Alaska Airlines expands partnership with British Airways, offers direct flight to US destinations

Alaska Airlines has announced an expansion of its long-standing partnership with British Airways, a founding member of the oneworld alliance, by enabling guests to book nonstop British Airways flights to London directly at alaskaair.com.

This seamless travel experience includes flights between London Heathrow and Alaska’s gateway airports in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, as well as Chicago and New York JFK.

‘We’re excited to add our longstanding partner, British Airways, to our growing portfolio of alaskaair.com book direct airlines,’ said Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer for Alaska Airlines. ‘London is one the most requested global gateways by our guests and no one serves it better than British Airways and the oneworld alliance.’

British Airways offers significant service to and from London and key West Coast gateways, including:

* Seattle: Two daily flights

* Portland: Daily flight

* San Francisco: Two daily flights

* Los Angeles: Three daily flights

* San Diego: Two daily flights

Additionally, guests can book British Airways nonstop flights from Chicago (three daily flights) and New York JFK (eight daily flights) on alaskaair.com. British Airways tickets purchased on alaskaair.com are for flights beginning June 18 and beyond. Later this year, guests will also be able to purchase Alaska flights connecting to British Airways, along with flights beyond London on British Airways.

‘We are extending our partnership with our fellow oneworld member Alaska Airlines to offer travellers seamless access to British Airways flights to London directly at alaskaair.com,’ said British Airways Chief Planning and Strategy Officer Neil Chernoff. ‘It will enhance the travel experience for our customers, providing convenient connections between London Heathrow and Alaska’s key gateway airports. We look forward to connecting even more travellers between the Pacific Northwest and the UK capital.’

Mileage Plan members earn one mile for every mile flown on British Airways flights booked at alaskaair.com, with 100% elite qualifying miles (EQMs) also awarded. Additionally, flights purchased with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card earn triple miles, including overseas flights on British Airways.

Virgin Atlantic and WestJet announce codeshare expansion enhancing global connectivity

Virgin Atlantic and WestJet have announced a significant expansion of their codeshare agreement.

This winter, WestJet guests will have access to numerous global destinations through Virgin Atlantic’s network from London Heathrow (LHR). Starting in Summer 2025, WestJet will also offer domestic connectivity to Virgin Atlantic’s new route between Toronto-Pearson and London Heathrow.

Key Highlights:

* Expanded access: Beginning this winter, WestJet guests can book itineraries that include Virgin Atlantic-operated flights from LHR to a range of international destinations.

* New Route: By summer 2025, WestJet will connect domestic flights to Virgin Atlantic’s newly announced route between Toronto-Pearson and London Heathrow.

* Enhanced partnership: This marks the first time WestJet’s network will extend beyond Europe via a codeshare through London Heathrow, offering unprecedented access to India, Africa, and the Middle East.

‘Through the expansion of our existing partnership with Virgin Atlantic, we are unlocking amazing opportunities for our guests to access an extensive list of new destinations and to experience Virgin Atlantic’s innovative products and services beyond London,’ said John Weatherill, Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer of WestJet. ‘With daily flights from our global hub in Calgary to London, Canadians have never had better international access from across Western Canada to the United Kingdom and beyond.’

In 2025, WestJet Rewards and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club will establish a reciprocal frequent flyer partnership, allowing customers to earn and redeem points across both networks.

The agreement was officially signed last week at the IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Dubai by WestJet’s John Weatherill and Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Commercial Officer, Juha Jarvinen. The partnership between WestJet and Virgin Atlantic has been in place since 2019.

British Airways announces scenic travel option with Uber Boat to airport

British Airways has partnered with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers to offer travellers a unique and scenic journey to London City Airport, featuring a 25 percent discount on tickets and a complimentary drink on the Thames.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, London’s River Bus service, operates across 24 piers between Putney Pier in the west and Barking Riverside in the east. This new offering is available to passengers flying with BA Cityflyer, British Airways’ subsidiary airline based at London City Airport. Passengers can enjoy sailing to the airport by disembarking at Royal Wharf Pier, with views of iconic landmarks such as Big Ben, The London Eye, The Shard, and The Cutty Sark.

Tom Stoddart, CEO of BA Cityflyer, said: ‘Not only is flying from London City a convenient and quick way to travel, but it allows our customers to really embrace our brilliant city. With views of the Canary Wharf skyline and the River Thames, it’s an airport like no other and working with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers helps us to extend the London experience beyond the airport.’

