British Airways sneaks out some interesting news on lounge refurbishments via its New Year resolutions ….

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British Airways put out a press release yesterday announcing its ’20 New Year resolutions’.

I was tempted to delete it unread, obviously!  That would have been a mistake, however, as for some reason BA chose to slip out two new announcements among the 20 resolutions.

Lounge improvements for 2020

The first bit of ‘new news’ was about lounges.  British Airways has been sprucing up many of its lounges in recent years, with the most recent re-openings being Geneva, which I reviewed here (photo below), and San Francisco.  In general, they are doing a good job.

Lounge ‘refreshments’ for 2020 will be:

  • Heathrow
  • Edinburgh
  • Berlin

….. along with a re-designed Elemis Spa at New York JFK.

I’m not entirely sure what BA means by ‘refreshed’.  It clearly is not going to ‘refresh’ the lounge in Berlin, since the airport is scheduled to close on 8th November 2020!  I assume it means that there will be a brand new British Airways lounge at Berlin Brandenberg.

Similarly, I am not sure what ‘refreshing’ means in the context of Heathrow.  There are rumours of a lounge finally opening in Terminal 5C.  There is also, I believe, space available in Terminal 5A for the expansion of the South lounge complex.  On the other hand, ‘refresh’ might simply mean buying a few new sofas as happened with the Concorde Room recently.

Edinburgh is in need of a redesign.  It is a surprisingly large lounge but is now looking dated, and No 1, the two Aspire lounges and the forthcoming Clubrooms have raised the bar.

British Airways Geneva lounge

Concorde Teams expanding to more routes

The second bit of news related to the ‘Concorde’ teams, which is the rebranded ‘Special Services’ operation.  These are the senior British Airways staff on the ground who are available to Gold Guest List and Premier card holders and have additional powers to get things done for you when necessary.

From 2020, ‘Concorde’ teams will be situated in New York JFK, London Heathrow, Delhi, Los Angeles and Mumbai.

British Airways Concorde team

And the other 18 resolutions …..

Here are the other 18 New Year resolutions from British Airways, most of which we have covered already (or declined to cover!):

  1. New destinations – the airline has already announced nine new routes for 2020 including the Kosovan and Montenegrin capitals Pristina and Podgorica, Perugia in Italy, Antalya, Dalaman and Bodrum in Turkey, San Sebastián in Spain, Rhodes in Greece and Portland, Oregon, and it’s promising even more new destinations for customers to come.
  1. New aircraft – the airline is due to take delivery of more than 20 new aircraft in 2020, including 787-10s and A350s which are up to 40% more fuel efficient than the aircraft they replace.
  1. Club Suite – more aircraft will be flying with the airline’s new business class seat, Club Suite, which offers privacy via a suite door, 40% more storage space and a 1-2-1 layout with direct aisle access for all passengers.
  1. Caring for the environment – from January British Airways will be offsetting all its domestic flights, customers travelling further afield can offset their individual emissions. The airline will be making additional announcements about sustainability throughout the year.
  1. First – customers can expect to see more aircraft fitted with the airline’s newest First seat, currently available on its 787-9 aircraft.
  1. World Traveller comfort – in addition to enhancements made in 2019, customers travelling in the airline’s economy cabin will experience refreshed bedding.
  1. Designed by Savile Row tailoring expert Ozwald Boateng OBE, new uniforms for a new decade will be revealed.
  1. Food for thought – the airline is introducing new menus across its network thanks to new partnerships with gourmet caterers Do&Co at Heathrow and Newrest at Gatwick.
  1. Connectivity – the majority of eligible aircraft will be WiFi ready by the end of 2020.
  1. – expect a newly re-designed Manage My Booking experience enabling customers to navigate to information and services in a more intuitive way.
  1. Appy days – customers using the British Airways’ app will benefit from a slicker design and additional functionality improving the experience as they make and manage their bookings.
  1. Robots – British Airways is trialling new autonomous wayfaring robots at Heathrow to help customers navigate through the airport.
  1. 3D printing – the airline’s tech experts will continue their trial of printing non-essential aircraft parts like tray tables, to ensure flights are able to depart on time and without seats going out of service.
  1. Customer service training – thousands of British Airways’ airport hosts worldwide will receive additional training to provide a service that goes above and beyond expectations.
  1. Executive Club – the airline has committed to making continuous improvements to the Executive Club with new partners and exciting deals throughout the year
  1. Flying Start – British Airways celebrates the 10-year anniversary of its Flying Start charity which has so far raised more than £24m+ for good causes in the UK and overseas.
  1. Internships – from summer, British Airways will become the first UK airline to offer paid summer internships to future aviators.
  1. Documentary – customers will have the chance to watch the 2019 documentary about British Airways, British Airways Access All Areas, 24/7 on board long-haul flights.

