American Airlines & BA launch the “Altitude Academy”

American Airlines and BA are offering the chance to win flights to the US at the “Altitude Academy” in Canary Wharf on Wednesday 19 – Thursday 20 September.

London Air Travel » American Airlines

American Airlines & British Airways Altitude Academy - London, September 2018
American Airlines & British Airways Altitude Academy – London, September 2018 (Image Credit: American Airlines/British Airways)

American Airlines and British Airways are launching, to use marketing speak, an “activation” in Canary Wharf over two days next week.

Called the “Altitude Academy”, the promotion is intended to showcase American Airlines and BA’s joint transatlantic network from London and the respective premium cabins and service of the two airlines.

Across four different zones, passengers will be able to discover their “frequent flyer style” and take part in games and challenges. Of greatest interest will be opportunities to win business class tickets to the United States. Complimentary catering will be supplied by Rhurbab who also cater for American Airlines’ lounges at London Heathrow.

American Airlines & British Airways Altitude Academy - London, September 2018
American Airlines & British Airways Altitude Academy – London, September 2018 (Image Credit: American Airlines/British Airways)

The Altitude Academy will be located in Jubilee Plaza, in front of Canary Wharf Tube station. It will be open from 11:00 to 19:00 on Wednesday 19 September and 07:00 to 19:00 Thursday 20 September 2018.

Flying Over The Florida Keys

London Air Travel » American Airlines

Sunset at the Florida Keys
Sunset at the Florida Keys (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

The Florida Keys, as the southernmost point of the US, have long been a popular escape from winter in the Northern hemisphere for those seeking a more bohemian alternative to the crowds and overt self-confidence of Miami Beach. And it has better sunsets.

You can of course drive there, but there is also the option of flying. Many US airlines, through their regional affiliates, fly to Key West International Airport with varying degrees of frequency from their respective hubs. American Airlines from Dallas Fort Worth and Miami; Delta from Atlanta; and United from Chicago O’Hare and Newark.

You’ll also see a number of private plans on the airfield at Key West. Other than that it’s largely Silver Airways flights to the Florida region, an airline we don’t know enough about to comment on – though online reviews don’t instil confidence.

It’s flying between Miami and Key West over the Florida Keys on American Eagle that we’ll cover as it is the most likely route for visitors to Florida.

American serves the route many times a day, typically using Embraer E175 aircraft operated by Republic Airlines under the American Eagle livery.

American Eagle Embraer E175 aircraft at Key West airport
American Eagle Embraer E175 aircraft at Key West airport (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

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American Airlines London Heathrow Arrivals Lounge Review

Our review of the recently refurbished American Airlines Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3, which is also open to eligible passengers flying on British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas.

London Air Travel » American Airlines

American Airlines Arrivals Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 3
American Airlines Arrivals Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

One of the many unique things about London Heathrow is the sheer number of arrivals lounges.

Outside of London arrivals lounges are few and far between. The only lounges that immediately spring to mind are Cathay Pacific’s The Arrival in Hong Kong, Lufthansa’s Arrivals Lounge in Frankfurt and South African Airways’ Arrivals Lounge in Johannesburg.

At Heathrow, it’s a different story. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Star Alliance offer arrivals lounges at their respective hubs in Terminals 5, 3 and 2. Plaza Premium also offer paid-for arrivals lounges at Terminals 2, 3, and 4.

American Airlines has long had an arrivals lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3 and this week we had our first visit since the lounge closed for refurbishment in 2016.
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American Airlines’ Heathrow arrivals lounge closes for refurbishment

London Air Travel » American Airlines

American Airlines Aircraft at London Heathrow
American Airlines Aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

American Airlines’ arrivals lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3 is now closed for refurbishment. The new lounge will open on an as yet unspecified date later this year.

Passengers arriving in to London Heathrow Terminal 3 on American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas Airways long-haul flights in first and business class can use the British Airways arrivals lounge in Terminal 5.

The lounge is not part of Oneworld alliance reciprocal lounge access arrangements. Therefore, members of American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qantas frequent flyer programmes cannot access the lounge unless arriving from a long-haul flight on these airlines in first and business class.

