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British Airways has replaced its A321s between London and Moscow on Tuesdays until the end of Winter 2016/17 with the latest B787-9 Dreamliner jets.
Normally you would only see the B787-9s on long-haul routes. However BA has, for some reason (probably cargo load and First Class demand), decided to add them to the already diverse aircraft mix to Moscow (BA operates ex-BMI A321s, B777s and B747s on this route).
The good news is, this presents a great opportunity for some high quality Business Class flying – at extremely low cost!
Why? Well these are new, long-haul planes. So while you will be on a semi short-haul route, you will get the “long-haul” experience: travel in Business Class on a long-haul plane, with lie flat seats. You will also get access to the Elemis Spa at Heathrow, as the flight is marketed as Club World (long-haul Business Class) rather than Club Europe (short-haul Business Class).
As you can see, Club World gets the free treatment, Club Europe does not.
An example Tuesday flight on the B787-9 is as follows:
The B787 leaves early in the morning and then performs a turnaround to London Heathrow. Below are the Tuesday flight times:
|Flight number||Departure time (origin)||Arrival time (destination)||Flight duration|
|BA0233||0840 (LHR)||1520 (DME)||3 hours 40 minutes|
|BA0232||1650 (DME)||1755 (LHR)||4 hours 5 minutes|
Remember that the B787-9s operate on Tuesdays only!
How to enjoy the B787-9 experience and the costs
Taking an example flight in Club World (BA Business Class).
Would you rather pay £2198…
Or 17,000 Avios + £25?!!
17,000 Avios is the “off-peak” price for a single from London to Moscow in Business Class.
Why just the £25? Well the flight qualifies for the fantastic Reward Flight Saver, despite being supposedly “long-haul”.
The above example gives you a staggering 12.8p per Avios in value.
However, let’s be honest here. £2198 is a pretty eye-watering price for one-way Business Class to Moscow, and it’s also a false price. If you fly Business Class return to Moscow, it should come to around £1370 all-in! As such, the more reasonable price to compare the 17,000 Avios +£25 to is the £686 you pay for one leg of this return. Here you are still getting 3.9p value per Avios, so it remains a great deal. You are also getting the option of a one-way ticket if you need it, which you can’t get with the cheaper cash fare.
Bear in mind you are flying Club World Business Class “long-haul” here, too, which as noted above includes:
- a lie-flat bed
- lounge access
- Free Elemis Spa treatment
For completeness, here are the full Avios redemption rates for one way flights to/from Moscow:
- Economy: 8500/10,000 (+ £17.50 out/£11.42 in/£35 return)
- Premium Economy: 12,750/15,000 (+ £20 out/£11.52 in/£40 return)
- Business Class: 17,000/20,000 (+ £25 out/£11.52 in/£50 return)
- First Class: 34,000/40,000 (+ £27.50 out/£11.52 in/£55 return)
But this is for a one-way flight. I’m stuck in Moscow!
Fair point. The key thing here, is we are pointing out pretty much the cheapest possible way (17,000 Avios plus £25 to try BA Business Class on a 787: you can easily cover that with just the Amex Gold card bonus, for goodness sake!). However, assuming you’re not “doing an Edward Snowden” and actually need to come back from Moscow, you can (ignoring the plethora of other redemption flight options that may be available to you) either use Avios to get back or just get an “ordinary” flight.
The cheapest flight from Moscow to London that I could find on, for example, Thursday 9 February was €93 with airBaltic, via Riga (actually the cheapest was €63 with Aegean via Athens, but total journey time was 10 hours!)
If you want to use Avios to travel back in the same style and comfort you arrived, it will be another 17,000 Avios + £25.00, so 34,000 Avios + £50 in total if you book in one go. Again, comparing that to the cash return price of £1370, you are getting 3.9p per Avios:
The above shows the return on the B787-9. If you want to come back earlier, you can do so for the same Avios price, but bear in mind it will not be on the Boeing 787.
Tip: if you want to fly the return, and book the two 17K Avios legs separately, you will actually pay less cash. You will pay £25 out and £11.52 return, rather than £50 total.
You can also really push the boat out and try to book First Class, but award availability can be hard to find. If you do find award space though, you will then be able to enjoy the Concorde Room – an exclusive lounge for First Class customers and a modified First Class cabin, which is different from other aircraft types i.e. A380.
For those who fancy a taste of “proper” long-haul Business Class in a superb new plane, this is an excellent opportunity to try this luxury at a reasonable cost. Even though B777s are still in service on Monday and Friday, the B787-9 stands out, as the cabin is much newer and has all the latest technology you expect on a plane.
Before you book the flight, do make sure you get your Russian visa sorted – they can take a while to get and can be surprisingly expensive!