Bits: BA drops Kos, good BA luxury European deals, upstairs on a BA 747

News in brief:

British Airways drop Kos

British Airways has decided to cancel the Kos route next year.  This is unfortunate, because tickets have been on sale for 5 months ….

The service was due to run between 5th May and 29th September 2018.

Cash passengers will be offered a re-route via Vienna, changing onto the Austrian Airlines service to Kos.  There is also an option to fly to Athens and then change to an Aegean service.  In both cases, business class passengers will be downgraded to economy for the second leg as they are ‘one class’ flights.

Note that Vienna is an 80 tier points route and Athens – like Kos – is a 160 tier points route.  If you have booked in Club Europe then it is easier to go via Athens if you want to be sure of your tier points.  BA should ‘make you square’ if you go via Vienna but it is likely to require a few emails back and forth.

Avios passengers will not be re-routed.  Your Avios will be refunded and you will have to make other arrangements at your own cost.

Passengers who are on a codeshare and not travelling on BA-issued tickets (ie a ticket number which does not start 125-) will also not be re-routed and will have to claim a refund from the airline with which they booked.

British Airways launches short haul Club Europe holidays sale

If you are planning a short break over the Winter, BA Holidays has launched a ‘Club Europe holidays’ short break promotion.

The special deals are listed here on ba.com.

These offer excellent value for money compared to the cost of booking flights on their own.  You will also get at least 80 tier points each – more for longer routes – which makes this a cheap way to help your plans to earn or retain your British Airways Executive Club status.

(This article lists the BA Club Europe routes which earn 160 tier points return.)

You need to:

book by midnight on Monday 23rd October

travel between 1st November 2017 and 18th March 2018

These are the headline prices being promoted by British Airways Holidays, although there is no guarantee this price will be available on the dates you want.  All hotels are four or five star.

  • Bilbao business class flights + 3 nights hotel £272 pp
  • Paris business class flights + 3 nights hotel £284 pp
  • Amsterdam business class flights + 3 nights hotel £286 pp
  • Istanbul business class flights + 3 nights hotel £299 pp
  • Athens business class flights + 3 nights hotel £420 pp
  • Palermo business class flights + 7 nights hotel from £308 pp
  • Larnaca business class flights + 7 nights hotel from £585 pp
  • All inclusive Malaga business class flights + 7 nights hotel from £421 pp
  • Palermo business class flights + 7 nights hotel £308 pp
  • Malaga business class flights + 7 nights hotel £370 pp
  • Mallorca (Palma) business class flights + 7 nights hotel £374 pp
  • Larnaca business class flights + 7 nights hotel £585 pp
  • Krakow business class flights + 3 nights hotel £311 pp
  • Berlin business class flights + 3 nights hotel £340 pp
  • Prague business class flights + 3 nights hotel £345 pp
  • Vienna business class flights + 3 nights hotel £353 pp
  • Budapest business class flights + 3 nights hotel £383 pp

Take a look at BA Holidays here for more details.

British Airways 747 stairs

Upstairs on a British Airways Boeing 747

Finally, a random personal picture.  We flew down to Dubai on a Boeing 747 last week and sat on the upper deck.

If you have been flying BA for as long as me then this may not be a novelty, but younger readers may never have experienced it.  Whilst BA remains the biggest global operator of the Boeing 747, they are being shuffled towards the retirement home one by one.

If you get a chance to try a 747 in Club World, on the upper deck, you should.

There is no doubt that some of the planes are well past their prime, and the cabin environment is not as classy as the new Boeing 787 Club World cabin.  However, as you can see from the photo below and the picture above of the stairs, it is a unique experience with such a small cabin.  The only BA experience that compares is the BA1 service on an A318 from London City to New York.

British Airways Boeing 747 upper deck

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Comments

  1. Yes 747 UD is great fun & better service. Have to pay is to get up there if I’m lowly status :((

    It will be a shame when those elegant beauties are retired.

    Iconic aviation age. You can’t replace that nose cone.

