The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 15 May 2019

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

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American Eagle & British Airways aircraft, Miami
American Eagle & British Airways, Miami (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 15 May 2019, 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.

BA London Heathrow Winter Schedule Changes

BA has advised of the following transatlantic schedule changes at London Heathrow for the winter timetable, which officially begins on Sunday 27 October 2019:

Boston increases to 25 flights a week, compared to the summer, with an extra flight on Thursdays.

Calgary is once again suspended for the winter from Friday 25 October 2019.

Dallas Fort Worth maintains its summer daily frequency, compared to 6 flights a week last winter.

Nashville reverts back from a daily summer service to four flights a week, on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Philadelphia increases to 12 flights a week, compared to 10 flights a week in summer and a daily service last winter, with additional flights on Monday and Tuesday.

There are also changes to Airbus A380 operations. For many years, BA has operated the Airbus A380 to Miami during the winter season, with an all Boeing 747 operation in the summer.

Based on current timetables, it appears that the Airbus A380 will not return this year. Instead, it will operate to Washington Dulles.

The big downside is that as Miami is operated exclusively with a 52 Club World seat Boeing 747, you’re not sure what you’ll get as a passenger until you board the aircraft. Some of these have been fully refurbished with new in-flight entertainment systems, some have received a light refurbishment, and others not at all.

WestJet to be acquired by Onex Corporation

WestJet announced on Monday that it is to acquired by private equity firm Onex Corporation, which has a broad portfolio of investments.

The transaction is subject to approval by WestJet shareholders which is expected to take place in July.

There is a bit of history here as in 1999 Onex engaged in an unsuccessful hostile take over bid for Air Canada, and had proposed to merge it with the now defunct Canadian Airlines International. Onex’s bid was backed by what was then AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines, which also owned a third of Canadian Airlines.

WestJet has released a video below featuring comments WestJet President and CEO, Ed Sims taking questions from journalists:

WestJet is keen to emphasise that it is business as usual, specifically regarding its presence in Calgary and employee industrial relations.

On a related note, CBC reports that the parent company of Air Transat has been approached by a potential buyer and the company is entertaining potential bidders.

American Airlines opens Dallas Fort Worth Flagship Lounge on Thursday

American Airlines opens its latest “Flagship Lounge” at Dallas Fort Worth tomorrow.

This follows existing Flagship lounges at Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Miami and New York JFK.

These are American Airlines’ top tier lounges and are a big step up from its Admirals Club lounges.

Whilst the decor is not radically different from refurbished Admirals Club lounges (non-refurbished ones are another story..), the big difference is in food and beverage. There are self-pour bars and a substantially broader and more generous range of complimentary hot and cold self-service food. There is also a dedicated dining area for passengers travelling in international First Class.

It’s important to add that the Admirals Clubs and Flagship First lounges are not equivalents to BA’s Club and First lounges. American’s Flagship First lounges are open to both Oneworld Emerald & Sapphire cardholders and international business class and First Class passengers.

Further Flagship lounges are due to follow at London Heathrow and Philadelphia.

When the London Heathrow lounge opens, it might not snatch the crown of the best Oneworld lounge in Terminal 3, but it will certainly give Cathay Pacific, BA and Qantas a run for their money.

We welcome any thoughts and comments below: