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Bits: BA taking 4 ex-Singapore A380’s?, Virgin Trains discounts, classic video footage

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News in brief:

British Airways to take 4 A380’s from Singapore Airlines?

A couple of weeks I wrote about the amazing new First Class Suites being fitted to the new A380 aircraft being received by Singapore Airlines.

These new planes are replacements for the first batch of A380 aircraft taken by Singapore Airlines, which were on a lease which has now expired.  The current version of the A380 is lighter and has more fuel efficient engines and it made sense to switch over to newer aircraft.

The German leasing company is now trying to find a new home for these older planes, and it has named British Airways as one of the parties ‘in discussions’.

This is likely to be an exceptionally good deal for BA.  There is currently no second hand market, at all, for the A380.  Malaysia Airlines tried to sell its fleet but ended up deciding to turn them into 700-seat ‘all economy’ aircraft to serve the Hajj pilgrimage market to Saudi Arabia.  Any deal which is more profitable than stripping the aircraft – the engines could be used for spares and cost over $40m each – is likely to be taken.

The talk is of a six year lease for the planes.  If we ask nicely, perhaps BA will leave the Singapore Airlines First Class Suites installed ….

British Airways A380

Virgin Trains discounts

We’ve mentioned the Virgin Red app before.  It is a smartphone app which brings together various different Virgin Group companies (Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Money, Virgin Active, Virgin Trains etc), offering discounts and competitions.

This week it is offering 30% off Virgin West Coast and East Coast train tickets.  All Virgin Red members can take advantage, it seems, although you can only make one booking at this price.  The discount is valid against any First or standard class Advance ticket.  There are no date restrictions.

Virgin Trains West Coast has also given us advance notice of a big Black Friday sale running from Thursday 23rd November to Monday 27th November. This will offer a 50% discount, but only for travel between Monday 18th December 2017 to Sunday 14th January 2018.

PS.  Virgin Red always offers a 20% discount on West Coast tickets to new members.  If you have redeemed this offer before, uninstall the app and sign up again using new credentials.  You will see the 20% discount link back on the app home screen.  I did this for my trip to Manchester this week.

Take the train and the plane …..

A reader sent me a link to this fantastic You Tube video clip which shows a world so far gone it is hard to believe that it happened during my own lifetime.

La Flèche d’Argent was a mixed transport service that combines plane and trains to travel from Paris to London.  A Parisian could take the train from Gare du Nord to Le Touquet, then board a British Caledonian plane to Gatwick.  The surprising bit, as you see in the video, is that the plane literally pulls up next to the train and it is a 30-second walk between one and the other!

https://youtu.be/z6kvL4KDcHI

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Comments (115)

  • RK says:

    O/T – does anyone have any experience of applying for US Global Entry and having the interview in London (if possible?) and what the interview consists of? Thanks

    • Rob says:

      We did some articles on this last year if you search, I think the interview is a token gesture thing.

      • Daniel says:

        We were grilled at MIA last year by a friendly chap in the DHS Office, travel plans and work were the main topics. If you can provide a US postal address you will recieve a Global Entry ID card for the machines good for 5 years from application, where as if you don’t it will only be registered against your current passport, technically valid for the 5 years, but will die with your passport expiry date if that is before the GE expiry date.

    • Alan says:

      I had my interview in Puerto Rico a few years ago – very straightforward, more just a chat and demo of how to use the machine. Think I was the first non-US citizen they’d enrolled and the Disclosure Scotland certificate was certainly a novelty for them!

      There’s a decent thread on Flyertalk that has more info. Remember there’s a time limit to pick a date for interview (once you reach that stage) but you can then freely move it about. Also some airports will deal with walk-ups if they’re quiet. I love the system, quicker for me to enter the USA than UK with it!

