The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 20 March 2019

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

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Marriott Edition Hotel, Times Square
Marriott Edition Hotel, Times Square (Image Credit: Marriott Hotels)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 20 March 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America.

Marriott Edition Opens In New York Times Square

If there’s one piece of advice you’d give to anyone visiting New York above all else, it’s don’t stay anywhere near Times Square.

By all means visit once to see the electronic billboards. But once is more than enough.

That may change with the opening of the Marriott Edition Times Square which had its “premiere” last week.

Edition is Marriott’s “modern luxury” brand conceived by Ian Schrager. There are also, amongst others, Edition properties in Barcelona, London and Miami Beach. Another property is due to open in Los Angeles this year.

A common theme amongst all Edition hotels are calming soft neutral tones with design accents. It certainly looks a welcome respite from the chaos of Times Square.

American Airlines Schedule Changes

American Airlines has over the past couple of days put through schedule changes for Heathrow transatlantic flights, some of which have been reported already:

– American’s new route to Phoenix, launching on Sunday 31 March 2019 is now extended to all year round, in addition to BA’s daily flight.

– American will reinstate a second winter flight to Miami from Sunday 27 October 2019. With BA’s 3 daily flights, this takes the joint AA and BA schedule to five times daily.

– American will also reduce frequency to Philadelphia by 1 flight from Sunday 27 October.

It has been reported that New York JFK will be also reduced from 4 to 3 times daily but aa.com is currently showing 4 daily flights.

Also of note this week:

The making of Hudson Yards. Brilliant visual journalism from The New York Times. (New York Times)

Late Post Publication Updates

[Reserved for updates during 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 13 March 2019

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

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Vessel, Heatherwick Studio, Hudson Yards, New York
Vessel, Heatherwick Studio, Hudson Yards, New York (Image Credit: Hudson Yards)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 13 March 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America.

Hudson Yards New York Opens This Week

Hudson Yards, a $25bn mixed use development on Manhattan’s west side that is cited as New York’s most ambitious real estate development since the Rockefeller Center, officially opens to the public this Friday.

Much of Hudson Yards’ towers of office and private residential accommodation will be out of bounds to the public.

However, there will be a new public arts centre The Shed opening in April and an Equinox branded hotel opening in June as well as many shops and restaurants.

There are many UK influences. One restaurant “Wild Ink” will be operated by the Rhubarb hospitality group, it’s first location outside the UK.

The biggest draw for visitors to the city is likely to the Thomas Heatherwick Studio’s structure “Vessel”. Dubbed an “infinite staircase”, the work is a 16 storey, cyclonic shaped structure of hexagonal platforms that spirals upwards. It will no doubt be a source of many thousands of Instagram posts a day. Pre-booking will be required.

Mondrian Los Angeles Refurbishment

The Mondrian hotel in West Hollywood Los Angeles was one of first examples of the “urban resort” hotel.

The Mondrian Los Angeles is owned by Morgans Hotel Group which was originally founded by Ian Schrager and Steve Rubbell, famous of course for running notorious New York night club Studio 54.

The hotel was known for its Philippe Starck designed interiors, “see and be seen” bars, and celebrity filled launch parties. As a guest of the couple of years ago it has to be said the experience for hotel guests was not so great. It’s a very popular hotel for private events. It may have been unfortunate timing but it often felt that hotel guests came secondary to hosting events in its bars and restaurants.

With an experience like that, logic dictates to chalk it up to experience and stay somewhere else next time. However, the hotel has recently undergone a $19m refurbishment and it certainly looks tempting to give it another go.

Also of note this week:

Dirty Lemon opens a shop in New York’s Tribeca neighbourhood where payment is voluntary. (New York Times)

Late Post Publication Updates

[Reserved for updates during 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 6 March 2019

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

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Biosphere, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal
Biosphere, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 6 March 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America.

Aer Lingus suspends Dublin – Montreal

Aer Lingus has suspended its planned launch of a new route from Dublin to Montreal this summer.  

The route was due to launch in August and was to be operated with the Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft. It will now launch on an unspecified date next summer.  Aer Lingus has cited delivery delays as the reason.   Aer Lingus will also reduce frequencies on Dublin – Bradley, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia and Shannon – New York JFK in July.  

This will not help IAG’s relationship with Airbus, where Willie Walsh has previously criticised Airbus for delays to the delivery of aircraft.

