Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 21 November 2017

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in travel and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 07:00 GMT.

BA Smartphone App Upgrades

Hello and welcome to the weekly bulletin featuring the latest developments on travel and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 07:00 GMT / 08:00 CET. British Airways updates its latest smartphone app

BA has this week released an update to its smartphone app which introduces a new functionality to purchase a fixed price upgrade on your flights.

BA has long offered one-way fixed price upgrades to the next available cabin (the most advantageous being from World Traveller Plus to Club World for anything betwen £399 and £599) through both the app and the Manage My Booking tool.

The offers tend to come and go at any point between purchasing the flight and checking in. These are of course primarily done for BA’s benefit. They generate additional revenue and convert what would otherwise be free upgrades on oversold flights into paid upgrades.

Well now you can purchase an available upgrade even after you’ve checked in for your flight. The availability and pricing of upgrades will of course vary by route and are more likely on routes with lower business class demand.

A likely explanation for this is that if premium seats become available at the last minute through passengers cancelling flexible tickets or missing connections, BA can now offer these seats for sale. The one downside for passengers is that the closer to departure you upgrade the fewer seats available to choose from.
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Christmas Greetings from airlines & airports worldwide

The world’s airline and airports release their annual Christmas films to mark the festive season for 2017.

Heathrow Bears
Heathrow Bears (Image Credit: Heathrow Airport)

The release of a Christmas film by airlines and airports is now a regular fixture in the festive calendar. In previous years some have attracted audiences in the hundreds of millions.

Here is our collection of films released by the world’s airlines and airports for 2017 which we will update up to Christmas Eve.

As ever, these films are a timely reminder of the value of aviation in bringing people together.

For a retrospective view, here’s our collections from 2016, 2015, and 2014.

Heathrow Airport: Closer This Christmas
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Aviation Business Briefing – Monday 20 November 2017

Welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 20 November 2017, as published every Monday at 07:00 GMT.

British Airways, First Class, Airbus, A380
British Airways First Class, Airbus A380 (Source: BA Press Office)

Hello and welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 20 November 2017.

Is BA going to order more Airbus A380s?

Interest in the future of the Airbus A380 was piqued this week following a claim in FlightGlobal that BA, as well as other airlines, were in talks about acquiring Airbus A380s that Singapore Airlines has returned to its lessor.

IAG CEO Willie Walsh is a fan of the Airbus A380: “It’s a great aircraft when you can fill it.” It clearly serves BA well on trunk routes such as Johannesburg and major US gateways such as Los Angeles and Miami. BA currently has 12 Airbus A380s in service, with options to acquire a further 7 from Airbus. However, Willie Walsh has declared the cost buying new aircraft as too expensive. Willie has expressed an interest in leasing second-hand Airbus A380s so the story, whatever the intentions of the source, is at least plausible. However, technical differences between BA and Singapore Airlines aircraft may prohibit a deal, unless it is at a very good price.

BA and IAG (which ultimately controls the purse strings) is clearly looking for a solution that gives flexibility to adjust capacity in a downturn. BA does not want to have to park 20+ A380s in the desert during the next recession.

The airline most closely associated with the Airbus A380 is of course Emirates which currently has some 100 of them in service. The airline was expected to announce a deal to acquire more at the Dubai Air Show, but it failed to materialise. Bloomberg has the story.
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BA to adopt “group boarding” on all flights from 12 December 2017

British Airways is to allocate all passengers to one of five groups for boarding all short and long-haul flights from Tuesday 12 December 2017.

British Airways Self Boarding Gates - London Heathrow Terminal 5
British Airways Self Boarding Gates – London Heathrow Terminal 5

If you’ve ever taken a domestic flight in the United States or indeed flown on a US airline from London, you may well be familiar with the concept of group boarding.

Put simply, each passenger is allocated to a group and invited to board in that order. From Tuesday 12 December 2017, BA will be adopting this system across its network. Mercifully, BA has restricted the number of groups to five. This is in contrast to nine groups adopted by some US airlines.

The intention is to make the boarding process more efficient and reduce crowding around gate areas in advance of boarding. The system should also be easier to understand for all passengers, particularly those whose first language is not English.

You may well have read coverage of this chance in the UK media. It has to be said what coverage we have seen has been absolutely dismal and has misrepresented the changes. This includes outlets such as BBC News that really should know better. The essence of the change is a modification to existing processes rather than a radical implementation of a new class system!

