BA and Virgin Atlantic to depart Heathrow for JFK in dual take-off

Transatlantic airline rivals British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are to celebrate the reopening of the US to UK nationals with a dual take-off as flights depart from Heathrow to New York. The show of unity marks the first day since March 16, 2020, that the majority of UK nationals have been able to fly to the US.

This morning, British Airways flight BA001, a flight number previously reserved for Concorde, and Virgin Atlantic flight VS3, will both depart Heathrow for New York JFK at 08.30. The carriers said their first-ever synchronised take-off is to recognise their joint campaigning efforts on the restart of UK-US travel after more than 600 days.

In 2019, 22 million people travelled between the two countries, along with 900,000 tonnes of cargo.

From today, fully-vaccinated arrivals from the UK and EU are able to enter the US without quarantine. It follows the UK government’s move to allow vaccinated US arrivals without quarantine from August 2.

Heathrow Airport drop off charges introduced on 1 November 2021

On 1 November, Heathrow introduced new drop-off charges it in line with most other London airports (excluding London City). The Heathrow Terminal Drop-Off Charge is only payable online, via an automated telephone service or via autopay. It cannot be dealt with at an airport ticket machine or in the terminal drop-off zones. The fee is applied via Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) – there are no barriers, and all the terminals will be covered by the scheme. You cannot pick up passengers in the drop-off zones and instead, must use the short-term parking close by where charges apply. For more information, click here.

IHG Rewards extends member status until February 2023

IHG Hotels and Resorts has extended status within its IHG Rewards loyalty programme until the end of February 2023. The group had previously extended elite status until January 2022. The move follows Hilton’s decision to extend status in its Hilton Honors programme until 31 March 2023. For more information on IHG Rewards, click here.

Gatwick to introduce AI passenger flow technology

Gatwick airport has unveiled plans to use artificial intelligence technology to help optimise its security operations and improve passenger flow. The airport is to implement the Passenger Predictability solution by technology firm Veovo, which will provide Gatwick with “real-time awareness of people’s movement and experiences in North and South terminal security areas.”

Gatwick will join airports including Manchester, New York’s Newark, and Amsterdam Schiphol in introducing the technology, which Veovo says will allow the airport to “efficiently handle increasing passenger numbers and build back better for a more sustainable, passenger-centred travel experience.”

Boeing’s B777X to make international debut at Dubai Airshow

Boeing has announced plans to showcase its forthcoming B777X aircraft at this month’s Dubai Airshow. The Dubai Airshow takes place between 14 and 18 November 2021, having been cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Customers for the aircraft include Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, and Lufthansa.

Travel news as a glance:

  • ITA – Italy’s new flagship airlines – joins Skyteam
  • Emirates will restart operations from Gatwick to Dubai on 10 December
  • Premier Inn opens first hotel in Dublin City centre
  • United ups London by offering 22 flights per day from Heathrow by Spring 2022
  • London City to get three Europe routes back this winter – Prague, Salzburg, and Chambery – all via BA’s CityFlyer subsidiary
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