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75 years ago, British Airways (which was previously known as British Overseas Airways Corporation or BOAC) became the first British airline to operate passenger flights between the UK and Japan. 

On 19 March 1948, BOAC extended its Poole-Hong Kong Plymouth class flying boat service to Iwakuni. In November, the weekly service was further extended to Yokohama, Tokyo, with flights taking seven days and stopping at seven cities on route - Augusta, Alexandria, Karachi, Calcutta, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Iwakuni.

To commemorate this milestone, the airline is launching its latest business class Club Suite cabin, on flights between London Heathrow and Tokyo Haneda. From 31 October, British Airways will be the only airline offering a business class suite with a full privacy door on direct flights between the UK and Japan. Club Suite has been designed to offer privacy, comfort and space for customers wanting to work, rest and play. 

Colm Lacy, British Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “It all started with a flying boat and now Tokyo is one of our longest-served and most valued destinations. We’re incredibly proud of our heritage – it’s been our pleasure to connect British travellers with Japan since 1948 – and we look forward to serving them for the next 75 years and beyond as we continue our investment into new products, customer experience and technology.”

Drawing on inspiration from heritage menus in the airline’s extensive archive, chefs have created celebratory dishes for all four cabins, that will be served on Heathrow to Haneda flights from 1 September to 31 October. Customers will be able to enjoy the most popular dishes that were served on the route in 1969 - beef stroganoff and beef cheek okaribayaki – and the airline has also created a celebratory cherry meringue gateau, the signature desert enjoyed by flyers on the London to Anchorage sector that same year.


The airline’s Club Suite flat-bed seat offers direct-aisle access and a suite door for greater privacy in a 1-2-1 configuration. Boasting 40 per cent more storage, including a vanity unit and mirror, WiFi and enviable 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens. The latest business class seats will be available on flights BA6 and BA5, operated by the B777-300ER* fleet.

Across the Club World cabin, customers enjoy a luxurious plush pillow and warm quilt from The White Company, an amenity kit and an improved dining experience.

From 1 September, customers travelling in the airline’s First cabin to and from Tokyo will experience the airline’s most-premium service, with bespoke loungewear and amenity kits designed by luxury British fashion brand, Temperley London, products from ELEMIS, including the renowned ULTRA SMART PRO-COLLAGEN range and bedding made from recycled plastic bottles.