The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 20 November 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

British Airways Boeing 787-9 First Class (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 787-9 First Class (Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

BA To Operate Boeing 787-10 To Atlanta

BA has confirmed it will take delivery of its first Boeing 787-10 aircraft in January 2020.

BA has 12 aircraft on order, and 6 will arrive next year. The first route will be London Heathrow – Atlanta from February 2020, which is currently operated with a mixture of Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

As expected, the aircraft will be in a four class configuration with 8 seats in First, 48 in Club World, 35 in World Traveller Plus and 165 in World Traveller. The First seat will be the same as is currently on Boeing 787-9 aircraft, as pictured above.

Virgin Atlantic To Operate Airbus A350-1000 to Los Angeles and San Francisco

Virgin Atlantic has also confirmed it will operate the Airbus A350-1000 daily to Los Angeles and San Francisco from April and May 2020 respectively. However, these are not yet showing in online timetables.

Virgin has also launched a new codeshare partnership with WestJet at London Gatwick. Virgin has placed its code on WestJet’s year-round services from Gatwick to Calgary and Toronto, and summer seasonal services to Halifax and Vancouver.

All routes operate with WestJet’s new Boeing 787 aircraft, except Halifax which is currently scheduled to operate with the Boeing 737 Max.

Aer Lingus’ Summer 2020 Schedule

Aer Lingus has confirmed details of its transatlantic summer schedule from Dublin.

Some routes will benefit from increased frequencies. Miami will operate 3 times weekly, Orlando 6 times weekly and Seattle daily. Los Angeles and Minneapolis St Paul and Washington will operate with Airbus A330-300 aircraft. All Boeing 757 aircraft will also be replaced with Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft.

Interestingly, there’s no mention of Montreal. Aer Lingus was due to launch this route last year, but it was postponed due to late delivery of aircraft. This route appears to have now been put on the back burner.

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 20 November 2019”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 13 November 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Delta Premium Select, Boeing 767 aircraft
Delta Premium Select, Boeing 767 aircraft (Image Credit: Delta)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

Delta’s Boeing 767-400 at London Heathrow

Delta begins operating the Boeing 767-400 aircraft from London Heathrow today.

Although this is far from the most modern aircraft to cross the Atlantic, Delta is in the process of refurbishing its fleet of Boeing 767-400 aircraft to bring their interiors closer to the standard of Airbus A350-900 and refurbished Boeing 777 aircraft, neither of which are served with by Delta at London Heathrow.

The first refurbished aircraft should enter service this month. Delta’s refurbished Boeing 767-400 aircraft will benefit from a modified version its new “Delta One” business class suites. It promises more personal storage and significantly improved personal privacy with 34 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. 

These aircraft will also feature Delta’s 20 seat premium economy cabin, Delta Premium Select for the first time as well as improved in-flight entertainment..

The Boeing 767-400 aircraft will operate from London Heathrow on the following routes this year:

London Heathrow – Atlanta (Flight DL31/DL30) from Wednesday 13 November 2019

London Heathrow – New York JFK (Flight DL2/DL1) from Sunday 17 November 2019

London Heathrow – Boston (Flight DL59/DL58) from Thursday 21 November 2019

Selected flights from Heathrow to Detroit, Minneapolis and Portland will operate with the Boeing 767-400 from as yet unconfirmed dates in the second quarter of 2020. The one exception is Salt Lake City.

Note this does not guarantee that you will be on a refurbished aircraft. If you are booking flights online at Delta you will see these flights with refurbished aircraft specifically flagged on the booking page with “New Interior”.

Severe Weather

Large parts of North America are currently experiencing severe weather.

In Canada, Montreal and Toronto are no strangers to winter snow, but have experienced snow much earlier this year. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

The National Weather Service has advised that much of Central & Eastern US will experience record low temperatures today. (New York Times)

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 13 November 2019”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 6 November 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

W Hotel Union Square
W Hotel Union Square (Image Credit: Marriott Hotels)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

The W Hotel Brand Plans Its Reinvention In New York

Arguably, there is no hotel brand more marmite than the W Hotel chain.

Founded in New York in 1998, the W Hotel brand sought to be epitome of cool. Not merely a hotel, but a lifestyle brand in its own right.

