News

From across the travel industry

BA Launches New Flights

British Airways is set to launch flights from Heathrow to Oporto in Portugal and Mykonos and Santorini in Greece in summer 2014. Flights to Oporto will start from March 30, to Mykonos from May 3 and to Santorini from May 4. All three destinations will receive two flights a week from London. From March 30, the airline will also launch twice-weekly flights from Heathrow to Malaga and Faro, giving customers more choice of their departure airport as the routes are already served by British Airways from Gatwick and London City.  Faro will also get a further boost as the airline’s flights there from Gatwick will increase from eight to 14 services a week next summer. British Airways services from Heathrow to Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Rome, Basel, Zurich, Amsterdam and Aberdeen will all benefit from frequency increases during the summer. Lynne Embleton, director of strategy, said: “We want to give our customers even more great destinations to choose from next summer. We believe the introduction of Oporto, Mykonos and Santorini will prove very popular with holiday-makers looking for summer sun and the start of flights to Faro and Malaga from Heathrow, plus the increase in frequencies to a number of popular summer routes will give them even more choice.” British Airways Holidays is offering seven nights at the 4* Scorpios Beach Apartments & Studios, Santorini from £399 per person for travel in June, including return flights from Heathrow and accommodation with breakfast. The airline is also offering seven nights at the 4* Pelican Bay Art, Mykonos from £539 per person for travel in June, including return flights from Heathrow...

Personal Shopping at Heathrow

Today sees the fashion world come together to celebrate the launch of Personal Shopping at Heathrow. In an international airport first, customers can now enjoy Personal Shopping at Heathrow with an accredited stylist, free of charge and individually tailored, ensuring passengers can make the most of the precious moments before take-off. The ground breaking Personal Shopping service at Heathrow brings together over 300 outlets at the airport with a bespoke consultation that can be booked ahead of time or accessed on arrival at the airport. Supermodel sensation, Erin O’Connor, who co-hosted an event at Somerset House to launch Heathrow’s new service, shared her experiences of how helpful the expertise from personal shoppers is to her; ‘Travel has been and still is a huge part of my life. The Personal Shoppers at Heathrow have incredible fashion and beauty insight which means they can pull a selection for me before I even arrive at the airport. I can make the most of my time before I board my flight and know that I will have everything I want for my trip.’ Whether it’s an extraordinary dress for an evening event, a new season update or even advice on the latest beauty trends, the airport’s Personal Shoppers are available from the first to last flight. Fluent in Russian, Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, Heathrow’s multilingual team are qualified to assist passengers from right across the globe. Heathrow’s Retail Director, Muriel Zingraff-Shariff said; ‘The launch of Heathrow’s Personal Shopper service is a world first, and one that we’re immensely proud of. We’re always looking to introduce new services which will benefit our...

BA New Daily Flights To Malta

Sunseekers flying from Gatwick will have the option of a new summer holiday destination to Malta, with the start of a new direct flight with British Airways to the country’s Luqa International Airport. The daily service starts from March 30, 2014 in advance of the peak summer holiday season. Hand-baggage only tickets in Euro Traveller (economy) will start from just £55 one-way, including all taxes and charges. Seats in Euro Traveller for customers who chose to take a bag including all taxes and charges start at £67 one-way and in Club Europe (business) one-way fares start at £274. British Airways’ holiday flights will be further boosted by more services from Gatwick to Salzburg, Naples, Dubrovnik, Marrakech and Catania during summer 2014. The new Malta route will be served by a combination of Boeing 737 and Airbus 319/320 aircraft. Peter Simpson, British Airways’ director Gatwick, said: “We are delighted to be launching this new route to Malta for Summer 2014 allowing us to return to the island, which we last served in 2009. We believe the convenient timings for the services will make the route attractive to tourists as well as those visiting friends and relatives. “Expanding our leisure route network at Gatwick is fantastic news for British Airways customers, offering them even greater choice, along with our range of highly competitive fares, generous hand baggage allowances and great onboard...

