Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 20 February 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

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.

Social Media In The Dock

The biggest story in the past week has of course been Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian individuals who are alleged to have manipulated many social media platforms to interfere in the 2016 US Presidential Election.

It is worth reading the full text of the indictment to see just how systematically and methodically social media platforms were abused.

NBC News has retrieved more than 200,000 now deleted tweets alleged to have been posted by Russian trolls.

Continue reading “Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 20 February 2018”

Monday Briefing – 19 February 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

Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner Emily Kame Kngwarreye
Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner Emily Kame Kngwarreye (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 19 February 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

Singapore Airlines Documentary

Did you see “The World’s Most Luxurious Airline” on Channel 4?

If not, it’s available on Channel 4’s on-demand service, 4OD.

As with any documentary of this type, the combined influence of planning and casting, the production team standing behind the camera, and editing should never be under-estimated. There were the predictable juxtaposition of the worlds of First Class and the everyday and pure Alan Partridge moments from carefully cast and edited contributors.

It was noteworthy how Twitter’s typically mocking live commentary took an abrupt turn when the programme turned to Singapore Airlines’ cabin crew recruitment processes. “Singapore Girl”, which is literally a creation from the 1970s and has barely changed since, felt very out of step with the times and almost tone-deaf. Social attitudes and the constituency of air passengers has changed enormously since the 1970s and it’s clearly time for a rethink.
Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 19 February 2018”

BA offering 2 Club World tickets for £2,018 to Beijing and Shanghai

British Airways is offering 2 Club World tickets for £2,018 on flights from London Heathrow to Beijing and Shanghai to mark Chinese New Year. The promotion ends on Wednesday 21 February 2018.

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Gifts to be handed out to British Airways customers to mark Chinese New Year (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)

British Airways is running a special promotion on flights to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong to mark Chinese New Year.

The sale applies across all cabins. What is particularly of note is that BA is offering two Club World tickets for £2,018 on flights from London Heathrow to Beijing and Shanghai. Whilst, at £1,009 per person for two, this is not the lowest Club World fare we have ever seen, it is very good value. Solo fares can also be purchased for £1,318 for Beijing and £1,298 for Shanghai.

There are some restrictions. These include the requirement to travel midweek and stay a Saturday night. The special Club World fare applies for travel from Sunday 1 April 2018 to Thursday 6 December 2018. However, blackout dates do apply.

There are also promotional fares in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus with similar restrictions. World Traveller fares are available from £418 for Beijing, £393 for Shanghai and £458 for Hong Kong. World Traveller Plus fares are available from £708 for Beijing and Shanghai and £873 for Hong Kong. There are no Club World special fares for Hong Kong.

The sale ends on Wednesday 21 February 2018 and flights are on sale now at ba.com

Norwegian 2017 Financial Results

Norwegian has unveiled ambitious plans to expand its long-haul network at Gatwick and to grow its fleet. However, its financial results show a net loss of of NKr299m (£27.7m) for the year to 31 December 2017.

London Air Travel

Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Norwegian launched its inaugural route from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires on Wednesday. The day before it held a press event to herald its ambitions for the UK.

Norwegian unveiled a shopping list of possible future long-haul routes from London Gatwick.

These routes include Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. Norwegian is also due to take delivery of the Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft in 2019 and, from 2020, this could operate routes from London Gatwick to Philadelphia, Detroit and Minneapolis.

The airline also has firm plans to increase frequencies on London Gatwick – Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale this summer. It is also hoped to increase London Gatwick – New York JFK to three times daily.

Norwegian was duly rewarded with one of the most read articles on BBC News Online on Wednesday, which only touched on the sustainability of its business model towards the end of the article.

There was less positive news for Norwegian’s shareholders today.

Norwegian unveiled its financial results for the year to 31 December 2017. It unveiled a net loss of of NKr299m (£27.7m) for the year and a net loss of NKr919m (£84.4m) for the 4th quarter. This compares to a profit of NKr1.14bn for 2016.

Put simply, Norwegian is expanding rapidly, but so are its costs. Continue reading “Norwegian 2017 Financial Results”

New Virgin Atlantic codeshares to Australia

Virgin Atlantic has launched a new codeshare with Virgin Australia on flights from London Heathrow to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney via Los Angeles.

