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Bits: BA Newcastle lounge to close?, Virgin puts an A350 on Barbados – with a good hotel deal

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News in brief:

Is British Airways closing the Newcastle lounge permanently?

According to reports on Flyertalk, British Airways is to close its lounge at Newcastle Airport.

Staff have, reportedly, been put into consultation over redundancy.

Whilst I would normally urge caution over such rumours, I know the person who posted the story and he is probably the most regular user of the Newcastle lounge!

It is not clear if British Airways passengers will be able to use the Aspire lounge, or indeed if BA will let Aspire take over the space.

Regular readers will remember that Aspire took over management of the British Airways lounge at Belfast City Airport last year, with a medium term plan to combine the space with its own facility.

There do not appear to be any other lounge closures planned at present, although you need to question whether airports like Aberdeen can sustain both a British Airways lounge and an excellent independent lounge.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A350 Barbados

Virgin Atlantic puts an A350, with the new Upper Class suite, onto Barbados

Barbados is one of the positive spots on the Virgin Atlantic network at the moment.

Not only is it a popular Winter destination, but there are no restrictions on travel for UK residents, apart from the need for a negative covid test result. You do not need to quarantine on your return to the UK either.

I’m not sure that word has got out, however. I had no trouble booking 4 x Upper Class reward seats over October half-term for my family, as a back-up plan in case the UAE quarantine rule is not lifted.

From 14th December to 30th April, Virgin Atlantic is now planning to operate an A350 on this route. This means that you will get the new Upper Class suite, pictured above, instead of the old-style A330-300 seat which we will getting in October.

If you are looking at options for a Winter getaway, this is well worth a look.

And if you need somewhere to stay ….

Travelzoo is offering an excellent hotel deal at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion at the momentsee here and the image below. You save over 50% and suites are included. I stayed here about 15 years ago and it is on a lovely stretch of beach. The voucher is fully refundable if you end up not going. Click here to learn more.

Fairmont Royal Pavilion Barbados

Comments (38)

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    The BA lounge in NCL may not look special but it was very popular among the regulars as it was very well run and had excellent and friendly staff who remembered even people like me who tended to use it only a few times a year.

    It will be a shame to see it go. If you use the lounge regularly then let them know what you think. After all if they can close this lounge without any resistance then they’ll start looking at other ones as well.

  • Simon says:

    I’m currently in Barbados- and lucky enough to. have been for the last 2 weeks.
    The Fairmont is definitely closed- and will be for a while longer I think. Most of the other hotels are closed too around Holetown on the West Coast. The hotels which are open have very limited facilities- I’ve heard a few stories about the Hilton having very restricted F&B service.
    Well known restaurants such as Cin-Cin and The Cliff, Pirates Cove Are also shut- and most beachside bars look like they won’t be open for a very long while.
    The wearing of face masks is strictly enforced- people wear them everywhere- no half-hearted measures here! Your hands and even your bags get sanitised when you walk in to a supermarket. You get temperature checked every time you walk in to a bar/ restaurant (well the one which are open!)
    Barbados is a very special place. Without doubt cruise ships and lots of flights unloading lots of passengers spending money have had A serious impact on the local economy, but the island is far quieter at the moment- we are usually the only people on the beach on a weekday. Carlisle Bay- which is cruise ship central- was full of locals having a swim on Tuesday- rather than thousands if people struggling to swim.
    We have an apartment and a car. I would seriously recommend hiring an apartment or villa if you are visiting the island this winter- you will see Barbados is a very special place if you get out , explore and eat in the local restaurants!

    • Simon says:

      Sorry- I hope this is helpful- when you arrive make sure all your Covid test results are on paper- it makes the process far easier- and make sure it highlights the date and time of the test- not just the date of the email. Those who don’t have this are re-tested.
      The new rules come in place tomorrow- Friday 11th- those staying over 7 days have to have another local test done.
      Also have a pen- there’s more paperwork to fill in and if you are at the back of the plane be prepared for a wait- have a bottle of water!
      Looking at the incidence of Covid in the U.K. I would not be surprised if the Bajan government puts the U.K. in the red category- reading the daily paper it seems I feel too S rise every time they test people on the incoming BA flight!

    • Riccatti says:

      Full-scale paranoia then.

      Hot and humid climate, constant perspiration and touching your face all the time — in these circumstances the mask becomes a perfect incubator. No doubt the masks worn are not those N95 standard with multiple layers..