The delayed BA lounges at Gatwick are now open

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British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)

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.

British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)

BA adds new amenities to Beijing, Shanghai, & Hong Kong flights

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 46

New amenities for British Airways flights between London Heathrow, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong
New amenities for British Airways flights between London Heathrow, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong

British Airways is to add additional in-flight amenities and services to passengers travelling between London Heathrow, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Passengers travelling in World Traveller Plus and Club World will be offered slippers. Passengers travelling in all cabins will be offered Twinings green tea, the option of chopsticks for eating meals and bilingual menus.

In the grand scheme of things, these are fairly small changes. It’s also not unusual for BA to offer additional in flight amenities on certain routes for cultural reasons. Slippers have long been offered on flights to Tokyo and bilingual menus are common on many routes.

However, it does point to an effort to do better in China where BA has had mixed success. BA’s route from London Heathrow to Chengdu was suspended this month and BA faces very strong competition from Cathay Pacific on the London – Hong Kong route.

BA takes Heathrow – Abuja off sale from Wednesday 8 March -Tuesday 18 April 2017

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 46

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has suspended sales of flights on its London Heathrow – Abuja route from Wednesday 8 March to Tuesday 18 April 2017.

The reason for this is that Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport is to close for essential repairs to its runway which is reported to have pot holes.

The airline has yet to announce how passengers already booked to fly to Abuja during the closure will be accommodated. One option is to allow passengers to change the dates of flights to outside the closure period, or to allow passengers to fly to another destination in Africa (but any onward transport would be at the passenger’s own expense).

According to press reports, the Nigerian Government has instructed airlines to operate flights to an alternative airport in Kaduna (some 200km north of Abuja) with onward road transport provided to Abuja. However, airlines will need to be satisfied that security arrangements for their passengers and crews are sufficiently robust.

There’s more detail on the background to the closure of the runway in this article from the Financial Times (subscription required).

The affected BA flight numbers are BA083 and BA082.

Update: BA has subsequently decided to cancel all flights between London Heathrow and Abuja during the period of the runway closure.

Affected passengers have the option of a refund, rebooking on an alternative flight between London Heathrow and Abuja outside the runway closure (up to Friday 19 May 2017), or rebooking on an alternative flight to/from Accra or Nigeria within 7 days of the date of your original booking. However, if you choose the later option any additional costs such as ground transport or hotels will be at your own expense and will not be reimbursed by the airline.

Affected passengers should contact either BA or their travel agent.

BA suspends London City – Alicante & Madrid

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 46

BA CityFlyer Embraer at London City Airport
BA CityFlyer Embraer at London City Airport

British Airways is to suspend its twice daily London City – Madrid route permanently from Sunday 29 January 2017. The airline is to also not proceed with its planned seasonal London City – Alicante service this summer. This was planned to operate from Monday 26 June to Monday 4 September 2017.

No specific reasons have been given for the cancellation. However, it’s a reasonable assumption that poor commercial performance is the cause. BA has yet to announce which routes will operate in their replacement.

Affected passengers have the option of a refund or being accommodated on alternative BA flights to Madrid from London Heathrow (served by some 13 return flights a day) or Alicante from London Gatwick respectively (which operates up to twice daily at various times).

If you have not already been contacted you should contact either BA or your traval agent.

BA Cabin Crew Strike Schedules Thurs 19 – Sat 21 January 2017

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 46

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has today updated its schedules to account for its contingency plans following planned industrial action by “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow on Thursday 19, Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January.

All flights from London City, London Gatwick and London Stansted will operate as normal.

All long-haul flights from London Heathrow are scheduled to operate as normal.

BA has cancelled a select number of short-haul flights. BA claims these cancellations represent 1% of its planned schedule. In the event that your flight is cancelled you should be offered an alternative flight on the same route, a rebooking to an alternative destination nearby, or a refund.

In the event the strike is called off (this is probably unlikely as no talks are currently underway) you should not be required to reinstate your original booking if you are rebooked on an alternative flight.

From a PR perspective BA is at pains to emphasise that the strike is having very limited disruption. Therefore, it has not published a list of cancelled flights. You can check whether your flight is cancelled by checking the Manage By Booking.

We have scanned BA’s schedules and we have identified the following cancellations so far. Please note this is not intended to be a definitive list and this may be subject to change. You should always check you booking directly at ba.com before finalising your travel plans.

Cancelled Flights – Thursday 19 January

Continue reading “BA Cabin Crew Strike Schedules Thurs 19 – Sat 21 January 2017”

BA Heathrow cabin crew strike Thursday 19 – Saturday 21 January 2017

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 46

Unite, the Union which represents BA’s “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow has called further industrial action for 72 hours on Thursday 19, Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January 2016. This follows industrial action on Tuesday 10 & Wednesday 11 January 2017.

