British and Irish Airways

British Airways welcomed the 37-strong British & Irish Lions squad on board a special charter flight, as they travelled from Edinburgh to Johannesburg for the start of their eagerly-awaited South African Tour.

Following their clash against Japan for The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup at BT Murrayfield Stadium yesterday, they were greeted with warm words of encouragement by the crew of flight BA9111, including their pilot Captain Richard Allen-Williams, British Airways’ Chief Pilot, Training.

Enjoying the safety and comfort of a British Airways’ 777-300, the players were served with a selection of hot meals and snacks during the 11-hour 30-minute flight to ensure they arrive match fit and ready to take on all-comers.

The eight-game tour of South Africa will see the best players from the UK & Ireland pitted against the World Champions, the Springboks, in three Tests. The Lions and Springboks squads will both be carried across the country during the Tour by British Airways’ franchise partner, Comair.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:

We are honoured to be flying The British & Irish Lions to South Africa ahead of their Tour. After a difficult year, we look forward to uniting the nation through sport and cheering them on. From everyone at British Airways, we wish them the best of luck and hope to carry them home as champions.

Ben Calveley, Managing Director for The British & Irish Lions, said:

We are delighted to be flying with British Airways for the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series. We know the squad and management will receive a warm welcome from British Airways staff and enjoy a safe, comfortable journey to South Africa, landing in Johannesburg ready to take on the world champions.

British Airways is also reinforcing its commitment to sport as the airline is currently the Principal Partner to Twickenham Stadium, Official Airline Partner to England Rugby and has been the Official Airline Partner to Team GB and Paralympics GB since 2008.

GTM supports the Travel Day of Action

Global Travel Management is supporting the industry-wide campaign, Travel Day of Action on 23 June.

The event takes place following the Government’s review of the traffic light system – in which countries were moved from green to amber and amber to red, while none was moved in the opposite direction – and its failure to extend sector-specific support for the travel and aviation industries.

The day of action will be calling on the UK Government to

  • Allow international travel to return safely and in a risk managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan; and to
  • Bring forward a package of tailored financial support to recognise that the unlocking of international travel, and hence businesses’ ability to trade and generate income, will be much slower than first anticipated, and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy. 
Scott Pawley made a plea to the Prime Minister to meet the Travel Day of Action’s demands

All parts of the travel industry have been invited to participate, including travel management companies, leisure travel agents, airlines, airports, tour operators, suppliers and partners.

The day will be all about putting forward a positive plan for the Government. Scott Pawley, Managing Director of Global Travel Management explained that:

London, the world’s number one most connected city in 2019, saw an 88% decline in connectivity between April 2019 and April 2021. UK residents travelling overseas generate over £53 billion in domestic spending – but with borders being closed and travel to many countries being made illegal for most individuals, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, and many more remain at great risk.

The next weeks will be critical for the travel industry, as we look ahead to the next review on 28 June when the Government is expected to announce another review of both the traffic light list and also the requirements and measures in place for international travel. The Travel Day of Action is a campaign we are happy to support, as it carries two, important messages.

We want the Government to help the industry and businesses who need to travel by taking the two actions we are calling for. Allowing a risk-managed approach to opening up international travel; and providing travel industry support to help businesses cope with the on-going restrictions, now entering their sixteenth month.


The travel industry is calling on the UK Government to allow international travel to return safely in a risk-managed way and to bring forward a package of tailored financial support.

Scott has invited the MP for GTM’s Woking constituency, Jonathan Lord to the event, which takes place on College Green, outside the Palace of Westminster. Scott explained:

I have written to Jonathan Lord to put forward the campaign’s two, positive suggestions. I hope he will be able to join us on College Green immediately after Prime Minister’s Question Time, so that he can see the strength of the support behind the campaign. It’s a positive message and I hope we can get the message across.

Other countries are forging ahead with risk-based schemes that allow safe travel, most recently Germany, France and Spain. The UK is falling behind other nations in its travel restart plans and risks becoming an outlier, undermining our aspirations for Global Britain.

Scott also explained that, while some businesses in the travel industry have suffered greatly over the course of the pandemic response, it is important that the financially-stronger companies stand up. Scott said,

We have already seen airlines and travel agents succumb to the ravages of the pandemic response. So it’s important that financially sound travel management companies like us get behind this campaign. The travel industry needs competition – it’s vital we don’t lose any more names from the travel sector.

The campaign will attract travel industry members from across the UK, with events taking place around the country. And Sales Director Paul Baker pointed out that GTM clients will continue to receive the highest levels of service they expect during the day:

It’s a socially distanced, responsible campaign event, with attendance restricted to the hundreds of ticket holders who have pre-registered. We have several members of the GTM management team taking part in the event, including Kelly Packington, our Director of Operations. So, I have worked with Kelly to ensure all operational aspects of her – and her team’s – role will be covered.

