Virgin Atlantic launches new services to Austin, Texas from London

Virgin Atlantic is launching new direct services from London to Austin, the capital of the Lonestar state of Texas and the airline’s first new route to the US since 2015.

The four times a week service will launch on 25th May 2022 and will operate on the airline’s 787-9 aircraft boasting 31 Upper Class, 35 Premium and 192 Economy Delight, Classic and Light seats. Flights, which will operate Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, are on sale starting Wednesday, January 12 at www.virginatlantic.com. Flight number VS232 will depart Austin at 6:05 p.m. and arrive in London at 9:00 a.m. for a next-day arrival, with return flights departing London at 11:35 a.m. and arriving in Austin at 4:05 p.m. All times are local.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic said, ‘We are incredibly excited to launch this new service to Austin, Texas. With an impressive food, arts and music scene, we know it’s a destination our customers will love to explore.

‘The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years since our first flight to New York City in 1984. Since US borders opened to UK travellers on 8 November, it feels extra special to be launching new flying, especially to the fantastic city of Austin.

‘There are so many synergies between Virgin Atlantic and the city of Austin. We love their philosophy and desire to celebrate local brands, businesses and communities and we cannot wait to welcome customers, both existing and new onboard, flying them safely to explore this fabulously quirky city.’

Jacqueline Yaft , CEO, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport commented: ‘We are thrilled to welcome Virgin Atlantic to Austin and Central Texas. This exciting new partnership helps meet our goals of continued recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and furthers our commitment to being the Gateway of Central Texas for both leisure and business travellers alike.’

Flights are on sale from Monday 10th January at www.virginatlantic.com with return Economy fares starting from £409 per person. In addition to flying customers, Virgin Atlantic will offer 20 tonnes of cargo capacity on each flight.

Virgin Atlantic has extended its policy of unlimited free date and flight changes for new bookings, giving further flexibility to customers, for travel up to December 31, 2022.

easyJet expands services from Aberdeen International Airport, to resume Manchester service

easyJet is set to expand its services from Aberdeen International Airport next year.

The UK airline will double its daily summer services to London Gatwick and has confirmed its Manchester route will operate on a seasonal basis. easyJet’s Manchester service will resume from March 2022 along with the increased London Gatwick frequency.

Ali Gayward, UK Country Manager for easyJet, commented: ‘With the recovery now firmly underway, we are ready and able to seize opportunities where they arise. We launched our service from Aberdeen to Manchester to operate on a seasonal basis last summer and we’re delighted for next summer to be continuing this seasonal service as well as doubling our daily summer frequency to London Gatwick, to serve demand. Seats are available to book from today on easyJet.com and via the mobile app.

‘easyJet will continue to take decisive action to capture additional opportunities alongside our planned organic growth to ensure we continue to offer the greatest choice and best value for leisure and business customers alike.’

Matt Hazlewood, Group Commercial Director for AGS Airports Ltd, said: ‘It is great to see easyJet growing its offering and presence at Aberdeen International Airport with the Manchester route returning for next summer.

‘Rebuilding our connectivity will play a vital role in supporting the economic recovery of the north east and we know the Gatwick route has been incredibly popular so we are delighted easyJet is doubling its daily frequency to meet demand.

‘Our passengers and stakeholders were delighted when the restarting of this route was announced and I am sure they will be pleased to see its offering grow.’

easyJet has also announced that it is extending its flexible policies under its ‘Protection Promise’ until March 31 2022. Accordingly all easyJet customers can continue to make changes to their flights without a change fee up to two hours before departure. There are no restrictions on dates or destination; customers with both new and existing bookings can transfer to any flights currently on sale up to the end of September 2022, and to any other destination on the airline’s network.

easyJet opens first airport lounge at London Gatwick Airport

easyJet has recently announced the opening of its first airport lounge in collaboration with No1 Lounges at the North Terminal at London Gatwick Airport.

The new lounge was open for use on October 21, and can be booked in advance through easyJet’s exclusive partnership with Holiday Extras, online, on the day of travel. A range of one, two and three hour packages are available with prices starting from £18.50.

