News & offers: Strike to hit BA at Gatwick, Jet Blue to launch London/ & why Accor is good for infrequent stays

Jet Blue flat bed

Strike to hit BA catering at Gatwick?

British Airways Gatwick Club check in

BA Gatwick check-in

The sole supplier of inflight food for British Airways at Gatwick Airport, Alpha Flights’ drivers have voted for industrial action in a dispute over pay. The drivers are members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, will undertake an overtime ban from 03:00 on Monday 18 March until 11:59 on Friday 22 March. This will then be followed by strike action from 03:00 on Wednesday 27 March until 11:59 on Thursday 28 March.

The drivers voted 98 per cent in favour of industrial action, on a turnout of 90 per cent, after the company allegedly failed to introduce a market rate alignment pay allowance for the HGV drivers. Unite insist that this was promised by Alpha Flight previously.

So what does this mean for passengers? Once industrial action begins, the ability for Alpha Flight UK to be able to transport food from its on-site warehouse to the planes may be diminished.

If an agreement is not reached beforehand it could be worth taking your own supplies on board. However, I would expect BA to notify customers if there was likely to be a shortage.

 

Jet Blue to launch transatlantic services?

Jet Blue private suite

Even though I have never flown Jet Blue I would describe myself as a fan – flying their Mint class transcontinental has been on my avgeek bucket list for a while. I have come across the Jet Blue team at several industry events and always been impressed by their focus on customers and doing things differently compared to legacy and low-cost airlines. Their Mint service has signature cocktails and private suites – a first for US domestic.

Jet Blue has been hinting for some time that they may order the Airbus A321LR to begin a service to London. They currently do not have any aircraft capable of that length of flight. This week the rumour mill has gone into overdrive when the airline sent an invite to employees, inviting them to an event on 10 April in New York to discuss the airline’s future plans. It was noticed that the background of the invite bears a striking resemblance to the seat fabric on the Tube.

JetBlue spokesperson said “Potential routes to Europe could provide us an opportunity to grow our focus cities of Boston and New York as we consider the best use of our aircraft from a margin perspective in those cities.”

Jet Blue are not part of an alliance but you can credit miles to Singapore, Emirates and South African amongst others.

Accor – Le Club now becoming Live Limitless & why it’s good for infrequent guests

Accor recently announced that it is rebranding its loyalty scheme with a new name called Accor Live Limitless (what is it with hotel brands and stupid names at the moment?). I somehow managed to get Silver recently though I have hardly stayed with Accor much recently since I lost my Amex Platinum status. One good thing about Accor is that it does include a decent range of boutique and premium brands such as The House of Originals, Delano, Mondrian, SLS, Hyde, 21C, Mantis, Mövenpick, Orient Express, 25hours, Mantra, Art Series, Peppers, Breakfree, Raffles, Fairmont, Pullman and Sofitel.

At the moment we don’t know if there will be a major shake-up of how points are earned and redeemed but nothing has come to light in the material released so far. One of the things I like is that once you reach 2000 points you can redeem it for €40 off which to me is a decent deal without having to save enough for a full redemption. Combine that with one of the 15% off  Top cashback deals and you can bring the Sofitel at T5 down to a very reasonable price.

If you don’t stay in a chain very often, points expiring are normally a pain to manage. However, the new scheme solves that problem by allowing you to earn points in the hotels bars and restaurants, even if you’re not staying at the hotel. This will be a handy way to keep points valid by buying a cheap drink or coffee at a convenient location to earn a few points.

Other new features include new invite-only tiers and a Suite Night Upgrade for Platinum members guaranteed.

You can read more about the new scheme here.

6 Comments on "News & offers: Strike to hit BA at Gatwick, Jet Blue to launch London/ & why Accor is good for infrequent stays"

  1. Hi there, when will you be doing your Cordis Hong Kong review? We are going to Hong kong in December and very interested to stay here.

  2. BA CLUB WORLD – WAS I JUST UNLUCKY?

    I don’t have a blog, BUT I wish I did sometimes!!

    I’d love to share my experiences of Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale with BA in Club World on March 04th…invisible cabin crew; broken screen meaning staring at the passenger opposite me for 10hours (they knew it was broken as they told me before I boarded, no engineers at Gatwick??); mouldy food (yes, I have photographic evidence – the CSM described it as “disgusting”); dirty, tired 777; trays not cleared; twice having to go to the galley to ask for a cup of tea (on the one occasion I was brought one it was cold); call bell never answered…why, oh why, do we spend our hard earned cash on such an appalling product served up by crew who clearly don’t care?

    And why do BA feel it’s OK to deliver such a lacklustre product? I have a problem with food and the crew did try to help with that by changing things around…but that’s all they did. They swapped me a chicken main with a pasta that arrived so dry the pasta had turned hard…why is that OK?? The crew never came through the cabin once outside of main service to offer drinks etc.

    I will NEVER choose to fly BA again unless there is no choice. I have future flights coming up to MIA, CPT, SIN and DXB and am currently looking to change them at a financial loss to me I feel so strongly about this. Why? I didn’t feel looked after, cared for, or respected…particularly I didn’t feel looked after and that’s important to me when I fly. How dare BA think they can treat customers in this way and get away with it. No way BA! BA managers need to get out online and see what’s happening! They need mystery shoppers to feed this back! They need to Fly the competition like Vigrin Upper, Etihad Business etc…BA can’t even compare….forget their pathetic attempts at a Club improvements; they have a mountain to climb before they’re ready to take on the competition. 100 year celebrations?? History is great but guys, their current product and delivery – from my experience- is nothing short of abysmal. What’s other’s experiences?

  3. Juan Turner | 6 March 2019 at 6:17 pm | Reply

    I agree that BA Club is very tired however I have found the staff to be superb. The Gatwick based 777 are rather poor in Club. The LHR aircraft are generally better so on the routes you (John above) are planning I’d probably stick with BA. I have just returned after a First return to San Diego and the Crew were spot on! Lovely people, good fun and a very high standard of service from them. Shame the whole company has been let down by one or two crew members who served John. But I agree with John that BA need to urgently re-invent the Club seats as they need to be much more than a new duvet and menu.

  4. Hey Juan, thanks for the comments, I flew LHR JFK a few months back, out Club on the 747 and back First…Club was better than my experience this time out of LGW…but definitely sub-par versus Virgin – which is always my first choice, even though the seats a bit questionable (!) the service is consistently great and the aircraft new enough and comfortable – I love them, I feel special and looked after and I think that’s what the whole experience should be about – as well as a decent seat, food (the VS breakfast is my favourite, lol) and IFE, which Virgin have.

    I agree BA first is always a pleasure but I won’t lie I can’t afford it often, only when they have those deals when it’s a couple of hundred more – then I’ll go for the treat. Regrettably all those forthcoming trips are booked in Club World and I’m not sure I can deal with the disappointment again! 🙁

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