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.

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Comments

  1. OT: Does anyone have a generic Iberia customer service email address that works? They are refusing to reply to my email to the clasica account because my query doesn’t concern the loyalty programme!

    • The Original Nick says:

      I’m pretty sure Harry left one in comments somewhere a while back but finding that might be a task. He’s not around at the moment AFAIK.

  2. (“I think journalists should be highlighting this”

    Middle class people have to pay a bit more for their business class flights.

    Doesn’t make much of a story.)

    As someone who also works in financial services I can categorically state that Middle Class people with money to invest or save will get lots of press and coverage if the charges are too high or even worse hidden!

  3. funkypigeon says:

    OT: Some inspiration needed.

    I have a BA 2-4-1 voucher and 193,000 Avios in my household account.
    Really want to go to Tokyo but noticed this is around 444,000 Avios return First Class (no issue with the 2-4-1 voucher) but around £1100 in taxes.

    I don’t know if there is another place that’s excellent to visit but would cost less Avios and less taxes? It might be an option to go FC and return CW. Is there a massive difference between the two?

    Some advice and inspiration as to how you would spend the above would be appreciated.

    • Go Tokyo and don’t fly First? Fly business. Unless you are of course adamant in wanting to try 1st?

      Fwiw – i flew 1st to Tokyo on a 241 back in 2015. Would i do it again in 1st? No. I personally do not think 1st is worth the amount of avios required. CW is sufficient in my opinion but that’s just me.

      • funkypigeon says:

        I have never flown first class before, so it’s a dream. I would very much like to do it!

        • Genghis says:

          Whereas I think F is worth the difference. I sleep much better.

        • Having never flown first, or even, business class, I would feel like I am wasting eth experience by sleeping through it!
          Obviously, if you are a regular traveller in the higher classes this wouldn’t be an issue

        • If that’s the case then, I would fly out in 1st and back in CW. If you can fly offpeak, you can save a few more miles.

          This should help you find suitable peak/offpeak dates: https://baredemptionfinder.com/

        • Genghis says:

          If you want to fly F on that route as a first F experience, fly to NRT (uses 789) and not HND (uses 77W), even though HND generally much more convenient.

      • I don’t think the taxes (and charges) are much different between F and CW? Have you priced the taxes in both? Sadly after the recent hike the charges for a reward seat are considerable but you are paying £550 per person for a F return (i know you have to figure out the cost of avois and the 241) but in my mind, even taking that all into account I think thats a good price. Also sounds like you are going over the peak period, could you move these to off peak and reduce the avoid to 200k using a 241?

        If you are really put off by the taxes, you could book Hong Kong as 2 single and the taxes will drop due to the restrictions on the return taxes from HK.

      • In part replying to RTS’s comment on don’t fly first. I think this is poor advice. To start with you have to find availability but that’s another issue. The extra Avios required are minor vs CW and the taxes (only teasing, YQ charges) are the same! If it were the case that you could book CW and save Avios and £300-400 in YQ then that would make sense.
        The charges BA level now are eye-watering £1333.64 for 2 to ATL in F. With some of the flash sales we’ve seen this week and generally lower cash prices (especially if you’re willing to travel EX-EU or INV etc.) even with a 2-4-1 sometimes the numbers don’t add up. As Rob highlighted a few days ago BA have done a brilliant job of already de-valuing Avios even before they announce any actual changes to BAEC and largely no-one has twigged this.

      • Lady London says:

        My same feeling about SEA. Even though done on A380

      • I flew out to NRT in F last month, back in CW. 192000 Avios with a 241. (Outbound was off peak, return was peak. ) Was only 27000 extra to fly out in F.

        Was my first time in F, and I would recommend it outbound so you can use the First Wing and CCR at LHR. But also because you get a fast track card to use on arrival at NRT.

        On our way to the Immigration Desks, we showed our cards to a lady who took us to a desk that was immediately opened especially for us. Was nice for the VIP treatment to continue after landing.

        F was a good use of Avios as well as I don’t have status so don’t get free seat reservations in CW.

        Returning in CW, the JAL lounge at NRT was the best I’ve been to (although Prosecco, no Champagne)

    • Fly on off peak dates. Fly in CW for one of the flights, just depends on availability of cabins. Are they different? Yes. Does it matter, no not really, the quality of the champagne is lower (although on recent flight in F they had to serve the CW champagne as they had ran out of LPGS on the outbound flight), but it hardly matters to me. Fly out in F so you can try the Concorde Lounge.

      Not much to be saved on the taxes/carriers imposed charges etc etc. by going to other destinations as on a 2-4-1 you need to book a return flight, not unless you can start your flight in Inverness or Jersey.

      • The Original Nick says:

        @CV3V. Thanks for the help with the Caesars total rewards matching to Diamond a few days ago. I’ve managed to get my Mum up to Diamond so resort fees waived etc. Hilton Gold to Wyndham Diamond to Total rewards Diamond. She’ll be staying at Caesars Palace with her friend. All booked. Thanks.

        • Great result, that was quick. As mentioned in one of my replies, they dont add the $100 dinner credit until you show up at the Total Rewards desk, then it start the process (email) and it doesnt load until Thursdays, so would be worth a phone call advising they are booked in and coming. The free show tickets are available without issue, if you search internet you will find a list of the free shows (only those at Caesars properties).

        • Make sure your mum goes to the Total Rewards desk on her arrival, and ask for a physical card (or use the app), she can then do a fair bit of queue jumping for restaurants and shows.

        • I actually think it expires on the 31st January as that is when they check to see if you have enough tier points to remain diamond. You may have been better off waiting til after..unless the stay is before then

    • “£1100 in Taxes” lol.

      Have you not read the comments above? 🙂

    • Benilyn says:

      I’ve never booked a BA reward flight (my caveat lol), but is it not 240,000 avios return on First London to Tokyo during peak? (source: BA redemption finder)

  4. re First flights on Nashville route – I’ve flight booked in June 241 business. Ive looked online around my dates, no 1st seats are showing available anywhere, could it be that the plane switch has not been implemented on the BA avios booking site yet? or have they just all been taken?

    • Scallder says:

      First seats are never guaranteed by BA for redemption – only 2 business and 4 economy. It might be that they aren’t offering any for that date, however keep an eye on it as it can change between now and then

      • Amazed by how many F seats were available when we were booking out HKG in F and back from KUL…think they must release them if they don’t sell…

        In Dublin airport lounge, scraps being served, wish they would up the standards here, but the prosecco is good!

    • I was in a very similar position – I’d booked for late April, but due to availability (partly) I took flights to ATL, then going to tour via Nashville. I just found BA website showing 4 seats in F available for the same date.

      I just called BA and changed my booking from ATL to BNA – additional taxes and charges of £54.68 per seat in addition to the £35 change fee (increase from £614.14 to £668.82). BNA is 31 fewer miles than ATL!!

  5. 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.

  6. 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)

  7. 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.

    https://thepointsguy.com/news/ba-fuel-surcharge-settlement-refunds/

    • 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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).

  10. 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.

  11. 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

    HELP!!

    • 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!

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