JetBlue’s European Ambition

It has been known for some time that JetBlue has ambitions to launch transatlantic services to Europe.

Whilst JetBlue has yet to publicly announce an order for Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft which are expected to be used for these routes, interest has piqued in recent months.

JetBlue has made submissions to US regulatory authorities that Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic should forfeit slots at European airports as a condition of operating a combined transatlantic joint-venture. This would provide JetBlue with easy access to slot-restricted airports such as Amsterdam and London Heathrow.

JetBlue has also send invitations for a media event on 10 April which has prompted further speculation.

JetBlue has many attributes its favour. It has a strong presence in Boston and New York. It’s “Mint” premium cabin on select transcontinental routes is well received.

However, long-haul operations are fundamentally different from short-haul. If JetBlue is to use a small dedicated fleet for transatlantic operations, it will need adequate recovery measures in the event of aircraft availability issues. When WestJet first launched transatlantic operations, it suffered significant reputational damage due to reliability issues with its fleet, albeit under different circumstances.

What can also be said with confidence is that JetBlue’s competitors will respond. IAG CEO Willie Walsh said of JetBlue’s plans at its Capital Markets Day last November:

And yes, I would say jetBlue is not a low-cost operator. It’s a good airline, good brand, good quality service. But I don’t think there’s anything there that we should be concerned about. We know how to compete. And we know how to compete with new entrants, existing entrants and pretty much anybody else. So if they do, there’s certainly room for them. And it’s a good market and a growing market that we would see, but it’s not something that would be of any particular concern.

Readers may recall that when the now defunct airline eos launched Stansted – New York JFK, American Airlines also launched a short-lived spoiler service.

Should JetBlue launch London Gatwick – Boston, do not surprised if BA launches a spoiler service, as it did when Norwegian launched Gatwick – New York JFK.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 6 March 2019”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 27 February 2019

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

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Alaska Airlines, Palm Springs Airport
Alaska Airlines, Palm Springs Airport (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 27 February 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America.

It’s time for a diversion from our usual flight path for this week’s Atlantic Update.

Palm Springs has long been famous for its midcentury architecture and as a getaway from Los Angeles for famous Hollywood stars. It’s a city where even banks are of architectural interest.

Bank Of America, Palm Springs
Bank Of America, Palm Springs (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

In February every year Modernism Week celebrates the midcentury architecture of the city with talks, guided neighbourhood tours and self-guided open houses. We were fortunate to attend this year’s event.

As the photos below illustrate there are some truly stunning homes on display:

Palm Springs
Palm Springs (Image Credit: London Air Travel)
Palm Springs Modernism Week 2019 Featured Home La Vie En Rose
Palm Springs Modernism Week 2019 Featured Home La Vie En Rose (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 27 February 2019”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 20 February 2019

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

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Flying Over Greenland, February 2019
Flying Over Greenland, February 2019 (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 20 February 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America.

American Airlines Secures Access To The Private Suite At Los Angeles

American Airlines has long offered a “Five Star Service” enabling passengers to purchase access to its top tier “Flagship” lounges and personal escorts at certain airports.

Passengers travelling through Los Angeles can, for a handsome fee, now secure access to a private terminal known as The Private Suite with a dedicated check-in and security screening for departing passengers, and customs and immigration for arriving passengers.

United announced a similar partnership last year. Whilst an expedited journey through the airport is one of the main benefits, this is really aimed at passengers who value discretion and privacy above all else.

In addition, passengers travelling through Los Angeles and New York JFK can also secure a helicopter transfer to / from the airport with helicopter charter company Blade. This can be done by selecting “American Add On” via the Blade app or website.

New Norwegian Routes

Norwegian may be battling to get its finances in shape, but it has not been deterred from launching new transatlantic routes.

Norwegian will fly from Athens to New York JFK four times weekly from Monday 1 July 2019 to Saturday 25 October 2019. Judging by the amount of New Yorkers who head to the Greek islands each summer, this could be very successful if onward connections were offered.

It will also fly from Barcelona to Chicago O’Hare four times weekly from Friday 7 June 2019 to Saturday 26 October 2019. Norwegian will also increase frequencies from Barcelona to New York to daily and Los Angeles to six times weekly.

