Ryanair are making changes to their cabin baggage policy

The new policy will start on 1st November 2018 and for bookings made after 1st September 2018.

On Thursday 23rd August, Ryanair announced a new baggage policy aimed at cutting checked back fees and reducing boarding delays. Europe’s largest low-cost carrier will introduce a lower cost for checked bags that weigh up to 10kg. This new service will cost €/£8 and will begin on 1st November 2018.

Customers who purchase priority boarding will still be eligible to take two free carry-on bags (1 x 10kg wheelie back and 1 small bag) and non-priority customers will only be eligible to bring one free carry on bag (one small bag) onboard from 1st November 2018. Non-priority customers who would like to bring a second carry on bag (1 x10kg wheelie bag) will have to pay €/£8 to have their bag checked in and placed in the hold. Customers will now have the option to pay €/£8 for 1 x 10kg bag or €/£25 for 1 x 20kg bag.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs had this to say:

“From November 2018, we are introducing a new lower cost 10kg checked bag and changing our carry-on bag policy to eliminate boarding/flight delays. Priority boarding customers will continue to enjoy two free carry-on bags. All other (non-priority) customers will be allowed one free (small) carry-on bag, and those who wish to check in a second bigger 10kg bag can do from €/£8 at the time of booking.

This new policy will speed up the boarding and cut flight delays. 60% of customers will be unaffected by these changes and we expect the other 40% will either choose to buy Priority Boarding, a 10kg check bag or will choose to travel with only one (free) small bag as 30% already do so today.”

Ryanair believes that 60% of their passengers will be unaffected by this change as 30% of customers buy priority boarding and 30% already travel with only a small bag which will remain free with these changes. The airline expects the remaining 40% of customers will choose to pay for priority boarding or will switch to travelling with one small bag for free. Customers who normally travel with one small bag and a small cabin bag will now have no choice but to pay the €/£8 fee to check in the small cabin bag.

The new policy will go live at boarding gates on 1st November 2018 and all bookings made from 1st September onwards.

I personally believe this is just another revenue stream for the airline as they make no money on cabin baggage that is checked in at the boarding gate and they have decided to capitalise on this. Having to put cabin baggage in the hold whilst the plane is boarding may cause slight delays, but I just do not think this justify’s this change.

What are your thoughts?

Source: Ryanair

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Virgin intends​ to launch a new loyalty programme

The new loyalty programme will be powered by the currency of Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club.

On Monday 20th August 2018, Virgin Group and Virgin Atlantic announced their intention to create a new Virgin-wide loyalty programme. The new loyalty programme will reward customer loyalty across Virgin-branded companies and will offer distinctive and differentiated reward opportunities. Members will have the opportunity to earn and spend ‘miles’, the currency of Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyer programme across a variety of products and services.

Virgin Group Loyalty Company (VGLC), a new company will be created to manage and own the loyalty programme. An existing loyalty start-up within the Virgin Group called Virgin Red will also be integrated into the group-wide loyalty programme. Virgin Group Loyalty Company will be owned by Virgin Group and Delta Air Lines and will launch in 2019.

Andrew Swaffield has been appointed as CEO to lead VGLC. Andrew has plenty of experience in the aviation industry and has previous experience of working within a loyalty programme. Andrew was previously Chief Executive of Avios and oversaw its creation and was most recently the CEO of the Monarch group. Before these roles, Andrew spent 17 years with British Airways and 10 years with Thomas Cook.

Andrew had this to say about the new loyalty programme:

“Virgin is one of the most admired brands in the UK and across the world, serving 53 million customers each year across 60 different companies. Customers expect to be rewarded for their loyalty to Virgin and we want to ensure Virgin customers get the very best rewards possible. Our ambition is to bring the Virgin companies together and combine their appeal to customers, working together to create a truly outstanding offer.”

Oli Byers, SVP Global Sales and Customer Loyalty, Virgin Atlantic, said:

“Today Flying Club offers Virgin Atlantic’s customers compelling and valuable rewards for flying on Virgin Atlantic, Delta and a range of Flying Club partners. This will continue to be the case, but at the same time, we’re excited to work collaboratively with Virgin Group to build a stronger loyalty programme and unleash the power of our shared brand to reward customers for their loyalty to Virgin. We’ll be giving customers more reasons to join Flying Club and fly with Virgin Atlantic and our airline partners.”

Virgin Atlantic will continue to own and manage Flying Club which will remain the frequent flyer programme and will continue to use miles as it’s currency. Members of the Flying Club will proceed with earning Tier Points and earn and spend miles across Virgin Atlantic, Delta and other partners as they do today. Flying Club members can look forward to an expanded range of valuable ways to earn and spend miles across the Virgin Group in the future.

