Austin, Texas received its first international long-haul service today, as British Airways inaugurated service from London Heathrow with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. So if you're a Brit going home from SXSW week deliriously hungover, there's no risk of missing your connecting flight.
Upon announcing the new service last fall, British Airways Director of Strategy Lynne Embleton said,
"In the pioneering spirit of the Lone Star state, we are flying there in one of the world's most advanced aircraft, the 787, to encourage more business with the scores of hi-tech businesses based in Austin's 'Silicon Hills.' We're excited to be the only airline offering direct flights from London to Austin. We believe it will prove very popular with both business and leisure customers and will be our third route to Texas, after Houston and Dallas."
The Dreamliner's smaller capacity allows it to serve locations outside of the traditional major airline hubs, with cities such as Oakland, Orlando, and San Jose also receiving new routes from other airlines. Boeing's Marketing VP Randy Tinseth said the following, regarding the Dreamliner's markets:
"Our job at Boeing is to identify trends in the market, and then to build the right airplanes for our customers. And I think that's where the Dreamliner really hit the mark,"
British Airways has configured their 787 Dreamliner in 3 classes: with 35 Club World seats (Business Class), 25 World Traveler seats (Economy Plus) and 154 Economy seats. All seats offer on-demand audio and video options, as well as AC power outlets.
"Club World" Business Class seat on their 787 Dreamliner
The inaugural flight, British Airways 191, is currently airborne, and is due to land around 5:00PM Central time. You can track it here on FlightAware. Flights are currently operating five days a week, but will increase to daily frequency in May.
Images are by the author, Paul Thompson.