For the first time in two years, on October 16th, 192 deserving children took off on a holiday of a lifetime from London to Orlando, Florida. This special holiday was uniquely chartered by British Airways and was done in conjunction with the airline’s partnership with a charity organization known as Dreamflight.

What is Dreamflight?

Co-founded in 1986 by previous British Airways employees Patricia Pearce and Derek Pereira, Dreamflight was birthed as a non-profit charitable organization, aiming to bring seriously ill or disabled children to Walt Disney World in Orlando, an experience that medicine cannot give. The first flight took off in November 1987, and Dreamflight has operated every year since then, with over 6,200 children having experienced the holiday of a lifetime.

Besides allowing the children to thoroughly enjoy themselves without the reminders of hospitals, medicines, and clinics, the Dreamflight holidays enable these children to become more confident. Testimonials from those who have gone on Dreamflight trips have emphasized how they could be themselves and not feel stressed or burdensome, as the fun and activities enable them to forget about their illness or disability temporarily.

To make the holiday even more special for the deserving children, the volunteers, British Airways, and Dreamflight do not call them passengers. Instead, they are called Very Important Children (VICs) to boost their confidence further. The VICs are nominated annually and anonymously by family members, friends, doctors, nurses, and more. Once selected, the chosen VICs will receive a special invitation to board Dreamflight.

The Dreamflight typically takes off each October, and 192 children from across the UK will board a privately-hired British Airways aircraft to their destination. While parents are not allowed, the charity organization has a significant volunteer team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and other helpers to look after the VICs 24/7 during the ten days. British Airways employees also donate their time to volunteer as chaperones.

However, given that Dreamflight is a non-profit charity, funding 192 VICs for the trip is always crucial. Finances for a single VIC can cost approximately £470 ($537.12) per day, so ten days is certainly not a cheap commitment. This is why several volunteers and British Airways employees consistently participate in numerous fundraising activities all year long, where they cycle, swim, hike, run, and trek in the name of Dreamflight.

British Airways Dreamflight 2022: The 34th Year

This year’s British Airways Dreamflight is the first since 2019, after being suspended due to the pandemic. British Airways and Dreamflight hosted an exclusive party in one of the flag carrier’s Heathrow aircraft hangars to make the return extra memorable. The VICs enjoyed entertainment from the Royal Air Force Air Cadets Marching Band and were thrilled to be in the company of several police canine puppies.

Celebrating the return of such a memorable charitable act was British Airways’ Director of Sustainability, Carrie Harris, as she said:

“We are thrilled to bring back Dreamflight for its 34th annual trip. This is always one of the highlights of our year, with many of our colleagues volunteering their time to support the cause. I want to thank them for helping to make this possible. Hearing how much the Dreamflight experience means to the children and their families means it’s a real honor to be able to help create memories that will last forever.”

For its London Heathrow-Orlando route, the oneworld alliance member airline typically utilizes its Boeing 777-200s under flight number BA 205. For this year’s Dreamflight, a seven-month-old Airbus A350-1000 registered as G-XWBK was chartered, and the flight number was BA 1DF. The flight took off from Heathrow International Airport at 12:24 BST, and British Airways’ Captain Philip Ticehurst piloted the unique flight. He said:

“We’re so happy to be back with Dreamflight again this year. This is my 16th time captaining the Dreamflight charter, and I couldn’t be more honored. It is such a humbling experience to be flying these children on the trip of a lifetime. They are an inspiration to all of us”.

After a nearly nine-hour journey, Flight BA 1DF landed at Orlando International Airport at 16:11 EDT, where the airport staff gave the VICs and volunteers the warmest welcome. The local Orange County Motor Unit also closed the roads to provide full police escorts to the hotel. And for the next several days, the VICs will experience endless fun in the hotels and theme parks as they enjoy the rides to their heart’s content.

The giving line

Once the ten fun-filled vacation days are over, the VICs and volunteers will be flying back from Orlando to London under flight number BA 2DF. The flight will likely take off around 08:30 EST before arriving back in London at 09:20 BST. And then, it would be another cycle of volunteers participating in several fundraising activities in the name of Dreamflight to ensure that every year, a dream (flight) comes true for more VICs.

What do you think of Dreamflight? Have you ever been on one? Let us know in the comments below!

  • British Airways, Cabin Crew Training, Customer Service

    British Airways

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport

    Year Founded:


    Airline Group:

    Sean Doyle

    United Kingdom

  • heathrow_17581988126223

    London Heathrow Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    United Kingdom

    John Holland-Kaye

    Passenger Count :
    19,392,178 (2021)

    Runways :
    09L/27R – 3,902m (12,802ft) |09R/27L – 3,660m (12,008ft)

    Terminal 2 |Terminal 3 |Terminal 4 |Terminal 5

  • Spirit Airlines at gate Orlando Florida Airport Getty

    Orlando International Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    United States

    Phil Brown

    Passenger Count :
    40,351,068 (2021)

    Runways :
    17L/35R – 2,743m (9,000ft) |17R/35L – 3,048m (10,000ft) |18L/36R – 3,659m (12,000ft) |18R/36L – 3,659m (12,000ft)

    Terminal A |Terminal B


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