Something of an unexpected announcement by BA today. The airline is introduce airside transfers by car for selected passengers connecting from UK domestic flights at London Heathrow.
The service is called “Premium Transfer Drive”. It will be available for passengers transferring from UK domestic flights to a short-haul flight in Club Europe or a long-haul flight in Club World or First Class. It will also be available to Silver and Gold members of the BA Executive Club. There’s no mention of reciprocal recognition for Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers.
It will only be available to passengers who are at risk of missing their connections. Affected passengers will be alerted via the crew on their inbound flight to London Heathrow.
This service appears to only apply to UK domestic connections. It will not apply to connections between mainland Europe short-haul flights and long-haul flights.
Clearly, this a welcome move that does make Heathrow a (little) more competitive airport for passengers in UK regions who have a choice of a number of airports in Europe and the Middle East for connections.
That said, it will also be interesting to see how reliable the service is during major operational disruption due to severe weather.
Gordon Ramsay Plane Food restaurant at London Heathrow Terminal 5 has reopened today, Monday 14 August 2017, after a refurbishment.
The restaurant first opened in March 2008. It was groundbreaking in two respects. First, for raising the bar for airport dining with such a well known chef committing to an airport restaurant where there are limitations on how food can be prepared. It also introduced well publicised dedicated takeaway “picnics” for eating in-flight. Heston Blumenthal followed suit with The Perfectionists Cafe at London Heathrow Terminal 2.
The new restaurant promises a new Asian bar with dishes prepared before guests, a new cocktail bar and a newly refurbished dining area with refreshed menus which can be used for private events.
There is also a new take-on-board Picnic Menu with breakfast, vegetarian, fish and meat options.
British Airways is to fly direct from London Heathrow to Nashville, Tennessee from May 2018.
BA will fly to Nashville International Airport five times a week from Friday 4 May 2018. The route will be operated with a three class Boeing 787 Dreamliner with Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy, and World Traveller economy cabins. Flights will depart from London Heathrow Terminal 5.
This is the fourth new route between London Heathrow and North America which BA has launched with the Boeing 787 after Austin,San Jose, and New Orleans.
In terms of possible future expansion in North America, there could well be another 1-2 new routes to be launched by BA. History has shown that BA prefers to launch new routes from London Heathrow where it is, at least initially, the sole operator to London and/or Europe. Therefore, new destinations are likely to North American cities without a direct link to Europe. However, whatever growth potential there may be BA is likely to continue its very steady growth of no more than one new transatlantic route a year.
London Heathrow – Nashville
Flight BA223 Depart London Heathrow 15:45 – Arrive Nashville 18:50
Flight BA222 Depart Nashville 20:20 – Arrive London Heathrow 10:30
British Airways is to transfer its route from London Heathrow to Paris Orly to London City airport from Sunday 29 October 2017.
Currently, BA flies from London Heathrow to Paris Orly up to four times daily. This will reduce to three times daily from 30 September 2017 with BA334 and BA335 cancelled from this date. The last flights will operate on Saturday 28 October 2017. BA will continue to fly from London Heathrow to Charles de Gaulle airport up to seven times daily.
BA will fly from London City to Paris Orly three times daily on weekdays and daily on weekends. This route will reinstate a link between London City and Paris after CityJet suspended this route in March of this year.
British Airways has announced the launch of two new seasonal weekend ski routes from London Heathrow. BA will fly to Grenoble in France once a week on Saturdays from 2 December 2017. BA will also fly to Turin in Italy twice weekly on Saturdays and Sundays from 26 November 2017.
These are seasonal routes which will operate until late March 2018. Flights will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 5 and will be operated by Airbus aircraft in a two class, Club Europe and EuroTraveller configuration.
BA also serves Turin from London Gatwick and it is possible to “mix and match” different London airports, if convenient.
Your children can fly for free on BA between select short-haul destinations and London Heathrow this summer
BA first ran this promotion last year and it has relaunched it for summer 2017. Up to two children to the age of twelve can fly for free with an adult on flights between London Heathrow and Belfast, Edinburgh, Inverness, Leeds-Bradford, Newcastle in the UK and Billund in mainland Europe.
The promotion only applies to flights to/from London Heathrow and bookings in EuroTraveller economy. It does not apply to flights to/from London Gatwick or London City.
