Aer Lingus launches Dublin – Minneapolis & Montreal

Aer Lingus is to launch new direct flights from Dublin to Minneapolis – St Paul and Montreal from summer 2019.

London Air Travel

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

Aer Lingus continues its strong growth of transatlantic routes from Dublin with the launch of two new routes next summer.

The airline will fly from Dublin to Minneapolis – St Paul from Monday 8 July 2019 and Montreal from Thursday 8 August 2019.

Flights will operate daily. Minneapolis – St Paul will be operated with a Boeing 757 aircraft. Montreal will be operated with a brand new Airbus A321 neo Long Range aircraft, in respect of which Aer Lingus is yet to unveil interior images.

Whilst both routes are already served by direct flights from London, Aer Lingus passengers flying to Minneapolis – St Paul will benefit from US Custms & Immigration pre-clearance in Dublin.

There are ample connections to all flights from London City, Gatwick and Heathrow. If there’s one complaint we could make about timetabling it is that Aer Lingus’ flight arrives in Montreal close to BA’s own daily flight. If Aer Lingus had scheduled its flight earlier in the day, then Aer Lingus and BA would be offering a choice of departure times for passengers on a route where they have a lot of competition in Europe from Air Canada and Air France.
Continue reading “Aer Lingus launches Dublin – Minneapolis & Montreal”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 12 September 2018

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

London Air Travel

Hurricane Florence
Hurricane Florence (Image Credit: CNN)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 12 September 2018, our weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

Hurricane Florence

In the US at the moment, all eyes are on Hurricane Florence as it approaches the coasts of North and South Carolina.

It is currently a Category 4 hurricane with wind speeds expected to reach 150 mph. The states of North Carolina and South Carolina have issued mandatory evacuation orders for many coastal counties. Tropical storm force winds are expected to reach the East Coast by Thursday morning.

Airports across North and South Carolina and some airports in Virginia and Georgia are at risk of disruption.

These include: Asheville, North Carolina; Augusta, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Charlottesville, Virginia; Columbia, South Carolina; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Florence, South Carolina; Greensboro / High Point, North Carolina; Greenville / Spartanburg, South Carolina; Greenville, North Carolina; Hampton / Newport News, Virginia; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Jacksonville, North Carolina; Lynchburg, Virginia; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; New Bern, North Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; Raleigh / Durham, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; Roanoke, Virginia; Savannah, Georgia; and Wilmington, North Carolina.

American Airlines, Delta, United and many other North American Airlines have issued a weather waivers for passengers due to travel to/from the region over the next few days. Some airlines have also waived baggage fees and introduced capped fares for select domestic fights.

In the UK, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are allowing passengers due to travel to the region to defer travel up to Wednesday 19 September 2018.

Both BA and Virgin Atlantic have this morning extended their flexible rebooking policy to Washington Dulles. BA is also allowing passengers due to fly to Baltimore to rebook.

Although there are no cancellations at present, American Airlines flights between London Heathrow and Charlotte and Raleigh / Durham may be at risk of disruption.

Updates are also available from the National Weather Service.

The National Hurricane Center is also monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac which is currently moving west across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and Hurricane Helene which is moving north west across the Atlantic.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 12 September 2018”

Do&Co secures British Airways Heathrow catering contract

Do&Co will provide meals for all British Airways flights from London Heathrow from 2020.

London Air Travel

A selection of BA Club Europe meals - September 2018
BA Club Europe Meals – September 2018 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Many readers may know that British Airways has historically used multiple catering suppliers at its London airports.

At London Heathrow, catering for the vast majority of long-haul flights is provided by Gate Gourmet. Under a concession operated by Tourvest, M&S provides Buy-On-Board food for EuroTraveller short-haul economy. Do&Co provide meals for Club Europe and in Club World on flights to New York JFK. DHL also provide logistics support for catering on short-haul flights, having signed a ten year deal with BA from April 2010.

Today, Tuesday 11 September 2018, BA has announced that Do&Co will provide catering for all flights from London Heathrow from 2020.

Based on Do&Co’s catering in Club World on the New York JFK route, this should be a significant upgrade in quality. Though, of course, like any caterer they will work within the budgets specified by BA.

