Bits: A free hour of BA in-flight wi-fi, Eurowings adds business class, last day for 50% off Avios economy tickets

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News in brief:

British Airways wi-fi roll out gathers pace

BA has begun to promote its onboard wi-fi service, now known as .air.   It has been quietly available on certain aircraft for some time although the crew does not always mention it.

Only four Boeing 747 aircraft are currently equipped.  The registration numbers are G-CIVR, G-CIVS, G-CIVV and G-CIVX.  The first short-haul aircraft with wi-fi will not be available until June 2018.

Visa (BA’s North American credit card partner) has agreed to underwrite a launch promotion.  You will receive one hour of free connectivity (normally £4.99) courtesy of Visa until the end of January.  It is not clear if you will need to sign up and register a Visa credit card in order to get this or not.

The bad news is that the feedback I have seen on Flyertalk from users is poor – “highly spotty and slow”, “far from a smooth experience”, “really slow”.

(EDIT: as per the comments, some earlier comments – before the service was publicised – are more positive but those from the last couple of weeks are not.)

This is bizarre because British Airways is, in theory, one of the first users of ‘second generation’ in-air wi-fi technology which is meant to be far superior to the – generally poor, in my experience – speeds offered by airlines who adopted the technology earlier.

The two levels of service have been renamed since the first trials.  ‘Connect Plus’ – peak speeds of 20 Mbps in theory – is now called ‘stream’ and costs:

  • 1 hour – £7.99
  • 4 hours – £17.99
  • Entire flight – £23.99

If you want to do simple browsing, you need ‘browse’:

  • 1 hour – £4.99
  • 4 hours – £10.99
  • Entire flight – £14.99

Note that voice and video calls are banned under the terms of service and cabin crew have been told to enforce this.  The service will also not work when passing over India due to local restrictions.  Apart from India, the service will work whenever the aircraft is above 10,000 feet.

Eurowings adds long-haul business class – identical to Lufthansa

When airberlin went into liquidation, Lufthansa picked up most of the pieces for its low-cost Eurowings subsidiary.  This included the most attractive long-haul airberlin routes.

Whilst airberlin was very much a low-cost operator on short haul, the long haul operation had a perfectly acceptable, fully flat, business class cabin.  airberlin long-haul was one of the best Avios bargains because there were no fuel surcharges – a business class return on points to the United States would only have £75 of extras on top.

Eurowings has now decided to add a Business Class cabin to some of its long haul aircraft.  These are expected to focus on the higher-yielding routes out of Dusseldorf such as New York – which Lufthansa is temporarily operating until the Spring – and Miami.

The cabin, to be branded BIZclass, will look very familiar to anyone who has flown Lufthansa Business Class.  As the grainy image below shows – it was taken from a tweet and is the only image released – you have a V-shaped middle pair where you get to play footsie with your neighbour, whilst the seats on either side are a more conventional format.  It isn’t clear if the cabin will be just three rows deep as the picture implies.

These seats will be bookable using Lufthansa Miles & More miles.  United Airlines, ANA and Air Canada members should also be able to book them due to the partnerships those airlines have with Lufthansa, but they will not be generally bookable via other Star Alliance airlines.

As Eurowings is not a Star Alliance member, despite its Lufthansa parentage, you can only earn miles with Lufthansa, Air Canada, ANA and United when flying.  Only Miles & More elite members receive any sort of status benefits.

Last day to book long-haul economy Avios redemptions at 50% off

Don’t forget that today (Sunday) is the last day to book long-haul Avios redemptions at 50% off!

Full details are in this HFP article.  In summary:

This offer is only valid for World Traveller (economy long-haul) redemptions

You must book by 17th December

You must travel between 4th January and 30th June 2018

The discount only applies to British Airways flights and not partner airlines

And also note:  “Reward flights are strictly subject to availability which may be very limited or not available at all on some routes including Sydney, Santiago de Chile, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, San Jose (Costa Rica) and Grenada.”

The offer CANNOT be combined with a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher or a Lloyds Avios Rewards upgrade voucher

This page of ba.com has all of the small print and should be your first stop.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

LAST DAY: Win 5,000 Club Eurostar points plus top-tier Carte Blanche status
Bits: Good Virgin compensation, Business Traveller charity auction, collect Avios with Trenitalia

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Comments

  1. Diydegsy says:

    Hi Rob wondering if you can help? We had business class tickets from KL via Heathrow to Manchester on a 241, our flight from Heathrow to Manchester was cancelled due to snow on Monday and there were no flights until the next day so we had to take the train as we couldn’t stay overnight so cost us £400 to get home. No chance of claiming EU compensation as BA say due to bad weather even though we had friends fly into Heathrow on same day with Qatar and Emirates. Do you or anyone know what if anything we can expect as a refund if anything in avios and taxes for the Heathrow to Manchester section being cancelled ? Thanks for any help.

    • The Original Nick says:

      You can try and claim for the train expenses on the BA website. I was stuck in Amsterdam and have submitted a claim for hotel, food and drink and train to Rotterdam Airport expenses.

    • You will get the Avios and taxes back. BA has a ‘duty of care’ obligation even for bad weather cancellations so you could try claiming for the train tickets too but I wouldn’t hold out much hope.

      • Aren’t domestic flights when connecting to/from LH free? Therefore no avios/tax back assuming on one ticket.

