Posts

American Airlines and British Airways mark the official start of the JFK redevelopment plan

American Airlines and British Airways have joined New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) in announcing the start of construction on a $344 million investment at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) Terminal 8 at the Association for a Better New York luncheon in Midtown.

Robert Isom, President of American said:

Our investment will put the 14 daily flights from JFK to London that we offer in partnership with British Airways in the same terminal and give customers premium check-in space, new joint lounges and a larger variety of retail and dining options

We will be adding more than 70,000 square feet to customer and operational spaces to create a truly world-class experience at JFK.

Additionally, airline team members who power the terminal operations will also benefit from closer, faster and easier connections to American’s joint business partner British Airways by the additional co-located long-haul aircraft gates and an enhanced baggage system.

Governor Cuomo said:

As we progress with the JFK modernisation project, we are giving Terminal 8 a new look and layout in line with the modern, world-class standards that will define the airport’s ultimate transformation

When this work is completed, Terminal 8 will accommodate more passengers who will be able to enjoy a better travel experience and will make the work of airport staff more efficient and more seamless.

American and British Airways are the first airlines to mark the start of the transformation of JFK into a state-of-the-art, global hub. The upgrades and additions at Terminal 8 will bring improvements in the overall customer experience, including the addition of five widebody gates and four adjacent widebody hard stands (ramp parking where customers are transported to/from terminal via bus), enhanced baggage systems, new lounges, premium check-in space and upgraded concessions and retail options.


American and British Airways offer the most flights between JFK and London’s Heathrow Airport, a route Business Traveller calls “the most important and lucrative route for business in the world,” in addition to up to 70 flights a day to London from 26 destinations in the United States.

Additionally, customers arriving in New York will enjoy the ability to connect more conveniently onto other American Airlines flights, and customers departing New York will gain the flexibility of 14 daily flights to London all departing from the same terminal.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways said, “This is an exciting development in our move to Terminal 8, alongside American Airlines, our Atlantic joint-business partner. We are one step closer to offering an even better customer experience for passengers travelling to, from and through JFK. We look forward to our continued work with the Port Authority and American Airlines in order to build a world-class transatlantic travel experience”.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

New York is a key hub for American Airlines, with the airline serving three New York-area airports – JFK, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. So passengers have a great choice of airports and onward destinations when flying with American.

British Airways passengers can take advantage of the fantastic facilities at Heathrow, where First, Club World, Club Europe, Gold and Silver Executive Club members can also take advantage of the six British Airways lounges that are available for them in Terminal 5, giving them the opportunity to work or relax as they choose.

As there is a huge range of options for passengers flying between London and New York, we always work hard to ensure the best fares and the most-appropriate itineraries are put together for our customers. So it’s great to see that American and British Airways are working together to enhance the passenger experience even further, by developing JFK.

The next time you need to fly to JFK, contact your GTM Account Manager.

New venture opens up China to BA passengers

British Airways has signed a joint business agreement with China Southern Airlines, for travel from 2 January 2020.

The agreement will benefit customers of both airlines by opening more destinations between the UK and China, with a greater choice of flights and enhanced frequent flyer benefits. It will allow the airlines to cooperate on scheduling and pricing, providing customers with more flexible flight options and an attractive range of fares.

British Airways customers will be able to travel more easily on a combined route network which will develop over time thanks to both airlines’ move to the new Beijing Daxing International Airport. The joint business will initially see the two airlines code-sharing on all direct flights operated on mainland routes between London and six Chinese cities. This will expand to both airlines’ extensive domestic networks.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:

We are delighted to announce this joint business which will bring the UK and China closer together by providing British Airways and China Southern Airlines customers with a wide range of benefits. The agreement reinforces our commitment to boost tourism and business travel between the two countries and we look forward to strengthening the relationship further.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

This is an excellent opportunity for businesses travelling to the Chinese capital or to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Sanya, Wuhan and Zhengzhou. Because this arrangement between British Airways and China Southern will mean 31 direct flights a week between London and these six Chinese locations.

This deal builds on British Airways’ move to Beijing Daxing Airport – for more about this, see our news story here.

Customer benefits will include greater opportunities to collect frequent flyer points, the ability to book through both airlines’ web or app-based platforms, enhanced lounge access and access to high-quality Chinese and British products and services on board and on the ground.

If you’re looking to fly to any of these six locations in China, contact your GTM Account Manager to find and book the best fares.

British Airways invests millions on reimagined and improved menus on flights from Gatwick

British Airways has made a multi-million pound investment in its catering on flights from London Gatwick, with “reimagined and improved” food across its short- and long-haul cabins.

Now available on all flights, the catering brings in new menus featuring new dishes and recipes as part of the airline’s £6.5bn investment for customers. The new food has a focus on provenance with the provider, Newrest, working closely with suppliers in the south of England to source the best quality ingredients.

Customers can enjoy the benefits across all long-haul cabins – World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy), Club World (business) and First – as well as Club Europe (business) on short-haul. 

