British Airways Confirms A350 Madrid Training Flights

Filed Under: British Airways

British Airways recently took delivery of their first of 18 Airbus A350-1000s. Not only is the A350 an awesome plane in general, but this will also be British Airways’ first plane to feature their new Club Suites (their new business class seats with door and direct aisle access).

I’ve written in the past about British Airways’ planned long haul routes for the plane. Their first four long haul destinations will be Dubai, Toronto, Tel Aviv, and Bangalore, with long haul service starting on September 2, 2019.

We’ve known that British Airways will shortly start flying the A350 between London and Madrid for a few weeks, to familiarize crews with the plane, and to work out any kinks with their new product.

It’s a bit odd that British Airways already has the new plane but hasn’t yet publicly scheduled any of these flights. For a few weeks there has been speculation about exactly which Madrid flights will get the new seats, but we now have a better idea.

Head for Points notes that British Airways has confirmed which London to Madrid flights will feature the new A350-1000.

British Airways flies a once daily 777 between London and Madrid, though surprisingly the A350 isn’t replacing that flight. Rather the A350 is replacing an A320 on the route.

The A350 is expected to operate BA464/465 between London Heathrow and Madrid between August 6 and August 31, 2019. The exception is that the plane won’t operate the route on the 13th, 23rd, 24th, and 31st.

This frequency operates with the following schedule:

BA464 London to Madrid departing 4:45PM arriving 8:05PM
BA465 Madrid to London departing 9:20PM arriving 10:25PM

BA456/457 will also see the plane on select dates, though we don’t know exactly which dates. This frequency operates with the following schedule:

BA456 London to Madrid departing 6:20AM arriving 9:40AM
BA457 Madrid to London departing 10:55AM arriving 12:15PM

I’d note that this still remains subject to change, so if you book one of these flights, it’s still possible we’ll see a last minute aircraft change. However, this is the first official confirmation we’ve had from the airline.

Also note that the schedule hasn’t officially been updated to show the aircraft change. In other words, if you book you’ll still see the A320 listed. It’s not yet known when the schedule will be updated to reflect the A350.

There’s a good amount of availability using Avios to book these flights. A one-way business class ticket could cost you just 15,000 Avios, which is a great deal.

See this post for the best credit cards for earning British Airways Avios.

Bottom line

While British Airways hasn’t officially updated their schedule, it looks like we know pretty reliably which flights between London and Madrid will feature the A350-1000.

While this remains subject to change, it could make sense to lock in an award flight now, because who knows what award availability will look like after the schedule is officially updated.

Are you planning to fly British Airways’ new A350 between London and Madrid?

  1. You mention the new Club Suite cabin but what about Economy ? Are there any updates to the Y cabin? Given that the 787 is narrower, can one assume that the seats at 9-abreast will be wider in the A350? Or will they keep the seats consistent and increase the aisle width?

    Lucky, love your posts, but would love them even more if you address all classes of service. Yes, F and J are where all the fun and juice are, but the bulk of us, myself included, travel Y.

  2. It’s a 9 abreast with 18 inches in width however the seat pitch is between 30-31 inches which sounds tight. Based on the reports from other sites however the legroom feels similar to BA economy seats on other aircrafts so presumably the seat design has created more room. BA economy seats have always been tight however and the A350 seems no different. Given the size of their premium cabins, they operate very dense economy cabins as they don’t have much capacity to fill and have a competitive advantage due to their presence at Heathrow.

  3. @ben did you book a flight on this route or are you waiting for the schedule to be officially updated?

  4. My understanding is that BA won’t be updating the schedule to reflect the possible allocation of the A350 and will only sell tickets / offer rewards based on the current scheduled plane the A320. This would prevent any claims for downgrade or IDB for example.

    And remember that BA does not offer refunds just because the plane type changes. So if you book a flight and expect the A350 but get the usual plane you can’t cancel for a refund.

    So book at your own risk.

  5. Particular bad timing for anyone who is thinking about new plane try-outs: remember the strike that is very imminent at this point?

  6. Depends what you mean by ‘very imminent’

    No dates have yet been announced as BA and BALPA are having more talks.

    If and when strikes are announced there will be a minimum of 14 days notice given.

    Even then it may not be all pilots striking on the same day – approx 10% of BA pilots aren’t in BALPA and will be working normally for example as they are legally barred from striking.

    Plus there’s is no requirement for BALPA to call all its members out on the same day. Indeed that’s not possible because of rest days, holidays and those down route for example.

    As long as they give the requisite notice and names of staff expected to strike BALPA can even just call out pilots able to fly certain planes so it could call out all those capable of flying the A380 for example. Or only those pilots based at Heathrow one day and Gatwick the next date etc.

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