Another Avios airline bites the dust
One of the lesser known Avios partners (but not oneworld) is Air Italy, which was formerly known as Meridiana. Qatar Airways had bought a 49% stake in the airline over 2 years ago with the promise of a new fleet of aircraft, rebranding and many new destinations expected. Sadly yesterday it was announced that Air Italy had suspended all operations. The airline is now in liquidation, a process in Italy known as ‘liquidazione in bonis’ – which involves halting operations but paying off outstanding debts and staff salaries. Air Italy has four Airbus A330-200s, one Boeing 737-700 and four 737-800s. It also had four B737 MAXs which are obviously grounded and can not have helped a sticky financial situation.
From 11 to 25 February 2020 all Air Italy flights will be operated by other carriers at the times and on the days already scheduled; all passengers who have booked flights departing or arriving after February 25 will be re-protected or fully refunded.
Qatar was keen to keep funding Air Italy but other shareholders did not feel the same.
Qatar gave this statement:
“Despite our minority shareholder’s role, Qatar Airways has continuously provided all possible support to Air Italy right from the beginning, from releasing aircraft from our fleet and ordering new aircraft for Air Italy, to backing management choices and injecting capital and investment as required and permitted.
Even with the changing competitive environment and the increasingly difficult market conditions severely impacting the air transport industry, Qatar Airways has continually reaffirmed its commitment, as a minority shareholder, to continue investing in the company to create value for Italy and the travelling public and to provide support for Air Italy and its staff because for Qatar Airways the focus on employees is a core priority in its strive for excellence – in addition to supporting local communities and other stakeholders.
For this reason, Qatar Airways was ready once again to play its part in supporting the growth of the airline, but this would only have been possible with the commitment of all shareholders.”
New York for £929 all business class
La Compagnie are a Paris based airline that fly to New York using small, all business class aircraft. Their product has always been great value but with their older aircraft it wasn’t worth trying in my opinion. Now they are operating with new A321LRs, at the prices they charge and the novelty factor it is worth a look. I did it recently and you can read my review here.
The lastest deal for Valentine’s day is for two people for €2200 which works out at about £979 per person business class retur to New York from Paris. You must book by 16 February 2020.
Book on their website or contact customer service on 0 892 230 240 (0.45 € / min) from Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Airportr improvements & discount
Airportr offer a very handy baggage collection and delivery service with reasonable prices. I have used the service a couple of times.
AirPortr will either collect your luggage from London (or Manchester see here) plus surrounding areas and deliver it to the airport. If you are flying BA, AA, Finnair, Virgin, EasyJet, Cathay or Thomas Cook they can check-in your bag when they pick it up (except for UK Domestic flights). This means you don’t need to see your bag again until you arrive at the baggage carousel at your destination. They can now do this up to 3 days in advance of your flight.
They have now added Qantas as well. You used to also have to have your boarding pass already and then you nominate a 1-hour slot up to 7 hours prior to departure for it to be collected. They have just announced that you will no longer need a boarding pass for BA flights to have your luggage collected as long as you are checked in online. This is great news as the last time I tried to use it, I got twarted by the dreaded SSSS which means extra security checks when you go to the US and no mobile boarding pass.
AirPortr can also deliver your bag to central London addresses, including hotels, from Heathrow or Gatwick. I used this when I was doing an ex Dublin where I positioned from Heathrow but flew back to London City to pick up BA1 the next day. AirPortr took my luggage from Heathrow and left it at my hotel near London City where it was waiting for me after my Dublin to London City flight. AirPortr now only covers Heathrow Terminals 3 & 5 as well as Gatwick, but not London City.
Prices start at £30 but if you travel before 15 March you can get a 5% discount.
Use code: HALFTERM5