It should be said that the transition from DHL and Gate Gourmet to Do&Co at Heathrow will be a huge logistical exercise that is not without risk of teething troubles. When DHL secured the BA contract, it made a significant investment in facilities at London Heathrow. Not only do catering suppliers provide food, but also in-flight retail and amenities for passenger comfort.
Continue reading “Do&Co secures British Airways Heathrow catering contract”

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 11 September 2018

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in media and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

BA First WiFi
(Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

In light of recent events with the BA Customer Data Breach, it seems a good idea to focus on the issue of security, both at home and on the move. So here are some tips to protect your personal accounts and data.

1. Passwords

This is your first line of defence against hackers.

It is advisable not to use the same password across different accounts and logins as fraudulent access to one account will prompt attempts to access others.

A password should be “strong” with a combination of capitalised and lower case letters, numbers and characters that could not be easily guessed. It should not be based on any public information about you, such as family members, profession or personal interests.

There are many password managers which will generate and store complex passwords for you. Whilst these are reputable, out of personal preference, we don’t use them.

2. Two Factor / Step Authentication

Many websites and apps offer two factor/step authentication before your account can be accessed from a new computer or device.

The most common is two step authentication where a unique passcode is sent to your mobile phone before you can login from a new computer or device.

It’s far from infallible as SMS messages can be intercepted, but it does add an extra layer of security. Many websites and apps also allow the use of hardware tokens such as YubiKey.

The website Two Factor Auth details which websites and apps offer two step authentication.

Frustratingly, neither ba.com nor the BA Executive Club offers this.
Continue reading “Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 11 September 2018”

Air Belgium to operate for BA on London Heathrow – Abu Dhabi

Air Belgium is to operate British Airways’ daily service from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi from 15 September to 4 October 2018.

London Air Travel

Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft
Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft (Image Credit: Air Belgium)

British Airways is to wet lease an aircraft from Air Belgium to cover its daily flight from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi from mid September to early October 2018.

The outbound flight BA73 from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi will be operated by Air Belgium from Saturday 15 September to Thursday 4 October 2018. As will the inbound flight BA72 from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow from Sunday 16 September to Friday 5 October 2018.

No specific reason has been given for the wet lease. However, given the route is ordinarily operated with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft, it’s a safe assumption that the grounding of these aircraft is the cause. BA has previously wet leased aircraft to cover London Heathrow – Cairo.

The flight will be operated by an Air Belgium A340-300 aircraft. The overall service standard should be similar to that of BA.

Rebooking Options

All passengers have the option of rebooking on to an alternative BA operated service to Abu Dhabi within 7 days before, or after, the wet lease operation.

All passengers also have the option of rebooking on to a BA operated service to Dubai within 3 days before, or after, the wet lease operation. However, any additional costs such as taxis, will be at your own expense.

Full refunds are not available to any passenger, unless allowed by the original fare rules.

First Class Passengers

There is no First Class cabin on Air Belgium aircraft.

Passengers will be downgraded to business class and receive a partial refund of their fare. Passengers will still have a First Class baggage allowance, earn the Avios and Tier Points of the First Class fare, and have access to First Class ground facilities such as the Concorde Room at London Heathrow.

Alternatively, passengers can use the value of their ticket towards the purchase of a new ticket to an alternative destination.

Premium Economy Passengers

There is no premium economy cabin on Air Belgium aircraft.

BA has advised that most premium economy passengers will be downgraded to economy and receive a partial refund of their fare. Passengers will retain their original baggage allowance and Avios earning entitlement. Some passengers may also be upgraded to business class.

Alternatively, passengers can use the value of their ticket towards the purchase of a new ticket to an alternative destination.

Affected passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

Monday Briefing – 10 September 2018

Welcome to our weekly Monday Briefing on the main developments in air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday morning at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz Media Appearances Friday 7 September 2018
British Airways CEO Alex Cruz Media Appearances Friday 7 September 2018 (Image Credit: BBC, CNN, ITV News)

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 10 September 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week.

BA Customer Data Breach – Additional Guidance

BA has over the weekend updated its advice page on its well publicised data breach.

Additional advice published on Sunday 9 September includes:

– Telephone numbers provided during the booking process were not compromised.

– Customers who used PayPal to pay for a flight will not have had their PayPal accounts compromised, but there is some risk that personal information was accessed.

– Passengers who used Apple Pay to pay for a flight through the mobile app are not affected.

– Passengers who attempted to pay for a flight but the transaction was unsuccessful would have had their data compromised.

– Passengers who made changes to their bookings free of charge would not have had their data compromised.

– Bookings cancelled or refunded during the breach are not affected.

The Information Commissioner’s Office and the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) will also be providing periodic updates.