  2. OT BAPP 241.

    Would you buy BAPP 241 voucher for £210.
    Here is the math. Have used BAPP and already got Sign up bonus for spending 3k.
    Now debating whether to spend additional 7k and bag the voucher before cancelling the card. This will likely be Billhop payment.

    • If I knew I would definitely be using the voucher and it was going to save me 40k+ Avios I’d go for it (the more Avios to be saved the keener, obviously!). If only saving 30k then I’d probably not go for it – all depends what you value Avios at and which route you’re (realistically) going to use it for.

    • Really depends on how many Avios you have. If you are close to, say, 120k then the 241 will open up a lot of Club World routes you couldn’t otherwise hit.

      If you Avios pot is low and you end up redeeming to Hamburg then clearly it is waste.

      Given that you’ll earn 10,500 Avios on the £7k then it is really a net cost of £100 or so which is really a no brainer.

      • Genghis says:

        And if you factor in your normal spend rate in calculating the prorata refund (assuming you would go for the 241 without using Billhop), it makes it even cheaper

    • Roger,

      The Avios Hopper, in my view, has overspilt for some time- I doubt that BA will open the Chute to allow better flow.

      As Rob says (11:17) depends on the stash(that you don’t own!) -so…….!

      Genghis mentioned a few days ago -Supply/Demand.

      My view is that there will be a further devaluation in the not too distant future.

      Promises of extra seats will be made- however, the overall position situation will remain the same!

      A Conundrum 🙂 .

  3. Can anyone recommend 2 good seats for a couple in UD? I’ve got 241 CW return for LHR – LAS Sept 2018 and looking to snag UD seats. Heard things about climbing over each other to get to the toilets and staring into strangers eyes at takeoff.
    Looking to upgrade the outbound to F but my dates aren’t showing availability yet.

    • If you’re a couple then you’ll be looking at each other unless you pick different rows! It’s almost 2-2 on UD. Window seats have to step over aisle to get out but not 64A/K or the emergency exit row so lots of options – rare that I need out anyway, slept for 6.5h coming back from MSY last weekend, all I had was a bottle of water!

    • Genghis says:

      I like 62AB and JK for direct aisle access. We’re in 64JK (also direct aisle access but next to toilet) though on our next 744 flight.

      • We just did LHR to MIA WTP 15AB right by the toilets. Turned out to be some of best seats. Probably cos there was nobody behind us and I don’t feel guilty every time I reclined the seat.

    • Just remember that the LAS flights leave from T3, so no access to the CCR if you fly F. I’ve also got 241 CW flights for September 2018 to LAS but decided F isn’t worth the extra avios without CCR access.

      • Although on the upside you get the CX lounge in T3 instead 😀

      • Yeah I’ve came to terms with that last week when I was reading up on lounges lol. I think the Cathy pacific will do just fine (looking forward to those noodles) It’s our first CW and potentially first F with BA. Did do Upper Class with Virgin from Newark to LHR 6 years ago and that was really good.

        Signed up for the alerts for 1st availability but no dice yet.

        • I’ve used the cx lounge and they are very good especially since they have recently been refurbished. Food cooked to order, good bar, nice views and when I’ve used them, fairly empty and spacious. I far cry from the club lounge at T5

        • There will also be a nice new Qantas lounge to try.

        • Crispbag says:

          No noodles in first CX, you’ll need to skip next door to business CX for those.

  4. Genghis says:

    OT. Visited the Postal Museum and rode the Mail Rail train this morning that Rob wrote about a while back. It was a really good exhibition and rather interactive which I like. Highly recommended.

    • Ah excellent, I thought it sounded decent so will definitely put it on my list of things to do next time I’m in London!

  5. Having never experienced a city break what do folks recommend as a great place to start?

    I love food and sightseeing

    • Andrew-A says:

      That is a really difficult one to answer as everyone has different ideas of what they look for in a weekend break. My favourite one has to be Rome but, depending on where you live, look at flights from your local airport. Over the past two years I have been to Krakow & Prague off season with Easyjet and they have been really good flights, hotels and value. Next Feb it’s 5 nights in Berlin. Living near Edinburgh there is no point in me travelling via London for a weekend away.

