Norwegian to launch direct route from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi from Thursday 28 September 2017

Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Norwegian’s aggressive expansion at London Gatwick continues with the launch of a new route from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi airport.

The route will launch on Thursday 28 September 2017. It will initially operate four times weekly, increasing to five times weekly from Monday 30 October 2017. The flight will be operated by the mainstay of Norwegian’s long-haul operations, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in a two class configuration.

Flights are on sale now at Norwegian.com

Today’s announcement is significant for two reasons:
Continue reading “Norwegian to launch direct route from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi from Thursday 28 September 2017”

British Airways suspends London Gatwick – Lima route from Sunday 29 October 2017

British Airways is to suspend its London Gatwick – Lima route for the winter season from Sunday 29 October 2017. The route is expected to resume from late March 2018.

BA launched its route from London Gatwick to Lima in May 2016. No specific reason has been given for the seasonal cancellation. However, it is assumed the cause of cancellation is unsatisfactory commercial performance. The affected BA flight numbers are BA2239 and BA2238.

If your flight is cancelled you will be reaccommodated on Iberia’s daily service to Lima via Madrid from either London Gatwick or London Heathrow. However, do note that Iberia does not always operate its premium economy cabin between Madrid and Lima. Therefore, if you have booked to fly in World Traveller Plus on BA you may be downgraded to economy on Iberia. Iberia’s daily flight from Madrid to Lima (Flight IB6651 departs Madrid at 12:50pm and arrives in Lima at 17:35. Therefore, connections at Madrid should not be onerous.

Alternatively, you can be accommodated on American Airlines’ services to Lima via either Dallas Fort Worth or Miami.

Further options with partner airlines may become available in the coming weeks.

If you prefer you should be able to move your flight to a date when BA is operating the route. Alternatively, you are entitled to a refund.

Affected passengers should contact either BA or their travel agent.

The planned opening of new British Airways lounges at London Gatwick’s South Terminal has been delayed

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. 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: It is understood that the new lounges are now fully operational and all other temporary lounge arrangements have been withdrawn.

Virgin Atlantic has unveiled its new Clubhouse lounge in London Gatwick’s North Terminal

Today sees a significant reorganisation at London Gatwick. easyJet has consolidated its operations in the North Terminal. 

To accommodate this move, British Airways has moved from the North Terminal to the South Terminal. Virgin Atlantic has moved from the South Terminal, its home at Gatwick since the airline first launched in 1984, to the North Terminal.

This move of course means new lounges for both BA and Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic has today opened its new Clubhouse in the North Terminal.  It is located on level 4 of the terminal, after security.

Lounge features include:

  • A marble bar offering complimentary drinks including bespoke cocktails from East London bar The White Lyan
  • A complimentary to order brunch menu featuring popular staples such as Eggs Benedict
  • Floor to ceiling windows with views of the airport’s apron
  • A woodland themed play area for younger travellers
  • A Clubhouse spa with a selection of complimentary treatments such as facials and paid for treatments such as wet shaves and massages.  The spa is open from 7.00am to 12:30pm

Here is the spa treatment menudining menu and cocktail menu.

First impressions are that the lounge looks bright, spacious and (at least when the weather’s good) the floor-to-ceiling window views should put passengers in the right frame of mind for a holiday.

Here are some official pictures released by Virgin Atlantic:

Passengers travelling in Virgin’s Upper Class cabin and Flying Club gold cardholders are eligible to access the lounge.

Virgin Atlantic flies from London Gatwick to Antigua, Barbados, Cancun, Grenada, Havana, Las Vegas, Montego Bay, Orlando, St Lucia, Tobago and Varadero.

Finnair launches winter seasonal route from London Gatwick to Ivalo, Finland from Thursday 24 December 2017

Finnair is to launch a twice weekly winter seasonal route from London Gatwick to Ivalo, Finland from Thursday 14 December 2017.

The airline will fly from London Gatwick to Ivalo (Ivalo airport) on Thursdays and Sundays.

Ivalo is the northern most airport in Finland. It is a small airport with just a few flights a day. Ivalo is a popular destination for winter sports, visiting Lapland and witnessing the Northern Lights.

Finnair also flies to Helsinki from London Heathrow, together with its codeshare partner British Airways, up to six times a day. It should be possible to “mix and match” direct flights from London Gatwick with indirect routings if that is more convenient.

Flights are on sale now at Finnair.com However, do note that it is only possible to book flights up to approximately a year in advance.

Here is the initial timetable (which may be subject to change):

Flight AY662 Depart London Gatwick 09:30 – Arrive Ivalo 15:00 (Thursdays)
Flight AY662 Depart London Gatwick 08:25 – Arrive Ivalo 13:55 (Sundays)

Flight AY661 Depart Ivalo 07:00 – Arrive London Gatwick 08: 40 (Thursdays)
Flight AY661 Depart Ivalo 06:00 – Arrive London Gatwick 07:40 (Sundays)

The flight time is approximately 3.5 hours.  Ivalo is 2 hours ahead of the UK.

British Airways introduces Marks & Spencer “Buy On Board” catering from Wednesday 11 January

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 “British Airways introduces Marks & Spencer “Buy On Board” catering from Wednesday 11 January”

British Airways to open new lounges in London Gatwick’s South Terminal on 25 January 2017

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 from North to South and Virgin Atlantic vice vesa).

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/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.

For 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.

As regards 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: 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: 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.