With space to eat, drink, work and play, The Gateway will offer customers a choice of complementary menus with a selection of dishes with table service, alongside a range of self-serve side dishes and hot and cold drinks.

The Gateway provides free Wifi and areas to work with convenient charging points, dining and lounge soft-seating. It also offers areas where families can enjoy exploring including the TV den and games room.

Rachael Smith, Commercial Proposition & Innovation Director for easyJet, commented: ‘We are delighted to be launching our very first airport lounge in partnership with No1 Lounges to serve passengers at London Gatwick, where we’re proud to be the largest airline. We’re always looking for opportunities to offer travellers more choice and great value, so we’re proud that The Gateway will be able to offer something for everyone whether it’s all the essentials for a workspace, somewhere comfortable to relax before jetting off or to entertain the family.’

Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport said: ‘We are delighted to welcome easyJet’s and No1 Lounges, The Gateway, to our North Terminal. As Gatwick’s biggest airline, it’s fantastic that easyJet has a dedicated space for all passengers to relax before their flight, whether travelling for business, leisure or with their family.’ All passengers travelling through London Gatwick Airport North Terminal can book to use the lounge regardless of airline or travel ticket class. They can also arrive without a booking and present their easyJet boarding pass on entry to the lounge.

British Airways resumes direct flights to London from San Diego International Airport

British Airways has resumed its nonstop service between London via Heathrow Airport (LHR) and San Diego International Airport (SAN).

The resumption comes after British Airways suspended the service in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline is the first carrier to resume nonstop service to Europe from San Diego.

‘Our global city needs efficient global connections and I’m grateful to British Airways for resuming service to London which will also provide access to other European countries,’ said Kimberly Becker, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority President and CEO. ‘San Diego’s business community has been asking when this flight would return and after more than a year and a half, we welcome them back. This flight also allows families to reunite and tourists to visit America’s Finest City. Regaining service to London on British Airways will provide our region with an economic boost that contributes to our recovery.’

The year-round nonstop flights operate three times weekly on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Flight BA272 will depart San Diego at 7 p.m. and arrive in London the next day at 1:25 p.m. Flight BA273 will depart London at 1:45 p.m. and arrive in San Diego at 4:55 p.m. All flight times are local.

Traveling passengers are recommended to review the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) international travel recommendations as well as the UK Government’s health and travel requirements for the U.S. Before arriving in the United States, air passengers, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before boarding a flight to the U.S.

San Diego International Airport has an on-site COVID-19 testing option through Carbon Health for travellers wanting to get tested before a trip. Appointments are required and there is a fee for tests.

British Airways has introduced several measures at the airport and on board to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its customers and crew. These include social distancing measures, the wearing of face masks, and hand sanitizer stations. Prior to travel customers will also receive details of how they can prepare for their flight.

British Airways to resume service from Austin to London

British Airways is set to resume its nonstop service from Austin to London-Heathrow on October 13, as the transatlantic service will return to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport following a 17 month absence.

The resumed service is scheduled for three days a week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Flight number BA190 will depart Austin at 8:05 p.m. and arrive in London at 10:10 a.m. the following morning. BA191 departs at 12:10 p.m. arriving in Austin at 4:45 p.m. All times are local.

‘We can’t wait to welcome our customers back on board our Austin flights and we are honored to be playing our part in reuniting families and friends with their loved ones after such a long time apart,’ said Marie Hilditch, British Airways’ Head of North America sales. ‘The safety of our customers and colleagues has always been at the heart of everything we do. We know some customers won’t have flown for a long time, we can assure them we have a range of Covid-19 measures in place to provide stress and hassle-free travel.’

‘We are thrilled to be welcoming back British Airways to Austin and celebrate the return of nonstop service to London-Heathrow,’ said Jacqueline Yaft, Chief Executive Officer for AUS. ‘The resumption of nonstop transatlantic between our two cities is great news for both business and leisure travellers alike.’