    • Paris, Prague, Amsterdam, Kraków, Seville, Lisbon, Stockholm, Berlin, Barcelona … really depends on how long you have.

      Never got on with Dublin, Brussels, Budapest, Madrid, Frankfurt ….

    • Really subjective. I’d start with Lisbon.

    • My favourites are Rome, Athens, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Madrid, Prague and Budapest.

    • Delbert says:

      My wife and I are regulars to Amsterdam. A nice short Club Europe flight from LHR to AMS. Prefer LHR as T5 Sofitel is far superior to the LGW Sofitel. We go there so often that we ended up purchasing Privium membership to avoid the queues as occasionally it can get ridiculously busy at AMS. I can also highly recommend booking an apartment rather than a hotel. Only two weeks until our next long weekend in AMS and three weeks until we fly to SE Asia on the excellent EVA Air. Roll on the holidays.

      • We’re regulars to Amsterdam too. We usually stay in the Park Plaza at Vondel Park (loveley park walk into the centre) but are interested in the apartment angle – do you have any links or just go with Airbnb?

        • Delbert says:

          Hi Kiran. We always book through booking dot com, but book up as early as possible for a greater choice of accommodation.

    • Barry cutters says:

      We are in Budapest this weekend, did Munich last weekend . It’s all fun , everywhere is different – I really enjoy Barcelona in the summer and krakow/Warsaw/Prague/all Germany in the winter months. But all of these destinations can be good anytime . Depends what you want ? Is it history or culture or just food and beer….

      • Just one nuance: we like to take holidays that combine a city with some beach/mountain/scenery so for a pure city break would pick somewhere that we are unlikely to tick off on a longer holiday.
        We’ve covered Munich, Paris, Rome, Lisbon, Milan on our holidays for example; but Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Stockholm are more standalone.
        Cities are also less weather dependant. Barcelona is great in January.

    • Purely from a culinary perspective then without a doubt I would say:
      Barcelona, copenhagen, san sebastian, Bologna/modena and amsterdam but only if you also incorporate zwolle and rotterdam

      if you didn’t live in London, then London of course
      oh and i haven’t forgotten Paris… just isnt on the same level as the others

    • Related question (don’t mean to hijack but seemed to fit!) – have got 24h in Frankfurt in Jan (was only option for EDI-FRA-SIN and at least avoid UK longhaul premium APD!). Anyone have any suggestions of where to visit? Gave been to Frankfurt recently and Mainz a couple of years ago – anywhere else nearby that might be good for a daytrip on the train?

      • Heidelberg or Koblenz are both within <1.5hr train from FRA

        • Thanks, have been to Heidelberg (last Easter, very pleasant), Koblenz looks like it could be a good shout though, will investigate further!

  6. Optimus Prime says:

    OT – Does anyone know if it’s possible to use Lyft/Uber in the USA with a UK SIM card? Haven’t had problems with Uber in EU but haven’t tried USA yet.

    Do the promotional codes work if your first ride is in USA?

    Thanks in advance.

    • No issue using Uber in USA – I’ve got free roaming via Three and when drivers called me they did it via a local number at their end so worked fine. Sign-up promo should be OK too if it’s a new account.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        Thanks Alan. I’ll get a new number so I’ll give a shot to the promo code.

        I have a Uber gift card balance but I think Genghis couldn’t use in Brussels the one he converted from Tesco. Or is this a different scenario?

        • You can only use them in the same denomination – so I’ve used Uber USA sign-up bonuses in the US (on a spare SIM), but your UK credit won’t work – it’ll automatically bill to your payment card instead.

        • Optimus Prime says:

          Noted, thanks!

        • Genghis says:

          As Alan notes, the Tesco credit denominated in GBP can only be used in the UK.