  • sam says:

    O/T have quite a few buisness flights booked with vietnam airways – LHR to HAN with internals. any you wise guys know what to do with all the points? not much on their site and unlikely to use any partner airlines as mainly asian. thx sam

  • Roger I* says:

    Silver Arrow / Golden Arrow / My first flight from Lydd

    Silver Arrow was a useful update to the Golden Arrow. Am I the only one to remember the Golden Arrow? This was a rail service between London and Paris, where IIRC the train carriages went on to the ferry at Folkestone Harbour and were attached to a French engine on arrival in France.

    As a kid, I remember pulling the signal lever at Folkestone Central to allow the Golden Arrow through. The lever was taller than me and needed almost superhuman strength. 😀

    And was that a Silver City plane at the end of the video? My first flight was on the Silver City car ferry plane from Lydd to Le Touquet.. IIRC it was 1,000 feet outbound and 2,000 feet back (or v.v.) and very bumpy.

    Also in the video is a BCal BAC 1-11, the plane that I used many times for quasi-scheduled charters to Zurich and elsewhere before easyJet upset everybody.

    Oh, memories …

  • Geoff says:

    O/T – Re 6 x Rioja from Vinoseleccion (HFP – 6 Nov) – anyone actually seen any sign of any wine? – or follow-up emails? Had 3 marketing emails, despite ticking the no emails box, but nothing else about delivery as yet.

    • Liz says:

      Nothing yet here. Did 2 orders – one on each of our accounts but only got one email. Normally a nice lady rings to arrange delivery.

      • Geoff says:

        Just had a reply from vinoseleccion:
        Thank you for your message. I confirm that your order of Bene Placitum Reserva has been received correctly and it is being processed. Delivery date is approx. about 1 week as the wine is completely sold out in UK and needs to be sent from Spain.

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T I was just looking at the 2 month Ents NowTV boxes getting sold on Ebay, going like hotcakes for £8.95 & £9.99 (to include passes)

    taking £9.99, Ebay fee is 99p and PayPal fee is 3.4% & 20p (= 54p), let’s say packaging is free but postage [you would be WELL advised to use tracking] for me would be £3.90 2nd class signed for small parcel

    so total costs = £5.43 + loss of £2.51 (Tesco £12.50 – £9.99) —> £7.94, ie this seller has got back £4.06, meaning 1222 Avios have cost £8.44 (0.69p/ point)

    [let’s ignore points from cards/ portals etc]

    Whereas, I only got a few boxes for the passes and have sold the rest (boxes & bits) for £3/ box to Cex, they pay postage, transaction & printing the postage label took 5 mins

    my figures – I got back £3, meaning 1222 Avios have cost £9.50 (0.78p/ point) – but none of the Ebay hassle/ possible cheats/ negative feedback – AND I get to keep the passes 🙂

    good luck to those using the other method, I simply don’t have the time & you can of course sell for more than £9.99, esp if you time it later

    • the_real_a says:

      You can use myhermes or parcel2go to get postage (tracked) for £2.20

      Alternatively, just sell the voucher for the same price and send via ebay message (so no postage costs at all). I have done this numerous times in the past without issue but sure the risk of fraud is there.

    • Genghis says:

      It’s making my pre-agreed orders with colleagues look great. Mine have been dispatched but not yet received collection confirmation.

      • the real harry1 says:

        those ultra-cheap ones sold out and now the price is up to £12, which looks a bit better

        £12, Ebay fee £1.20, Paypal fee 61p, P&P £2.20 Hermes
        this seller has recovered £7.99, meaning 1222 Avios have cost £4.60 (3.7p/ point)

        that’s what I meant when I said (if I had the time) I could get under 0.4p/ point – I wouldn’t use Hermes but I can get half price stamps so no difference really

        there’s a long-standing seller on both Ents & Cinema @ £12.49, so you you won’t do much better than £12

        I should be able to sell the Sky Store vouchers for £2 after costs, so that improves my own Cex route to £7.5/ 1222 = 0.61p/ point + free passes to keep – which is better than selling the unopened packs for £9.99

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks for the CEX tip, I may have a few boxes to sell on once I’ve taken the passes out!