BA will update its schedules for the days affected by the disruption on Monday 16 January and affected passengers should be notified by the airline.

Continue reading “BA Heathrow cabin crew strike Thursday 19 – Saturday 21 January 2017”

BA introduces M&S “Buy On Board” from Wednesday 11 January 2017

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 46

British Airways partnership with Marks & Spencer "M&S On Board"
British Airways partnership with Marks & Spencer “M&S On Board” (Image Credit: British Airways)

This Wednesday, 11 January 2017, marks a significant change to BA’s UK Domestic & EuroTraveller European short-haul flights to and from London Gatwick to London Heathrow.

The current offer of complimentary food and drink will be replaced by Buy-On-Board food and drink from Marks & Spencer. You can view the food menu and the drinks menu on the BA website.

Key points to note are:

  • Payment will only be accepted by credit card or Avios from your British Airways Executive Club account
  • Cash will not be accepted
  • To pay with Avios you will need to have the latest version of the BA app on your smartphone (it will show a barcode on the “My Account” screen of the app)

Continue reading “BA introduces M&S “Buy On Board” from Wednesday 11 January 2017″

BA London Heathrow Cabin Crew Strike 10 – 11 January 2017

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 46

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

Unite, the Union which represents BA’s “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow has called industrial action for 48 hours on Tuesday 10 & Wednesday 11 January 2017.

Update Friday 6 January: BA has now updated its schedules for the days affected by the disruption.  Some flights from London Heathrow will be merged and you should check the guidance on ba.com and your flight details on the Manage My Booking tool to check if your flight is affected. 

Continue reading “BA London Heathrow Cabin Crew Strike 10 – 11 January 2017”

BA Heathrow Cabin Crew Christmas Day & Boxing Day strikes called off

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 46

British Airways Tailfin (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)
British Airways Tailfin (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)

The planned strike action by British Airways’ “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow on Christmas Day & Boxing Day have been called off.

Unite, which represents the cabin crew, has called off the strikes following discussions with BA at ACAS.  This is not the end of the dispute as a new offer tabled by the airline has to be presented to union members for approval.

However, the strikes are off and all flights will operate as scheduled.

If you have changed your bookings with BA because your flight was at risk of disruption your revised booking will still stand and you do not need to revert to your original booking.

For the latest news on the cabin crew strike, please visit our strike information page.

BA to open new lounges in Gatwick’s South Terminal on 25 January 2017

London Air Travel » British Airways » Page 46

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

In January 2017 there will be a significant re-organisation at London Gatwick. easyJet will consolidate all of its operations in London Gatwick’s North Terminal. In order to faciliate this move both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will swap terminals. BA will move the from North to South terminal, and Virgin Atlantic vice versa.

BA’s lounges in the North Terminal have long been closed due to construction work with passengers being required to use the No 1 lounges as an interim measure.

Details of what BA lounge arrangements there will be in the South Terminal for business and first class passengers and Silver and Gold Executive Club cardholders have long been anticipated.

BA has now confirmed some initial information, short of releasing final images of the lounge, for both check-in and lounge facilities.

Check-in and security

  • There will be dedicated premium check- in area in Zone A of the terminal for Club Europe, Club World, First Class and Silver & Gold Executive Cardholders.  This will feature dedicated seating, power outlets and bespoke furnishing.
  • There will be a dedicated premium security facility on Level 3 of the South terminal.

Lounges

  • Capacity for 477 passengers, which BA say is 40% larger than the former North terminal lounge
  • A separate First Class lounge with upgraded seating, finishes and lighting. It is assumed that Gold cardholders will have access to this lounge as some recent BA lounge developments in Dubai and Singapore feature a “Concorde Bar” for passengers ticketed in First Class only
  • Floor to ceiling windows with views of the runway
  • A “beautifully curved” staircase overlooking the main lounge
  • Full kitchen facilities in both lounges giving an upgraded food & beverage offering. Details of menus are to confirmed
  • A ‘kidszone’ room for children
  • Shower facilities

We will post images of the lounges as soon as they are released.

It is also worth mentioning that prior to the formal switch of flights on 25 January 2017 some flights will move in advance on a trial basis.

Update 25 January 2017

Whilst the Terminal switch has taken place today, 25 January, the opening of the lounges has been delayed.  In the interim, passengers travelling in Club Europe, Club World and Silver Executive Club card holders can use s temporary “Speedbird” lounge. Passengers travelling in First Class and Gold Executive Club cardholders can use the third party No 1 lounges.

Update 7 February 2017

It is understood that both of the lounges have now undergone a “soft” opening. However, not all facilities and amenities 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

It is understood that the new lounges are now fully open and operational and therefore the temporary lounge arrangements have been withdrawn.