Promising “Whatever / Whenever” service, W hotels did not have a lobby, they had a dimly lit “Living Room”. Suites were given faintly ludicrous titles such as “Wow” and “Extreme Wow”. Housekeeping would never do something so mundane as simply service your room, they would “style it”.

Many of its rivals sought to imitate and launch their own brands. This even resulted in Hilton having to pay what was then Starwood Hotels $75million to settle a legal action. Starwood had sued Hilton and two former Starwood executives employed by Hilton, accusing them of stealing more than 100,000 confidential documents from Starwood. Hilton also had to abandon plans to launch its own lifestyle brand “Denizen”.

To its enthusiasts, W was a break from the norm and many aficionados would actively seek out W properties around the world. To its detractors, it was a means to command room rates of 5 star properties, without commensurate levels of service. And putting a night club in a hotel, as is the case with some properties, is a sick joke.

The opening of the original W Hotel on Lexington Avenue in 1998 drew celebrities such as Cindy Crawford and, err, Donald Trump. It was rebranded as the Maxwell last year.

The irony is that New York is the city where the brand impresses the least. Partly because of the constraints of New York real estate, and the city’s occasionally brash manner does seep into hotel service. The best W hotels are actually outside the US, such as Barcelona and Montreal.

In its third decade, W is now planning a reinvention. Three W Hotel properties in New York remain. This includes the W Union Square, which Marriott is reported to have acquired and plans to use a test bed for the relaunch of the brand. Of course, there are now countless lifestyle hotel brands, all following the template of public spaces and destination bars. Many are much more humble and less self-aggrandising than the W.

And there is the old adage that if you set out to be cool, that immediately precludes you from being so.

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 6 November 2019”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 30 October 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

28th Street Station, New York Subway
28th Street Station, New York Subway (Image Credit: New York Transit Museum)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

California Wild Fires

Attention remains very much focused on the wild fires in California.

The latest updates in the Getty Fire are available from the Los Angeles Fire Department. The Los Angeles Times has also temporarily removed its paywall.

A number of airlines have put in flexible rebooking policies in place for passengers due to fly to airports near to the wild fires including Los Angeles International, Burban, Long Beach, Los Angeles Ontario and Santa Ana airports.

Also of note this week:

Uber and Lyft drivers now pick up passengers from a dedicated area at Los Angles International airport. (Los Angeles Times)

Delta opens its first new concourse as part of the ongoing redevelopment of La Guardia airport. (Delta)

On the subject of La Guardia, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved funding for a new Air Train to the airport. (Curbed)

The day the New York Subway opened as it celebrates its 115th anniversary. (Jalopnik)

Virgin Trains USA receives approval from the state of California for $3.25bn in bonds towards its planned rail link between Las Vegas and Southern California. (Las Vegas Review Journal)

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 30 October 2019”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 23 October 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

British Airways Boeing 747, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
British Airways Boeing 747, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

Winter Timetable

As mentioned in our Monday Briefing, the winter timetable comes into effect this Sunday, 27 October 2019.

One addition is that BA is suspending one of its daily Boeing 747 services to Miami (BA210/BA211) from Sunday 17 November 2019. This dovetails with American Airlines adding a second daily flight from the end of October.

One of the more symbolic changes is that the BA Boeing 747 bids adieu to Phoenix as it will be replaced with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft. At the same time the route transfers from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5, with San Diego moving from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3.

The 747 has served this route for a very long time. It initially launched from Gatwick with a DC-10 aircraft. There will be no doubt be many more North American routes that will lose a Boeing 747 in the coming years.

Finally, a gentle reminder that whilst the UK moves from BST to GMT this Sunday, clocks do not change in the US until Sunday 3 November 2019.

In case you missed it:

Air New Zealand to suspend London Heathrow – Los Angeles from late October 2020. (London Air Travel)

Also of note this week:

Delta reaches agreement to lease two additional Airbus A330-900neo aircraft. (Delta)

The Hoxton Hotel opens in Downtown Los Angeles. (The Hoxton)

New York’s City Bakery closes after nearly 30 years in Manhattan. (Instagram)

San Francisco approves a plan to ban private cars from Market Street as part of the “Better Market Street” initiative. (Citylab)

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 23 October 2019”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 16 October 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

New York Skyline
New York Skyline (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

Norwegian’s Summer Long-Haul Schedule

Norwegian has confirmed its long-haul schedule at London Gatwick for the summer 2020 season.

