American Airlines Flagship Lounge Miami

London Air Travel

American Airlines Miami Flagship Lounge
American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Miami (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

US airlines have never been known for topping lists of the best airline lounges in the world.

With operations largely focused on domestic flights in the US, where typically only First and business class on select premium transcontinental routes offer lounge access, US airlines have primarily offered membership club lounges with relatively limited food and beverage.

However, there are signs of improvement. With growing international long-haul networks and a need to offer comparable service to joint-venture partners in Europe and Asia, US airlines have been raising their game.

United has been rolling out its “Polaris” lounges. American Airlines has also been rolling out its “Flagship” lounges. These are available at Chicago O’Hare Terminal 3, Dallas Fort Worth Terminal D, Los Angeles Terminal 4 and New York JFK Terminal 8. Further lounges are due to open at London Heathrow and Philadelphia.

American also has a Flagship lounge on Concourse D in the North Terminal of Miami International airport, which is the subject of this review.

Lounge location and access

The Flagship lounge is located near Gate 30 on Concourse D in the North Terminal, with one of American’s two Admirals Clubs in the terminal.

The lounge can be accessed by Oneworld Emerald & Sapphire cardholders and international First and business class passengers. When you arrive at the lounge complex entrance you’ll be handed a laminated card to access the Flagship lounge upstairs.

Note if you’re flying on BA to London Heathrow from Concourse E you can also use this lounge instead of the Oneworld premium lounge on Concourse E, albeit with quite a walk to the gate.

The lounge

To the lounge itself, and a quick tip that applies to almost any large airline lounge.

In lounges, passengers naturally gravitate towards the bars and where they see food. If you want peace and quiet, and don’t want to have to listen in on others’ conference calls, just head in another direction.

If you immediately turn left on entering the lounge you will find plenty of largely unoccupied seating areas:

American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Miami, Entrance
American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Miami, Entrance (Image Credit: London Air Travel)
American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Miami, Seating
American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Miami, Seating (Image Credit: London Air Travel)
Continue reading “American Airlines Flagship Lounge Miami”

British Airways’ Glasgow Lounge Re-opens 16 June

British Airways’ Glasgow lounge reopens on Sunday 16 June 2019 after a two week refurbishment.

London Air Travel

British Airways lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
(Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways’ Glasgow lounge re-opens on Sunday 16 June 2019.

The lounge has been closed for refurbishment since Sunday 2 June 2019. There are no pictures of the refurbished lounge yet.

The lounge has been refurbished by Glasgow based design agency Graven, who designed the original lounge. BA says:

“The lounge will have a more contemporary luxurious feel whilst also considering sustainability. Much of the furniture has been refurbished using our latest wool blend fabrics.   Premium materials and finishes have been added, together with new bespoke decorative lighting, designed and made in the UK.”

BA Club World London Heathrow – Miami

A review of British Airways Club World on the Boeing 747 from London Heathrow to Miami.

London Air Travel

Miami South Beach
Miami South Beach (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

London Heathrow – Miami is a good illustration of the vagaries of flying BA.

BA operates three return flights a day, all now with a Boeing 747 so passengers should know with confidence to expect. Right? Well, not quite.

It’s perfectly feasible that three groups of passengers all taking different BA flights on the same day could each report different experiences.

The reason being that only some of the 52 Club World seat aircraft that serve this route have been fully refurbished with new in-flight entertainment systems. Some have had just a light interior refresh. Others have not been refurbished at all in ten years due to their imminent retirement. And you’ll only know what you’re getting once you’ve stepped on board the aircraft.

Let’s take a look at one early morning departure from London Heathrow Terminal 3:

Pre-departure

After a quick check-in at a reasonably busy Heathrow Terminal 3 for an early morning, it’s to the lounge.

It’s received wisdom that any passengers flying Oneworld from Terminal 3 with lounge access should head to either the Cathay Pacific or Qantas lounges.

However if you want to download reading material from PressReader at the airport you need to use the BA lounge WiFi. A couple of tips: you do need allow for a generous amount of space on your device and a good amount of time to download as it does take more than a few minutes.

