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Bits: BA passenger numbers, Gatwick £5 drop-off fee, Miles & More card update

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News in brief:

How many flights is British Airways operating at the moment?

If you are wondering what is happening at Heathrow at the moment, I managed to get hold of the British Airways traffic figures for last Sunday.

Across the whole day, BA operated:

  • 43 passenger aircraft arrivals
  • 41 passenger aircraft departures
  • 15 cargo-only arrivals
  • 18 cargo-only departures

Long-haul departures were 33% full whilst short-haul departures were 76% full. This doesn’t account for no-shows so the actual number of people travelling will have been lower.

I have the total passenger numbers too but it may be too sensitive to publish. It is a low four-digit number in each direction.

Gatwick launching its £5 drop-off fee on 8th March

Back in October, we covered Gatwick’s announcement of a terminal drop-off fee.

Any vehicles dropping off passengers directly outside either the North or South terminals will be charged a £5 fee for the privilege.

It joins Stansted, Luton, Edinburgh, Manchester and many other regional airports in charging. London Heathrow is also planning its own drop-off fee later this year.

The airport has just announced that the fee will kick in from 8th March.

Gatwick’s £5 charge will be one of the most expensive airport drop-off fees in the country, matching Stansted’s pricing. The cost could reach a whopping £25, with the fee increasing by £1 per minute after the first 10 minutes. The maximum stay allowed will be 30 minutes.

In a slight climb down for local commuters who take the train from Gatwick, anyone living in the RH6 0, RH6 9 and RH11 0 postcodes will be allowed to buy a £50 annual pass.

If you want to park for free you can get up to two hours free parking in Gatwick’s long stay car parks, although you’ll have to hop on a (free) shuttle bus to the terminal.

Gatwick is spinning this as a sustainable initiative to reduce traffic in and around the airport. Around 15% of all passengers currently get dropped off on the kerb and Gatwick is clearly hoping it can encourage more people to take the train.

Gatwick North Terminal

Lufthansa only halting miles expiry for credit card holders until 31st December

As we covered here, the current Lufthansa Miles & More Global Traveller payment cards are closing on 4th April.

Lufthansa has now written to cardholders to say that their Miles & More balance will be protected from expiry – but only until 31st December 2021.

If Lufthansa does not launch a new UK card product by the end of the year, existing cardholders with no Miles & More status will see their miles starting to expire on 31st March 2022. All miles over three years old will disappear on that date, with a new batch expiring every quarter after that.

On the face of it, this is a poor offer. Lufthansa is up with Accor in the ‘we’re going to keep expiring your points during covid, we don’t care’ stakes. Even people who wanted to spend their balance before 31st December are going to struggle.

However ….. my understanding is that it is very likely that the new Cornercard-issued Visa will launch in Summer 2021.

On this basis, cardholders should have nothing to worry about. My only concern is that anyone who is currently unemployed, on furlough or self-employed will not be accepted and will therefore see their miles expire.

Comments (61)

  • George says:

    Cornercard will have no way of knowing if you’re on furlough, unless they call your employer or write to them, which they’re not going to do. And even then… Anyway, it’s none of their business and a lot of people on furlough have a surplus of cash waiting to be spent anyway.

    • Rob says:

      It is very hard to get a credit card if you are self employed at the moment though. Even Capital On Tap won’t touch you now unless you have a Limited Company.

      • Lloyd says:

        Let’s hope that this changes by the summer, as wife and I are both self employed, we stand to lose over 100,000 points between us if we can’t spend them!

      • Richard G says:

        This is news to me. What’s going on there?

        I am amused by the concept that my business of 20 years is less stable than if I was some random employee that a company could get rid of on a whim.

      • Pangolin says:

        True. My Experian rating is the maximum 999 yet the only credit cards it says are available to me are the Amex ones I already have!

        PS I understand that these ratings and actual suitability for credit are not one and the same but the point stands. Self employed? Computer says NO!

  • Brighton Belle says:

    What other methods are there to put a few points onto the LH account to stop points expiring?

    • E says:

      Think points expire 3 years after you got them regardless of what else you add to the account? So even if you added points now from Amex (not possible but an example), the just added points would be safe for 3 years from now but the points you gained 3 years ago would still expire imminently. The only ‘protective’ measure is the credit card.

      • Chris P says:

        There’s always the alternative of buying something from the Miles & More catalogue so at least you get something, rather than lose them completely. Sadly, their wine doesn’t seem available to UK residents but I used a 25% off points deal on Black Friday and now have a great glass teapot courtesy of Lufthansa!

        • Neil says:

          Where do they ship from if you buy something from the catalogue? Just wondering if you’ll now get stung for import duty.

          • kitten says:

            They shipped some Bose or Anker kit – can’t remember which – to me from Germany. pre-31 December though

          • Chris P says:

            My teapot was shipped from Germany BUT it was November 2020.

        • Alex Sm says:

          Converting them to Amazon voucher is the last resort (or an option for small amount – helped me a lot after MBNA cards were abandoned a couple of years ago)

      • Rob says:

        Correct. The only other option is to get LH status, but as they don’t do matches that is not an option.

  • Paul says:

    60 flights yesterday with 50% being ferry flights (ie) Cargo only.

    ISB and Africa have almost 100% load factors and, in the midst of this awful pandemic, one has to wonder why?

    • chabuddy geezy says:

      International students are still coming to the UK despite lockdown and remote teaching.

  • SH says:

    I flew to ACC on Monday for work and the First Wing check in staff told me they’re expecting 3000 departing passengers.

  • Andy S says:

    You could get a train from Horley to Gatwick Airport for £2 (less if you have a railcard) to aviod the £5 drop off charge or a shuttle bus.

    • Martin Louis says:

      But it’s the hassle of getting out of the car with luggage, getting into the station, onto a train, off again. Fine for 1 able bodied person but if there’s 2 or more then the savings go.

  • 1ATL says:

    Drop off at the Hilton South Terminal and walk through might be a work around moving forward. How about the North Terminal hotels (Sofitel, Premier Inn, Hampton)?

  • Alex Sm says:

    It would make a brilliant McKinsey-style recruitment task to test people’s logic and general knowledge.

    So, if we assume for simplicity that all short-haul flights are A320 and long-haul are a mix of B772 and B789, it will give us 180 seats for each short-haul and average 240 seats for each long-haul.

    Let’s also assume that LH and SH were roughly 1 to 2, i.e. 14 LH departures and 27 SH departures.

    LH: 14*240=3,360 and 33% of which are ca 1,100

    SH: 27*180=4,860 and 76% of which are ca 3,700

    The total is nearly 4,800, which is not exactly in low 4-digit, rather the middle of the range. There might be a flaw in my calculations, but can’t figure out where exactly. Any ideas?

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