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. Benylin says:

    OT: 2019 referrals, made one on 2-Jan for my partner for SPG, application was pending review, card arrived today. Referral points have not posted to me.

    I know some have received there 2019 referral points already, where they for immediate acceptances?

    • I think it really does vary. Sometimes points post a day or two after acceptance. Other times it takes 2 or 3 days post card arriving.

    • They might post to your account as soon as your partner activates the card.

      • Benilyn says:

        @Andy – yes as soon as it was activated, got them posted within the hour! 1/5 done!

    • I applied for a card on the 28th December and referral points have only just posted today.

  2. Scallder says:

    Had an email from Amex Shop Small today thanking me for taking part. It said the average amount saved by each cardmember was £13. I’m guessing the average on here is considerably higher… 🙂

    • That £13 figure shocked me! I wonder whether they used the whole cardholder population (some of whom won’t have used the promotion at all) in order to work out the average…

      • Scallder says:

        Indeed – i’m guessing some people won’t have got anything – some people might have only got £5

        • I got £0 and my wife got £5. There was nothing we wanted from any shops actually taking part. Now the Morrisons offer we did very well out of.

      • 95% of amex card holders won’t have bothered.. it’s the 5% that’s us lot here on hfp that even bother…other lot too wealthy!

    • £13 per day? (per card)

  3. Stu N – yep be sure to keep as much details as possible.

    If it’s classed as mis-selling again, you may get them back in the future.

    • Yep, wil hang onto it. I’ve looked back at previous redemptions and this is the first time there has been a breakdown of the charges, fees and taxes on the e-ticket.

  4. Chelseafi says:

    O/T I’ve booked flights to Vegas for Nov & wanted advice on Hotel, I have amex Plat so only status from that & think cash booking better value then points, thinking of Aria Hotel Corner Suite room via £200c/b Amex travel offer £300pn going 4 nights & have offer on mine & sup card so can get 4 nights for £800 after £400 c/b. Has anyone stayed in these rooms? Was particularly interested in the lounge access what do you get, just light breakfast offering would be great & do they have free beer & wine early evening? Thanks guys

  5. Benilyn says:

    OT: Koh Samui Thailand: Got 5 nights there coming up in Jan, need to book a nice resort. Anyone have experience with Banyan Tree, Six Senses, Silavadee, or others they can recommend?
    Also neighboring island Ko Phangan, anyone been to Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort & Spa?

    I am leaning towards Banyan Tree, but bit expensive, 2 nights in a Deluxe Pool Villa @ £815 or so, so might split the stay, 3 nights elsewhere. Thanks

    • We stayed at a place called The Akaryn 3-4 years ago and liked it. Small, nice beach & decent restaurant. Has since rebranded toOutrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort (or been sold to Outrigger). We had 2 pool villas next to each other (semi-detached), and you could slide a door on the terrace between the two properties and turn them into 1 2-bed villa (still separate entrances to each, though).

  6. AndyGWP says:

    OT – can Tesco Christmas Saver vouchers be used on fuel?

    (I have got £12 to use before the end of the month so in the abscence of Harry, if you did it you need to consider using your £12 up soon!) 🙂

    • Yep, I’ve used them for that before – just can’t be traded up to Clubcard Boost.

  7. BlueHorizonuk says:

    OT – Has anyone stayed at Fairmont Hamilton Princess in Bermuda?

    Is the breakfast option in Gold Class as good as the normal buffet? Trying to decide between a Luxury Room, Gold Class and a Junior Suite.

    The price difference between Luxury and Gold is the same as if I buy breakfast every day but not sure if the upgrade is worth it.

    The price of Gold and Suite are the same (albeit there is no breakfast with the suite).

    Decisions, decisions, decisions……lol


    • I would be interested to know this as well as I’m playing to go in October. P.s – Bon Vivant got me an excellent price. Check with Emyr

      • BlueHorizonuk says:

        I did but his price was similar to Amex Travel and without any extras so used my £200 off £600 spend to get it cheaper.

        Have used him elsewhere though and is quite good.

      • Curious says:

        Just curious, what exactly is there to do in Bermuda? I’ve been told its a place of tedium but am genuinely curious. Is it also true tourists cannot hire a car (to drive at the 23mph speed limit) ?

        • OH has family there. It’s only about 20 miles long so that limits the amount of stuff to do! It is also fiendishly expensive and the residents complain bitterly on the import restrictions (basically they have to pay loads of tax on anything they buy abroad). There is an aquarium and historic dockyard as I recall and some nice (but pricey) bars and restaurants. Very pretty beaches for swimming but the climate isn’t tropical so it’s not always warm enough for the beach. Tourists can now hire little electric cars but they only seat 2 people so no good for a family.

          All that said it’s one of the options for my 50th/retirement trip next year!

        • BlueHorizonuk says:

          As the island is so small only locals are allowed to own/use cars.

          There are ZERO car hire companies on the island.

          Only way around is to walking/buses/taxis or mopeds

        • BlueHorizonuk, that is not strictly true. As of last year tourists can hire small electric cars (called Twizys or something), though these only seat 2 people and like everything else in Bermuda are very expensive. (Someone mentioned $100 per day!)

        • Steve-B says:

          Explains why there is often lots of BA reward availability 😀

        • Curious says:

          Hi Anna, pricey yes, but remember the locals do not pay tax (or may minimal single digit tax on some income). They all complain sure, but conveniently overlook this key fact. Oh and they earn bucketloads too.

      • It’s worth checking on the likely weather conditions depending on what you’re hoping to do there. We visited in October one year, we did have plenty of sunshine but also a few wet and blustery days which churned the sea up too much for OH to do the diving he’d planned. We also just missed a very severe hurricane.

    • Good choice. I have family who live in Bermuda and have visited once before. The island is small, an go around it in one day but lovely views and scenery. Wouldn’t live there though, however it is close to the Caribbean and America.. thats a plus I guess!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

        • @Liz – hmm, took mine out 21/6!

        • 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.

  15. 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?

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