Business travellers back the jab

97% of business travellers say they will take – or have already taken – a coronavirus vaccine.

In a survey conducted by Scott Pawley, more than 19 out of twenty respondents said they will be taking the vaccine. Just 3% claimed they either will not or cannot be vaccinated.

Scott Pawley, managing director of Global Travel Management said

With the gradual return to more business travel, we expect more people will need to be able to show they have had a full dose of SARS-Cov2 vaccine. So it’s great to see such widespread support for the global vaccination programme.


In the survey, published through business social network LinkedIn, respondents were asked if they had taken one jab, a full dose, were waiting to be vaccinated, or were not going to be jabbed.

87% confirmed they had had at least one dose.

Pawley continued

For nearly nine in ten people, the vaccine is starting to protect them – and their friends, families, suppliers, customers and colleagues. The reach and speed of vaccine programmes in many countries is astonishing.

One in ten respondents said they are waiting for their first jab – a percentage that will reduce over time as the vaccine programmes gather pace and as younger age groups qualify for inclusion.

The results show that business travellers are more likely to have been vaccinated – with either one or two jabs – than the wider UK population. As of Friday, 11 June, 78% of the UK adult population had received their first dose and 55.9% had received their second dose.

Pawley added

Business travellers know better than most people how preparation is vital. That may be why so many have taken the precaution of getting vaccinated. It’s a great effort from everyone involved.

It’s great to see so many people taking it seriously.


The survey was self-selecting, among more than 150 users of LinkedIn. You can see the full survey, here.

UK eVOTL network plans announced

Virgin Atlantic has announced a partnership with Vertical Aerospace to launch ‘sustainable, zero emissions’ air travel in the UK.

The partnership includes an option for Virgin Atlantic to purchase up to 150 eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft and exploration of a UK Joint Venture with Vertical Aerospace, to deliver a Virgin Atlantic branded short haul eVTOL network.

Vertical Aerospace unveiled the VA-X4 in 2020

The  fully-electric VA-X4 is a zero emissions, near silent aircraft with a range of over 100 miles. It will carry four passengers in addition to a pilot. The VA-X4 has four tilting advanced rotors at the front and stowable rotors at the rear, capable of speeds over 200mph, and is set to revolutionise urban mobility and electrify air travel, with certification to the same safety standards as commercial airliners.

IVirgin Atlantic  and Vertical Aerospace will be working together to explore a Joint Venture to deliver next generation eVTOL passenger operations in the UK, combining the world-class knowledge and expertise of both partners.  Vertical Aerospace and Virgin Atlantic will seek to establish short haul, electric aircraft connectivity between UK cities and airport hubs starting with London Heathrow, Manchester and London Gatwick.

The airline’s goal is to enable sustainable, price competitive, regional connectivity across the first and last 100 miles of the customer journey.

For example, reducing the 56-mile journey from Cambridge to London Heathrow to just 22 minutes, in comparison to a 1 hour 30 drive by road.

With 37 towns and cities with populations over 100,000 within 100 miles of London Heathrow Airport, the VA-X4 offers huge potential to support zero emissions short haul transfers for 7.7 million customers outside of London, for flights to and from the UK’s main hub airport.

A full-scale prototype of the VA-X4 is currently in production and the first test flight is planned for later this year.

Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic said:

With innovation and sustainability leadership firmly in our DNA, we are excited to be partnering with Vertical Aerospace to pioneer sustainable and zero emissions air travel in the UK. We pride ourselves on building enduring strategic partnerships and are thrilled to be working alongside Vertical in its mission to bring eVTOL travel to the UK.

Our partnership includes an option for Virgin Atlantic to acquire up to 150 eVTOL VA-X4 aircraft, combining the design, engineering and manufacturing expertise of Vertical with the award-winning customer experience and operational excellence of Virgin Atlantic.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical CEO and Founder, said:

This is the most exciting time in aviation for almost a century; electrification will transform flying in the 21st century in the same way the jet engine did 70 years ago. By bringing together two entrepreneurial organisations who share the same passion for innovation and best in class partnerships, we can revolutionise urban mobility in the UK and electrify air travel.

We look forward to working closely with Virgin Atlantic and completely changing how people think about flying through the skies.

Commercial operations of the VA-X4 are planned for 2024 following European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) certification.

As launch partner in the UK, Virgin Atlantic has the option to order between 50 and 150 aircraft.  This is not yet a committed order and with aircraft development still under way, the final order value is yet to be confirmed.

How do you travel to a country that’s not on the green list?

