BA Club World Montréal – London Heathrow Reviewed

Here’s our review of BA’s Club World service from Montréal to London Heathrow.

London Air Travel » Canada

Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Following our review of London Heathrow to Montréal in BA Club World, here’s our review of the return flight from Montreal to London.

It’s a short overnight flight from Montreal, typically leaving at around 21:30 with a flight time of around 6.5 hours.

Pre-Flight

By comparison to the rest of the airport, particularly the queues at check-in for Air Transat and Royal Air Maroc, the BA check-in desks are a haven of calm.

Regardless of what cabin you are travelling in you should find check-in by the local BA team relatively quick.

Turning to security screening, there is an expansive security screening area. There is a dedicated priority security line. However, you would be forgiven for not noticing if you didn’t know it was there. As you head from check-in security you need to walk right to the very far end of the entrance to security.

Salon Banque Nationale Lounge

Salon Banque Nationale Lounge - Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Salon Banque Nationale Lounge – Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

BA has long used a third party lounge facility at Montréal.

With just one flight a day, and very little else by way of Oneworld alliance presence, this is not surprising. If you’ve flown BA from this airport before March 2017 you may have used what was known as the TD First Class lounge which faced into the airport. This has now closed and BA now uses a new Salon Banque Nationale / National Bank lounge at Gate 53.

Note that the pictures of this lounge on the airport website are dated. The purple chairs were not in evidence and the vast majority of seats are grey armchairs.

If you don’t have access to this lounge by virtue of cabin or frequent flyer status, the lounge can also be booked via Swissport. Again, note that the pictures on this site are of the old lounge which has closed.

I was fully prepared to write damning review of this lounge facility. Not only that, I wasn’t sure whether it would be possible to get into the lounge in the first place!

On two occasions last year there were long queues to get into the lounge. Many BA passengers were turned away due to overcrowding. This is not what any passenger needs before a long-haul flight.

However, based on signage at the entrance, measures have been taken to reduce overcrowding. There was little difficulty finding a seat. However, the lounge may be much busier when Qatar Airways are flying to Doha (on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) or when Turkish Airlines are flying to Istanbul (on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday).

If you visited this lounge in its opening months you may have been handed a voucher at check-in because it didn’t have an alcohol licence. However, there is now a staffed bar offering beer, wines and cocktails. There is a dedicated family area of the lounge where, presumably due to licensing restrictions, you can only consume alcohol with a meal.

Buffet at Salon Banque Nationale Lounge - Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Buffet at Salon Banque Nationale Lounge – Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

There is also a buffet offering hot dishes such as chicken and rice which, to be honest, did not look particularly appetising. There are also cold salads, fruit, breads, and snacks such as pretzels. Sadly, there are no showers.

The lounge does benefit from floor to ceiling views of the airport apron. It is much brighter, but the old lounge was preferable for having a much wider range of seating and generally a much calmer atmosphere.

There is also a second third party lounge Desjardins Odyssey Lounge which is not available to BA passengers.

I couldn’t help but gaze longingly at the Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge next door, and if there had been a repeat with overcrowding issues, it would be tempting to abandon allegiance to Oneworld and switch to Air Canada on this route.
Continue reading “BA Club World Montréal – London Heathrow Reviewed”

BA Club World London Heathrow – Montréal Reviewed

Here’s our review of BA’s Club World service from London Heathrow to Montreal.

London Air Travel » Canada

Biosphere, Île Sainte-Hélène, Montreal (Image Credit: London Air Travel)
Biosphere, Île Sainte-Hélène, Montreal (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Who can resist the French Canadian charms of Montreal?

Its heady cocktail of European joie de vivre and North America minus the bad bits of its next door neighbour all has instant appeal.

So here’s our review of a flight in BA Club World to Montreal. This was also an opportunity for a third take of BA’s new Club World Service after Philadelphia and New York JFK.

Our second review was different from the first review. And this review is different again! Whether this is by accident or design is unknown.

First, a quick primer on the Montreal route for BA:

BA Club World to Montreal

British Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, London Heathrow Terminal 5B
British Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, London Heathrow Terminal 5B (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

This route is ordinarily operated once a day with a three class Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.

