Bits: good BA Club World US fares from Leeds Bradford, BA call centres reprieved

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News in brief:

British Airways Club World US deals from Leeds Bradford

(EDIT:  these fares no longer seem to be available)

BA is currently selling some interesting Club World fares from Leeds Bradford!   You can fly to Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and possibly other US cities for £1,500.

You need to book 28 days in advance and stay away for a Saturday night.

Here is a typical deal from January, showing a £1,526 fare:

Leeds Bradford bargains on British Airways

For comparison, the cheapest price on the same dates is:

From Manchester: £3,072

From Newcastle: £3,070

From Heathrow with no domestic connection:  £3,054

All very odd, but an attractive deal if you live within driving distance of Leeds Bradford.  Our review of the Yorkshire Premier lounge at Leeds Bradford, which you’d get to visit, is here.

These deals are all bookable at here.  Thanks to Sean for this.

British Airways call centres receive a short-term reprieve

As we have mentioned on Head for Points before, the British Airways call centres in Manchester and Newcastle have been ‘under consultation’ for some time over their future.

The decision was due this week.  Staff have been told, however, that it has now been pushed back until the New Year.  The official reason given is that Carolina Martinoli, the new Director of Brand and Customer Experience (the most powerless job in BA, as the previous two occupants – both of whom left quickly – have found), is too new to the role to take an informed decision.

Capita has put an outsourcing offer on the table but it isn’t clear if this involves moving the operation to India, as happened with the BMI call centre.

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  1. the_real_a says:

    Oh Jesus, when all the BA IT goes wrong… when everything else about BA breaks, the only thing keeping you sane is that UK contact center. The BMI / Pune debacle was as close to Faulty Towers as you could get. Anyone remember Denis?

    • In my experience BMI + Pune was the the greatest thing in the history of frequent flyer schemes … the good old days!

      • The_real_a says:

        Haha sure you could persuade them that Istanbul was in Scotland when it was to your advantage!

  2. the_real_a says:

    Oh Jesus, when all the BA IT goes wrong… when everything else about BA breaks, the only thing keeping you sane is that UK contact center. The BMI / Pune debacle was as close to Faulty Towers as you could get. Anyone remember “Denis”?

  3. OT Tesco Virgin auto convert 1k bonuses have posted for us overnight.

    Now onto Tesco Xmas saver. Good deal for Tesco shoppers.

    Deadline for top up is 17 Oct. Essentially you get your money back in the Nov mailout (only to be used at Tesco, not partners, but can be used for online grocery and valid for two years) + a bonus (valid normally for a few months). Best deal for us is top up £200, get £12 bonus. A simple 6% return but annualised gets pretty high.

    • Good morning Genghis.

      Sightly O/T but still connected with Tesco. I see Tesco have brought back the 300 clubcard points per £100 transaction, when buying gift cards

      Can you still:

      1) Buy £100 of Tesco gift cards and in-turn use them to but other gift cards e.g M&S. So in effect you have earned 600 (300+300)Club card points?

      2)Is the Virgin Bonus still live? Any confirmed dates for when the current deal finishes?



      • Apologies. I’ve just properly read your post. I’ve not seen the 300/£100 offer yet but you should be able to use Xmas saver, get bonus, print out these vouchers then buy other gift cards in store. It would only be 300 cc / £100 though? Where were the other 300 coming from?

        • @Ronster. Do you have a link to the offer?

        • Ah, I see (maybe). You never earned clubcard points on buying Tesco gift cards, only on the purchase of non-Tesco ones.

        • I’ve never heard of Xmas saver. If you use this scheme and top up your vouchers can you use them for any Clubcard offer or just in store?

        • I’ve just found the answer to this in Ts and Cs – Tesco shopping only, what a shame!

      • Not sure if you can buy gift cards with gift cards?

        Interesting though if they are giving points on their own cards as you would get points again when you spend them.

