Monday Briefing – 9 April 2018

Welcome to our weekly Monday Briefing on the main developments in air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday morning at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

Barbara Jane Harrison
BOAC Stewardess Barbara Jane Harrison (1945-1968)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 9 April 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

Etihad scales back

For a time it seemed that the world of air travel had pivoted permanently towards the Middle East, specifically the “Big Three” airlines Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways who were set on a path of exponential growth in perpetuity.

With a relatively favourable operating environment and Government support on their side, it seemed that all these airlines needed to do was announce headline grabbing aircraft orders at air shows, run celebrity endorsed ad campaigns highlighting their capacious and luxurious cabins and they would able to syphon off ever more passengers on to ever more routes to their respective hubs.

And one of the most successful indicators of this strategy in Europe has been the volume of passengers flying from UK regional airports, bypassing hubs in Europe.

However, proving that the world of air travel is anything but predictable, Etihad has experienced a considerable downturn in its fortunes. In part, this is due to its disastrous strategy of buying minority stakes in failing European airlines. Etihad has confirmed to the media (BBC News) that it will suspend flights from Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi from October of his year.

Etihad has also recently suspended Abu Dhabi – Dallas Fort Worth, in this case pointing the finger of blame at American Airlines for withdrawing a codeshare agreement.
Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 9 April 2018”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 4 April 2018

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

London Air Travel

Delta at London Heathrow
Delta at London Heathrow (Image Credit: London Heathrow)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 4 April 2018, 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.

Delta celebrates 10 years at London Heathrow

Delta is celebrating 10 years of operations at London Heathrow.

Prior to the EU – US Open Skies agreement Delta, along with what were then Continental, Northwest Airlines and US Airways could only fly from London Gatwick.

Of course, following consolidation in the US airline sector, Delta is the only new US entrant at Heathrow to survive.

In terms of routes, Delta has reintroduced Detroit to London Heathrow (having been suspended by BA) and added Minneapolis to the Heathrow route network year-round.

Delta has also just reintroduced its summer seasonal route to Salt Lake City. Portland also returns for the summer season from Friday 4 May.

However, not all Delta routes have been successful. Delta will suspend Philadelphia from Thursday 3 May 2018.

Delta is also operating its A330-200 aircraft on London Heathrow – New York JFK and selected services to Atlanta and Detroit this summer.

Since moving to Heathrow, Delta also acquired a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic from Singapore Airlines and formed a transatlantic joint-venture with the airline.

The influence of Delta is likely to increase as it will soon become he single largest shareholder in Virgin Atlantic as Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is to sell a 31% stake in the airline to Air France KLM. It is known that Delta with merge its two joint-ventures with Air France KLM and Virgin into one. It is also expected that there will be further changes, particularly in the area of frequent flyer programmes.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 4 April 2018”

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 3 April 2018

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

Commodore 64 Computer (Image Credit: London Air Travel)
Commodore 64 Computer (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

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.

TheC64 Mini

Let’s start with something for children of the 1980s: A “mini” version of the much-loved Commodore 64 computer (pictured above), TheC64 Mini has just been released.

It follows in the footsteps of the mini Super Nintendo console. However, there’s no need to bring out the cassette player and sit patiently for games to load. It’s pre-loaded with 64 games. It also has the benefit of being designed to work with modern TVs in the way that the consoles and computers of the 20th century aren’t.

Hopefully, a similar version of the Commodore Amiga A500 will follow suit…

On a related note, the London Games Festival is taking place between 5 and 15 April 2018 with events at Somerset House and elsewhere.
Continue reading “Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 3 April 2018”

Monday Briefing – 2 April 2018

Welcome to our weekly Monday Briefing on the main developments in air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday morning at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

British Airways 100 Years Of Aviation Posters (Image Credit: Amberley Publishing)
British Airways 100 Years Of Aviation Posters (Image Credit: Amberley Publishing)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 2 April 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

Rest assured, there are no April Fools stories in this update.

BA suspends London Gatwick – Oakland

Over the past 18 months or so, BA has had its sights set firmly on taking on Norwegian at Gatwick.

