Bits: our NYC competition winner, Cobalt Air to launch Heathrow-Larnaca, £60 off flight + hotel with ebookers

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News in brief:

Announcing our NYC competition winner!

Earlier this month we asked for your help in working with an airline on a research piece which we linked to a competition.

The airline was interested in what airline you would fly with – in economy – if price was not an issue and airline miles or elite status benefits were not an issue.  In order to get a genuine result the prize was two economy flights to New York on the carrier the winner had said was their favourite.

We can now announce the winner!

Nick G. and a friend will fly to New York on his choice of preferred carrier, Virgin Atlantic.  Well done Nick.

We are not going to say if Virgin was the airline who sponsored the competition or not, as we might be doing something similar (but bigger and better) in the near future given the fantastic response we had.

Cobalt Air to launch Heathrow to Larnaca flights with new business class seat

Cobalt Air has announced daily flights between London Heathrow and Larnaca, Cyprus from 27th March 2018.

This adds a further daily flight to Cobalt’s current flights from London Gatwick and Stansted.

The outbound flight will leave London Heathrow’s Terminal 3 at 17:20 arriving in Larnaca at 23:50 and the inbound flight will leave Larnaca at 12:45 arriving in Heathrow at 15:45.

The Terminal 3 departure means that there are two good lounges for economy passengers if they have the right card – No 1 Lounge, reviewed here, and the new Club Aspire, reviewed here.  Cobalt will almost certainly do a deal with one of these for its business class passengers.

Flights will be operated by an A320 with 12 business class seats and 144 economy seats featuring Cobalt’s new business product as shown in the picture below.

Larnaca is one of the longest BA short-haul routes and there are occasional rumours, increasing recently, of it switching to a long-haul aircraft.  The Club Europe seat on a Boeing 767 really is not acceptable for a flight of 4 hours and 40 minutes.

I think this looks like an impressive alternative to BA on this route.  You can find out more on the Cobalt website here.

Cobalt Air Business Seat

£60 off flight + hotel with ebookers

ebookers has launched a new money off code for ‘flight + hotel’ package bookings as its sale reaches its end.

Until 31st January you will get £60 off a ‘flight + hotel’ booking of £500+ when using the code LASTCHANCE60 at checkout.

The stay period for this offer is 24th January until 31st October.

Whilst this offer sounds generous, note that most branded hotels are excluded from the offerthe full list is here.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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Comments

  1. Will we see the percentage entries by carrier choice or is that for the sponsor’s eyes only?

    • Raffles says:

      Virgin won comfortably. We are not publishing the full split it or the reasons behind it because it would be unfair to the company that funded it.

      • Intentionally Blank says:

        I’m not, obviously, privy to the results, but the fact that a mainly BA readership chose a different airline speaks volumes about the level of service on BA

      • Surely it would only be unfair if the funding company was near the bottom of the list? If Virgin funded it they’d love to have the results published.

    • Vasco Alves says:

      I didn’t win, but I picked Virgin too.

      • So did I – Virgin Atlantic has consistently invested in Economy so as to upsell happy customers to Premium and Upper Class while BA patronises World Travellers implying it’s all about low fares.

      • I didn’t win either but I picked Virgin too.

  2. Catalan says:

    BA’s mid-haul fleet would fit perfectly on the Larnaca route.

    • True – it’s just a shame that a few of those ex-bmi A321s have been/are being converted to standard short haul configuration.

    • They’ve used it for the early flight on summer Saturday’s before.

  3. OT – Air France Premium Economy sale is on Book by 21/02/18. I find AF PE quite acceptable for long haul holiday travel seat not bad at all, fast track in airport, priority boarding and option to pay to enter AF lounges. Whole package much better than BA PE. Plus a lot easier from the regions as you fly via Paris rather than have to get to Heathrow.

    • My partner tried it last year and and was quite impressed, only criticism was very poor sear recline. On paper, I think it looks the best of all PE offerings unless NZ PE is still kicking around but then that’s not going to be of much use to many people here.