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  1. OT: Something I didnt know (might be common knowledge to you all but…) I have 2 tesco clubcard accounts that I dont use…. signed up for virgin auto convert. Got the 1000 bonus points in November, then I forgot to switch it off…. got another 1000 bonus for December. Thought I have to keep turning it on and off. Will leave them like that as it has been 4K points without much effort

  2. OT – have a points redemption booking at Conrad rangali (1st time) booked for late January. I booked 7 nights, just wondering is it worth cancelling the last night as essentially, just waking up then flying off to catch our BA flight back, was not sure if they offer late checkout, so can stay till late on Sunday and then book a cheaper hotel before flight in the morning as I imagine I have to be at check in at 8am at male airport on the Monday we fly back.

    Ps…going with wife and 16 month old. Any tips?

    • Chinafish says:

      Personal experience with traveling with kids is that the less hassle the better.

      We’ve done similar things in the past where we move hotels for 1 day because of cheaper price etc. Every time we’ve done it we wish we hadn’t have had to, because the time spent packing and transferring, checking out and in, getting from one hotel to another, was generally boring for the kid(s) and we could have done something fun for everyone / fun for the kid and reserve your sanity. For me it’s been weighing up the price difference on one hand, and the faff and stress of the family on the other.

      Depending on how travel savvy your kid is, YMMV.

    • Best to contact them because near the time of your stay you will receive an email for your flight times, I cant remember if their first flight leaves at 6am, if so and you need to be in Male at 8am then you should be fine.
      Usually flights to London leave later in the evening so they try to let you stay as long as possible on the island. For us, because they needed the room, they relocated us to a deluxe BV and we ended up leaving the island on the last seaplane back.
      They do try and put you on the seaplane hat would be most convenient for you.
      It’s a an amazing place, 5 nights, 6 days was just the right amount for us

    • Chinafish says:

      PS I have not googled the price and quality of the Conrad Rangali so the price difference might well worth it. I’ll let the more knowledgeable members address that front!

      • Chinafish says:

        I just had a Google and I would look into swapping hotels for that kind of price!

        • Lady London says:

          I’d demand my money back. That level of vacation has to be pretty much perfect – certainly on basic underpinnings like operations and your room – otherwise it’s worthless. If they understand their market you would get a large chunk back. Otherwise all you can do is tell everyone including Hilton. That takes longer to have its effect. But in their market will surely do so eventually.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      First, great place. You will love it.

      Second, speak to the hotel. You need a seaplane so you are somewhat at their mercy with regard when this is based on the schedule and other guests departing. The time of this may impact your choice favourably or otherwise.

    • Ammar – I’ve been on the Conrad flyertalk forum recently. A friend was there over Xmas for his 3rd visit, not impressed with the degradation in service… I’m a few months I’m looking to book there again for my 3rd visit, but might be forced to try elsewhere if the worrying decline is permanent. Could reluctantly be considering the Waldorf Astoria instead.

    • Neil Donoghue says:

      This will all come down to what time the first seaplane can depart. When I stayed at the hotel, the seaplane actually arrived the night before and the crew stayed overnight. The plane departed just after sunrise which in February was 06:45am. Our flight was at 2pm. Personally I would not be taking the first seaplane at 7am if check-in was at 8am. I would leave the day before and stay on the mainland. A holiday should be relaxing and just the thought of this is stressful should anything happen.

