BA adds new Gatwick routes
British Airways are set to introduce two new transatlantic routes from London Gatwick next summer. A Toronto service, operating three times a week, will begin on 1st May and flights to Las Vegas will return to the airport from 27th March.
Heathrow named Top Connected Airport
In the OAG’s annual list of Top 50 international mega-hub airports, London’s Heathrow has been crowned as number one. The list looks at airports wit the highest ratio of possible scheduled and international connections to the number of destinations served by the airport, making Heathrow the ‘most connected’ in the world. Europe’s hub airports are certainly a busy place, with Frankfurt and Amsterdam being named second and third respectively.
EasyJet goes Hands Free
EasyJet has begun a new service, Hands Free, allowing passengers to check hand luggage at the bag drop desk. Luggage will be tagged as priority and looked after through to the arrival airport, where it will be among the first to be delivered on the baggage belt. According to EasyJet, the service, which costs £4 per person, gives passengers a stress-free experience as they don’t need to take baggage through security or carry it around the airport. Hands Free customers will be given a small plastic bag for essentials and are free to take on board any items bought at the airport. They’re also among the first to board, after Speedy Boarding travellers.
IHG launch new midscale hotel brand
Intercontinental Hotels Group has unveiled its new high-quality midscale brand, Avid hotels. Designed for travellers who want “the basics done exceptionally well” according to IHG, the price point is expected to be slightly below the group’s Holiday Inn Express brand. The newly built Avid hotels will include open work areas, communal spaces and free wifi, while guestrooms will feature workspaces, open storage and the ability for guests to broadcast entertainment content from their own devices to the room’s system. The first properties are due to open in the US early 2019.
Intercity Trains begin testing
The first of Great Western Railway’s Intercity Express Trains have begun testing in Devon and Cornwall. From 2018, the new fleet of IETs will connect London Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance among other destinations. There will be 20% more seating per train, more frequent services and shorter journey times, says GWR.
Virgin wifi first
Virgin Atlantic claims to be the first European carrier to offer wifi across its entire fleet. A ‘messenger pass’ package costs just £2.99, although the airline says its most popular package is the ‘full flight’ access option, costing £14.99.
Marriott extends its stay in London
Marriott has opened its first extended stay Residence Inn property in London, with a second scheduled to open later this year. Located on Long Lane in London Bridge, the Residence Inn features 87 studio, one and two-bedroom suites, while the 307 suite Residence Inn in Kensington will open before the end of 2017. Suites at the London Bridge property boast separate living, working and sleeping areas as well as fully equipped kitchens and free wifi. The property also includes communal laundry facilities, a 24/7 Grab ‘n’ Go Market and fitness centre.