Christmas Greetings from the world’s airlines and airports for 2014

The world’s airline and airports release their annual Christmas films to mark the festive season for 2014.

As is customary for this time of year, many of the world’s airlines have produced films and images to share the spirit of the Christmas / Festive / Holiday (delete as appropriate!) season and mark the end of a year of travelling in 2014.

Here are a few films and images that caught our attention. A clear leitmotif is what airlines are fundamentally about: bringing people together.

Air Canada – The Gift Of Home For The Holidays

Continue reading “Christmas Greetings from the world’s airlines and airports for 2014”

Thai Airways & Turkish Airlines delay move to Heathrow Terminal 2 until 28 August

Things had appeared to be going well with the opening of Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 with United Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, and ANA now ensconced in the terminal and no sign of a repeat of the disastrous opening of Terminal 5 in 2008.

However, gremlins seem to have emerged.

There was a baggage system failure affecting passengers at Terminal 2 last week. For reasons we don’t entirely understand Terminal 2 is using Terminal 1’s baggage system.

And we don’t know if this is connected, but there have been very well publicised intermittent problems with the baggage system at Terminal 5 caused by software issues over the past few days.

To allow further testing of the baggage system, Thai Airways Turkish Airlines’ moves from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 tomorrow (2 July 2014) has been postponed until Thursday 28 August.
Continue reading “Thai Airways & Turkish Airlines delay move to Heathrow Terminal 2 until 28 August”

Heathrow Terminal 2 opens on 4 June 2014 with United

London Air Travel » Lufthansa

London Heathrow Terminal 2A Forecourt
London Heathrow Terminal 2A Forecourt (Image Credit: London Heathrow)

Heathrow Terminal 2 “The Queen’s Terminal” opens to the public next week, on 4 June 2014.

The new terminal, the first to open since Terminal 5 in 2008, has been designed by Luis Vidal + Architects.

It will house all Star Alliance member airlines at London Heathrow who are currently split across Terminals 1, 3 and 4. These include United Airlines, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, SAS, Swiss and Air New Zealand.

The terminal will also house non-alliance members Germanwings (a subsidiary of Lufthansa) and Aer Lingus, as well as Virgin Atlantic’s domestic “Little Red” flights to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

United Airlines is the first airline to move into the terminal, consolidating its operations in Terminals 1 (Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco & Washington) and 4 (New York Newark, Houston).

The first flight to arrive at the terminal will be United Airlines flight UA858 from Chicago at 05:55.

The first flight to depart from the terminal will be United Airlines flight UA123 to Washington at 07:30, followed by United Airlines flight UA929 to Chicago – two of seventeen flights due to leave that day.

United Airlines will also have two departure lounges for eligible passengers: A United Club and United Global First Lounge. The lounges will feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the airfield and will offer complimentary food & drink and Wi-Fi in addition to business facilities and shower suites.

We also understand that Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines will have their own lounges for eligible passengers.

One point of interest is that there will be a paid for access Plaza Premium Lounge for passengers who do not have lounge access by virtue of their ticket type or frequent flyer status. The lack of such a lounge in Terminal 5 is a regular comment we hear.

Like Terminal 5, public art features prominently in the terminal.   The consultancy FutureCity has commissioned sculptor Richard Wilson MBA to produce a 70m long sculpture “Slipstream” which was officially unveiled on 23 April.

Of course, this being Heathrow, significant attention has been given to the retail offer in the terminal. The full list of retailers has been published. As well as the standard UK airport fare, two noteworthy tenants are John Lewis and the “Perfectionist’s Cafe” by Heston Blumenthal.

Lessons have been learned from the opening of Terminal 5 in the move of airlines will take place in phases over six months. Air Canada, ANA and Air China will follow United Airlines on 16 June 2014.

As a consequence of the move, Terminal 1 is expected to close in 2016. British Airways will consolidate its operations that are currently across Terminals 1, 3 and 5, into Terminals 3 and 5 in 2015.

Heathrow airport has provided a brochure to promote the new terminal and more information is also available on the Heathrow airport website.

Heathrow Terminal 2 opens in three months’ time on 4 June 2014

London Air Travel » Lufthansa

London Heathrow Terminal 2A Forecourt
London Heathrow Terminal 2A Forecourt (Image Credit: London Heathrow)

If you’ve flown through London Heathrow recently you couldn’t have failed to notice the progress in the building of Terminal 2, “The Queen’s Terminal”, which opens in three months from today, on 4 June 2014.

The new terminal, the first to open since Terminal 5 in 2008, has been designed by Luis Vidal + Architects.

It will house all Star Alliance member airlines at London Heathrow who are currently split across Terminals 1, 3 and 4. These include United Airlines, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, SAS, Swiss and Air New Zealand.

The terminal will also house non-alliance members Germanwings (a subsidiary of Lufthansa) and Aer Lingus, as well as Virgin Atlantic’s domestic “Little Red” flights to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Continue reading “Heathrow Terminal 2 opens in three months’ time on 4 June 2014”

Could Gatwick persuade one of the alliances to defect?

London Air Travel » Lufthansa

London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

On Monday 23 September 2013, the Financial Times featured an interesting story where the Chief Executive of London Gatwick, Stewart Wingate, postulated, known in politics and the press as “kite flying”, that if a second runway for Gatwick was approved, one of the “Big Three” airline alliances could be persuaded to defect from Heathrow airport.

Is there any mileage in this?

Put simply, I don’t think so.

Continue reading “Could Gatwick persuade one of the alliances to defect?”

New & Noteworthy: CityJet, Heathrow Moves, Lufthansa Miles & More

London Air Travel » Lufthansa

Here are a few new & noteworthy items for today, Friday 7 June 2013:

Air France KLM has identified a preferred buyer for CityJet. Intro Aviation GmbH is the preferred bidder. (Bloomberg)

Following the recent confirmation of the opening of London Heathrow Terminal 2, Heathrow Airport has published a list of which airlines are moving in to the terminal and when. United Airlines is the first airline to move on 4 June 2014, with Air China, Air Canada and ANA following two weeks later on 18 June. (Heathrow Airport)

US based blogger “Million Mile Secrets” has published a detailed guide to the Lufthansa Miles & More frequent flyer programme. Although written from a US perspective, following the demise of the bmi “Diamond Club” frequent flyer programme, Lufthansa Miles & More is the main Star Alliance programme in Europe. Parts one to six of the eight part series are now online. (Million Mile Secrets)

New & Noteworthy: Lufthansa, Qantas, Iberia, Israel Open Skies, Alitalia

London Air Travel » Lufthansa

Here are a few new & noteworthy items for today, Sunday 21 April 2013:

Lufthansa flights next week are to be disrupted by industrial action by staff (Lufthansa)

Qantas’ retreat from Europe concludes with the end of its service from Sydney to Frankfurt (Plane Talking)

Iberia imposes further pay cuts on staff under the terms of arbitration as productivity talks with the unions fail to conclude (the pilots union SEPLA did not attend the talks) but has offered to reverse the cuts if talks successfully resume.

An Open Skies agreement between the EU and Israel has prompted industrial action by El Al staff (Bloomberg)

Alitalia still in a parlous financial condition (Financial Times)