British Airways launches Cologne – book your Avios Christmas Market trips now

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British Airways has announced a new route from London Gatwick to Cologne.

The service will launch on 16th November in order to catch the Christmas Market traffic.

Cologne is the 4th largest city in Germany, with its sightseeing attractions topped by the huge cathedral.  Business travellers will also appreciate the ability to reach the enormous Koelnmesse trade show complex.

The new route will operate four times per week, on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  It is currently only due to operate for the Winter timetable which runs until late March.

As usual, two Club Europe and four Euro Traveller seats have been made available on each flight for Avios redemptions.  If you want to book a Christmas Market trip then you should find good availability on prime dates if you take a look today.

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  1. David says:

    Good to see BA back to Cologne after many years away.

  2. Andrew Stock says:

    Good news, however BA has far more London to Dusseldorf flights. 3 from London City & 6 from Heathrow I think.

    You can get the train dirext from Dusseldorf airport to Koln HBF

    • 1nfrequent says:

      Just to add to this – be very careful at Dusseldorf airport station. There are gangs of pickpockets operating there – they crowd you as you go to board to do their thieving. Sadly my dad lost his wallet and my mum her purse during a trip there and they’d only been in the place for 30 minutes. The police were kind but there was little they could do other than take a report. Their advice was to wait to board a train until the crowds have dissipated – even if that means waiting until the last minute (not great advice for elderly parents though). I offer that up for whatever it’s worth.

      • Thomas Howard says:

        Is this one of the benefits of Merkels migrant policy? Every time I go to Germany now I usually see small fights breaking out in the streets. Never been involved but it’s not a place I’d go with anyone I felt the need to protect like kids or partner.

      • Sammyjlb says:

        Thankyou for posting this advice ! Off to Dusseldorf this weekend and really appreciate the tip ! So sorry to hear about your parents having had this experience though – very unpleasant x

      • Brasov says:

        I wonder whether it was the poorly lit station under the terminal or the nicer station which is a monorail ride away. I’m surprised as I haven’t seen anything like that in those places, it sounds like some of the gangs in Barcelona.

      • They should have been holding on to their belongings better – not all the countries in Europe are as non-chalanr as the UK…

  3. Stu N says:

    OT- good value part cash part Avios redemptions on partners airlines.

    Just booked a Hong Kong to Singapore one way Avios redemption, flying Cathay in Business. Normally I ignore the part cash options as they are pretty poor deal. Here there was a sliding scale from £31 plus 20k Avios to £106 plus 11k Avios. The deals in the middle weren’t great but at the max cash element I’m spending £75 more but to saving 9k Avios so equivalent to buying at 0.83p. I’m a buyer at that price. (The cash price for the flights is about £1,400 so we are looking at 12p/ Avios in theory).

    Not sure how widespread this is but if you’re booking a partner redemption it’s worth looking at the pricing options.

    • Sapiens says:

      Agree Cathay can be excellent for this. If you care, be careful to ensure that you select a plane with the flat biz bed, and not the regional business offering (looks similar to BA WTP). Cathay serve the same SH/MH destinations with a mix of business class offerings.

      • Gavin says:

        Very easy to get substituted planes on the day on Cathay. Believe there isn’t first any more on the regional routes which used to indicate what sort of plane it would be.

        • Stu N says:

          @Gavin – we did Haneda to HKG in F this year which was exceptionally nice. Tokyo seems to be a rare example of F on regional routes and from what I could work out there is a F cabin every day but it is a mix of HND and NRT – flights. Very fortunately the HND flight worked out for us.

          SIN is business only. While flat beds would be nice, for 4 hours the recliners would do the job if we do get subbed.

      • Stu N says:

        Thanks – SIN is about a 50-50 mix but all A330 which makes it tricky to tell what set-up is scheduled. Fortunately Google Flights now tells you if it’s a recliner seat or lie flat seats. We have ended up on a flight with lie flats though timings and availability were the primary factors for us. Looking forward to Cathay business service and some Pier Lounge time.

        • Enjoy! I love the Hong Kong Cathay lounges, especially the won ton soup at the noodle bar!

  4. Simon says:

    Is the 2 Club Europe and 4 economy seat Avios release on all BA flights ?? BA Cityflyer from LCY seem to only release 2 and 2…..

  5. O/T – i have a great banner advert on HfP from Air Baltic looking for B737 Captains! Wont have to worry about the points game any longer. Not sure of their website’s homepage, i dont see no runway on the horizon, and they are flying low.

  6. AndyR says:

    Check cash prices before using Avios for Cologne. Just booked a Friday to Sunday return in December for £49!

    • Snap!! Can’t wait for BA to declare this an ‘error fare’ and cancel it ????

      • Snap x3

      • the real harry1 says:

        It’s not an error price, that’s BA competing with the LCCs. On my regular routes there are regularly now amazingly cheap off-peak prices that simply didn’t exist 18 months ago.