      • We went to the Maldives 20 years ago and although it was undeniably beautiful I’ve never really been tempted to go back, because of things like being tied to the seaplane times (I recall after our late arrival from MAN we had to wait 4 hours for our transfer!), and distance from a hospital should the worst happen. OH fondly remembers diving with manta rays etc, though!

  3. The Streets says:

    Completely OT but interesting read this morning of all the name changes Heathrow (Heath Row) could have received. Landing at Sir Winston Churchill Airport or even taking off from Princess Diana?

    • Any airport named after a person makes me want to vomit a little. I just don’t get it. Weird vanity/ worship.

      If it’s a politician, double vomit!

      • It’s a really common trend amongst airports.

      • JFK, Dulles, Reagan, Norman Mineta, George Bush, Charles de Gaulle, Adolfo Suarez, Marco Polo, Hamad are just a few of the airports named after people I’ve travelled to/through in the last year. Definitely a trend, and not even a new one at that.

    • Lady London says:

      Isn’t T2 at LHR known as The Queen’s Terminal?

  4. John Silver says:

    Question: is BA ever going to reopen a lounge at JKIA Nairobi? It will soon be 7 years since the fire!!

  5. Concerto says:

    Not just valid on the train to Cornavin, it’s valid for 80 minutes on any bus, trolleybus, tram and even Mouette boat (costs 3 francs otherwise). The machine is just before you leave the baggage hall and go through customs.
    Yes, the toilet is outside the lounge, just across the corridor.

  6. Wetboy1uk says:

    I like no 14. Customer service training. Not sure they have enough money to invest in the levels of training needed given my recent experiences. Any views on paying for world traveller plus but only receiving an allocation of 1 hold luggage instead of 2 due to himan input error but a refusal to give qny refund in the form of hard cash! As far as i am concerned if i have paid for a service and not received it i should be entitled to a refund and not a voucher! Voucher as compensation for a crap service yes but not for something not received.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They made you pay for your second checked bag?

      • Wetboy1uk says:

        No. The system was only showing one bag as the flight had been transferred manually by them from fll to mia and upon transferring they only updated with 1 bag instewd of 2. Crammed most into one bag and left some things there.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          So checkin agent gave you computer says no answer and would only allow you 1 bag even though all PE fares come with two bags?

          It’s a tough one with time and hindsight Its easy for me to say I would have escalated at the airport so I got the free bag or if that didn’t work I would have paid for the second bag and claimed it back from BA.

          I really can’t see you getting much more than some avios as compensation now unfortunately.

          • Agreed. Pay and claim back with uplifted claim for inconvinience, stress and accountability for their failure.

          • Lady London says:

            +1 defo provide the receipt and claim back from BA. In case BA’s usual quality of outsourced service entity handles it, try to attach a cut and paste of where it says PY gets 2 checked bags on the website together with link. Ask for 5,000 Avios as well as your refund for the trouble this has caused you.

            Look up the time limit for requesting charge back from your credit card company and request it with same documentation before the time limit is up if BA still hasn’t paid.

            I have encountered similar situations at outstations where staff do not apply correct rules. A particular danger with outsourced staff. Last one was Portland where outsourced staff did not want to give me Silver luggage allowance because their computer showed them my Silver status year ended the day before even though my Silver card had the usual date of end of the following month.

            I requested the individual to check with someone and offered to try to find the ts and cs on my phone. Also mentioned I was connecting to a long haul flight and did not want to become irrop and have to claim denied boarding compensation if I would miss the flight while this was being resolved. The outsourced agent said no management was about and kindly used her discretion to check all my luggage.

          • Lady London says:

            PS noticed you were forced to give up your right to a second bag so no receipt to use for this claim. Demand the cash cost of 1 extra hold bag to be paid back to you off the cost of your fare as your fare included it. Their charges list establishes a clear value for the extra bag you paid for within your fare so you can claim that back. Plus the 5k Avios as above.

            Send the claim in, give it up to 2-3 weeks then call them and mention you are considering doing a chargeback . Merchants hate charge backs it seems to hurt their records with card networks. Personally I think you’d win an mcol on the basis above as the value of what you were not provided is clearly established by BA’s pricelist. The fact that you had to leave stuff behind proves you intended to use that part of your fare.

