Bits: extra £20 off Virgin Atlantic sale fares, BA cutting Leeds Bradford, new SAS baggage rules

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News in brief:

£20 off Virgin Atlantic this weekend

Virgin Atlantic’s Winter Sale ends on 8th February and this weekend you can get an additional £20 off on selected economy flights.

Unfortunately this offer is not on all routes and the discount will only be given for flights to Boston, St Lucia, Orlando, San Francisco or Hong Kong.

The £20 will be knocked off the full price automatically which means you don’t have to enter a promo code.

Virgin Atlantic’s sale site is here.

PS. Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

British Airways to halve Leeds Bradford services

British Airways is halving the number of flights to Leeds Bradford Airport from 20 per week to just 10 from the end of February.

The airline has said that this is down to “matching flights to demand”.  It does make a bit of a mockery of Heathrow’s promises to increase the number of domestic flights to the airport, although this is more of a political game as the third runway will never get built if it cannot be sold as a project to benefit the whole of the UK.

The route attracted 165,000 passengers in 2016 and was up 1.6% for the first 11 months of 2017.  This implies around 80 passengers per flight although, of course, yield is more important than volume.

Leeds Bradford to Heathrow had historically been a successful bmi British Midland route until rail improvements led to the service being axed in 2009.  British Airways revived it in 2012.  With only flight per day for four days of the week, it is difficult to see it surviving much longer.

You can find out more in this Yorkshire Post article.

BA cuts Leeds Bradford service

SAS EuroBonus removes free baggage for status members on Go Light fares

Scandinavian airline SAS has tightened the rules on the free baggage allowance for status members who purchase its cheapest Go Light fares.

Previously, any Star Alliance Gold or SAS EuroBonus Silver or above status member was allowed to check in a suitcase for free when purchasing a Go Light ticket.  If you buy a ticket now for travel from 7th May, this will not apply.

Tickets already purchased, or tickets purchased for travel before 7th May, are not affected.

Details are on the SAS site 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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  1. Really pissed off at theLBA news as Ive been using this route one a weekly basis to fly to lHR and back.

    What are the new timings and when is the cut effective from ?

    • Has tbe BA timetable been updated? I can see two flights a day in March as well

      • Yes it has been updated 2 flights some days one on others.

        • For dates I am searching in November in November

        • Ah yea, read another article which says that the changes start from Summer.

          Hopefully it wont affect me too much as my weekly flying is till March only

        • I don’t follow the logic of cutting from 20 flights a week to only 10. There are games being played here over and above removing quieter flights. The weekend timetable is particularly bad. There is an early flight out of Heathrow to pick up passengers off long haul flights arriving at around 6am, but then nothing for the rest of the day for anyone else arriving into Heathrow wanting to connect to LBA

      • Jovanna says:

        Looks as though only the summer timetable has changed (April through to the end of October). I’m sure BA will get around to changing their winter schedule a little nearer the time.

    • Exact dates have not been announced, I ended up working manually through

    • barnaby100 says:

      The news came out months ago- they started rebooking flights well before Christmas.

  2. Briandt says:

    So we all have to make other arrangements, annoying as that may be. When BA pulled out of Southampton, we had to make alternative arrangements. Annoying, but not the end of the world.

  3. Briandt says:

    And having lived in Pool-in-Wharfedale, what would I consider doing to get back home from Heathrow ? Easy, how about a train from Kings Cross to Leeds / Harrogate etc ?

  4. barnaby100 says:

    I fly LBA regularly. The new flight times don’t work. We have had to cancel/amend about 15 forward bookings-maybe more. I am working through them. Some gains when rebooking avoid as they opened up other 1st revenue but also some dire changes. Lots of night in the sofitel at a varying cost! It has cost us at last £1000 as a result so far. Just about to do my saturday task of rebooking another- I am pacing them! The change will involve 2 nights in sofitel at a cost of £320

    Re the comment-Easy, how about a train from Kings Cross to Leeds / Harrogate etc ?

    No trains from harrogate on a sunday morning. To get the train and then the tube and then the heathrow express from Harrogate (only 1 direct train a day ) would mean- leave at 7.30- kings cross at 10.30- heathrow at 12 (maybe later). So 5 hours as opposed to 1.5 from arrival at airport to arrival at LHR. With 4 large bags- cant use the tube either so need addison lee etc. The last time I got the tube all the way there was an incident and I missed the T5 conformance times. How would you the get from Poole to Harrogate- the us which is hourly each way? Taxi? Train then taxi/

    For me if I am driving to Manchester I may as well drive to LHR.

    • Briandt says:

      So,if you choose to live in Harrogate, what would you air travellers normally do?Take the hourly bus to Leeds ? I think not… I imagine you look at the options, a friendly lift from family or friend, your own transport, maybe a taxi built into your budget. Or as you say, just drive to Heathrow. I just cannot see what the problem is..we all have our local difficulties to deal with.

      • I do choose to live in Harrogate. It has its charms.

        I also choose to take the hourly airport bus from the end of my street for the lovely price of £8.20 return, taking less than half an hour. So I do think so.

        We all have local difficulties I agree. BA plans to make it that little bit more difficult, that’s all.

        • Genghis says:

          My local difficulty is that there is no Betty’s close by!

        • As you will see tomorrow, the Crowne Plaza in Harrogate offers suites for 20,000 points if anyone wants to visit!