However, as BA has been grappling with engine issues on its Boeing 787 fleet this route has been regularly substituted with a four class Boeing 787-9 aircraft, as it was on this flight.

The first indication was about a week before departure as an e-mail was received from BA advising of a seat assignment change. Sadly, the First cabin was closed and not available for Club World passengers.

The Club World cabin is largely the same on both Boeing 787-8 and Boeing 787-9 aircraft with two “demi” cabins separated by the galley in a 2-3-2 configuration. On the Boeing 787-8 it is three plus two rows. On the Boeing 787-9 it is two plus four rows. Generally, the further forward in the aircraft you are, the better.

The 2-3-2 configuration, also found on the upper deck of the Airbus A380, is unique in that there is a single rear-facing middle seat which is both wider than other seats and very private. Having experienced it on a different flight, I did not like being not able to see out of the windows on take off and landing.

In general, Club World on this route is busy but rarely full/oversold, given the relative lack of business links between the UK and Quebec. If you are Silver or Gold Executive Club cardholder you have a good chance of being upgraded from World Traveller Plus as this cabin is often oversold. Fixed price one-way upgrades from World Traveller Plus are often offered in the Manage My Booking tool and the BA smartphone app at around £400+.

This particular seat, 7A, benefits from both being by the window and having direct access to the aisle.

Seat 7A, Club World, BA Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Seat 7A, Club World, BA Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Continue reading “BA Club World London Heathrow – Montréal Reviewed”

BA suspends London Heathrow – Calgary for winter season

British Airways has suspended its daily service to Calgary for the winter from Sunday 28 October 2018 to Sunday 31 March 2019.

London Air Travel » Canada

British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (Image Credit: Heathrow)
British Airways has suspended its daily service from London Heathrow to Calgary for the winter season.

The last outbound and inbound flight operates on Saturday 27 October 2018. The service resumes on Sunday 31 March 2019. The affected flight numbers are BA102 and BA103.

No specific reason has been given for the cancellation. However, it is a reasonable assumption that unsatisfactory commercial performance is behind the decision.

BA started flying from London Heathrow to Calgary in December 2006, initially with a Boeing 767 aircraft. The route then changed to a Boeing 787 in July 2014.

Air Canada will continue to fly direct from London Heathrow to Calgary year-round.

Rebooking Options as at Wednesday 6 June 2018

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund.

Alternatively, passengers can also rebook to a date when BA is flying to Calgary.

Passengers can also rebook to an alternative BA destination in the US and Canada. However, any additional costs will be at your expense.

BA is in discussions with local airlines about rebooking arrangements. It is likely that further options will be announced in the next few days. Unless you would prefer a refund or to fly to another destination, we would recommend waiting until these have been confirmed before taking any action.

Passengers who need to change their booking should contact either BA or their travel agent.

Rebooking Options As At Tuesday 12 June 2018

BA has now secured a rebooking arrangement with United Airlines.

Passengers can rebook to Calgary by connecting to United Airlines from either Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston or San Francisco.

Clearly, unless you enjoy taking circuitous routings, Chicago O’Hare is the only logical option!

In all cases, passengers must connect from a British Airways flight from London Heathrow. As United Airlines does not offer premium economy, passengers booked in World Traveller Plus will be booked into economy on United Airlines.

Rebooking Options As At Tuesday 19 June 2018

BA has also secured a rebooking arrangement with Alaska Airlines.

Passengers can rebook to Calgary by connecting to Alaska Airlines from Seattle.

Again, passengers must connect from a British Airways flight from London Heathrow. As Alaska Airlines does not offer premium economy, passengers booked in World Traveller Plus will be booked into economy on Alaska Airlines.

Rebooking Options As At Wednesday 27 June 2018

BA has now secured a rebooking arrangement with WestJet.

Passengers can rebook to Calgary by connecting to WestJet from Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego or Vancouver.

Clearly, Vancouver is the most logical option, not least because you don’t have to deal with US Customs & Immigration.

Again, in all cases passengers must connect from a British Airways flight from London Heathrow. WestJet does not offer business class. It does offer premium economy. However, all BA passengers will be booked into economy.

