Recently, travel company OAG released its list of the most profitable routes and airlines currently flying. Out of all the routes on the list, there's just one that has surpassed the $1 billion mark: the route from London Heathrow to New York's JFK. Here's a look at the world's only $1 billion flight route
Four airlines make the trip between Heathrow and JFK: British Airways, Delta Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and American Airlines. British Airways was the only one to make it onto OAG's list. It is by far the most popular, having offered 40.7 percent of all available seats for this route in 2018. This airline earned over $1.15 billion in a single year on the JFK–Heathrow route alone, offering 600 flights per month. That's $27,159 per hour. To compare, the second most popular flight route is a domestic Australian path between Melbourne and Sydney, which brings in $861 million annually.
Previously, the most popular flight route had been between London Heathrow and Dubai International. However, that route dropped in popularity by 16.6 percent, with Royal Brunei Airlines and Qantas Airways both ending their service in 2018.
British Airways makes the trip between Heathrow and JFK 15 times per day. Its competitors are playing catch-up Although Virgin Atlantic and Delta Airlines don't own a high share of available seats on this route — 28.5 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively — they're planning to team up in 2020 to offer additional flights. By March, the two airlines will offer a total of eight daily round-trip flights between Heathrow and JFK.
However, one of the reasons British Airways remains so popular is its first rate luxury options for frequent travelers. Because this route is so commonly traveled by businesspeople, a high quality business class option is vital — and British Airways delivers just that.
Flying in Luxury
So what exactly will you get if you decide to travel this $1 billion route? If you fly first class on British Airways you'll get a bed with 400 count sheets, designer loungewear, luxury skincare, and fine dining.
British Airways has also recently opened a brand new Club Suite on its Boeing 777 jets, allowing its Heathrow–JFK passengers to experience the new luxury experience for the first time. If you fly in the Club Suite, you really do get your very own suite with a closing door.
The Club Suite also has an 18.5-inch touchscreen television. And if you do want to try to sleep, your seat reclines into a flat bed; the tray table is even higher than usual so that you won't bump into it when you roll over.
Perhaps because it is such a popular travel hub, Heathrow offers a range of facilities to ease the travel stress of its patrons. There are quite a few premium lounges, including two in Terminal 5, the terminal you'll most likely fly out of if you're headed to JFK.
The Plaza Premium Lounges can be found in Terminals 2, 3, 4, and 5, and offer fresh food, access to a bar, and quiet areas to work or relax. The Aspire Lounge is surrounded by huge windows with views of the runway. It has a seasonal menu of local British food, with a premium menu that travelers can request. If you have been traveling long distances, you might like to make use of the lounge's showers.
The Importance of Heathrow
The Heathrow–JFK route is the most lucrative, but is just one of ten on the OAG's list of most popular airline routes. Upon examination of the list, you might begin to notice a pattern: Heathrow Airport appears in a full half of the routes. With over 80 million people passing through in 2018, Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world. It is an incredibly important final destination for travelers, but its high rate of traffic also stems from the fact that it is a popular hub for flight transfers — Heathrow allows people to make connections that will ultimately take them all over the world.