News in brief:
Heathrow pulls back on threat for Christmas capacity caps
Heathrow is attempting to calm concerns from airlines and passengers over short notice capacity caps over the busy Christmas and New Year period.
As we covered here, Heathrow lifted its passenger cap as planned from 30th October. This wasn’t the end of it, however, as the airport said that it had not ruled out implementing a ‘highly targeted mechanism’ that would ‘align supply and demand’ during key peak days in the run up to Christmas.
This threat now appears to have lifted, with the latest trading statement from the airport claming that, following discussions with airlines and ground handlers, it now believed that it had sufficient capacity to cope.
It isn’t clear if these ‘discussions’ with the airlines were about making additional early cancellations, which is not exactly helpful but at least avoids short terms disruption, or if was around some rescheduling of services to balance out the hourly flow rate of arriving and departing passengers.
It’s not all good news, of course, with multiple stakeholders, including Border Force, currently planning industrial action in the coming weeks over pay.
In its latest update on recruitment, the airport said that it was now expecting to be able to find enough staff to return to pre-pandemic employment levels by the time of the Summer holiday peak in 2023. Rising unemployment elsewhere in the economy is likely to make it easier to find staff willing to accept the low pay and unsocial hours involved in airport work.
Eurostar commits to Amsterdam services
According to Dutch media reports picked up by Business Traveller, Eurostar has agreed a deal to remain at Amsterdam Centraal after a way forward was found to ease the processing of passengers.
As Rhys found when he reviewed the Amsterdam Eurostar service this year, the situation at Amsterdam is far from ideal. The existing station layout and the need to separate UK passengers, including immigration and security clearance, has led to issues which threatened the future of the service. The existing security area was also required to allow other construction work to take place.
Reports suggest that a new facility will be built in an existing but underused passage underneath Amsterdam Centraal. This will have capacity for 600 passenges compared to the current 250.
No timetable for the development has been released.
How to get Club Eurostar points and lounge access from UK credit cards (September 2023)
Club Eurostar does not have a UK credit card. However, you can earn Club Eurostar points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.
Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 1,333 Club Eurostar points. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with four free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 2,000 Club Eurostar points. Card benefits include Eurostar lounge access.
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 666 Club Eurostar points. This card is FREE for life.
Membership Rewards points convert at 15:1 into Club Eurostar points which is an attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, so you will get the equivalent of 1 Club Eurostar point for every £15 you spend.
American Express Platinum comes with a great Eurostar benefit – Eurostar lounge access!
You can enter any Eurostar lounge, irrespective of your ticket type, simply by showing The Platinum Card at the desk. No guests are allowed but you can get entry for your partner by issuing them with a free supplementary Amex Platinum card on your account.