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Bits: improved BA economy food is here, Stobart Jet Centre @ Southend opens, Doncaster lounge closure

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News in brief:

BA’s improved World Traveller food is now available

A brief reminder that Wednesday was the launch date for the new British Airways long-haul economy food offering.  It is meant to be a genuine improvement as our article on the announcement mentioned.  If you get to try it over the next few days, do let me have your feedback.

Stobart Jet Centre now open at London Southend Airport

I was at the opening party for the Stobart Jet Centre at London Southend Airport last night.  The company has done an impressive job with its lounge which is a world away from the sterile (but architecturally impressive) Signature Flight Support terminal at Luton which I reviewed here.

The design features, for example, include a bound copy of the most editions of the Manchester Evening News from 1896:

I first visited Southend Airport last year for an article (here) which I thought might end up being jokey, but I ended up being very impressed by the set up.  The airport is 53 minutes by train from Liverpool Street which means that I can get there from my desk in the HFP office at Moorgate in around 70 minutes, including buying a train ticket.

If you are in the small fraction of HFP readers who use private jets, either personally or corporately, I recommend taking a look at the Stobart Jet Centre.  I liked it.  Thanks to Glyn and Stephen for the invite.

Doncaster Sheffield lounge to close for refurbishment

If you are flying out of Doncaster Sheffield Airport in the next few weeks, note that the Premium Lounge will be closed for refurbishment from 1st February to 18th March.

We never got around to reviewing the existing lounge, which is in Priority Pass but not Amex Gold‘s Lounge Club.  If anyone visits after 19th March and can take some new pictures I’d be grateful.

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Comments

  1. Nicola walton says:

    We were in the Doncaster lounge 2 weeks ago in the morning just before a Paris flight. The unusual thing was it was table service not help yourself! Breakfast then was very good btw.

  2. Andreas says:

    WT food ‘improvements’ are rolled out straight away whilst we wait months, perhaps years for promised changes to CW… Get on with it!

  3. I read that as “Stobart Job Centre”. I thought times have been tough since HMRC banned credit cards, but not that tough.

  4. Intentionally Blank says:

    Colleagues flies from somewhere in Brittany occasionally to Southend then gets the train to the office a mile south of terminal 4 at Heathrow. It’s quicker than getting the train to Paris and flying to Heathrow 🙂 Yes, a train, underground, train and courtesy bus (all the methods of transport he has to take) in the south east is quicker than the high speed trains in france. Go figure!

    • RussellH says:

      Surely much of the advantage of flying from Brittany to Southend is that both the airports will be small and quick to get through.

      He avoids negotiating both LHR and CDG, both of which could take anything between 60 and 90 mins. Flying shorthaul is frequently slower than rail travel for this reason.

      As to the ‘high speed train’, through Brittany you will not be travelling on high speed track

    • O/T but: Intentionally Blank? I literally have a T-shirt with your name on it! amerikajinjanai.teemill.com

      • A few thousand visits, but that is modest in the context of our daily visits.

        Shopper Points is more interesting. We were quoted in over 50 newspaper websites this week plus, in print, we were in The Mail, The Mirror and The Sun. Anika did Radio 5 Live too. Net result – surprisingly modest. Probably 4-5x our normal daily page views but that is off a low base for SP. It wasn’t 40-50x the normal number.

        It may be less glamorous, but the only way to big numbers is to churn out good content day in and day out. No short cuts.

        • Rob I really admire your ability to get articles out – 3 of them every day – without visible signs of procrastination or boredom seeping in. If you ever want a change of pace please don’t hesitate to offer your skills writing up my PhD thesis 😉

        • Indeed, it’s the consistency of good advice and good ideas that that keeps me coming back.

          There’s probably a couple of articles a week that are directly relevant and a couple a month that go into the back of the mind for future action. On a quick reckoning I am 23,000 MRs up this year from reading the site; 18 from realising the Platinum cross-referral to BA card works and 5 from a comment re Amex Plat CC. And we are not even three weeks in yet…

        • BTW Cate – dug our your “HKG lounge suggestions” comment from last autumn as we are trying to make plans for our HKG/Tokyo trip in a coupe of months’ time. Added to the iNote for the trip so will definitely be acted upon.

    • Your collegue flies to Rennes in Britanny, with Flybe I guess. I leave near St Pancras and also fly to Rennes from Southend. This is much quicker than Eurostar + the new high speed train from Paris to Rennes that started running last summer, and cheaper. The train station change in Paris would be a pain too.

  5. thehornets says:

    I traveled through Southend before Christmas and it was an absolute pleasure to fly to and from. The staff were great, it’s easy to get to and park, speedy disembarkation – from plane to train in no time at all and no need to walk through a mile of shops and perfume squirters just to get to the gate!

    Highly recommended.

  6. OT – Data point:
    I referred my wife for the Gold Charge Card a couple of days ago and she didn’t get an instant decision (first time in a long time), but the card arrived this morning… I know there were a few people that were concerned that stricter limits were potentially being applied to people that had previously held the card

    I have also had the 18k referral points from my Platinum for the second time – she took out the SPG card 6 weeks ago, and the Gold this time around

  7. phatbear says:

    totally o/t but I’m pulling my hair out here.

    Im trying to move some amex reward points from my other halfs amex to her virgin flying club account.

    When I input her acct number into the rewards section of the amex site it doesn’t seem to stick and remains blank. My other half had a lengthy phone call with amex about this who claim that her flying club acct number isn’t correct even though she was sitting their looking at her flying club account and they suggested its obviously an issue with virgin and not them, oddly I had the same issue and they were able to sort it over the phone for me a few months ago.

    I feel this may be a result of the changes of flying club acct numbers back in 2016 but the issue remains and we need to book some flights asap but nothing seems to be working.

    So has anyone got any suggestion, oh other than moving them to avios and using BA?

    Ta in advance

    • If your wife makes an honest mistake and moves her amex membership rewards to your Virgin Flying Club account – would that help at all?

      My wife has made that “mistake” a few times transferring her membership rewards to other flying and hotel accounts of mine so maybe Virgin does as well.

      • phatbear says:

        Alas moving it to my account wont help as i have a carefully planned points strategy in place and ive just emptied my virgin account on a couple of UC to SFO. As suggested i’ll get her to phone again its just frustrating that they were able to sort it for me and they seem incapable of doing the same for her.

    • Rebecca says:

      I have no solution but I had the same issue last year. They were able to help over the phone though. Maybe try calling again?

  8. RussellH says:

    OT, but of interest…

    Two articles in today’s Travel Trade Gazette

    1. “Agents switch away from Amex as card surcharging kicks in”

    Two travel agent consortiums report that members are stopping accepting Amex, while the chair of AITO is attacking both government and the banks over card fees.

    2. “Norwegian blames APD for route cut”

    Norwegian is reducing services EDI to BOS and NYC and abandoning its EDI to “Connecticut” (is that Hartford-Sprigfield?) service because the Scottish government is not now going to reduce APD until 11/2019

  9. Richmond says:

    I experienced improved food in WT on flight to SEA. Can’t see really big difference regarding main dish, but it was nice to see back bottle of water, snacks in Galley and decent second meal. Small sandwich + Toblerone, better than previous high calorie “snack”. Magnum Ice cream were good, double chocolate.

    I don’t think people know about snacks in Galley, didn’t see anyone there.

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