Cathay Pacific to close its London Heathrow Terminal 3 First & Business Class lounges for refurbishment

Cathay Pacific is to close its First & Business Class lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 3 for refurbishment and extension from Thursday 26 November 2015.

The lounges will be refurbished and extended and are expected to reopen on an as yet unspecified date in June 2016.

The new enlarged lounges are expected to follow the design concept recently introduced at Cathay Pacific’s The Pier lounge in Hong Kong and other airports such as Tokyo Haneda.  This is the creation of Ilse Crawford’s Studioilse design agency.

In the interim, passengers travelling in First and Business Class on Cathay Pacific services from London Heathrow and Silver, Gold and Diamond members of the Marco Polo frequent flyer programme will be invited to use partner airline lounges when checking in at the airport. 

Cathay Pacific has not specified which lounges these are but they are likely to include the American Airlines and British Airways Galleries Club and First Class lounges (subject to possible capacity constraints).

The opening of the new Cathay Pacific lounge complex in June 2016 will be widely anticipated. We expect the new lounges will be a very strong contender for one of the most well-appointed lounges at London Heathrow.

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Thomas Cook to launch a winter seasonal route from London Gatwick to Cape Town in December 2016

Cape Town in South Africa has long been a very popular destination for Britons seeking winter sun.  

However, direct flight options between London and Cape Town have in the past year become limited to British Airways following the withdrawal of Virgin Atlantic’s seasonal route and the previous suspension by South African Airways.

Thomas Cook has now entered the market with the launch of a three times weekly flight between London Gatwick and Cape Town.

The flight will operate for three months from 15 December 2016 to 20 March 2017. 

Flights will be operated using Airbus A330 aircraft in a two class economy and premium configuration.

The flight times have not yet been published. 

This route adds to a growing portfolio of long-haul leisure routes at London Gatwick with Norwegian’s expanding transatlantic network and WestJet and Air Canada Rouge due to launch flights to Canada from London Gatwick next year.

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British Airways to launch new routes from London Heathrow to Kalamata and Chania

British Airways continues its successful strategy of operating summer seasonal routes from London Heathrow with the launch of a further two new routes to Greece.

BA is to fly twice weekly to both Kalamata in Peloponnese, the Southern peninsula of Greece (from London Heathrow Terminal 5) and Chania on the island of Crete (from London Terminal 3) from 30 April 2016.

Flights will operate with a two class Club Europe business class and EuroTraveller economy class service.

BA will also return to Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos from London Heathrow for the summer season. Flights to Corfu will increase from four to six weekly, and flights to Santorini will increase from three to four weekly.

Flights are now on sale at
Continue reading

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Iberia returns to Puerto Rico from 15 May 2016

More signs of a turnaround at British Airways’ International Airlines Group sibling Iberia.

Iberia is to return to Puerto Rico from 15 May 2026.  

The airline will fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico three times a week from Madrid, initially on a summer seasonal basis only.  

Flights will be operated using Airbus A330-200 aircraft which Iberia is due to take delivery of later this year.  The aircraft will have 19 business class seats and 269 economy class seats.

Iberia has also intimidated recently that it is exploring a return to Johannesburg, another former long-haul route, as well as returning to Japan and opening new routes to China.

Flights are on sale now at and are well timed for connections to and from London.

Flight IB6301 Depart Madrid 12:25 – Arrive San Juan 14:55

Flight IB6300 Depart San Juan 16:35 – Arrive Madrid 06:25

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Significant disruption to Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express services over 2015 Christmas & New Year

There will be significant disruption to Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express train services from London Paddington to Heathrow Airport over the Christmas and New Year Holiday.

Christmas Eve – Thursday 24 December 2015

Both Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express services will finish early on Christmas Eve.

The last Heathrow Express train from London Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 5 departs at 20:25. The last Heathrow Express train from Heathrow Terminal 5 to London Paddington departs at 21:12. The inter-terminal transfer service will run until 23:00.

The last Heathrow Connect train from London Paddington departs at 21:33. The last Heathrow Connect service from Heathrow Terminal 5 to London Paddington departs at 20:51.

Other public transport services including the Tube and mainline suburban and long distance rail services are also likely to end early.

Christmas Day – Friday 25 December 2015 – Monday 28 December 2015

There will be no Heathrow Connect or Heathrow Express service at all from Christmas Day to Monday 28 December. This is due to Crossrail engineering works.

In terms of alternative public transport options, the Tube and mainline suburban and long distance rail services do not run on Christmas Day. Suburban and long distance rail services operate very limited services (many operators not at all) on Boxing Day.

Tuesday 29 December 2015 – Saturday 2 January 2016

The Heathrow Connect will run a revised service and trains will not stop at Hanwell or West Ealing.

Heathrow Express will run a revised service with trains departing every 30 minutes instead of every 15 minutes.

The first service from London Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 5 departs at 05:25 and then at 55 and 25 minutes past the hour with the last service at 23:25 (19:25 on Saturday 2 January 2016).

The first service from Heathrow Terminal 5 to London Paddington departs at 05:27 and then at 57 and 27 minutes past the hour with the last service at 23:27 (18:27 on Saturday 2 January 2016).

Full details are on the Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express websites.

Please note that is often the case that engineering works can over-run so please check directly with Heathrow Connect and Express before you travel. Please also be aware that there is also significant disruption to Gatwick Express services over the Christmas period.

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American Airlines to launch daily flight from Los Angeles to Auckland from June 2016

American Airlines is to launch a daily flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand from an as yet unspecified date in June 2016, the airline announced today.

The flight will be operated using its Boeing 787 Dreamliner and will be codeshared with Qantas, as part of the trans-pacific joint venture between the two airlines. The operation of the flight is subject to regulatory approval.

For UK based travellers, this does also provide another option to reach New Zealand via the US West Coast, albeit it’s not brilliantly timed for same-day connections, particularly on the return from New Zealand. The other option being Air Newland’s London Heathrow-Los Angeles-Auckland flight.

Here’s the timetable:

Los Angeles – Auckland

Depart Los Angeles 22:45 – Arrive Auckland 06:35 (Two days later)

Auckland – Los Angeles

Depart Auckland 13:20 – Arrive Los Angeles 06:30 (Same day)

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easyJet to launch its own frequent flyer programme “Flight Club”

The narrowing of the gap between the traditional “full service” network airlines and low cost carriers continues as easyJet has today announced it is to launch its first frequent flyer programme “Flight Club” across Europe in 2016.

Details are scant at the moment, but at first glance it does not appear to be a traditional miles-accrual based programme.  

Instead, Flight Club, offers a defined set of benefits based on eligibility criteria.

Passengers will be invited to join Flight Club based on a minimum number of easyJet flights taken in a 12 month period and/or minimum spend.

In return, passengers will receive benefits such as fee-free ticket & name changes, special offers and access to a dedicated contact team.  

There’s no news of any other airline or hotel partners yet.   This programme will also run in parallel to easyJet Plus.

What information is available is contained in this easyJet press release.

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