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Update: BA have told us that BA2752 is cancelled, a few other flights are also cancelled but BA are letting you rebook on any other flight that day for free.

I received my travel confirmation from BA stating that I'll be flying from LHR on 30th Jan 2022 at 11.10 on flight BA2752.

BA flight confirmation

After discussing with a friend we realised that we were both flying from LHR to GVA at the same time but on different flights. So I checked Heathrow departures for that date and it does say both fly from LHR T5 at the same time, both to GVA.

Heathrow departures on the 30th Jan 2022

It seemed weird that 2 planes would fly the same route at the same so I checked online and most places seem to think that BA2752 flies from LGW. For example flightmapper.net

Flightmapper.net schedule for BA2752 on 30th Jan 2022

I'm trusting that BA and Heathrow are correct and that as a one off they're changing the route.

So why would they change the route and why not have it at a slightly different time?

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  • It seems that BA2752 usually flies from LHR, and LGW was the exception.
    – Xnero
    Nov 25, 2021 at 11:54
  • @Xnero Are you sure? Which source are you using? According to flightmapper.net BA2752 always from flies LGW to GVA and BA740 flies LHR to GVA on every date I checked.
    – Sam Dean
    Nov 25, 2021 at 12:24
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    So you're asking if an airline which shuts down all access to their frequent flyer programme for 10 days when they planned for 4 (yes, 4 days!) to perform a systems upgrade has good IT systems and management?
    – jcaron
    Nov 25, 2021 at 13:06
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    May be related to reuters.com/world/uk/… Also I'm not familiar with flightmapper, I don't know where they get their data from or whether it's reliable. It looks like all other sources think that flight will depart from LHR. Apparently Flightmapper thinks the 2xxx flights depart from LGW. Maybe that was the case initially when the schedule was published, and it was later amended but not picked up by Flightmapper?
    – jcaron
    Nov 25, 2021 at 13:12
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    @SamDean See: flights.colibra.io/flights/BA2752
    – Xnero
    Nov 25, 2021 at 13:14

2 Answers 2

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Ordinarily, BA flight numbers give some clues as to the route being flown; for instance, I think all flights to the US have an odd flight number and those headed back to the UK an adjacent even one. In particular, there are various assigned flight number ranges to distinguish things like codeshares, charters and the various London hubs. In the context of this question, flight numbers BA2530 to BA2899 normally denote LGW short haul operations.

However, during the pandemic BA stopped all such operations at Gatwick apart from some domestic feeders. Some flights were cancelled outright; others were moved to LHR. It was convenient at the time to keep the flight numbers the same, for a variety of administrative reasons (it was still a lot of work, some of which I was involved in - nothing is simple in aviation IT). Subsequently, some - but not all - were renumbered into the LHR short haul ranges (although at this point you start to get into Ship of Theseus territory when wondering if this is 'the same flight').

BA shorthaul operations at Gatwick will not resume until the summer season, via a new subsidiary called BA Euroflyer (which I would expect to use the LGW ranges). But for now you can be confident that your Geneva flight is indeed operating from Heathrow, despite historical use of the flight number from elsewhere.

...except as per the update, this particular flight is now cancelled. A few commenters queried the desirability of so many flights on the same segment so close together - clearly, in this case it proved not to add enough value to the schedule to justify the use of an aircraft. It just took time for this particular route to have been looked at in detail - all the LGW flights would have been moved in bulk months ago, and in these turbulent times it's best to wait until relatively close to departure before making the call on the viability of a particular flight op. In ordinary times, the 'use it or lose it' slot rules at congested airports like Heathrow prevent too many such tactical cancellations - but these are not ordinary times.

Nonetheless, such arrangements that may seem undesirable in isolation should be understood in context - to move one of the flights later from Heathrow would alter its arrival time in Geneva, and perhaps there isn't a suitable landing slot there to support such a change. Or despite arriving at the same time, the aircraft may leave Geneva at different times, with enough distinct demand for those flights to warrant sending two planes from London rather than consolidating to a single (possibly larger) aircraft which could then serve only one return time (disrupting passengers on the other). This extends to each aircraft's schedule for the whole day, as well as the movement of flight and cabin crew, who need to be in certain places at certain times. All of this is a network optimisation, which can result in individual pieces that look strange but ultimately contribute more to the whole operation than some other schedule configuration.

As for the curiosity of two flights on the same segment having exactly the same departure time? Well, carefully choreographed special events excepted, it's unlikely that two such flights will depart at precisely the same moment even with multiple runways available, but they can still be scheduled in this way. Indeed, two competitors may well settle on exactly the same flight time between two airports as a temporal example of Hotelling's law.

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  • This does not address the presence of two distinct flights with the same departure time. How is that possible or desirable?
    – phoog
    Nov 26, 2021 at 11:23
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    @phoog I have added some more on the scheduling aspects, although I am not a network planning expert and a full treatise seems out of scope as the main concern seemed to be the flight number discrepancy (also expanded upon). Nov 27, 2021 at 10:24
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Is this BA flight leaving from LHR or LGW?

Your flight is from Heathrow.

British Airways currently has no non-stop flights from Gatwick to Geneva and that's true for all of December and January.

On Jan 30, they offer two non-stops from London City and a whopping 15 from Heathrow. Within 10 minutes of your departure time, there are 3 options:

  • 11:10 BA2752 (Airbus A320 jet)
  • 11:10 BA0740 (Airbus A320 jet)
  • 11:20 BA2746 (Airbus A320 jet)

So there ARE two different flights leaving at the same time. Could be an internal "code share" that they can use to flex capacity or could be real. Make sure you go to the correct gate!

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  • 4
    Unless there’s a specific reason which justifies so many “small” flights so close together, I wouldn’t bet on seat selection to be respected. There’s a strong chance one or more of the flights will be cancelled and consolidated on a single plane, possibly a different one.
    – jcaron
    Nov 25, 2021 at 22:05
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    Yep, that's what my "flex capacity" comment was getting it. It's quite weird to have 15 flights a day to a minor airport like Geneva. It's an EasyJet hub but other than that it's on the quiet side.
    – Hilmar
    Nov 26, 2021 at 2:24
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    @jcaron yep I've been told by BA that BA2752 has been cancelled! Rebooked at no cost though to be fair to BA
    – Sam Dean
    Nov 26, 2021 at 9:35
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    @Hilmar it's the main airport for a lot of the Alps so I guess that's why it has a lot of people going to it in January. Lots of small flights rather than a few big ones because it's a small airport and can't cope with a lot of people at once?
    – Sam Dean
    Nov 26, 2021 at 9:37
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    @SamDean a lot of small flights rather than one big one doesn't (if they're within ten minutes of each other) have much impact on the number of people in the airport, but it does increase the number of planes in the airport (landing slots, gates, etc,). But the airport seems still to be operating far below capacity: I flew from there a few days ago (on a recently reinstated direct flight to New York). We were taken by bus to our plane, but it wasn't parked at a remote stand but rather at a jetbridge gate in a terminal that was otherwise closed -- no people inside.
    – phoog
    Nov 26, 2021 at 11:37

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