    • A £ code won’t work, needs to be in same denomination as the bill.

    • Used both in Miami last month with no problems.
      Top tip. Opt for Uber pool or Lyft Lift, tends to work out cheaper and they rarely pick up others. Also they come to you. In London if you pool you have to walk to the designated pick up point.

  7. I’ve never sat on the main deck in Business Class on any 747 flight I have ever been on. Always the upper deck – absolutely agree, it is the place to be!

  8. Re: ” it is a unique experience with such a small cabin” – looks like five rows of four? Which is the same small capacity as AA’s A330 (formerly US Airway’s Envoy Suite) used on some transatlantic routes.

  9. When you book a BA City break with one of the reward hotels I presume no points from them but do you get status benefits?

    • No – sometimes you get lucky, but unless it is a Marriott Rewards property then you should assume no.

  10. the real harry1 says:

    https://www.avios.com/gb/en_gb/collect/bud?from=VuelingTakeoverClose

    How to collect 500 free Avios with Bud

    Download the Bud iOS app, or use Bud online at thisisbud.com/avios
    Enter your Avios membership number and email address – you’ll get an activation email within an hour
    Complete activation by entering your personal details
    You will be prompted to log in to your Avios account through Bud, so you can collect your Avios

    • the real harry1 says:
      • the real harry1 says:

        hmm – not letting me add my avios.com a/c, throwing me out with username/ password combo

        might try another browser, on Firefox now

        • +1

        • Did you manage to access your avios account from Bud?

          Still get an internal server error message.

        • the real harry1 says:

          no – Raffles will run this (no doubt) – he mixes in the fintech start-up arena – if only via old mates and office space lol

          I take the absence of article as evidence of ‘not ready yet’

        • Met the Bud team about 6 months ago. A trip down to WeWork Moorgate is a rite of passage these days if you want to do anything with Avios 🙂

          It is a very interesting business. One company in this space will become a multi-billion pound company, probably killing off a few smaller financial comparison sites at the same time, and it may be them. It all boils down to how happy the public is letting independent companies have access to all – literally all – their financial data, in and out.

          It appeared on avios.com a couple of weeks ago and was pulled very quickly because the product didn’t work. Looks like it still doesn’t work.

          Rather like Bink last year, we are looking at doing a big competition with them (sign up to enter) so we are going to try to hold off writing about it until then as readers would end up unable to enter.

        • the real harry1 says:

          I wish the Bud team well – certainly customer service seems polite & on the ball

          how are they going to earn any money?

        • They see all your savings and all your spending. Not hard.

          Stay at a Holiday Inn and pay on your debit card? They will email you suggesting you get an IHG credit card. Got a special savings rate ending? They will email you and offer – with one click – to open a new account for you at another bank and move your money for you.

        • Oh dear. At least it’s not just me. I certainly won’t give them access to any of my bank account details.

    • Thanks Harry

  11. Regarding KOS cancellation:
    Please see: https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/legal/british-airways/general-conditions-of-carriage and https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/legal/flight-cancellation-compensation (Right to re-routing or refund of part(s) of the journey not flown).
    Don’t allow BA to fob you off if you are on a reward ticket. It still is an eligible ticket!
    The only caution is if you are from the regions and your ticket was LBA-LHR-KGS return. If they offer you rerouting from MAN or any other airport, they will not reimburse you for train fare to/from Leeds. I found that the hard way, when missed our connection flight from ATH-LHR-LBA and had to verbally fight with customer relations for them to pay for the train fare. I was advised that in future I should instead accept the hotel rooms + meals (dinner & breakfast) in LHR, which I did on 3 subsequent occasions (many missed connections to LBA). Every time I tell their BA (missed connections assistance) staff at LHR, they seem shocked at the advice and cannot understand how that is cheaper for BA!

