British Airways is selling off its champagne flutes, slippers, trolleys and more - here’s why

Fancy treating yourself to some first class luxury in the comfort of your own home? You may be in luck, as British Airways has been selling off champagne flutes, crockery, blankets, and more, as its profits take another plunge.

Billed as an opportunity to “create an authentic First Class flying experience at home", shoppers have been given the chance to get their hands on a host of aircraft items from the company. And they have been selling quickly, with only a handful of items left.

Drinks trolleys and bread baskets

The sale has been giving shoppers a chance to buy a variety of ‘luxurious’ aircraft items - including six brandy glasses for £12, and BA Club World slippers for £10.

The sale features some bigger items as well, including bread baskets and even a limited number of drinks trolleys from retired Boeing 747s.

Some of the items will have travelled round the world a few hundred times in the airline’s First Class cabins, while some products, including William Edwards plates, soup bowls, and cups and saucers, were only introduced to the planes 18 months ago.

Caroline Martinolo, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said: “This is an incredible one-off opportunity for people to bring the magic of flying with British Airways into their own homes. We know that these special items will fly and we are delighted to be able to offer them in time for Christmas to give people the opportunity to make it memorable during a difficult year,”

The sale is still underway, although some of the items have already sold out on the website. For more information on what British Airways products are still available, and how much they cost, visit the What A Buy website.

Why has the sale been happening

The sale follows a similar auction in July of some of the airline's collection of artwork that hung in officers and airport lounges, including a £1 million piece from Bridget Riley. The auction raised a total of £2.2 million.

British Airways was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with the number of passengers flying through the airline dropping by 85 per cent between July and September compared to 2019.

Last month British Airways owner, International Airlines Group (IAG), cut its flight schedule for the rest of 2020, and posted a £1.16 billion loss for the third quarter. IAG has reported a £5.1 billion for the first nine months of the year. In 2019 the company saw a £1.6 billion profit in the same period.

The slimming down on costs, cutting down flights, airplanes and staff has left warehouses full of inventory. The sale was to allow customers and collectors to get their hands on some of the stock in the inventory pile-up.

In September, former chief executive Alex Cruz said the company was going through £20 million of cash per day, and it has proposed cutting up to 12,000 jobs to save costs.

“A huge appetite to buy”

Editor for the frequent flyer website Head for Points, Rob Burgess, believes that nostalgia and value for the money seem to be a driving force for the success of the sale so far.

“This is not the first time that BA has sold off excess stock … but this offers the airline the chance to raise some additional funds given so few people are flying right now.”

He added: “It appears there's a huge appetite to buy.”

“I think it is partly nostalgia and partly because it is actually excellent value for money given the suppliers that BA uses. Some items such as the day blankets have already sold out along with the brandy and champagne glasses.”

The metal boxes used in the aircraft kitchens seem to be going fast, he added, because it's a chance for people to "get their hands on some unusual items".