News & offers: UK-Asia OW sale from £1499, Flying during Ramadan & Aer Lingus business class

redeeming avios on qatarSingapore

UK Finnair sale

The new Finnair promotion may seem a bit underwhelming compared to the recent Qatar sale ex EU prices. However, for the ease of travelling from the UK with only one stop, they are worth considering. Especially when you add up the extras of positioning flights and hotels. You earn Avios and Tier points on Finnair like Qatar but most routes will work out as slightly less due to the routeing.

Finnair is probably not your first thought when selecting an airline to fly to Asia in business class. If you are looking for the cheapest prices and are collecting Avios or BAEC status, then you would generally think of Qatar on an Ex EU fare. However, Finnair offers a good alternative depending on what your priorities are.

Deputy Editor Paul on the Finnair A350 in business class

The Finnair A350 is a good product with very similar seats to Qatar. You can read my review here.

If your priority is a direct flight to Asia and you want Avios your best bet is British Airways from Heathrow, but it is likely to be the most expensive. The hard product isn’t great currently, as the seats are a bit dated and not many have direct aisle access or you are stepped over by your neighbour. You will also earn fewer tier points and Avios but you would get there quicker. The new Club World service is a big improvement though.

Finnair A330 business class seat

Finnair A330 business class

If you don’t mind a connecting flight and are trying to get extra Avios and/or tier points, then either Qatar or Finnair are good options. See below for the tier point and miles comparison. Assuming the pricing was similar, which would I choose? If there was no difference in aircraft type or price then I would go for Qatar as I find the seats more comfortable, although very similar. However, Qatar’s onboard food and drink is definitely far superior.

Tier point and Avios Comparison

The comparison takes London-Singapore return in business class as an example and assumes you do not have any more than blue status in the BAEC:

Qatar 

Tier points 140 x 4 = 560

Miles = 17778

BA

Tier points 160+160 = 320

Miles – 14402

Finnair

Tier points 80+140+140+80= 440

Miles = 17238

560 tier points are nearly enough for Silver status (600 points + 4 BA flights) which gives you lounge access even in economy.

Offer prices

A sample of the most interesting sale prices is below. The A350 aircraft currently flies once daily from Heathrow but check when you make the booking which aircraft it is. The routes in bold have the A350 from Helsinki:

  • Bangkok – £1,799
  • Beijing – £1,567
  • Delhi – £1,499
  • Hong Kong – £1,691
  • Seoul – £1,699
  • Singapore – £1,999
  • Shanghai – £1,756

The rules:

  • Sales period: until 27 May 2019.
  • Travel period: Delhi, 1 August–3 December 2019. Seoul, 7 May 2019–31 March 2020. Singapore, 1 July–4 December 2019. Osaka, 2 November–11 December 2019 and 28 December 2019–12 March 2020.
  • Tickets must be purchased at least 7 days before departure.

You can find the Finnair offer page here.

Flying during Ramadan – what to expect

Qatar Airways A380 business class review

Qatar on board bar A380

The Muslim festival of Ramadan has just started and lasts until 4 June. Those Muslims observing Ramadan will not eat or drink during daylight hours. Most people are aware of what restrictions will be in place during Ramadan if you visit the UAE, but I wasn’t sure how it would affect you if you were travelling on the Middle East based airlines. Even if you are not travelling on one of them this year during Ramadan, it is worth bearing in mind for the future.

If you are flying through Doha you may be very disappointed as no alcohol will be served in Qatar Airways lounges until the end of Ramadan. In lounges abroad, alcohol may not be on display but should still be served. Emirates, however, will have no change to its lounge policies. Etihad will not serve or display alcohol at its Abu Dhabi lounge during daylight hours and abroad may not display alcohol. Bear in mind this applies to their own lounges and should not apply to shared third-party lounges such as The Home lounge at Heathrow.

Etihad first class lounge Abu Dhabi review

Dining area in Etihad First lounge Abu Dhabi

Also, some Qatar flights to strict Muslim countries will be dry. Other flights will serve alcohol which may include pre-departure drinks if you are lucky, although only after the aircraft door is closed. However, it won’t be the normal service as drinks will be brought from the galley pre-poured so you won’t be presented with the bottle as you would usually be. Emirates and Etihad will similarly be serving alcohol on board. Etihad also tends to pour drinks in the galley for this period rather than at the seat.

Have you flown with one of the Middle East carriers during Ramadan? Let us know what your experience was like in the comments below or on social media.

Aer Lingus has finally introduced short haul business class

If you read my review of my horrible flight on Aer Lingus, you will know I am not the biggest fan of them. However, on cheap ex EU flights from Dublin they can be a useful option. Virgin and BA will offer you the option to use Aer Lingus or BA to connect back to Heathrow. You earn the same base Avios flying with them as BA but Aer Lingus does not give the additional Avios tier bonus that BA does for Executive Club Bronze, Silver and Gold cardholders. You also do not earn tier points as they are not part of oneworld.

So what will Aer Lingus offer? The new product is called Aer Space and is very similar to BA’s Club World (unsurprising given they are both IAG airlines). Like BA, the seats are the economy seats but with the middle one free. Prices are also aligned with what I would expect to pay in Club Europe.

