Caution: British Airways’ JFK Aircraft Swap

Filed Under: British Airways

New York JFK is British Airways’ largest long haul station, and the airline operates flights to there from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, and London City.

If you’re flying the carrier’s daily flight between New York and London Gatwick in the coming months, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

British Airways’ JFK Aircraft Swap

There continue to be engine issues with the Boeing 787, and as a result British Airways has been leasing planes to meet demand. They’ve primarily been leasing planes from Air Belgium, but I’d argue that’s possibly even good for passengers, since Air Belgium has fully flat staggered seats in business class on their A340s.

Air Belgium’s A340 business class

Well, unfortunately in the next several weeks there’s an unfavorable aircraft swap, as reported by @airlineroute.

Between October 27, 2019, and January 12, 2020, British Airways will be operating their London Gatwick to New York JFK flight with a leased aircraft. Specifically, the following flight will be operated by a leased plane:

BA2273 London Gatwick to New York JFK departing 4:45PM arriving 7:55PM
BA2272 New York JFK to London Gatwick departing 10:00PM arriving 9:50AM (+1 day)

British Airways ordinarily flies a 777-200 on the route, but instead they’ll be operating an A330-300 that’s owned by Evelop Airlines, which is a Spanish charter airline.

What Is The Evelop A330 Like?

The Evelop A330-300 has a total of 285 seats, including 30 business class seats and 255 economy seats. This suggests that the plane is a former Singapore Airlines A330-300, which the airline used to use for regional flights. Here’s a review of business class on this plane back when it flew for Singapore Airlines.

Singapore Airlines’ A330 business class

In business class there’s a 2-2-2 configuration, with five rows of seats. Worst of all, these seats feature pretty substantial angles, as these aren’t just mildly angled seats, like you’d find in business class on the 777s of Emirates, EgyptAir, or Korean Air, for example.

Singapore Airlines’ A330 business class

In business class this represents a huge downgrade, even in comparison to British Airways’ eight abreast business class on the 777.

British Airways’ 777 business class

In economy the news isn’t as bad, as the A330 has a comfortable 2-4-2 layout, and legroom is solid.

The plane doesn’t have premium economy, unlike British Airways’ long haul aircraft.

What Can You Do If You’re Booked On This Flight?

If you’re booked on one of these services ahead of the swap, British Airways will allegedly rebook you on one of their other London services if you’d like:

  • In economy I think this leased plane is actually preferable
  • In premium economy you’ll need to swap, since this plane doesn’t have premium economy
  • In business class I’d definitely switch, especially if you could switch to a 777 featuring British Airways’ new Club Suites between New York and London Heathrow, which is a massive upgrade

British Airways’ new Club Suites

Bottom Line

If you’re flying British Airways between London Gatwick and New York JFK in the coming months, you may want to check the details of your flight. British Airways is operating a leased A330 that used to be a regional Singapore Airlines plane.

I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised, though this is a pretty negative way to handle it. As a point of comparison, when Norwegian operated this plane they sold the business class cabin as premium economy, which is more in line with what I’d expect.

  1. Me and my wife had booked a Return flight LGW to JFK (for 20/12/19 Return 04/01/20) flight in BA sales in January for a good price. Then the email arrived regarding the change.we always fly BA as my wife is a nervous flyer.Until we received the email we have never heard of Evelop airlines and checked various reviews and there were quite a few negative ones so we decided to call BA to change the flight to a LHR flight.We had paid for our seats in January two together 53B & 53C (Wife being nervous flyer)so it was panic stations to make sure we acquired the same seats on the LHR service.we had also paid parking at LGW in January but looks like we won’t be able to claim that back and now have just paid 3 times the amount to park at LHR because of the short notice,Glad we booked economy and not premium economy.
    Ps the LHR BA option we have opted for has 3 rows of twin seats Either side at the very rear of the plane making a 2-4-2 configuration. Plus the return flight out of JFK is 2 hours earlier than the original flight from LGW which helps.

  2. Also LHR – CAI route will be operated by a Titan Airways a321 which only features economy & premium class from Nov 7th to Jan 12th because Air Belgium does not have available aircrafts afterwards since LOT extends the lease to Dec 26th.

  3. The schedule on that Gatwick flight isn’t very nice to begin with, by the time you clear immigration and get downtown New York it’s going to be deep into the evening, having to pay for an extra nights accommodation. Going to London isn’t much better either.

    It’s a shame as I’d choose Gatwick over Heathrow if everything else was even

  4. Gatwick always has the crappier BA planes.

    The Gatwick 777-200’s are old and don’t have First, for example.

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