            BA will hate, hate to repay you cash. If they offer Avios work out what the baggage piece cost is worth to you in Avios and double it or more plus the 5k for your trouble and time. Personally I’d go for the cash as handing out Avios doesn’t cost them anything they care about.

            Please report back.

  7. Any thought on this BA class action for the data breach. Keep seeing more and more “firms” wanting a slice

    Last I’m sure I read on here was to hold fire

    • We are still planning a big feature on this, but the number of people we need to interview to get the full picture means it is dragging on.

    • What worries me is this clause in the BAEC T&Cs, because of it I’m still on the fence.

      24.1. In addition to any other rights or remedies it may have, British Airways reserves the right at any time in its absolute discretion to terminate the Membership of any Member and/or the right of any Member to use the Card if a Member commits Fraud, Misconduct, is given a banning notice or withdraws their consent under Clause 4. If this occurs, British Airways must write to the Member to inform them that his/her Membership is being terminated for this reason. British Airways and/or AGL may in its discretion suspend such termination and impose a reduction in Tier grade and/or remove Avios points and/or Tier Points and/or request undertakings in respect of future conduct.

      • Without having any legal knowledge whatsoever I’d be amazed if they did this, and more importantly if they could actually enforce it when challenged.

        • Neil Donoghue says:

          Hilton have been closing accounts recently for very little reason. You get £600 for the breach but lose your BA account with 250,000 avios. Scary thought but technically it is possible

        • TGLoyalty says:

          No company can be forced to do business with you. It’s rare but it can happen The recent US class action may have had a fallout but if it didn’t I probably wouldn’t worry about them closing your membership because you took them to court and won.

      • Other airlines actively exercise this right – remember what Aeroflot (4*, SkyTeam) did to a passenger who smuggled a wrong cat on the plane

  8. It’s been a while since I’ve flown BA short-haul in Y but I did so this morning VIE–LHR. Generally fine but I couldn’t believe they wanted to charge me £2.50 for a coffee. I know BA charge for food but I’ve dome quite a lot of US domestic flights in Y this year and you always get a free soft drink (and usually a small snack).

    Vienna airport is also an odd one, in that security is the last thing you pass through before the gate. There are no shops, restaurants, or lounges afterwards. Bad news if you want to buy a bottle of water (or coffee) to take onto the plane.

    • Hi Liam, I went to Vienna earlier this month and thought the airport set up was very good, there were 2 screening machines at our gate so we were through very quickly, having done our eating and shopping beforehand (they clearly have no issues with sealed bags of alcohol, unlike the rigmarole at some places). There was a machine selling hot and cold drinks after security, but as the tap water was excellent we just filled our empty bottles at the sinks in the ladies’!

    • Isn’t charging for a hot drink standard in Europe sorry haul flights? The last time I got a “free” drink (excluding CE) was on SAS where the flight to CPH was about £100 more than easyJet once way (but a better time so went for it).

      • In Scandinavia free access to hot drinks – especially coffee – is a human right codified in law!

        • Shoestring says:

          on request, BA happily give you free hot water for a tea, coffee or infusion on board (same hot water that paying mug punters get)

          just supply the other bits yourself

  9. OT – Just noticed that my Business Gold Amex card I now only receive 9,000 MR per referral – this has reduced from 18,000MR on my last referral in September

  10. How do you use accor points to discount a booking? It has the message about the price reduction if 2000 points are used, but there seems to be no selection box to actually enable the points to be used and instead lists the full unreduced price as the final cost.

    • Lady London says:

      Its a pulldown on the final payment screen. Hotels can also take your points directly from your account when you check in or check out.

      • Lady London says:

        …..although I saw a comment elsewhere recently where someone was querying was Accor now blocking payment with points towards a discounted rate as they were no longer seeing the pulldown (this has not happened before). If Accor are now doing this as well as their no-fun miserable points-gathering scheme then its one more reason to not choose an Accor hotel.

    • Weird I couldn’t find it when I looked for it, wasn’t sure if it was a problem with the new ALL site?

  11. No 4, I thought that they’d be following easyJet on offsetting…

    Wonder if VS or VirginConnect will follow suit when it eventually launches

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