Chicago travelers will soon be able to fly to London in the lap of luxury — and even stretch out during the flight.
British Airways announced Tuesday it will start using its Airbus A380 superjumbo jet next year on its daily service between O’Hare Airport and London’s Heathrow Airport. The airline now uses Boeing 747 jets on that route.
The A380 will debut on the route on May 8. British Airways Flight 295 will depart London at 10:50 a.m. and arrive at O’Hare at 1:25 p.m. It will leave Chicago at 5:30 p.m. daily and arrive in London at 7:20 a.m. the next morning.
The A380 seats up to 469 passengers in four cabins across two decks. Some seats aboard the wide-body jet convert into “full beds,” according to a City Hall press release.
In an email to the Chicago Sun-Times, British Airways spokeswoman Michele Kropf said there’s no difference in fares on the A380 and 747 jets. Ticket prices for the roughly eight-hour trip will vary based on availability, she said.
O’Hare can accommodate wide-body aircraft, including the A380, thanks to a new runway completed in 2013 and a new gate at O’Hare’s international terminal.
In 2020, a second O’Hare runway capable of handling such international flights is scheduled for completion.
That’s even before Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s longer-term plan to bolster O’Hare’s international capacity by adding nine additional gates at the international terminal. One of those new gates will be big enough to service the A380.
Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans called the direct A380 service between O’Hare and Heathrow “great news for travelers in Chicago and around the world.”
“Chicago is always looking for ways to offer our passengers new and improved options for international travel,” Evans said. “Thanks to our partners at British Airways, we will bring more visitors directly to our city on one of the largest and most exciting aircraft in the world.”
Simon Brooks, senior vice president of sales for British Airways North America, said the airline is the first to offer regularly scheduled service on the A380 between Chicago and London. “For those traveling for business to London or customers heading to Europe on vacation, is an exceptional start to their travels,” Brooks was quoted as saying.