BA opens new lounge at Singapore & premieres its “Concorde Bar”

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British Airways Lounge Singapore Changi Airport
British Airways Lounge Singapore Changi Airport (Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has opened its new lounge at Terminal 1 of Singapore Changi airport.

Designed by British design studio Graven the lounge features digital panoramic views of the Singapore skyline reflecting the time of the day outside.

Customers travelling in First Class will be provided with a passcode on entry to the lounge to access a dedicated “Concorde Bar”.

Continuing a trend of new BA lounges outside of London reflecting their local cities, the main lounge includes artwork from Singapore and British artists, including Simon Wee and Dr Brendan Neiland.

The main lounge seats 185 passengers. The Concorde Bar seats 41 passengers. 88% of seats have access to power for electronic devices as well as USB ports, and there is high-speed WiFi throughout.

The Concorde Bar features black Nero marble surfaces, European oak flooring and bespoke furnishings. Seating options including communal bar seating, private sofa corners and dining booths.
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BA launches London Heathrow – San Jose from 4 May 2016

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

British Airways is to launch a new route from London Heathrow to San Jose in California from Monday 4 May 2016.

The airline will fly daily to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport from London Heathrow Terminal 5 using a four class Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner aircraft.

This route will be the only direct link between San Jose, California and Europe. It is consistent with the airline opening new North American destinations that are not served by any other European airline.  It is also the second new BA route after Austin, Texas to use the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from launch.

San Jose will be the fourth city in California to be served by British Airways after Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.  It is also one of a growing number of new transatlantic routes from London Heathrow following the launch of Salt Lake City by Delta.

BA’s four class Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner will feature 8 first class seats, 42 Club World business class seats, 39 World Traveller Plus premium economy seats and 127 World Traveller economy seats. 

 The Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner will debut on BA on London Heathrow – Dehli from 25 October 2015. The Club World business class and World Traveller Plus cabins will be as found on the current Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner. The World Traveller economy seat will be slightly wider and the First Class seat is expected to be a modified version of BA’s current First Class seat.

Flights will go on sale at ba.com from Thursday 27 August 2015.  The route can also be booked as a codeshare with American Airlines.

Based on the performance of other new BA transatlantic routes from London Heathrow in recent years (Las Vegas, San Diego and Austin) we expect it will perform strongly.

BA has also produced a PDF brochure for the new route.

London Heathrow – San Jose, California

Flight BA279 Depart London Heathrow 15:15 – Arrive San Jose 18:05

Flight BA278 Depart San Jose 20:00 – Arrive London Heathrow 14:05

(Timetable is at launch, and may subsequently vary by season.)

Coincidentally, BA also launches a new route from London Gatwick to San Jose, Costa Rica (airport code SJO) on the same day which is not to be confused with San Jose, California (airport code SJC).

Delta to launch seasonal London Heathrow – Salt Lake City

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Delta at London Heathrow
Delta at London Heathrow (Image Credit: London Heathrow)

Delta Air Lines continues its steady transatlantic growth at London Heathrow with the launch a new route to Salt Lake City in Utah from Sunday 1 May 2016.

The flight will operate on a summer seasonal basis. This will be the only direct flight from London Heathrow to Utah. Delta will also offer passengers connections to some 50 cities from Salt Lake City.

Flights will be operated with a Boeing 767-300 aircraft, with a two class, business & economy, service. Flights will depart from London Heathrow Terminal 3. It is codeshared with Delta’s transatlantic joint-venture partner, Virgin Atlantic.

Flights are on sale now at Delta and Virgin Atlantic

London Heathrow – Salt Lake City

Flight DL 51/VS 4019 – Depart London Heathrow 10:10 – Arrive Salt Lake City 13:07
Flight DL 50/VS 4020 – Depart Salt Lake City 16:52 – Arrive London Heathrow 10:00

Update March 2018

This route is scheduled to return on Tuesday 1 May 2018 and will operate until Saturday 27 October 2018. Flights will operate daily for most of the season.

BA launches London Gatwick – Lima from Wednesday 4 May 2016

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London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

Hot on the heels of the announcement of a new route from London Gatwick to Costa Rica, BA is to launch another new long haul route from Gatwick to Lima (Jorge Chávez International Airport) in Peru.

The route launches on Wednesday 4 May 2016. Flights will initially operate three times weekly, departing on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  

The route will be operated with a three class, Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy, World Traveller economy, Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

This will be the only current direct route between London and Peru. BA’s IAG sibling Iberia also flies to Peru from Madrid and passengers will be able “mix and match” direct and indirect flights operated by both airlines.

