Book a flight to space with TLFL’s partner GTC
I often write about TLFL’s luxury agent partner GTC which is the world’s largest collection of luxury independent travel agents. We have three specific agents who work with us now, Debbie (Debonair), Mark and Mandy. Booking with GTC for many luxury hotels gives extra benefits such as upgrades, hotel credit, and free breakfast at the regular flexible rate.
Now GTC can offer something truly unique through their partnership with Space Perspective. GTC will be able to book clients on flights to the edge of space, costing most than £100,000 per person. This involves a six-hour “spaceflight” that will take you to 100,000 feet (30 kilometres) above the Earth on a passenger “spacecraft” that is lifted into space by a high-performance hydrogen balloon. Technically that’s only the edge of space, but who is complaining? I’d love to do this, so if Space Perspective would like me to cover it for TLFL, they know where to find me!
Each flight on Spaceship Neptune can seat eight passengers and has a bar, a bathroom, and WiFi. You can actually get up and move around during the flight, so it is more of a comfortable experience than you may have thought.
A seat on the six-hour flight costs from £104,000 per person, with journeys to begin in 2025. So that gives you three years to save up for a once in a lifetime experience.
GTC said it has secured spots for its travel advisors on three spaceflights and said ensuring its advisors have access to up-to-date training on space travel will be a priority.
If you would like to find out more please contact GTC here.
New O2 pop up lounge Gatwick
Mobile network roaming has been a contentious issue with most networks removing free EU roaming for new customers. O2 is now the only major network that lets you roam freely in the EU (up to 25GB). To celebrate this fact they are offering free access to the brand-new O2 Roam Freely Lounge, for you and a friend or family member for O2 and Virgin Media customers. You can also bring up to six children under the age of 16 into the lounge.
The lounge is in the North Terminal airside, so no good if you are flying BA. The bad news is that you can only visit for up to an hour.
You’ll get free drinks and snacks, free Wi-Fi, and a cinema room courtesy of Disney+.
The O2 Roam Freely Lounge opening times are between 6am-3pm, Monday – Sunday. You need to book a time slot through the Priority app and show your confirmation email to enter. If you plan to do this, I would book it sooner rather than later so you get a spot.
Emirates invest over US$ 2 billion to enhance inflight experience
Emirates is investing over US$ 2 billion to enhance its inflight customer experience, including a massive programme to retrofit over 120 aircraft with the latest interiors, plus an array of other service improvements across all cabins starting in 2022. This is good news if they can update their business class seats as other than the A380 their business class seats are pretty poor without aisle access and in a 2-3-2 configuration on many aircraft.
Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “While others respond to industry pressures with cost cuts, Emirates is flying against the grain and investing to deliver ever better experiences to our customers. Through the pandemic we’ve continued to launch new services and initiatives to ensure our customers travel with the assurance and ease, including digital initiatives to improve customer experiences on the ground. Now we’re rolling out a series of intensive programmes to take Emirates’ signature inflight experiences to the next level.”
Some of Emirates’ latest initiatives include: improved meal choices, a brand new vegan menu, a ‘cinema in the sky’ experience, cabin interior upgrades, sustainable choices and a generous approach to the little touches that make travel memorable.
Starting from August, Emirates’ passengers can look forward to:
Emirates will aim to deliver the best fine dining experience in the sky for all cabins. New menus will be served on select Emirates routes in First Class, featuring dishes such as pan-fried salmon trout with moqueca sauce and creole rice, roasted duck breast with orange thyme jus, steamed broccolini and fondant potatoes. Business and Economy will also introduce new menus on the 1st of September.
Emirates’ new vegan menu will include dishes such as pan-roasted king oyster mushrooms, jackfruit biryani and sliced kohlrabi garnished with burnt orange. Desserts are also gourmet with choices of chocolate truffle cake with hazelnut, pistachio, and gold leaf, or green grape tart adorned with candied rose petals, vanilla custard, and berry compote glistening with yuzu pearls. This sounds much better than many airlines offering a plain fruit platter!
Emirates’ First Class
Emirates’ First Class experience, which is probably my favourite all-rounder, has been upped a notch in 2022. Customers can now enjoy unlimited portions of Persian caviar as part of the ‘dine on demand’ service, with a pairing of Dom Perignon vintage champagne.
First Class customers can order cinema snacks (I’m pretty sure whoever designed the menu has never been to an average UK cinema!) such as lobster rolls, sliders, edamame, and salted popcorn, and can be ordered on demand.
