Looking good at Gatwick Airport for Hotels, Parking and Lounges

Jan 2, 2017

It’s a sunny start today and Gatwick Airport is looking good in the sunlight.

Are you heading off to ski or do you prefer some winter sun? Wherever you are heading if you are flying from Gatwick then be prepared.

Once you have parked or been dropped off it is an easy walk to the check-in desks at the North or South Terminals. If you have an early flight then it may be wise to book a hotel room the night before. If you are driving to the airport you can also take advantage of more than just a  lie-in. Several of the hotels close by also offer some great car parking deals along with one nights hotel accommodation.

Gatwick Airport

With a short walk to the Terminals it wont be long before you are ready to go air side. you just have to get through the long lines at security and you battle your way to find a seat as you wait for your boarding time.  If you prefer a little peace and less queues, and you’re not travelling Business Class, then you may want to look at getting Airport Lounge access.  You can pay per visit or buy an annual membership. These airport lounge companies have locations around the world and sometimes they offer priority security access as well. Every little helps to start your travels with as little stress as possible.

We’ve used the lounges and they are very useful, especially if you are travelling with airlines like Air Transat. As airlines like Air Transat look to cut costs you can expect just a hot roll, a slice of cake and a small snack bag on a trans Atlantic flight. Access to seating, food and drink in an airport lounge can help fill the family before you take to the air.

Which ever airport you are flying from do tweet us your pictures and experiences to us or tell us about it on Facebook.

Safe travels!

Flying from Gatwick Airport

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Watch live as Solar Impulse 2 flies around the world @solarimpulse

Jun 23, 2016

Follow the flight of Solar Impulse 2 and its pilots.

Solar Impulse 2 will land today (23.06.2016 ) at Seville Airport, Spain between 6.00 – 7.00am with Bertrand Piccard at the controls, finishing the record-breaking historical first electric, solar zero-emission flight across the Atlantic.

Live Solar Impulse 2

For the latest news you can also visit

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British Airways just made it easier to get to the Plunhof Hotel

Jun 22, 2016

British Airways has just made it easier to experience the Plunhof Hotel & Spa in the South Tyrol. From the 4th December British Airways customers will be able to enjoy the best of scenic Tyrol region with flights to Innsbruck Airport from Heathrow.

This winter skiers will now be able to fly to the former Winter Olympic city from two UK airports as the airline already operates direct flights from Gatwick to the Tyrolean capital.

Flights will operate four-times-a-week during winter and twice-per-week during the summer season, with return fares starting from £88 in Euro Traveller and £338 in Club Europe.

Neil Cottrell, British Airways’ head of planning, said: “We’ve launched 15 new routes already this year but now it’s time to turn our attention to the ski season.”

Plunhof food

“We are sure the new route from Heathrow to Innsbruck will prove popular with those looking to hit the slopes this winter as it offers ideal access to some of the very best ski resorts in Europe, including Mayrhofen, Alpbach and Niederau.”

Fly to Plunhof Hotel Tyrol Innsbruck Airport with BA

“Innsbruck is also a popular tourist destination for non-skiers and the service will launch just in time for the picture-perfect Christmas markets.”

And for the best place to stay once you have arrived at Innsbruck then look no further than the Plunhof Hotel. This family run hotel and spa offers a great location for a break in the Tyrol at any time of the year. And they are always happy to help arrange any transfers for their guests from any airport in the region.

Along with the luxury facilities at Plunhof, the hotel also offers amazing cooking classes with Chef Egon and Peter are conducted several times a year. They are appropriate to the season and reflect the gourmet specialty weeks and culinary events in the area. For those that enjoy wine there is an amazing wine cellar to experience. The hotel’s wine experts, Günter and Erwin, will guide you through our wine cellar, which features masonry of natural stone. It is well stocked, and is sure to delight you.

Plunhof Wine Cellar Experience

Wine Cellar Experience Plunhof Hotel

Flights will depart from Terminal 5 and the route will be served by a two-class cabin A320 aircraft.

Those choosing a ‘Plus’ or ‘Plus Flex’ fare can check their ski equipment in for free as part of their 23kg baggage allowance, as well as the hand luggage allowance of one cabin bag and a handbag or laptop bag per person.