Flights are now on sale now at ba.com

Also, as part of the launch BA and its advertising agency BBH have commissioned the illustrator Carla Lucena to prepare a special series of posters.

London Gatwick – Lima

Flight BA2239 Depart London Gatwick 13:50 – Arrive Lima 20:25 (Weds)
Flight BA2238 Depart Lima 21:55 – Arrive London Gatwick 16:15 (Weds)

Flight BA2239 Depart London Gatwick 11:55 – Arrive Lima 18:30 (Fri, Sun)
Flight BA2238 Depart Lima 20:00 – Arrive London Gatwick 14:20 (Fri, Sun)

Flights will operate twice weekly, on Wednesday and Sunday, from 30 October 2016:

Flight BA2239 Depart London Gatwick 10:15 – Arrive Lima 17:55 (Weds, Sun)
Flight BA2238 Depart Lima 19:25 – Arrive London Gatwick 12:35 (Weds, Sun)

Update: This route now operates on a summer seasonal basis only. It will resume from Sunday 25 March 2018 and will operate up to Friday 26 October 2018.

BA launches London Gatwick – San Jose, Costa Rica from 4 May 2016

London Air Travel » Page 123

London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

British Airways is to launch a new direct route from London Gatwick to San Jose (airport code SJO), Costa Rica from Wednesday 4 May 2016.

Flights will initially operate twice weekly, increasing to three times a week from the end of October 2016:

Flights will be operated with a three class Boeing 777 aircraft (world Traveller economy, World Traveller Plus premium economy and Club World business class) and are on sale now at ba.com

This will be the only direct service between London and Costa Rica. BA’s IAG sibling Iberia also flies to San Jose daily from Madrid, and bookings can combine flights on the two airlines. For the avoidance of any doubt, BA does not currently fly direct to San Jose, California (airport code SJC).

London Gatwick – San Jose, Costa Rica

Flight BA2137 Depart London Gatwick 11:55 Arrive San Jose 15:45 (Weds)
Flight BA2137 Depart London Gatwick 11:00 Arrive San Jose 14:50 (Sat)

Flight BA2136 Depart San Jose 17:15 Arrive London Gatwick 10:30 (Weds)
Flight BA2136 Depart San Jose 16:20 Arrive London Gatwick 09:35 (Sat)

Update: British Airways is also launch a new route from London Heathrow to San Jose, California from 4 May 2016.

Update: The launch date for London Gatwick – Costa Rica has since been moved to 27 April 2016.

Iberia targets Tokyo, Doha, Johannesburg, Toronto, Guadalajara, Managua, San Juan, Brasilia, & Asuncion

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Iberia (Image Credit: Iberia)

Iberia is to examine opening new routes (and in some cases re-instating routes) to Tokyo, Doha, Johannesburg, Toronto, Guadalajara (Mexico), Managua (Nicaragua), San Juan de Puerto Rico, Brasilia and Asuncion (Paraguay) the airline announced today, 31 July 2015.

The routes are likely to launch in 2016 and 2017 and are subject to its parent company, International Airlines Group, placing orders for additional aircraft, including five Airbus 330-200 aircraft, with Airbus.  

IAG also hopes to order a further eight Airbus A350-900 aircraft as a replacement for Iberia’s existing fleet. An announcement could be made as early as next week.

The announcement is significant as it is further evidence of IAG’s turnaround of Iberia which has also seen the airline launch new routes to Medellin and Cali in Columbia.

That said, it has to be said it is somewhat unusual for an airline to announce a possible order for aircraft in advance of it being finalised. 

Nor do airlines normally give away much with regard to future route launches, for obvious competitive reasons (though negotiations with airports on landing fees could be a factor).

Of the routes mentioned Doha and Tokyo are noteworthy as these would be the airline’s only routes to the Middle East and Asia and would be the airline’s first step in making Madrid a global (rather than purely west bound) long-haul hub. We assume they would be supported by code shares with fellow Oneworld alliance partners Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines.  

It is noteworthy that Hong Kong and Singapore are not listed, particularly Hong Kong as it is the hub of fellow alliance partner Cathay Pacific.

The launch of more routes to Central and South America also cements Iberia’s position in this market. We are surprised not to see more North American destinations, but these are of course well served by British Airways.

