THERE was great news for business travellers last week with the announcement that British Airways flights from Dublin and Belfast are to begin using London Heathrow's Terminal 5 from October, bringing to an end the arduous journey for Irish passengers forced to use hard-to-reach Terminal 1.
As well as ensuring quicker and smoother connections, T5 offers a host of luxury facilities for passengers including six dedicated lounges, known as 'Galleries', each embracing a decadent look and feel with crystal chandeliers, art installations, mood lighting to reflect the time of day as well as providing free refreshments.
Now workspace provider Regus has announced plans to open a business centre at T5 this summer, the first of its kind. It will give business travellers access to wireless internet, computers and charging stations, as well as facilities for conference calls and printing documents.
More business passengers pass through Heathrow than any other airport in the world. T5 is its busiest terminal, specifically built to handle British Airways' traffic, handling 28.1 million passengers in 2012. It's also used by Iberia.
BA relaunched its Dublin-London service in autumn 2012, nearly 25 years after dropping the route. It restarted the flights after taking over UK airline BMI, which already operated between the two cities.
In other BA news, members of the airline's frequent flyer Executive Club scheme can now upgrade to first class, one-way, at no extra cost when booking a fully flexible Club World return ticket in business.
Members wanting to take advantage of the offer need to book by March 21 and must complete their outbound travel by the same date. Inbound travel must be completed by April 11.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC EXITS AUSTRALIA
VIRGIN Atlantic is pulling out of Australia, blaming rising costs. "Increasing costs and a challenging economic environment has affected revenues and the route is no longer considered profitable," said the airline.
Its flights from London to Australia were popular among Irish passengers travelling Down Under, requiring only one major flight connection in London.
STAFF TO TRIAL GOOGLE GLASS
STAYING on the subject of Virgin – Google Glass (the web-connected glasses unveiled by the technology giant last year) might seem out of reach for most of us, but Virgin Atlantic customers are about to get a taste.
Virgin has launched a trial programme of the device using its employees; concierge staff at Heathrow airport will now wear the glasses while assisting passengers with Upper Class tickets, in an effort to deliver more personalised customer service.
From the minute these passengers arrive at Heathrow's Terminal 3, staff wearing the technology will start their check-in process using the glasses. At the same time, staff will be able to update passengers on their flight information, weather and local events at their destination and translate any foreign language information.
The technology can also communicate passengers' dietary and refreshment preferences. If the six-week pilot is successful, the airline will consider a wider roll-out in future.