Global Travel Management managing director Scott Pawley has spelled out some examples of how business travellers can still visit – and return from – amber-listed countries.

  • Travel to green list countries is possible with few restrictions  
  • But what if the country you need to visit is outside the government’s green list?
  • And how do you navigate restrictions in destination countries? 
Business Travel Magazine includes an online version, a printed publication available in the UK and a weekly newsletter.

In the article, available here, Scott explains how Global Travel Management works with businesses to ensure that crucial business travel can take place, even to countries outside the green list.

The article discusses the United States’ work exemptions, routes avoiding countries with the greatest restrictions imposed on them, differences in self-isolation requirements and arranging Covid-19 testing at home and abroad.

Scott explained,

We have clients who need to travel to countries that are not – or not yet – on the UK government’s green list. The first thing we do is help them understand the testing requirements that currently exist. So, for an amber list county, it means pre-booking either three or four PCR tests before the trip takes place.

He also explained how each country’s restrictions must be taken into consideration

It’s crucial to ensure that regulations are being adhered to, but, equally, when travel to the United States is business-critical, we do what we can to ensure it can happen.

Scott contributed to the article to share some of the best practice required to ensure businesses that need to travel can do so with as little inconvenience as possible.

You can read the full article here.

New airport lounge brand to be launched

A new brand will be entering the airport lounge sector following a deal between an airport lounge business and a major financial institution.

JPMorgan Chase will introduce business travellers to a new airport lounge: Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club. According to Chase, this ‘will bring to life key aspects of the travel journey and offer a fresh approach to the lounge experience with locations to be announced in select markets over time’.

Marianne Lake: travel has always been important to our customers.

Marianne Lake, Co-CEO of Chase said

Travel has always been important to our customers who aspire for compelling and elevated experiences. We’re investing in meeting our customers where they want to be as more and more of them have the confidence to travel again.

JPMorgan Chase is bringing these lounges to its customers in collaboration with Airport Dimensions, the industry experts in global airport lounges and experiences.

Airport Dimensions designs, builds, and operates airport spaces for lounges and other experiences, and is one of the fastest growing global lounge operators in the world. It has a network of 28 airport lounges and experiences at major airports across the US United Kingdom and Middle East including Atlanta, Dallas Fort Worth, Gatwick, Heathrow, Dubai, and Doha. A further seven lounges are in development.

For more than a decade, Chase Sapphire has activated lounges across the United States at marquee events, serving as hubs for unique access at culinary, entertainment and cultural experiences. the financial services company said, ‘that same inspiration will come to life in airports, providing access to exceptional, authentic and regionally inspired food, drink, art, entertainment and wellness’.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said

Business Travel can involve stressful, time-consuming or un-scheduled waits at airports. So, making use of an airport lounge is a crucial way of ensuring every moment on a journey is well spent. This collaboration between one of the world’s most renowned airport lounge operators and a major financial institution with more than $3 trillion in assets is likely to be of great interest to business travellers.

I look forward to finding out where the first Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club openings will be.

Crowne Plaza guests love the brand’s fresh, new approach

In collaboration with hotel owners around the world, IHG Hotels & Resorts is accelerating the transformation of one of the industry’s largest and most well-known upscale brands – Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts.

Whether they are among the first to stay with IHG at new marquee global properties or checking in to recently renovated properties, guests are experiencing the future of business travel – and, according to IHG research, loving it.  

Ginger Taggart, Vice President, Global Crowne Plaza, commented: 

Crowne Plaza was one of the first brands to focus on the needs of modern business travellers in the early 1980s and, since then, we have continued to innovate and advance our design and service approach.

During the last few years, we have worked closely with our owners to enhance this brand to meet the future of premium travel, including the desire of guests for overall balance and the ability to switch easily between work and leisure, as well as the evolution of meetings to include more virtual and hybrid options.

Crowne Plaza’s elevated experience for today’s business traveller centres around a “new modern” design style which satisfies the needs of professional productivity, personal restoration and inspiration. Key features include:

  • Plaza Workspace – Lobbies have been reimagined through Plaza Workspace with flexible spaces that support work and downtime; a central, stylish bar; different seating for working and socialising; embedded technology; and a private meeting space that is bookable by the hour.
  • WorkLife Rooms – Crowne Plaza’s perfectly balanced, and patented, WorkLife Room offers a combination of comfort, connectivity and flexibility with distinct zones that maximize space and lighting for work, relaxation and sleep.
  • Dare to Connect – A distinguished service experience, Dare to Connect is an intuitive, unscripted service style that ‘sets Crowne Plaza apart’ in the industry. The programme trains and empowers hotel teams to take a proactive approach to connect with guests, anticipating their needs and providing the best recommendations to help guests make the most of their free time.
  • Gather + Thrive – Crowne Plaza is focused on the future of meetings and events, setting the stage for creative collaborations and significant life moments, working from planning to execution to make sure everything runs smoothly so that meeting planners and attendees can be at their best. The Gather + Thrive program offers an end-to-end meetings and events experience including purposeful design, energizing food and beverage options, innovative meeting technology and great service.  Meetings are also backed by IHG’s Meet with Confidence programme, including multivenue and hybrid meeting options developed with partners such as Encore (formerly PSAV); enhanced cleanliness, health and safety protocols for meetings; and flexible booking options. 

