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British Airways’ two daily flights between New York-JFK and London-City on all-business-class A318s have incredible award space next June.

It’s a route and plane that fascinates me, and one way for 40k Avios + $438 seems like an OK deal for a fantastic product, level of service, and the opportunity to arrive at London-City instead of Heathrow or Gatwick.

What’s different about the flight? What is the award space picture? Is it worth the fuel surcharges?

The Flight

British Airways operates two daily flights between New York-JFK and London-City. If you aren’t familiar with London City Airport, it is much closer to London than the other major airports and much smaller, two things that combine to make traveling out of it much quicker.

British Airways flies a specially equipped A318 with only 32 Club World seats, that all convert to fully flat beds in a 2-2 configuration.

The flight times are:

BA 2 JFK-LCY 7:00 PM – 7:15 AM +1
BA 4 JFK-LCY 9:45 PM – 10:00 AM +1

BA 1 LCY-SNN-JFK 9:45 AM – 1:55 PM
BA 3 LCY-SNN-JFK 4:00 PM – 8:15 PM

The return flights to the US stop in Shannon, Ireland where passengers clear US immigration and customs, allowing the flight to land at a domestic terminal at JFK. For people without Global Entry, that makes the stop about a wash since the time wasted in Ireland is saved in New York. But people with Global Entry will be slowed down by not flying directly home from Europe.

Here is a mostly glowing review of a flight from LCY-SNN-JFK–the service sounds excellent.

Here is a FlyerTalk thread with tips from veterans of the flight.

Here is British Airways’ page dedicated to the flight.

It seems like a really well done flight on a cool all-business-class plane from what I’ve read, so I took a look at award space for next summer.

Award Space

Award space for next summer is excellent in both directions. I searched June 1-15 for the outbound from JFK-LCY and found space on 9 days on 15 total flights.

On the return, I searched a week later from June 8-22 and found space on 11 days on 18 total flights.

In each case, I searched for one business class seat, but often up to six were available per flight.

So space is wide open, and you can have your choice of days and maybe even choose convenient flights to maximize a vacation like departing Friday night after work and returning the following Sunday.

Award Price and Fuel Surcharges

But as everyone reading this blog should know, booking a British Airways flight as an award will incur fuel surcharges whether you book with American Airlines miles, British Airways Avios, or any other currency.

In this case, British Airways would charge $438.20 on the outbound–in addition to 40k Avios–of which $414 is a fuel surcharge.

American Airlines charges the same fuel surcharges, but wants even more miles, 50,000 each way.

The return is costlier with a cash outlay over $500.

But note that over $300 of that is taxes, mostly the UK Air Passenger Duty. The fuel surcharge is actually $160 cheaper than on the outbound.

My take on the relative costs is that if you want to take one way on this flights and you are doing a European vacation, fly the outbound because it’s cheaper. If you are just doing London, though, so that you’ll have to pay that UK Air Passenger Duty no matter what, fly this flight on the return to pay lower fuel surcharges.

Is this flight worth it?

That depends on the person, their miles balance, their cash position, and their desire for luxury and novelty.

I think if you’ve decided to fly to Europe in Business Class from New York it can make sense to fly one of these flights on the outbound. While you spend an extra $400, you get to go for 40k Avios instead of 50k more valuable miles (United or America), which I think negates about half of the cost.

Would I pay an extra $200 to fly this all-business-class British Airways plane into London City instead of United or American Airlines business class into Heathrow? As a one-time thing I would because of the novelty and because I prefer British Airways Club World to United BusinessFirst.

There’s more to consider though. If you live in New York, and you purchase the outbound with Avios, that’s the extent of your award. If you purchase with American Airlines miles, you can add a free oneway in first class to Hawaii. That might be worth burning 50k AA miles instead of 40k Avios.

Your Take

I got intrigued by the flight, looked up award space for next summer, and am talking myself into booking an award. Did I convince you or is this flight not worth the fuel surcharges?




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