BA held a press event yesterday for a select number of travel journalists and bloggers (though someone at The Daily Telegraph clearly did not get an invitation).
Under the curious title of “#BAInvesting4U” journalists were ferried from London Gatwick to London Heathrow via a three and a half four flight on a brand new Boeing 787-900.
The whole event was something of a rearguard action in response to negative press coverage and a narrative of cut backs and service failures.
In truth much of what was announced today is known already: BA has opened new lounges at Gatwick, a new security channel for First Class passengers and BA Executive Club Gold Cardholders at London Heathrow, it’s adding WiFi and revamping its Club World service with a new seat to come with the Airbus A350 in 2019.
You can read BA’s take on yesterday’s announcements at ba.com
One point that did catch our attention is BA’s new lounge refurbishment programme.
There has been a lot of interest in the planned new British Airways lounges at London Gatwick’s South Terminal which, from today, is BA’s new home at Gatwick.
The lounges were planned to open today, Wednesday 25 January 2017. However, this has been delayed.
It is understood that construction work is complete and the official line from BA is that it is hoped that the lounges will open “soon”.
In the interim, passengers travelling in First Class on any flight and Gold Executive Club cardholders can use the third party operated No 1 Clubrooms.
In addition, all passengers travelling to Jersey, New York JFK and Bermuda who are eligible for lounge access can use this lounge. However, this will be subject to capacity constraints.
All other passengers who are eligible to access lounges (e.g. Club Europe, Club World and Silver Executive Club cardholders) can use a temporary “Speedbird” lounge operated by BA.
If you are flying BA from Gatwick you should be handed a letter at check-in explaining these options.
It is obviously disappointing that the new lounges are not open today. However, the problems associated with its opening do not seem insurmountable.
Update 7 February 2017
It is understood that the new lounges have undergone a “soft” opening ahead of a formal launch. However, not all facilities may be available at all times.
The new Club lounge is open from 05:15 until the last flight has departed. Passengers travelling in Club World on any long-haul flight and Club Europe to Jersey, and all British Airways Executive Club Silver cardholders travelling on long-haul flights or to Jersey are eligible to use the lounge.
The new First lounge is open from 07:00 until 20:00 and all passengers travelling in First Class and all British Airways Executive Club Gold cardholders are eligible to use the lounge. If there capacity constraints passengers will be invited to use the No 1 Club rooms.
All other passengers, e.g. those travelling in Club Europe to other than Jersey and on Business U.K. tickets and British Airways Executive Club Silver cardholders travelling on short-haul flights other than Jersey will be invited to use the temporary Speedbird lounge.
Update 20 February 2017
It is understood that the new lounges are now fully operational and all other temporary lounge arrangements have been withdrawn.
The BA lounge in Terminal 1 of Singapore Changi airport is currently closed for refurbishment, which is expected to be completed by late summer of this year.
In the interim, eligible passengers (eg those travelling in Club World business class, First Class, and Silver and Gold Executive Club cardholders) will be able to use the highly regarded Qantas Singapore lounge.
There was a time when BA and Qantas jointly operated a business and first class lounges in Singapore, but for reasons we do not know, the two airlines decided to move to separate lounges.
British Airways completed its inaugural Airbus A380 flight from London Heathrow to Washington today, 2 October 2014, as flight BA217 arrived in Washington Dulles airport early this afternoon.
The launch of A380 services also coincides with the opening of a new “Galleries” lounge for business and first class passengers in Washington.
The lounge features a private dining area for First Class customers, pre-flight dining for Club World passengers, a bar with views of the airfield and shower suites.
Washington is the 2nd US city to be served by BA’s A380. San Francisco will be the next US city. BA also flies the A380 to Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Johannesburg. The A380 will also fly to Singapore from the end of October 2014.