A range of Marks & Spencer products continues to be on offer to Euro Traveller customers.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said:

This is the latest development in continuously improving our catering. We’re incredibly proud of this new offering, and we hope our customers enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed developing it.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

British Airways flies to more than 70 destinations from Gatwick, offering a variety of routes to suit both business and leisure travellers. So it’s great to see an improved selection of great, locally-sourced food being served on routes from London’s second airport.

As part of its £6.5bn investment for customers, British Airways has refreshed its Boeing 777 fleet at Gatwick. So, as well as Panasonic in-flight entertainment on 10″ (World Traveller) and 12″ (World Traveller Plus) screens, offering more choice of movies, television and audio programmes, British Airways passengers now have choices from superbly-improved menus.

If you’re flying on business from London Gatwick, contact your GTM Account Manager.

United Airlines aims to put and end to jet lag… with an app

United Airlines customers now have a new, scientific way to battle jet lag through a first-of-its-kind partnership with Timeshifter, an app that outlines the best time to see and avoid light, sleep and enjoy caffeine to adjust quickly to a new time zone.

All MileagePlus members receive access to a free Timeshifter jet lag plan and Premier 1K members receive a complimentary subscription with unlimited plans. The app is targeted at customers flying across three or more time zones and will be a helpful tool for them to manage their jet lag as they travel throughout United’s global route network.

Vice President of Loyalty and President of MileagePlus, Luc Bondar said:

We want to do everything we can to help improve the experience of travelling across time zones, whether it’s a business trip to Tel Aviv or a vacation to Tahiti, our customers should arrive feeling fresh and ready to hit the ground running.

Timeshifter takes all the guesswork out of avoiding jet lag and instead uses science and algorithms to design a customised, step-by-step trip across time zones. I was a believer the first time I used the app and I think our customers will love it too.


Timeshifter was developed by top researchers in sleep and circadian neuroscience and is aimed at customers crossing three or more time zones. The app uses an algorithm to customise plans for customers based on a number of factors including normal sleep pattern, flight details and individual preferences, creating a personalised jet lag alleviation plan.

MileagePlus members will receive a free jet lag plan for a flight plan of their choosing in addition to the complimentary trial Timeshifter offers customers for a total of two free flight plans. MileagePlus Premier 1K members will be able to sign up for complimentary annual subscriptions for unlimited access to jet lag plans when they travel.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

One of the worst aspects of travelling on business is the horrendous effect of jet lag. United Airlines’ partnership with Timeshifter is a great way for passengers to prepare for and to mitigate and reduce the effects of jet lag.

I would encourage any Global Travel Management customer flying on United with the appropriate MileagePlus membership level to try out the app. Jet lag is worth avoiding!

United flies some of the longest routes in the world, including the two longest flights operated by US carriers; and this month, United will become the only airline to fly direct between North America and Cape Town. I will be interested to see how well our United customers alleviate jet lag on long haul trips using Timeshifter in the coming months.

If you’re planning to fly on United, speak to your GTM Account Manager to secure the best fares and we will make sure your Miles are accrued directly to your MileagePlus account.

New American Airlines mobile app feature uses secure passport chip technology for faster international boarding

American Airlines passengers now have a simpler way to check in for international flights as the airline has introduced passport scanning to its mobile app.

American Airlines claims to be the first airline to offer passport chip scanning that securely transmits passport information directly from the NFC chip embedded in the passport. This allows passengers to head directly to the gate for international flights, without having their passports rechecked by a customer service agent.

American Airlines’ mobile app now enables passengers
to scan their passports by NFC to speed the check in process

Maya Leibman, American Airlines’ Chief Information Officer said:

We are continuously adding features to our app to make travel easier and worry-free for our customers. Mobile passport scanning removes a time-consuming step, providing our customers with a smoother check-in experience for international flights.

Currently, customers departing on international flights who check in on the app, have their passports rechecked at the airport. This step is required even if the customer has uploaded a photo of their passport via the mobile app. With this new enhancement, the customer will be prompted to enter their passport information and then scan their passport with an iOS or Android device. The app provides easy-to-follow instructions for the process.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

This is a great use of new technology by American Airlines and fixes one issue: wasted time at airports waiting to check in. American Airlines’ 130,000 global team members serve more than 200 million customers annually. So any technology that speeds up the process and removes hassle for passengers has to be a good idea. I am looking forward to trying it out soon.

Mobile passport scanning is the latest in a long line of new customer features American Airlines has implemented to the airline’s app to make travel easier for customers. Other recent introductions include boarding notifications, Siri shortcuts and a dark mode option. American has also rolled out additional services to improve the travel experiences, including biometric international boarding, virtual 3D aircraft tours online, a redesigned self-service kiosk menu that simplifies the check-in process and an improved family seating approach, which ensures adults and kids under 14, when travelling together on the same reservation, are seated together.

Contact your GTM Account Manager next time you need to fly on American Airlines.

British Airways rolls out First Contact Resolution Programme worldwide

British Airways is rolling out its First Contact Resolution Programme across every airport it operates to, following its successful launch at Heathrow last year.