To boarding, BA has for some time been using the grouping system for boarding aircraft. One weakness is that the relative numbers of passengers eligible for Group 1 boarding can vary widely by route. As Miami is an American Airlines stronghold, there are a lot of Oneworld Emerald cardholders eligible for Group 1 boarding on this route.

Continue reading “BA Club World London Heathrow – Miami”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 12 June 2019

London Air Travel

New York Skyline
New York Skyline (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

The Death of the New York “Power Lunch”

New York’s Four Seasons restaurant closed for the final time yesterday, Tuesday 11 June.

The Four Seasons restaurant originally opened in 1959 in the Seagram building in New York. After a difficult start, it became the ultimate symbol of the New York “Power Lunch”, a term coined in 1979 by former Esquire editor Lee Eisenberg.

The point was not the food, but to do deals over elongated lunches in its Grill Room and to see and be seen amongst Wall Street deal makers, editors from Conde Nast, TV news anchors, fashion designers and politicians.

The Four Seasons left the Seagram building in 2016 – its contents were sold for over $4m at auction – and reopened last year on East 49th Street. Times have of course changed. Expense accounts are not what they were. Profligacy is frowned upon. Formal lunches are an anathema to Facebook and Google who now occupy vast swathes of New York real estate. Deals are not done over lunch but at informal meetings and over Skype.

Also in New York:

Uber has announced plans to launch “Ubercopter” which will offer helicopter rides between Manhattan and New York JFK from Tuesday 9 July 2019. Trips will cost in the region of $200-$225. Access will be restricted Platinum or Diamond Uber Rewards users. You also won’t be able to take checked luggage with you. This is the wrong solution to Manhattan’s poor links to JFK – what it needs is direct rail line.

The Museum of Modern Art closes temporarily on Sunday 16 June 2019 for a $450m remodelling. The museum will reopen on Monday 21 October 2019. It promises free access to ground floor galleries, improved traffic flows between floors, additional space for permanent collections and better representation of artist diversity. (MoMA)

It’s conventional wisdom that New York is best avoided in summer due to the stifling heat. However, the markedly more relaxed atmosphere as locals leave for the summer does have its attractions. There are also many free film screenings in Bryant Park, Hudson River Park and many other New York City parks.

Whereas London spreads outwards, Manhattan simply goes up higher. New York’s skyscraper boom. (New York Times)

Citylab on the nostalgic escape offered by the newly opened TWA Hotel at New York JFK. (CityLab)

Also of note this week:

One of the very few bright spots in rail travel in America are Amtrak’s Acela trains which operate between Boston, New York and Washington. CBS News takes a look inside Amtrack’s next generation train which will enter service in 2021. (CBS News)

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com

BA Club World Upper Deck Seating Changes

BA has introduced further changes to its pricing structure for the selection of seats in Club World.

London Air Travel

British Airways Airbus A380 Club World cabin
British Airways Airbus A380 Club World cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)

A couple of weeks ago we reported that BA had introduced a new pricing structure for seat selection charges on the main deck of Club World.

BA has introduced a new set of six price points for selecting a seat, and these are detailed here.

It was expected that further changes would be forthcoming for the Upper Deck. BA has today, Tuesday 11 June 2019, implemented a new pricing structure for the Upper Deck of the Airbus A380. This has a relatively marginal different configuration of 2-3-2 rather than 2-4-2 on the main deck. Window seats also have storage bins.

Using a flight to Vancouver as an example, there are now separate charges for seat pairs by the window and lower charges for the centre seats. All of these Upper Deck seats were previously priced at £105. Now the centre seats attract a lower, albeit very modestly so in the grand scheme of things, price of £95 to select a seat.

On the main deck of this flight, seat selection charges range from £79 to £105.

British Airways Airbus A380 Upper Deck Vancouver Seat Map
British Airways Airbus A380 Upper Deck Vancouver Seat Map

Note that these changes only apply to passengers making new bookings. Passengers with existing bookings will not see any changes. Seat selection charges will also vary by route. At present, pricing of the much smaller Upper Deck of the Boeing 747 appears to be unchanged.