It’s largely minor tweaks and certainly no new routes – the era of growth for Norwegian is long over.

London Gatwick – Austin – Increases from 3x weekly to 4x weekly

London Gatwick – Buenos Aires – Decreases from daily to 5x weekly

London Gatwick – Denver – Increases from 3x weekly to 4x weekly

London Gatwick – Miami – Decreases from daily to 6x weekly

London Gatwick – Orlando – Decreases from daily to 5x weekly

London Gatwick – Rio de Janeiro – Decreases from 4x weekly to 3x weekly

London Gatwick – San Francisco International – Increases from 5 x weekly to daily

London Gatwick – Tampa – Increases from 2x weekly to 3x weekly

BA’s Club Suite on London Heathrow – New York JFK

The first BA Boeing 777-200 aircraft to be retrofitted with its new “Club Suite” has now been in operation for around a week on London Heathrow – New York JFK.

The aircraft, registration G-RAES, has been operating on this route since 9 October. It has operated flight BA173 from London Heathrow and BA112 from New York JFK. This is of course subject to change at short notice due to operational requirements.

The Empire State Building Reopens 102nd Floor Observation Deck

It’s fashionable to be dismissive of popular tourist attractions. But sometimes tourist attractions are popular for a reason.

Arguably, there is simply no better experience of New York than taking in the view of Manhattan from the Empire State Building, particularly at night. Getting to the observation decks has not always been a pleasant experience. The Empire State Building has this month completed the third and final phase of a revamp which includes a new visitor entrance and a revamped obervervation deck on the 102nd floor. Full details are available from the Empire State Building and New York Times.

Staying in New York the redesigned Museum Of Modern Art reopens on 21 October 2019 following a $450m revamp by Diller Scofidio + Renfo. The revamp encompasses a new entrance, extra gallery space and improved navigation for visitors around the building.

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 16 October 2019”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 9 October 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Hotel Le Germain, Montreal
Hotel Le Germain, Montreal (Image Credit: Le Germain Hotels)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

Montreal’s Boom

Some time ago a region decided to have a referendum on whether it should remain a member of a union, where it has had not always the easiest of relationships.

It was a narrow result, but the referendum still had profound economic effects. Particularly for one city, once a financial capital and a host of a world fair. Banks relocated their headquarters elsewhere. Whilst the city retained its many European charms, the sight of economic decline was inescapable.

No, not that referendum! The 1995 referendum on whether Quebec should become an independent country from Canada.

It had a significant impact on the economic fortunes of Montreal. However, there are signs the city is making a comeback. There is a huge construction boom in downtown Montreal. A new light rail network is under construction. The Canadian hotel chain The Four Seasons opened a new property earlier this year.

Another highly rated Canadian hotel chain is Le Germain Hotels. It has this month reopened its property in Montreal after an extensive refurbishment.

Hotel Le Germain, Montreal
Hotel Le Germain, Montreal (Image Credit: Le Germain Hotels)
Hotel Le Germain, Montreal
Hotel Le Germain, Montreal (Image Credit: Le Germain Hotels)
Hotel Le Germain, Montreal
Hotel Le Germain, Montreal (Image Credit: Le Germain Hotels)

If there’s one reason for a transatlantic traveller to chose this chain over others is that there are no set check-out times for all guests. Large chains of course offer late check-outs to those in certain tiers of frequent guest programmes. Otherwise an automatic check-out is applied by default. Here, you can set any check-out time you wish, even well into the evening – perfect for freshening up before a transatlantic flight home.

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 9 October 2019”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 2 October 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft, Toronto Pearson International Airport
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft, Toronto Pearson International Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

American Airlines Launches Heathrow – Boston

London – Boston is going to become a highly competitive market from 2020 and beyond.

Delta will launch Gatwick – Boston from May 2020. American Airlines is to also reinstate a daily flight from London Heathrow to Boston from Sunday 29 March 2020. Flights will be operated with Boeing 777-200 aircraft. The exact schedule is yet to be confirmed. This additional flight will complement BA’s existing four times daily service between London Heathrow and Boston.

American has also announced extended operating seasons for summer seasonal routes between New York JFK and Rome; Dallas-Fort Worth and Dublin; and Chicago and Barcelona.

