British Airways Is Launching Dreamliner Service to Charleston, SC (Yes, Really)

Oct 18, 2018

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Charleston (CHS) is home to Boeing’s South Carolina Dreamliner facility, some killer southern food, and, come April 4, 2019, a twice-weekly 787 flight to London (LHR), courtesy of British Airways.

Now I do love Charleston, don’t get me wrong, but if you had asked me an hour ago if I ever saw British Airways choosing CHS for a nonstop flight across the Atlantic, I would have been more than willing to bet all of my chips on “no.” As my buddy Ben writes, though, BA is indeed planning to launch service — in fact, it’s such a sure thing that the airline’s already begun selling seats.

The new flight will operate from April 4 through Oct. 24, 2019, flying on Thursdays and Sundays with the following schedule:

  • BA221 Charleston (CHS) 10:50pm Departure  London (LHR) 11:50am (+1) Arrival
  • BA220 London (LHR) 5:20pm Departure  Charleston (CHS) 9:20pm Arrival

This new nonstop will be operated by BA’s smallest Dreamliner, the 787-8, with 35 flat-bed seats in Club World (business class), 25 recliners in World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and 154 in World Traveller (coach).

A business-class seat on BA’s 787-8. Photo by Mike Lowe.

Paid fares are quite steep at the moment, starting at about $1,400 round-trip in economy, $2,000 in premium economy or about $4,000 in business class, but awards are already available to book, with two seats in business class and four in coach on most dates. Premium-economy award seats don’t appear to have been loaded yet.

You can book the above with American AAdvantage miles, for 30,000 each way in economy or 57,500 in biz, or with Avios, with pricing as follows:

  • Club World: 62,500 (off-peak); 75,000 (peak)
  • World Traveller: 16,250 (off-peak); 25,000 (peak)

You can easily boost your Avios balance by transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards, earned with cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, or Chase Ultimate Rewards, earned with cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Surcharges are ridiculously high, however. Including tax, you’re looking at $213 (economy) or $581 (business) on flights from Charleston, or $331 (economy) or $551 (business) on flights from London — on a round-trip business-class award ticket, you could end up paying an absolutely absurd $1,132 in taxes and fees.

In addition to this being the only transatlantic flight from CHS, it’ll also be the only scheduled 787 flight to the southern home of Boeing’s Dreamliner operations. Many 787-9s and all 787-10s begin their adventures in Charleston — while the plane is no stranger to CHS spotters, this new seasonal flight is sure to be the talk of the town.

Featured image of Charleston by SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images.

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