It reinstated London Gatwick – New York JFK and added Fort Lauderdale and Oakland at Gatwick to take on Norwegian head to head.

It has also begun to “densify” its Boeing 777 fleet so that, according to BA, it will have a lower seat cost than Norwegian’s fleet of Boeing 787s.

Last week it emerged that taking on Norwegian at Gatwick may not be as straightforward as first thought. BA has announced that Oakland is suspended from Monday 22 October 2018.

This is all BA has said so far. It is not clear whether the route may return on a summer seasonal basis in 2019. BA has also not issued any rebooking guidance to passengers.

Whilst Norwegian can claim a victory in this instance, its own financial and operational performance remains under scrutiny. Passengers flying from Gatwick to New York JFK in particular have been beset by cancellations and delays. The performance of recently launched routes from Gatwick to Austin and Chicago will also provide an indication of how much more scope there is to grow on North Atlantic routes.
Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 2 April 2018”

BA suspends London Gatwick – Oakland

British Airways has suspended its route from London Gatwick to Oakland from Monday 22 October 2018.

London Air Travel

British Airways Boeing 777 at London Gatwick
British Airways Boeing 777 at London Gatwick

British Airways has confirmed it has suspended its route from London Gatwick to Oakland, California from Monday 22 October 2018.

The last flight will operate on Saturday 20 October 2018. The route launched in March 2017. Like the launch of Fort Lauderdale and New York JFK, it was a clear competitive response to the growth of Norwegian at London Gatwick. Norwegian will continue to fly to Oakland at Gatwick.

BA has not yet published any official guidance in response to the cancellation. However, if your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund. Passengers are also likely to be offered the opportunity to change their flight to one of BA’s twice daily services from London Heathrow to San Francisco. Note that in this instance any consequential costs such as additional ground transportation would be at your own expense.

BA appears to be using the spare capacity arising from the suspension to make its summer seasonal route to Las Vegas year round.

Affected passengers should contact either BA or their travel agent.

Update: BA has since stated that the route will resume in Summer 2019 and the route is currently showing as scheduled to resume on Monday 1 April 2019.

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 28 March 2018

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

London Air Travel

BA New York JFK Terminal 7
BA New York JFK Terminal 7 (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 28 March 2018, 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 New York JFK Terminal 7 Refurbishment

We passed through New York JFK Terminal 7 last week and got to see first hand the process of the ongoing refurbishment. Thanks to our driver, we also had an unplanned tour of the rest of New York JFK…

At Terminal 7, the “First Wing” check-in area for First Class passengers and Gold Card holders is complete. The Galleries First lounge is closed for refurbishment. The Galleries Club lounge is as yet untouched. Refurbishment is also underway in the Club World check-in area, the main security screening area and in the gate areas. As such, a number of retail outlets are currently closed.

Whilst the refurbishment is long overdue and will no doubt be a big improvement, it is going to be on a smaller scale to the refurbishment (at least in some respects) first proposed in 2008. Gone are the plans for a “drive through” check-in area for First Class passengers and Gold Card holders.

We also couldn’t help notice the more modern and capacious Terminal 8 which houses BA’s transatlantic joint-venture partner American Airlines and to which former resident of T7 Cathay Pacific has recently decamped.

On a more positive note, the construction of the new TWA Hotel is progressing and we’re hugely excited to be trying out the hotel when it opens in 2019.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 28 March 2018”

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 27 March 2018

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

London Air Travel

British Airways Boeing 747 G-BYGC featuring a radome encasing two satellite antenna for internet access (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BYGC featuring a radome encasing two satellite antenna for internet access (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/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.

The long wait for BA WiFi

It was two years ago that BA confirmed it was to add WiFi to its long-haul fleet. BA first began trialling WiFi on a single Boeing 747 four years ago.

With a pair of flights on refurbished Boeing 747s, and one on BA’s most important route New York JFK, we thought our chances of finally experiencing a WiFi equipped aircraft would be good.

