Qatar Business Class

Bits: BA messes with its iPhone app, Eastern launches Teesside to London City, BA and Qatar plan Australia JV

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News in brief:

Has BA now messed up its iPhone app too?

Before Christmas we covered the new British Airways iPad app.

We celebrated the achievements of the BA IT team as the British Airways iPad app received its 1,000th one-star review.  Since virtually no-one had given it two, three, four or five stars, the overall average from ALL reviewers was just 1.1 out of 5.

Take a look (click to enlarge):

British Airways iPad app

Things have not improved since then.   The overall average for the iPad app has now dropped to 1.0 out of 5, which is as low as it is feasibly possible to go.  Once the developers ran out of friends to give it 5 stars, the drop from 1.1 to 1.0 was inevitable.

If you’re wondering what the team has been doing since then, the answer is that it has turned its hand to the iPhone app.  To be honest, I always thought it was OK except for the pointless need to log in again every few seconds.  If you have not updated the BA iPhone app yet, you may want to leave it as it is.  The home screen, previously a classy affair (especially for Gold members) is now white and with print size aimed at the short sighted.

Here is some feedback from the last few hours:

British Airways iphone app

Eastern Airways launches Teesside (Durham) to London City

Eastern Airways unveiled a raft of new routes from Teesside International (the old Durham Tees Valley) Airport yesterday.

Impressively, it includes two daily flights to London City Airport.  Given the recent failure of Eastern to run an Aberdeen – Newcastle – London City service, this is a brave move.

Other new routes from Teesside are Belfast City, Cardiff, Dublin, Southampton and the Isle of Man.  The existing services to Aberdeen and, in Summer, Jersey will remain.

Cardiff flights will begin on 10th February, Belfast City, Dublin and Southampton on 9th March, London City on 27th April and the Isle of Man on 30th May.

Eastern Airways is a Flybe franchise partner and these new services need to be booked via, although they may not be loaded yet.

You can find out more on the Eastern Airways website here.  Our recent review of the lounge at Teesside International is here if you are now planning a trip.

Eastern Airways launches new Teesside routes

British Airways and Qatar Airways plan Australian joint venture

British Airways and Qatar Airways have submitted a request to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to form a joint venture on nine routes to Australia from the UK.

Sydney is NOT included – I think both airlines know that such a request would be thrown out as damaging to competition.  Instead, it will cover the following routes:

  • Adelaide – Manchester
  • Adelaide – London
  • Canberra – London
  • Melbourne – London
  • Melbourne – Edinburgh
  • Melbourne – Manchester
  • Perth – London
  • Perth – Edinburgh
  • Perth – Manchester

What is a little odd about this joint venture is that British Airways brings virtually nothing to the party EXCEPT for its brand.  Apart from the BA flight to Doha, every other flight in the joint venture will be operated by Qatar Airways.

At present, anyone looking to travel from London to Adelaide would be routed on British Airways to Sydney and then onto a Qantas codeshare.  British Airways believes it can make more money by filtering passengers onto a Qatar Airways flight in Doha.  As this is a joint venture, rather than just a codeshare, British Airways should make more money.

There would be very little obvious difference if the joint venture was approved.  There may be some retiming of flights so that connection times in Doha are minimised.  British Airways Executive Club status members would receive a tier bonus on the Qatar Airways service from Doha, which is not currently offered.  Apart from that ….. little changes.

This doesn’t mean that approval for the joint venture is a given, of course, since it reduces competition into the four Australian cities.  It may also raise questions over the future of the British Airways Sydney service, with many potential passengers planning to connect onwards now siphoned off via Doha instead.

You can find out more on the ACCC website here.

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  1. O/T – I have just got my first IHG credit card free night voucher. is there an easy way to check for availability dates for redemptions at a particular hotel? Also, are there any hotels (e.g. those with high points redemption value) that are excluded from the free night voucher?

    • The UK IHG free night can be used at any hotel with reward night availability AFAIK

    • Yes very easy, go to the IHG website and search for the hotel and date you want!

    • Sometimes if you select reward nights and happen to pick a date when a reward night is NOT available IHG will show you a calendar of when reward nights ARE available. I’m not sure which hotels this works for, but I’ve seen it for an IC where I was searching for reward availibilty.

    • Thanks all

  2. Riccatti says:

    Back to BA and QR joint venture,

    Good point on Australia-leading passenger traffic being directed via Doha.

    Not only Qantas, but CX will be less happier — will give it more reason to move towards Delta/Skyteam. Such outcome would give Skyteam certain ‘dominance’ over China and Korea and some SE Asia (with Garuda being Skyteam and Malaysia being invested into by Delta).