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

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 13 February 2019

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

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

TWA Hotel Rendering
TWA Hotel Rendering (Image Credit: TWA Hotel)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 13 February 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America.

TWA Hotel Opens For Booking

The much anticipated TWA Hotel at New York JFK will start accepting reservations from 07:00 GMT on Thursday 14 February.

Hotels at New York JFK are generally dismal and involve long waits for shuttle buses and an inevitable tour of all terminals on your return to the airport.

Given its convenience and proximity to the airport and the enduring fascination with America’s legacy airline brands like Braniff, Pan Am and TWA, it is likely to command high rates. The hotel’s pre-launch publicity makes much of the fact that it will evoke TWA’s heritage and the era of the jet-set, but with 500+ rooms it will have to avoid feeling like a bed factory.

European Commission Approves Air France-KLM stake in Virgin Atlantic

The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it has approved Air France-KLM’s acquisition of a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic.

The announcement refers to plans to operate a combined transatlantic joint-venture, but this seems to be subject to a separate approval process. The US Department of Transportation also has to give regulatory approval to the new joint-venture, and JetBlue is demanding that further market investigative work is done first.

Virgin’s American Ambitions

On the subject of Virgin, the Financial Times has an extensive report on Virgin Group’s ambitions for the US.

When the major shareholders in Virgin America decided to sell the airline to Alaska Airlines, Sir Richard Branson could not hide his intense frustration. Apart from the loss of royalties for the use of the Virgin name, it did diminish its brand presence in the US. The Virgin brand has only really “worked” in major English speaking territories.

Virgin is rebuilding its presence with a second Virgin Hotel after Chicago opening in San Francisco this weekend. The Brightline is also due to become Virgin Trains USA this year. Will we see another Virgin America? Probably not.

American Airlines To Operate Heathrow-Phoenix Year Round

When American Airlines announced it was to operate its own flight from London Heathrow to Phoenix from Sunday 31 March 2019, it was initially to be a summer seasonal route. However, it will now operate year-round.

Also of note this week:

California Governor Gavin Newsom has given a “State of the State” speech in which he wants to roll back plans to build a high speed rail link between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Governor proposes an alternative link between two Central Valley cities Bakerfield and Merced. (SFGate)

There is a deadline of midnight EST on Friday 15 February for Congress and President Trump to pass a new spending bill to avert another US Government Shutdown. The last shutdown caused significant disruption to security screening at airports and to damage to parks such as Joshua Tree National Park due to lack of staff. A bipartisan deal has been agreed by Congress but President Trump has to yet to approve it. (Washington Post)

Late Post Publication Updates

[Reserved for updates during 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 6 February 2019

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

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Virgin Atlantic San Francisco Clubhouse
Virgin Atlantic San Francisco Clubhouse (Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 6 February 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America.

Virgin Atlantic San Francisco Clubhouse Access

Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse in San Francisco has long been one of its more popular lounges outside of London.

The one downside is that the lounge could only be accessed before security. As of yesterday, Virgin Atlantic has advised that the lounge is now accessed airside in the departures area. You can access the lounge by taking a lift to Level 5 after security.

Severe Weather

Severe weather conditions continue across the United States.

American Airlines and BA have a travel waiver in place for the mid-West region including Chicago and Toronto. Passengers due to travel today or tomorrow can rebook up to Sunday 10 February.

Delta also has a travel waiver for the North East region. Passengers due to travel up to Thursday 7 February can rebook up to Sunday 10 February.

Equinox Hotel New York Opens In June

One of most dismal aspects of almost any hotel is its fitness room.

Photographs are always conspicuously absent from the hotel’s website. It’s usually located in a windowless basement with an odd assortment of equipment and devoid of any atmosphere. It’s a token effort as, unlike hotel bars and event spaces, they can’t be rented out with high minimum bar spend guarantees. Hotels have started to embrace “wellness”, usually with group yoga classes at an unspeakably early hour.

Equinox, which operates upscale gyms across the US and two in London, is opening its first Equinox Hotel in Hudson Yards New York this is June.

Exact details are scant – bar a conceptual film featuring Naomi Campbell – and it’s not yet accepting bookings. Based on Equinox’s gyms this will certainly look good, but will be handsomely priced.

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

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 30 January 2019

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

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Norwegian Aircraft
Norwegian Aircraft (Image Credit: Norwegian)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 30 January 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America.

