Bits: BA brings in long-haul Qatar Airways planes for 787 cover, new BA Aberdeen lounge opening

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BA news in brief:

British Airways applies to wet lease three Qatar Airways A330 aircraft

As cover for its troublesome Boeing 787-9 fleet, British Airways has applied to the CAA for permission to wet lease three Qatar Airways long-haul aircraft for the period of 1st June to 30th September.  (A ‘wet lease’ is where the aircraft comes with crew.)

There is no guarantee that the request will be granted.  My understanding is that BA has to show that there are no comparable aircraft available for wet lease within the EU.  Clearly BA pilots and cabin crew would only want the airline to use significantly lower-paid Qatar-based crew in exceptional circumstances.

The three aircraft involved are Airbus A330.

It is not clear what BA is getting.  Here is the ‘Our Fleet’ page of the Qatar Airways website but if you believe that then you will see that no A330 aircraft have fully flat Business Class seats.  That is not true.  In reality, most (all?) now have a fully flat seat in a 2 x 2 x 2 forward facing formation.

What IS certain is that there is no Premium Economy on these aircraft so anyone who has booked World Traveller Plus will have to accept a downgrade, a refund or a different flight.  As these aircraft will be used on flights departing in as little as three weeks, customers will struggle to find a replacement at a sensible price.

It is not clear at present which routes will use these aircraft.  As the Business Class cabin is small (5 rows) I doubt it will be a straight swap for routes currently flying the Boeing 787-9.  One option could be that the new aircraft go to Gatwick and are used on leisure routes, freeing up aircraft for use at Heathrow.

There is a little more information on FlightGlobal here.

British Airways leases Qatar Airways A330

The new British Airways lounge in Aberdeen opens soon

Reports on Flyertalk suggest that the new British Airways lounge in Aberdeen will open at some point next week.

Aberdeen has been without a dedicated BA lounge since the old facility closed in August.

This is good news for British Airways Silver card holders who were not allowed to use the third-party Northern Lights lounge.

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Comments

  1. Hope they block it for the sake of not exploiting cheap labour. Just saying.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Cheaper, they still get a fair wage tax free and very nice accommodation fully paid for

      I’m sure a lot of them don’t feel exploited

      • Given that they probably earn 10x the average Qatari wage I’m sure they are delighted.

        Someone told me this week that he had a private butler in a super luxury hotel in the Middle East who told the guest he was paid the equivalent of $5 per day.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Agree service staff, mostly foreigners, are poorly paid but it’s not the average Qatari wage as the true locals are extremely well paid in all sectors.

          You’ll also hear as many stories of very generous tips/gifts as you do of extremely poor treatment of maids etc

          Also Seems like wages depend upon which country their passport is from so it’s not entirely fair.

  2. We’ll be in Aberdeen next month so look forward to using the new lounge – and will report here unless a review has already been done by then.

  3. The “significantly lower paid Qatar based (flight deck) crew” receive tax free salaries, free accommodation and utilities, and private school fees for their children. My heart doesn’t bleed too much!

  4. imbruce says:

    After using the rubbish Vinga lounge in Gothenburg(Sweden) on Monday, I don’t think that I will bother using lounges any more and I will cancel my Platinum Amex card.
    The lounge looked like a glorified cafeteria and it was supposed to be a quite lounge but it was far from it. The food selection for breakfast was average mainly cereals and cold meets and warm milk from the coffee machine. yuk.
    I have to say that I have disappointed in all of the lounges I have used recently, most
    have a poor selection of food and not very clean.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There and great and terrible examples

      Plaza premium lounges all over the world are very good for example.

      Most No. 1 I have used in the uk are nice places to relax

  5. OT – just booked a stay at JW Marriott Essex House New York using 120,000 Amex MR points—>60,000 SPG points—>180,000 Marriot Points. Cash rate to book was £4700 for five nights. Great redemption rate!! Arrive on the 14th. Hope the property lives up to the comments on here!

    • Luthar says:

      I’ve booked in for a stay in November for 45k SPG points and I’m also looking forward to it. I’m not gold/platinum though so will need to find breakfast elsewhere!

      • Pehaps you could get that cheaper when the new Marriott rates come out in August? Maybe worth keeping an eye on just in case although there may be a big rush for the sweet spots!

    • I should have been there from next Tue but had to cancel as I need to go to Atlanta in 2 weeks now.

  6. O/T Anyone knows how far in advance Etihad opens Guest F awards? I can only see until 20 March 2019 and then it stops showing although there are Open seats after that until 6 April.

