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POST AMCWHIRTER

Royal Brunei is up­ping ca­pac­ity exLon­don Heathrow from Oc­to­ber 28. Flights will now op­er­ate daily and the niche car­rier will drop the DXB stop when fly­ing to Brunei. It means that Royal Brunei will be­come a more se­ri­ous player for other des­ti­na­tions in Asia and Aus­trala­sia.

More de­tails when avail­able.

➜ CAPETONIANM

Ex­cel­lent air­line. I’ve flown on them twice, between FRA/LHR and DXB or RUH/JED (I think). I will just say though that al­though I am a light drinker, af­ter two weeks in Saudi, and booked back on Royal Brunei, my first sec­tor with them, I was gasp­ing for an ice cold frosty, set­tled back into my lovely leather seat, a beau­ti­ful blonde host­ess greeted me by name and asked me if I wanted a drink. Up to that point I wasn’t aware it was a ‘dry’ air­line.

➜ NEVERECONOMY

Not sure if BWN has been up­graded as it was very grim the last time I was through there. I re­mem­ber Royal Brunei as a nice ex­pe­ri­ence for the short SIN-BWN flight, but sorry, dry fly­ing is not for me.

POST SWISSEXPAT

I have not ever used the fa­cil­ity to “hold a flight book­ing for 72 hours” for a fee, but just did so on a book­ing where I had some com­pli­cated sched­ul­ing of ho­tels etc and wanted to get my flights sorted be­fore sort­ing the ho­tels.

I am de­lighted to say this in­volves me hav­ing a hol­i­day in Scot­land this sum­mer with Mrs. Ex­Pat. (Ed­in­burgh mainly).

De­spite di­rect flights with Swiss/ Edel­weiss, I found cheaper flights with BA through Heathrow at de­cent times and the ex­tra bag­gage al­lowance, not need­ing to ring the air­line to book a bike on­board and also British Air­ways Ex­ec­u­tive Club gold sta­tus with lounge ac­cess swung the de­ci­sion.

How­ever, it was the di€er­ence in the ‘hold book­ing’ con­di­tions that was sur­pris­ing.

With Swiss, the fee was CHF 25 per per­son and this was not re­funded.

With BA, it was CHF 7 per per­son, re­funded if you pro­ceeded with the book­ing.

That will pay for us both on ar­rival at the Cale­do­nian Ho­tel.

Any­one use this fea­ture with reg­u­lar­ity on other air­lines?

➜ CAPETONIANM

De­spite di­rect flights with Swiss/ Edel­weiss, I found cheaper flights with BA through Heathrow at de­cent times and the ex­tra bag­gage al­lowance.

In your case you may have found that BA suited you bet­ter, but Swiss/ Edel­weiss is a bet­ter prod­uct, hence the higher price, and that’s a price I will­ingly pay to avoid ‘cheaper’ BA.

BA has to be re­ally cheap to tempt me on board, par­tic­u­larly on long-haul.

➜ SWISSEXPAT

@Capeto­nian..

Be­ing such a reg­u­lar on routes op­er­ated by BA and Swiss, I have writ­ten much on the com­par­i­son…a s in back in 2015. BA ver­sus Swiss: A sur­pris­ing re­sult Since writ­ing this, Swiss have im­proved the air­craft (no more AVRO) and also BA has in­tro­duced paid on- board F&B whilst Swiss re­tains the F&B in­cluded in the ticket price.

Given these changes, I agree com­pletely that Swiss o™er a sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter prod­uct on the UK Switzer­land Routes.

Based on my re­cent ex­pe­ri­ences the gap is even larger on J short haul book­ings. I had an ex­cel­lent DUB-ZRH flight in J with Swiss.

How­ever, it is the ex­is­tence of the British Air­ways Ex­ec­u­tive Club that brings BA back into the run­ning. I have given up try­ing to get Swiss Sil­ver level and even if you have this, you still don’t get into most lounges in the LH/LX net­work (DUB for ex­am­ple). I qual­ify quite eas­ily for BA Sil­ver (oc­ca­sion­ally Gold) and the ben­e­fits of free seat se­lec­tion, ex­tra bags for all in my party (Swiss only al­low the card holder an ex­tra bag) and con­sis­tent lounge ac­cess across their net­work, and AVIOS means the BA o™er­ing is in this in­stance my pre­ferred choice. Also, I don’t need to call to book my bike on­board (Swiss force you to do this and it is a real has­sle with them off™icially only car­ry­ing three bikes on a A320).

But the point of my post was the dis­cussing on the ‘Book­ing hold op­tion’ and its pric­ing. Swiss are o™ the pace here and by quite a dis­tance.

➜ LUGANOPIRATE

I’ve used the hold my book­ing fea­tures sev­eral times with Swiss and while not re­funded if can­celled I’m pretty sure it was taken in part pay­ment of the full ticket price when I com­pleted the book­ing.

➜ RFERGUSON

It’s also worth men­tion­ing that the Swiss prod­uct ex GVA will be­come a lot more aligned with the BA short haul prod­uct in Y when they in­tro­duce buy on board on routes out of that city.

ROYAL BRUNEI TO FLY DAILY NON-STOP FROM LHR EF­FEC­TIVE OC­TO­BER 28

BA OUTSHINES SWISS ON HOLD­ING A FLIGHT BOOK­ING

POST MAX 11

Trav­el­ling to three coun­tries in South­east Asia next month for my busi­ness meet­ing. Any rec­om­men­da­tions on how to have in­ter­net con­nec­tion?