British Airways has introduced several measures at the airport and on board to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its customers and crew. These include social distancing measures, the wearing of facemasks and hand sanitizer stations. The airline is cleaning all key surfaces including seats, screens, seat buckles and tray tables after every flight, with the air fully recycled once every two to three minutes through HEPA filters.

British Airways launches new routes to Jersey and Gibraltar from London City

British Airways has recently announced plans to launch two new routes to Jersey and Gibraltar from London City Airport.

The new routes will be launch on June 25, 2021. The airline will operate two flights a week to Jersey and Gibraltar – on Mondays and Fridays – offering key air links for business travellers, holiday makers and other travellers as regulations ease. With fares starting from £42 to Jersey and £43 to Gibraltar each way, customers can book via ba.com.

Tom Stoddart, Managing Director of BA CityFlyer, which will operate the new services, said: ‘It’s great to be able to launch these two new services to Gibraltar and Jersey – it’s something customers have been asking us to do for quite a while. Whether it’s for a holiday or visiting friends or relatives who live either end of route when the time is right, customers will benefit from direct flights to and from the extremely conveniently located London City Airport.’

Minister for Business, Tourism, Transport and the Port of Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar the Hon Vijay Daryanani MP said: ‘This is excellent news and continues to show the confidence that the industry has in Gibraltar as a destination. A seasonal link with London City Airport operated by BA CityFlyer brings yet another operator to Gibraltar and opens up a further catchment area from the UK. This service will complement BA’s mainline services from Heathrow and the local business and financial services community will undoubtedly welcome a link to London’s financial district. Our tourism, retail and hospitality industries can also look forward to greeting customers from the City and the east London catchment area.’

Matt Thomas, Ports of Jersey, Group CEO, added: ‘We are delighted to see the Island once again connected to London City and look forward to working alongside BA Cityflyer. We understand the importance of connectivity to London’s financial centre, as well as for Islanders wanting easy access to central London, or to take advantage of the many onward connections available.’

Both flights will be operated by BA CityFlyer’s Embraer E190 aircraft. British Airways offers flexible booking policy, offering customers no change fees or a voucher exchange for bookings made for travel before the end of April 2022, allowing for options if plans change.

Four Seasons Hotel London At Park Lane to reopen in May

As outdoor dining returns to the UK, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is planning to reopen on May 17, when guests can celebrate reconnecting with friends, family and London over shared dining experiences.

The hotel offers the opportunity to enjoy outdoor dining at the recently redesigned ‘On The Terrace,’ curated picnics, uniquely crafted ice cream sandwich Summer Saturdays, British vendor Friday Favourites, and speciality pairing menus offering exclusive Champagne by the glass in a special partnership with Dom Perignon.

Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is in exclusive partnership with Dom Perignon, which relaunches with a l three course Perfect Pairings menu featuring Dom Perignon Blanc Vintage 2010, Plenitude Deuxieme P2 Vintage 2002, and Rose Vintage 2006. Featuring accompaniments include parched lobster, curry-spiced Balik salmon with oscietra caviar and strawberry tartlet with Champagne caviar.

On The Terrace boasts a summer menu by executive chef Henry Brosi, with starters including wild sea bass tartare, asparagus lemon risotto, and langoustine tempura, and then fresh-from-the-grill jumbo prawns, lobster and wagyu striploin or burgers.

Additionally, guests can enjoy a refreshed seasonal cocktail menu created by Bar Manager Ivan Arena inspired by the sights and sounds of London.

Beginning June 2021, weekly special ‘Friday Favourites’ will highlight British culinary producers sourced from London’s Borough Market, including oysters and award-winning cheese, while the weekends will introduce ‘Summer Saturdays,’ offering creative ice cream sandwiches.

Located near three Royal Parks, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane will offer customers two options, the classic takeaway with snacks and Champagne, or the deluxe offering that includes a Picnic Butler to set up. Alternatively, customers can have a special Afternoon Tea experience on property subject to prior confirmation.

Whitbread secures two Travelodge sites for Premier Inn

Whitbread, the owner of the UK’s Premier Inn, has signed contracts to secure two trading Travelodge hotels for Premier Inn.