    • Alan says:

      CEX route definitely sounds sensible. I made use of a great deal when in Oz – PAYG mobiles came with 3 months free Netflix, I bought multiple phones, activated the Netflix credit and then sold them via CEX. Recouped 75% of the cash and got a couple of years of Netflix sub which lasted me until well after I returned to the UK 😀

      • the real harry1 says:

        if Genghis got £6 for the vouchers, £3 for the box & bits, & £2 (Cinema packs) for the Sky Store credit, he’d be on 1222 Avios for £1.50 = 0.12p/ Avios

        • the real harry1 says:

          shame there wasn’t a £12.50 box with 1-day NowTV Sky Sports day pass

          luckily I know how to generate them for free

          unluckily/ understandably HFP won’t let me push that here, but I could always send you one, eg HUKD ID for PM?

        • Genghis says:

          Even better 🙂

  • Ade says:

    OT – Amex Platinum

    You probably already know this happens, but it surprised me.
    I’d recently upgraded my Amex Gold, to Platinum to take advantage of the 20k MR points for a minimal spend (plan was to cancel after a month or so), only had the card a few weeks and had received the bonus points, but have a ‘santa’ trip to finland from Cardiff next month, so thought it would be useful to get the free supplementary card to allow the family access to the lounge in Cardiff, just applied now and received an instant 5k point bonus for adding a supplementary. (which was a pleasant surprise as I’d not expected it)

    • roger says:

      I can see there is an option to add
      1. Amex card (green?)
      2. PRGC
      3. Platinum

      Does adding any of them activate this card bonus?

      • Ade says:

        Dont know sorry,

        I’d not read any mention of points in addition to the 20k, on any of the forums etc.. thus the surprise.

        I have previously had targeted offers for supp cards on the old gold card, but nothing with this platinum card.

        The supp card i applied for was the first free platinum that they offer.

        There were various free green/gold they offer in addition so it may be worth trying. The points posted immediately, so you would know straight away if it works.

        Let us know, as i’m sure my cat would love a new credit card

        • Roger says:

          Yes, 5000 MR points added for getting first supplementary card.

          Not sure this works for PRGC too?
          Anyone tried that yet?

  • Alex says:

    OT – Curve card is now available to everyone.

    • Liz says:

      Where did you see this?

      • Liz says:

        They have confirmed it hasn’t launched yet.

        • Alex says:

          Sorry, it should be available for individual who signed up previously but not qualified for it as it was for business owners only. I got an email with the following:

          Get early access to Curve
          Today we’re excited to announce that we’re releasing Curve to everyone!
          We want you to be involved

          We’ve just launched, so there’s currently a queue for the Curve card. As you’ve previously signed up, we’ve saved a spot with your email [email protected] – download the Curve app now to claim your place and ensure you get a card ahead of the crowd. We’ll start shipping Curve to the UK and selected European countries in batches from mid-December.

          • Alan says:

            Didn’t know they’d gone wider with it yet. They were certainly seeking volunteers in their Slack forum. This is to appear as a debit rather than prepaid card so they’re anticipating fewer issues with acceptance.

        • Alex says:

          I just signed up using the email address, chose employee and it worked. Now just waiting for the queue…

        • Liz says:

          I had my Curve card suspended a couple of months ago but they agreed to reactivate when the new card launches. I emailed them tonight and received an email straight back saying there is no launch date yet. Hopefully it will be soon though.

  • Sal says:

    O/T

    Just a quick q regarding the old extra tesco club card points for buying gift cards.

    How many points do you get now for purchasing say £50 of gift cards and is it worth doing? Or are there any better ways to buy gift cards. As a heavy uber user the tesco points are valuable to me atm.

    Thanks

    • mark2 says:

      You currently get zero clubcard points for buying gift cards

    • Alan says:

      Zilch – apart from usual spend bonus if you’ve got Tesco bank a/c or credit card. Morrison’s have a decent points earning rate for their giftcards – obvs doesn’t help for getting Tesco points but seems to be one of the best way to buy GCs just now. I’ve had a lot of conditional spend coupons with Tesco so planning to buy some there even without the bonus CC points.