In theory, in addition to the options above, passengers should be also be able to be accommodated on American Airlines. However, its flights to Calgary from the US are relatively limited.

WestJet launches London Gatwick – Halifax

WestJet is to launch a new summer seasonal route from London Gatwick to Halifax, Nova Scotia from Monday 30 April 2018 to Saturday 27 October 2018. Flights will be operated using a single aisle Boeing 737-800 MAX aircraft.

London Air Travel » Canada

WestJet Boeing 737-800 MAX Aircraft
WestJet Boeing 737-800 MAX Aircraft (Image Credit: WestJet)

WestJet is to launch a new route from London Gatwick to Halifax in the summer of 2018.

The Canadian airline will fly from London Gatwick to Halifax, Nova Scotia (Halifax Stanfield International Airport) daily from Monday 30 April 2018 to Saturday 27 October 2018.

Flights will be operated using the single aisle Boeing 737-800 MAX aircraft which, as pictured above, has a distinctive set of split winglets.

The aircraft has a single cabin with 168 seats. This includes three rows of WestJet’s premium economy cabin “Plus” in a 2-2 configuration (the middle seat is kept free). WestJet also promises 11 rows of extra-leg room seats with a pitch of 34 inches in a 3-3 configuration.
Continue reading “WestJet launches London Gatwick – Halifax”

BA adds Las Vegas and Toronto at London Gatwick

BA is to fly from London Gatwick to Las Vegas and Toronto from summer 2018.

London Air Travel » Canada

Toronto, Canada
Toronto (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has today announced it is to launch a new summer seasonal route from London Gatwick to Toronto and reinstate its London Gatwick – Las Vegas route next summer.

BA will fly to Las Vegas three times a week from Tuesday 27 March 2018 on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday until Friday 26 October 2018. BA will fly to Toronto three times a week from Tuesday 1 May 2018, also on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday until Friday 26 October 2018.

Both Las Vegas and Toronto are served by BA at London Heathrow up to twice daily. BA has previously flown from Gatwick to Las Vegas.  However, the service was suspended last year. 

Toronto is BA’s first route from London Gatwick to Canada.  It is something of a surprise to see BA launch the Toronto from Gatwick, as it is not one of the stronger Heathrow routes due to a lack of presence by the Oneworld alliance in Canada.

However, there can be absolutely no doubt this is a move to take on the growth of low lost long-haul at Gatwick.  Las Vegas is served by Norwegian.  Toronto is also served by both WestJet and Air Canada Rouge.

Continue reading “BA adds Las Vegas and Toronto at London Gatwick”

Air Canada Rouge to launch seasonal London Gatwick – Vancouver

Air Canada Rouge will fly from London Gatwick to Vancouver three times on a summer seasonal basis from June 2017.

London Air Travel » Canada

Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300 aircraft
Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300 aircraft (Image Credit: Air Canada)

Over the past couple of years there has been significant growth in routes between London and Canada, notably with the launch of flights by Canadian airline WestJet this summer from London Gatwick to a number of cities in Canada.

Although WestJet’s entry into the long-haul market was far from smooth with significant technical problems with its fleet of 2nd hand aircraft, it is pressing ahead with its long-haul operation at London Gatwick.

Air Canada responded by launching flights operated by its budget airline Air Canada Rouge from London Gatwick to Toronto last year.

In the summer of 2017, Air Canada Rouge will expand its routes further, launching a direct route from London Gatwick to Vancouver.
Continue reading “Air Canada Rouge to launch seasonal London Gatwick – Vancouver”

BA withdraws First Class from Vancouver from Thursday 21 January to Monday 29 February 2016

London Air Travel » Canada

British Airways First Class Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways First Class Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is to temporarily withdraw its First Class cabin from its daily flight from London Heathrow to Vancouver from Thursday 21 January to Monday 29 February 2016.

The airline will continue to operate the route with a Boeing 747.  However, the First Class cabin will be closed. 

The reason for this is that the route is being operated with a Boeing 747 that is not fitted with the latest First Class cabin

This is not the first time BA has done this. Readers may recall BA temporarily withdrew First Class from a number of routes including Cape Town, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Vancouver last year.

