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So-called "hallelujah moments" often serve as inspiration to travelers, whether it's hearing a language for the first time and deciding to study it, or meeting someone on the other side who you know will be a friend for life. For Jaunted Editor Cynthia, one such moment was something as simple as her first bump up to a better seat on a flight.
I didn't pay for the upgrade.
There were no frequent flyer miles exchanged, as I had none.
It wasn't even a result of airline status, because I didn't have that either.
Instead, my first-ever upgradefrom "World Traveller" to "World Traveller Plus" on British Airwayscame about after I shed some honest-to-goodness tears in full view of the check-in desk at Detroit-Metro Airport.
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The growth of Twitter has had an uneven effect on the airline industry and its relationship to travelers.
On one hand, it has enabled the development of a real-time concierge service that really does help customers. We've publicly tweeted about airline-driven mistakes, then gotten transfered to direct messages, and then gotten incoming mobile phone calls...and then gotten our problems resolved. There are articles and even studies about the effectiveness of airlines' Twitter war rooms.
On the other hand, there's something about Twitterand it's the same thing with Yelp and TripAdvisorthat transforms some people into gigantic douchebags. Or at the very least, it allows them to publicly highlight their douchebaggery in breathtaking ways. Let's take this gem of a userthe guy who paid $1,000 to promote a tweet attacking British Airways for temporarily misplacing his father's luggageas a case study.
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This has been a week of ups and downs on social media for British Airways. After sailing on positive press for their new A380 and 787 aircraft, a hit came in the form of a single promoted tweet bashing their luggage handling. More on that later.
For now, we return to their bright and shiny planes new to the tarmac, both of which will take to the skies on their inaugural routes within 30 days of each other. In fact, the 787 already has set up and out on its route from London to Toronto, but it's the London to Newark route inaugural on October 1 that'll be the real trophy. To prepare for this and the September 24 start of the A380's service between Los Angeles and London, BA is launching a fresh ad campaign, first debuted this morning on social media channels.
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Sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of all the new route announcements that come our way, so we’ve complied a little bit of a rundown below. As long as you can afford the fares, this should definitely help add to your passport stamp collection.
· British Airways:
In case you missed it earlier there was some big news for the residents of Austin this week, as British Airways announced that they’re bringing nonstop flights to London from Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. The flights will be operated with some of the carrier’s Boeing 787s beginning in March of next year. This is going to be the airport’s first regularly scheduled flight across the pond, so it’s quite a slice of awesome for those who call the area home.
A couple new options this week from the folks over at United, as they look to connect to a pair of new spots across North America. The carrier is now flying back and forth between Chicago-O’Hare and Saskatoon, but that’s not the only option. United is also getting ready to send planes and people between Washington-Dulles and Quebec City. Unfortunately, the new options will be served by some less than comfy regional jets—E145s from ExpressJet to be specific.
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· British Airways' 787 took off to Toronto. It flies! Well, we already knew that. They were a half-hour late in arriving, but we wouldn't have wanted an inaugural on a 787 to end early, either. Check out our gallery to see more.
· British Airways adds Austin, TX to the 787 routes. While we're on the topic of the BA 787, might as well mention that this morning held the huge announcement of a new route to come in spring 2014: London to Austin, TX. The first flight will happen in March, bringing a second international destination to Austin Airport, which currently only has over-the-border flights to Mexico.
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In the grand tradition of US college hijinks, Thursday is affectionately known as "Thirsty Thursday." So what's United thirsty for today? The answer: flights to China! We're talking about Chengdu specifically, as United just announced that they'll be the first airline with nonstop flights to Chengdu from the US, beginning June 11, 2014.
The route, operating by United's Boeing 787 Dreamliner, will fly from San Francisco to Chengdu-Shuangliu three times a week, a trip of nearly 14 hours one-way.
This is only the latest in a slew of headlines for Chengdu travel this year, and it's left us wondering what's so cool about Chengdu, anyway?