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First Thai Airways A350 leaves the Airbus Paintshop #NotLongNow #Avgeek

Apr 20, 2016

Painting of the first Thai Airways A350 XWB (THAI) has been completed and the aircraft rolled-out from the Airbus paint shop in Toulouse, France, in the airline’s livery. The aircraft is now set to move to the next stages of production, including the installation of engines and cabin furnishing, before starting ground and flight tests.

Thai Airways A350

Thai Airways A350-XWB rolls out of paintshop

The aircraft is scheduled for delivery to THAI in mid-2016.

Bringing new levels of efficiency and comfort in the long range market, the A350 XWB family will be especially well suited to the needs of Asia-Pacific airlines. Firm orders from carriers in the region for the new aircraft already total 241, representing over a third of total sales for the A350 XWB to date.

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Japan Airlines and Finnair expand codeshare on Fukuoka Helsinki route

Apr 19, 2016

Japan Airlines (JAL) and Finnair (AY), both members of oneworld® alliance and joint business partners, have agreed to expand codeshare cooperation on Finnair operated flights between Fukuoka and Helsinki starting on the 7th May 2016. With this new expansion of the two airlines’ partnership, customers will have more choices to fly from Western Japan to Europe for business or pleasure. There are also new stopover opportunities in Finland to allow passengers a break on longhaul flights and try the Nordic experience.

Fukuoka will become the fourth gateway from Japan to Europe to be included in JAL’s joint business partnership with Finnair and British Airways, in addition to Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo.

Through our partnerships and ceaseless drive to embrace challenges, JAL with its partners will continue to strive for even greater heights in order to bring you the most convenient and enjoyable flight experience.

Fukuoka Helsinki Flights

New codeshare flights with Finnair
1. Reservations and sales will be available from today – 19th  April 2016. (Japan time)
2. Codeshare flights will commence from the 7th May 2016.

(All times are local)
Flight No.            Route                     Dep. Time Arr. Time Days of Operation     Operating period
JL6807/AY076 Fukuoka – Helsinki 09:30       13:55           Wed, Fri, Sun          8th May ~ 9th Oct 2016
JL6806/AY075 Helsinki – Fukuoka 16:30        08:00+1    Tue, Thu, Sat            7th May ~ 8th Oct 2016

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Nordic Signature Menus add that little bit extra to Finnair Business Class

Apr 18, 2016

Finnair has been busy adding that Nordic feel to their new Airbus A350 aircraft. These new jets have been fitted out with additional, larger economy seats, touchscreen IFE and the latest in lie-flat Finnair Business Class seats.

It’s not just the colour scheme of the cabin that gives you that Scandinavian feeling when you are onboard, Finnair has also been working with Finnish chefs to provide the best parts of Nordic and international kitchens aboard their flights.

The airline has teamed up with such chefs as Sasu Laukkonen (Restaurant Chef & Sommelier), Jaakko Sorsa and Chinese Signature Chef: Steven Liu to create ‘East meets West’ signature menus to complement Finnair’s long haul routes.

On Finnair Business Class flights from Helsinki the Signature menus have been created to provide the best parts of Nordic cuisine. For flights to Helsinki you’ll find flavours of Asian and American cuisine, combined with Nordic options. For Economy passengers on long haul flights there are also Nordic and Asian meal options available.

Finnair Business Class Signature Menu by Steven LiuFinnair Business Class meal by Steven Liu on Shanghai and Beijing flights

The Finnair ‘food mission’ has been to offer the best parts of Nordic and international kitchen aboard the airline’s flights. For flights departing from Beijing and Shanghai the Signature Menu is by Steven Liu.

Chef Steven Liu has made a remarkable career in Europe and Asia. His food creations have been served at The Dorchester and The Savoy in London as well as the ‘Le Cordon Bleu’ network. Chef Steven has been on various reality shows and was a judge on Master Chef China on Dragon TV.

Finnair Business Class Signature Menu by Sasu Laukkonen

Finnair from Helsinki flights Business Class meal by Sasu Laukkonen, Restaurant Chef and Sommelier

Sasu Laukkonen will bring the best of Nordic cuisine on long haul Business Class flights that depart from Helsinki. His style is pure in taste and close to his Nordic roots. You can also experience his skills at the Michelin star awarded restaurant Chef & Sommelier in Helsinki.

