Before an international flight, there is an inevitable excitement that mounts upon reaching one’s departure gate.
For me, when the surrounding soundtrack reflects the languages and accents of my destination, my imminent adventure finally feels real. Recently, a smattering of British accents allowed me to commence the mental shift toward Greenwich Mean Time even before traversing the Atlantic Ocean.
It was a happy family reunion across the pond that offered me the perfect chance to book a nonstop British Airways flight between Pittsburgh International Airport and London’s Heathrow, the UK’s biggest airport, 14 miles west of city center.
As a newcomer to Pittsburgh, I’m still relishing the perks of leaving from a smaller airport, like minimal security line waits and long-term parking options that feel incredibly affordable. (For reference, my latest travel hubs have been the ever-expanding Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and, prior to that, Washington, D.C.’s two bustling venues.)
British Airways remains the only airline to offer a nonstop flight between Pittsburgh and London, and the route is operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. BA currently operates four flights each week between PIT and LHR (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays).
However, beginning in mid-May, this will ramp up to six flights (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays). The fifth weekly flight will begin earlier, on April 24.
“We are delighted to be increasing our flight frequency from Pittsburgh to London this summer,” said Neil Chernoff, BA’s director of network and alliances. “As the only airline to operate a direct route between Pittsburgh and London Heathrow, these additional flights will give our customers even greater flexibility when traveling to Britain and beyond.”
For those who enjoy a bit of pre-air pampering, the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge at PIT can be accessed by BA travelers based on membership, class of service or AAdvantage status.
On the blue-skied day I took off, I was fortunate enough to begin my journey with tasty snacks and a warm beverage in this mellow, sun-streaked space where there are electric outlets aplenty, and the staff members all seemed laid-back and kind. (Check whether you might be eligible for the lounge, or look into the possibility of purchasing a One-Day Pass for $59.)
Highlights of my airtime included catching up on a mélange of new-release films and tucking into meals that exceeded any expectations of typical airline food. (My favorite was the heated Monty’s Bakehouse savory pastry served as a late-night snack before landing back on U.S. soil.)
Also on my return flight from London, I lucked out with an especially affable team of British Airways attendants who laughed freely and cheerfully accommodated the needs of everyone in my section.
Yet the best surprise of my journey? The speed with which I reentered at PIT. Less than a half hour after wheels-down, I had already cleared immigration and hopped in my Lyft home. Now that is a travel luxury I could certainly grow accustomed to.