British Airways Is Now Flying Qatar Airways Planes Around Europe

Well this should be fun. Last week I wrote about how British Airways may be leasing some Qatar Airways planes for a couple of weeks to operate flights on their behalf within Europe. British Airways is having serious labor issues with their “mixed fleet” cabin crew, which have gone on strike several times, and threatened to continue to go on strike. The latest strike is scheduled to take place for the first half of July.

Rather than let the strike cause tons of cancelations, British Airways has come up with a creative (but costly) solution. British Airways is wet leasing eight A320 aircraft from Qatar Airways, to operate flights within Europe. These flights will have Qatar Airways crews (both pilots and flight attendants). This comes at a convenient time for Qatar Airways, given the number of shorthaul aircraft that they have parked due to their severed diplomatic relations with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

These planes should be operating for British Airways for about two weeks. While the schedules for these plans haven’t been published for the entire two weeks yet, you should see Qatar Airways planes operating on behalf of British Airways as of today.

For example, @airlineroute reports that today Qatar Airways is operating flights from London to Brussels, Kiev, Krakow, Madrid, Munich, Nice, Oslo, Sofia, Tallinn, and Zagreb.

It’s pretty funny to search the British Airways website and see Qatar Airways flights listed between Munich and London.

For anyone interested in tracking these planes and seeing where they fly, here are the tail numbers of the eight A320s that are operating on behalf of British Airways:

This will be a very nice treat for anyone scheduled to be on one of these flights over the next couple of weeks, especially for those in business class. British Airways’ regional business class is simply economy with a blocked middle seat, while Qatar Airways has spacious recliner seats on some A320s, and fully flat seats on others.

While the service won’t be as extensive as what you’d normally get on a Qatar Airways shorthaul flight, there will be complimentary food and drinks on these flights, so they’re not subjected to British Airways’ buy on board program. Presumably this is because the Qatar Airways crews aren’t trained on the buy on board service, the payment devices, etc.

Does anyone plan on flying one of these Qatar Airways A320s within Europe?

Comments

  1. @Lucky Unfortunately the Above listed planes do not have the Flat Bed, instead have the Recliner Seats. Sorry to all who were expecting Flat Beds!

  2. Hey Lucky,
    I’m recently looking at options for Far East – Europe on QR, and have noticed that BA is blocking award seats for QR. The BA-KA situation is worsened – BA won’t show anything in the next 7 or 8 days. You might want to have a look at this too?

  3. Finally – two weeks of the year it won’t actually suck to fly BA intra-europe business class!

  4. @Cliff Yeah, British Airways is also no longer showing which routes are operated on Qatar Airways metal, such as the BA948/949 between LHR-MUC, as Lucky showed us in the screenshots. Revenue/Award search isn’t proving to be very useful at all, probably because BA doesn’t want us to know which routes have the better services, like the complimentary food in ‘Euro Traveller’ and Recliners in ‘Club’ 😉

  5. The routes flown by Qatar Airways’ planes will change day to day depending on Club Europe loads (QR planes have fixed number of seats) to minimise the number of downgrades. Having done a test booking on BA’s website it shows “seats that recline to 79inch long, fully flat beds” along with a ‘fully flat seat’ photo.

  6. So BA’s plan is to let their customer experience how great Qatar is and then what? Have them feel like peasants on BA flights again? Great idea BA! Lol.

  7. Are the Qatar planes flying with BA callsigns and flight numbers? I’m confused about that part.

  8. The reason BA is what it is today, is very much because they know they can fill their planes. There are many reasons travellers choose BA, but leading on quality and innovation is not one of them! So they are not afraid that customers will experience a more superior product.

  9. I’m flying to Düsseldorf from LHR on Thursday. Not sure if there is any way I can check in advance, but will report back if flying on QR metal… Am very familiar with both BA and QR products.

  10. This is one example why we need airlines to have the ability to be fully merged, integrated, one globe and not this horse shit govt interference. especially in the USA.

  11. RF – Why do people keep saying this? What’s going to happen – people are going to start flying to London to Munich via Doha on Qatar instead?

  12. @callum , no but when people will need to fly long haul to Asian or African etc.. destination, they might then decide that the better service and comfort is worth the Doha stopover.

  13. @Lemon – But those people will know BA long haul is different to BA short haul so won’t be particularly amazed by a Qatar plane…

  14. @callum, it is not just the plane, it is also the staff on those planes! BA can’t hold a candle to the soft or hard product of Qatar Airways. To disagree, would suggest that you don’t fly both airlines very often.

  15. @Sullyofdoha – Where exactly did I disagree? Though I really couldn’t care less whether air attendants pretend to be overly nice to me or not (in fact I actually find it disturbing and reminiscent of the old class system of subservience – something still alive and kicking in Doha I assume?) so I don’t personally notice the difference.

    I said this won’t make people switch from BA to Qatar. They cannot compete within Europe and their existence is already known by most people who care about this stuff for long haul.

  16. @Lucky So I flew yesterday LHR to Krakow with Qatar Economy and it was on their old plane, good thing was that we got some snack which was from Qatar airways and interesting they were not mentioning like thank you for flying with Qatar Airways or BA today 🙂

  17. @Callum

    That’s new, it’s now apparently bad when flight attendants make an effort to be nice to people.

    Sure looks like the ever declining country and equally ever declining airline deserve each other.

  18. @DiscountEconomyFlyer – It’s not remotely “new”. Some people have always been unimpressed by fake platitudes, I’m one of them. There’s a difference between being “nice” and being fake, and BA staff are adequately nice.

  19. Just wondering how the baggage allowance works. Flight is booked through BA but oprested QR. At first the flight numbers were all BA but since having logged back in to reserve seats I can see the flight numbers as QR.

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