Source: Virgin Atlantic

Flybe is​ offering students 46KG of luggage for the price of 23KG

The year-round offer will allow students with a valid student ID card to take an extra 23kg bag free of charge.

Flybe, the largest independent airline in Europe, is offering students a double baggage allowance all year round. This deal will be beneficial for students who are studying far away from their homes and can fly from their university city to home. This will also prove beneficial for those travelling to destinations to further their education.

The deal means that passengers with a valid student ID card will be able to travel with two items of hold luggage weighing up to 46kg while only paying the price of a 23kg item.   Students have to book one standard 23kg item of hold luggage to benefit from the offer. At the airport bag drop, with a valid form of student ID, the extra bag to a total weight of up to 46kg will be checked for free.

Flybe’s Chief Commercial Officer, Roy Kinnear, had this to say:

“We would first like to congratulate all students who have passed their recent exams and now looking forward to an exciting future as they move on to further their education. This means we are fast approaching the peak travel time for those heading off to colleges and universities for the first time and also for those returning for the start of a new academic year.

“Flybe appreciates that it is often very stressful for students having to live away from home or commute weekly. Travelling with heavy belongings and books only adds to that stress. So, we hope that this generous hold luggage allowance, especially to those who have no other convenient option but to fly, will make their travel experiences more affordable and enjoyable”

Source: Flybe

Turkish Airlines to increase flights to Istanbul from Birmingham

From summer 2019, Turkish Airlines will do double daily to Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines has announced that it will increase the frequency of flights between Birmingham and Istanbul to a double daily service. The second service will allow passengers more flexibility when deciding what time they wish to fly.

Birmingham Airports Acting Aviation Director, Tom Screen had this to say:

“It is great to see that Turkish Airlines will commence the double daily flights for Summer 2019. Responding to the increased demand for passengers flying to Istanbul from Birmingham Airport means the airline is listening and reacting to the needs of the customer, creating more flexibility for passengers travelling on the popular route.”

The flights will be operated by a Boeing 737-800 and will allow more passengers in the region of Birmingham and Istanbul to take advantage of the non-stop connection at two different times. The first service will depart Birmingham Airport at 10:40am arriving in Istanbul at 16:35pm local time and the second flight will depart Birmingham Airport at 17:00pm arriving into Istanbul at 22:55pm local time.

Omer Faruk Alier, General Manager – Birmingham, Turkish Airlines said the following:

“We are pleased to announce that due to the popularity of the route we will be adding an extra two flights per week, making a total of 14 flights each week from Birmingham to our hub in Istanbul and beyond from summer 2019. Turkish Airlines, a multi-award winning carrier who flies to more countries than any other airline, will be offering customers better connections from Istanbul to over 300 destinations across the globe. What’s more, thanks to our ever-expanding network, with hundreds of flights departing Istanbul each day, we offer transfer times to suit all travellers.”

“We look forward to welcoming even more people from across Birmingham and the surrounding regions onboard our planes and giving everyone a further opportunity to widen their world with Turkish Airlines through this increase.”

The double daily service will begin on 31st March 2019.

Source(s): Birmingham Airport

 

London Gatwick announces new Shanghai route

Over 3,700 tonnes of cargo capacity (in both directions) and over 70,000 seats per year will be provided by the new route.

On Wednesday 8th August 2018, London Gatwick announced the new direct route to China’s largest city, Shanghai. The service will be operated by China Eastern on an Airbus A330-200 and will begin on Friday 7th December 2018. The flight will depart Gatwick on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 12:00pm and will fly to Shanghai Pudong Airport.

Gatwick Airports CEO, Stuart Wingate, had this to say:

“I’m delighted to welcome China Eastern to Gatwick and look forward to the start of this vital new link to Shanghai which, like London, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important cities and business hubs. Starting from such a strong position gives this new route every chance of success, as it will be popular with business passengers travelling between the two economic centres, as well as leisure passengers keen to sample the excitement of China’s largest city.”

“July’s traffic figures demonstrate that Gatwick’s long-haul network is driving the airport’s growth. These connections to China and other non-European countries will take on extra significance in a post-Brexit Britain as we become more reliant on them to generate vital growth through trade and by exploiting the other business opportunities that they provide.”

Cargo handled by the airport grew by +28.8% year-on-year as a direct result of long-haul growth. Compared to last year, July 2018 was the busiest July in Gatwick’s history with Asian routes growing by +134.8% and US destinations continuing to grow. New York saw a growth of +67.5%, Boston grew +58.7% and Las Vegas also grew +32.5%. The new direct route to Shanghai will provide over 70,000 seats and more than 3700 metric tonnes of new cargo capacity each year.

