News & offers: Virgin Atlantic’s new afternoon tea, EU strike compensation ruling, Qatar discount code & more

Virgin Atlantic afternoon teaEric Lanlard trials new afternoon tea onboard Virgin Atlantic

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Virgin Atlantic launches a new afternoon tea on the ground and in the air

I have always been a fan of afternoon tea and was sorry when BA stopped serving the scones on short-haul and cut afternoon tea on many long-haul routes. So I was pleased to hear that Virgin are trialling a new afternoon tea experience with master pâtissier, Eric LanlardEric has created a series of bespoke afternoon teas for the Heathrow T3 Clubhouse (review here) and for Upper Class, Premium, and Economy cabins on all day flights across the Virgin route network.

The afternoon tea will start this month in Virgin Atlantic Heathrow Clubhouse, between 3pm and 5.30pm daily. Unfortunately, my Virgin flight next month departs at 15.25 so for once I am hoping for a delay or schedule change so that I get the chance to try it! If not I will be flying Virgin again in September so I will report back then. You can enjoy it with a traditional cuppa or more likely in my case, a lovely glass of Champagne! The tea is served on a bespoke stand filled with items including:

  • Prosciutto, sunblushed tomato and rocket on a stone baked Campagne brown roll
  • Smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill mint mini croissant
  • Broccoli, goat’s cheese and cress savoury tart
  • Homemade plain and sultana scones with strawberry preserve, lemon and clotted cream
  • Eton mess verrine with strawberry coulis
  • Apple and blackberry cake
  • Dark chocolate brownie with salted caramel sauce

Virgin Atlantic afternoon tea

This all sounds and looks absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to try it! Luckily if I miss out in May, in late summer 2018, the 38,000ft high tea will start being served on board in time for my next trip. The afternoon tea will be served on all day flights in every cabin. The teas will feature handmade sandwiches, scones and an assortment of macarons.

Now the most important question is….. jam or cream first on the scone?

Major EU compensation ruling

Although EU compensation is a good thing, it is still open to interpretation by airlines. Anything they deem as extraordinary circumstances which was meant to be for things beyond their control such as an ATC strike, has meant many have tried to shirk compensation. A new ruling against TUI airlines at the highest EU court, the European Court of Justice, means that consumers will now be able to claim compensation when flights are suddenly delayed or cancelled due to “wildcat” strikes. Wildcat strikes are unofficial strikes that happen suddenly such as workers all calling in sick with no notice. The court said that airlines could reasonably foresee such industrial action when it was a consequence of their actions such as announcing unfavourable changes for employees.

This is likely to result in UK test cases to see whether this could also be applied to formal airline strike action as up until now this has not been covered by EU compensation. I personally think it should be, as any strike action against a company by employees is nearly always as a direct consequence of action taken by the company. Customers should not be made to lose out and have their travel plans ruined without adequate compensation.


Qatar discount code

Qatar A380 business class review - Doha to London night flight A380 exterior in flight

If you need to book any Qatar flights there is a discount code for Le Club Accor members which is QRACCOR and gives you 10% off. It is free to join LeClub Accor here and also gives members rates for Accor bookings including Sofitel, online check-in and a discount on Priority Pass lounge card.


Marriott/SPG merger update

Since I published the article yesterday a couple of updates have emerged. Thanks to reader S for pointing out that Silver members in the combined scheme will also get Priority late check out which could be a useful perk to have when you have a late flight home. It is not totally clear what this means but I would guess it means you will get priority for a late checkout over other guests but there is no guarantee of what time you will have to leave.

Some good news for Amex Platinum SPG Gold status holders too (thanks to reader Grammer). Marriott have confirmed that your current Marriott Gold status will continue until the end of the year, so enjoy those lounge visits whilst you can! After that, we will have to hope that Amex will update its benefits to give Platinum status instead but I am not holding my breath….