the seat.
    In fact that review was your most positive review of BA (Even More positive than BA F) .

    I say…………. TAKE THE FLIGHT AGAIN.
    Just see how the service has changed in the years past your last CW LC flight.

  2. The closest you’ll ever get to feeling like your on a private jet is being the only passenger on the upper deck of a 747. That happened once to me and my family in the 80’s .

  3. I’m not a fan of BA but I’d take this flight just to experience the uniqueness of a TATL flight with just 31 other passengers. Sounds like fun!

  4. Why didn’t they put the camera on the fronti nstead than on the side? The most part of the view is obstructed by the pillars.

  5. I had flown Korean Air flight 001 from Seoul to Tokyo Narita in 2014. I was the only passenger on upper deck (there were about two passenger on main deck biz class section). It seems like Korean Air’s Seoul to Narita flights aren’t doing that well when it comes to premium cabins. Oh well, those who’s destination is Tokyo always prefer Haneda over Narita anyways…

    I’ll be flying KE703 from Seoul to Narita soon, and it seems like there are about only 2 or 3 biz class passengers out of 48 seats.

  6. Dan Palangio, the PNQ to FRA route is still operated, by Privatair on behalf of Lufthansa, although does now offer a small number of economy seats too rather than being an all business class service.

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