Please see here for the system used for flights up to 12 December.
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In Flight Entertainment – Week beginning 19 November

Published every Sunday morning, here’s our weekly pick of TV shows, radio programmes, podcasts and articles to download, stream, save and print for your travels in the coming week.

Newsweek 24 November 2017

Here’s our weekly pick of TV shows, radio programmes, podcasts and articles to download, stream, save and print for your travels in the coming week.

As these are picked primarily from UK sources, many programmes will not be available for download or streaming from outside the UK. All should be available for the next 30 days from the date of broadcast.  Some press articles may require a registration/subscription.

This year is proving to herald a significant shake-up in the American media market following reports that the Murdochs may be selling 21st Century Fox with Comcast, Disney and Verizon cited as potential suitors. In new media, a number of digital media businesses are putting themselves up for sale.

The Murdoch’s insist that one media platform that is not for sale is Fox News, Donald Trump’s preferred source of morning news. Newsweek looks at the phenomenal media machine.

One news network that is firmly out of favour with President Trump is of course CNN. Its opinion series Free Press features contributions from Cristiane Amanpour and Emily Bell on the importance of a free press. The series will run until 1 December 2017.

It was announced this week that Radhika Jones would succeed Graydon Carter as editor of Vanity Fair amidst talk of significant cuts at its parent Conde Nast. Tina Brown, editor of the magazine between 1983 and 1992, published “The Vanity Fair Diaries” this week. Tina, one of many Brits to break the New York media market, speaks to Time magazine. Tina’s legacy is considere by The New Yorker.
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Aer Lingus launches Dublin – Seattle

Aer Lingus is to fly direct from Dublin to Seattle four times a week from Friday 18 May 2018.

Aer Lingus is to fly direct from Dublin to Seattle from May 2018. The airline will fly to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport four times weekly on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The route launches on Friday 18 May 2018.

Flights will be operated using an Airbus A330 aircraft in a two class, economy and business, configuration.

This is the latest addition to a growing portfolio of transatlantic routes for Aer Lingus from Dublin. It has recently launched Miami and announced Philadelphia. It has also launched Los Angeles, Hartford, Newark and Washington Dulles in recent years.

The route will be codeshared with BA and it will be possible, via ba.com to book a one-stop flight from London to Seattle via Dublin with the benefit of US customs & immigration pre-clearance and a direct flight back from Seattle to London. BA flies to Seattle up to two times daily on most days of the week.

It’s also worth noting that BA does have a codeshare partnership with Alaska Airlines at Seattle to destinations such as Anchorage and Portland. Aer Lingus may well follow BA and add Alaska Airlines as a codeshare partner.

If you book via AerLingus.com direct from Dublin it will also be possible to buy an “unbundled” saver fare which does not include a checked bag, seat selection nor blankets and headphomes.

Aer Lingus is due to join the transatlantic joint-business with American Airlines, BA, Finnair and Iberia which is pending regulatory approval. However, based on comments by its CEO this week, there are no immediate plans for Aer Lingus to join the Oneworld alliance.

Flights are on sale now at AerLingus.com

Dublin – Seattle

Flight EI99 Depart Dublin 15:50 – Arrive Seattle 17:25 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday)
Flight EI98 Depart Seattle 19:20 – Arrive Dublin 12:35 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday)

Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 14 November 2017

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in travel and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 07:00 GMT.

Sonos One (Image Credit: Sonos)

Hello and welcome to the weekly bulletin featuring the latest developments on travel and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 07:00 GMT / 08:00 CET.

Sonos opens its London flagship

Sonos opens its first flagship shop in Europe this coming Thursday, at 21-23 Earlham Street, Seven Dials in Covent Garden.

The shop opens with a special event (sadly sold out) on Friday featuring personal stories about David Bowie songs from Nick Rhodes, Graham Coxon and Peaches. The two storey shop, like Sonos’ New York flagship, features “listening rooms” as well as an events space in the basement. Again, if its New York shop is anything go by, expect regular live sessions and listening events.

Microsoft and Samsung are also due to open flagship stores in London, at Oxford Circus and Kings Cross respectively.

There was not such good news for another American technology company in London. The Apple Store on Regent Street was raided in the early hours of Monday morning. A full report in the Evening Standard.
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