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This is just the Amuse-bouche
On any given day, there are 9-10 British Airways planes zooming up into the skies from New York's JFK Airport. Touch down may be London's Heathrow Airport, but the 7+ hours in-flight time is absolutely a destination in itself. This is especially true for First Class guests who opt to open the menu for a meal, rather than just close their eyes for a sleep.
The focus for British Airways' First Class cuisine is, to quote BA's Manager of Food & Beverage Design, Chef Gwendal Hamon, "lovely ingredients with good provenance, simply prepared." Catering is by Do & Co, who employ over 500 people just at their JFK facility, with the aim to provide the best quality foods for the best possible taste at altitude and, in this case, especially for those in the best seats on the plane.
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It's no secret that Google has high ambitions for Street View. In March the company expanded its offerings across Eastern Europe, and for the first time users got the opportunity to walk through Bulgaria, plus some 200 Russian cities. Then a few weeks ago we told you about new walkthroughs being built into Street View that will allow users to meander through rain forests, beaches, and maybe even a volcano.
Then news came this week that Google is letting users inside the insanely decadent Emirates Airbus A380. You start off on the concourse at Dubai International Airport. From there you get the option to step inside the plane. Here is the economy "bus with wings" section of the plane. Here are the steps you take if you're lucky enough not to be sitting there. And here is the bar you get to avail yourself of once you're upstairs. It's kind of amazing, the things we can do.
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In case you were wondering how big an Airbus A380 really is, perhaps this picture will provide some sense of perspective: it shows the brand new British Airways A380 nose-to-nose with its smallest cousin, the teensy Airbus A318. How cute is that? You can almost hear the Disney Planes dialogue: “Move over, little one”. “I ain’t going anywhere, big guy!”
This unique photo-op happened at Shannon Airport (SNN) in Ireland. Why there? The Airbus A380 is on its rounds of familiarization flights before it will start flying to and from Los Angeles on September 24, and made a trip to Shannon as part of this cycle. The A318 of course makes its daily stop on the way to New York-JFK from London’s City Airport, where it refuels, and if you’re on the magic flight number BA001, you can clear US immigration.
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Starting next February, British Airways is planing to bring one of their newest birds down to Johannesburg, so it makes sense to build some excitement around the news of a new A380 route. We're not talking about painting London cabs like safari animals or dishing up biltong on every BA flight (although that would be cool); this one involves a little man versus machine action.
The newest advertisement from the airline features South African rugby player, Bryan Habana, challenging the super jumbo to a race in the hopes that they'll discover which finely tuned machine is faster. The 100 meter race takes place on a runway (of course) and has the sportsman racing the Airbus from a dead stop. Although Habana slows to a stop, obviously the super-jumbo rotates to complete a takeoff.
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Self-service baggage tagging is far from breaking newswe told you about Alaskan Airlines leading the charge last yearbut the TSA has just granted the privilege to its first international carrier, British Airways.
The airline has chosen Las Vegas-McCarren International Airport (of all places) as "the first airport in the US to conduct its trial." Self tagging your bags is a breeze, but we do find a bit of humor in Sin City being selected as the pilot location. We guess BA figures that if the blurry-eyed tourists leaving Las Vegas can figure out the procedure, the rest of the nation shouldn't have much a problem.
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London’s Heathrow Terminal 5 may have been purpose-built as the home of British Airways, but as these things tend to go, there isn’t nearly enough space to operate all flights out of its main A building and B/C satellites. Depending on your destination, you may find yourself therefore flying in and out of Terminal 3, or even the waiting-to-be-torn-down throwback that is Terminal 1.
Short-haul Terminal 3 destinations include the majority of Eastern European flights (think Warsaw, Budapest, Bucharest), which all involve (without exception) a rather uncomfortable bus journey out to the airplane. T3 itself (crowded, noisy) doesn’t have much else to make the experience of going through this particular part of Heathrow more pleasant, setting aside for a minute Virgin Atlantic’s private security channel.
The sole reason we’re not completely hating every time we fly out of T3 is down to one redeeming feature BA has up its sleeve: its Galleries First lounge, specifically the corner First Class Dining Room therein.