It’s incredible how much growth we’ve seen from British Airways the past few years, especially on transatlantic flights. Rather than just increasing frequencies in major markets, we’ve seen them add service to all kinds of destinations that previously had limited transatlantic flights, including Austin, Nashville, San Diego, and San Jose, just to name a few. British Airways has now announced their latest transatlantic flight.
British Airways will be launching 4x weekly flights between London Heathrow and Pittsburgh as of April 2, 2019. The route will operate year-round using a Boeing 787-8, featuring 35 business class seats, 25 premium economy seats, and 154 economy seats.
British Airways’ 787 business class
The new route will operate with the following schedule on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays:
BA171 London to Pittsburgh departing 5:00PM arriving 8:15PM
BA170 Pittsburgh to London departing 9:50PM arriving 10:25AM (+1 day)
The 3,720 mile flight is blocked at 8hr15min westbound and 7hr35min eastbound.
This is huge news for Pittsburgh, which has been working very hard to attract longhaul carriers. Currently Pittsburgh has a seasonal flight to Frankfurt on Condor and a seasonal flight to Paris on Delta, as well as year-round service to Iceland on WOW Air. The airport has also been trying to attract nonstop flights to/from Asia, and they’re going so far as paying a lot of money for two China Eastern charter flights between Pittsburgh and Shanghai, hoping that will attract other airlines to start service.
This will be Pittsburgh Airport’s only year-round transatlantic flight on a full service airline, so this is a huge win for the airport. I suspect there were some significant incentives involved for British Airways, in terms of waived landing and service fees, and possibly even money towards marketing the flight. I imagine that played a big role in this decision.
As you’d expect, award availability on the route is excellent, given that it was just loaded into the system. Unlike other programs, British Airways Executive Club promises that they release at least two business class award seats and four economy class award seats per flight.
If you were to redeem American AAdvantage miles for this flight, you’d pay 30,000 miles one-way in economy, or 57,500 miles one-way in business class, plus taxes and carrier imposed surcharges.
Meanwhile if you redeemed British Airways Avios for the flight you’d pay the following amounts one-way:
- Economy: 13,000 Avios off-peak, 20,000 Avios peak
- Premium economy: 26,000 Avios off-peak, 40,000 Avios peak
- Business: 50,000 Avios off-peak, 60,000 Avios peak
That doesn’t include British Airways’ hefty surcharges, which can be $500+ one-way for a premium cabin ticket. For example, a one-way business class ticket from Pittsburgh to London around the time the service starts costs 50,000 Avios plus $531.40 in taxes and surcharges.
What do you make of British Airways launching flights to Pittsburgh?