All GTM clients travelling on 23 June will be fully supported, as usual.


We are calling on the UK Government to:
Allow international travel to return safely and in a risk managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system, by expanding the Green list in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, whilst keeping a strong red list to guard against variants.
Bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of furlough support, recognising that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.

PLAY launches new uniforms

PLAY – the new, Icelandic low-cost airline – has unveiled its new cabin crew uniforms which are very different from traditional airline clothing.

The airline has described the new designs as ‘a new era of cabin crew uniforms’. The outfits mark a departure from traditional cabin crew wear, with the emphasis on comfort and avoiding being ‘gender specific’.

The uniforms were designed by designer couple Gunni Hilmars and Kolla who were keen to tackle a fresh take on what is usually a very traditional line of clothing:

PLAY crew uniforms
The PLAY crew uniforms include branded trainers

We were honoured and pleased to get to work with PLAY on this clothing line for their uniforms. We really wanted to throw out all those old ideas about airline uniforms and bring in more comfort. We tried to scrap the constrictive rules often associated with these uniforms and include relaxed fits, stretchy fabrics and of course, shoes meant for working on your feet!

The result is a mix of active wear and a fresh uniform.

PLAY uniforms are finally here and they mean business!


Jónína Guðmundsdóttir is the CPO at PLAY and leads the division of People and Culture, which includes the HR department, Payroll, Uniforms and Travel.

PLAY cabin crew members tested out the ‘comfortable’ attire during a recent photoshoot with karate kicks and yoga poses. The airline says that ‘despite being fresh and fashionable, these uniforms were not designed for photoshoots. They are meant to encompass our core values: simplicity, playfulness, competitiveness, equality and on-time performance’.

Jónína Guðmundsdóttir, the Chief People Officer of PLAY said,

It was really satisfying to see how well Gunni and Kolla got our brief and our ideas for this line. We had certain ideas about the clothing and how it should represent and work with our brand and the results are just amazing.

The airline announced that staff will wear comfortable trainers, instead of high heels; there will be no instructions regarding hair, make up, tattoos or nail varnish; the uniforms are not gender specific; and that ‘the crew can pick whatever works for them’.

PLAY was founded in 2019, with the aim to provide a low-cost alternative for consumers traveling to and from Iceland, as well as across the Atlantic. In May 2021, PLAY announced it has secured an Air Operators Certificate.

CEO Birgir Jónsson said,

To future clients of PLAY I want to say this; we look forward to welcoming you on board our modern and efficient aircraft. We will offer highly competitive prices on effortless and safe flights, making us an affordable option and a real competitor on the market.

Finnair introduces Business Light

Finnair have introduced a totally new Business Light ticket and renewed its other ticket types, addressing the increasing trend for personalisation of the travel experience. 

Customers can choose from three ticket types – Light, Classic and Flex – that are available for both Business and Economy Class for all short-haul and most intercontinental journeys. When booking a ticket, customers select the travel class experience they prefer and the level of flexibility for making reservation changes – along with some additional services included in the ticket. The rest of the experience can be tailored with a wide selection of travel extras.

Ole Orvér, Finnair’s Chief Commercial Officer, said

There is an increasing need to personalise the travel experience, and our new ticket types offer opportunities for choice and tailoring. We want to offer our customers journeys that look like them, and we will be adding more choice and personalisation opportunities to our offering as we re-introduce services and prepare for ramp-up of our operations.

  • Business Light is a totally new ticket type designed especially for leisure travellers who want to travel light and affordably while enjoying Business Class comfort. Business Light includes carry-on baggage only. Reservation changes, refunds, airport priority services, lounge access and onboard internet are not included in the ticket price. Customers can always elevate their experience by choosing the travel extras that matter most for them.  
  • The Classic ticket is the most popular option allowing ticket date changes and including one piece of checked baggage. With a Classic ticket bought on 15 June 2021 or later, customers can make travel date changes flexibly, paying only the possible fare difference between the original and new tickets. A refund is not possible in the case of a customer cancelling their reservation. 
  • The Flex ticket is a fully flexible and refundable ticket option serving those whose plans can change. When changing travel dates with a Flex ticket, customers only pay the possible fare difference between the original and new tickets. In case a customer wants to cancel their trip, the ticket will be refunded. Flex tickets include checked baggage and advance seat reservation. An Economy Flex ticket bought after 15 June doesn’t include airport priority services. 

Customers who purchased their tickets before 15 June will travel with their original tickets and the benefits that were included with them. Due to the coronavirus situation, Finnair offers all customers with bookings made latest on 31 August 2021 extra flexibility for travel date changes. 

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.