      • Where did you see the 300 cc points offer? On the website it just says 15% off certain gift cards.

      • Ronster, is the 300 points on £100 of gift cards an in store offer?

        • I bought £100 M&S vouchers in Tesco the other day and didn’t receive any points except for the spend points on the Tesco debit card – no promotional points.

        • Hi Zoe.

          Thats what i saw in store.

          Please see above


      • @Ronster the Tesco bonus on converting to Virgin finished on 13 Sep I believe.

      • Hi Genghis.

        Thank you for your reply.

        To answer your question, I saw a smallish poster at a Tesco superstore last week above the gift card section.

        It said that buying £100.00 of gift cards, you would be awarded 300 Tesco club card points.

        I then approached the customer service desk and asked a manager if I could purchase Tesco gift cards , use them to purchase say example £100 of M&S gift cards and whether I would again earn another 300 Tesco club card points.

        His answer was a “yes” to both questions as long as your Tesco club card number was presented for each transaction.

        However, getting an “YES” from a manager is not the same as getting a true confirmation, from someone who has managed to actively get those 600 club card points on a £100 spend.



      • Cheers Ronster. Will keep my eyes peeled.

      • Morning Ronster

        No evidence of that nice new tesco offer near me in either of my local superstores. Can you point us to your location in the uk so we can at least mention it if we call up cs. I bought a £100 tesco GC yest but no cc pts at all… Very sad! Was really hopeful. We use T a lot so the extra cc bonus would be quite useful. OTOH they have 15% off Odeon GCs so bought £100 worth of them.

    • This is excellent news. Just got a £12 off £80 Tesco spend voucher in the post, and I need some more Amazon credit!

      • Check on the back, but the £xx off £xx vouchers usually exclude gift card purchases.

        Also check with your employer schemes, I buy Amazon Vouchers at £98 for £100 (Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrisons and Asda Vouchers at £95 for £100 – not valid for fuel).

    • Lady London says:

      I personally would like it if BA service was brought UP to Easyjet levels.

    • Sorry? What have I done to offend? I don’t think I have ever considered myself a “Guru”.

      I sit on the Finance and Audit Committee of a top 50 national charity and was labelled an “expert” when I joined. I asked to change to “adviser” given there is only one way to go from being an “expert”.

      • I think he means you are often the first to help others when they have queries and you also provide lots of helpful hints on top of that. You also have the knack of being right most of the time.
        Certainly this means you have some kudos on this site but I’d agree you do not come across as pretentious. Rather you are like a moderator that does it out of generosity rather than being paid. Well done!
        Sadly, some people are unnecessarily abrasive in their comments, something that is becoming more common the more popular this becoming. 🙁

      • I appreciated the info on gift cards so thanks Genghis.

    • I did not know that the Genghis is a pretentious name; thank you for educating me.
      Also when I flew to Seattle the only Avios alternative was AA which was a BA codeshare. I think it’s the same with Vancouver BC. Not everyone wants to fly east.

    • Look I sort of see where you are coming from but this IS the bits article so Genghis is posting appropriately. This last year has seen a total and utter disregard for the use of the bits thread for OTs. There’ve been a lot of new posters this year which is a good thing but the OTs have got totally out of hand. HOWEVER this is not an example of that. It is the bits article and there was nowhere else Genghis should have posted his comment.

  4. I work as travel agent and the agent line goes through to India. Interestingly they are more helpful and knowledgable than the UK.

    • Noting the likely full version of your short four letter name can you say exactly what language you actually speak to the Indian call centre operative when you manage to get through to them?

      Speaking personally I can count on one hand the number of Indian call centres who were ever knowledgeable, helpful or spoke clear non Indian subcontinent accented English compared to the many scores of Indian call centres who could not even understand the point I was talking about and so I had to hang up on. The only call centre in India I can think of that was consistently excellent and as good or better than a European one was for Diners Club. But I have not had that card for over 10 years.