      • AH, NZ PE that used to be great! The food was just the J food too. I think it declined a bit when they introduced the funky (space?) seats and it’s own food, still much better than BA’s offering tho. Not been on it since the latest revamp. I miss going to NZ [sigh]

        • NZ was my favourite airline ever, I used to fly to LAX in Business First or whatever they called it, crew were awesome. My last flight with them was about 2012 I think, just beforebtgey dropped their 744s. I would still fly them if they would bring back HKG.

  4. “We are not going to say if Virgin was the airline who sponsored the competition or not”

    I’d truly be amazed if it wasn’t…

    • Eli Goldberg says:

      I voted virgin,
      Anymore readers wanna share who they voted for?

      • James A says:

        Virgin also here. I doubt BA or any of the US airlines would run this kind of data collection competition, it must be Virgin.

        Fancy sharing the results Rob even if you don’t want to share who commissioned it?

        • Prins Polo says:

          Virgin as well – just like 95% of the posters here.

          Isn’t it sad and ironic on a blog where 95% are BA Executive Club members?

    • I chose BA 🙂

      There was a reason, I’ve never flown long haul economy with BA before and thought if it was free it would be worth a try. On longhaul I’ve only flown Club World or First.

      I have actually flown economy on Virgin Atlantic before, back in the days that my bmi gold card would give me Clubhouse access. I wouldn’t fancy T3 without lounge access. Before I had status I found T5 a much more pleasant experience than T3.

      Another benefit of BA would be their frequent schedule, there’s probably not much difference in economy products so the schedule means you’re more likely to find a convenient flight time.

      If the prize had been business class tickets I would have chosen Virgin Atlantic as I’d like an excuse to visit the LHR Clubhouse again and I’ve not tried their Upper Class product.

      I can’t remember what the other options were, I think they were only direct options so KLM, AF, etc wouldn’t be an option. I may have opted for KLM to see how they’ve changed since the days I used to fly them regularly..

  5. Chris L says:

    Here’s hoping BA will be forced to up their game LHR-LCA, and preferably by Easter 😉

    • Fabrice B says:

      Hi, whats the rumoured replacement aircraft then? i’m wanting to do this route for a mileage run but if they’re going to upgrade the aircraft to something with flat beds i’ll wait!

      • Chris L says:

        I’ve heard rumours of a 777 but that’s partly wishful thinking on my part 🙂 I’ve also heard A321neo when they arrive which would be disastrous, with their Easyjet seating!

  6. I voted Virgin.

  7. Cobalt have seen off Aegean on this route despite A3 having one of the best soft product offerings for business class in Europe. Cobalt have far better flight times as well, the 3am arrival into Larnaca was very painful.

  8. Deenesh says:

    I’d like to see the breakdowns and selection of reasons for choosing. Personally I chose DL simply because they are the only airline I’ve not flown longhaul out of the choices available and wanted to experience a new airline. Boring but a simple and genuine reason for my choice.

  9. OT – I’ve made a flight booking via avios.com by phone and received an email confirmation but can’t see any sign of the booking on the avios.com website. Can I check in via BAEC or will it appear on avios.com at some point?

    • Put the PNR into your BAEC

      • Thanks Ghengis, you’ve been a star this week! I was having horrible thoughts of having to check in at the airport!

    • I do wish that Avios.com would show the flights you’ve booked with them. Every other site you book a flight on will show you a record of your bookings and upcoming flights.

      • I know, it’s bizarre! It shows all your other avios transactions, this seems a really odd omission.

  10. OT
    just received email from Amazon about £10 off £50 purchase with code BIGTHANKS.
    Gift cards excluded and has to be sold by Amazon but not delivered electronically.
    Things that I order are rarely sold by Amazon.

    • Use both the prime and seller filters to search for amazon alternatives. Often the seller fikter does not appear until some other department filters are chosen. I agree though that amazon options are sometimes very limited.

    • Sussex Bantam says:

      I don’t believe this is targetted – it appears on the front page of my Amazon site. T&C as Mark2 says but only valid until tonight. Time to stock up on dishwasher tablets !