The offer is valid for travel from Thursday 1 June 2017 to Tuesday 31 October 2017 and flights must be booked by Saturday 30 September 2017.
There are no particular downsides or catches to this promotion. Other than that availability is restricted and some destinations, notably Edinburgh, have significantly more flights a day to choose from than others.
Note this offer is only open to residents of the UK, the Republic Of Ireland and Denmark. Full terms and conditions and more information is available on ba.com
Next year, BA will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the opening of London Heathrow Terminal 5. The opening itself is a day BA would rather forget.
Ever since Terminal 5 opened a perennial complaint has been the fact that in spite of the fact that three of its lounges in the South of the terminal (Galleries Club, Galleries First and The Concorde Room) are located immediately adjacent to the South security screening area, passengers are forced to take a circuitous route down a crowded escalator and past numerous shops and restaurants and back up a set of escalators to access the lounges.
The one exception is those who have access to the Concorde Room by virtue of flying First Class or holding a Concorde Room Card can enter the lounge via a special door next to the South Security screening area, which at opening was rumoured to have cost BA many millions of pounds.
All that has now changed, for some passengers at least. If you have passed through the South end of Terminal 5 over the past few months you could not have failed to have noticed a large construction area near to the Club check-in area. This is the new BA First Wing.
This weekend sees the start of the new summer timetable at London Heathrow. There are a few changes including the launch of scheduled services by BA to New Orleans, Virgin Atlantic taking over Seattle from Delta, Flybe launching Aberdeen and Edinburgh and BA launching summer seasonal routes to Murcia, Nantes and Tallin with many more routes to follow later in the summer.
One other change is that BA is now flying a Boeing 777 daily between London Heathrow and Madrid, a route exclusively operated by BA and Iberia.
Shortly after the merger of BA and Iberia under the umbrella of International Airlines Group in 2011 the two airlines put wide body aircraft on the route. BA operates a Boeing 767 on flights BA456 and BA457. Iberia operates its Airbus A340 on flights BA522 and IB3166/BA7058. The principal reason for this is not necessarily passenger demand, but the cargo capacity in the belly of the aircraft.
From today, Sunday 26 March 2017, BA will also operate a Boeing 777 on this route. Flight BA458 which departs London Heathrow at 07:20 and flight BA459 which departs Madrid at 12:20 will be operated by a Boeing 777.
British Airways is to add additional in-flight amenities and services to passengers travelling between London Heathrow, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Passengers travelling in World Traveller Plus and Club World will be offered slippers. Passengers travelling in all cabins will be offered Twinings green tea, the option of chopsticks for eating meals and bilingual menus.
In the grand scheme of things, these are fairly small changes. It’s also not unusual for BA to offer additional in flight amenities on certain routes for cultural reasons. Slippers have long been offered on flights to Tokyo and bilingual menus are common on many routes.
However, it does point to an effort to do better in China where BA has had mixed success. BA’s route from London Heathrow to Chengdu was suspended this month and BA faces very strong competition from Cathay Pacific on the London – Hong Kong route.
British Airways has suspended sales of flights on its London Heathrow – Abuja route from Wednesday 8 March to Tuesday 18 April 2017.
The reason for this is that Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport is to close for essential repairs to its runway which is reported to have pot holes.
The airline has yet to announce how passengers already booked to fly to Abuja during the closure will be accommodated. One option is to allow passengers to change the dates of flights to outside the closure period, or to allow passengers to fly to another destination in Africa (but any onward transport would be at the passenger’s own expense).
According to press reports, the Nigerian Government has instructed airlines to operate flights to an alternative airport in Kaduna (some 200km north of Abuja) with onward road transport provided to Abuja. However, airlines will need to be satisfied that security arrangements for their passengers and crews are sufficiently robust.
There’s more detail on the background to the closure of the runway in this article from the Financial Times (subscription required).
The affected BA flight numbers are BA083 and BA082.
Update: BA has subsequently decided to cancel all flights between London Heathrow and Abuja during the period of the runway closure.
Affected passengers have the option of a refund, rebooking on an alternative flight between London Heathrow and Abuja outside the runway closure (up to Friday 19 May 2017), or rebooking on an alternative flight to/from Accra or Nigeria within 7 days of the date of your original booking. However, if you choose the later option any additional costs such as ground transport or hotels will be at your own expense and will not be reimbursed by the airline.
Affected passengers should contact either BA or their travel agent.