Finnair began its Signature Menu cooperation programme back in 2013 and has worked with top Finnish chefs in creating a series of signature menus for Finnair’s long-haul flights. Last February, Finnair unveiled its latest signature dishes in cooperation with Executive Chef Jaakko Sorsa for the Hong Kong-Helsinki business class service. The partnership was Finnair’s first collaboration with an Asian-based chef as well as the first designed for a specific long-haul route.

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To BA or not to BA that is the inflight entertainment question

Apr 18, 2016

British Airways is featuring some of the best of the Bard on board its long-haul flights with a special line up of in-flight entertainment to help celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

To BA or not to BA!

Customers flying on the airline’s long-haul flights will be able to listen to some of the world famous playwright’s most iconic plays as well as watch content unique to BA.

This includes a recording of a special live performance of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, performed at
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, on London’s Southbank, which was first published in 1632.

Troy Warfield, British Airways’ director of customer experience, said: “We have been waiting in the wings for some time to raise the curtain on our Shakespeare-themed in-flight entertainment content.”

British Airway Business Class Bard on board

“Shakespeare needs no introduction, but a long-haul flight with British Airways is the perfect opportunity to become reacquainted with some of the world’s best and most engrossing plays by the world’s best playwright.”

As well as being able to watch the live recorded performance of Much Ado About Nothing, filmed at The Globe Theatre, customers can also enjoy watching acclaimed actor Michael Fassbender’s incredible performance in the iconic roll of Macbeth, in the latest film version of the unforgettable play.

Other productions available through the airline’s on-Bard High Life entertainment’s audio selection, include The Tempest, Julius Caesar and Hamlet.

Bard On Board

British Airways Bard on boardLocations which feature among Shakespeare’s plays also appear throughout British Airways’ global route network; from Windsor, close to Terminal 5 at Heathrow, the airline’s customers can wing their way Athens, Cyprus, Denmark, Florence, Milan, Naples, Paris, Rome, Scotland, Venice, Verona and Vienna.

Flying on British Airways customers can enjoy over 1,300 hours of programmes, films and music, which includes audio books for language learning, as well as TV box sets and the very latest movie blockbusters on the airline’s High Life entertainment system.

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The new Airspace by Airbus Cabin Concept revealed

Mar 30, 2016

Airbus launched an innovative new concept in jetliner cabins last week. The “Airspace by Airbus” brand brings together an enhanced experience for passengers and optimum performance for airlines based on four dimensions: comfort, ambience, service and design.

This new concept, introduced with the Airbus widebody A330neo (new engine option) version – and incorporated on the A350 XWB – Airspace cabins offer a more relaxing, inspiring, attractive and functional environment for travellers and optimises the use of cabin space for operators.

Airspace by Airbus

Kiran Rao, the Executive Vice President of Marketing & Strategy, said Airspace continues Airbus’ non-stop innovation and furthers the company’s leadership in providing cabin comfort excellence – applying advanced cabin technologies developed for its recent programmes.

“The A380 already offers the best comfort of any aircraft, and the A320 is the top in its single-aisle category,” he explained. “Airspace is another step forward, reflecting our decision to bring consistency on our two best-selling widebody aircraft: the A350 XWB and A330neo.”

A330neo Cabin Airspace by Airbus

Signature design elements recognisable throughout all Airspace cabins include wider seats; larger overhead storage bins; spacious, contemporary lavatories with antibacterial surfaces; along with unobstructed under-seat foot space. Other features are a unique and customisable welcome area at the main passenger boarding door, the latest in LED technology for ambient lighting, as well as clean shapes and surfaces throughout the interior.

“Such signature details and iconic elements will add to passengers’ enjoyment of flight, while offering a flexible canvas to which the airlines can project their own brand,”

Features for operators include a range of new galley/lavatory options such as modular Space-Flex to maximise trolley capacity, wheelchair-accessible lavatory configurations to suit individual airline requirements, and freeing up of main deck space to allow for additional seating.