    • Gin and Tonic Please says:

      Unlike the last one of these, this time it’s available on alcohol… 🙂

    • It is also worth noting that Morrisons are currently selling £50 Amazon vouchers with a 5,000 More Points bonus, on top of the 1,250 you get as standard. 5,000 points triggers a £5 Morrisons Voucher, so this effectively equates to getting £50 Amazon vouchers for £43.75 each

  11. Cobalt Air also fly from MAN to Larnaca!

  12. The ‘real’ Nick G says:

    Rob

    I’m also a Nick G and entered I assume if I didn’t get an email today it’s not me?!

  13. roberto says:

    I voted Ba only as I have status and could book the seat should I have won. I did fly Virgin upper (reward) last year to Barbados and the seat was a little too small for me to sleep comfortably but the crew/flight/vibe was amazing. I am also flying PE to Vegas on Virgin later this year (another reward) as I enjoy the 747 bubble and the flight times suit me better. However I have 40+ OW flights booked with AA/BA/IB but connecting from my home town of Malaga its hardly surprising Virgin dont get a look in.

    Many on here knock both airlines but I am quite happy with both maybe its because I have never flown Singapore/Qatar/Etihad..

    • There were no status benefits with this competition…..

      • roberto says:

        Thats why I voted BA as I already have status so would have be able to book seats and get lounge access even flying WT. I dont have Virgin status.

        • Stuart_f says:

          Roberto – You’ve completely misunderstood the point of the competition.

          “I voted BA as I already have status so would have be able to book seats and get lounge access even flying WT.”

          Look again at what the competition said: https://www.headforpoints.com/2018/01/04/exclusive-competition-win-2-economy-flights-new-york-pick-airline/

          Please note that:
          You will not earn any airline miles on your tickets
          You will not receive any status benefits
          You will not receive lounge access even if you have status with that airline

        • I think you’re missing the point, even if you had status with BA the competition rules stated you would gain none of the benefits so you would experience WT as a none status holder. Therefore the competition was asking; all things being equal who would you choose for a TATL flight? and I’m not supposed virgin won by a mile, the food I was given last time in BA WT was worse than I’ve had in school/hospital/catered halls etc etc.

        • roberto says:

          Apologies to Brian.. You, Stuart and Mark are right and I did not read the rules correctly. I was in Puerto Rico at the time and a little “tired” when entering I seem to recall. I would have voted Virgin if I had taken off my rum specs..

  14. OT
    American Express cards have got a limit on the number of points that you can get for referring people. Does the clock reset for a new card or get carried forward?
    This becomes more important with 18,000 MR for every referral from Platinum.

  15. I would normally say “cancel” but no one knows how the churning landscape will look when (if) Amex change things. Referring from Plat might prove relatively very valuable and not having it for two years (or whatever it might or might not be) might not be great. I’d prob swallow any cost if I was in your shoes.

    • Tom Cook says:

      Thanks Genghis.

      • I’m a hold on this. Off the top of my head, of things I would have lost had I cancelled I’ve had:
        – one FHR booking with big upgrade to a vast corner suite from a standard room plus and €100 free spend and free breakfast on what were already competitive rates
        – 2 referrals = 30ish MRs and I may slip in a third before the year is up. Plus bonus points for supplementary card and taking out the Companion credit card
        – about £400 of statement credit on things I would have spent money on anyway
        – 2 visits to Delta lounges and 1 to Amex Centurion lounges in US
        – half a dozen lounge visits in Europe via PP
        – ability to keep MRs as convertible currency

        So overall pretty good value. The referral changes are potentially very valuable too – 18k to any card will quickly add up.

      • Plus travel insurance and car hire insurance which has saved probably £150-200 vs stand-alone policies

  16. Raffles says:

    Travel insurance isn’t cheap if you’ve got a family especially if heading to North America.

    Think of Plat as Gareth Bale and you as Spurs. You can flog Bale and use the money for 6 players each of which equals Bale in one area, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it makes sense.

    Similarly, you can buy a camera, torch, diary, stopwatch etc for less than an iPhone but …..

    • Tom Cook says:

      Thanks Rob.

    • Mark1980 says:

      This may have been answered in the article from the other day, but I presume the new churning rules (if they come in to force) won’t stop you from getting the card again, it will just stop you from getting the sign up bonus again?