        • Genghis, I’m open to offers for delivery to T5 on a Monday afternoon for points.

          Fat Rascal?

        • 🙂 Thanks but I’ll fill my boots when next passing through or close to York or Northallerton, which won’t be too long!

    • You live in Harrogate and may as well drive to LHR rather than the 30 miles to MAN?

      • barnaby100 says:

        It is 60-80 miles depending on the route. £97 each way in a taxi. The M62 is a nightmare. You have to allow 3 hours or risk missing the plan (my husband has twice only just made it with Virgin and emirates transport as they said 2 hours and wouldn’t allow 3 but were proven wrong- the last time he arrived after the final check in and they were keeping it open for him- the driver was in a panic) The train requires changing at Leeds to platform 16A which has poor access and I an unable to lift. Parking is cheaper at LHR T5 short stay than either LBA or Manchester. Manchester airport is a dump. I get the plane from LBA to avoid driving, If I am driving It might as well be 4 hours as 3.

        • Fair enough about the mileage, I was visualising Halifax not Harrogate. Still not entirely convinced Middlesex is only an hour further than Cheshire though. 🙂

  5. Dear People of the North remember winter is coming and so be the White walkers 🙂

  6. Why on earth would you take a train down to London then spend an extra hour on the tube when there are direct trains from Donny to MAN that are cheaper and will get you into the airport at the same time as you would arrive in Kings Cross?

    I just find this idea of travelling the length of the country simply to fly abroad completely bizarre.

    • Because it takes about 1h 50 to get to Manchester airport from Doncaster….that’s on the hourly or so train. ..add on the to be safe minimum 2hrs before flight I’m over 4 hrs travelling. Plus a 45 minute flight plus taxiing etc then I would estimate 5hrs door to door. Done it before and vowed never to do it again too long traveling. However since I can be at KGX in 1hr 20 on the east coast main line that’s not quite LHR but it’s closer than by that stage probably getting to Stockport on the transpennine express….

      Factor an hour on the tube worst case that’s roughly 2hr30 in total…again I know this from experience as I did it once before years ago…. Or take the slightly alternative tube to Paddington then HEX in 20 or so mins (never used before)…..this is of course with no delays on both options…..I didn’t know about the direct gatwick route from st Pancras just always discount it as again drove it and it’s an absolute ball ache of a journey for us.

      Maybe we should do a top gear style challenge and see the difference…..I’ve often wondered who would win.

    • You seem to be assuming that there are flights from MAN to the desired destination.

      • You can get to hubs like CDG, AMS, FRA, ATL, ORD, DOH, DXB & SIN direct from MAN so I guess that would cover most destinations around the world.

  7. ‘It does make a bit of a mockery of Heathrow’s promises to increase the number of domestic flights to the airport, although this is more of a political game as the third runway will never get built if it cannot be sold as a project to benefit the whole of the UK.’ @Rob

    Talking of runways the word on the street – and it’s a very good street – is that LGW is gearing up to use its emergency runway as a regular runway. LGW unlike LHR has 24/7 approval.

    • Aeronaut says:

      I thought Gatwick’s emergency runway/ taxiway is too close to the main runway for them to be used at the same time.

      • They can’t use them both at the same time but – I believe – only due to some agreement with the local authority which is about to expire.

  8. endfire says:

    OT – apologies if already asked! I plan to churn my Amex SPG soon, as I’ll hit the target on my next statement, but I just remembered that, somewhat accidentally, I paid for a flight ticket with this card.

    Would I be correct in thinking that, if I churn the card on which I paid the ticket for, the Amex travel insurance benefit would be lost? I still keep other Amex cards which I don’t churn, and I normally would have bought the tickets with my “permanent” Amex, just for this reason.

    Quite an obvious question, but I thought I’d ask anyway!

    • Genghis says:

      If you’re referring to the limited cover on the SPG card of:
      £150 for flight delay, overbooking or missed connection.
      A further £150 for extended delay.
      £600 for baggage delayed by airline for 6 hours.
      An additional £850 for extended baggage delay by airline.
      then this benefit would be cancelled if you close the account. I’d recommend more comprehensive insurance anyway…

      If however you mean Amex Plat insurance which you keep open, you still paid for the flight on an Amex issued Amex for the purposes of the T&Cs so should be OK.

      • endfire says:

        Thanks – yes, that’s the insurance cover I was referring to, it might not sound like much, but better than nothing!
        I was under the impression that the Amex Plat travel insurance was only valid for trips purchased in full with the Plat card. Hence why I should have paid with it 🙂

        I might just keep the SPG for couple more months, the fee works out at £6/month, and since I’m accumulating Marriott points, the earning rate is quite decent.

        • No. For Amex Plat insurance just need to pay with Amex issued Amex if merchant takes Amex. Otherwise other cards are ok. I posted the logic the other day.

  9. The SAS baggage change looks like it could be handled quite badly. The English version of their website basically states that if you booked before the 25th January then you still get the free bag after May 7th but you have to pay for it and then claim the money back. In my case that would mean 11 flights at 30 euros a go. After a few FB posts they eventually said that if I’d booked direct and registered my EB number then I shouldn’t be charged. If you booked through an agent then tough. I understand the basic logic in the change. I will be giving them about £300 extra a year in revenue if I repeat my flying pattern from the past two years. However, this could make BA competitive again so they risk losing some of my business.

  10. Reduction in services to Leeds is due to BA having to dish out some of the BMI slots again.

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