Only Gold members of the British Airways Executive Club can access the lounge when arriving from a long-haul flight in any cabin on British Airways.

Terminal 5 can be accessed from Terminal 3 by taking a free transfer on the Heathrow Express train service between Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 5. The BA lounge is located on the first floor in the arrivals area and is accessible by lift from the arrivals area.

The BA lounge is open until 2pm and offers hot showers and a full English breakfast until around 11am and continental breakfast options until around midday.

Please note that in light of increased access to the lounge it is likely to be much busier, particularly during the transatlantic arrivals “rush hour” from 6am to 9am and access may be denied due to capacity constraints.

American Airlines to introduce premium economy from late 2016

London Air Travel » American Airlines

American Airlines Aircraft at London Heathrow
American Airlines Aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

More than fifteen years since British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have operated premium economy cabins on long-haul aircraft, American Airlines has today announced that is to operate a dedicated premium economy cabin on selected long-haul flights from late 2016.

Airlines were initially reluctant to install premium economy for fear of cannibalising business class revenue but its adoption has gathered pace in recent years (the latest airline being Singapore Airlines.) US airlines in particular have historically chosen to offer a few rows of extra leg room seats in economy (Main Cabin Extra in the case of American Airlines), rather than a dedicated premium economy cabin.

From late next year, American Airlines will roll out premium economy on select long-haul flights, initially on Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner aircraft. The cabin will also be fitted on all Boeing 787, 777, Airbus A330 and Airbus A350 aircraft. It will not be added to Boeing 757 or 767 aircraft.

Details are scant at the moment, other than that passengers will benefit from wider seats with adjustable head and leg rests, more leg room and enhanced on board catering and amenities.

American has not yet indicated how the cabin will be accommodated on aircraft, either by reducing seats in other cabins, or removing other cabin classes (such as First or Main Cabin Extra) entirely.

American has also not yet indicated on which routes the cabin will launch. However, we expect London Heathrow routes to gain premium economy, partly to capture premium traffic demand and to have parity with its transatlantic joint business partner, British Airways.

What information is available is on a dedicated American Airlines microsite.

In related premium economy news, Iberia is expected to add a premium economy cabin when it takes delivery of Airbus A350 aircraft next year.

American Airlines add 2nd daily London Heathrow – Charlotte flight

London Air Travel » American Airlines

American Airlines Aircraft at London Heathrow
American Airlines Aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

American Airlines is to add a second daily London Heathrow – Charlotte flight, reports the Charlotte Observer.

This was a route inherited from American Airlines’ merger partner, US Airways, which has operated on a daily basis.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the 2nd flight will launch on 13 September 2014. The second flight is not yet on sale. It is a reasonable assumption that the flight will be operating using a slot pair sold by Cyprus Airways.

The addition of this flight means it is unlikely that American’s transatlantic business partner British Airways is to launch its own direct service to Charlotte.

Update:

The 2nd flight is now on sale. Flight AA733 departs Heathrow at 14:25 and arrives in Charlotte at 18:20

AA, BA, Delta & Virgin to battle on London – New York

London Air Travel » American Airlines

Delta, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic & British Airways aircraft at London Heathrow
Delta, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic & British Airways aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

If there’s one long-haul route from London that is more coveted than any other, it has to be the London Heathrow to New York route.

In 2013, some 4.2 million passengers flew in both directions between London and New York. This is more than Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami combined.

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US Airways & American merger: What does this mean at Heathrow?

London Air Travel » American Airlines

Delta, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic & British Airways aircraft at London Heathrow
Delta, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic & British Airways aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

American Airlines & US Airways are, after much speculation and uncertainty over regulatory approval (and significant concessions over slots at US airports), expected to merge.

As the two airlines have large domestic networks in the US much of the coverage has naturally focused on the impact in the US.

However, the merger does have implications for travellers in London, particularly frequent flyers of British Airways and Oneworld which is what I focus on in this post.

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