As of today, the United States has lifted its travel bans. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have joined forces to celebrate.
Two flights special from London to New York
Although British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are usually fierce rivals, they gathered together to celebrate the return to transatlantic travel to America. It is the first time that Brits have been allowed into the United States in 600 days (since March 16, 2021).
British Airways flight 1 (BA1), and Virgin Atlantic flight 3(VS3) were part of this special celebration. It's notable that the flight number "BA1" was used, as it used to be for Concorde. However, this is a one-off use, due to the special occasion.
Both flights were operated by Airbus A350-1000s and left at 8:30AM. Both flights are currently "racing” to New York JFK. It remains to be determined which flight will arrive first.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are delighted that the United States has reopened its borders to Brits. The United States is their largest foreign market.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic celebrate together
These flights were taken off from a double runway.
BA1 and VS3 were both scheduled to fly London to New York today at the same moment. The A350s also performed a dual runway takeoff. This meant that the Virgin Atlantic A350 took flight on runway 27L while the British Airways A350 took flight on runway 27R.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic did a dual runway takeoff
Below is the audio from air traffic control. You can see that the two flights were given separate takeoff clearances and each one was then given a roll command to take off.
Here is a cool video showing the dual runway takeoff.
#COVID19: Virgin Atlantic and British Airways take off together in order to signify the return of flights into the USA for the double jabbed
Read more on this story https://t.co/UeaMZzjl7Q pic.twitter.com/kZ3GHbsaMy -- Sky News (@SkyNews) November 8, 2021
Transatlantic travel is celebrating the end of the United States travel ban on many European countries. Given the massive increase in demand, airlines are clearly excited about this.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic celebrated by operating special A350 flights. These were the first flights between the two airlines to the United States since the new rules came into effect. Both airlines flew to New York at 8:30 AM this morning. This was a first for Heathrow.