We will also keep our page updated as the story develops.
Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 10 September 2018”

BA signs codeshare with Indian airline Vistara

British Airways has signed a new codeshare partnership with Indian airline Vistara to a number of domestic destinations in India.

London Air Travel

Vistara Aircraft and Premium Cabins
Vistara Aircraft and Premium Cabins (Image Credit: Vistara)

British Airways has signed a new codeshare partnership with Indian airline Vistara.

Passengers travelling after Thursday 27 September 2018 from London Heathrow to Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai will be able to book onward connections to a number of domestic destinations in India.

Destinations covered by the codeshare include Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Goa, Kolkata, Kochi, and Pune. BA used to fly Amritsar and Kolkata direct. As is the norm for codeshare partnerships, these can only be booked when connecting to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and India. Flights are on sale now at ba.com

From a cursory scan of timetables on ba.com the suitability of connections does vary widely.

On outbound flights from London Heathrow it is possible to secure a connection time of around two hours on many routes as there are BA flights that arrive in Delhi and Mumbai in the morning. However, as BA flights from Delhi to Mumbai to Heathrow leave in the early hours or mid-morning it is difficult to secure an inbound connection without a long connection time or an overnight stay.

Vistara operates a fleet of more than 20 Airbus A320 aircraft in a three class configuration. The airline started operations in 2015 and is a joint-venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons Ltd.

BA has long sought a domestic airline partner in India. It is one of its most important markets, but with a very volatile aviation sector. Many years BA ago did explore securing a local franchise partner, but to no avail.

British Airways Customer Data Breach

British Airways has advised that customers who booked flights on its website between 21 August 2018 and 5 September 2018 have had their data compromised.

London Air Travel

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

British Airways has announced that its website ba.com and mobile app has been subject to a data breach.

The airline issued a statement in the early evening of Thursday 6 September 2018 that customers who booked flights over a period of nearly two weeks between 22:58 BST on Tuesday 21 August 2018 and 21:45 BST Wednesday 5 September 2018 have had their personal and financial details compromised.

BA has stated that it is contacting affected customers who are advised to contact their banks and credit card companies for appropriate advice. The full statement is as follows:

British Airways is investigating, as a matter of urgency, the theft of customer data from its website, ba.com and the airline’s mobile app. The stolen data did not include travel or passport details.

From 22:58 BST August 21 2018 until 21:45 BST September 5 2018 inclusive, the personal and financial details of customers making bookings on ba.com and the airline’s app were compromised.

The breach has been resolved and our website is working normally.
 
British Airways is communicating with affected customers and we advise any customers who believe they may have been affected by this incident to contact their banks or credit card providers and follow their recommended advice. 

We have notified the police and relevant authorities.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and Chief Executive said “We are deeply sorry for the disruption that this criminal activity has caused. We take the protection of our customers’ data very seriously.”
 
British Airways will provide further updates when appropriate.

BA has also published guidance for affected customers on its website ba.com

It is noteworthy that BA’s parent company International Airlines Group has issued the above statement to the stock exchange so this is clearly a significant and share price sensitive event.

BA is required by law to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office with 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach. The ICO has the power to levy very substantial fines in the event of a failure to properly report a breach.

Update Friday 7 September 2018

BA has updated its published guidance on the morning of Friday 7 September to advise that the breach also affects any passengers who made changes to existing bookings during the period of the breach.

The scope of changes (eg free or paid for seat assignments etc) is not defined but this means the breach could affect very many more passengers.

BA has also confirmed that it will fully reimburse passengers for any financial losses as a direct consequence of the security breach. It will also not ask customers to review/update payment card details and any unsolicited requests for this information should not be fulfilled.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a short statement confirming contact with BA:

“British Airways has made us aware of an incident and we are making enquiries.”

National Cyber Security Centre Response

The UK Government’s National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, has published guidance for affected customers.

American Express Response

American Express, which issues a number of BA branded credit cards has provided the following response to customers by e-mail:

Dear Cardmember,

I’m writing to you about the reported British Airways data breach involving personal and financial details of customers being compromised through their web and mobile app.

We want to assure you we have industry-leading fraud protection technology that is continually monitoring for any suspicious activity in order to safeguard you. Also, our Cardmembers are never liable for any fraudulent charges on their Accounts. If you have used your American Express Card to book with British Airways, we are monitoring your Account for you.

There is no action you need to take – we will contact you immediately if there’s any unusual activity with your Account. In the meantime you can continue to use your Card as normal.