The total package is not bad:

  • Middle seat free
  • Private overhead storage
  • Complimentary food and drink from the Bia menu
  • Lounge access
  • Priority boarding
  • Fast Track security
  • Automatic standby for earlier flights
  • Free changes and refunds

You can book now for flights starting from 1 September 2019. The Aer Space routes will be:

UK routes (in both directions)
Dublin, Cork, Shannon & Belfast London Heathrow
Dublin & Knock London Gatwick
Dublin Birmingham
Dublin Manchester
European routes (in both directions)
Dublin & Cork Amsterdam
Dublin & Cork Barcelona
Dublin & Cork Lisbon
Dublin & Cork Munich
Dublin & Cork Paris
Dublin Berlin
Dublin Dusseldorf
Dublin Frankfurt
Dublin Milan Malpensa
Dublin Milan Linate
Dublin Geneva
Dublin Zurich
Dublin Brussels
Dublin Madrid

There is more information on the Aer Lingus page here. 

12 Comments on "News & offers: UK-Asia OW sale from £1499, Flying during Ramadan & Aer Lingus business class"

  1. I flew with QR throughout Ramadan last year – 4 sectors to and from Bangkok (from Helsinki via Doha). The only change on board was as you say, drinks poured in the galley, rather than at your seat and on A380 the bar only displayed juices, but did still serve alcohol. Pre-departure drinks were to normal service standards, with champagne being served with the doors open in Doha, Helsinki and Bangkok. The lounges in Doha also DID continued to serve alcohol but were not on display. In the Bangkok lounge food and drink could only be consumed in the restaurant area until after daylight – after which you could consume drinks and snacks in the soft seating areas. But largely everything felt business as usual and had little to no impact. Worth noting that for people observing Ramadan and continuing to fast whilst travelling (although they are not required to) QR provides a take-away snack box to consume after the flight.

  2. Doesn’t LHR-SIN get 10,115 avios in the lowest business fare classes (R & I)? If so that makes 20,230 avios for flying BA return.

    But the big difference comes if you are a BA status holder. A BA Gold would get 33,716 avios for flying LHR-SIN flying BA whereas they are looking at roughly 17,500 miles on Finnair (via HEL) or Qatar (via DOH). I think people often forget about this big difference when flying on other OW airlines.

  3. The AY link goes to CX!

    • Should be fixed now. It was a weird auto-convert thing going on!

    • My irony detector has gone off at the statement of ‘true fact’ being made in regards to religion!

  4. Doesn’t LHR-SIN attract 10,115 avios in the lowest business fare classes (R&I)? If so, this makes the return trip 20.230 avios.

    But the big difference in the examples is for BA status holders who get tier bonuses for flying BA. A BA gold would get 33,716 avios for a LHR-SIN return on BA. If they were to fly on Qatar (via DOH) or Finnair (via HEL), they are looking at around 17,500 avios. I think this is something that often gets forgotten by even regular BA flyers.

  5. The Muslim festival of Ramadan has just started and lasts until 4 June. Those Muslims observing Ramadan will not eat or drink during daylight hours!!!!!!

    Please note Ramadan is not The Muslim festival. It is certainly not a festival. Ramadan is the holy month of Islamic calendar and the month in which the holy Quran was revealed to the prophet Nohammed (Pbuh).
    I am a regular reader and I find this line very disturbing and not stating the true fact. Please could you do more research when writing an article so the correct word are given.
    “Those Muslim”: I find it quite insulting.

    Last but not least, what do you expect when travelling through a Muslim carrier during the blessed month of Ramadan? Surely during Christmas we know what to expect for other non- Muslim carriers and we don’t complain and we do respect their beliefs even though no one goes to church and still want to celebrate Christmas.
    Please Michelle, do kindly rewrite it and this will be appreciated.

    Zara

    • I apologise if you didn’t like the wording of festival. However, you are being overly sensitive over the word those. It is meant in the sense of the people who chose to observe Ramadan. Not in an insulting way! I totally disagree with your last statement. Nobody is disrespecting Ramadan. It’s about people understanding in advance what it will mean for their travel and why. People buy tickets with a certain level of expectation of services on offer and it is not unreasonable for them to know if it will be different.

  6. Actually Zara is spot on in that the Holy month observed is not a festival but rather a month of fasting. I am not sure why you needed to reply back defensively Michele but learning from others would actually help improve your learning skills as you broaden your horizons. Surely this site encourages that?

    Looking forward to you writing in a more accurate way when it comes to world events, which can only be done through meticulous research and your ability – and willingness – to accept critique from those in the know, Michele.

    Thank you Zara for your comments with the intention of helping correct the writer.

  7. Hi Mous

    i am Muslim and I celebrate Christmas too!
    I think Ramadan is a Festive month! Who are you to say otherwise? I am not sure why you are having a go at Michele. She is clearly not biased !
    I find it rather disturbing that you are trying to make it into such a big deal!
    Ps Yes those Muslims, That’s the correct English for a particular group!
    They could have been those women. Would you have reacted?!

    Zine Eddine

  8. I love Zara’s sense of humour when referring to religion as fact – best joke in a long time.

    PS Michelle, love the site 🙂

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