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Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 26 September 2018, our weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.
The pleasure of the transatlantic day flight
It was 30 years ago this year BA launched the Club World brand. Its long-haul business class was previously known as “Super Club”.
To mark the launch Saatchi & Saatchi created one of the most 1980s BA advertisements of the 1980s “Red Eye”.
In a game of naked one-upmanship, it features London based executives attempting to set up a fellow male colleague heading straight to the office from a flight from New York. Denied travel in First Class, he was “like a lamb to the slaughter”.
Alas, the plot was foiled. He flew Club World. He was thus able to have dinner, incorporate the latest figures into his report, and get a decent nights sleep for the day of boardroom politics ahead.
In reality, this is of course implausible. These flights are short and possibly one of the least pleasurable aspects of long-haul travel, regardless of where you are seated in the aircraft. There’s the uncertainty of how restful your fellow passengers will be. Sometimes there’s tangible tension between those desperate to go to sleep as soon as the wheels of the aircraft leave the runway and those happy to enjoy the full service of the flight.
There is of course another option. The transatlantic day flight. There are a small number of flights that leave the US and Canada in the morning and arrive at Heathrow in the evening.
The main downsides are that you do need to get to the airport very early which means either staying at the airport or doing battle with rush hour traffic. And if you miss your flight there won’t be another one for around 10 hours!
However, there’s markedly more relaxed atmosphere on board. Due to timings all passengers are flying direct so all are fresh from a night’s sleep and have little to think about on arrival. The most significant difference of all is vastly reduced jet lag.
Why don’t we have more of these flights? Its partly due to scheduling inefficiencies as it necessitates leaving an aircraft at the airport overnight and they are reliant on passengers travelling direct.
Here are the main transatlantic day flights from the US and Canada. Timings are indicative and some vary by day, as well as season.
Flight BA238 Depart Boston Logan 07:30 – Arrive London Heathrow 19:05
Flight VS158 Depart Boston Logan 08:30 – Arrive London Heathrow 20:10 (launches 1 April 2019)
Flight AA90 Depart Chicago O’Hare 09:15 – Arrive London Heathrow 22:45
Flight BA178 Depart New York JFK 07:55 – Arrive London Heathrow 19:45
Flight VS26 Depart New York JFK 08:15 – Arrive London Heathrow 20:10
Flight AA142 Depart New York JFK 10:20 – Arrive London Heathrow 22:10
Flight DI7014 Depart New York JFK 11:15 – Arrive London Gatwick 23:15
Flight UA934 Depart New York Newark 08:30 – Arrive London Heathrow 20:40
Flight AC868 Depart Toronto Pearson 09:10 – Arrive London Heathrow 21:00
Flight UA122 Depart Washington Dulles 08:20 – Arrive London Heathrow 20:55
Norwegian suspends Belfast and Edinburgh transatlantic flights
Norwegian has confirmed that it is to suspend transatlantic flights from Belfast and Edinburgh.
Norwegian has pointed the finger of blame at squarely at Air Passenger Duty. From Edinburgh, Norwegian had launched three routes to Hartford, Providence and New York Stewart. It had already suspended Hartford. Providence was due to end in October of this year. New York Stewart will now end on 30 March 2019.
It is worth recalling the huge amount of free PR that was generated for Norwegian with the launch of transatlantic flights from Edinburgh at £69 one way. Even though it took the most cursory knowledge to see that these were plainly uneconomic.
Norwegian will also suspend its routes from Belfast International to Providence and New York Stewart from the end of October.
Norwegian has indicated that it will concentrate future growth at Dublin. However, regardless of the levels of Air Passenger Duty, there is clearly not the year-round demand to sustain flights to secondary US destinations from UK regional airports.
US airlines raise checked baggage fees
A number of US airlines have increased fees for checked bags for flights in North America.
American Airlines has followed Delta, United and JetBlue in increasings its fees for a checked bag for flights within North America. American has increased fees by $5 for the first and second bags to $30 and $40 respectively.
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