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  • Last Updated: 28th July 2014

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Airlines A-Z (or A-V!)

American Airlines

Born in the USA, American Airlines offers up to 20 daily non-stop departures from the UK to the USA. When you fly from the UK to the USA you will arrive in to one of American Airlines’s 7 gateway cities, including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. From these gateways you can board carefully timed connecting flights to 250 cities throughout the USA. American Airlines daily from Manchester and London Heathrow, book your flight today.

British Airways

British Airways is the UK’s national airline, founded in 1974 following the merger of two UK-government owned airlines. The airline serves over 550 destinations worldwide and has its primary base at London Heathrow Airport where it has exclusive use of Terminal 5 – opened in 2008. In terms of fleet size, international flights and international destinations, British Airways is the largest airline in the UK and operates more transatlantic flights than any other European carrier.

Continental Airlines

Until being acquired by United Airlines in October 2010, Continental Airlines was the fifth largest airline in the USA based on passenger numbers. Formerly based in Houston, Texas, Continental Airlines can trace its history back to 1934 when the company – then known as Varney Speed Lines – began operating planes that carried only four passengers! Following the acquisition by United Airlines, Continental Airline’s operations will be merged under the new United Airlines brand that incorporates the long-established Continental logo. The new airline, headquartered in Chicago will be the second largest in the USA, serving over 370 destinations from 10 hub airports including Los Angeles International, San Francisco International and Washington Dulles.

Emirates

Emirates is the national airline of Dubai, United Arab Emirates and the largest airline in the Middle East. Owned by the Dubai government, the airline is based at Dubai International Airport where it has exclusive use of the purpose-built Terminal 3, which opened in 2008. The airline flies to over 80 destinations worldwide and operates three of the world’s ten longest non-stop passenger flights from Dubai to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston. Emirates traces its history back to 1985 and is nowadays one of the world’s top 10 carriers in terms of revenue – in 2010 the airline was the sixth-largest in the world in terms of international passengers carried.

Etihad

Etihad, meaning ‘union’ in Arabic, is a young airline – founded in 2003 as the national flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates state of Abu Dhabi. From it’s main base at Abu Dhabi International Airport, the airline operates close to 150 daily flights to 64 destinations in 42 countries – as of 2010 – and carries over 6 million passengers per year. Etihad’s operations are mostly centred in Europe and Asia, but the airline also services Oceania, Africa and North America.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

KLM is the oldest airline in the world still operating under it’s original name. Founded in 1919, and the national airline of the Netherlands, KLM stands for ‘Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij’ which translates as ‘Royal Dutch Airlines’. In 2004 KLM merged with Air France to create Air France-KLM with company headquarters in Paris, though both airlines still operate under their original name. KLM’s hub is Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, and the airline flies to over 90 destinations.

Qatar

Qatar Airways is another young but rapidly growing United Arab Emirates airline, the flag carrier for the state of Qatar. Established in 1994, it now serves over 95 international destinations in 55 countries from it’s hub at Doha International Airport, and is half-owned by the government of Qatar. The airline currently operates one of the youngest fleets of aircraft in the world, and has a reputation for excellent onboard facilities and impressive levels of service. In 2010 the airline launched flights to 9 new destinations including Copenhagen, Buenos Aires and Tokyo. Qatar Airways is one of the group of nine airlines that fly to all six permanently inhabited continents of the world.

Qantas

Qantas is one of the world’s oldest airlines and Australia’s flag-carrier, having taken to the skies in 1920 – the name being an abbreviation of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. Qantas flies from London to Melbourne and Sydney and as of 2010, operated over 250 aircraft from its main hub at Sydney Airport. The airline is nicknamed “The Flying Kangaroo” and links 21 international destinations in 14 countries. In 1926 the company began a tradition of naming their aircraft which continues today; names have been inspired by Australian cities, wildlife and notable persons.

Thai Airways

Thai Airways is the national flag carrier and the largest airline in Thailand, having been formed in 1988. The airline’s hub is at the newly-built Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, from where it flies to over 70 destinations in 34 countries. The airline operates some of the longest non-stop commercial flights, such as the 18 hour direct journey from Bangkok to Los Angeles. A unique feature of the airline is the uniform change policy which requires female native Thai flight attendants to change into traditional Thai dress while working in the cabin, and a corporate suit outside the plane.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is a British airline jointly owned by Sir Richard Branson (51%) and Singapore Airlines (49%). The airline is based in Crawley, West Sussex, near Gatwick Airport. In 2009 Virgin Atlantic carried over 5 million passengers between the UK and North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle-East and Asia. Virgin Atlantic planes have feminine names, are painted in a distinctive red and silver livery and have a painting of a pinup girl called ‘Scarlet Lady’ near the nose of each aircraft.