Chris Green, President & CEO, Chesapeake Hospitality, commented:

We know that a strong product and well-designed hotel creates an immense impact and we are proud to showcase the differentiated, signature design hallmarks of the Crowne Plaza brand in partnership with IHG. While the physical hotel product is only one of the many factors that drive guest satisfaction and positive growth in share of revenue, it’s one of the most important and visible, and we’re pleased to have exceeded our fair share of revenue for 13 consecutive months after our full renovation.

Around the world, guests are celebrating similar experiences with Crowne Plaza and rewarding renovated hotels with significant increases in guest satisfaction scores. At one of the brand’s recently renovated flagship properties – the 291-room Crowne Plaza Hamburg – City Alster – guest feedback has been enthusiastic and centred around the stylish, modern and comfortable rooms, especially for long weekend stays. Guests also shared their excitement about the trendy, creative and comfortable meeting rooms.

Crowne Plaza continues to grow around the world with nearly 430 Crowne Plaza hotels now open and 89 in the pipeline. In 2020, the brand opened 19 new hotels, including 10 properties in Greater China. In fact, the Crowne Plaza Shanghai Hongqiao marked the 100th property for the brand in the region.

Lufthansa launches new catering concept for European flights

Lufthansa Economy Class passengers on European flights can now choose from a range of high-quality “Onboard Delights.”

The culinary assortment is available on cross-border European flights with a duration of 60 minutes.


Based in Munich, dean&david is known for outstanding quality and a sense of responsibility. The company produces healthy food, high-quality ingredients and sustainable consumption. ‘Food that not only tastes good, but also feels good’.

At Lufthansa’s Frankfurt and Munich hubs, the dishes are prepared daily by the catering company, Gate Gourmet, all according to recipes from dean&david, a successful young gastronomy company.

Lufthansa is also expanding its long-standing cooperation with the coffee house, Dallmayr.

The traditional Munich-based company will supply the confectionery and patisserie specialties, as well as the hot beverages, for Onboard Delights.

The products on offer include a special Ethiopian coffee whereby the proceeds are linked to support various humanitarian projects in the Dano region .

In addition, there is a large selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as numerous snacks.

Fresh food is available from 5.50 euros, coffee and tea for 3 euros, soft drinks (500 ml) or beer (330 ml) for 3.50 euros. Small snacks are available from 2 euros. A water bottle and a ‘chocolate surprise’ will be served to guests free-of-charge.

The selection of fresh products is updated every three months. The service concept in Business Class remains unchanged. In order to meet hygiene requirements on board, payment will be made exclusively without cash.


With a tradition going back more than 300 years, Dallmayr is one of the best-known German brands of coffee.

Lufthansa claims:

[We place] a great amount of importance on sustainability.

The focus is on the consistent selection of food produced in a resource-saving manner and environmentally-friendly packaging materials.

For example, a large proportion of the fresh products are packaged in PaperWise material, made from agricultural waste material and produced using 100 percent renewable energy and is therefore CO2-neutral. By producing the fresh products in a way that is more in line with the demand, less unused food has to be disposed.

British Airways doubles reward seat availability

British Airways has significantly increased the number of seats that can be booked using Avios, the reward currency used by the airline, on every flight.

The airline has always guaranteed that at least a certain number of reward seats – seats available to book using Avios – will be available on each flight. The airline has doubled this guaranteed minimum number of reward seats in Euro Traveller (short-haul economy), Club Europe (short-haul business class), World Traveller (long-haul economy) and Club World (long-haul business class). It has also added guaranteed availability in World Traveller Plus, British Airways’ popular long-haul premium economy cabin, for the first time. The extra availability is on flights from 28 July 2021.