    • RussellH says:

      And when you drop your iPhone down the loo, you have al;so dropped your camera, torch, diary, stopwatch etc.
      🙂

      Alternatively, if you already have camera, torch, diary, stopwatch etc (and you actually feel that you need all these) then you can get by on a phone that just makes phone calls.

    • Tom Cook says:

      Sorry, just a thought, I always assumed the travel insurance benefit with the plat card only applied if you paid for the trip / car hire etc on that plat card?

      • No, any UK personal Amex is ok for small stuff and big stuff is covered regardless.

      • Tom Cook says:

        I feel like I’m being a bit dim here (!) as the summary of the travel benefits state;

        “Pay with your Platinum Card and you’ll enjoy worldwide protection for you, your partner, your children and your Supplementary Cardmembers.”

        If you don’t pay with the Plat card then surely that means that you’ll not get the protection? We often pay for our hols on our BAPP for the 3 avios per £ with BA but are you suggesting that we’d be covered by my Plat?

      • Genghis says:

        So for the small stuff that Rob refers to, see 1.2 at https://icm.aexp-static.com/Internet/internationalcardshop/en_gb/pdf/platinum-card/UK_Platinum_Charge_Insurance_Documentation_v1_0.pdf

        For the benefits under this section to apply transport and/or accommodation must have been Purchased in full using:
        I. the Card;

        Where “Card” means any card or other Account access device issued to a Cardmember (or a Supplementary Cardmember) for the purpose of accessing the Account.

        And
        “Account” or “Card Account” means your consumer and small business cards issued by American Express in the UK, excluding corporate cards and any American Express Cards issued by bank partners.

      • Tom Cook says:

        Thanks G!

  17. If you have not already done so, the return on 5 referrals could wipe out the cost to you of keeping it. Remember, you can now refer any card, except it seems the new ARCC, so you are not trying to persuade others to take platinum.

  18. I really hope they change the BA planes to Larnaca before May . I booked using my companion voucher as I hadn’t used it and it was due to expire . Thought it would be a nice trip for some early sun for my partner’s birthday . And I thought £100 got two business class flights wasn’t bad …. until I realised it was the same seating as short haul for flights of nearly 5 hours ☹️. He is 6ft 3 …. he’s not going to like it

    • Chris L says:

      I’ve done the same, Joan. Actually one advantage of the 767 which is normally used is they still have the old CE seats which are a bit more roomy than the economy seats (and especially more so than those on the A320s!). If you book the middle section of a 767 you get a blocked out middle seat as well, so slightly more space that the window sections in 2s. If you’re on the earlier flight it’s normally an A320, but the later departure (BA0662) has normally been a 767, though these are being retired this year and things are therefore uncertain.

      • Thanks Chris – I’ve booked middle for the outward journey . Looks like 2 / 2 configuration for the return so I guess that’s a different plane

        • Chris L says:

          Probably an A320 on the way back, which means in Club Europe you’ll still get a blocked out middle seat with a little table on it. OK it’s not the most comfortable way to travel in the world, but you’ll be more comfortable than those in Economy!! Bear in mind you’ll also have lounge access, priority boarding, a 3-course meal with champagne and wine, and 4 x 32kg bags of luggage between you for your souvenirs. You could do worse for £100!

      • Yes we went to Valencia club Europe last week ( obviously a much shorter flight ) and I was surprised at how tasty the food was – we had a lovely lunch coming back of four courses ! And on the way out I had to have champagne at 6.30am in the lounge … well it was my birthday!

    • The business seats on the 767 are fine for legroom – 6’1 here and had loads of room coming back from ARN this month.

  19. I just cancelled my Plat, as I was approaching my original gold anniversary and didn’t want to be charged the fee, however because my husband now has the platinum it was an easier decision. It may not be if Amex do change the rules re sign up bonus

    • So, if I have the gold Amex (first year without charge) and I upgrade to Plat, I will be charged £450 on the Gold anniversary? I thought I will be charged straight away.

  20. I dithered between Virgin and BA…

    But then once I added the mental filters for points, lounge and so forth and focussed on the economy product to get me from London to New York, I went for United.

    It surprised me too.

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