British Airways A380 Flight To San Francisco Starting March 29, 2015

British Airways is still in the process of taking delivery of some of their 12 A380s. Prior to now, the only two US routes on which they scheduled A380 service were Los Angeles and Washington Dulles.

It looks like they’re about to get a third A380 destination in the US. British Airways will start A380 service between London Heathrow and San Francisco as of March 29, 2015. The service will operate five times weekly (every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays), replacing the 747-400 which presently operates their second daily frequency (the other frequency will continue to be operated by a 747-400).

This A380 frequency will operate with the following schedule:

BA286 San Francisco to London departing 7:05PM arriving 1:15PM (+1 day)
BA287 London to San Francisco departing 2:05PM arriving 4:55PM

British Airways A380 first class

In terms of the capacity increase the A380 represents over the 747-400:

  • Both the A380 and 747-400 have 14 first class seats
  • The A380 has 97 business class seats while the 747-400 has 70 business class seats (net increase of 27 seats)
  • The A380 has 55 premium economy seats while the 747-400 has 30 premium economy seats (net increase of 25 seats)
  • The A380 has 303 economy seats while the 747-400 has 185 economy seats (net increase of 118 seats)

British Airways A380 business class

Typically when an aircraft change is announced on a route you can expect some additional award inventory in the classes of service which experience a capacity increase.

British Airways nonstop first and business class award seats from San Francisco are typically almost impossible to come by in advance, so it is interesting to note that British Airways has released some additional business class space on the new A380 route.

For example, in the first month or so of A380 service, here are some of the dates with nonstop business class award availability (you’ll note the space is all on days of the week other than Tuesday and Wednesday, which are still operated by a 747-400):

British-Airways-Award-1 British-Airways-Award-2

So while there’s not a ton of additional space — especially over summer — it’s better than nothing.

Bottom line

In the case of British Airways, the A380 does represent a huge product improvement over the 747. The first class product on the A380 is substantially better and more spacious, while the other cabins having more seats should in theory lead to more award availability.

For reviews of British Airways first class, see here:


  1. My feeling all along is they generally have more availability than other carriers and the reason?
    Charging excessive nuisance fees allows them to get paid a premium to make the award more likely available
    Its really a cash and miles/points award at the end of the day
    Unless one believers all these excessive fuel charges/ fees like Santa and his reindeers are authentic/real 🙂

  2. @ D Wonderment — That used to be true, but nowadays BA doesn’t release that much award space anymore, unfortunately.

  3. The preview on the home page still says 2014.

    Also, what’s does “replacing the 747-400 which presently operates their second daily A380 frequency” mean? Should A380 be there?

  4. Maybe I’m missing something, but regarding the economy seats: you say the 747 has 185 seats, while the A380 has 303. The difference should be 118, I think. Or is there any other reason that you say 108?

  5. @ Sam — Yep, it does, and it all depends what you value most, I suppose. Some people value the convenience of a nonstop while others don’t. Also, if you have a British Airways companion certificate it can be well worth it to pay the fees so the second person doesn’t have to use any Avios for the ticket.

  6. I’m booked on “the” BA 287 on Dec 29th – so very close. I actually looked at routing through LA just so I could fly the A380, but looks like I might have a chance on future routings. I just hope that BA doesn’t use its old 747 on this route, which SFO seems to be one of the routes the old F seems to frequent.

  7. I know I’m late to comment on this thread, but I have a question you may know, Lucky – I am booking SFO-LHR on AA mileage in first on the A380 (scheduled), but it makes me a little nervous to see the 747 on certain days still (It doesn’t seem to be consistently Tues/Wed anymore). Have you seen BA swap out the A380 for the 747 at all?

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