    Perhaps CX should think about joint ventures of their own.

    If travelling to Australia, a leisure traveller will make a holiday in SE Asia/HKG/BKK/Singapore. Regional business class redemptions — CX already releases more seats to own program Marco Polo, but not Avios redemption.

    • Riccatti says:

      P.S. The deal will have a hard time to pass Australian regulator though, even without Sydney it is borderline throw out case.

      Why would one agree to a deliberate push in competition reduction. What is the benefit to Australia — it doesn’t seem to increase traveller numbers, just re-routes them. It bypasses flag carrier Qantas — both via Doha and giving it less traffic domestically. The very worst case Qatar Airways can say it will reduce the business — but that’s not going to happen.

      Departures from Sydney international never were a busy affair — yes Qantas international business lounge is more zoo than BA Galleries but airport itself is not crowded, even as departures tend to be clustered in time.

      • Bails from Oz says:

        Qantas has deliberately ignored international travellers departing Adelaide, so too bad for them. There are already many International airlines with daily services ex ADL already, including Qatar, CX and SQ, so Qantas wisely isn’t trying to compete with their sub-par, but over-priced offerings. I think a JV between QR and BA wouldn’t make much difference except some people would feel more secure with a BA tie-in.

  3. OT Curve are now positioning the 1.5% HMRC surcharge as a feature, branded as “Curve Fronted” 🙂

    • Brighton Belle says:

      This is as reasonable as putting a stone in my shoe and congratulating me on learning to walk with a limp. When companies hide behind spin they take us for fools.

    • If you disregard the fact that you could previously pay hmrc for free, it is a feature as it enables you to pay your personal tax bill on credit card which you otherwise cannot do and on commercial cards at a reduced rate.

    • I agree with Will. Makes a lot of sense if you were coming across it for the first time. Just a shame for those who enjoyed the free days

    • Riccatti says:

      And if you were the early Curve adopter, you would enjoy charging to Amex with no fees whatsoever.

      Last year Curve tried to re-introduce Amex, exactly in the same format as HMRC payments: subject to limits and Metal subscription/fees but Amex stopped that in its roots completely.

  4. Hardpack says:

    And in the new ba app if you select reward flights to buy them, I get a German ba site not the uk version

  5. TigerTanaka says:

    Good that you covered the new Teesside routes, up here we are very excited about LCY in particular. Let’s see what the fares are like…

  6. OT @Rob/Rhys, what’s happened to the Inverness articles, Courtyard not open yet?

  7. Benilyn says:
    • Shoestring says:

      read that on my free access to DT / PressReader that I told everybody about & how to access for free themselves 🙂

      Not much to the story: it’s Revolut getting suspicious about money movements, acting fairly heavy-handedly in freezing a/cs (but they *have* to) and being pretty slow in resolving matters/ very poor customer support. The 2 main people in the story were moving £30K and £15K, arousing suspicions it seems!

      • Dirk de Groot – that could definitely be a HFP moniker!

      • Brighton Belle says:

        I made a note of your info when I last saw it but the code 800***123 doesn’t to seem to work or at least I am inputting it into the Barcode field wrong

        • Shoestring says:

          BB I was out at our place in the sun in Oct & my usual code stopped working for me as well. Funnily enough it still works fine in the UK but no way am I deleting cookies/ history etc. 🙂

          To get it working again out in the sun, I googled images for [library card number] where some good folk stick up their library pass barcodes, after a few duds I got lucky pretty quickly putting in my new friend’s barcode on

      • I can’t get a combination of 800147XXX where XXX is random numbers to work?

  8. OT: When you book a hotel room with Amex Platinum Travel (not a FHR one) do you pay full amount now? I am unlikely to be keeping my Platinum card by the time I stay but will have some other Amex.
    Also, do you get your hotel points of you book through Amex travel?

  9. Revolut have told me tonight that they expect VISA to work from next week without a fee and no longer a money transfer.

  10. I’m probably wrong – and this is just me making things up…BUT…..

    The only feasible way I can see for the complete annihilation of half-working BA apps, for something that when even compared to a chocolate teapot – the teapot seems a more useful item, is that the IT team have been outsourced (which is generally true in BA these days) and that the previous app which was developed in-house can no longer be supported by such and such a date – has to be written from the ground up by the new outsourced dev team or there will be penalties, etc.

    This is the only way I can see such an abomination of applications being sent out the door….making zero sence….except in BAs coffers for IT.

    • Apparently the iPad app was not secure but BA was unwilling to remove it from the App Store entirely – hence the fudge.

  11. BlueHorizonuk says:

    I think the HEX app gives the BA one a run for its money. Just awful and completely destroyed from earlier versions.

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