      I am however regularly having good call centre experiences with operatives in South African based call centres as they only generally speak English as a normal European would understand it rather than a local pigeon accented dialect only generally comprehensible to other natives of that region or country.

      Filipino call centres are generally every bit as appalling as Indian based ones and I can single out Virgin Mobile in particular as one of the very worst I have ever encountered anywhere on a global scale.

      • Lady London says:

        On this one I agree with you @Julian. Lufthansa seems to have dropped their South African call centre and it’s now really hard to get anyone helpful in Lufthansa’s German call centre.

        On the other hand, Easyjet seems to have outsourced their call centre to South Africa and the experience is markedly better.

      • It’s not remotely racist to say that sometimes Indian call centre staff have hard-to-understand accents. When I attempt to speak Spanish, native Spanish speakers often look blankly at me and they’re not racists either.

        The trouble with offshore call centres for me is that there is very little flexibility offered as they tend to work off prepared scripts. If an issue is escalated it often has to come back to the UK to be resolved.

  5. Martin CC says:

    Rob, I need help, not connected to today’s post, I am currently trying to find best Aukland deals on Qatar for tier points in business. Also London to Kona first if possible any route on Avios – given that American and Alaskan fly there also Jal goes to HNL – the rewards flight search definitely lacks choices – how can I find comprehensive One World partner choices? Any ideas?

  6. I do wish people would stop hijacking every story’s comments to ask random questions. I came here for views and opinions about this story, not to see that Glenys wants to know about gift cards, so Doris is gonna have a look for some info, and Barbara wants to see that info, too, and can somebody please find Meryl a cheap fare from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Droitwich…

    Now, ON TOPIC, I really hope BA don’t outsource the call centre. I’ve found them to be extremely useful, friendly and helpful. I’ve experienced call centres that get outsourced to India, and they’re the pits. Called BT once, and the woman *insisted* BT had installed the central heating radiator that was in front of the phone socket!

    • Don’t be so boring Chris, this is essentially a community, and people have a lot to say and a lot to ask. That’s what makes it interesting. Skim over the bits you don’t find interesting.

      Honestly, call the HfP police why don’t you.

      • Community is great and I have no problem with OTs, but there seem to be a lot of people wanting to be spoon-fed…

      • O/T and on O/T… if you use Safari on an iPhone, the highly imbedded comments, whether O/T or on topic, often appear one or two letters at a time. It takes quite a while to ‘skim’. As an example of a good system, the new FT app – no longer browser based – indents comments – its much easier to focus on relevance and non-relevance. Not sure if this is possible using the WordPress system a) for computer browsers b) for mobile browsers, but the deepened indent on the FT app really makes a difference.

        • My wife’s phone does this when in portrait but works perfectly in landscape. It is android however.

        • I agree, it isn’t great on an iPhone but that is how the WP system works. The only thing I can do is restrict the number of ‘levels’ of comments – it is currently set to 5 levels deep which may be too much.

        • oh my god, there are people who actually use Safari?!

      • It’s not boring..its fair comment….shame there isn’t an Off Topic seperate conversation column each day…..specifically.

    • This is the “bits” section, it’s generally agreed that it’s ok to go OT here!

      • Exactly.

        • But a couple of articles like the above, I don’t think should be referred to as ‘Bits.’
          Urgent information ? Go to FT with a far wider and world wide audience , with answers available almost immediately.

  7. What was the problem with that?

    If BT are claiming that they installed a radiator, then they’ve got no grounds to protest about access to the socket. I’m usually quite happy if I only need to call a customer service helpline “once”.

    A few years back an outsourced complaints handling team for a car manufacturer complained about me to the manufacturer!

    They were being evasive and refused to deal with my complaint properly and started to end my calls as I got through. So I simply used one of our own disused call centre ISDN stations to queue and drop calls to their helpline when answered. All very naughty, but as soon as they cradled my calls, I was straight through to the next handler and it ruined their handling statistics for dropped queued calls at lunchtimes for 4 days. On day 5 after the outsourced agency complained to the manufactuer about me, I had a call which resolved the problem with a replacement gearbox and fitting at nil charge.