  7. ChrisC says:

    Seems like there is no guarantee that you can fly on an actual BA plane these days due to the number of planes being brought into cover not only the 787 issue but also the need for BA to operate it’s own planes on the ex Monarch slots at LGW.

    So book BA and you end up on QR or EI or Titan …

  8. OT. I am trying to book flights from LAX to LAS using Avios but on the BA website does not show any availability for anyday. Is there a trick im missing here or is there just no flights available

    • Which airline are you looking for? I would think American would be the most likely to fly that route but their redemption seats are released at different times to BA and go really fast. Also I’ve found on occasion that changing browser will show partner airline availability, no idea why!

      • Yes, I was looking at AA but I didnt know if there was another way to search, as even when I tried to check and book with cash it still said they dont fly that route. Never mind, flights are not that expensive to will just pay cash.
        I wonder with BA Silver Status does that get you lounge access flying domestic with AA?

        • Genghis says:

          Perhaps look on Expedia first to see who flies that route.
          Under OW rules, BA silver+ get lounge access on AA domestics.

        • HAM76 says:

          Yes, you get lounge access to the Admiral‘s Club on domestic AA flight. You should also get two drink vouchers which is a hit or miss in many lounges. Make sure you ask for them and don‘t forget to tip a dollar or two for the free drink!

          You don‘t get lounge access on flights not operated by AA when there is no Admiral‘s Club. This, for instance, applies to AA flights operated by Alaska Air or Horizon and the Alaska Boardroom.

    • i am trying to book LAS to SFO and have similar problems, American don’t actually do a direct flight to SFO. So it looks like either Alaskan or United. I would like to try Alaskan for the sheer novelty, but United Economy Plus looks decent, and United First is selling at £200 one way which might be ok as i am planning on having a lot of luggage from outlet shopping!

      • Jovanna says:

        We did this last month – United First, SFO-LAS (£106) and Virgin America First, LAS-SFO (£110). Not really impressed with United. Pre-flight drink and then a snack and another drink during the flight. Wine was poor. Snack was a packet of crisps or Gummy Bears or a piece of fruit. VA was much better in every respect – cabin, crew, food, in-flight entertainment but that’s no longer an option.

        Used the Centurion Lounge at both airports. Both very good but crowded. Tried the United Club lounges at SFO but nothing special.

      • We’ve booked Alaska for LAS-SFO next month. Got a very decent price for first one way, once I’d added baggage fees to the economy ticket there was hardly anything in it – from memory I think the price was £120 each plus of course a few avios for crediting to BAEC (no TP though). Looking forward to trying it out – looks like it may well be an ex-Virgin America plane.

      • JamesB says:

        Have you ever been to Yosemite? If not I I highly recomend you reduce LAS stay by one day and drive it with an overnight stay in or near the park.

  9. Mzungu says:

    O/T: I’m getting close to triggering a Lloyds upgrade voucher, and Mrs Mzungu is not far behind (both got the cards just before the shutters came down). We’re unlikely to reach the threshold before 20th May, so I’m wondering how we’ll know if/when we receive vouchers.

    I’ve just re-read the email from Avios about the scheme closure, and it says “Any Upgrade Vouchers or Worldwide Companion Tickets you may have are still valid but won’t show in your British Airways Executive Club account online”

    I understand that Lloyds are pretty rubbish about advising when a voucher has been triggered, so any thoughts about how this will work?

    I’m assuming of course that vouchers will still be issued…

    M

    • I’m sure in the past I’ve eventually received a letter. You should also be able to add up your spend from past statements (which is really the only way to work how close you are to triggering the threshold), though its a bit of a pain.

      I guess you could periodically phone up the BA executive club once the transfer has gone through and ask them – might encourage them to make the necessary change to showing them online as with the Amex 2for1s. 🙂

    • You can also ring Lloyds and ask them if they have applied the voucher to your account.

  10. MattP says:

    https://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/66922-faa-further-limits-trent-1000-etops

    What does this ETOPS-60 mean for routes? Will they fly further or will 787s stop flying certain routes altogether?

    • You can never be more than 60 minutes from a runway that can handle a 787. Which is bad news, clearly.

      • Probably worse news for other airlines. At least BA has a range of routes it can use them on, and they only make up a small proportion of the fleet. It is their 787-9s that are affected, of which BA currently has 17.

      • Lady London says:

        Wow. No wonder they are hiring planes in for Transatlantic then?

      • Ollie says:

        Could be worse – Air New Zealand must have planes that they cant use for anything but domestic.

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