London Air Travel

Virgin Australia Aircraft (Image Credit: Virgin Australia)

A little under ten years ago, when Virgin America and what was then V Australia were in their formative years, there was much talk of the formation of a “Virgin Alliance”.

In February 2009, the then CEOs of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America and V Australia gathered in Los Angeles to talk up the concept of a new fourth alliance to rival Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam.

Sir Richard Branson, who then also hoped to set up new Virgin airlines in Brazil and Russia, flew around the world to show that you could now fly around the world London Heathrow – Hong Kong – Sydney – Los Angeles – London Heathrow on Virgin branded airlines.

Much has changed since then. Virgin America has been acquired by Alaska Airlines and the brand will soon disappear. Virgin Atlantic suspended its Sydney service in 2014. What is now Virgin Australia has undergone numerous changes to its structure and is now owned by Etihad, Singapore Airlines, HNA Aviation Group and others.

After a long period of inactivity, Virgin Atlantic has launched a new codeshare arrangement with Virgin Australia from Sunday 25 March 2018.

It is now possible to book, via Virgin Atlantic, flights from London to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney via Los Angeles.

From a cursory scan of flights online, this is not the most efficient way to fly to Australia due to length of the stopover in Los Angeles which takes the flight time to at least 30 hours. It is also of course conventional to fly from London to Australia eastbound via the Middle East or Asia. However, this may be an option for those who want to earn Virgin Flying Club miles or sample Virgin Australia. Note that some trans-pacific codeshare flights are operated by Delta which has a trans-pacific joint-venture with Virgin Australia.

Also note that whilst Virgin Australia offers economy, premium economy and business class as per Virgin Atlantic, the design of the cabin and seats differs. Full details of Virgin Australia’s in-flight cabins and amenities are available on its website.

We have seen announcements online referring to Virgin Australia’s recently launched Hong Kong – Melbourne route also being included in the codeshare. However, we can’t see any flights on sale at Virgin Atlantic at present.

Changes affecting children flying alone on BA

British Airways has introduced important policy changes affecting all children flying alone from Tuesday 1 May 2018.

London Air Travel

Image Credit: British Airways

British Airways has introduced two important policy changes regarding children flying alone on the airline which apply from Tuesday 1 May 2018.

1. Minimum age for unaccompanied children

BA has, with effect from Tuesday 1 May 2018, increased the minimum age at which a child is allowed to fly alone from 12 to 14 years.

No bookings for children under 14 years flying alone can be made after Tuesday 1 May 2018. Bookings can continue to be made before this date and will be honoured.

BA withdrew its “Skyflyer Solo” service which provided a chaperone for unaccompanied minors on 31 January 2017.

2. New procedures affecting all unaccompanied children under the age of 16

In addition, all children under 16 and travelling alone from Tuesday 1 May 2018 must have a completed parental/guardian consent form prior to travel. This change applies regardless of when the booking was made.

The form will be available on ba.com from early April 2018. Parents/guardians will need to download, print and complete the form prior to travel. Unaccompanied children must ensure they bring the form with them and carry it at all times.

Based on guidance provided by BA to the travel trade, this change is driven by BA requiring a consent form in order to provide children with assistance during unexpected disruption, such as the diversion of an aircraft or cancellation of a flight.

There’s more guidance on children flying alone on ba.com

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 13 February 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

Two contrasting Wired Magazine covers on Facebook
Two contrasting Wired Magazine covers on Facebook (Image Credit: Wired)

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.

Smart Speakers

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is now on sale.

Now admittedly, Apple’s capacious store on Regent Street with all its hard surfaces is not the best environment to test a speaker. It certainly packs a sound. Bearing in mind the price point of £315 and that you’ll need two speakers to benefit from stereo sound, it is a lot of money. Having sampled Alexa and Google Home, I think Google Home Mini wins for its ease of use, unobtrusiveness and accessible price point which allows for multiple purchases. If you really want HiFi sound, then it’s best to invest in HiFi.

The Loop goes inside Apple’s HomePod audio lab.
Continue reading “Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 13 February 2018”