NEWS & OFFERS: US W Coast 2021 offer from £960, More travel companies make facemasks mandatory & AA retire aircraft permamentky

Magnificent sunset in La Jolla CaliforniaMagnificent sunset in La

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US W Coast offer back from £964

I wrote about the offers to the US West Coast recently and they were due to expire on 30 April. The good news is that many of these have now been extended, the bad news is that Hawaii has disappeared as an option. There are some amazing bargains to be had, particularly from Sofia. Sofia also has the advantage of being a 160 tier point destination for Club Europe return, making it great value for tier points. I recently visited there and it is a cheap and pleasant place to spend an overnight stay before a trip if you wish. 

Here are the offers:

  • Paris
    • East Coast £1036 All major airlines
  • Amsterdam
    • East and West Coast (including Portland, Las Vegas, Phoenix)  £1250 (Sky Team, Oneworld and Star Alliance)
  • Luxembourg
    • East Coast £1176 
    • West Coast (including Portland, Las Vegas, Phoenix)  £1300 (Sky Team, Oneworld and Star Alliance)
  • Sofia
    • East Coast and West Coast from £960 
    • Oneworld and Star Alliance
    • Available from January onwards

The rules for oneworld AA/BA etc are the same as before except the book by date:

  • Book by: 6 months advance purchase and before 31 May 2020
    • NOTE: Book before 31 May for free changes only for BA tickets for flights until 31 December 2020 fare difference may still apply)
  • Travel: Outbound – permitted Tue through Thu. Inbound – permitted Mon through Wed.
  • Minimum stay: a Saturday night
  • Maximum stay: 12 months
  • Transfers:
    • 2 Permitted free in Europe in each direction
    • And – 2 transfers permitted in each direction free:
      • 1 free between BA/IB and b6 in BOS/JFK in each direction
      • 1 free between AA/AY/BA/IB and AS in LAX/PDX/SEA in each direction
      • 1 free between AA/AY/BA/IB and AM in Mexico in each direction
      • 1 free between AA/AY/BA/IB and AC in Canada in each direction
      • 1 free between AA/AY/BA/IB and HA in Hawaii in each direction
      • 2 free on AA/AY/BA/IB only in each direction
  • Stopovers: No
  • Refundable: No
  • Changeable: Yes with no fees if booked by 31 May 2020 for travel until 31 December.

You can book direct with British Airways, Lufthansa or KLM/Air France  or try Skyscanner to find the cheapest prices online

If you are interested in tier points, you can have a read of my previous article to get some idea of itineraries. 

 

More travel companies make face masks mandatory

It looks like facemasks are going to become mandatory on almost all airlines and other modes of international travel in the coming weeks. The latest company to announce this is Eurostar,

From 4 May, passengers must wear a face mask or face covering at our stations and on board in line with guidelines announced by the French and Belgian governments.
Please ensure you have a mask with you when you travel. Any type of mask is suitable as long as it effectively covers your nose and mouth.

If you don’t have a mask you may be refused travel on our services. We’d like to advise you that fines may be imposed in France and Belgium if you’re not wearing a mask.

Other airlines that have made face masks obligatory for passengers are:

  • American Airlines from 11 May
  • Delta from check-in onwards
  • United from 4 May
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Lufthansa Group Airlines from 4 May
  • Emirates – gloves and masks from check-in onwards
  • Wizz Air
  • Air Canada

If you were allowed to travel and the risks were deemed to be low, would having to wear a face mask put you off? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

 

American Airlines says goodbye to five of its aircraft types

Sadly, another byproduct of the pandemic is the disappearance of older aircraft types. Most A380s are now grounded and many are being retired early. I am living in hiope that I get to fly on a BA B747 at least one more time before they are retired (due to be retired by 2024 currently). Last week AA announced that they will  be retiring five aircraft types early.

Last month, American Airlines announced plans to accelerate the retirement of some older, less fuel-efficient aircraft from its fleet sooner than originally planned. As flying schedules and aircraft needs are fine-tuned during this period of record-low demand, American will take the unique step of retiring a total of five aircraft types.

American has officially retired the Embraer E190 and Boeing 767 fleets, which were originally scheduled to retire by the end of 2020. The airline has also accelerated the retirement of its Boeing 757s and Airbus A330-300s. Additionally, American is retiring 19 Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft operated by PSA Airlines.

These changes remove operating complexity and will bring forward cost savings and efficiencies associated with operating fewer aircraft types. It will also help American focus on flying more advanced aircraft. AA will continue receiving new deliveries of the Airbus A321neo and the Boeing 737 MAX and 787. American’s narrowbody fleet also becomes more simplified with just two cockpit types – the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 families.

Here’s a snapshot of the aircraft leaving American’s fleet:

Airbus A330-300Airbus A330-300

Airbus A330-300

  • Joined the US Airways fleet in 2000 prior to joining American’s fleet in 2013.
  • Nine A330-300s in the fleet as of Jan. 1, 2020.
  • Flew mainly trans-Atlantic routes, with some domestic service.