Mandarin Oriental 50th anniversary

Sir Peter Blake a leading figure in the art world, and often referred to as the ‘Godfather of British Pop Art’, has been commissioned by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to create a collage that commemorates 50 Fantastic Years of hospitality, which began with the opening of Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong in 1963. Designed to coincide with the hotel’s gala celebration in October, the work celebrates the Group’s growth from a local, Hong Kong-based company to a world-renowned, global luxury brand. Blake is best known for the iconic album cover he produced for The Beatles Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. His work is inspired by his love affair with icons and the ephemera of popular culture. For this piece he has used archive images of Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, as well as photography of the Group’s celebrity fans. “It was a lot of fun to be asked to create a collage to commemorate Mandarin Oriental’s 50th anniversary using the photography from their iconic Fan advertising campaign. When I discovered that each hotel in the Group has its own unique fan design it seemed a natural step to combine the two with a backdrop from the opening of their first hotel in Hong Kong in 1963,” said Sir Peter. “Needless to say ‘I’m a Fan’ too”. Displayed prominently opposite the hotel at the City Hall poster site throughout the month of October, this striking work is a visual treat. “We are delighted to showcase this original piece by such a talented artist in our home town of Hong Kong,” said Jill Kluge, Mandarin Oriental’s Group Director of Brand Communications. “It...

Heathrow challenges Gatwick’s claims

Heathrow is today submitting evidence to the Airports Commission challenging Gatwick’s claims that it is able to support long-haul flights to growth markets. This follows the recent news that Air China is suspending flights from Gatwick to Beijing, the withdrawal of Korean Air and the cancellation of the proposed Garuda Indonesia flight from Gatwick to Jakarta this winter. In total, 20 long-haul airlines have withdrawn from Gatwick in the last five years. Direct long-haul flights are critical to supporting trade and growth. UK businesses trade 20 times more with emerging markets that have daily flights than those with less frequent or no direct service. Gatwick maintains that long-haul flights do not need to operate from a hub airport. Yet, in the ten years that Heathrow has been full, Gatwick has failed to deliver flights to long-haul business destinations. Airlines that have been unable to access slots at Heathrow have tried and failed to make long-haul flights from Gatwick work. Heathrow Chief Executive Colin Matthews said: “There is no need for a crystal ball to test Gatwick’s claims that it can provide long-haul flights when we have the hard evidence of ten years of failure. While Heathrow has been full, airline after airline has tried without success to make long-haul flights from Gatwick work. Gatwick doesn’t have a flight to New York, one of the world’s most important business and financial centres, so it’s not surprising it can’t support routes to the less popular and more distant destinations that will be critical to future trade. “Gatwick’s proposal to prevent Heathrow expanding, while adding a new runway at its own airport,...

MO to open in Chongqing, China

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced the signing of an agreement to manage a luxury hotel in Chongqing, southwest China. Mandarin Oriental, Chongqing, which is slated to open in 2016, will form part of a premier mixed use project located in Jiangbeizui Central Business District, the new financial, commercial and business centre of the city. This development will comprise office towers and significant retail and will become the premier lifestyle destination for the local community and the region. The hotel is located approximately 20 minutes from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport and five minutes from the key commercial and entertainment districts in Yuzhong peninsula. The hotel will be positioned as the most sophisticated luxury hotel in the city. Located on the top floors of an impressive 248 metre tower, the property will feature 231 spacious rooms including 25 expansive suites and 18 serviced apartments. All guest accommodation will enjoy panoramic views of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers and the city skyline of Yuzhong Peninsula and Jiangbeizui Central Park. The guestrooms and suites will be designed in an elegant, contemporary style, taking full advantage of the outstanding vistas. Design elements will be influenced by the Group’s oriental heritage with Mandarin Oriental’s exacting attention to detail and sophisticated technology. Guests will also have access to an exclusive executive club lounge. Offering the finest dining in the city, Mandarin Oriental, Chongqing will have five restaurants and bars to choose from, including a speciality restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, an all-day dining venue, lobby lounge, a roof terrace bar and a signature Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop. The hotel will also offer a 1,200 sq....

