British Airways adds more lease aircraft from Gatwick
Last year BA bought failed airline Monarch’s slots at Gatwick which left them in a bit of a pickle. They are required to operate a certain percentage of the slots themselves but have been struggling to get enough aircraft of their own to fulfil the schedule. This has led them to wet lease from various airlines which you can read more about here. The wet lease aircraft up until now have been Titan Airways plus a few others. BA have now introduced Lufthansa’s Privatair on certain Gatwick routes.
The routes for Privatair vary but seem to be in place until mid-September. Here are some of the routes it is scheduled to operate on for certain dates:
The flights will be operating using a B737-700 with 20 business class seats and 66 economy. If you are flying economy the good news is that there will complimentary snacks and drinks on offer according to BA. The seats in business are lie-flat beds with a 58” pitch in a 2-2 configuration. I wouldn’t get too excited though as according to reports on Flyertalk they have been turning off the seat controls as well as the IFE on these flights! Seats in Economy have a 31” pitch in a 3-3 configuration. You can ask to be moved to a BA flight instead subject to availability.
BA announces new US route from Heathrow
It had been rumoured that BA may be adding another new US city to their route network and I had my fingers crossed for Portland. Alas, it seems it didn’t work and they opted for a slightly less glamorous option in Pittsburgh! Although according to the BA press release Pittsburgh has a “thriving arts, culture and food scene, a vast range of outdoor activities are also easily accessible, afforded by the great rivers, green valleys and majestic mountains..” Harper’s Bazaar named Pittsburgh one of the “Best Places to Travel in 2017”.
British Airways will be the only airline to offer a direct flight from the UK to Pittsburgh. From April 2, 2019, BA will launch a year-round four-per-week service from Heathrow. The route will be operated by one of British Airways’ Boeing 787-8, with special return fares from £1068 in World Traveller Plus available to book now on ba.com.
Obviously, this means Avios redemptions will be wide open once they are loaded up although unless you want to go to Pittsburgh it is not in the best location for nearby cities. However, most of the US East Coast is only a short plane ride away as well as Toronto if you were struggling to find Avios availability to other places.
|Flight number||Sector||Days of week||Dept time||Arrival time|
|BA0171||Heathrow Terminal 5 to Pittsburgh||Tues, Weds, Fri, Sun||17.00||20.15|
|BA0170||Pittsburgh to Heathrow Terminal 5||Tues, Weds, Fri, Sun||21.50||10.25|
Ex EU business class bargain roundup
Once again I have been trawling through the European airports to see what low business class fares are on offer. Italy is the focus for today’s ex EU flights.
Milan to the Maldives from £1431
This offer is for Oman Air who have a great business class seat with good onboard service too. The seats all have aisle access and good privacy.
- Crediting miles: Etihad or Oman
- Travel period: On/after 28 Oct 18 and on/before 29 Mar 19.
- Offer ends: 6 August
- The offer can be booked on Oman Air’s website here. It is also bookable via Expedia for about the same price and could work out cheaper if you added a hotel.
Milan to Singapore from £1569
This offer is with British Airways. The downside is of course that you have to fly back to London to get on the flight to Singapore but this does give you an extra 80 tier points round trip. BA fly both the B777 and A380 to Singapore. I would strongly recommend the A380 on the upper deck.
- 60-day advance purchase
- Stopover for €100 so you could do a long stopover in London and have Milan as a separate short break
- Minimum stay a Saturday night
- Non-refundable but changeable for a fee
Milan to Singapore from £1021
The last offer is a bit of a curve ball but it is very cheap. The offer is for Saudia Airlines which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. There are a few drawbacks with Saudia:
- It is a dry airline
- There are multiple business class seats many of which are short haul even on longish routes although an angled lie-flat seat is showing on the B777 from Jeddah
- There is a long layover in Jeddah
On the plus side, you can earn miles in any Skyteam scheme and there is a short minimum stay requirement.
The rules are:
- Minimum stay 2 days
- For travel commencing on/after 10 September 18 and on/before 15 December 18.
- Refundable and changeable for a fee
- Book by 15 December 2018
Etihad announces new amenity kits
Roving Reporter will be very happy if he flies on Etihad after August this year as they have just announced that their new amenity kits will be with Acqua di Parma, which is one of his favourite fragrances. The Acqua brand will also feature in their First Class Lounge & Spa in Abu Dhabi. (you can read my review here)
In The Residence, their amazing three-room cabin on the A380 (I suspect that it will be staying on my bucket list for a long time unfortunately) guests will get a bespoke range of fragrances and toiletries provided in their private shower room, including a Colonia amenity kit. Colonia Pura is provided for men and Magnolia Nobile for women.
The First Class bags will be in the Acqua di Parma signature yellow colour while the Business Class bags are offered in the same yellow or in black. The First Class unisex bag contains a miniature bottle of Colonia, a 40ml body lotion and lip balm. First Class toiletries include Colonia hand wash and hand cream, and the bathroom amenities feature shower gel, body lotion, hair shampoo, and hair conditioner.
The Business Class unisex wallet bag, which can be buttoned to create a valet tray, contains a Colonia sampler and hand cream, which will also be dispensed in the Business Class washrooms.
The First class washbags look good but I think the business class ones are not very practical. Etihad doesn’t actually give out amenity kits on daytime flights in business class anyway. The business class bag looks smart and may be useful to use off the plane but it doesn’t really contain much I would want to use on an aircraft. I prefer the current Qatar BRICS ones which have a useful range of skincare items in a smart case.