News in brief:
British Airways FINALLY announces a wi-fi deal
British Airways announced yesterday that it has reached a deal with US internet group Gogo to introduce its new generation wi-fi system on 137 long-haul aircraft.
Gogo’s 2Ku system will be installed on 118 British Airways aircraft, four Aer Lingus 757, and up to 15 Iberia long-haul aircraft. Newer Aer Lingus and Iberia aircraft already offer a Panasonic wi-fi system and will not be upgraded.
My experience of in-flight wi-fi to date has not been great. Due to capacity issues, you either charge nothing or a nominal sum and get an incredibly slow service (Emirates) or you charge a premium price which is unviable for anyone without a major expense account (Qatar). The new Gogo system adds substantial capacity and should allow large numbers of passengers to undertake video streaming in parallel.
Don’t rush out to buy a new tablet yet. The first test 747 will not be ready until 2017 and the full roll-out will take until 2019.
VIP package to the Electric Daisy Carnival
Hilton @Play, which lets you redeem Hilton HHonors points for ‘experiences’, has two interesting VIP packages available to the Electric Daisy Carnival in Milton Keynes.
Billed as ‘the ultimate single-day festival experience’, you will get two VIP ‘access all areas’ tickets, a tour of the festival prior to the doors opening and an overnight stay at the DoubleTree Milton Keynes hotel on 9th July.
Two packages are available at a fixed price of 100,000 Hilton HHonors points. You can redeem here.
Four Seasons takes over the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz
This may be slightly old news – by three weeks – but it had passed me by. Luxury hotel group Four Seasons has agreed to manage the iconic Hotel du Palais in Biarritz.
This might not mean much, but if you have ever been to Biarritz you will know that this is a wonderfully located historic property directly on the Bay of Biscay. It was originally built by Napoleon III for his wife Eugénie. Once a bit of Four Seasons magic has been sprinkled over it (plus €50m of refurbishment) it should be a fantastic base for a weekend break.
Meanwhile, Four Seasons Canary Wharf in London is now the Canary Riverside Plaza Hotel. On the face of it, it may be surprising that the hotel is unbranded after FS ceased management. However, I know that Four Season management contracts are incredibly tight and often include a clause which stops a hotel operating under another brand for a number of years if FS is forced out. We saw this in Provence a few years ago.