MIAMI – On November 8, 2021, British Airways (BA) will revive its iconic BA1 callsign for a special one-off trip from London (LHR) to New York (JFK). The callsign was previously used by BA’s legendary Concorde service between London and New York, but it was later used by a distinctive all-business-class flight between London and New York. 

The airline is reintroducing the callsign to commemorate the reopening of the United States to non-US nationals who have spent time in the United Kingdom for the first time in nearly two years.

Effective November 8, the US will permit travelers who are fully vaccinated and have tested negative for COVID-19 within three days of departure under the Biden administration’s border-easing policies. 

British Airways plans to expand its US operations and has so far resumed flights to a number of cities, including San Diego and Phoenix. BA expects to restore flights to New Orleans and Nashville in December, as well as Las Vegas and Baltimore.

However, BA’s major flight connecting London and New York City, which the airline monopolized before the pandemic, has been in place for a long time. Through its flights between London and New York City, BA became the first airline in the world to run a billion-dollar route between April 2017 and April 2018.

Until the Concorde’s retirement in 2003, British Airways delegated its iconic BA1 callsign to the 10:30 a.m. departure from LHR to JFK.

Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

The Callsign’s Earlier Years

For numerous years, the callsign remained inactive until BA started an all-business-class service from London City Airport (LCY) to JFK on a tiny Airbus A318 aircraft in 2009. The service, which had only 32 totally flat seats, was popular with high-end business travelers, but the epidemic caused BA to reconsider, and the airline announced last summer that it would be indefinitely stopping the service. 

Although there is no long-term plan for the BA1 callsign, on November 8, the airline will operate an extra trip on its flagship long-haul aircraft, the Airbus A350-1000, between LHR and New York JFK.

The plane will take off at 8:30 a.m. and land in New York around 11:15 a.m. The cost of a seat in Economy on the roughly eight-hour flight starts at £1,731. 

“8 November 2021 is a pivotal moment for the entire travel industry,” a British Airways spokesperson said in a statement. “It’s appropriate we mark our first flight to the US by using flight number BA1.” 

“We can’t wait to welcome our customers back on board BA1 and re-establish friendships and families across the Atlantic, as well as re-establish commercial links between the United States and the United Kingdom.”

Featured image: British Airways G-XWBC Airbus A350-1041. Photo: Ervin Eslami/Airways