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News: BA cargo in a passenger 777, ‘Last Flight to Newquay’ on Radio 4, donate Aegean miles

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News in brief:

British Airways flying cargo in Boeing 777 passenger cabins

IAG Cargo has released some pictures from a recent flight which was ferrying NHS supplies to the UK.

As you can see from the pictures throughout this article, the flight used a standard British Airways Boeing 777 with the passenger cabin – as well as the hold – also filled with cargo.  It certainly isn’t the standard cabin photograph you are used to seeing on Head for Points.

‘Last Flight to Newquay’ on Radio 4

On Monday, Radio 4 ran a documentary entitled ‘Last Flight to Newquay’.

This was originally conceived as a documentary about how Cornwall Airport Newquay was responding to the collapse of Flybe, which accounted for the majority of its flights.  During production, the coronavirus lockdown took full effect and the production team was on hand as the future of the airport – and the local community – turned even bleaker.

You can listen on the BBC Sounds website here or via the app if you have it.  It is 27 minutes long.

The producer was Laurence Grissell who I know, having helped him with the 2018 ‘Inside The World Of The Frequent Flyer’ documentary.  If you never heard that, I strongly recommend it (this is despite, not because of, the fact that I am in it!).   It is still available via BBC Sounds and you can listen to it here.

Listen to both together and that’s an hour of lockdown filled productively!

Donate spare Aegean miles to health professionals

I imagine that more Head for Points readers than you think might be sitting on a handful of Aegean Miles+Bonus miles.

This is because Aegean Miles+Bonus used to be, by far, the easiest route to Star Alliance Gold status.  It still is, except for the fact that you now need to fly four segments on Aegean each year as well as earn the modestly small number of miles required.

Aegean is hoping, via mileage donations, to fund two return domestic flights for all medical staff at 17 hospitals in Greece dealing with coronavirus.  The airline is tripling all miles donated.

You can donate via this page.  The minimum donation is just 500 miles, and the last time I checked it had already raised 165 million miles!

Comments (45)

  • OT but this is bits and the chat thread hasn’t appeared yet.

    I did a VS miles transfer via SMS on 3rd April to Hilton and the points have now posted on the Hilton account.
    It posted in two blocks one for 20000 miles and the other for 50000 miles

    • Dave says:

      I was told when I called Virgin yesterday to move my points to Hilton that the ability to transfer out was going to be removed. Other people have asked the same thing and got told differently. I’m not sure whether it was just staff rumours. I’m in no hurry to get my points as long as they transfer over before Virgin folds.

      My gut feeling is the government will not be keen on being seen to bail Branson out. Boris’ key support, the Brexiteers, hate Branson because he’s a prominent remainer. Then many others hate him because he sued the NHS (let’s not get into details as to whether it was justified, to many that doesn’t matter). Then you have those who hate him because of his tax avoidance.

      This government loves populist measures and saying no to Branson would be very popular with their core supporters.

      • Harry T says:

        Good comment, Dave. I think VS would have a better chance of survival if Branson wasn’t involved. Rightly or wrongly, he is toxic to some people.

        • Dave says:

          I don’t think Branson realises how he’s managed to become hated from so many different parts of the political spectrum. It’d be best if he just shuts up and allows those who run the airlines to put up the arguments for financial support

          • Callum says:

            I’m not sure he’s “hated” – isn’t he always pretty high up on the polls they do of the most respected Britons etc?

            There are lots of ignorant and vocal sheep around, but they’ll forget him soon enough and move on to the next fashionable target.

            (Which is certainly not to say that there aren’t legitimate reasons to hate him as well)

          • Bazza says:

            Don’t believe many hate him. His definitely seen as a great leader and inspirational but his lost touch with reality.
            On brexit he should have kept his mouth shut. He has no clue how being a member of the EU effects job seekers in Norfolk or minimum wage earners in London.
            And banning the Daily Mail. Sounds like a scared little man.

          • Andrew says:

            It doesn’t take much for a celebrity to switch from being “liked” to more oh FFS them.

            Joanna Lumley with the Garden Bridge…
            Sam Smith in tears about being stuck in his luxurious home.
            Footballers not realising that prostitutes aren’t included in “essential work travel”
            Billionaire Richard Branson with a begging bowl out.

          • Josh says:

            What’s this about footballers and essential prostitutes? Must have missed that 😂

      • Mikeact says:

        Shame, we went through all this yesterday…..not again please.

      • JohnG says:

        A pretty reasoned argument. I don’t think it’s a certainty, and I think there are political considerations against as well, though not as obviously immediate. I don’t buy into the “BA shouldn’t that be London Airways” mindset, but lets face it the impact of Virgin failing in the North West is a massive amount larger than in London and the South East; and it could easily be seen (and spun) as showing that for all the northern powerhouse talk the government isn’t interested in practice.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Good to hear others were not told Virgin are stopping transfers to partners. I’m going to transfer as soon as I hit 10k again.

      • Spursdebs says:

        Oh my this virus is doing very strange things I’ve actually agreed with a Guardian article. It’s worrying times indeed.

        https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/21/richard-branson-bailout

        • Nick_C says:

          Obviously The Grauniad are appealing to the Tory-supporting Brexiteers who make up the majority of their readership 😉

        • RussellH says:

          To quote St. Luke, Chapter 15, Verse 7 “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

          However, that article is by Marina Hyde, who by a pretty long way is my least favourite of The Guardian’s regular columnists. And this column seems worse than most.
          For clarity, it is the way she writes that I find so off-putting, the sentiments may be fine, but they can be pretty difficult to find.

