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Technically, Virgin’s newest route started last week – let’s call it a soft launch. The official inaugural flight was today, and Jaunted was on it.
When we say “inaugural”, we mean “party plane”. This is Virgin, so instead of a to-keep menu and a quick photo op at check-in, the plane contained the following:
Just as you thought you couldn’t take any more Valentine’s-related travel stories, here comes one that will genuinely warm the cockles of your heart.
Traveling with your significant other is, of course, horrifically fraught, so British Airways have pulled together three inflight couples who work, travel and live together, to see how they do it. Cheesy? Of course! PR stunt? Bien sur? Useful? Not entirely, though there are lessons we can all take from them. But cute as can be? Defo.
The three couples are all cabin-crew-on-cabin-crew partnerships: Sara and Luca Devoto; Julian Holmes and Roly Naiken; and Tim Whorwood and Grant Stride. Yes, two out of three of the couples are same sex. We shouldn't have to say this, but we will. Well done, British Airways.
There’s nothing mindblowing here, but they’re all adorable nonetheless. Here’s how they manage to live, work and travel together without killing each other:
Q: Which airline lounge has a real, authentic gen-yoo-ine Damien Hirst on the wall?
A: This may surprise you: British Airways.
Technically, it’s not surprising that BA has gone for artwork from a British artist, but we’d assume they’d go for something more square, and leave the Hirsts to Virgin Atlantic. Especially for their First Class Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5, where this is positioned nonchalantly, right by the drinks counter. First Class (or Gold Card holder) + stiff upper lip Brit = something less avant garde than Damien Hirst, surely?
British Airways / LHR / Air Travel / In-Flight Entertainment / Animal Travel / Damian Barr / → All Tags
KITTENS AND PUPPIES.
However, there was a problem. The much-vaunted Paws and Relax channel, which was announced in August and supposed to debut in September with nothing but animal programs was not on the inflight entertainment. Nor was it in the High Life magazine.
Actually, we can’t remember seeing it when we flew to Vegas in December, either. And, in fact, when we asked cabin crew where the puppies were, not one of them had ever heard of it. Does this mean it never launched, or it did launch but it bombed? Nope, the latter is just not possible.
request a ticket refund get over our trauma, there are other options. In fact, we couldn’t help noticing that BA has some rather intellectual in-flight entertainment. They may not be showing debates from the Oxford Union, as they used to, but this is still one high-class IFE roster. If you want to stimulate your brain onboard, here’s what we suggest:
Videos / Airlines / British Airways / LHR / SIN / Airbus / A380 / Airplanes / BA A380 / Airline Routes / → All Tags
When it comes right down to it, all aircraft are works of art. One particular masterpiece of recent is the super-jumbo A380, with its double-decker curves and four-engine strength. British Airways is particularly enthralled with their sparkling new A380s and thus created a piece of video art in homage to it.
The British carrier has swapped canvas for fuselage to celebrate their newest non-stop route between London-Heathrow and Singapore with a stunning video that's right out of the cool 4D trend of late. You knowwhen a projection on a building gives the illusion of it coming alive right before your very eyes.
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We have seen some weird stuff at airports, but even the oddest things seem to have a purpose—like those sleeping pod things. Now we’re not sure about this latest addition to London-Heathrow, as officials have wheeled in some kind of globe that shares the smells of the world.
The entertainment—if you can call it that—is now set up in Terminal 2, as the scent globe shares different aromas, smells, and fragrances from around the world. Spots like China, Thailand, South Africa, and Brazil are just a few of the featured offerings. Apparently those spots smell nice, and they’re of particular interest to those heading out of Great Britain on holiday.
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This isn't just any 787, either. Virgin Atlantic is the first European airline to welcome the longer, cooler 787-9 to their fleet, and they do so on their own 30th birthday as an airline, hence the aircraft's name, "Birthday Girl" G-VNEW.
Inside are 198 Economy, 35 Premium Economy, and 31 Upper Class seats, plus a new "Wander Wall" concept in Premium Economy. This is essentially a snack-and-chat station, since the bar is reserved for Upper Class only. Speaking of that barit's been redesigned to fit within the 787-9, but you'll still be able to pop on a barstool and order a Virgin Redhead somewhere 38,000' above the Atlantic Ocean. Instagram it instantly, thanks to long-haul in-flight WiFi onboard.
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Well, it was lovely while it lasted. After 1.5 years of flying, Virgin Atlantic's regional subsidiary Little Red is calling it quits. The goodbye will be a long one, however; the airline won't send its last A320 into the UK skies until September of 2015, making its total lifespanfrom launch in April 2013 to close in September 201529 months.
Issues contributing to the demise include too much point-to-point travel versus connecting to Virgin Atlantic long-hauls from London, and too few slots to truly compete with British Airways on the routes. Both of these reasons go against the whole goal of starting Little Red, which was to offer travelers connecting flight service from other UK town into the Virgin Atlantic long-haul jets in London, and to offer "consumer choice on key domestic services after British Airways' takeover of bmi gifted them a monopoly on these routes."
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We know that we’re in the minority when it comes to loving everything and anything when it comes to airports. For most the airport is often just a means to an end—like "when are we getting to our final destination?!"
Now one airport is helping those who hate the typical waiting room atmosphere of airports, as they’re introducing a way to virtually escape the confines in favor of a more idyllic location.
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Making the "beef or chicken?" choice on is hardly a highlight of the trip. But could we tempt you to get a little more excited over Gordon Ramsay's roasted Hereford rump of beef with green salad and mustard or perhaps slow spit-roasted chicken with fries, salad, bread sauce and roasting juices from Heston Blumenthal? Yeah, we thought so.
London-Heathrow likes to push the envelop when it comes to innovation and has a great idea for doing away with the typical in-flight fare. The airport will deliver full menu items from any one of the terminal's 118 restaurants right to your gate, all wrapped up in a cool bag for chilled items, or a thermal bag for hot items. Each meal is completely prepared and ready to be noshed at any time after take-off.
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Virgin Atlantic used the occasion of its 30th birthday a few days ago (the airline flew its inaugural flight on June 22, 1984) to announce where it will be sending its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner when it joins the fleet this fall: Boston. Appropriately enough, the airplane will be called “Birthday Girl."
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The chances of any of us that didn’t fly Concorde back in the day to experience what it was like to fly Mach 2 on the iconic plane are slim to none. Supersonic travel shows no signs of resurgence, and even if it were coming back, we doubt the original Concorde would be part of it.
While you can see a stationery Concorde in a number of places, there is one airport plenty of travelers pass through where you can still sit in a Concorde seat, even if it is before you get on a plane and take off. We're referring to London’s Heathrow Airport or, more specifically, British Airways' appropriately named Terminal 5 flagship lounge, the Concorde Room.