Showing posts from August, 2015

British Airways keeping their 747s

British Airways has been irritating me as of late... Criminally-high fuel surcharges, worthless Travel Together certificates, slow and clunky website, and yet-another massive point devaluation all led me to get rid of my BA credit card this year.

That said, I still think my favorite place to fly is on the upper deck of a 747 and British Airways flies a bunch of them on the NYC – London routes. I've been in First and Business Class on various A380s, and I've also flown the polar opposite: BA's tiny all-Business Class A318. Still, for me, nothing can quite match the 747's and its double-whammy of "Glamour of my childhood" meets "Secret clubhouse in the attic".

I was happy to read this report that says BA will likely remodel their newer 747s (with 86 Business Class seats! a net increase of 16!) and keep them for another decade. Low fuel prices have to be part of their math on this... For most of the 2000s the trend has been to replace the bigger, 4-eng…

British Airways launching 787 service between San Jose and London

As a former San Franciscan, I'm quite used to checking those two little "SFO" and "OAK" boxes in Kayak when searching for flights. Given that San Jose's airport 60 miles away with no decent transit link and a taxi/Uber/Super shuttle are all over $100 and have to grind thru crushing 101 traffic, it's almost never worth it to even look at flights from the ole' SJC.

But British Airways just announced that they're putting a brand-new 787-900 on the SJC - London Heathrow route starting 4 May 2016. Tickets just went on sale yesterday. The 787-9 is larger than the 787-8 and they're going to put 4-class service into this bird: 8 First Class seats, 42 Business, 39 Economy Plus, and 127 Economy.

SJC 8pm > LHR 2pm
LHR 3:15pm > SJC 6pm
All new plane smell geekery aside, I love the 787's quiet interior, higher cabin pressure, and higher humidity – food tastes better and you arrive feeling less fatigued from the dry air and droning engine noise.…

Ugh. Amtrak moving to a revenue-based redemption model

Lucky points out today that Amtrak is moving to a revenue-based model for its points program. He's also reporting that they may leave as a Chase Sapphire transfer partner. Though I suppose if they do the former, I would never need to do the latter...

Like most of these programs (Virgin, JetBlue) the points will very likely end up being worth 1.3 - 1.8¢ each, far below some of the better rates you can get now. On Acela express, I've routinely redeemed in the 3 - 4¢ per point range, which is better than most domestic airline redemption rates. As Lucky points out, there are even better redemptions available on long distance sleeper cars.

I guess the one positive is that they'll hopefully get rid of those pesky blackout dates.

UPDATE: more info from Amtrak here. Analysis here.