To give Willie Walsh and the rest of the IAG management team some credit, they don’t mess around when they want to get something done.
IAG, the parent company of British Airways, announced yesterday that it is launching a new airline based in Austria. In three weeks time.
The new airline will NOT use the Vueling branding, which is interesting. I wonder if the huge service issues that Vueling has had in the last couple of years – primarily when Alex Cruz was running it ….. – mean that IAG feels that the brand is ‘tainted’?
The new airline will be called LEVEL. This is, as most of you will know, the name of the start-up low-cost long-haul airline owned by IAG. This currently operates out of Barcelona with Paris due to start imminently.
Why is IAG doing this?
You may remember that IAG was keen to buy Austrian carrier NIKI from the ashes of airberlin. That deal fell through and Niki Lauda ended up buying back the carrier with financial support from Ryanair.
As it happens, Vueling actually had an Austrian operating certificate issued in the name of Anisec Lufthart. This enabled it to launch LEVEL in Austria very quickly. Legally, the low-cost LEVEL flights will be part of Vueling.
(The LEVEL flights from Paris will legally be operated by British Airways under its OpenSkies banner. LEVEL flights from Barcelona are legally operated by Iberia.)
Fourteen destinations launched, including Gatwick
LEVEL will fly to fourteen destinations from Vienna.
It will initially use four A321 aircraft, in an all-economy 210 seat layout. The first one, ironically, is an ex-airberlin / NIKI plane!
The first two, launching on 17th July, will be Palma Majorca and London Gatwick.
Over the following four weeks, LEVEL will add Barcelona, Malaga, Venice, Olbia, Ibiza, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Milan Malpensa, Dubrovnik, Larnaca, Alicante, Valencia and Bilbao.
Lead-in prices will include one item of hand baggage.
Checked baggage and in-flight food and drink will be chargeable.
Flights can be bought at flylevel.com. If you are looking for a cheap trip to Vienna this Summer and can get to Gatwick, you might get a good deal here.
I’m intrigued to see how this works out, and even more intrigued as to how the separation between Vueling and LEVEL will work.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.