Passengers can embark and disembark at various accessible London locations, including Chelsea Harbour, Battersea Power Station, and Embankment. Discounted tickets are available from £4.20 per person within the East Zone or £7.69 from central London. Service frequency may vary depending on time of day and the piers travelled. Passengers should check the timetable before traveling.

British Airways customers traveling to or from London City Airport with flights on the same day can enjoy the 25 percent discount when booking in advance via www.ba.com/londoncity. Additionally, passengers can show their boarding pass at the onboard cafe bar to receive a complimentary hot drink.

BA CityFlyer operates the Embraer 190 aircraft with routes to over 30 destinations across the UK and Europe.

British Airways to increase London Heathrow flights to Delhi

British Airways has announced the addition of a new daily flight to its schedule between Delhi and London Heathrow, starting on April 20, 2025. This expansion will increase the airline’s total flights across India to 63 per week, covering five major cities.

Currently, British Airways operates 56 flights per week, including three daily flights from Mumbai, double daily flights from Delhi, and daily services from Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The new flight will be serviced by the Boeing 787-8 aircraft, which offers Club World, World Traveller Plus, and World Traveller classes.

Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ Chief Planning and Strategy Officer, said: ‘This is a milestone year for us at British Airways as we celebrate 100 years of flying to India. I’m delighted to announce the addition of a third daily flight from the vibrant capital city of India, Delhi offering convenient travel choices from India to London Heathrow, and to our extensive worldwide network of more than 200 destinations.’

Moran Birger, Head of Sales Asia Pacific and Middle East at British Airways, said: ‘This significant historical year is a testament to our longstanding relationship with India, built over the last 100 years and reflecting our deep-rooted commitment to the country and its people. With an unwavering focus on customer satisfaction and convenience, we strive to set new standards and elevate the travel experience for all our customers. We eagerly anticipate welcoming passengers on board our new flights and continuing our legacy of excellence in the skies.’

Virgin Atlantic expands services with EL AL, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, and Saudia

Virgin Atlantic has announced the expansion of its codeshare partnerships with EL AL, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, and Saudia.

These collaborations signify a significant advancement in strengthening Virgin Atlantic’s global network.

In collaboration with EL AL, Israel’s national carrier, Virgin Atlantic introduces enhanced connectivity between the UK, US, and Israel, starting June 10, 2024. This will provide increased flexibility and choice with Virgin Atlantic’s code on EL AL’s London Heathrow – Tel Aviv route and reciprocal benefits, enhanced earning and redemption opportunities. Virgin Atlantic also resumes its Tel Aviv operations from September 5, 2024.

As the first and only UK member airline of the SkyTeam alliance, Virgin Atlantic welcomed SAS Scandinavian Airlines into the SkyTeam Global Alliance, promising enhanced connectivity and access to Scandinavian key hubs. This strategic partnership offers passengers an expanded range of destinations, accompanied by instant earning and redemption opportunities for Flying Club members.

Additionally, Virgin Atlantic launches a new codeshare agreement with SkyTeam member Saudia, for added connectivity between Saudi Arabia and Virgin Atlantic destinations. Effective immediately, passengers can enjoy smooth connections from the US to Jeddah and Riyadh via London Heathrow and Manchester.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘As we celebrate our 40th anniversary this month, we know that giving our customers more choice and award-winning service in the skies is what fuels our success, alongside working with the best partners. We’re delighted to launch codeshares with our SkyTeam partners at SAS and Saudia today, enhancing our connectivity and offering greater customer benefits to our frequent flyers, who will be able to achieve rewards faster.

‘Our return to Tel Aviv on 5 September will be welcome news for customers who have enjoyed our service since 2019, and this time round it’ll be strengthened by our new codeshare partnership with EL AL.’

Jet2 launches Winter 25/26 Ski Programme from London Stansted

Jet2 has unveiled its Winter 25/26 Ski Programme, offering an array of ski destinations for snow enthusiasts departing from London Stansted Airport.

The programme boasts direct flights to four premier ski destinations: Chambery, Geneva, Grenoble, and Salzburg. Commencing in December 2025 and extending throughout the winter season, travellers can experience the slopes of the French, Austrian, and Swiss Alps.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘With four ski destinations on sale, we are giving skiers and snowboarders the chance to book ahead and get access to some of the best ski resorts in Europe. ‘Whether it is for a weekend, short break or longer, we are offering snow sports enthusiasts plenty of choice and flexibility to hit the slopes.