If we see any unusual activity which could be fraud, we will contact you immediately. For added protection, you can also sign up for free fraud and other Account activity notifications via email, SMS text messaging, or alerts through our app.

Thank you for your continued Cardmembership.

British Airways Suspends London Heathrow – Muscat

British Airways has suspended its route from London Heathrow to Muscat for the summer 2019 season. The last flight from Heathrow operates on 30 March 2019.

London Air Travel

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Image Credit: British Airways)
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has suspended its route from London Heathrow to Muscat for the summer 2019 season.

Currently, the route operates five times weekly. The last outbound flight from London Heathrow, BA79, is scheduled to operate on Saturday 30 March 2019. The last inbound flight from Muscat, BA80, is scheduled to operate on Sunday 31 March 2019. At present, the route is due to return from late October 2019.

No reason has been given for the suspension. However, as the route is operated with a Boeing 787 a need to generate some slack in Boeing 787 schedules is likely to be a factor. The route was also subject to blanket cancellations during industrial action last year, which suggests it is one of BA’s more lightly loaded routes.

Oman Air will continue to fly from London Heathrow to Muscat twice daily.

Rebooking Options

At present, BA has not confirmed any rebooking options with other airlines.

However, it has long been standard practice for BA to only begin discussions after a route suspension has been announced. In addition, progressively more options become available over time. As such, we would recommend waiting a couple of weeks before rebooking to see what options are available. We will update this page accordingly as rebooking options become available.

Alternatively, passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a refund or should be able to rebook on an alternative date near to their original date of travel.

Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.

American Airlines Codeshare

This route is codeshared with American Airlines under flight numbers AA6421 and AA6420.

Rebooking options for passengers who were due to travel on this flight as part of an itinerary booked through American Airlines (with a ticket number beginning 001) may have different rebooking options to those who have booked through BA (with a ticket number beginning 125). Affected passengers will need to contact American Airlines accordingly.

Rebooking Options – Friday 14 September 2018

BA has secured a rebooking option with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.

In all cases passengers must connect to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Istanbul to connect to/from a Turkish Airlines flight between Istanbul and Muscat.

This is not ideal. London Heathrow – Istanbul is treated by BA as a short-haul flight, so First and Club World business class passengers will be booked into Club Europe with the same leg room as EuroTraveller. World Traveller Plus premium economy passengers will be booked into EuroTraveller.

Turkish Airlines also operates a two class service between Istanbul and Muscat so First Class and World Traveller Plus passengers will be downgraded.

Rebooking Options – Friday 21 September 2018

BA has secured a rebooking option with Etihad via Abu Dhabi.

Again, in all cases passengers must connect to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi to connect to/from a Etihad flight between Abu Dhabi and Muscat.

Etihad operates a two class service between Abu Dhabi and Muscat so First Class and World Traveller Plus passengers will be downgraded. However, it is only a short flight of just over one hour.

These rebooking options are available for passengers travelling between 30 March 2019 and 1 November 2019.

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 5 September 2018

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

London Air Travel

Flying over the North Atlantic - August 2018
Flying over the North Atlantic – August 2018 (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 5 September 2018. It is a relatively short bulletin this week due to public holidays.

BA Long-Haul Schedule Changes

BA has confirmed a few transatlantic schedule changes for 2019:

– Heathrow to Las Vegas will reduce from 10 to 7 weekly from Saturday 28 October 2018 and will remain so throughout the 2019 summer season.

– London Gatwick to Las Vegas will increase to 6 times weekly from Sunday 31 March 2019. This is no doubt a competitive response to Virgin Atlantic moving the route to Heathrow.

– Heathrow to Phoenix will reduce from 10 to 7 weekly from Friday 26 October and will remain so throughout the 2019 summer season. This was expected after American Airlines announced it was launching this as a summer seasonal route.

Tropical Storm Gordon

As Tropical Storm Gordon is expected to make landfall, according to National Hurricane Center it is expected to gain strength as a Category 1 hurricane.

A number of US airlines have implemented flexible rebooking policies for passengers due to travel in the Gulf Coast region.

The airports expected to be affected are Baton Rouge, Panama City, Gulfport, Lafayette, Mobile, New Orleans, Pensacola and Destin Fort Walton Beach.

American Airlines, Delta and United have issued a weather waivers for passengers due to travel to the region over the next couple of days.

Also of note this week:

Why did America Give Up On Mass Transit. (CityLab)

Every Generation Gets the Beach Villain It Deserves. (New York Times)

Late Post-Publication Updates

[Reserved for updates during the day.]

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