News in brief:
Virgin / Delta’s O2 bar now open
I wrote back in June about the new bar that Virgin Atlantic and Delta were opening at the O2 Arena in Greenwich. The facility is now open. You can reserve booths online.
In theory, there are meant to be special deals for members of Virgin Flying Club. I haven’t seen anything yet, and I can’t find anything on the Flying Club website, but I will keep my eyes open.
Aer Lingus launches short-haul business class (but pretends it hasn’t)
Via Business Traveller, Aer Lingus is launching what looks suspiciously like a short-haul business class product this Autumn. For reasons I can’t understand, though, it refuses to call it business class!
Let’s take a look at what the new service, to be called Aer Space, will offer:
- Empty middle seat
- Priority boarding
- Priority baggage handling
- Priority hand baggage acceptance
- Full ticket flexibility
- Lounge access
- Free food on-board
That sounds suspiciously like a business class product to me! It is virtually identical to the British Airways Club Europe product, although there will not be a curtain dividing the cabin.
Calling it ‘economy class’ may mean that the airline does not have to pay the higher rate of Air Passenger Duty on flights to the UK. However, the airline will continue to alienate potential long-haul passengers who refuse to book it because they are put in economy for the final short hop. All very odd.
It does, of course, make the job of British Airways easier when it comes to integrate the Aer Lingus product once the takeover completes.
30% bonus when you buy Hyatt Gold Passport points
Hyatt Gold Passport is offering a 30% bonus when you buy points before 31st August.
There may, just, be some arbitrage in doing this if you are looking to stay at some of their prime Park Hyatt hotels, such as Tokyo or Paris. In general, though, this is a deal which will only make sense if you are topping up your account.
As Hyatt points are hard to earn (no UK credit card, not an Amex partner) this may be worth doing, especially as Hyatt is beginning to take a harder line on points expiry.
Etihad launches with Kaligo.com
Finally, hotel booking site Kaligo.com has launched a partnership with Etihad Guest.
You receive 3,000 bonus Etihad Guest miles with your first booking. There are an additional 7,000 miles to be had if you spend $1,000 at Kaligo.com between now and the end of September.
You can claim this bonus even if you have already had the bonus from a Kaligo / Avios or Kaligo / Virgin promo, although you may want to use a different email to avoid confusion if you registered for the recent BA deal.
Details of the Etihad offer can be found here.