Seasonal Christmas & New Year Greetings from the world’s airlines & airports for 2016

The release of an annual Christmas film from the world’s major airlines and airports is now a regular fixture in the calendar. In previous years some videos and PR stunts have attracted audiences in the hundreds of millions worldwide on social media.

Here is the start of our collection of films released by the world’s airlines and airports for 2016.

As ever, these films are a timely reminder as to what aviation is really about: bring people together.

We’ll be updating this page with more videos in the coming weeks as Christmas approaches.

Heathrow Airport: Coming Home For Christmas
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When is United Airlines’ new “Polaris” business class coming to London Heathrow?

If you’ve travelled on the London Underground Waterloo & City line between London Waterloo and Bank stations recently, you could not fail to have noticed extensive advertising for United Airlines’ new “Polaris” business class.

“Polaris” is the new brand name for United Airlines’ new business class.  It has been designed with the assistance of London based design agency PriestmanGoode.  Polaris officially launched this week, on 1 December 2016.

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Cathay Pacific opens its new business and first class lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 3

Cathay Pacific has today opened its new first and business class lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 3.

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British Airways prepares for its move to London Gatwick’s South Terminal with trial flights & early moves

In 2017, there will be a significant reorganisation at London Gatwick. easyJet will consolidate its operations into a single terminal at the airport, with all flights operating from the North Terminal.

In order to facilitate this move, British Airways from the North Terminal to the South Terminal. Virgin Atlantic will move from the South Terminal to the North Terminal. BA will move to the South Terminal on Wednesday 25 January 2017.

BA has of course learned the hard way that terminal moves can be fraught with difficulty. It is for this reason the airline has already begun trial flights from the South Terminal.

In advance of the full move the following routes will move to the South Terminal on a permanent basis in January 2017:

London Gatwick – New York JFK

Flight BA2273 London Gatwick – New York JFK (from Wednesday 11 January 2017)
Flight BA2272 New York JFK – London Gatwick (from Thursday 12 January 2017)

London Gatwick – Naples

Flight BA2612 London Gatwick – Naples (from Thursday 19 January 2017)
Flight BA2613 Naples – London (from Thursday 19 January 2017)
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British Airways launches four times weekly service from London Gatwick to Limoges from May 2017

British Airways has launched a new route from London Gatwick to Limoges, France from May 2017.

Officially, the route from London Gatwick to Limoges (Limoges Airport) launches on 28 May 2017. However, we have found flights operating earlier in May.

The route will operate up to four times weekly with flights on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

As is par the course for BA short-haul routes from London Gatwick, the timing of the flights varies widely by day with departure times ranging from very early in the morning to late evening.

The route is scheduled to operate until early September 2017.

The frequency and duration of this route may be varied at short notice depending on its commercial performance (again, this is par the course for BA at Gatwick).

This route addition does join a growing list of seasonal BA routes to France including seasonal flights from Heathrow to Biaritz, Montpellier and Nantes.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

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Do you (still) have a bmi British Midland Diamond Club frequent flyer account? Your miles will expire permanently on 30 November 2016!

It’s nearly five years since the parent company of British Airways, International Airlines Group, acquired bmi British Midland from Lufthansa.

The bmi name was long disappeared from London Heathrow (its regional arm bmi regional is still flying having been acquired by independent investors).

However, bmi’s frequent flyer programme Diamond Club has remained in operation.

Whilst it hasn’t been possible earn Diamond Club miles from flights, it was possible to earn miles through Diamond Club credit cards issued by MBNA Ltd until 30 September of this year.

Any remaining miles in all Diamond Club accounts will expire in perpetuity on Wednesday 30 November 2016.

However, it is possible to transfer any remaining miles in your account on a 1:1 basis to Avios in a British Airways Executive Club frequent flyer account. This must be done before 30 November 2016.

In order to do this you will need to be able to access your Diamond Club account online (to retrieve your membership number and miles balance) and have an active British Airways Executive Club account.

BA has a dedicated tool on its website called Combine My Avios. You can use this to transfer however many Diamond Club miles you have to your Executive Club account.

A transfer of miles should only take a few minutes to do and should then appear in your Executive Club account shortly afterwards.

On a related note, here’s our analysis (albeit superseded by recent events) of what happened shortly after the merger of bmi into BA.

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British Airways promises a $60million dollar revamp of New York JFK Terminal 7

British Airways, New York JFK Terminal 7, May 2008

British Airways, New York JFK Terminal 7, May 2008

On 21 May 2008, British Airways held a press conference at Terminal 7 of New York JFK airport. The then Chief Executive of the airline Willie Walsh outlined ambitious plans for a $30 million revamp of the terminal. The plans included a “drive through” check-in for First Class class passenhers and Gold Executive Club card holders, revamped check-in and security zones, and refurbished lounges and travel spa.

What happened to the global financial system and the world economy shortly afterwards is well documented. The collapse of Lehman Brothers and state bail-outs of banks such as RBS and HBOS led to a dramatic fall in business and first class traffic, particularly from passengers who buy highly profitable flexible fares.

The plans for a revamp were put on hold and have remained on the drawing board ever since.

That is until today when British Airways CEO Alex Cruz announced a $60 million dollar revamp of New York JFK Terminal 7 and a refurbishment of lounges in Boston, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Houston and Seattle over the next five years.
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