Number of guaranteed bookable reward seats available on any British Airways flight doubled: more than 250,000 additional reward seats made available, for travel from 28 July

Reward seats are seats that can be booked using Avios, paying a cash amount covering just taxes, fees and carrier charges. On short-haul, return flights start from as little as £1 plus Avios, and on long-haul, £100 plus Avios. The cash and Avios amounts can be flexed to account for people with differing Avios budgets. They are separate from Avios part payment, where Avios is used to reduce the cost of any ticket, in all cabins, on all flights.

In addition to the guaranteed seats, British Airways regularly makes millions of extra reward seats available to destinations across its network. The recent changes mean that over 250,000 extra reward seats have been added to British Airways’ booking system.

As summary of the changes is as follows

  • Cabin – change – guaranteed reward seats pre 8 July flights – flights 8 July onwards
  • Euro Traveller – doubling – 4 – 8
  • Club Europe – doubling – 2 – 4
  • World Traveller – doubling – 4 – 8
  • World Traveller Plus new guaranteed availability – 0 – 2
  • Club World – doubling – 2 – 4

Tom Stevens, Director of Brand and Customer Experience at British Airways, said

Our Members appreciate the benefits their Executive Club membership brings, but the feedback we hear is that people would like us to make it easier to book flights using Avios. We have listened and acted on this, and today’s announcement directly addresses this feedback, opening up six extra reward seats on a short-haul flight, and eight on a long-haul flight. We hope this means that a family holiday, or that big friendship group trip away, will be much easier to book using Avios.

Adam Daniels, Chief Executive at IAG Loyalty which manages the Avios currency, said

This is an exciting change that we have worked closely with the British Airways team to deliver. We hope it offers Executive Club Members even more opportunities to spend their hard earned Avios.

This is the latest step in a series of improvements British Airways has made to its Executive Club. In March, the airline announced it was protecting the Tier status of Executive Club Members for a further year. In February, British Airways announced a six-month extension to all Executive Club vouchers, due to expire before 31 December 2021. This was the third extension to have been applied, following similar extensions in March 2020 and October 2020. British Airways is also adding an additional six-months validity to all new Companion Vouchers or Travel Together tickets earned between June 2020 and the end of December 2021.

British Airways continues to reduce the amount of Tier Points needed to reach each Tier by 25% for those whose Tier Point collection year ends before July 2022.

Luton boosts digital services for passengers

London Luton Airport has announced a range of new digital services to improve the passenger experience as travellers return to the airport.

The new services include

  • Unlimited Wi-Fi across the terminal building
  • LLA Market Place, which enables passengers to pre-order food and drink contact-free
  • Portable mobile chargers that can be rented for the duration of a trip
  • Digital kiosks have also been introduced to help passengers navigate the airport and locate shops, restaurants and services

LLA Market Place allows passengers to pre-order food and collect it from stores contact-free, helping to reduce unnecessary queueing. To access the service, passengers can scan a QR code from the armrest of their seat in selected areas or visit marketplace.london-luton.co.uk on their mobile devices.

Passengers will be able to access LLA Market Place, as well as the rest of the internet through the introduction of free and unlimited Wi-Fi available throughout the airport.


Newly installed digital kiosks allow passengers to scan their boarding passes for personalised flight details including boarding time, gate number and the quickest route to the gate and average walking time.

With travellers relying more heavily on mobile devices for boarding cards and contactless payments, the airport has launched a partnership with Europe’s largest phone charging network, ChargedUp. The partnership makes portable power banks available to rent from eleven stations throughout the terminal – the first time the service has been installed at any airport in the UK. Travellers can rent a power-bank, take it on-board their flight, and either return it to LLA upon their arrival back in the UK or automatically purchase it after 10 days.

Clare Armstrong, Head of Passenger Services at LLA, said: 

As well as improving the passenger experience, these new services are part of the airport’s efforts to keep passengers safe. Pre-ordering food via a mobile device reduces the number and duration of face-to-face interactions passengers need to make while ordering food. Our fast, unlimited wi-fi and portable chargers allow passengers to move about the terminal knowing that they can rely on their mobile device while travelling, while our digital kiosks provide all the information a passenger needs for their journey.

London Luton Airport (LLA) remains one of the UK’s busiest airports despite COVID-19, carrying 5.4 million passengers in 2020. Airlines include easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Tui, Sun Express and El Al.

Passengers travelling by rail will benefit from upgraded rail links to Luton Airport Parkway station as part of a partnership agreement with East Midlands Railway.  A half-hourly express rail service between London and Luton Airport Parkway will launch in May 2021.

11mph £70m Stansted baggage system

The pandemic may have brought airports to a standstill, but beneath London Stansted’s terminal a £70m baggage system revamp has been driven to the finish line.