Sustainable Supply Chain
Emirates’ customers departing on flights from Dubai can begin crunching on fresh greens harvested from Bustanica, the world’s largest vertical farm and newly-opened US$40 million joint venture investment through Emirates Flight Catering. Emirates is continuing to invest in sustainable operations and supply chains, seeking local food suppliers and farms wherever possible to serve the freshest produce on board.
Specialised Hospitality Training for Cabin Crew
Emirates has partnered with Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, one of the world’s top hospitality management schools, to craft the Emirates Hospitality strategy. Emirates Cabin Crew have already begun engaging in intensive training programs focused on delivering the four service pillars: Excellence, Attentiveness, Innovation and Passion.
Upgraded Cabin Interiors in all Classes
The most significant investment is an extensive refurbishment of the aircraft fleet interiors, where cabins will be retrofitted with new or reupholstered seats, new panelling, flooring and other cabin features. Every cabin class will be refreshed and new Premium Economy cabins installed. After the retrofit, Emirates will have a total of 120 aircraft offering Premium Economy seats and enhanced interiors and features across all other cabins.
With its first aircraft scheduled to roll into the Emirates Engineering Centre for retrofitting in November, planning work and trials have begun in earnest.
However, this is pretty vague, making me wonder if a new business class seat coming…It would seem rather pointless to spend all that money on such an outdated product. They have already announced a refresh of the A380 seats.
Additionally, Emirates confirms there will be more announcements about new products and services in the near future.
More details on the new dining experience are here.
All the mobile companies promised to retain EU roaming on Brexit but only O2 has kept the promise. When my current Vodafone deal expires which still does have free roaming, I will move to O2 no matter what Vodafone offer me because they broke their promise.
It seems a very foolish way for them to behave. I still have mine as an existing 3 customer but if they ever remove it I’d leave.
Hate to be the barer of bad news but when you renew your contract you lose it.
3’s actions are, imho, the most egregious. They had 34 locations worldwide where you roamed for free BEFORE the EU Roaming directive even existed. The fact that they removed everything post Brexit is disgusting and they don’t have the Brexit excuse as they offered far more than the EU Directive gave anyway.
I have several contracts with them & when I renewed one recently it lost the feel at home part. I therefore downgraded it to Sim Only and once they’ve all reached renewal I’ll be moving them elsewhere as the SIM Only is on a 1yr contract.
I agree with James- it is disgusting that they lied. I’m also with Three Michele and have been for years. They have told me it’s definitely going next year which is when I’m out. Three were pretty good and there was also good global coverage which I don’t see anyone offering.
I had to smile at the EK news that they’re working with École Hôtelière – I wonder if the new BA LGW short haul crew on a recent flight are former alumni….promptly falling asleep in the jump seat!
Same here. Have had Vodafone for 12 years, but will go to O2 in December.
Its not just O2, Smarty, part of Three, hove EU roaming as well!
Or just don’t leave your current contract?
The bad news for Michelle is that Clayton is right; 3 have made it clear that as all contracts still entitled to the Go Roam facility free come to their end they will not be renewed on those terms. I was only on a 30-day rolling contract when this occurred. Although I did secure a very good deal on renewal it was made quite clear that there would be no possibility of getting Go Roam extended at no charge. The comment that Smarty is ‘part of 3’ isn’t correct; it piggy-backs on 3’s network, but sets its own charges and still offers free roaming in the EU. GiffGaff, which I think uses O2, is also continuing free roaming in the EU; although limited to 5GB. What I really liked about Go Roam was the free use in the US and Australia, which I shall miss. I’ll be comparing the £5 per day charge with buying a separate data card. Simcorner (an Australian company, but despatching from the UK) have impressed me.
Interesting to know Clive. I’ll definitely be looking to move from 3 just on principle. You’d think they could do a tariff that was a little extra but included roaming rather than loose all the customers that will leave for 02.
Worth noting also that BT Mobile still offers roaming from 47 countries (Roam Like Home). I wonder how much longer that will continue, given that BT and EE are closely linked – but it’s great while it lasts. See https://www.bt.com/products/mobile/about/data-roaming for more info.
I took out a contract with EE last June. They promised me that if I did that they would never cut off my EU roaming. I am now out of contract with them but they have kept their promise. The only disadvantage is that if I tried to renew the contract at a more favourable rate then I would lose the roaming advantage.
Yes I am also in a similar position which if you had a decent deal in the first place is not so bad.
Worth pointing out that Virgin Media mobile offers inclusive EU roaming and is significantly cheaper than O2. Sim only deals are all on 30 day rolling contracts so no long term contract either 🙂
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