BA Begins Airbus A350 Flights To Toronto

British Airways has started its first scheduled transatlantic flights with the Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

As of yesterday, Tuesday 1 October 2019, flights BA93 and BA92 between London Heathrow and Toronto Pearson International are operated with the Airbus A350-1000, which now number two in BA’s long-haul fleet. This replaces a Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

If you are in Toronto this weekend, then do check out Toronto’s annual “Nuit Blanche” public art festival.

Also note of this week:

The winners of The Miami Foundation’s annual Miami Public Space Challenge are announced. (Miami Herald)

United introduces the first in a series of “Her Art Here” liveried aircraft. (United)

In the UK, a new series “The Americas with Simon Reeve” premieres on BBC2 this coming Sunday at 21:00 BST. (BBC)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 25 September 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Virgin Hotels Miami Brickell District Render
Virgin Hotels Miami Brickell District Render (Image Credit: Virgin Hotels)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

Delta & KLM Route Launches

Following the recent launch by Delta of London Gatwick – Boston from 22 May 2020, Delta is to also launch a new summer seasonal route from Rome to Boston from Friday 22 May to 8 September 2020.

Delta has also confirmed that its summer seasonal route from London Heathrow to Salt Lake City will operate year round from Sunday 19 December 2019.

KLM is to launch a three times weekly service from Amsterdam Schiphol to Austin from Monday 4 May 2020. Flights operate on Monday, Thursday and Saturdays and will be operated with Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

All of these routes will be codeshared with Virgin Atlantic.

Given the relatively significant presence of Thomas Cook in Manchester on North Atlantic routes, which is a “focus city” for Delta & Virgin Atlantic, it would be surprising if there isn’t a competitive response from them to the liquidation of Thomas Cook.

Also of note this week:

Last week we reported of some tactical BA transatlantic cancellations in early October. Presumably due to the cancellation of the planned BA pilot strike, these have since been reinstated.

Amtrak launches non-stop rail services between New York and Washington DC. (CNBC)

The Central Park Conservancy has unveiled a $110 million plan to renovate the northern end of Central Park, New York. (New York Times)

Virgin Hotels is to open a new hotel in the Brickell district of Miami. The hotel will feature a three storey rooftop space and pool. Construction of the property by a third party developer, which will also include residential apartments, is expected to start next year and the property will open in 2023. Other Virgin branded hotels are due to open in Dallas, Nashville, New Orleans and New York. (Virgin)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day.]

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 18 September 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Norwegian Boeing 787 Aircraft, Boston Logan International Airport
Norwegian Boeing 787 Aircraft, Boston Logan International Airport (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

Norwegian Gains Breathing Space

On Monday Norwegian’s bondholders agreed to the extension of two bonds from 11 December 2019 and 7 August 2020 to November 2021 and February 2022 respectively.

This does give Norwegian significantly more financial headroom to get through the winter season. However, its financial health still faces considerable scrutiny, not least given the current volatility of Brent crude which increased by 19.5% on Monday following a drone strike on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil processing centre.

BA Transatlantic Cancellations

BA has cancelled a number of transatlantic return flights in early October for “operational reasons”.

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Flights BA227/226 London Heathrow – Atlanta
Flights BA103/102 London Heathrow – Calgary
Flights BA207/206 London Heathrow – Miami
Flights BA223/222 London Heathrow – Nashville

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Flights BA193/192 London Heathrow – Dallas Fort Worth
Flights BA281/280 London Heathrow – Los Angeles
Flights BA225/224 London Heathrow – New Orleans
Flights BA289/288 London Heathrow – Phoenix

This appears to be unrelated to the current dispute between BA and BALPA and the rebooking guidelines for strike affected passengers are not available for these cancellations. Affected passengers will be re-acommodated on alternative American Airlines and BA flights. As these were announced on successive days just before 14 days, more cancellations may be forthcoming.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Unveils Capital Plan

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has unveiled its Capital Plan for 2020 to 2024 which includes a substantial investment for the New York Subway.

The Subway has long been subject to political wrangling between New York City which owns the Subway, and the State of New York which controls the MTA. Whilst there have been improvements to the Subway’s performance, there is still a long list of outstanding repairs.

The $51.5bn Capital Plan includes a $37.3bn for the New York Subway and Staten Island Railway. The proposals include upgrades to signalling, new subway cars, track modernisation, station improvements including improved accessibility.

Whilst the plan has been given a cautious welcome, the difficult part is securing city, state and federal funding for it.

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 18 September 2019”