    • OMG Andrew I think I love you!
      That’s just the sort of tactic I’d employ, if I knew how 😀

  8. the real harry1 says:

    O/T Google ads on HFP hits a new low!
    anybody else getting ?

    and before some smarty says it, no I haven’t been on unsafe sites 🙂

    • Looks like a nice dress to me! As you know, Google shows stuff based on the content of the article and your browsing history …. it is possible for brands to ask to be shown on HFP but I doubt they did 🙂

  9. BA’s call centre IMHO is hit-and-miss: you sometimes get very helpful people on the line, who sort things out in no time; and other times, just like any other average call centres, pretty average and not so knowledgeable. An example of which is the Amex 2for1 booking I did through the phone yesterday. The first agent (redemption bookings) is pretty average and struggled greatly in dealing with my particular booking requirement (must say it’s a bit of challenge, for 2 adults + 1 infant who turns 2 between outbound and inbound legs, oh and open-jaw with 2for1) but eventually booked me with no major issue. A few hours later I had to call again and speak to another agent (change existing bookings) who is just so knowledgeable and helpful that despite the widely reported system meltdown at the time, he managed to get everything sorted by calling me back once to tell me the system is still down but he’s on it once it’s back up and second time to confirm with me the changed itinerary and rebook me in 3 minutes. It’s the service/people like that keeping me to choose BA over others. Do I mind a surcharge of £15 using their call centre? If the ticket cost is high, and the service level I receive is excellent, I don’t mind at all.

    • Surely if you were booking an open jaw which can’t be done online you shouldn’t have had to pay the £15?

      • Technically the offline fee should only be waived if you’re trying to do something which is normally available online but isn’t working.

        Having said that most of the time the fee’s been waived for me without prompting when making an open jaw 2for1 booking over the phone

  10. To the main subject of Robs post. If you have the time needed it is certainly worth while using Avios to fly to Leeds Bradford from London to connect to the US Club World deal. If you are able to get away with only hand baggage, you can just jump ship in London on the return. Flying in to Leeds from anywhere else or with baggage on the return will mean connecting at both ends, but it may still be worth it.

    • Harry l agree..its not that far up the motorway or even as you say a quick flight up there. Have just recommended a friends elderly parents buy these flights from lba for a wedding next year in the USA.
      If we were not all booked we would certainly consider it.

  11. TigerTanaka says:

    I live in the North East and whilst LBA is not the most convenient airport for me, prices on BA are often way less than NCL so it is always worth checking if you are looking at a LH trip. Also BA do not base a plane overnight at LBA (like they do at NCL/MAN) so the timings are quite different – meaning that LBA can be be a good alternative if you are looking at a 4 hour connection at LHR for your flight back to NCL/MAN.

    Also, you can also normally upgrade LBA-LHR to CE using the BA app for £59 which will get you an additional 30-35 tier points.

    • Edinburgh can also be good if you’re based in the north-east. A ticket on the 6am ish VTEC train can typically be bought for £16 – in first, with a lovely fry-up and OK-ish coffee. Then the £5 bus to EDI. I do this once a week – even though it takes longer it is more relaxing than paying £15 ish to get to NCL on Northern Trains+metro or the bus+metro, usually standing up – and without complimentary breakfast and coffee. There are more BA flights from EDI, plus LCY/LGW. Also, whilst NCL lounge is nice, with lovely staff, the EDI lounge is arguably better. Plus: if/when new Scottish APD regime kicks in, EDI flights will likely be cheaper. And many (to LHR) already are. Plus, Finnair to HEL for other connection options. I’m not Scottish by the way (or a Geordie!) – I strongly suggest – if you have a couple of spare hours – give the VTEC 1st breakfast and EDI a go!

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