Aer Lingus to launch a new short-haul premium product “Aer Space”

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Aer Lingus London Heathrow
Aer Lingus London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Aer Lingus confirmed during the announcement of its half year results yesterday, Wednesday 29 July 2015, that it is to effectively re-introduce business class on selected short-haul routes, in the fourth quarter of this year.

The new “Aer Space” product will offer full ticket flexibility, lounge access, priority boarding and luggage handling and complimentary food & drink (we don’t know if this includes hot food or alcoholic drinks).

The seat itself will be the same as economy but the middle seat will be kept free.  

There will also be no cabin divider between economy and “Aer Space” (this is so it doesn’t constitute a separate cabin for Air Passenger Duty purposes).

It is very similar to the “Excellence Fare” offered by Vueling and Germanwing’s “Best Fare”.

The routes on which it will be launched have yet to be announced but we expect that London Heathrow – Dublin will be one of the first.

We assume that passengers connecting to/from business class long-haul flights on Aer Lingus and its future IAG/Oneworld partners will be seated in the “Aer Space” seats.

Update:

This product has not, as of April 2018, not been implemented and seems to have been postponed indefinitely.

  

BA to fly the Airbus A380 to Vancouver from 1 May 2016

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A British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft takes off at London Heathrow airport.
British Airways Airbus A380 at take off, London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Vancouver is to join BA’s roster of Airbus A380 destinations from 1 May 2016 until 2 October 2016 as one of its daily flights to the Canadian city will be upgraded from a Boeing 747 to an Airbus A380:

Flight BA085 Depart London Heathrow 17:15 – Arrive Vancouver 18:40
Flight BA084 Depart Vancouver 20:50 – Arrive London Heathrow 14:00

This does mark the end of, temporarily at least, BA Boeing 747 services to Vancouver. The service will revert back to a daily Boeing 747 from 2 October 2016. There is no doubt that the Airbus A380 is a significant upgrade over the Boeing 747 in all aspects, particularly with regard to seating in World Traveller Plus, in-flight entertainment aircraft condition and overall cabin comfort.

Other BA A380 destinations include selected flights to Los Angeles, Washington, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Singapore, San Francisco and, from 25 October 2015, Miami.

For passengers looking to book specific A380 services we should note that schedules are subject to change and aircraft can also be substituted at short notice.

Update January 2018:

The Airbus A380 is next due to operate on this route from Tuesday 1 May 2018 to Sunday 30 September 2018. The route continues to otherwise operates with a Boeing 747.

BA to introduce new boarding & hand baggage rules to improve punctuality

London Air Travel » Page 123

British Airways Self Boarding Gates - London Heathrow Terminal 5
British Airways Self Boarding Gates – London Heathrow Terminal 5

Punctuality has been a perennial difficulty for British Airways.

Shortly before Terminal 5 opened in 2008, the airline suffered the ignominy of having the worst punctuality record of any European airline.

Once Terminal 5 bedded down, its punctuality proved radically. However, this has proved not to be permanent. The airline has experienced another deterioration in punctuality.

Whilst operating from London Heathrow can often be a cause of poor punctuality, the volume of hand baggage being brought on to the aircraft is cited in a lot of anecdotal observations about flight delays.

Punctuality, known to be very important to passengers travelling on short-haul in particular, is currently back in focus.

Following trials on selected routes, the airline is to introduce new boarding procedures and processes for hand luggage.

Please see here for more details of BA’s new system for boarding by groups from 12 December 2017.
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BA launches London Gatwick – Valencia

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London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

BA continues its fight back at London Gatwick with the launch of a new service to the Spanish city of Valencia from Friday 6 November 2015.

The route will initially operate four times weekly, increasing to six times weekly from late March 2016, and flights are on sale now on ba.com

London Gatwick – Valencia

Flight BA2794 Depart London Gatwick 09:00 Arrive Valencia 12:20 (Tue, Wed)
Flight BA2794 Depart London Gatwick 06:45 Arrive Valencia 10:05 (Fri)
Flight BA2794 Depart London Gatwick 09:00 Arrive Valencia 12:20 (Sun)

Flight BA2785 Depart Valencia 13:05 Arrive London Gatwick 14:35 (Tue, Wed)
Flight BA2785 Depart Valencia 11:10 Arrive London Gatwick 12:40 (Fri)
Flight BA2785 Depart Valencia 13:30 Arrive London Gatwick 15;00 (Sun)

Valencia is BA’s fifteenth Spanish destination with flights already operating to Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Fuerteventura, Granada, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malaga, Mallorca, Menorca, Seville and Tenerife from a combination of London Heathrow, Gatwick and City airports.