American Airlines’ London Heathrow Terminal 3 arrivals lounge is now closed for refurbishment

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 on selected long-haul flights from late 2016

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 to launch daily flight from Los Angeles to Auckland from June 2016

American Airlines is to launch a daily flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand from an as yet unspecified date in June 2016, the airline announced today.

The flight will be operated using its Boeing 787 Dreamliner and will be codeshared with Qantas, as part of the trans-pacific joint venture between the two airlines. The operation of the flight is subject to regulatory approval.

For UK based travellers, this does also provide another option to reach New Zealand via the US West Coast, albeit it’s not brilliantly timed for same-day connections, particularly on the return from New Zealand. The other option being Air Newland’s London Heathrow-Los Angeles-Auckland flight.

Here’s the timetable:

Los Angeles – Auckland

Depart Los Angeles 22:45 – Arrive Auckland 06:35 (Two days later)

Auckland – Los Angeles

Depart Auckland 13:20 – Arrive Los Angeles 06:30 (Same day)

American Airlines to add a 2nd daily London Heathrow – Charlotte flight

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 733 departs Heathrow at 2.25pm and arrives in Charlotte at 6.20pm.

AA, BA, Delta & Virgin gear up for battle on London – New York route

New York City Skyline
New York City Skyline

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.

Continue reading “AA, BA, Delta & Virgin gear up for battle on London – New York route”

US Airways & American Airlines’ planned merger: What does this mean at London 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.

Continue reading “US Airways & American Airlines’ planned merger: What does this mean at London Heathrow?”