‘Skiers and snowboarders travelling with Jet2.com next winter can take advantage of our VIP customer service and 22kg of baggage and ski allowance and, for this reason, we expect our Winter 25/26 Ski programme to be a huge success.’

Neringa Ohrstrom, Head of Brand and Marketing at London Stansted, said: ‘The launch of Jet2.com’s winter 25/26 ski programme is great news for the airport and perfect for skiers who wish to visit the best resorts in the Alps. London Stansted offers more European destinations than any other UK airport flying to the finest ski areas across the continent, making it the ideal starting point for a wonderful winter sports holiday.’

The full ski programme offers:

* Chambery: Up to three weekly services, providing swift access to renowned French ski resorts, including Courchevel, the host of the 2023 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

* Geneva: With up to five weekly flights during peak times, Geneva offers access to premier ski resorts such as Tignes, Flaine, Verbier, Zermatt, and the Three Valleys, catering to quick getaways with weekday flight options.

* Salzburg: Weekly Saturday services to Salzburg open doors to the Austrian Alps and over 300 resorts, including Kaprun, Mayrhofen, and Obertauern.

* Grenoble: Weekly Saturday services to Grenoble serve as the perfect gateway to the French Alps, granting access to over 175 exceptional ski resorts, including Morzine, Chamonix, Chamrousse, Les Deux Alpes, Alpe d’Huez, and Avoriaz.

Passengers can expect a seamless travel experience with Jet2.com, enjoying VIP customer service and a generous baggage and ski allowance of 22kg. This commitment to customer satisfaction sets the stage for an unforgettable skiing adventure.

easyJet introduces new route from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Malta

easyJet has announced the launch of a new route from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Malta, offering travellers in the North West region increased options for flights and holiday destinations.

Commencing operations on December 10, 2024, this year-round service will provide departures twice a week, on Tuesdays and Sundays.

The addition of this route underscores easyJet’s commitment to expanding its Liverpool network, with Malta joining a roster of recent introductions including Enfida in Tunisia, Hurghada in Egypt, and the Greek island of Corfu. Boasting stunning coastlines, crystal-clear waters, and over 3,000 hours of sunshine annually, Malta offers a captivating blend of rich history and diverse attractions, ideal for cultural explorations, tranquil beach getaways, or exhilarating scuba diving experiences.

Commenting on the new route, Ali Gayward, Malta Country manager, easyJet, said: ‘We are delighted to be announcing another new route from Liverpool, to Malta, providing our customers in the North West with even greater choice and connectivity to more of Europe’s best holiday destinations, all with great value fares and friendly service, and we look forward to welcoming them on board.’

Paul Winfield, Aviation Director for LJLA said: ‘We are delighted to welcome this new service to Malta with easyJet – a destination that we know is popular with holidaymakers from across the Liverpool City Region and beyond.

With just 9% of all flights to Malta from the North West currently served from Liverpool, this route has significant opportunity to grow from here, with more passengers from across the North West now able to take advantage of all the benefits of jetting off on holiday to Malta from Liverpool.’

Customers can book flights and holidays to Malta starting from June 11 via easyJet.com or the mobile app. In addition to flights, easyJet holidays presents a range of package options, from family-friendly, all-inclusive stays at the 4-star db San Antonio Hotel and Spa, to adults-only luxury experiences at the 4-star Seaview Hotel in St Pauls Bay. Guests can indulge in panoramic sea views, sunset vistas from the rooftop infinity pool, and a variety of dining options at the hotel’s a la carte restaurants.

India rises to 39th place on World Economic Forum’s tourist destination index

India has ascended to 39th spot on the World Economic Forum Travel & Tourist Development Index 2024 as global tourist activities have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, according to an annual study released recently.

Ranked highest in South Asia and among lower-middle-income economies, India’s climb to the 39th position underscores its growing prominence in the global tourism landscape, despite the US topping the list. In the 2021 ranking, India held the 54th position; however, the index’s comparability to prior years was limited due to modifications made to its standards.

India’s impressive price competitiveness (18th), along with its competitive ground and port infrastructure (25th) and air transport infrastructure (26th), highlights its attractiveness to travellers, as revealed by the index, which was developed in partnership with the University of Surrey. The nation’s robust Natural (6th), Cultural (9th), and Non-Leisure (9th) Resources further enhance its appeal for travellers, positioning India as one of only three countries to rank in the top 10 across all resource pillars, according to the WEF.

India continues to score highly for the sustainability of travel and tourism demand, albeit slightly lower than in 2019, largely attributed to incoming tourists’ longer and more sustainable stays.

