News & offers: Virgin UC from £1395 & BA CW from £1328 & Etihad loses their 5*

BEIJING, CHINA - APR 6: Temple of Heaven with tourists on April 6, 2013 in Beijing, China. It is the religious complex where the Emperors pray to the Heaven for good harvest.

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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from £1395

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class tend to be very expensive from Heathrow so today’s fare from Inverness is worth a look if you are keen to fly with Virgin. I recently saw their new A350 Upper Class seats which are due to be on the JFK route from August although the final details have not been confirmed yet.

Virgin A350 Upper Class

Inverness is usually a couple of hundred pounds cheaper than flying from London due to the lack of departure tax. The fare is from Inverness flying via Heathrow on British Airways and then connecting onto New York with Virgin Atlantic. This would give you time to try out Virgin’s fantastic Clubhouse lounge at Heathrow which is the best lounge at the airport for me. You could also fly with Delta via Amsterdam on the return leg if you wished.

The rules:

  • Book by: 31 July and at least 28 days before departure
  • Travel: n/a
  • Minimum stay:  a Saturday night
  • Maximum stay: 12 months
  • Transfers:
    • 3 transfers permitted in each direction free
    • 1 free in Europe in each direction
    • 2 free in the United States in each direction
  • Stopovers: Unlimted at £300 each
  • Refundable: No
  • Changeable: No

The fare is bookable via travel agents such as Expedia or you can find the lowest price online using Skyscanner. 

BA Club World from £1328

British Airways has a sale on at the moment and whilst there are some great deals from the UK to the US, there is not much of value if you are travelling east. You can find all the best Club World Fares in this article. 

If you want to travel to Asia or Africa there are some good deals via Amsterdam or Milan Malpensa. Both airports are straightforward to do a back to back for positioning. (you can read more about back to backs here). The best fares are:

  • Milan to Shanghai £1328
  • Milan to Beijing £1410
  • Milan to Dubai £1558
  • Milan to Singapore £1668
  • Milan to Hong Kong £1625
  • Amsterdam to Johannesburg £1519
  • Amsterdam to Shanghai £1425
  • Amsterdam to Hong Kong £1603
  • Amsterdam to Seoul £1449
  • Amsterdam to Dubai £1558

Hong Kong harbour with junk boat

The rules:

  • Book by: 16 May
  • Travel: n/a
  • Minimum stay:  5 nights
  • Maximum stay: 12 months
  • Transfers: 5 transfers permitted in each direction free
  • Stopovers: No
  • Refundable: No
  • Changeable: Yes for €300

You can book the flights direct with British Airways or try Skyscanner for the cheapest price online.

Etihad loses their 5* Skytrax rating

Etihad business class studio A380 review

Etihad business class studio bed

Etihad has been struggling financially for a long time now. Rather than just the airline itself losing money, it is in part due to some disastrous investments made by Etihad such as the now-defunct Air Berlin and struggling Alitalia. I have always been a fan of Etihad but due to their financial difficulties, they have been little by little cutting back their product. If you can pick their flights up cheaply they are still worth a go but you won’t get the same luxurious experience you used to. Gone are the chauffeurs, the dedicated Etihad lounges and spas. You don’t even get an amenity kit in business class on day flights now.

Probably as a result of these cutbacks, Etihad has just lost its 5* rating with Skytrax which it had held since 2016. A lot of people view these ratings as corrupt, believing that Skytrax has been influenced by certain companies. This is probably due to the conflict of interest with its core business of airline consulting. However, apart from the odd anomaly such as Lufthansa getting 5* despite its poor business class seating and consistency of seats, I think the star ratings are broadly right.  Here are the descriptions:

5-Star Airline Rating
Awarded to airlines achieving a very high, overall Quality performance. It recognises high standards of Airport and Onboard Product together with consistent and excellent standards of Staff Service delivery across the Airport and Cabin service environments.

Examples of 5-star airlines:

  • Qatar
  • Singapore
  • Garuda
  • Cathay Pacific
  • EVA
  • Lufthansa

4-Star Airline Rating
A seal of Quality Approval awarded to airlines that deliver a good overall Quality performance. The ranking represents airlines providing good Product standards across different travel cabins, and delivering good standards of Staff Service for the Onboard and home-base Airport environments.

Examples of 4-star airlines:

  • Emirates
  • BA
  • Air New Zealand
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • China Southern
  • Finnair

Skytrax doesn’t reveal why they have demoted Etihad though it would be interesting why they have chosen now to downgrade them after two years of cutbacks.

What do you think? Have you flown Etihad recently? Do they deserve to only be 4* now? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

8 Comments on "News & offers: Virgin UC from £1395 & BA CW from £1328 & Etihad loses their 5*"

  1. Chris Beer | 13 May 2019 at 6:50 am | Reply

    Love reading this every morning
    It’s thanks to TLFL that I have picked up so many great Business Class deals mostly from outside of the UK

    In Nov I have a business trip to LAS and managed in Jan to get INV-LHR-LAS rtn for £1280 each ticket which was amazing in Club

    Last week I was looking at DXB for a trip in Oct, BA wanted £2300 in the new Club Suites on the new A350/1000 which I am very keen to try. However that was a little too much for this trip however a DUB-LHR-DXB rtn worked out at €1770 which was £1580 a true bargain again in Club all the way. The positioning flights in Club from LHR were £69 out and £41 back!!

    Lastly the BA sale is well and truly on, we got BA First rtn, 2 tickets LHR-JFK-LHR B747 out B777 back for £2900, add a hotel it said before I paid so I looked and they started at £3k for 5 nights including the flights, bargain! Well it is for my 40th next Feb so it’s a treat

    Because of the savings I have made I have just managed Gold Status with BA and I now have 9 flights to use it on. Thank you TLFL


    • That’s great to hear you have managed to get some great deals and are now Gold Chris!

  2. I recently flew Etihad Sydney to LHR. The second flight from Abu Dhabi to LHR I had the MOST uncomfortable seat ever, with hardly any padding at all. I resorted to putting the rug on my seat to help!

  3. I’m not sure, but probably the older one I imagine! ( I landed at T4 last Wednesday about 12.30 )

  4. Catherine Ternent | 13 May 2019 at 8:47 am | Reply

    I recently flew Etihad business class London -Abu Dhabi -Tokyo and return. The seats were the most uncomfortable I have experienced and the “bedding”was one fleecy blanket.
    On a positive note their lounge in Tokyo was very pleasant with efficient staff.

  5. ClaytonTheCruton | 13 May 2019 at 9:11 am | Reply

    Michele you might want to edit the title. The F got a little lost in the club cabin 😉

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