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – 11 June 2019

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in media and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

Biometric Boarding Gates Los Angeles (Image Credit: British Airways)
Biometric Boarding Gates Los Angeles (Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

US Customs & Border Protection Data Breach

The US Customs & Border Protection agency announced on Monday evening that photographs of passengers travelling into and out of the United States have been stolen in a data breach.

The source of the breach is a malicious cyber-attack on a federal sub-contractor. It is not known how many travellers have been affected or precisely what other data has been stolen.

This development comes amongst increasing scrutiny of the use of facial recognition technology at airports and concerns over the de facto opting in to the use of this technology and awareness of passengers’ rights to opt out.

Also of note this week:

Amazon has long talked, particularly in the run up to the Christmas shopping season, about deliveries by drone. At its re:MARS conference in Las Vegas last week, Amazon unveiled its latest design for a drone – a fully electric drone that can deliver packages weighing up to five pounds within a 15 mile radius. (Amazon)

On a related note, Microsoft has announced its new Xbox console codenamed “Project Scarlett” will debut at the end of 2020.

The BBC, facing considerable public scrutiny at the moment but is performing well creatively, brings a 1943 report from the Berlin Blitz to life through Virtual Reality. (BBC)

Google unveils its digital streaming gaming platform, Google Stadia. (9to5 Google)

The founders of Quibi (short for “Quick Bites”), a new short-form mobile video streaming service, have confirmed launch date of April 2020, priced at $4.99/$7.99 a month with or without adverts. (Variety)

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

Monday Briefing – 10 June 2019

London Air Travel

British Airways Airbus A350-1000, Toulouse
British Airways Airbus A350-1000, Toulouse

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 10 June 2019.

Airbus Prepares A321XLR Aircraft

The Paris Air show gets underway next Monday.

Airbus is widely expected to unveil its Airbus A321XLR aircraft, the latest variant of its largest single range aircraft. Bloomberg reports that American Airlines is considering this as a replacement for the Boeing 757. It is claimed Airbus A321XLR would be capable of flying from American’s principal hub in Dallas Fort Worth to Central Europe – where its presence is weak due to the lack of Oneworld alliance partners.

In the UK, American currently uses the 757 aircraft to fly seasonally from Edinburgh to Philadelphia. American has cut its presence at UK regional airports, notably Manchester, and this may help it reinstate previously suspended routes.

IAG has also been cited as a potential purchaser, but is likely to want to see how the Airbus A321LR performs for Aer Lingus first.

On an Airbus related note, every month it publishes an updated list of aircraft orders and deliveries.

Based on the update for May published last week, BA has reduced its orders for Airbus A320neo aircraft from 25 to 22 aircraft and increased Airbus A321neo aircraft from 10 to 13 aircraft. Based at London Heathrow, the Airbus A321neo has a capacity for 220 passengers, compared to 180 for the Airbus A320neo.

Staying with BA and Airbus, BA’s first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft emerged in its full Chatham Dockyward livery in Toulouse last week. The airline has not yet confirmed the exact delivery date to London Heathrow and will do so when Airbus gives one months’ notice. You will be seeing more of BA’s Airbus A350-1000 in production as Title Role Productions (who produced “British Airways: 100 Years In The Sky” for Channel 5 last year) have been filming in Toulouse for a forthcoming TV series recently.

The Boeing 747 Centenary Flights That Weren’t

There was a blip last week in what has so far been a well choreographed year of BA centenary celebrations.

BA has removed from its schedules three Boeing 747 flights to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on the day of its centenary, Sunday 25 August 2019.

BA described as coverage of these flights as “speculation”, a common form of non-denial denial. What exactly has happened behind the scenes isn’t known. However, the airline may have been deterred by negative coverage – written by some who really should know better – of the environmental impact.

UK Bank Holidays

The Government has announced that the next early May Bank holiday will be moved from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Alas, Prime Minister Theresa May did not feel inclined to give the UK an extra public holiday as parting gift.

Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 10 June 2019”

BA Boeing 747 Centenary Flights Update

British Airways is offering passengers who have booked flights to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle that were scheduled with a Boeing 747 on Sunday 25 August a refund.