Airbus A330neo Airspace Cabin

Airbus has been very focused on the passenger experience and when we were at the Toulouse HQ it was clear that comfort was a very important part of the aircraft manufacturer’s future. The (economy) seat options available for current  aircraft and the new Airspace options are great for passengers but the airlines have to be convinced to spec such options as wider seats.

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Is this the closest thing to experiencing flying the Millennium Falcon?

Feb 23, 2016

If you enjoy flying and you are a Star Wars fan then, like us, you probably want to experience the Millennium Falcon first hand. Unfortunately until Disney build their Star Wars Theme Parks we will just have to wait…or will we?

From next month, the 1st March, you will at least be able to watch the latest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens while you are flying!

Flying like the Millennium Falcon!

Of course you will need to be on a long-haul flight and flying with British Airways! For the next four months passengers will be able to enjoy the critically acclaimed film on long-haul flights around the world with the latest 3D sound.

The movie, stars British newcomers Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn and has become only the third ever film to generate more than two billion dollars at the box office.

Troy Warfield, British Airways’ director of customer experience, said: “Blockbusters don’t come much bigger than Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, which more than deserves all the hype generated by fans, desperate to the see the latest twist in this incredible film series.”

Star Wars The Force Awakens on British Airways.

“We know it will be a huge hit with our customers, eager to watch the return of Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker – not forgetting R2D2 and C3PO. British Airways is committed to bringing the best in big screen entertainment to customers on our flights so they can watch amazing films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens from the comfort of their seat.”

And to make the experience even more engrossing, customers can watch Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, as well as Spectre, The Martian and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., in incredible and immersive hi-tech 3D sound, that brings them right into the heart of the film’s spectacular action and drama.

Club World IFE screen and inflight movies with 3d sound on British Airways

British Airways has also started to roll out a new range of headphones for its passengers in every cabin offering better sound reproduction and greater reliability. Those travelling in First, Club World and World Traveller Plus will be able to listen to movies, TV shows and audio tracks through headphones with improved noise cancelling technology, while those flying in World Traveller can use new silicone tipped earbuds offering greater noise isolation and comfort, which they can take home with them.

Maybe a little turbulence or some steep turns during the Millennium Falcon flight scenes will add to teh excitement!

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Tribute takes off with BA as St Austell Brewery beer reaches new heights

Feb 12, 2016

Passengers will soon be able to sample Cornish brewed beer on BA flights next month as the airline adds a taste of the South West to its bar menu.

Tribute pale ale, a Cornish premium beer will be served across the British Airways fleet, from their A318 aircraft to their 777, 787, 747 and A380 airliners.  Brewed by family-owned St Austell Brewery, the beer will become a regular feature for travellers and be available for passengers flying long-haul, in Club Europe short-haul flights, and in British Airways’ network of global lounges.

Tribute on British Airways

Tribute to be served on British Airways flights

As airlines try to offer their customers something a little different onboard, British Airways has been sourcing premium regional brands from across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.

Troy Warfield, British Airways’ director of customer experience, said: “St Austell Brewery’s beer is the best of British so we’re delighted to offer it to customers in our lounges and on board our flights.”

“We’re very proud to bring one of Britain’s premium regional beers to a wider audience so they can appreciate this perfectly balanced brew and enjoy a taste of one of the South West’s most popular brews.”

For St Austell Brewery it’s taken 6 months to deliver this popular ale brand to BA. The initial meetings began last summer, contracts were signed in December wtih the first order being placed last month. For the brewery the logistics are similar to dealing with their other large customers, in this case delivering on time to Heathrow for the millions of British Airways passengers flying all over the world.

James Staughton, St Austell Brewery’s managing director, said: “Tribute Cornish Pale Ale has experienced huge success over recent years, but this agreement truly marks it out as the beer of the moment.”

“It is testament to the quality and flavour of our locally produced beer and the strong identity that Cornwall has that Tribute was chosen to be served on board British Airways flights.”

“This is an historic day for St Austell Brewery and we are thrilled that British Airways’ customers will be able to enjoy a true taste of Cornwall while flying all around the world. “

Look out for the specially commissioned 330ml cans of St Austell Brewery’s top tipple on BA flights from the 1st March – and don’t forget to tell us what you think of this popular beer!

@Tributeale takes to the skies!

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