    • This can be avoided with a small proactive learning on your part. Have the agent at origin airport enter a note into your PNR “customer has agreed to decline hotel and meal costs on the understanding that we cover an off-peak train ticket from Manchester airport to Leeds instead”. BA’s general policy is indeed not to pay local overland travel costs if you ask for a rerouting, but common sense does prevail and if you can demonstrate in advance that you’re saving them money, they will go along with it. Note that this applies to public transport only, not taxis, which are always refused unless there is no public alternative at all, and there has to be no alternative flight to the original destination the same day.

      • Good tip re getting PNR endorsed appropriately – perhaps ask them for a printout saying as such too? (I’m assuming this is something they can do?)

        • Might work better if they can actually do what Alan mentioned. Put the note on PNR as Nick said but also give us a print out. However, I don’t know if they are able and/or willing to do so. Does anyone know?

        • Genghis says:

          I’ve no knowledge on this but would such a remark be pulled through to My Flights?

        • Was wondering the same, although comment-wise I’ve only ever seen the fare endorsements appear – would be handy if it did!

      • Thank you for the advice Nick but I know they don’t always adhere to notes on PNR’s. BA customer relations have said they would only pay out the rail fare if LHR assistance staff gave us a letter authorising such an expense. However, they (LHR assistance staff) say they cannot do so and it has to be authorised by customer relations after the end of our journey, by which point is a bit late! You cannot imagine how many times I had to plead with them (LHR assistance staff) to give us this in writing so that I can save them money but to no avail… Even customer relations has acknowledge that it’s silly that they end up paying for our accommodation and meals instead of a train fare but that’s them rules.

        • You’re asking the wrong question (or phrasing it the wrong way). I have done this before and I know it happens every day. There are conditions – e.g. if they offer any flight the same day you have to take it – but generally it works well if you’re reasonable.

          They mostly won’t have printers available, and a RM won’t go through to CMT, but it will be visible to CR when you put the claim in. An explanation of how you declined the hotel and meal offer will help when it gets to CR.

    • Absolutely – I think Rob may have simply blindly repeated what BA just hope for, suckers to walk away naively.

      Rob – I’m not having a go at you personally (honestly!) I’m just in strong agreeable with asik16, however if this viewpoint is inaccurate, please do feel free to elaborate to support your certainty or supposition. Ta

  12. Alan Cairns says:

    A note on the BA 747 article. Earlier this year we flew Business for the first time and it was a 747 to Cape Town. I specifically booked seats upstairs as I’ve always wanted to do it. Yes there may be a better cabins elsewhere, but for us the experience was well worth it. The only downside is that we didn’t get to go upstairs on the way back. If you get the chance, do it !!

  13. Anthony says:

    When I was a child I thought the upper deck was where the VIPs travelled and I am still excited about it today. I’ve already booked seats in the UD for our return from Chicago in July – including seat 64K which is my favourite. Though my children aren’t as excited as I am about it.

    Also – thanks Rob for the news about the closure of the Toronto lounge. I moved our flights from Toronto to Chicago when I heard the news. We are staying in Michigan so either airport works for us. Though I wish BA would fly to Detroit again.

  14. Our first ever CW flight last year was to Chicago on a 747 and someone here recommended we try to secure UD seats which we did! We loved it – but we didn’t have anything else to compare it to. We did the same flight again this year for our Rte 66 trip and sat in the same seats. We recently flew UC with Virgin to Atlanta and hated the individual seats that face the centre.

    • My first ever flight in CW was on the UD to Chicago, in 2001. In fact it was my first ever longhaul flight. Much as we are justifiably critical of BA from time to time, that wasn’t a bad way to get into longhaul travel 🙂

      The reason I like UD window seats (747 and A380) over any other CW seat is the extra space to spread out on the floor cabinets by the window. Of course if all CW seats had decent storage space that wouldn’t be so much of a bonus…..

  15. I’m clearly in a minority… but i quite dislike 747s… ugly creatures and the interiors are usually so tatty

    • The one we traveled on last year had just been refitted out the month before. The UC Virgin plane in August was tired and grubby. Food and service was great but much preferred the UD on the 747.