        • Anna says:

          Debs, I’ve started reading The Guardian since the other broadsheets started restricting access (apart from the Independent, which is just the Guardian under a different name and not remotely independent). There is some decent journalism in there if you strip away the worst of the left wing bias. They are keen on highlighting the kind of social issues which I think actually matter to most people, regardless of political affiliation.

          • Lady London says:

            pressreader via your local library – use your library card details to sign up -apparently unlocks them. (Ta, @Shoestring if you’re here).

    • Alex Sm says:

      What exactly did you include into the SMS? I tried their WA number. Left a clear instruction with my VFC and IHG numbers, the amount of miles to be transferred and still waiting. Did they ask any security questions via sms?

      • The Streets says:

        I also included date of birth and postal address

      • RussellH says:

        I sent my SMS to Virgin FC on 6 April.
        Virgin FC no.
        Name
        DoB
        Full postal Address

        Requested transfer of 10 000 VFC points to 15 000 Hilton points.

        Got a reply from Karen on 8 April late evening, advising that transfer could take up to 30 days and asking me to reconfirm the request. Replied 9 April. Further SMS from VFC on 14 April confirming that transfer had been done. Website showed miles having gone.
        Arrived in Hilton a/c today, dated yesterday.
        Someone commented the other day that the Hilton points tend to arrive on a Wednesday.

  • Tom Murray says:

    Re carrying cargo in the passenger cabin of the triple seven, I’m surprised they were able to find cartons small enough to fit in the seats 🙂

    • mr_jetlag says:

      tbf those boxes look very uncomfortable, they would probably rather be with their mates in the hold

      • Alex says:

        It’s a good PR move (although others did it two to three weeks ago) but not very efficient given the massive effort required to load and unload that cargo into passenger seats instead of into ULDs and into the hold. From the number I’ve seen its cheap to just use another aircraft.

        • The Original David says:

          To be fair, this news is from 2-3 weeks ago. G-STBB did a cargo flight from Shanghai on 9th April.

        • Nick_C says:

          I don’t think IAG have any dedicated freighters?

          https://www.iagcargo.com/en/page/fleet

          Are they still carrying some passengers on these flights where they are also carrying freight in the passenger cabins?

          It is quite quick to strip the cabins. Wonder if they will be doing that? The money now, and in the near future, is in airfreight.

          I was also wondering if there is a role for the A318 for carrying passengers on essential journeys during these peculiar times.

          • Rhys says:

            No, I doubt they would be allowed to carry passengers + freight in the cabin. Some airlines have started stripping seats from cabins.

  • Tanya Wade says:

    Is anyone able to get through to BA? I have tried 50+ times over the last week with no joy.

    • Catalan says:

      Yep. Last week. Waited 45 mins to speak to someone, UK based. Very pleasant lady who took my call.

      • Eddy says:

        Just tried half an hour ago. Every single line says so sorry. very busy blah blah then auto hangs up. So you don’t have a way to talk to them. Tried Twitter as CS support complaints team too. Zero chance.
        National Flag carrier- national disgrace more like.

        • Gavin says:

          Yesterday I got the “we are too busy” message four or five times, but got through within 10 mins at midday, refund issued within 2 minutes. Perseverance is key

    • Sarah says:

      Called the Gold line on Monday, was through in a couple of minutes. Think I phoned around 5pm.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Actually I managed to get through in 8 (!) minutes by calling their Dutch number – my booking was promptly refunded by a nice and very polite lady with a sightly husky voice!

    • AG says:

      Try the US number, it sounds like it re-directs you to the UK line, but after having tried the UK one this morning around 10am and getting cut off, I tried the US number (without selecting any options) and got through to someone UK based after about 45min.

  • Andrew says:

    A video on Virgin’s Insta showing a similar cabin set up full of cargo PPE.

  • AlanC says:

    Similar to the BA cargo in the passenger cabin. Remember the photo of the Middle East airline with the Falcons on the seats?

  • Alex Sm says:

    Aegean is one of the best airlines in Europe – quietly!
    They offer full catering aboard, even in economy, service is very nice, miles programme is good and even with 4 segments via Athens – what’s wrong with that? the airport is not bad, well connected. Fares are affordable. My partner and I are now planning a nice autumn trip to the Med every year for my birthday (did Rhodes, Larnaca, Tel Aviv and Tirana so far) to renew the status. They give free upgrades on most legs.

    And now they allow to change existing bookings without paying a fare difference – this is honestly the key thing what all airlines should do to encourage people to take vouchers.

    No BA, LH or AF stand anywhere near to A3!

    • MKB says:

      Agreed. Although they did start zealously enforcing cabin bag size/weight at one point that caused a lot of upset/delay when cash was demanded at the gate. Their weight limit is pretty low I seem to recall.

      “except for the fact that you now need to fly four segments on Aegean each year as well as earn the modestly small number of miles required.”

      That’s not true. You can renew for double the miles without flying Aegean. I’ve renewed my Star Alliance Gold for each of the past two years with a single first-class round-trip on Swiss bought in their sale.

      • MKB says:

        In support of that, here is the current wording on the website for the Gold tier (which is equivalent to Star Alliance Gold):

        “To upgrade from Silver to the Gold Tier, all you need to do is fly Aegean or Olympic Air at least four times and earn 24,000 Tier Miles within 12 months or collect a total 48,000 Tier Miles, regardless of which airline you choose to fly with. Whichever you do first will get you there.

        To retain your Gold Tier, you have a fixed 12-month period from the date of your upgrade or renewal of your tier to collect 12,000 Tier Miles, including 4 flights with Aegean and/or Olympic Air, or collect a total of 24,000 Tier Miles, regardless of which airline you choose to fly with.”

    • Anna says:

      Do they fly from the North of England?!

  • Andy says:

    The BBC Sounds app is now available on BT TV and You View.