Philippine Airlines choose LHR

Heathrow has announced that Philippine Airlines plan to begin non-stop flights between Heathrow and Manila on 4th November. This is the first direct link between the UK and the Philippines, a major emerging market destination, in more than a decade. Philippine Airlines (PAL) has chosen Heathrow over other UK airports, despite them having lower landing charges and claiming to be a viable alternative to Heathrow for new routes to emerging markets. Heathrow is PAL’s first European destination since flights to Europe were discontinued in 1998. Speaking in the Philippines where he was meeting PAL executives, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Stephen Green of Hurstpierpoint, said: “I’m delighted to celebrate a very concrete example of the growing ties between our two countries, that being the reestablishment by Philippine Airlines of direct flights between Manila and London for the first time in over a decade. I am confident that these flights will greatly enhance the relationship between the UK and the Philippines.” PAL will fly direct between Heathrow and Manila five times a week, providing the fastest travel to Manila (average 12.5 hours) as well as top Philippine tourist spots and other destinations in Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea and Australia. The move has been around five years in the making and the airline has expressed a wish to move to daily flights subject to other slots becoming available. Emerging markets will be the engines of world growth in coming decades. Over the next ten years, the IMF forecasts that the eight largest emerging markets will account for more than half of global GDP growth. We know businesses...

BA to extend “Hand Baggage Only” fares

From September 24 (today), BA passengers travelling without checked baggage from Heathrow to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris, Rome, Rotterdam and Stockholm will get a £10 discount on the cheapest tickets. The same discounted tickets have also gone on sale for flights from London City Airport to Amsterdam, Stockholm, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The move comes following their introduction on short-haul services from London Gatwick in February, and on the back of pressure from low-cost rivals, who often quote lower fares, not including the cost of checked-in luggage, on their websites. “If it proves as successful, we plan to roll it out across the whole short-haul network in the coming months,” said Robin Glover-Faure, British Airways’ head of short-haul...

New BA First Class Washbags

BA has dropped Anya Hindmarch, and taken design in-house for it’s latest wash bag in First Class. The signature BAg now comes in a His or Hers option Kate Thornton, head of product and service, said: “We know from our research that our customers who travel in First want really useful, good quality toiletries by well known British brands on board. We also know they don’t always want to be carrying lots of little bottles on the flight themselves so the amenity kit is really important. What surprised us was the simplicity of the items they feel are missing from the traditional wash-bag. Deodorant is a good example, as is a decent hairbrush or comb. And a soft bag they can re-use for make-up, toiletries or carrying valuables or medicines. “We took that research and have developed our new First in-flight amenity kit based on it, in partnership with Aromatherapy...

Rolling out the red carpet for the superjumbo

The British Airways A380 will take to the skies for its first long haul flight tomorrow (Tuesday 24 September) on the BA269 to Los Angeles at 4.15pm. It will be the first and only A380 aircraft to operate between London and Los Angeles. To mark the launch of the new service, passengers in Terminal 5 had to double take, as George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Daniel Craig look-a-likes checked in early for the flight. Passengers on the inaugural will be treated to music from Melanie C and Matt Cardle performing live in Terminal 5, ahead of the flight’s departure. Dubbed the ‘red carpet route’ for its glamour, style and direct route to Tinseltown, British Airways’ A380 already has a string of celebrity fans. These include Hollywood actress Thandie Newton who described it as “a grand hotel in the sky”, as well as actress Gemma Arterton, model Georgia May Jagger and South African rugby player Bryan Habana – all frequent fliers who helped to launch the route. More than 318,000* Brits flock to Los Angeles every year, accounting for the top five international visitors to the city, along with Mexico, Canada, China and Australia. A380 Facts · The length of the A380 is the equivalent of 8.5 double-decker buses, or 16 black cabs · British designers have produced exclusive goodies for VIP guests on the A380 inaugural, including luxurious Sunspel pyjamas and a leather Dunhill case · A five-course tasting menu by The Langham is available to First customers, including poached lobster, chicken tea and seared scallops · Exclusive to A380 First class customers, the new Aromatherapy Associates washbag contains...