Bits: Nashville gains BA First Class, 15% off UK Aspire lounges, BBC documentary on in-flight air quality

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News in brief:

Nashville gains First Class

Back in October we reported that British Airways was moving the Nashville service, launched in May 2018, to daily operation from the Summer 2019 timetable.  There are presently five flights per week, increasing to seven from 19th April.

The service has now been switched to a Boeing 787-9 from a Boeing 787-8.  This means that Nashville is getting First Class from 31st March.

If you have Avios seats booked for Nashville after 31st March, you might want to consider upgrading one or both legs to First Class if seats are showing.  As well as additional Avios, you will need to pay the £35 per person change fee and any extra taxes.  The taxes difference could be noticeable given that BA hiked its surcharges late last year.

Nashville gets First Class

15% off UK Aspire and Club Aspire lounges

The Aspire lounge network is offering 15% off your next visit to one of its UK sites.  If you don’t have a Priority Pass then this is one way of saving money on your next trip.

Aspire lounges we have reviewed include – click for the review:

You must use this link to book to receive your 15% discount, which will show automatically at check-out.  The offer closes on 13th January but you can book for a future date.

15% discount on Aspire airport lounges

BBC documentary on in-flight air quality

One of our readers, Mike Powell, works at the BBC and recently produced a documentary for Radio 4 and the World Service on ‘aerotoxicity’, investigating air quality in-flight.

If you missed it, the 53-minute Radio 4 version can be heard here.  An edited 27-minute version for the World Service can be heard here.  To quote:

We hear from whistleblowers from the aviation industry who allege that many pilots, crews and passengers are becoming ill – or even dying – because of these possibly toxic fumes.

We hear the guidance issued to coroners after the sudden death of pilots and crew – and talk to the father of one of the flight attendants who died who claims there is a cover up in the airline industry. Politicians and campaigners say the subject has been ignored for decades and that with hundreds of cases going through the courts, so called ‘Aerotoxicity’ could be designated an industrial disease like Asbestosis – with all the implications that brings.

The aviation industry tells us that any ‘rare’ events are dealt with; while we speak to the scientists working on biological solutions and engineers who are developing new aircraft with cleaner air.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. OT – I’ve a stay at the IC Malta coming up soon. It was booked via BA Holidays with my flights. Will I be likely to get my Ambassador Benefits on arrival? Obviously it doesn’t show on my IHG App due to it’s booking being made via BA. Wondered what my chances are of getting these benefits on arrival (or if I e-mail prior) due to it being a 3rd party…

    • You can email them and provide evidence of your Ambassador status but very unlikely to be honored.

  2. BA surcharges are not a tax so stop calling it one! Even as shorthand it’s inaccurate.

    Call it out for what it is. 100% airline profit.

    • Well, part of it is APD – and that is a tax.

      • As you would have to be in CW to upgrade using avios then youve already paid full rate of APD.

        The extra BA is charging is NOT a tax and shouldn’t be called one. That’s the point I’m making.

    • And we cant be sure the balance is 100% profit. I would think some of it covers operating costs. Try and be more accurate please.

  3. OT.
    Heathrow terminal 4 with Priority Pass. Plaza Premium or SkyTeam lounge. Which is better?

  4. Mark1980 says:

    OT but when will BA finalise their Summer 2019 regional routes (specifically Manchester)? Rob usually runs an article such as this one: but I havent seen anything for 2019 – does that mean there will be no change? TIA

    • I am wondering if it’s dependent on Brexit – these routes seem to involve flying between European destinations, e.g. the flight I took to Nice was then going on to Ibiza or somewhere similar. If what I have read is correct, this type of routing may not be possible after Brexit if we have no travel agreement. Rob seems to understand what it’s all about from one of his recent articles!

