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As we’ve mournfully documented, airlines around the world are phasing out their old Boeing 747s in favor of newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft. With Delta and United both having already ended their domestic 747 flights, the Queen of the Skies seems to be nearly disappearing from the skies over the US — at least when it comes to passenger jets.
Hopefully, Lufthansa’s 747-8s and the once-daily Air China 747-8 will keep the distinctive hump in the US for a little while longer. But there’s also another carrier that isn’t quite ready yet to say goodbye to its old 747-400s: British Airways. And the good news is that the airline is now adding the Queen to another US route: Austin, Texas.
Originally turning heads when it launched Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner service to the Texas capital in 2014, British Airways’ move soon paid off. Even though the airline already ran daily flights from London to both Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Houston (IAH), there proved to be enough demand for BA to upgrade its third Texas route from a 787-8 to a rotating cast of 777-200s and 787-9s.
Now, the route is getting upgauged yet again. Starting April 8, the London Heathrow (LHR) to Austin (AUS) route will be served daily by a four-class Boeing 747-400.
But if you’re a 747 fan, you won’t have to go out of your way to fly this route, because AUS will join a long list of US airports with British Airways 747-400 service: Boston (BOS), Denver (DEN), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Washington DC/Dulles (IAD), New York City’s JFK, Las Vegas (LAS), Miami (MIA), Chicago’s O’Hare (ORD), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix (PHX), Seattle (SEA) and San Francisco (SFO).
What’s the experience like on-board? Well, British Airways hasn’t taken delivery of a new 747 this millennium, so these aren’t exactly the newest aircraft in the skies. However, of BA’s 36 active 747-400s, half were fully refurbished in late 2015 and into early 2016. Refurbished or not, the experience of being one of the 20 business class passengers on the upper deck is like flying on a private jet across the Atlantic, even if the experience in economy is less special.
For those who want to fly the inaugural, nonstop AUS-LHR fares start at $759 round-trip in economy, $1,585 in premium economy, $4,411 in business or $5,478 in first — or less if you use the AARP discount. However, that’s not going to be your cheapest option to fly to London. Norwegian is selling its Austin to London Gatwick (LGW) flights starting at $482 round-trip or $210 one-way after it begins service on the route on March 27.
H/T: One Mile At A Time
Featured image by Nick Morrish/British Airways.
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