• Joe Breitfeller

First British Airways Flight Lands at Beijing-Daxing; Annual ‘Dreamflight’ Departs for Orlando, FL

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

On Sunday, British Airways became the first international carrier to arrive at the new Beijing-Daxing International Airport, which opened last month. BA’s annual ‘Dreamflight’ also departed London with around 200 children heading for Orlando, Florida. In other news, the company reopened their newly refreshed lounge at Milan-Linate.

Beijing-Daxing International Airport - Courtesy British Airways

This morning at 9:15AM local time, British Airways became the first international carrier to land at Beijing’s new sprawling high-tech airport, Beijing Daxing International. Today’s maiden flight took place on a Boeing 777-300, and BA will offer daily service between London-Heathrow (LHR) and Beijing-Daxing (PKX). The aircraft is configured in four cabins including First, Club World, World Traveller Plus, and World Traveller (economy) with fares starting at £414. The new 700,000 square meter facility has state-of-the-art features such as facial recognition, self-service biometrics, self-service check-in and baggage drops with real-time tracking. Post security, passengers will have access to over 300 retail and restaurant locations, along with partner lounge facilities. In today’s announcement, British Airways’ EVP-Greater China, Noella Ferns stated,

“British Airways is hugely proud to be the first international airline to fly into Beijing Daxing. This stunning and innovative new airport and the world-class customer experience it provides will play an important part of our strategy to increase travel between China, the UK and beyond.”

Dreamflight - Orlando, Florida

For the last 32 years, UK-based charity Dreamflight, co-founded by former BA cabin crew member Patricia Pearce MBE, has raised funds to send around 200 children with special needs or serious illnesses from London to Orlando for a very special ten-day adventure. On Sunday, BA flight 9117 (a Boeing 747) took off from London with nearly 200 very special children, aged eight to fourteen years. The team of volunteers who will chaperone the trip include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and others who will provide 24-7 care for the children, who are unescorted by their parents. On Sunday’s flight, the children were also joined by Paralympic gold-medalist Liz Johnson, who has been involved with the charity since 1990, when she was one of the lucky children travelers. In today’s announcement, Ms. Johnson stated,

BA Boeing 747 in Dreamflight Livery - Courtesy British Airways

“As an 11-year-old with cerebral palsy, my Dreamflight experience empowered me to embrace difference and opportunity with increased confidence and removed subconscious dependence that I had on my immediate support network. This enabled me to unlock my potential and follow my dreams – I can’t wait to support this year’s young people in their quest to do the same with the added bonus of developing their swimming abilities.”

Before departure, the children were greeted by 15 volunteers dressed as superheroes, British Airways cabin crew and pilots and a special performance by the Air Cadet National Marching Band. They were also treated to a special boarding experience, as the jet bridge had been converted into a magical castle. Today’s flight was operated by BA Captain Andy Raynes, who stated,

“It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be flying Dreamflight for the tenth year running. I leave London as a pilot and arrive as a helper and chaperone, it’s a truly humbling experience. What’s even more special is to see how far the children have come in such a short space of time – that’s what drives me to come back each year.”

Bespoke Lounge Refresh at Milan-Linate

On Friday, British Airways announced the grand reopening of their newly refreshed lounge at Milan-Linate, as part of the airline’s five-year £6.5B investment plan. Other improvements include adding the best quality Wi-Fi and power in every seat, new interiors for 128 long-haul aircraft, new Club Suite business class seats (with direct aisle access) and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. The Linate lounge refresh incorporates a brighter design with new seating, powered hub tables in the new office layout and enhanced dining options. Specially made for British Airways are all new Boss armchairs, decorative lighting and high-quality Italian finishes such as terrazzo stone and Carrera marble. In Friday's announcement, British Airways' Director of Brand and Customer experience, Carolina Martinoli stated,

“We know the difference our lounges make to our customers, be they travelling on business or for pleasure, so we have ensured that the upgraded lounge in Linate is a calm, comfortable and attractive space where they can make use of Wi-Fi and enjoy complimentary catering to get their journey off to the best start.”

The included video (Courtesy of British Airways) highlights the features of BA’s stunning new Milan-Linate lounge. Exclusive access to the new lounge is available to Club Europe passengers, BA Executive Gold and Silver cardholders and Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, traveling with British Airways.

Source: British Airways