Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 16 January 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

Barack Obama & David Letterman (Image Credit: Netflix)

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 GMT.

Facebook News Feed

Facebook has announced changes it its News Feed which will prioritise posts from friends and family and posts that prompt interaction and conversation over public posts from publishers.

This is as it comes under considerable scrutiny over the influence of its algorithmic news feed on media consumption and democracy. Many print and broadcast media businesses have long protested, with some considerable justification, that Facebook and others are media companies and should be subject to the same regulatory regime as them.

This will hopefully mean less tiresome clickbait (with those faux-conversational four word sentence introductions) choking up the Facebook news feed.

(Facebook Newsroom)
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Monday Briefing: 15 January 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 GMT.

London Air Travel

BA World Traveller Catering January 2018
BA World Traveller Catering January 2018

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 15 January 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

BA Upgrades World Traveller Catering (again)

BA announced a series of changes its catering in World Traveller economy from Wednesday 17 January 2018.

More details here. This was heralded as a major upgrade. In truth, it was largely a reinstatement of items that had previously been cut. Indeed, some items have been cut, added back, cut and now added back again.

It’s hard not wonder how much management time is consumed by constantly discussing whether a packet of pretzels should be offered with a passenger’s first drink, reviewing budgets and renegotiating with suppliers, as well as the complex logistics of making any changes to its catering operation at more than 70 airports around the world.

That said, this does suggest that BA has realised there are limits on how far it can, to use its own words, “stretch the brand”. There was talk 12 months ago of BA launching an “unbundled” long-haul fare and this latest move suggests this may be put on the back burner for now.

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Summer Seasonal routes at London Heathrow airport

Here’s our guide to summer seasonal long-haul and short-haul routes from London Heathrow for 2018. Featuring new and returning routes to the USA, The Seychelles, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

London Air Travel

London Heathrow Summer Seasonal Routes 2018
London Heathrow Summer Seasonal Routes 2018

Over the past few years London Heathrow has progressively built up a quite substantial portfolio of summer seasonal routes, primarily short-haul routes to Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal from BA. So here’s our guide to Heathrow’s summer seasonal routes.

Why do all these leisure routes operate from Heathrow when we hear of the airport pleading for a third runway to open new international destinations? Well, business travel is seasonal and BA can make more money using off-peak departure slots in August to send an aircraft full of passengers to Mykonos rather than half-empty to Frankfurt! BA also has a lot more slots to play with since it acquired bmi British Midland in 2012.

We have also prepared a similar guide for London City airport.
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Summer seasonal routes at London City airport

Here’s our guide to seasonal routes from London City airport to summer sun destinations in France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal for 2018.

London Air Travel

London City Summer Seasonal Routes 2018
London City Summer Seasonal Routes 2018

London City airport has long carved itself a niche for passengers wishing to avoid the crowds of London Gatwick and Heathrow and the increasingly crampt Airbus aircraft that are the workhorses of short-haul travel in Europe. In recent years, summer seasonal routes have become increasingly popular for both airlines and passengers. So here’s our guide to summer seasonal routes for 2018

With CityJet in retreat, BA now dominates the airport and particularly seasonal routes. CityJets’s former summer seasonal routes to Avignon and Toulon are not currently showing as available for booking in 2018.

On BA at London City you do benefit from 2-2 seating, more legroom and complimentary catering over Gatwick and Heathrow. The one downside is that London City is closed to passenger flights from Saturday to Sunday afternoon.

Many BA routes are also served by one or more of London Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted. It is of course possible to “mix and match” London departure and arrival airports in one booking if that is convenient.

Such is the nature of seasonal routes, it’s not possible to give precise timetable information as timings vary by day. Frequencies can also vary between the shoulder and peak summer season. Also note that routes are subject to change according to commercial demand and operational needs.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com and CityJet.
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Qantas London Heathrow Lounge Review

Qantas has opened an excellent lounge for Oneworld First and Business Class passengers and frequent flyers at London Heathrow Terminal 3.

London Air Travel

Qantas London Lounge Upper Level Bar
Qantas London Lounge Upper Level Bar (Image: London Air Travel)

A relatively rare visit to London Heathrow Terminal 3 afforded us the perfect excuse to check out Qantas’ recently opened lounge in London.