The project, which took four years to complete, is the largest upgrade to the airport’s baggage network since the terminal opened in 1991. It involved replacing the ageing set-up of conveyor belts and chutes with 2.4km of track and 180 automated carts.

Designed by airport luggage experts, Beumer Group, the new low energy, fully automated system is faster and more efficient than the one it replaces.

The airport claims that it is the longest system of its type in the world. At speeds of up to five metres per second, bags will take around six minutes to travel from check-in to being ready to load onto an aircraft.

Steve Radford, Hold Baggage System Programme Lead, who oversaw the project, said:

We’re delighted to reach this very important milestone in the hold baggage system project. While passengers simply hand their baggage in at check-in for their journey, below the terminal is a highly automated and complex system that seamlessly and safely ensures the right bag reaches the right flight. The system uses the latest digital technology, which will future-proof London Stansted’s baggage operation for years to come, improving performance for both our passengers and airlines.

The work was initially carried out in stages to minimise disruption. However, the drop in traffic because of coronavirus pandemic meant the airport could speed up the project and complete it ahead of schedule.

Steve Radford added,

We would have much rather have welcomed the numbers of passengers we were expecting, but under the circumstances, the team took advantage of the situation and did a brilliant job. Despite the challenges that we’ve all faced in the last 12 months, it’s been encouraging to work on a project that’s going to have such a positive impact on passengers when they return to the airport.

Klaus Schäfer, CEO, BEUMER Group UK, said:

We commend Stansted Airport in following their strategy and identifying the perfect window of opportunity for remodelling their baggage handling system setup. This now means the airport has a future proof system and a great deal of built-in flexibility for years to come. The integration of an end-to-end baggage handling system not only allows Stansted Airport to grow and service their airline customers and passengers, but it also places Stansted in the league of modern airports known for operating with a very efficient baggage handling design to increase baggage traceability and security at every stage of the handling process.

The work also included linking the new system with a new check-in area that opened in 2019 and the installation of new hi-tech ‘Standard 3’ baggage scanners which are required under new EU regulations.

Avanti West Coast introduces Standard Premium class

Avanti West Coast is set to ‘transform UK rail travel’ with the launch of a new Standard Premium class.

  • Avanti West Coast is the first UK rail operator to offer the new class
  • The new product has been introduced after successful trial and research with customers
  • This move is intended to complement an enhanced First Class offering and the refurbishment of the Pendolino fleet

Avanti West Coast has become the first UK train operating company to offer an additional class of travel as part of its services.

Standard Premium will give customers greater choice and is available on all the West Coast Main Line operator’s Pendolino services.


Avanti West Coast operates a fleet of 56 Pendolinos, 31 of which are 11 carriages.

Sitting between Standard and First, customers will enjoy roomier seats, greater space and a guaranteed table. They will also have the option to purchase refreshments via the new ‘At-Seat Order’ feature where customers can have items delivered to them without moving from their seat. The new class is initially available to buy as an upgrade on the day of travel, with Advance purchase tickets on sale from July for travel from September. Single journey upgrade prices range from £15 for Birmingham to London to £30 for Glasgow to London.

Standard Premium was developed following initial market research and then successful trials last year and more recently, with customers taking part in the trials asked to rate their experiences and help shape the new product. Figures showed 96% of respondents said they were either “highly likely” or “likely” to upgrade to Standard Premium for future journeys, citing extra space as a key benefit.

As part of further improvements, Avanti West Coast will launch an enhanced First Class offering with improved catering and more bespoke customer service later this year, with the enhanced service available seven days a week.

Work is also due to start next month to fully refurbish the entire Pendolino fleet of 56 trains as part of a £117m deal signed with Alstom who maintain the operator’s fleet.

New seats, with leather headrests, will be installed in Standard Premium and First. All 25,000 Standard seats will be also be replaced, with customers also benefiting from a new look onboard shop, as part of the biggest ever fleet upgrade. 

In addition, one carriage on all 11-coach Pendolinos (the existing Coach G), will be converted from First to Standard, increasing each train’s seating capacity by 5%. The first refurbished set is due to enter service in November 2021.

Phil Whittingham, Manager Director at Avanti West Coast said,

This is the first major step in our transformation of services on the West Coast. Together with our upcoming First Class service which will lead the industry, and the complete refurbishment of the Pendolino fleet, Standard Premium will set a new benchmark for UK rail travel.

Our new class of travel will offer greater choice and provide a unique offer which meets customers’ changing needs as they return to rail. This new feature is another step in raising the bar for excellence on the railway.

Avanti West Coast has recently introduced At-Seat Order for Standard Class passengers