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British Airways has cancelled its daily service from London Gatwick to New York JFK from Tuesday 14 January to Monday 10 February 2020.
The affected flight numbers are BA2273 from London Gatwick to New York JFK and BA2272 from New York JFK to London Gatwick.
No specific reason has been given for the cancellations other than “commercial reasons” which suggests low seasonal demand.
Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund. Passengers can also be re-accommodated on alternative American Airlines and BA services from London Heathrow. However, any additional costs such as ground transportation and hotels will be at passengers’ expense.
JetBlue is to launch its first transatlantic routes from London to Boston and New York JFK from 2021.
Flights will be operated with Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft. JetBlue has converted 13 of its existing orders for Airbus A321 aircraft to the long range version.
It will feature an updated version of JetBlue’s signature “Mint” premium cabin which operates on select transcontinental routes in the US. JetBlue also promises to undercut existing premium transatlantic fares.
There is a lot JetBlue has not said in today’s announcement.
JetBlue has not specified which London airport it will fly from. It is highly likely that JetBlue will pursue hard access to Heathrow. It has been explicitly lobbying for slots at Heathrow to be made available as a condition of Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic combining their transatlantic joint-ventures. The American Airlines and British Airways transatlantic joint-venture is also under review by the Competitions & Markets Authority pending its renewal. From JetBlue’s press statements it is clearly targeting the major transatlantic joint-ventures and will be lobbying against these on both sides of the atlantic.
JetBlue has also not given any indications of potential schedules and frequencies. Though a fleet of 13 aircraft for transatlantic operations, some of which will ultimately operate from other European cities, should allow for a significant schedule.
Any new entrant should be welcomed. JetBlue has a lot going its favour. It haas a strong brand with a significant presence in Boston and New York. However, with a relatively small transatlantic operation and a small dedicated fleet, it will need to have sufficient contingency measures in place in the event of operational issues. Any short notice delays, cancellations and aircraft substitutions will result in goodwill being lost.
JetBlue’s announcement has been trailed long in advance and has not gone unnoticed by its competitors. Delta and Virgin Atlantic have already announced plans to fly from Gatwick to Boston and New York JFK in 2020. Should JetBlue ultimately choose to fly from Gatwick, it would be surprising if American Airlines and BA (which already flies from Gatwick to New York JFK) don’t make a similar competitive response.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic have announced that the two airlines are to jointly fly from London Gatwick to Boston and New York JFK from 2020.
There’s a curious lack of detail in the announcement. Neither Delta nor Virgin Atlantic have confirmed which airlines will operating the routes, though Delta’s press release intimates that it will operate at least one of the routes. There’s also no mention of whether this will be a seasonal or year-round route, nor which aircraft will be used. In any event, eligible passengers will benefit from Virgin Atlantic ground facilities at Gatwick such as its Clubhouse in the North Terminal.
For Delta, this will mark a return to London Gatwick which it first served on 1 May 1978 flying to New Orleans via Atlanta using a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar aircraft. Virgin Atlantic launched daily flights from Gatwick to New York JFK in September 1989, and Boston in May 1991, before transferring both routes to London Heathrow after securing access to the airport in July 1991.
It is no accident that this announcement has been made ahead of a press event next week JetBlue which is expected to unveil plans to launch transatlantic flights to Europe. JetBlue has made no secret of its plans to launch transatlantic flights. It has been lobbying US regulatory authorities for slots at London Heathrow to be released as condition of Delta merging its transatlantic joint-ventures with Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic into one. However, this has yet to be concluded.
Boston is currently served from Gatwick by Norwegian. New York JFK is also served by BA and Norwegian. Whilst Delta is keen to emphasise its overall strength in Boston, London – Boston is a very important route for BA. Given BA serves Boston four times daily from Heathrow it would be surprising if it did not make a similar competitive response, should JetBlue announce plans to fly to Boston from Gatwick. These moves will of course place significant competitive pressure on Norwegian at Gatwick. JetBlue’s announcement on Wednesday 10 April 2019 is eagerly awaited.
It follows the design aesthetic of BA’s recently refurbished Aberdeen and Rome which a minimalist Scandinavian feel.
The lounge has been enlarged. It is described by BA as having an “opulent” First bar, a new “boutique” pre-flight dining area and a quiet work area.
One genuinely new feature is a dedicated wine room with a wide range of wines available to taste. This could well make its way over to Heathrow when BA refurbishes its lounges there in the coming years.
Passengers travelling on British Airways from New York JFK Terminal 7 who are BA Executive Club Gold cardholders and Oneworld Emerald equivalents are eligible to use the lounge. Passengers ticketed in First Class can use the Concorde Room which is not being fully refurbished.
The lounge is also available to First Class passengers of ANA when flying on ANA from New York.
The next lounge to be refurbished is the expansive Galleries Club lounge which is now underway, leaving parts of the lounge partially closed. This is expected to be complete in 2019.
Despite its name, ticketed First Class passengers have access to the Concorde Room. This means this lounge is effectively for British Airways Executive Club Gold Cardholders and Oneworld Emerald equivalents, of which there are a very substantial number on this route.
It is fair to say that for a lounge branded as First Class it did underwhelm a little. However, given the length of the refurbishment the new lounge should be a big improvement.
Unfortunately, no press images are available at the moment. It is understood that BA’s regular press photographer is flying out to New York this weekend so hopefully a full set will be available next week.
The lounge has been enlarged and it is described by BA as having new zones including a dedicated wine room, an “opulent” First bar, and a quiet work area. There is also a new pre-flight dining area.
