News & offers: New BA routes, flight check-in at Sofitel T5 + chauffeur and hotel offers

Typical wooden boats, in slovenian call "Pletna", in the Lake Bled, the most famous lake in Slovenia with the island of the church (Europe - Slovenia)

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New BA routes

Yesterday British Airways announced the launch of two new routes from Heathrow to Ljubljana in Slovenia and Montpellier in France. Ljubljana has been on my list for a while so I am really pleased to see another European city on BA’s route map. There should be good availability on Avios since it has only just launched. Ljubljana is known for its green spaces, including the large Tivoli Park. The Ljubljanica River is lined with outdoor cafes and divides the city’s old town from its more modern centre. Ljubljana is also the gateway to the stunning Lake Bled which is on my bucket list. It takes around 45 minutes by car to reach Lake Bled from the capital.

Cityscape of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana at sunset.

Seats to Slovenia’s capital are available to book on now with flights on Mondays and Fridays from July 15 through to September 2, 2019. Fares start from £63.00 one-way in Euro Traveller and £137.00 in Club Europe.

Fountain in Antigone district of Montpellier – France

Montpellier is situated on France’s southern coast and will be served with a four-per-week schedule, departing on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from July 15 through to September 2 also. Fares start from £38.00 per person one-way.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances, said: “We are gearing up for an exciting summer next year as we add more routes to our extensive network. We’re always developing our leisure offering and are committed to giving our customers even more choice of destinations at competitively low prices. As well as launching five new European routes in 2019, on our long haul network we’re also starting flights to Osaka, Charleston and Pittsburgh.”

British Airways is also increasing the number of flights to Nantes, Olbia and Valencia from Heathrow, Terminal 5. The airline recently announced new routes to Preveza and Kos in Greece and Bastia in Corsica next summer and is also increasing the number of flights to other popular leisure destinations such as Marseille, Budapest, Inverness, Palermo and Malaga.

You can book flights for cash or Avios at


Sofitel T5 offers check-in for BA flights

Sofitel Heathrow

According to FlyerTalk the Sofitel at T5 has started a trial that allows customers staying in the T5 Sofitel to check-in for their flight in the ESPA Lounge between 05.00 and 13.00. You then drop the tagged bag off at desk A13 in T5. For convenience, I like the Sofitel when I have an early flight from T5 but it can often be quite pricey given that it is now beginning to show its age. You can read my review of it here. 

I am not sure that it will give much benefit to many TLFL readers unless you are travelling in economy with no status as otherwise, it would probably be just as quick to just do it at the Club or First check-in desks. If they actually took your luggage to the airport for you like Airportr then it would be a much better service even though it’s only a short walk it would bypass check-in altogether. 

Mandarin Oriental free night offer with Amex FHR

If you have an American Express Platinum card it entitles you to book Amex FHR hotels which include some valuable extra benefits. The perks are very similar to Virtuoso which anyone can book. (you can read more about both of these here)

The Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits include:

  • Noon check-in, when available
  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
  • A unique amenity valued at US$100 (varies by property).

On top of these usual benefits Amex have a special offer for free extra nights with Mandarin Oriental when you book from by 28 March 2019 for stays from 2 January 2019 – 2 April 2019. The offer varies by hotel as follows: 

Hotels offering a complimentary third night with two paid nights:

  • Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Macau 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Milan 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Munich 
  • Mandarin Oriental, New York 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Prague 
  • Hotel Santiago
  • Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Taipei 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC

Hotels offering a complimentary fourth night with three paid nights:

  • Mandarin Oriental, Boston 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Geneva 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou
  • The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
  • Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Paris 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Sanya 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Singapore 
  • Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo

You can find the relevant Amex page here. 


Blacklane 20% off code

Blacklane is a professional driver service that operates in over 300 cities worldwide. I have used them many times and although they are not cheap they are very reliable and have drivers of a high standard. They currently have an offer for 20% off your first ride when you use the voucher code 3WW30GKC. 

You can book online at, or with the free Blacklane app available in both the iTunes and Google Play Stores.

5 Comments on "News & offers: New BA routes, flight check-in at Sofitel T5 + chauffeur and hotel offers"

  1. ClaytonTheCruton | 5 December 2018 at 6:35 am |

    Blacklane need to expand more. I look for them often but they dont operate in many of the places I have visited. I’ve used them for moving around clients and their drivers are of a totally different calibre & their vehicles immaculate. I remember getting a call from them to advise of a vehicle change ( I require vehicle index’s & driver names in advance) simply because the auto start on the merc failed twice on the way to pick us up so they swapped it out just to be safe.

    For anyone who’s never been I can confirm that Lake Bled is stunningly beautiful and comes with it’s own Swiss chalet restaurant and bar

  2. Which terminal will the new routes operate from?

  3. Such a shame LJU is only over such a limited period as we already have a few trips booked over that time – it’s also been on my list for some time. Hopefully it’s popular enough to stick around in 2020!

Comments are closed.