Monday Briefing – 5 March 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.

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The Deck, Cathay Pacific Lounge, Hong Kong (Image Credit: Cathay Pacific)
The Deck, Cathay Pacific Lounge, Hong Kong (Image Credit: Cathay Pacific)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 5 March 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

UK & Ireland Weather

The big story over the past week has of course been the weather with very significant disruption across the UK and Ireland.

There has also been significant disruption on the US East Coast with Delta cancelling 900 flights on Friday.

Although it will be little comfort to those whose flights from Heathrow were cancelled, the airport’s preparedness and response to the snow was vastly better than in December 2010.

Consider that on Saturday 18 December 2010 there was the absurd sight of Heathrow’s then Head Of Media participating in a Day Today-esque interview on BBC News immediately after BA cancelled its entire schedule claiming that the airport was operating normally. That very same night no less than 9,500 passengers spent the night sleeping in Heathrow and some 4,000 flights were cancelled over five days. So credit to Heathrow as its investment in more equipment and resources has clearly paid off. (Heathrow’s Media Relations team was also completely overhauled shortly afterwards.)

BA’s “High Density” Boeing 777 is here

According to the BA Source, BA has taken delivery of its first refurbished “High Density” Boeing 777, with 10 abreast seating in World Traveller.

BA has not yet released in any images of the new cabin but it is understood that it features new seating in World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and a new in-flight entertainment system. Please see here for our unofficial survey of where the aircraft is expected to operate at Gatwick in 2018.

Update: Please see here for images of the refurbished aircraft which was unveiled today, Monday 5 March 2018.

No more new Embraers for BA at London City

Earlier this year we published an update guide to BA’s plans for its fleet.

Following the publication of BA’s annual report and accounts, it has been modified slightly. One point of note is that BA has allowed options to purchase another 15 Embraer aircraft expire and there are no further deliveries planned. Put simply, this means no expansion for BA CityFlyer at London City or UK regional airports in the medium term, at least by means of new aircraft.

Inside the World of the Frequent Flyer

For many years, particularly on the other side of Atlantic, there has been a growing industry dedicated to the promotion of going to absurd lengths to exploit every last available frequent flyer mile and reach the upper echelons of airline frequent flyer programmes. Even when this involves choosing the most tortuous way of the travelling from A-B imaginable.

BBC Radio 4 goes inside Inside the World of the Frequent Flyer at 11:00 today, Monday 5 March 2018. The programme will be available on demand for 30 days after broadcast.

New Cathay Pacific Lounge

Cathay Pacific has long been known for its portfolio of lounges at Hong Kong International Airport.

The latest lounge is The Deck which opens on Thursday 22 March 2018.

Located on Level 7 of Terminal 1, near Gate 16 the lounge features Cathay Pacific’s signature Noodle Bar, a living room inspired main seating area, shower suites and terrace overlooking the airport terminal. As per Cathay Pacific’s London Heathrow Terminal 3 lounge it follows the Studioilse designed “Life Well Travelled” lounge concept.

This lounge replaces The Cabin which closes on Monday 30 April 2018.

New BA Lounge Access

After announcing last month that eligible BA passengers now have lounge access at Ibiza, Innsbruck and Seville airports, the airline has also secured lounge access at Porto and Reykjavik airports.

Qantas London Heathrow – Perth menus

Sample Food on London Heathrow - Perth (Image Credit: Qantas)
Sample Food on London Heathrow – Perth (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Qantas has unveiled sample menus ahead of the launch of its non-stop Boeing 787 Dreamliner from London Heathrow to Perth on Sunday 25 March 2018.

Designed by Neil Perry there is an emphasis on lighter dishes that feature water rich ingredients to promote hydration. The sample menus (PDF) feature dishes such as Seared Cone Bay Barramundi with herb garlic potatoes, broccolini, lemon, olive and almond salsa (Business Class from Perth); Marinated beef, citrus, cumin and zucchini salad (Economy & Premium economy); Roast English beef with Yorkshire pudding, peas and onion gravy (Business Class from London) and Poached egg, kale, quinoa, grilled haloumi, pistachio and green tahini dressing (Business Class from London and Australia). Also on offer are cold pressed juices and bespoke herbal teas.

Qantas has not yet detailed the exact timing and number of meal services during the flight and we look forward to seeing more details in the coming weeks.

Also of note this week:

British Airways Captain Mark Vanhoenacker bids adieu to BA’s Boeing 747 as he transfers to the Boeing 787 fleet. (Financial Times)

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell tells the FT there’ll be no third runway at London Heathrow. (Financial Times)

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