 

Boeing 757-200Boeing 757-200

Boeing 757-200

  • Joined the America West fleet in 1987 and American in 1989.
  • 34 757-200s in the fleet as of Jan. 1, 2020.
  • Flew mostly mainland domestic and Hawaii routes, with some trans-Atlantic and Latin America service.

 

Boeing 767-300ERBoeing 767-300ER

Boeing 767-300ER

  • Joined American in 1988.
  • 17 767-300ERs in the fleet as of Jan. 1, 2020.
  • Flew mainly trans-Atlantic routes, with some domestic, Hawaii and Latin America service.

 

Embraer E190 — Blue Sky News/Pittsburgh International Airport

Embraer E190

  • Joined the US Airways fleet in 2006 prior to joining American’s fleet in 2013.
  • 20 E190s in the fleet as of Jan. 1, 2020.
  • Flew domestic routes, with extensive support for American Airlines Shuttle.

 

Boeing 767-300ER

A Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft operated by PSA Airlines.

Bombardier CRJ200

  • Joined the PSA Airlines fleet in 2003.
  • 19 CRJ200s in the fleet as of Jan. 1, 2020.
  • Flew domestic routes on the East Coast, with service primarily from American’s hubs in Charlotte, North Carolina; Washington, D.C.; and Philadelphia.

10 Comments on "NEWS & OFFERS: US W Coast 2021 offer from £960, More travel companies make facemasks mandatory & AA retire aircraft permamentky"

  1. Terry Maloney | 4 May 2020 at 9:19 am | Reply

    Face masks are of absolutely no use. As many experts have stated, the pores in the material are many times greater than the virus particles. Like using a chainlink fence to stop mosquitos.

  2. Re the OW West Coast deals, we are beyond the ‘NOTE: Book before 15 April for free changes (fare difference may still apply)’.

    Also worth noting important differences in the ‘book with confidence’ policies of BA and AA. BA’s only applies to booked travel up to 31 December, so would NOT currently cover trips for early next year whereas AA covers ‘all future travel’ – both apply to tickets booked before 31 May. I would prefer to book with BA where poss for greater avios and the potential to use a GUF, but the security blanket of AA’s change policy may sway it in their favour.

    • I have no faith in masks to do anything but make the subservient feel better. If wearing a mask meant the difference between travelling and not travelling, I’d wear a mask.

  3. On a long flight what will happen when you need to drink or eat something. I can’t see small children complying, or with leaving their parent’s mask in-situ.

    • I believe you are allowed to remove the mask to eat and drink. I could cope with it on a short flight but I’d rather not travel than wear it for a long flight personally

  4. Needing a face mask suggests it is unsafe to travel. I wouldn’t travel with any airline that thought it was unsafe to travel. So, yes. I would be put off travelling with that airline.

  5. any idea how long haul service in business and first class will look like? I tried to get some info from Lufthansa via twitter – but they were useless and rude, actually ..not sure if anyone needs to fly in first if lounges are closed and bottled water and boxed food are served, right? unfortunately it looks airline don’t even think about any kind of compensation in such cases

    • I think it depends on when you are thinking of flying. I don’t expect the current service levels to last once travel bans are lifted. And when we get to the point where there is a treatment and or vaccine things will change again. It is impossible to predict but at the moment I would expect food and drink etc to be back to normal in 2021 on most airlines. But it all depends if there is a second wave. I think booking with a change guarantee makes a difference or with BA by making it into a holiday so less to lose.

  6. When IATA say the following regards the onboard cleanliness of air onboard aircraft l don’t understand the need for cumbersome masks onboard. Pre departure maybe, but?

    Contrary to fears one might have about the cleanliness of the recycled air on board, the International Air Transport Association explains that all aircraft are actually fitted with HEPA filters that ‘remove particulate and bacterial contamination’, providing the same level of air filtration as many hospital operating theatres

    I’m not an expert but

    If its reassuring people, falsely I believe, to travel, then that’s not a bad thing, but doesn’t make sense you can be crammed in next to someone if middle seat is to be used with mask on, as the 2m distancing rule surely applies wherever you are

    Personally, after spending recently just 40 minutes with a mask on at a hospital appointment, with all the irritation it offered, l won’t be boarding an aircraft soon

    Who knows, that may be never again, and living on a small island like Jersey, could become a little tricky, so looks like possibly i’ll be taking ferries

    I certainly wouldn’t entertain taking a long haul flight wearing a mask for 8 – 10 hours (or should l say masks, and many of them, as l’ve read from leading experts these become useless after only a short period of use)

    I appreciate it’s an evolving situation, with many needing to make essential journeys, therefore will discount the inconveniences, but for mass leisure travel to return, its going to be impractical, and nigh on unenforceable

  7. Not a problem if I had to wear a face mask to be able to fly I would.

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