➜ GIN&TONIC

Max11, as­sum­ing you need con­nec­tion pri­mar­ily for work and keep­ing in touch with home, the wifi avail­able at the vast ma­jor­ity of ho­tels and cafes is more than suit­able. De­pends on where you are, if you want to stream Net­flix etc then that’s not al­ways so good, but for day to day email, Face Time or Skype you will be well cov­ered. En­joy your trip, first time I as­sume? Safe trav­els.

➜ HAND­BAG

I use “three”. They have a tari‚ called “Feel at Home”. When you go to any of the spec­i­fied coun­tries, you just use your phone at as you would at home for no ex­tra charge. Had a look at the list of the coun­tries they cover and it is very ex­ten­sive and they add more all the time. If I am go­ing to a coun­try, that I don’t go to very of­ten, I just have a quick look to see if in­cluded. The ma­jor­ity of BA Crew are on these pack­ages now.

I only pay £15 per month. For this I get un­lim­ited calls and text and 12GB of data.

➜ HUIT SIX

Hi Max11,

Is this your first time in South­east Asia? If so, I sure hope you will love the re­gion as much as I do!

As a few par­tic­i­pants above have al­ready men­tioned, ho­tel/restau­rant con­nec­tion is usu­ally to­tally fine. I usu­ally use those to con­nect my lap­top and write a few e-mails on the go.

But if you are an ‘in­ter­net ad­dict’ like me and need con­stant 4G con­nec­tion ev­ery­where, I would def­i­nitely rec­om­mend you get a sim card at the air­port. Ev­ery­where it is easy to find and quite cheap. The only ex­cep­tion to this is Jakarta CGK air­port where it is not only di‚icult to find a lo­cal sim card (you have to re­ally look for it) but it is also ridicu­lously ex­pen­sive! I’m talk­ing $20 for a few days only, keep­ing in mind this is a coun­try where lo­cals of­ten pay less than $5-$10 for their monthly plans.

This is why I have a phone with a double sim slot: one sim for data ac­cess and lo­cal calls when trav­el­ling, and the other sim is for my home num­ber in case some­one calls me on that line, the num­ber is al­ways avail­able.

If you need trans­port, do note that Uber has pulled out of South­east Asia al­to­gether (this is very re­cent), so now I would rec­om­mend you use the Grab app which is ba­si­cally the same thing. Hope this helps.

En­joy your trip!

POST TOM OTLEY

In­ter­est­ing point (which I hadn’t con­sid­ered be­fore).

Dis­cussed on the in­dus­try web­sites such as DFNI.

Ex­am­ple: Post-Brexit duty-free not a‚ected by cus­toms union dis­pute

Seems clear that duty-free between the UK and the EU will not come into e‚ect in March 2019 be­cause “The tran­si­tion agree­ment, which has been reached between the UK and the EU, is very clear and it states that for the ap­pli­ca­tion of EU law, the UK shall be treated as an EU mem­ber state for the du­ra­tion of the tran­si­tion pe­riod. Should there be an agree­ment, the tran­si­tion will last from March of next year un­til De­cem­ber of the fol­low­ing year [2020],”

DFNI un­der­stands that the pos­si­ble re­turn of duty-free will be a part of the frame­work agree­ment on the future re­la­tion­ship between the UK and the EU, which is cur­rently sched­uled to be agreed, mean­ing the next four to five months are vi­tal for the in­dus­try’s lob­by­ing e‚orts.

I would have thought that the in­dus­try would want duty free to re­turn, since that would in­crease sales since prices would drop for consumers on these prod­ucts, but on the other hand, if fewer peo­ple are fly­ing between the UK and Europe (un­likely, I ad­mit) then there’s less foot­fall though the air­port.

IN­TER­NET CON­NEC­TION FOR TRAV­EL­LING

➜ FDOS_UK

No, it will not. I be­lieve there will be a po­lit­i­cal deal on the cus­toms union and this will keep present har­monised taxes in place.

➜ FLIGHTLEVEL

Eco­nomics won’t change much since VW, BMW, Mercedes, and many oth­ers will have to lay o‚ thou­sands of work­ers if their prod­ucts went back to tari‚s.

Air­bus al­ready ac­cepts that fact and is only con­sid­er­ing building stocks of wings, en­gines, etc. un­til the politi­cians get their act to­gether and stop their stu­pid­ity!

Doubt they will have tari‚s on al­co­hol, etc ei­ther.

WILL DUTY FREE RE­TURN BETWEEN UK AND EUROPE AF­TER MARCH 2019

➜ ALAINBOY 50

@flightlevel —- Do you know the sec­ond big­gest ex­port mar­ket for Mercedes af­ter USA? The Gulf? No, it’s the UK. For sure Mercedes etc will not al­low their govern­ment to screw up their sec­ond-best mar­ket. I also read an ar­ti­cle today about the pos­si­bil­ity of flights stop­ping between UK and Europe from March 2019. What this also means, is that LH/AF/IB/AZ/SK/AY/ SN/TP/EI/OK/LX etc will not be able fly to UK — Does any­one be­lieve those air­lines (and their re­spec­tive govern­ments) will al­low this sit­u­a­tion to hap­pen? Its only M. Bernier and his team who is try­ing to show how pow­er­ful they are, but they will soon be reined in. They (EU un­elected o‚icers), are para­noid about other coun­tries fol­low­ing suit and also declar­ing their wish to leave, so they are ex­tremely afraid that the ‘Gravy Train’ will end, so their wish, nay their ab­so­lute need, is to show the rest of Europe how di‚icult it is to leave, and to dis­suade them to ever con­sider it).

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