Would there be a glimpse of the radome on top of the aircraft before boarding? Would there be announcement from the Cabin Service Director? No.

There was a video on the in-flight entertainment system explaining how it worked. However, as the moving map tracked the climb of the aircraft to above 10,000 feet we checked devices for signs of a WiFi network. But, it wasn’t to be.

It is hugely frustrating that WiFi is still only on a small number of aircraft. It seems almost implausible that BA will meet its target of 90% of aircraft having WiFi by the end of 2019.

Continue reading “Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 27 March 2018”

Monday Briefing – 26 March 2018

Welcome to our weekly Monday Briefing on the main developments in air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday morning at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, Qantas Pilots & Cabin Crew at Perth Airport
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, Qantas Pilots & Cabin Crew at Perth Airport (Image Credit: Qantas)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 26 March 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

Qantas completes inaugural non-stop Perth – London flight

There will no doubt be a great sense of relief at Qantas that its inaugural flight from Perth to London Heathrow, with a fuselage brimming with journalists and politicians, went without a hitch.

Alas, our invitation to the inaugural flight was lost in the post. However, you can read first hand accounts from Natalie Richards of The West Australian and this video report from Beau Pearson of Network Ten Australia:

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told the Sydney Morning Herald that non-stop flights to Paris are under consideration, subject to the performance of London – Perth.

Many UK journalists will be on board the inaugural London – Perth flight QF10 which left Heathrow at 13:09 Sunday afternoon and should arrive in Perth at around 06:00 BST / 13:00 AWST. They will no doubt be filing their own reports shortly after landing.

Qantas is naturally upbeat on forward bookings for the route. Whilst airlines never give away exact numbers on the performance of individual routes we should know in a couple of months from Civil Aviation Authority data how the route is performing in terms of passenger numbers.

Qantas has also opened a new international transit lounge in Perth dedicated to passengers transiting in Perth when travelling on QF9/Q10 services from/to Melbourne and passengers travelling from Perth to London.
Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 26 March 2018”

BA Club World Catering: New York JFK – London Heathrow

A review of BA’s new Club World catering & bedding on New York JFK – London Heathrow.

London Air Travel

BA Club World Catering - New York JFK - London Heathrow Day flight
BA Club World Catering – New York JFK – London Heathrow Day flight (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

A week after our first review of BA’s new Club World catering and bedding on London Heathrow – Philadelphia, here’s our second take on the new catering service.

Why a second review?

Well, BA uses a different catering company, Do & Co, on New York JFK from all other long-haul routes.

This review is also conducted on one of a handful of transatlantic day flights from the US to London Heathrow. Whilst these flights do necessitate an early start and a short day is lost to flying, it is infinitely more pleasant and relaxed than a red eye.

There’s no rush to get the seat fully flat after take-off. Nor any need for the crew to have to navigate the sometimes visible tension between those passengers who want to maximise every moment for sleep and those who want to sit back and enjoy the service.

It should also be said this particular flight only operated out of sheer luck. On the day of this flight, this was the only BA flight to operate between New York and London. All other flights were cancelled due to severe weather on the US East Coast. Had this flight departed a mere one hour later it too could have been cancelled.
Continue reading “BA Club World Catering: New York JFK – London Heathrow”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 21 March 2018

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

London Air Travel

Delta Air Lines - New York
Delta Air Lines – New York

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 21 March 2018, 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 GMT.

US East Coast Severe Weather

This is like Groundhog Day.

The US East Coast is once again set to be beset by severe weather today, Wednesday 21 March.

At the time of writing, American Airlines and BA have cancelled all flights from all London airports to Newark and New York JFK. BA has also cancelled some flights to Boston and Philadelphia. BA has also retimed some flights to Philadelphia and Washington Dulles.

Virgin Atlantic and Delta have cancelled all flights from London Heathrow to Boston and Newark and almost all flights to New York JFK.

United has cancelled and retimed some flights from London Heathrow to Newark.

Nowergian has also cancelled all flights from London Gatwick to New York JFK.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 21 March 2018”