Delta to expand US-London service next summer

The US-based airline Delta Air Lines has announced that it will increase the frequency of its flight service to London next summer from its Detroit hub and Portland, Oregon.

Starting from 13 May 2019, Delta will offer a twice daily service – increased from a daily service – between London-Heathrow and Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport. Effective 09 May 2019, the airline service will operate daily service between London-Heathrow and Portland International Airport, up from four times weekly in summer 2018.

‘We hear from customers all over the U.S. that access to London is very important to them,’ said Roberto Ioriatti, Delta’s Vice President – Trans-Atlantic. ‘And Delta is happy to answer their needs by expanding additional choice through our Detroit hub with a second daily, and from the U.S. West Coast at Portland through daily service next summer.’

Delta Air Lines, a key player in the London-U.S. travel market, resumed the only nonstop services from Portland, Oregon, along with Salt Lake City, to London Heathrow in summer 2018. Earlier this year, Delta celebrated 10 years of service at London-Heathrow, marking growth from three daily flights to two US cities in 2008 to nine daily flights to seven cities presently.

The daily flight to Portland will depart Heathrow at 1230, arriving in the US city at 1513, and on return leave Portland at 1808, arriving London at 1205 the following day. The new second daily Detroit service will depart Heathrow at 1350, arriving at Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport at 1722; and on return will leave Detroit at 2233, arriving back into London at 1110 the following day. The first Detroit service will depart London Heathrow at 1035, arriving at Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport at 1358; and on return will leave Detroit at 1816, arriving back into London at 0640 the following day.

The expanded services to Detroit and Portland will be operated on a 210-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, with 35 fully flat-bed seats in the Delta One cabin, 32 seats in Delta Comfort+ and 143 seats in economy.

Book-loving tourists swarm to US cities

US cities, Portland and Seattle, have been attracting the attention of tourists who are visiting them following their depiction in the novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.

The novel, which is being hailed as an erotic best seller, is expected to increase tourist flows into the two cities. Many of the ‘important’ scenes in the novel take place in Seattle and Portland, and with plans afoot for a film version of the book, the cities are attracting more tourists who are keen to soak up the novel’s ambience. Hotels and service companies have reported higher bookings, supposedly due to inquisitive customers that have been eager to visit the places depicted in the novel.

To re-live the scenes in the novel, tourists have been making dinner reservations, visiting bars, or simply taking in the cities’ atmosphere. There are passages in the book where the main protagonists meet in an elevator, and now the elevator has become a star attraction for tourists.

Hotels have been quick to capitalise on the interest, and for those who want to create their own fantasy, hotels in Seattle and Portland have come up with elaborate packages. One example is Seattle’s Hotel Max, which offers a $1,669 two-night package that also includes a skippered sunset cruise. The sail around Puget Sound enjoyed by the book’s characters has inspired the cruise.

There are also other more-costly packages that include appetisers, wine, dinner and a helicopter ride over Portland.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James is part of a trilogy, and has retained its number one spot on the New York Times bestseller’s list for fiction for the past 22 weeks.