Affected passengers can either accept a downgrade to Club World business class or an alternative indirect routing to Vancouver via Seattle (with onward travel to Vancouver at the passenger’s expense) or another BA or American Airlines gateway in America (such as Dallas Fort Worth) with an onward connection on American Airlines.

Full refunds do not appear to be available.

WestJet confirms transatlantic routes from London Gatwick

London Air Travel » Canada

WestJet Boeing 767 aircraft
WestJet Boeing 767 aircraft (Image Credit: WestJet)

Canadian airline WestJet has today confirmed it is to launch summer seasonal direct flights from London Gatwick to no less than six Canadian cities: Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, St John’s, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Flights will operate from the week beginning Monday 4 May 2015 to the end of October 2015.

Flights to Vancouver will operate six times weekly, Edmonton will operate twice weekly, Calgary five times weekly and Winnipeg once weekly. Flights to Toronto and St. John’s will both operate once daily.

In total, this represents 28 return trips from London Gatwick total each week.

This represents a significant expansion in capacity between London and Canada, and significant competition to British Airways and Air Canada from London Heathrow and Air Canada Rouge and Air Transat from London Gatwick. This, combined with the expansion of Norwegian at London Gatwick means that the airport is carving out a niche for low cost transatlantic travel.

In the case of Winnipeg, WestJet’s service will also be the only direct route between the city and London.

All London flights, with the exception of flights to St John’s, will be operated by one of WestJet’s four Boeing 767-300ERW extended range aircraft.

Each Boeing 767 seats 262 passengers. The main economy cabin has 238 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Passengers in the main cabin will be offered complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks and the option to purchase hot meals. The cabin does not also feature seat back in flight entertainment. Instead, the aircraft will be equipped with WestJet Connect, the airline’s inflight entertainment and wireless connectivity system which can stream entertainment to your smartphone/tablet. Passengers are also offered one complimentary checked bag. However, seat selection fees will apply.

The aircraft will include a “Plus” premium cabin with 24 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and complimentary hot meals.

Flights are on sale now and to mark the launch, WestJet is offering special introductory fares which it claims are the lowest on the market for bookings made by Wednesday 16 September for travel between 6 May 2015 to 28 June 2015.

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

London Air Travel » Canada

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.

Air Canada Rouge to launch London Gatwick – Toronto from 19 May 2016

Air Canada Rouge operates London Gatwick – Toronto on a summer seasonal basis.

London Air Travel » Canada

Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300 aircraft
Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300 aircraft (Image Credit: Air Canada)

Air Canada Rouge, the leisure subsidiary airline of Air Canada, is to launch summer seasonal flights from London Gatwick to Toronto Pearson airport from 19 May 2016.

Flights will operate up to 7 times weekly.

Air Canada Rouge also flies between Toronto and Manchester and Edinburgh on a summer seasonal basis.  Air Canada’s domestic rival WestJet also announced this month that it is to fly between London Gatwick and as yet unspecified destinations in Canada in summer 2016.

Air Canada Rouge flights will be operated by a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with 24 Premium rouge seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 256 rouge seats in a 2-3-2 configuration.

Passengers travelling in the Premium rouge cabin have lounge access at the airport, a complimentary checked baggage allowance, complimentary food and drink and free use of a tablet for in flight entertainment.

Passengers travelling in the main rouge cabin have complimentary food and drink and can download an app to watch in flight entertainment on their smartphone or tablet. There is no seat back in flight entertainment.

We have no direct experience of Air Canada Rouge but we would offer the observation that 280 seats is a very dense seating configuration for a Boeing 767. By contrast, an Air Canada Boeing 767 with a traditional business class cabin has 211 seats. Such a dense configuration will have an impact on not only in seat comfort, but also at boarding, access to overhead locker space and washrooms etc.

Flights will be on sale at Fly Rouge from 2 July 2015.

Update: Here’s the timetable with convenient timings for the leisure traveller to maximise their holiday time.

Flight AC1925 Depart London Gatwick 12:00 – Arrive Toronto Pearson 15:00
Flight AC1924 Depart Toronto Pearson 22:10 – Arrive London Gatwick 10:15

Update (2): This route has been suspended from the 2018 summer season.