BA launches new summer seasonal routes from Heathrow to Faro, Malaga, Mykonos, Porto and Santorini

BA has launched summer seasonal routes from London Heathrow to Faro, Malaga, Mykonos, Porto and Santorini for summer 2014.

British Airways Short Haul Economy Cabin
British Airways Short Haul Economy Cabin (Credit: British Airways)

Over the past few years, British Airways has operated summer seasonal weekend flights from its London Heathrow base to European holiday destinations. Initially, these were charter flights for holiday companies and last year BA launched seasonal weekly flights to Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca. Both of these two destinations are to return to Heathrow next summer.

The use of Heathrow slots for summer seasonal flights ramps up a gear next summer as BA launches twice weekly flights to Faro (also operated from Gatwick), Malaga (also operated from Gatwick and London City), Mykonos, Porto and Santorini.

Flights to Oporto, Faro and Malaga operate from 30 March 2014. Flights to Mykonos operate from 3 May 2014 and flights to Santorini operate from 4 May 2014.

Although it may seem unusual BA is launching these routes from its main hub at Heathrow, instead of Gatwick which has served as BA’s main base for leisure flights over the past years, there is a logic in using Heathrow slots for such flights at weekends when business routes are relatively quiet. No doubt these routes are also supported by bookings from tour operators.

Flights can be booked now on ba.com.

A cautionary lesson for BA and other airlines on responding to customers on social media

A few months I ago I posted about the disappointment experienced by many British Airways passengers when BaxterStorey took over the catering contract for the British Airways lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5.

The issue had largely died down. That was until last Saturday a poster on FlyerTalk had identified that, following an inspection of two of the six lounges at Terminal 5 (The Galleries First lounge and Concorde Room), Hillingdon Council had awarded these lounges a food safety score of 2 out of a possible 5. This means an improvement is required.

To put this into context, almost all of the outlets at Terminal 5 achieved either a score of 4 or 5 with only Gordon Ramsay’s “Plane Food” restaurant and a branch of Caffe Nero achieving a score of 2.

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Could Gatwick airport ever persuade one of the “Big Three” airline alliances to defect from Heathrow?

Yesterday’s (Monday) Financial Times featured an interesting story where the Chief Executive of London Gatwick, Stewart Wingate, postulated (known in politics and the press as “kite flying”) that if a second runway for Gatwick was approved, one of the “Big Three” airline alliances could be persuaded to defect from Heathrow airport.

Is there any mileage in this?

Put simply, I don’t think so.

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Virgin Atlantic & Delta to operate a joint London Heathrow – New York “shuttle” service from 30 March 2014

Following the grant of anti-trust immunity by the US Department of Transportation, Virgin Atlantic and Delta have today confirmed they will co-ordinate their schedules to operate a nine times daily shuttle service on the London Heathrow – New York (Newark & JFK) route from 30 March 2014.

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BA introduces lifetime Gold card status for Executive Club members

If you are a member of the British Airways Executive Club, you may notice a small, but significant, change when you next log on to your account at ba.com

BA has, in addition to annual tier points which determine the level of status (Bronze, Silver, Gold) a member is entitled to for their membership year, introduced “lifetime tier points”.

Put simply, these are all the tier points a member has earned since joining the Executive Club.

At the moment, if a member has earned 35,000 lifetime tier points or more they are now entitled to gold membership for life.

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BA launches its latest TV advertising campaign “To Fly. To Serve. Today. Tomorrow.”

Last weekend, British Airways launched its first major UK TV advertising campaign in over a year with a return to the theme of “To Fly. To Serve.”

The advertisement, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, follows a single customer journey from the airport to on board a Boeing 787 aircraft. The advertisement, which is certainly very slick, uses a “micro to macro” style of filming, featuring close up shots of the details of flying, panning to wide shots of the aircraft in motion.

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Qatar Airways to join the Oneworld Alliance on 30 October 2013

Qatar Airways is to join the Oneworld alliance on Wednesday 30 October 2013, just over one year after announcing its original intention to join the alliance.

This means that from this date, members of fellow Oneworld alliance members frequent flyer programmes will be entitled to reciprocal frequent flyer benefits (such as mileage earning and airport lounge access) when flying on Qatar Airways.

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