The changes are quite significant and will impact on members depending what level they are in the Executive Club, what cabins they fly on BA and, for the first time, what type of ticket is purchased.
There are some definite negatives and some positives may emerge in time. It is also important to emphasise that they only apply to bookings made after 28 April 2015, so there is a three month window to make bookings in advance of the changes.
Cathay Pacific has launched its first over-arching brand campaign since the airline undertook a very subtle rebranding exercise last year.
The campaign emphasises how Cathay Pacific’s Asian hospitality and attention to detail improves the travel experience for passengers, whether the frequent business traveller or occasional passenger, and makes “Life Well Travelled”.
In keeping with its stated brand philosophy “Softly spoken. Strongly felt.”, Cathay Pacific’s passengers take centre stage in the campaign.
Aer Lingus say the bid remains conditional on, amongst other things, confirmatory due diligence, the recommendation of the Board of Aer Lingus and the receipt of irrevocable commitments from Ryanair and the Minister for Finance of Ireland to accept the offer.
The key stumbling block to IAG acquiring Aer Lingus will be the Irish Government which holds a 25.1% stake in the airline. The Irish Government will need to be satisfied that links between London Heathrow and Ireland will be maintained and Aer Lingus will not loose its Heathrow slot-holdings.
Here are some thoughts we gathered before Christmas on what may happen of IAG is successful in acquiring Aer Lingus.
Aer Lingus has issued a statement on Tuesday recommending the bid. International Airlines Group has also statement confirming that if the acquisition goes ahead Aer Lingus will maintain its own brand and join the Oneworld alliance and transatlantic joint-venture with BA and American Airlines. IAG will also seek to assuage concerns about the maintenance of links between London Heathrow and Cork and Shannon by entering into discussions with the Irish Government.
BA will benefit from an upgraded check-in area and a new lounge facility for eligible passengers. BA has confirmed that a new lounge for eligible customers will be constructed in the North terminal.
As BA’s London Gatwick operation involves approximately 60 departures a day, we expect the move will take place in phases.
Perhaps what is more significant are easyJet’s ambitions once it consolidates operations in one terminal.
easyJet currently has 45% of departure and arrival slots at Gatwick, compared to just 16% for BA. Ten years ago, BA had 30% of departure and arrival slots, and easyJet had 13%.
easyJet has made a number of moves in recent years to move it closer to the traditional full service carrier model, such as offering allocated seating and fast track ground facilities.
The one thing easyJet doesn’t do is interline with other airlines (this is where an airline will transfer your bag to another airline’s flight on a connecting ticket). Nor does it codeshare with other airlines. Nor does it offer connections.
Currently, a passenger wishing to fly from say, Edinburgh to Tel Aviv via Gatwick would have to “self-connect” and buy two separate tickets (and hope for the best if things go wrong!).
If easyJet was to move to a traditional “hub” model offering connections and codeshares with other airlines, this could radically change its position in the market and that of London Gatwick. There is certainly precedent for a low cost carrier to do this, as Vueling does at its hub in Barcelona.
This would of course add cost and complexity to easyJet’s operation (which it may be keen to avoid) but connecting traffic could support many more routes from Gatwick.
One other point of note is that Aer Lingus, currently a takeover target for BA’s parent company International Airlines Group, also operates in the South terminal and a consolidation of operations may allow for greater co-operation between BA and Aer Lingus at Gatwick.
Update: AeroMexico will increase its flights from London Heathrow to five weekly flights from 29 March 2015, flying from Heathrow on Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. At the same time, with the exception of Saturdays, its departure time change will change from a mid-afternoon flight (14:45) to a late evening flight (22:30p). Exact times may very slightly by day.
We receive a lot of search enquiries regarding which British Airways routes operate with or without a first class cabin.
Whilst BA’s first class product is far from a market leading product in the air or on the ground, the network it covers is very broad.
It’s also a popular choice for members of the BA Executive Club to use their Avios and holders of BA branded American Express credit cards to use 2-4-1 flight vouchers. Many Silver & Gold members of the Executive Club can also find themselves upgraded from Club World on oversold flights.
The general trend in recent years has been for first class to be removed from routes. However, it has in recent times been restored to routes such as Denver and San Diego.
So we thought it would be helpful to compile a list of BA first class destinations. We have also compiled a separate list for London Gatwick.