India’s travel and tourism sector has faced challenges from global inflationary supply-side trends, resulting in a decline in price competitiveness and a slower recovery of air travel and tourist services infrastructure to 2019 levels. As a consequence, India’s total TTDI (Travel and Tourism Development Index) score is 2.1 percent lower than in 2019.

The index, led by high-income economies in Asia-Pacific and Europe, forecasts a return to pre-pandemic levels for international tourist arrivals and the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to global GDP this year, driven by the lifting of COVID-19-related travel restrictions and strong demand.

International visitor arrivals saw the fastest recovery in the Middle East (20 percent over 2019 levels), with recoveries of about 90 percent in 2023 for the Americas, Europe, and Africa.

Examining the travel and tourism industries of 119 countries using various criteria and regulations, the biennial index showcased US at number one, with the UK amongst the top 10.

Jet2 announces largest winter sun programme yet from London Stansted

Jet2.com has launched its most extensive winter sun programme to date from London Stansted Airport, offering flights to 14 destinations across Europe and North Africa for the winter 2025/2026 season.

Holidaymakers can book flights and holidays to renowned hotspots such as the Canary Islands, Spain, Majorca, Portugal, Turkey, Malta, Cyprus, and Morocco, as Jet2.com’s winter sun programme goes on sale.

The programme features increased capacity to popular destinations such as Antalya, Faro, Madeira, Gran Canaria, and Palma, with over 55 weekly flights departing from London Stansted Airport during peak periods.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘Our Winter 25/26 Sun programme represents our biggest programme to date, and we are very pleased to be putting 14 sunshine destinations on sale from London Stansted Airport. By launching our Winter Sun programme for 25/26 nice and early, we are giving holidaymakers the chance to book ahead and lock in their getaway, while spreading the cost. With more people than ever wanting to swap the cold and rain of the UK in winter for some sunshine, we are expecting this new programme to sell quickly. We are confident that our Winter 25/26 season will be a fantastic success, and we cannot wait to unveil more details of the exciting programme from London Stansted Airport very soon.’

Ciaran Brannigan, London Stansted’s Commercial Director, said: ‘We are delighted that Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have added additional winter capacity for 25/26. These routes will no doubt prove extremely popular with passengers traveling from London and the East of England from London Stansted.’

The winter sun programme for 2025/2026 from London Stansted, including the peak number of flights per week:

* Tenerife (11)

* Lanzarote (7)

* Gran Canaria (5)

* Fuerteventura (5)

* Malaga (4)

* Alicante (4)

* Palma (3)

* Antalya (4)

* Faro (4)

* Madeira (3)

* Paphos (2)

* Malta (2)

* Marrakech (2)

* Agadir (2)

British Airways launches inaugural winter flights to Tromso, Norway

British Airways has announced the commencement of its first-ever winter flights to Tromso, Norway, set to take off from December 1, 2024. The addition marks a significant milestone, with Tromso becoming British Airways’ northernmost destination worldwide.

Situated within the Arctic Circle, Tromso offers travellers a unique opportunity to experience the captivating beauty of the northern lights, thanks to its prime location within the aurora borealis oval.

With average winter temperatures ranging from 0-degreeC to -5-degreeC, the city provides an ideal setting for a wide range of cold-weather activities, including skiing, mountaineering, and whale watching.

In addition to its natural wonders, Tromso boasts vibrant Christmas markets and iconic seasonal displays, making it a sought-after destination for holiday enthusiasts. The city’s main square, Stortorget, hosts a picturesque market and a stunning Christmas tree, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors.

Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ Chief Planning and Strategy Officer, said: ‘Those who missed the northern lights in the UK need not worry! We are excited to welcome Tromso to our route network – it is a growing winter leisure market thanks to its abundance of cold-weather activities and we’ll be the only premium carrier operating there from the UK. We’ve optimised the schedule for three- and four-night trips, which we know are perfect for a destination like this.’

British Airways offers flights departing from London Heathrow twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays.

British Airways Holidays offers a range of holiday packages to Tromso, starting from £379 per person for a three-night stay at the Comfort Hotel Xpress Tromso in January 2025. Packages include economy-class return flights from London Heathrow, a 23kg baggage allowance per person, and flexible payment options.

Return flights to Tromso are available for booking, with fares starting from £153. Customers can also transport skiing or snowboarding equipment as part of their checked baggage, provided it meets specified dimensions.

Bookings and more information is available at the British Airways website, www.ba.com.