        • Harry what’s the best price you’ve found? I’ve been looking to go for a year but have never found anything (on BA) for less than £120 return. I’m willing to pay more to go from LHR not LTN but it’s still always more expensive than every other SH route!

        • Lady London says:

          That’s why checking a bag in short-haul Europe on British Airways is now something like £65. Which is a lot more than any LCC I’m aware of.

        • the real harry1 says:

          @Nick HBO something like £90 rtn on BA. LTN can be cheaper if you don’t mind getting up at the crack of dawn. But again, off peak.

          No good for me as I am school hols sort of guy 🙂

          My wife got decent prices from Luton for a ‘weekend’ (hmm, I don’t call that a weekend!), wedding in early September, something like your £120 and I was pretty pleased with that as she only decided quite late to go (she’ll basically arrive, sleep, go to wedding + food, sleep & home)

        • the real harry1 says:

          @Lady London – yes & no – if you pay when booking for Plus instead of HBO, it’s only about £15 ISTR – paying £65 later looks remiss 🙂

        • the real harry1 says:

          I see BA put the price difference Europe HBO vs Plus up to £19 (ie your checked bag), CBA to check more than my route but it would probably hold true across the board.

          And @Nick – £85 rtn in HBO

  7. ChrisC says:

    The Christmas Markets start on Monday 26th November

  8. Lady London says:

    Gotta say I find CGN an intensely boring city. I had the misfortune to have to visit there a few times when I was working for a very large telecom.

  9. the real harry1 says:

    O/T IB – so many people complaining about no partner airline award flights available for the 90K promo points. I simply don’t think this is intended.

    If you remember, I commented a few days ago that with the IB new website refresh portal to buy reward flights, there was no partner (BA or otherwise) availability at all.

    I switched back to the old portal and was able to book my 2 return reward flights, on BA, no problem.

    I think it’s just this new website look/ development that is the issue & will get resolved.

    Are people now able to book hotels on IB with the 90K points?

    • Steve-B says:

      Agree, I was able to use my promo points for BA flights a few days ago, no problem.

    • Wheres, the new / old portal?

      also do Iberia only release two biz seats like BA?

    • Frankie says:

      Harry. Have you booked your BA flights (on the Iberia site) direct from London and paid the hefty taxes and charges?

      • the real harry1 says:

        Yes – it was £143 for 2x Business (outward), + 2x Economy (homeward).

        Compared to BA direct I make it: 2x Business = £50, 2x Economy = £35 RFS fees.

        So I paid £58 extra. I can sort of justify it as follows:

        Free lounge x2 = £30
        Free F&B on board = £15
        [Other Business outward extras nice to have, no value attributed; I might actually use the extra luggage allowance because that half term it’s just my eldest son & myself, the other 2 kids decided to stay at home to revise for GCSEs/ see friends (they sometimes complain it’s too much hassle travelling out & back for 9 days break when 2 of them include travelling, I get the point – anyway, frees up some space in the car and we always have a huge backlog of things to take out to the place in the sun.]

        Anyway, a net £13 extra, I don’t mind that as with my IB points coming in @0.3p, these flights are much cheaper than I normally ‘pay’ just for economy flights.

        Why, do you think the IB fees are astronomical?

        • Frankie says:

          I didn’t realise you were only booking to Europe. I should have though. I thought you’d booked long haul BA from UK and hence much higher taxes and charges than booking long haul from Madrid. My confusion.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Aha. No LH for us until the kids have flown the nest, well, 2 of them, anyway. Can’t justify the cost when we have a place in the sun to maintain (and where we all love the holidays as well, no small consideration).

          My wife & I are great LH fliers so it’ll be straight back to Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and quite a few more in that direction from about 2022-23 🙂

    • Lady London says:

      Do you have the link to old portal then, please Harry?

      Tx for tip on luggage, I think difference on my main route fluctuates a big higher but it’s a good tip to not put myself in that position and buy Plus upfront.

      • the real harry1 says:

        it was this way, no particular tricks:
        log in
        use flight search box on left, input flight
        click ‘using Avios’
        click search
        takes you to another search box with same search details you just input
        click search again

  10. Scott S says:

    Got an email a little while ago saying that I now had 9000 Avios from Iberia.

    Just need to figure out how to use them now and probably do regret, up to a point, not booking a few more flights.

    • the real harry1 says:

      You could have has 90K points for £200 🙂

      Not that I managed that lol

  11. Yep, got 90,000 for £212.20

  12. I looked at prices on the Cologne route for random dates early in December and the fare was around £79 return. Bear in mind though that the flights are from Gatwick and the timings are awful: leave at 06.50 and return at 22.00.
    Thanks also for the warning about the violence in Germany. We haven’t been there for a few years but there’s a continuing stream of worrying reports about this.

    • Neil Spellings says:

      Not sure which flight you were looking at..I just bagged some fights mid-December (Friday – Sunday) which depart LGW at 16.35 for £134 for the three of us (HBO fair)..paid the extra £5 to choose our seats so £164 in total. I think the base fare was showing as £4+tax.

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