AUSTIN (KXAN) - Vacationers who have spent any amount of time traveling out of Austin probably have heard the joke Lew Little recalled on Tuesday.
“If you were going to heaven, you’d still have to connect in Houston or Dallas,” laughed Little, the Austin Chamber Board president.
But that joke is ringing less and less true. And although airfare to heaven is still impossible to find, direct flights to London will be available from Austin starting March 3.
"The superbird is coming to Austin," said Mayor Lee Leffingwell.
British Airways announced Tuesday they will service Austin five days a week aboard the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner and tickets are already for sale on their website.
“British Airways is delighted to be able to serve the community of Austin,” said Alan Eley, the airline’s North American vice president of operations.
The flights will open a gateway to Europe and could boost Austin’s standing within the global economy.
Little estimated an economic impact to the tune of $70 million a year in Austin and the creation of 1100 air service industry jobs.
ABIA was already in the middle of a project to expand security checkpoints along with customs and border protection security.
On the strength of Tuesday’s announcement, they will ask the city transportation department for an additional project to add seven more gates at the airport.
Nearly 7 million passengers flew out of ABIA during their first full year of business in the year 2000. In 2013, they anticipate closing in on the 10 million passenger plateau.
Austin is the 25th North American city British Airways will service with direct flights and the third Texas city alongside Houston and Dallas.
In-depth: Flight times
The British Airways flight to London will leave Austin at 7 p.m and gets to London at 10 a.m. for a nine-hour flight.
But if you flew American Airlines to London, you'd be stuck with a layover in Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago or New York.
Leaving from Austin around 3:30 in the afternoon and having two hours to change planes at DFW for example - you'd get to London around 9:30 the next morning.
That's about 12 hours of travel time.
Willie Nelson's nine-hole golf course in Briarcliff is up for sale and the asking price is $3 million, according to a local real estate website.
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff who won hearts and headlines with his humility and common touch, was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013.
When Dawn Erin decided to seek health coverage for the first time in two decades, she was prepared for the red-tape run-around.
Most of the crowd that poured into Austin City Hall on Tuesday night was disappointed with the Parks and Recreation Department's decision to approve a smaller off leash area at Auditorium Shores.
The cold weather tends to bring a bump in cold and flu cases in Central Texas which has a lot of people reaching for over-the-counter drugs. Doctors say to use caution though when picking out those medicines.
Mack Brown's attorney and the university's new athletics director say the Texas coach has not resigned, denying a report that Brown was ready to step down after 16 seasons with the Longhorns.