The agreements with separate private property owners will see the Travelodge Bury St Edmunds hotel and Travelodge London Uxbridge hotel convert into Premier Inns. The conversions will meet Premier Inn’s demand for additional bedrooms in the two prime locations.

Mark Anderson, Managing Director for Property and International at Whitbread, said: ‘Securing new Premier Inn hotels in Bury St Edmunds and Uxbridge is a strategic investment by Whitbread in popular markets for business and leisure travel. It’s part of our ongoing strategy of growing market share, through Whitbread’s strong balance sheet and financial flexibility and resilience, in locations where we are underrepresented and where we see opportunities to create long-term value for our shareholders and guests.’

The Travelodge Bury St Edmunds hotel, which opened in 2018, is located to the north of the town centre, close to transport connections and leading local employers such as British Sugar. Premier Inn’s existing hotel is located to the south, within Bury St Edmunds town centre.

The Travelodge Uxbridge hotel is located on Bakers Road adjacent to Uxbridge underground station. Premier Inn has been actively pursuing a site in Uxbridge town centre to complement its existing 80-bedroom Premier Inn hotel on Riverside Way, west of the town centre, which opened in February 2016.

The time schedule for the conversion of the hotels into Premier Inns is yet to been confirmed.

Whitbread PLC is the owner of Premier Inn with over 800 hotels comprising over 78,000 rooms and restaurant brands including Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table, Bar + Block, Whitbread Inns and Cookhouse + Pub. Whitbread currently operates a 75-bedroom Premier Inn hotel on Reingate Street in Bury St Edmunds Town Centre which opened in 2015. The Travelodge Bury St Edmunds hotel is located on Etna Road in the town.

Wizz Air commences new flight service from Bacau to London Luton

Wizz Air, the European low-cost airline, has said that it has commenced its first flight between London Luton and Bacau, on October 19.

The new Bacau – London Luton route will be operated on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday until 15 November 2020, and daily from 15 November 2020, with fares starting from £12.99. The price is one-way, including administration fee including one carry-on bag (max: 40x30x20cm). Trolley bag and each piece of checked-in baggage is subject to additional fees. The price applies only to bookings made on wizzair.com and the WIZZ mobile app.

Paulina Gosk, Corporate Communications Manager at Wizz Air, said: ‘We are happy to start the route from Bacau to London Luton. This new service truly marks the democratization of flying in Bacau, as passengers will be able to access affordable fares and safe and comfortable travel. We have dedicated ourselves to keeping the highest standards of our sanitizing protocols for passengers and crew on board so travelling with Wizz Air remains a swift and pleasant experience. Our friendly and highly skilled crew looks forward to welcoming each WIZZ passenger on board of our young and modern aircraft.’

As of October 29, Wizz Air will open its seventh base in Romania to operate 13 routes in total to Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Cyprus. Tickets for all new routes can be booked on wizzair.com or on the airline’s app.

Ryanair announces new route to Oradea, Romania from London Stansted

Ryanair, the Irish low fares airline, has announced a new London Stansted route to Oradea in Romania, with a twice weekly service commencing in December 2020, as part of Ryanair’s London Stansted Winter 2020 and Summer 2021 schedules.

British consumers and visitors can now book a getaway to Oradea until October 2021.

Alongside the announcement, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from £14.99, for travel until the end of January, which must be booked by midnight Thursday (October 1) on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Director of Commercial Jason Mc Guinness said: ‘Ryanair is pleased to launch a new London Stansted route to Oradea (Romania), commencing in December, which will operate twice weekly as part of our London Stansted Winter 2020 and Summer 2021 schedules. Customers in London can now book flights to Oradea as far out as October 2021.

‘To celebrate this new Oradea route, we are launching a seat sale with fares available from just £14.99, for travel until the end of January 2021, which must be booked by midnight Thursday (1 Oct). Since these amazing low fares will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto www.ryanair.com and avoid missing out.’

Last week, Ryanair announced that it will open a new base at Paris Beauvais, from December 3, 2020, with two based aircraft and 32 routes, including one from Manchester.