British Airways Will Link New Orleans And London In 2017

British Airways has just announced their 23rd US destination (they operate more routes to the US than any other European airline), which has been speculated for quite a while. Starting March 27, 2017, British Airways will launch 4x weekly flights between London Heathrow and New Orleans. The flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with the following schedule:

London to New Orleans departing 3:40PM arriving 7:40PM
New Orleans to London departing 9:10PM arriving 12:00PM (+1 day)

lhr-msy

The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787-8, featuring 35 business class, 25 premium economy, and 154 economy seats.

British Airways 787

This route represents New Orleans’ first nonstop transatlantic route in 35 years, so it’s big news for the region. Interestingly Condor will also be launching flights between New Orleans and Frankfurt starting next May, so it’s cool that they’ll be getting two transatlantic links in such a short timeframe.

This route seems like it has the potential to do pretty well for British Airways. New Orleans is a popular vacation destination with Europeans, while there’s also a sizable market in New Orleans that could benefit from a nonstop link to Europe.

Interestingly British Airways just recently announced that they’re discontinuing their flight between London and Chengdu as of January 2017, which is also operated by a 787. So while Chengdu being cut and New Orleans being added aren’t necessarily related, I guess that quite easily explains where the availability for the 787 is coming from.

If you’re interested in booking this flight, keep in mind that British Airways has a policy where they make two business class award seats available as soon as a route becomes bookable, so you should have no trouble snagging award seats on this flight once it becomes bookable. The catch, however, is that British Airways’ business class product isn’t great, and there are also hefty carrier imposed surcharges of $800+ roundtrip on award tickets, so it won’t be cheap.

Is anyone excited about British Airways’ new route between London and New Orleans?

Comments

  1. When we were there in August, our Uber driver was talking about the existing international terminal there and how it’s not a real terminal (only a couple TSA) and basically services connecting flights from the Caribbean while they train their staff to open a new terminal in the future. Supposedly there’s a new terminal going up – wonder if this coincides with its opening.

  2. Excited about greater connectivity for this region – also excited as an AA-Loyal Dallasite that this could lead to another lounge (besides the DL Sky Club) @ MSY – maybe even one that I can use on Priority Pass

  3. This is expected as Florida is going to be less popular in light of Zika (Just dont let anyone know how close Louisiana is to Florida).

  4. This is surprising, I would not have picked this as the next BA destination, I would have said PDX, MSP, or even CVG for their next US destination.

  5. I’m based in New Orleans and this is terrific news around here. FYI couple of notes:

    @Justin: The new MSY terminal won’t be functional until late 2018 even if they stay on schedule, so BA service will start at least 18 months ahead of that. No doubt the new terminal played a role in their decision I think.

    @Lucky: Numerous news pieces on this have the wrong arrival time for LHR, and you may have picked that up. It should be 7:40 AM London time (otherwise that would be a 20 hour nonstop instead of 8+)!

    Personally this is causing me to slightly rethink some of my points and miles strategy, small-scale as I may be around these parts. The only issue of course is BA charging whopper surcharges on those RT awards, which even with this great nonstop news would make me more likely to fly another carrier to LHR via connections and save a bunch on business class awards.

    We have always seen a fair number of British tourists here in New Orleans, and this may add to that although the currency trend for them could dampen the enthusiasm.

  6. I’m sort of surprised Air France never had a go at this route given New Orleans is the most Francophile city in the U.S.

  7. @Chris –
    New Orleans’ link to France is VASTLY overblown. French is NOT a commonly spoken language here. In fact, New Orleans has a tigher and more current leak to the acadian creoles in Nova Scotia/ the Canadian Maritime provinces than to anywhere in France these days. Yes – there is a French legacy and there are French influences on menus, etc, but thre really is not a strong, current link between New Orleans and any vibrant concern in France these days. Nothing big enough, at least, to warrant a service to Paris on Air France. Nothing that cannot already be served through connections via ATL, JFK or any other gateway to Paris.

  8. @Karim London is 6 hours ahead of New Orleans on the clock so no, it’s an 8+ hour flight with early morning arrival at LHR.

    But just now I checked the BA website and now am seeing a nonstop flight (BA0224) that departs MSY at 21:20 local time and arrives LHR at noon. Wonder if this is a new development or they are having issues feeding the new flights into the computer. I would much prefer the late afternoon departure and arriving in London at breakfast time.

  9. Now I get it. Some of the early reports had the routes reversed. Leave MSY at 21:20, get to London at noon. OK, I’m good with that.

  10. I’m excited. Although it doesn’t really change anything for how I fly (miles) due to YQ. But there is always the promise of a business class sale 🙂 Or maybe even slumming it in Y (gasp) since the travel time is fairly short.

  11. Wonder if they will build a lounge?

    The only lounge at MSY now is a Delta one in the C concourse.

  12. Shame the chengdu flight is going but I can see why. Always reward seat aviavle on it and not remotely full in premium classes. Useful for getting home from Australia.

  13. TravelerMSY, I wouldn’t say the travel time is that short. Looks like 10 hours westbound to me. Vancouver, BC is 9.5 hours oftentimes from LHR. MSY may be much further East but the North-South distance is large Two-dimensional maps don’t show this well but the further south you go (in the northern hemisphere) the longer it takes to go east-west.

  14. I kind of wish they hadn’t selected NOLA. There are so many other places that could benefit from a direct flight to London that aren’t only known for boozing and gang violence. Aside from the food, it’s really not that interesting of a place and certainly not one worth flying eight hours to visit.

  15. @Martin. Agree in absolute terms. I’m so used to quirky award routings that our total travel time MSY to points in Europe ends up being much, much longer than 9 hours.

    @Steve. New Orleans local here. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one 🙂

    Fares seem pretty high for the flight. ~$900 in Y and ~$3000 in J. No AA codeshares listed yet, so buying at a deep discount with City TYP isn’t an option yet.

    Anyone? Is there a way to set a tracker on business class fares for a city pair? Other than just waiting for Lucky to post it?

  16. @Martin… I guess short is relative. People look at me cross-eyed when I tell them a flight is short @6 to 10hrs! But when you’re used to 15 to 17 hour direct flights, everything else seems short… lol

    @TravelerMsy… I was hoping the same thing about the lounge– I am an American Airlines loyal, and sitting at MSY waiting to fly AA for an extended amount of time as an Executive Platinum AND having an Admirals Club membership just feels… wrong. A BA lounge at MSY would allow me use of my OneWorld Emerald status there. Smoked salmon and champagne, baby! By the way, I’m a fellow New Orleanian as well, although I live in Texas now.

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