Ian Schrager and New York City go back a long way.
With Steve Rubell, he founded one of New York’s most notorious nightclubs, Studio 54, which is still to this day a source of fascination.
After Studio 54’s closure, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell turned their attention to hotels. They founded Morgans Hotel Group which credits itself as the founder of the concept of the “urban resort” with Philippe Starck designed interiors, “see and be seen” bars, and celebrity-filled launch parties.
In New York, this took the form of the Hudson. It’s a hotel we have heard many stories about. This is why we’ve never stayed there. By Ian Schrager’s own admission, the Hudson may have had the cool factor, but it did not get the service ethos right.
Having long sold Morgans Hotels, Ian Schrager continues to maintain an interest in hotels and real estate designing 160 Leroy in New York’s West Village and creating Edition Hotels with Marriott.
Ian Schrager’s latest hotel concept is “Public”. The hotel is located in a newly constructed building in the Bowery district of New York at 215 Chrystie Street. This is not the first Public Hotel. That opened in Chicago in late 2011 in a refurbished property, but has since been sold.
About Public Hotel
The concept of Public is “Luxury For All”.
One of the principles behind this is “only give people what they want”. At Public, there are no porters, bellboys or concierge desks. Given the tipping culture in the US, many would regard this as a welcome relief!
You check-in online the day before your stay. On arrival, you collect your room key from a “Public Advisor”, who give as good a welcome as any luxury hotel, in the lobby.
Here are details of two temporary lounge changes affecting BA passengers flying out of Miami and New York JFK in July 2018:
BA’s designated lounge at Miami airport is the Premium Lounge which it shares with other Oneworld alliance members such as Iberia, Finnair and Qatar Airways.
This is located on the fifth floor of Concourse E in the Central Terminal. This lounge is temporarily closed for repairs from Monday 2 July 2018 for approximately five weeks.
If you’ve ever visited the lounge you would know that whilst it is certainly spacious, the decor does scream “1980s office lobby”. I was told well over a year ago by a member of staff that the lounge was due to be refurbished, but there seems to be no sign of this happening yet.
Whilst the lounge is closed, BA passengers can use the American Airlines Flagship® lounge near Gate 30 of Concourse D in the North Terminal.
This is a relatively new lounge. By any measure, it will be a significant improvement with much more modern decor and a better choice of food and beverage more suited to pre-departure on an international flight. Like the Premium Lounge, it does have showers. Under Oneworld alliance lounge access rules, eligible BA passengers have access to this lounge in any event.
Whilst Concourses D and E are interlinked, it will be much longer walk from the lounge to the BA departure gates. Note that if the BA flight is departing from Gates E20-E33 there is a train to these gates on level four of Concourse E, as per this official map.
(From experience of flying into and out of Miami many times over the years, the only thing that can be said with any certainty is that each time it’s different so the best advice is just be prepared for it not to be the same as before.)
As part of this, the Elemis travel spa and showers in the Galleries Club lounge are closed from Saturday 7 July 2018 to Monday 30 July 2018 for refurbishment, so there will be no pre-flight showers available.
The Galleries First lounge appears to be still closed for refurbishment and there are no showers in the remaining BA lounge at JFK Terminal 7, the Concorde Room, which is for First Class passengers and Concorde Room cardholders only.
– Seating for 455 passengers across 15 different types of seats including the Polaris seat which features a privacy divider, an integrated table and personal lamp
– No less than 570 power outlets and 450 USB ports
– 10 private day beds with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding
– 10 shower suites with Cowshed bath & body products
– A private dining area with table service for 48 guests
– Self-service buffet
– A staffed bar with a dedicated cocktail menu
The lounge officially opens to passengers on Monday 4 June 2018. It follows a recent Polaris lounge opening in San Francisco. New Polaris lounges are due to open in Houston and Los Angeles later this year. United will open a new Polaris lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 2 in the next couple of years.
Under United lounge access rules passengers must be travelling in business or first class on an international flight on United Airlines or a Star Alliance member airline to be eligible to access the lounge.
The lounge does make United a much stronger competitor on the London – New York route. It is relatively weak in terms of frequency with 5 flights a day versus 16 joint American Airlines & BA flights, and 9 joint Delta & Virgin Atlantic flights.
It certainly raises the bar for BA at New York JFK Terminal 7, where it is due to open new lounges later this year. Many readers may recall United once had a lounge at JFK Terminal 7 which was dimly lit with terrible coffee.
Today, the airline has provided further information of what, and what isn’t, happening with the planned development of the terminal which is to be completed over the next two years.
BA has confirmed that the development will include redeveloped general check-in areas, a new premium check-in area, a new food court post security, redeveloped First and Club World lounges and pre-flight dining facilities, and refurbished gate areas.
Passengers of other airlines which also use JFK Terminal 7, such as ANA, Icelandair, and Qantas, will also benefit from many of these improvements.
The Concorde Room which is for use by passengers travelling in First Class and Concorde Room Cardholders will receive, to use BA lexicon, a “refresh” after being refurbished a few years ago.
The airline has today issued images of the planned check-in and post security areas, but not the new lounges. A cynic might wonder whether BA has rushed out this announcement in order to maintain momentum after a recent PR event for its new London Gatwick lounges and First Wing at London Heathrow Terminal 5.
There is also no mention of redeveloping the immigration hall which can become extremely congested and is ill-suited to manage queues for both self-service kiosks and manned immigration desks.