Norwegian’s Dash For Cash

Norwegian announced yesterday that it is to raise approximately £270m from its shareholders through a rights issue.

Norwegian’s co-founders and major shareholders Bjørn Kjos and Bjørn Halvor Kise have committed to support the rights issue.

Norwegian has outlined a number of measures to improve its financial performance, namely divesting, and postponing new deliveries, of aircraft and reshaping its route network.

Whilst the existing Gatwick long-haul network is likely to be spared any drastic cuts, it’s hard to envisage Norwegian fulfilling its previous ambition to launch Airbus A321 Long Range operated routes from London Gatwick to Philadelphia, Detroit and Minneapolis.

Norwegian is to bring forward its financial results announcement to next Thursday 7 February. Preliminary, and presumably unaudited, results indicate a loss for the year of nearly £200m before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. At the end of 2018, Norwegian had cash, and cash equivalents, of £170m.

Interestingly, whilst Norwegian would not entertain the two informal bids from IAG, short of formally putting itself up for sale, it has indicated a willingness to receive offers from other parties.

US & Canada Severe Weather

Severe weather conditions continue across parts of the United States and Canada.

Travel waivers are in place for a number of regions.

American Airlines and BA have two in place. For the North East of the US and Canada, passengers due to travel up to Wednesday 30 January can rebook up to Saturday 2 February. For Chicago, where the forecast today is extremely low temperatures of -30 degrees celsius, passengers due to travel up to Thursday 31 January can rebook up to Sunday 3 February.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic also have a travel waiver in place for passengers due to travel via Atlanta. Passengers due to travel up to Wednesday 30 January can rebook up to Saturday 2 February.

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

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 23 January 2019

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

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Delta Air Lines - New York
Delta Air Lines

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 23 January 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America.

Groundhog Day

It is Groundhog Day on both sides of the Atlantic, with no end to the political impasse in sight.

The US Government Shutdown is now in its 32nd day. The Transport Security Administration continues to provide daily updates on airport security screening times.

Although this is very much seen as a domestic issue, there are impacts beyond the US. There is not a chance of imminent approval from the US Department Of Transportation for Aer Lingus joining the American / BA transatlantic joint-venture, nor for Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin combining their transatlantic joint-ventures.

US East Coast & Chicago Weather

Severe weather conditions continues across the North East of the United States.

Travel waivers have been in place for the North East for some days. American Airlines and BA have last night extended these further to today. American, BA and United have also added waivers to Chicago due to expected severe weather.

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

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 16 January 2019

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

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

United Polaris Lounge Los Angeles
United Polaris Lounge Los Angeles (Image Credit: United Airlines)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 16 January 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America, and our first edition for 2019.

US Government Shutdown

The UK and US Governments are currently rivalling each other for the greatest state of paralysis.

The US Government shutdown means that some 800,000 US Government employees are either not working or working without being paid. Delta has estimated it will cost it $25million in revenue in the first quarter of this year due to fewer Government employees travelling.

The shutdown has also delayed the entry of new aircraft into service by US airlines, including the Airbus A220 by Delta, as there has been no sign-off from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Transport Security Administration employees are required to continue working during the shutdown.

The TSA is providing updates on airport security screening.

Some airports, most notably Atlanta, are experiencing significantly longer wait times.

United Opens Los Angeles Polaris Lounge

United has opened its latest Polaris lounge for international business travellers in Los Angeles.

This follows the template set by Polaris lounges in Houston, Newark and San Francisco with significantly improved seating, pre-flight dining and showers. A new Polaris lounge is due to open at some point at London Heathrow. (United)

The Talk Of The Town: The L-Train

Readers in the UK will be more than familiar with the concept of blanket shutdowns on the Tube and rail network for repairs and upgrades.

They are much less common in the US. The L-Train on the New York Subway which runs from 14th Street on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan under the East River to Brooklyn was due to close for 15 months from 27 April this year for repairs to the tunnel.

This has been pulled at the last minute due to a new plan by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, long a target for ire from weary Subway users, for a less disruptive approach with weekend closures. The official line from the MTA is that the shutdown has been suspended. However, according to the New York Times, this had been previously rejected by the MTA.

The Subway, owned by New York City, with the MTA controlled by New York State, has long been caught in City/State politics. Expect this to run and run.

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