London Air Travel

British Airways Boeing 747 Centenary Tailfins
British Airways Boeing 747 Centenary Tailfins (Image Credit: British Airways)

Last week we reported that BA had scheduled Boeing 747 aircraft on selected UK domestic flights from London Heathrow to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on the day of its centenary, Sunday 25 August 2019.

This did come with the caveat that BA had made no official announcement about these flights. These flights have attracted a lot of interest and a week later BA has today, Friday 7 June 2019, issued the following statement to the travel trade:

We’ve been exploring a number of options to put our customers at the heart of our birthday weekend celebrations, but we still haven’t confirmed any plans.

We haven’t revealed any of the details of our birthday weekend so far. Some aviation websites made a guess at what we were planning, but we were very clear that this was speculation.

We are still considering our options for that weekend and will release details in due course.

Clearly, some passengers may have booked these flights (in some cases for the cost of a transatlantic flight) hoping for special celebrations on board.

BA is now offering passengers who booked a Boeing 747 flight from London Heathrow to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on Sunday 25 August between 30 May and 7 June 2019 and no longer wish to travel a refund.

Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.

Passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

Update: Many passengers are now receiving e-mails from BA advising that these flights will no longer be operated with a Boeing 747 aircraft. So the plan for special flights appears to have been cancelled entirely.

British Airways London Gatwick – New York JFK Cancellations

British Airways has cancelled its daily service from London Gatwick to New York JFK from Tuesday 14 January to Monday 10 February 2020.

London Air Travel

Manhattan at Sunrise
Manhattan at Sunrise (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

British Airways has cancelled its daily service from London Gatwick to New York JFK from Tuesday 14 January to Monday 10 February 2020.

The affected flight numbers are BA2273 from London Gatwick to New York JFK and BA2272 from New York JFK to London Gatwick.

No specific reason has been given for the cancellations other than “commercial reasons” which suggests low seasonal demand.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund. Passengers can also be re-accommodated on alternative American Airlines and BA services from London Heathrow. However, any additional costs such as ground transportation and hotels will be at passengers’ expense.

Passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 5 June 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

Hudson River Park New York
Hudson River Park New York (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

TAP Air Portugal Begins Airbus A321 Long Range Transatlantic Flights

TAP Air Portugal has begun operating the Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft on transatlantic flights from Porto to Newark.

The inaugural flight was last Saturday, 1 June 2019. TAP is the first airline to operate the aircraft on transatlantic routes. It has 14 of the aircraft on order and has cited the potential to launch more routes to the East Coast of the USA. TAP’s A321 Long Range aircraft is configured with 16 seats in business class in an alternating 2-2 / 1-1 configuration and 152 seats in economy.

Aer Lingus has 8 Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft on order. However, the routes on which they will operate is in a state of flux as deliveries have been delayed. Norwegian also has 22 of the aircraft on order, initially for delivery from 2020. However, this is likely to be delayed.

Also of note this week:

Air Canada expects to complete its due diligence on the purchase of Air Transat by the end of June. (Air Canada)

British Airways pilot Mark Vanhoenacker marks the 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic flight. (Financial Times)

Michelin has published its first dedicated guide to California. 90 restaurants in California have received stars, with 7 receiving three Michelin stars. (Michelin)

The Metropolitan Transport Authority New York Transit is to provide clearer service status guidance to passengers. Three vague labels “Delays”, “Service Change” and “Planned Work” have been replaced. There are now seven indicators including Part Suspended, Trains Rerouted and Local to Express. (Metropolitan Transit Authority)

“Why New York Can’t Have Nice Things?” Why is infrastructure is so expensive to build in New York? (New York Magazine)

Construction by Virgin Trains USA of a new high speed rail line between Las Vegas and Southern California is likely to be delayed by two years. (Las Vegas Review Journal)

Not actually transatlantic, but the US Department of Transportation has given tentative approval to the proposed transpacific joint-venture between American Airlines and Qantas. This is subject to consultation and a final decision. American and Qantas must also report annually on the progress of their joint-venture. Qantas has indicated it will launch new routes from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco following regulatory approval. (Department of Transportation)

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com