Like London, Shanghai is a global financial centre and is also seen as the showpiece of China’s substantial economic growth. Shanghai is also the leading city driving the Yangtze River Economic Zone. This region is responsible for a third of the country’s imports and exports and accounts for 20% of China’s GDP.

It seems that flight prices will be reasonable but it all depends on when you book. I had a quick look at different dates to gather some examples.

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 21.20.37

Example One

 

If you were to purchase an economy seat on the inaugural flight from Gatwick on Friday 7th December returning one week later, this would cost you $484 (£379.62*).

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 21.47.46

Example Two

 

I then looked at a return economy flight, flying out on Tuesday 12th February 2019 and returning Tuesday 19th February 2019. This would cost you $616.00 (£483.06*).

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 21.27.01

Example Three

 

Finally, I looked at a return economy flight flying out on Sunday 14th July and returning one week later. This would cost you $2,455.00 (£1,925.21*).

As you can see, prices can be quite reasonable but I would advise booking nearer to your flight as the prices show.

*Prices were converted by Google search.

Source(s): Gatwick Airport, China Eastern Airlines.

Norwegian’s latest Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to operate from London Gatwick

Norwegian will be among the first carriers to operate Boeing’s 737 MAX at Gatwick Airport and will be operated on selected Nordic routes.

The newest single-aisle aircraft will be based at London Gatwick this summer and will service selected short-haul flights within Europe. The newest member of the Norwegian fleet not only reduces carbon and noise impact but also provides customers with high-quality cabins with a quieter ambience.

Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Office at Norwegian said:

“We’re committed to flying our customers in the newest aircraft in the skies and the addition of the Boeing 737 MAX at our London Gatwick hub complements our existing young, modern and environmentally friendly fleet.”

“Our 737 MAX aircraft is less than a year old and our passengers will be able to experience a high-quality service in new slimmer seats inside spacious cabins that are quieter for our passengers and the environment.”

During the summer, the Boeing 737 MAX will operate on selected flights to Helsinki, Oslo and Bergen with plans to expand to other European routes as future aircraft deliveries arrive. The Norwegian Boeing 737 MAX is configured with 189 leather RECARO seats offering 38 inches pitch in exit row seats and 30 inches pitch in normal seats.

The Boeing 737 MAX is up to 40 per cent quieter than Norwegian’s existing Boeing 737-800′ used on European routes. This is because the 737 MAX is fitted with CFM International LEAP-1B engines with the latest quiet-engine technology. Norwegian has also introduced brand new slimline seats to its 737 MAX fleet, which are 1KG lighter and are designed to allow more personal space to passengers and provide enhanced comfort.

Passengers who will fly on the 737 MAX have the choice of the in-flight entertainment provided by Norwegian through overhead video screens or they can use their own personal devices. The airline has plans to introduce in-flight Wi-Fi on their 737 max fleet later this year.

Norwegian currently has more than 100 Boeing 737 MAX on order which will be used to replace their Boeing 737-800’s as part of modernising the fleet. Norwegian currently has eight 737 MAX aircraft which operate transatlantic routes from Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Shannon to New York Stewart International and Providence Airport in Rhode Island (near Boston).

Source: Norwegian

British Airways to add Pittsburgh to their route network

British Airways has announced that they will fly four times a week from its main hub at London Heathrow to Pittsburgh. The year-round service will begin on 2nd April 2019 with the flights being operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.

British Airways last flew to Pittsburgh in 1999. Christina Cassotis, the CEO of Pittsburgh International Airport said the following in a statement.

“We are thrilled to have British Airways serving our region nonstop to London once again. Thank you to British Airways for selecting Pittsburgh and recognizing that our region is back. We are looking forward to working together to ensure the flight is a success.”

The announcement of the new route continues a run of good fortune for Pittsburgh International Airport. The airport has struggled with flight and passenger numbers since 2004 when US Airways (now part of American Airlines) decided to drop the city as a hub.

Since Christina Cassotis took over control of the airport in 2015, the number of non-stop destinations airlines fly from the airport have nearly doubled. The airport has focused mainly on establishing new routes to Europe and it has been a priority for quite some time. This has been boosted by the announcements of WOW Air flights to Reykjavik and Condor Airlines flight to Frankfurt. These new routes combined with the seasonal service to Paris operated by Delta should increase passenger numbers and attract further routes to Europe.

The new British Airways route now becomes the highest profile international route to be added at Pittsburgh since Delta’s route to Paris launched.

Source: USA Today