        • You’ll have paid approx £50 in taxes and charges for the domestic connection, though no extra avios. You should get that back without too much difficulty. The train fare in excess of that I would expect to be a battle despite saving BA a hotel night.

        • Good point …. they ask for more from you if taxes on a connection were lower 🙂

        • As a NCL – LHR – wherever traveller this certainly was the case until the avios reshuffle a few years ago. It’s now the full 9000 avios (peak) + £35 to do the connecting flight from NCL to LHR. What’s worse now is if you book a reward flight NCL (or any other regional airport) – LHR – anywhere you are now paying 18000 avios and £50 taxes as it’s a business class fare since the introduction of club Europe on domestic flights. I’ve started to do stopovers and travel business from LHR but economy down from NCL to LHR to save some avios!

        • Stuart – AFAIK connections onto long haul flights are still included in the Avios element, but short haul aren’t. So NCL-LHR-JFK is same Avios as LHR-JFK (so approx 60k in business for both itineraries. If you do a short haul, say NCL-LHR-MAD that costs the sum of the two legs (prob 9,000 in CE and maybe 15k to MAD = 26k). This makes short haul redemptions from outside London pretty pointless IME.

          The OP was flying KL (I assume Kuala Lumpur) – Heathrow – Manchester so should have paid the KL-LHR Avios and cash, then no more Avios but some cash for the APD and various “fees and charges” for LHR-MAN.

  2. Just to add some balance to the wifi story, the other comments on Flyertalk say:
    “pretty speedy internet, very impressed”.
    “…on basic level netflix and YouTube is working just fine”,
    “WhatsApp video call…a few emails, YouTube and Netflix was really quick”
    “Once the seatbelt sign came off, all working perfectly”
    “Getting great speeds – 22 mbps”
    “Had wifi through GoGo – very good”

    The negative comments quoted in this article were posted in the last few days so perhaps as more people use it, it is having problems – but just to quote the negative is a little unfair.

  3. Liam Martin says:

    Is it just those four aircraft that have WiFi installed? Or they’re just the only 747s?

  4. the real harry1 says:

    O/T fwiw yesterday I asked the cabin crew on our flight if there was any truth in the rumour that BA will trial free tea, coffee & water in ET – they said none whatsoever that they knew about, though they did give out free tea & coffee last Sunday/ Monday during the LHR disruption

    • Lady London says:

      The free tea coffee water given out by BA during the disruption was only due to their duty of care which applied even on occasions when they have s get-out not to pay cash compensation due to ‘weather’.

  5. I flew on CIVV this week and the crew told us this was a WiFi equipped plane. Sadly the WiFi was then not available for the entire flight!

  6. OT sorry can someone post link to BA map for availability if it still exists

  7. OT as bits, Darwin airline (Swiss) has filed for bankruptcy. Check out if you’ve any connecting flights with them because alternative routes will be snapped up quickly.

  8. OT as don’t know where else to post.
    OH has Amex plat, we’ve just booked a trip next week for Dubai/Abu Dhabi, would love some advice on hotels, taking advantage of hotel status (haven’t upgraded statuses yet), hoping to keep costs low.
    Thanks

    • how many nights, and do you have any hotel or airline or Amex points to spend ?
      i’m by far the best, but will help others give you better advice.

    • If you haven’t upgraded the statuses yet and you are travelling next week then it’s probably too late now as most statuses take 1-2 weeks to update

  9. OT Accelerate offer Spend on Your IHG® Rewards Club Credit Card
    Book and pay for one stay with your IHG® Rewards Club Credit Card and earn bonus points.

    Am I correct in thinking that flexible bookings payed with my IHG card will qualify, as of yet done of these bookings have tracked?

    thanks

  10. OT – Amex shop small – does anyone know if a payment is valid if the merchant uses izettle to process it? I used a small shop (as mentioned by someone on here actually!) but my statement shows izettle rather than the shop name so I wonder if it still counts.

    • Probably not as they are not usually registered with Amex. Was the shop on the map?

      • If the merchant is on the map you should get the statement credit, but you might need to push for a manual credit.

        I have notice for my iZettle transactions the transaction will initially just post saying “iZettle” but will then update to include the merchant name, so you can use this to confirm to AmEx (or MBNA etc) that you did indeed make a purchase at that merchant.

        • Thanks. I checked the T&C and it does actually say iZettle are excluded, so while I could chance my luck I should expect it to fail. It wasn’t bad value and I got something nice so it doesn’t matter massively if it goes nowhere.
          If @Gavin is around, maybe he could confirm whether it did work for him? I went to the same place he did on his suggestion!

    • If its on the map then it should qualify. Also you have no way of knowing it is an izettle transaction until it shows up on your statement (ok, i know what an izettle card reader looks like, but few else would). Therefore its a pretty decent case for getting the credit. Amex gave me £20 statement credit for a Costco flashback offer, turned out it was costco website the offer was valid for and not in the shop.

      I have had a few shop small transactions from the first week which still haven’t credited. First i was told to wait 7 working days, which i pointed out to the operator was already passed, then i was told it can take 90 days (!), but to call back in January (i.e. she didn’t want to deal with me).

      • also, i maxed out on buying gift cards/vouchers today, all for £10! So i can keep my £5 discounts going for a few months!

  11. 1999 #RewardsPoints for this week’s Marriott/NFL bonus points…

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