Bits: BA launches two new ski routes, BA drops two routes, Scottish APD cut

News in brief:

British Airways launches two new ski routes

British Airways has announced two new routes from Heathrow to Grenoble and Turin in time for the Winter 2017 ski season.

These routes already operate from Gatwick and those flights will remain.  There will be two weekly flights to Turin (Sat, Sun) and one to Grenoble (Sat).  The routes start on 2nd December.

BA has also announced increased frequencies on other core ski routes:

Heathrow to Salzburg doubles from two to four per week (Mon, Fri added)

Innsbruck gains two additional weekly services

Reykjavik gains an additional daily flight

Sofia and Zurich gain an additional weekly flight

Tallinn flights are also available for the first time this Winter following the recent route launch

These flights are all available for booking at ba.com.  Importantly, the standard Avios allocation is also there (two Club Europe, four economy) on these new services, even for super-peak dates.

Whilst redemption flights for key ski dates disappeared months ago on existing flights, you may be able to snag something on one of these new services if you act quickly.  

Whilst they will probably have gone by the time you read this, yesterday morning you could have booked the new Salzburg service over February half term (Friday 9th to Friday 16th) on Avios even though cash tickets were £330 in economy and £550 in business.

Salzburg

BA drops two routes to Norway

In other news, British Airways is suspending flights from Heathrow to Stavanger and Bergen from 28th October 2017.

At present, the only options being given to passengers are rebooking for a date earlier than 28th October or a transfer to a flight to Oslo.  You would need to make your own way to Stavanger or Bergen at your own cost.  If neither of these are suitable, you will be refunded.

Bergen

Air Passenger Duty reform in Scotland agreed

The Scottish Parliament voted by 108 to 11 on Tuesday to replace Air Passenger Duty in Scotland from April 2018.

The new tax will be called ADT (Air Departure Tax).  The level has not yet been anounced but the indications are that it will be no more than 50% of current levels and will be abolished entirely in the medium term.

Newcastle Airport has led calls from airports in Northern England for a similar changes to UK APD, claiming that flights may relocate to Glasgow or Edinburgh.  This is not an unreasonable view, given that the potential saving for a family of four flying in a premium cabin would be over £300.

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Comments

  1. the_real_a says:

    Not unreasonable at all since being currently located in Yorkshire – its 4 hours door to door to Edinburgh (train connection is very good) whist leeds takes 3 hours and Manchester 3.5 hours.

    • Axel Heyst says:

      If you’re flying from EDI mind to take the train to Haymarket Station. Waverley Station has no easy taxi, tram or bus points nearby and its no fun humping luggage up and down the steps in Edinburgh

      • eh, there are escalators or you can wheel them up the former taxi route right to the airport bus stop.

        If transferring directly to a tram to the airport, Edinburgh Gateway is the most convenient, though the tram costs the same and the train will cost more.

      • the_real_a says:

        Yeah – actually the train ticket was cheaper starting at Haymarket (despite changing at the Main Station). I was pleasantly surprised just how easy transit to EDI is – and how its probably more convenient than LHR for for a large % of people in the English regions (who have never previously thought about it). Qatar Avios availability was also good which prompted me initially.

      • forget taxi (far too expensive), tram (FAR TOO SLOW…unsurprisingly given its a white elephant) … the airport 100 bus is perfect (cheap, frequent and speedy) and located directly at Waverley pedestrian entrance ramp.

        • Andrew says:

          That’s your lifestyle choice, but what’s the point of going all the way into Waverley when you can change onto the Tram at Edinburgh Park or Edinburgh Gateway?

          From Central Edinburgh, the quickest route to Edinburgh Airport is train to Edinburgh Gateway then tram it to Edinburgh Airport.

        • When I used the 100 bus last weekend it took 30 minutes from Waverley Station to Edinburgh Airport. The tram timetable said 37 minutes; not necessarily a huge difference.

      • Derek Scott says:

        There are two tram stops (St Andrews Sq and Princes St), with the former within 3 min walk of Waverley, which would be just as easy as Haymarket, especially if trains from the South terminate at Waverley.

    • Agree. Also not sure if it is any cheaper, but one should also be able to buy a through ticket from any UK train station to Edinburgh airport, changing to tram at Edinburgh Gateway…

      http://www.edinburghairport.com/transport-links/trains

  2. Not able to compete with Norwegian then. It was twice daily to Bergen until fairly recently. bad news for me.

  3. Good to see the SNP helping out the middle classes again.
    Funny sort of socialism they have up there.
    Might start looking at flights from EDI now.

    • To be fair, it also helps out those on low incomes who want to fly. Its a reduction in duty to something matching that in other countries.

  4. JamesB says:

    OT: MBNA have relaunched AAdvantage card with 15000 miles for £1500 spend within 90 days. Apply by 2w August. Ron’s prediction coming true, there is now a £70 annual fee.

    • Genghis says:

      Should I be collecting AA miles?

      • I’ve got a reasonable balance now – can be quite handy, t/f/c much lower than BA and some decent options in there reward chart. Also helped I got a boost a couple times from service issues from them!

        • JamesB says:

          They used to be my OW option in my *A days. Lost track of the scheme after I used up my stash before devaluation. IIRC the main downside was changes or cancellation fees as I always tried to avoid those. It may still be the same? Then there’s the Etihad dimension. I can also recall using up small amounts of miles towards hotel stays.

          • Yes, they’ve still got some fees (reduced for AAdvantage members I think) – I rarely change redemption bookings so not too fussed about those but agree worth being aware of.

      • Depends where you flying to….
        For further east EY as a partner to some destination has decent availability using AA miles.

    • Mycity says:

      I’ve had the same email, new MBNA / AAdvantage® Credit Card is here, so the Amex card has been dropped as expected Visa only earns 1.25 miles per £. As a current holder of this card I’ve not been informed It’s going and being replaced, what I’m also unsure about is if I apply will I get the said bonus.

      • JamesB says:

        In current climate 1.25 miles/£ on visa is good though. Please report back later on your experience as an existing cardholder.

        • True, Amex also only earned .25 mile extra so comparing two, its not too bad.
          However with £70 fees the churning game wouldn’t work, but if it works for paying HMRC etc. one can collect decent amount of AA miles on Visa card.

          • JamesB says:

            It was hard to churn MBNA cards anyway with the exception of virgin. Also, folks need to remember that £70 will be nonrefundable unlike amex

          • I have managed to churn MBNA AA card (AMEX/VISA) in the past.

      • Mycity says:

        Yes will report back, I suspect the email I had was sent to all, it also has my AA membership number on and looking again the email came from AA not MBNA. I reckon current cardholders will get a separate email as some point cancelling the current cards with an offer re the new one.