  5. OT: For anyone who has the 10% off TfL contactless pay-as-you-go spend on their AMEX, have you tried buying an annual pass with the card? I know what the terms and conditions say (contactless), but we all know how IT glitches work…

    • Or alternatively, has anyone with the offer done any non-contactless AMEX payments for TfL? I’ll try one myself tonight but not sure it will process before the offer expires on Sunday

  6. Voltron says:

    OT – Managed to get the xmas saver refunded insotre to CC points. CC points also showed up on my account. Couple of days ago got a call from customer services stating that this shouldn’t have happened and they will remove the CC points and send a gift card instead, you win some you lose some, was worth a punt lol

    • Thanks for the info… I need to use at least one of my vouchers before the end of Jan, but looks like there is little point in trying the refund route and so should just use it next time I’m shopping…

    • Steve-B says:

      Yes, that route is well and gruels dead unfortunately.

    • Ah, shame. I’d paid via a mix of methods so ended up with refund onto debit card which was fine all things considered.

  7. OT – My 10K VS miles just posted to my account for the Life Insurance.

    • Mine too – 7500 + 2500 for some reason…

    • Same here 🙂

      • Whoop! 2 lots of 10k miles posted here!

        I transferred some MR pts to Hilton on 17/12 and they still haven’t arrived – umpteen phone calls to Amex and finally they manually came back to my MR account today so 2nd time lucky.

        • No VS miles showing up for me yet, tho I did apply for it a few days after first announced, so might be delay because of that? Did you all apply when it was first mentioned here?

        • Genghis says:

          I’ve got mine too (applied on day of article) and only made 4 payments. Will pay 6 as VFC prone to removing points.

          • Wow that took them a while to set yours up! I’ve paid 7 (last one came out a few days earlier than expected) but zilch.

        • Took mine out 22/6 – paid 7 premiums up to 2/1

        • Had the same problem with MR to Hilton transfers just before Xmas and it also took ages to get sorted. Amex brought the points back and then resent them and they then credited within 24 hrs.

        • @Mikee – fingers crossed my HH pts arrive tomorrow! Then I can cancel my Plat card.

        • AndyGWP says:

          Thanks for the heads up… just received the 10k too.
          Took my policy out on 21/6
          7th payment came out a few days ago

    • The points have arrived in one of our accounts (as 7500 and 2500), but not the other. I haven’t paid attention to what payments have gone out though.

  8. Very OT – hotels at Stansted… are the Hampton, HIX, Radison Blu and Premier Inn all walk-able (safely, with children) to the terminal?

    And a follow up – is it possible to book Hilton, IHG or Radison using points and pay the additional for a weeks parking? Or will it usually be best paying for a park and fly package regardless?

  9. SWwomble says:

    OT £200 credit on £600 Amex travel: has anyone had experience off gaining these credits for spend on the US version of the website? I ask as for some reason CGK (Jakarta) isn’t loaded onto the UK travel website but is on the US one. Even with a slightly higher price and If I was charged the 3% foreign exchange fee for $ to £ it would still be a decent saving. Thanks all

  10. OT – Anyone tried using Curve to top up tax free childcare account? The gov website seems to reject my curve card, wondering if anyone else tried and failed equally… seems odd as hmrc works?

    • Yep been mentioned a few times in comments here and in Curve Community – doesn’t seem to work. Different back-end system to HMRC tax payments.

    • It used to work. Now seems to have been blocked across both types of curve card

  11. Benilyn says:

    OT: W Koh Samui (cat 7): 5 nights in Jan for 240k Marriot points (5th night free)

    Cash rate non-refundable with breakfast £2,089 direct / ~£2,600 at OTAs

    Is this good value? Getting 0.87p per point.

    • Benilyn says:

      Forgot to add, only have c38k in my Marriot wallet, will transfer rest over from my MR at 2:3, so for 200k marriot at 133k MR

      Also note, my aim is to use my points really for Maldives / Mauritius / Bali / fancy beach resort type places, and not for city use where we are happy with a more basic hotel as will be out most of the day.

      • Spent Christmas at W Maldives, cash price over 10k for 5 nights. over 6p per MR point, one of best redemption

        • Benilyn says:

          @Lee – can I ask how much you ended up spending on lunch and dinner? I went an all all-inclusive package last time, so ignored the sky high menu prices.

        • $30/person for light lunch, $80 for 2 courses dinner per person. This mainly for food as 20% off for platinum member. All soft drinks and water are free outside restaurant.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Anything over 50p a point is good and 1p an MR so I think that works out a good deal as long as there’s not an equivalent standard hotel for a better cash price in a different brand?

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