NEWS: Virgin’s new US route, Emirates shuts onboard bars but reopens more lounges & Randox same day test click and collect

Emirates a380 on board lounge

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Emirates shuts onboard bars but re-opens more lounges

Emirates Airline has closed their onboard lounge and bar on the A380 due to Omicron. The bars have been closed on and off during the pandemic, sometimes only with a take-away service and more recently fully open. Emirates has also stopped pre-departure drinks in Business Class to reduce interaction between cabin crew and passengers.

Emirates is also planning to open more than 120 lounges by February, despite the current surge in cases. 

Emirates, which has resumed operations to over 90 percent of its pre-pandemic network, currently flies to more than 120 destinations worldwide via its hub in Dubai. Customers travelling in First Class and Business Class will be able to complement their travel experience with Emirates’ signature premium lounge service at over 20 airports in its network, comprising popular destinations across Europe, Africa, US and Asia.

By late December, Emirates lounges in the UK have re-opened including London Heathrow, Birmingham, and Manchester while the lounges in London Gatwick and Glasgow will welcome customers in January 2022.

In Europe, Emirates lounges in Germany, namely Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Dusseldorf have started again, in addition to lounges in Milan, Rome and Paris.

An additional Emirates Lounge, to serve passengers travelling through Cairo, has resumed operations earlier, while Colombo and Bangkok are due to open soon.

In Emirates’ exclusive Terminal 3 at Dubai International airport, five dedicated lounges are now operational with full service. The new menus also include vegan, vegetarian and healthier options.

In Concourse B of Terminal 3, both Emirates’ First Class Lounge, offering a private Lounge experience for customers flying in First Class, as well as its Business Class Lounge, have re-opened with full-service offerings. Emirates’ First Class and Business Class Lounges in Concourse A have also resumed operations in the East Wing and, in the West Wing, the First Class and Business Class Lounges are set to re-open for customers in the coming weeks. Furthermore, plans are underway to ensure two Lounges in Concourse C are fully operational by early 2022.


Virgin Atlantic’s new route

Austin Texas

A few weeks ago Virgin’s COO hinted that there would be a new route to the US announced soon, this is now rumoured to be Austin in Texas which I think is a great choice and on my personal list of US cities to visit.

Austin obviously has great weather most of the year but it also. has 205 parks, 14 nature preserves and more than 50 miles of hiking and biking trails. There are rivers for kayaking, a spring-fed swimming hole at Barton Springs Pool and a grotto with a 45-foot waterfall at Hamilton Pool.

It’s also known for being somewhat quirky.  An association of local businesses even used the slogan “Keep Austin Weird”!

Hopefully, it will be officially announced with more details about frequencies and aircraft types. 


Randox new same day click and collect day 2

I have used Randox several times for my return to the UK tests and always had the results back quickly as well as quick delivery of the initial test. You can now order a Randox test online for click and collect at a local store within the Collect+ network, initially available in over 5,000 locations, and soon in over 10,000 locations nationwide.

The service launches today 7 January to coincide with changes to travel policy which, from 4am on 9th January, allows fully vaccinated arrivals from non-red list countries to take a lateral flow (antigen) test, with a PCR test only required if a positive lateral flow result is returned.

In addition, from mid-January, PayPoint will give consumers the ability to walk into a local store and pick up a test immediately in over 2,500 locations, with no need to order online. This service will be offered in partnership with major convenience retailers including Scotmid Co-operative and Spar in the North West and Scotland. This is handy if you have a last-minute trip and don’t want the tests delivered while you are away. 

Day 2 lateral flow tests must be ordered before travel to England and can be ordered from 4am on 7th January. The tests cost £18.95 which is not the cheapest day 2 lateral flow test that you can get. If you want to find the cheapest and most reliable test companies (which is not easy to do with the government list) I recommend Covid Testing Network which is like a comparison site where you can sort by many ways such as location, price, and reputation. 

Using the free Randox CertiFly App results are processed within 3 hours and a report is delivered in-app and via email. You can purchase them here. 

3 Comments on "NEWS: Virgin’s new US route, Emirates shuts onboard bars but reopens more lounges & Randox same day test click and collect"

  1. Re Randox:

    I recently booked two £50 walk through RT-PCR – next day results by 2359 tests – one for ex-UK and the other for the Day 2 test on return. Small print suggests that the return test is non-refundable because of reference numbers etc. So, thinking I was smart, I tried to change the return booking to the outbound date & cancel the refundable outbound RT-PCR test. Despite appointments still being available on the day of the outbound test if I want to create a new booking, slots are not available if I attempt to rebook the inbound test. It’s the same test, so have Randox deliberately removed the ability to change test dates to prevent people claiming refunds like this?

    Been in touch with Randox and received an acknowledgment, so will be interesting to see their response.

  2. Emirates lounge Manchester inexplicably closed again. No opening hours shown on Emirates website and Twitter has accounts of angry passengers waiting hours in the main concourse of MAN T1 – which for the 20.00 Emirates flight is a terrible place to wait with most outlets closed and the main food offering being Burger King populated by a foreboding (Ryanair) crowd. Not a place for people with monogrammed cabin luggage.

  3. Jamie Achmidt | 8 January 2022 at 5:48 pm | Reply

    Have you seen who uses EK out of MAN 🤔

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