At the outset, our review comes with one significant caveat.

Qantas has just two flights from London a day. One at 11:55 and another at 20:45. Alas, we were not flying to Australia so our visit was between these flights. The lounge was virtually empty. Indeed, at times there were more staff than passengers!

Whilst this was a great opportunity to enjoy a very quiet and peaceful lounge in a busy terminal at a very busy airport, we’re unable to judge how effectively it operates at peak times before Qantas flights leave Heathrow.

Also, some services, namely a la carte dining on the ground level, were not on offer at the time of our visit.

The lounge itself is easy to locate. Once you have cleared Fast Track security in Terminal 3 simply walk straight through the passenger waiting area and the lounge entrance is straight ahead. Lounges in Terminal 3 are assigned a letter for signage and navigation purposes. Qantas is Lounge B. The Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and American Airlines lounges are a short distance away.
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Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 9 January 2018

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

London Air Travel

Hello and welcome to our first weekly travel technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on travel and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 GMT.

 

Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show

The annual Consumer Electronics Show is underway in Las Vegas.  BA and Virgin have been running additional flights from London Heathrow.

Virgin is running flights from Las Vegas to Heathrow on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 January 2018.  British Airways will also operate additional flights to/from London Heathrow and Las Vegas on Tuesday 9, Thursday 11, Friday and Sunday 14 January 2018.

Apple releases iOS 11.2.2

Apple has released the latest version of its iOS operating system (11.2.2).  This includes an update to the mitigate the effects of Spectre.  As always, it is recommended that you download and install the latest software updates as soon as they become available.  Here is more detail from Apple on the vulnerabilities caused by both Meltdown and Spectre.

Also of note this week:

We’re only 9 days into 2018 and it seems that political developments on both sides of the Atlantic are going to be as equally as exhausting as last year.  For an excellent daily summary of developments in the US we recommend the Reliable Sources newsletter from CNN’s Brian Stelter.  A truly impressive amount of effort goes into each edition.

Facebook begins tests to allow users to post Instagram stories into Whatsapp.  Facebook has of course faced scrutiny in the EU over the sharing of data between Whatsapp and Facebook.  (TechCrunch)

Google: We’ve sold a lot of Google Home Minis  (Google)

Inside The Lab Where Amazon’s Alexa Takes Over The World (Wired)

Spotify’s “Mint” playlist for “EDM” (terrible phrase – just call it dance music)  (ChartMetric)

 

Our weekly Travel Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 GMT. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

BA upgrades World Traveller economy catering

British Airways is to introduce improvements to World Traveller economy catering on all long-haul flights to and from London Gatwick and Heathrow from Wednesday 17 January 2018.

London Air Travel

BA World Traveller Catering January 2018
BA World Traveller Catering January 2018

As was announced at the annual IAG Capital Markets Day last year, BA is to introduce improvements to catering on all World Traveller economy flights from Wednesday 17 January 2018.

In truth, much of what has been announced is a reinstatement (once again in some cases…) of items that have previously been cut.

The basic structure of the World Traveller meal service remains the same: Drinks from the bar shortly after take-off; a full meal service, and then a second meal and bar service around 90 minutes before landing.

The service in World Traveller Plus is broadly the same with the addition of pre-take off drinks and a main course from the Club World menu.

Additions to World Traveller Catering from 17 January 2018:

– BA will reinstate pretzels with the first bar service.

– The World Traveller meal tray will include a small bottle of water (rather than a cuplet) and the tray will include cheese and biscuits.

– BA will offer ice creams on day flights from London and will reinstate “tuck boxes” of snacks on overnight flights.

– Graze snack boxes will be offered on longer-range flights (see list below).

– The second meal/snack service will be improved. Last year, there was considerable, and justified, criticism after BA cut the second meal service on flights of less than eight hours to a small chocolate bar / biscuit (see the offending item below from a flight in World Traveller Plus last year). BA will reinstate the provision of a sandwich on relatively short long-haul flights such as New York.

– A second hot meal will be offered on longer range day & night flights.

– BA will continue to tailor menus to regions, particularly Asia and the Middle East, and offer all passengers the option of pre-ordering a special meal.
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