British Airways is extending its First Contact Resolution programme to colleagues around the world following a successful roll out at Heathrow

First Contact Resolution empowers airport hosts to use their expertise, initiative and judgement to solve customer queries on the spot, without waiting for management approval. This allows them to provide instant solutions and peace of mind for customers and send fewer issues to Customer Relations colleagues. 

All staff worldwide are now being further empowered to use their skills and initiative to do the right thing for any customer at that moment.

Sumer Adlakha, British Airways’ Customer Service Manager in Delhi, Mumbai & Maldives said:  

The new approach has been welcomed by the whole of our airport team and our customers. It gives us the ability to own and resolve a problem without having to ask customers to call or email our Customer Relations team which is time-consuming for them. They’ve told us they love that our agents are using their own knowledge and skills to resolve issues and particularly enjoy the personal touch we are able to give in each situation.

Tom Stevens, British Airways’ Head of Airport Operations said: 

We’ve seen a fantastic response to the First Contact Resolution programme at Heathrow, which is about going back to basics and emphasising the age-old concept of ‘treating others as you would want to be treated’.  The roll out worldwide will provide consistency for our customers, giving everyone the unique and personal attention that they deserve, wherever they are in the world.



First Contact Resolution enables staff to assist and resolve any customer issue at the airport rather than refer travellers to Customer Relations teams

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

From time to time, travel plans go wrong. GTM is always on hand to help if plans need to be changed at the last minute. But sometimes passengers need the kind of immediate assistance that can only be provided at the airport. So it’s great that passengers know they can rely on the knowledge and skills of British Airways staff and that First Contact Resolution is being rolled out, worldwide.

The roll out of First Contact Resolution is a part of British Airways’ £6.5 billion investment in customer experience over five years. This includes taking delivery of 73 new aircraft including A350s and 787s, refurbishing long-haul aircraft with new cabins, introducing new, redesigned lounges, new dining across all cabins, new bedding and amenity kits for First, Club World and World Traveller Plus, best quality on-board WiFi for every aircraft and access to power at every aircraft seat.

The next time you need to fly on British Airways, contact your GTM Account Manager.

Neymar, Lewandowski and Cafu star in Qatar Airways’ new football-themed safety video

Qatar Airways has turned a pre-match team-talk into an entertaining safety video that will be shown on board flights before the end of the year. Featuring football legends past and present, the video delivers important safety information with the help of personalities from the airline’s ongoing partnerships with AS Roma, Bayern Munich and FIFA.

The film stars Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr, Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski and AS Roma legend Cafu, who are led through the in-flight safety routine by a comedic double act of coach and kitman played by British television regular Jason Thorpe and comedy actor Ross Hatt.

Directed by Peter Lydon, who co-wrote the script with award-winning creative agency 180 Kingsday, the six-minute film is designed for Qatar Airways’ global, family audience. Mirroring the airline’s latest advertising campaigns, the film seeks to add a playful spin to a vital part of the in-flight experience.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications, Ms Salam Al Shawa, said:

At Qatar Airways, safety is priority one and we want to ensure everyone, including our most frequent travellers, watches our safety briefings. The wonderfully creative concept from 180 Kingsday will capture our passengers’ attention whilst providing a fun, light-hearted video to get the in-flight entertainment underway. The level of quality and attention to detail in this video is paramount and I am sure the content will both inform and amuse our global passengers of all ages.

Kalle Hellzen, Executive Creative Director at 180 Kingsday, said:

Humour has been shown to increase memory, so there seems to be no better way to communicate such important information than by making it fun. As always, the world of Qatar Airways enchants.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management, said:

In-flight safety videos aren’t always the most entertaining or interesting.  But Qatar Airways has produced a great video, especially for football fans.  When you next fly on Qatar, look out for some of the world’s best-known football stars. 

And, while you’re on-board, check out Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system.  It offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, B777, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the airline’s on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.

Qatar Airways was recently named ‘Airline of the Year’ for the fifth time by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘Best Business Class Seat’, and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’.

Please contact your GTM Account Manager to book flights on Qatar – whether you’re travelling on business, or just for the football…

New name revealed for West Coast Main Line rail company

Avanti West Coast will be the name of the new InterCity West Coast rail franchise, FirstGroup and Trenitalia have revealed.

From 8 December 2019, FirstGroup and Trenitalia will take over the operation of InterCity West Coast rail services. The service will link London to cities and towns across England, North Wales and Scotland, serving as a “vital economic artery bringing cities and people closer together”.

The Avanti West Coast logo, created by design agency forpeople, is a bright orange triangle, symbolising the geographic extent of the 400-mile long route that serves cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow as well as London and North Wales.



Avanti is Italian for “Forward!”

Under the new West Coast Partnership, First Trenitalia is committed to delivering a range of passenger enhancements for InterCity West Coast services and passengers will benefit from more trains, more seats, simplified fares and more frequent services.

56 Pendolino trains will be completely refurbished with 25,000 brand new seats, more reliable Wi-Fi and improved catering. By 2022, there will be 263 more train services every week to more places and a fleet of new trains introduced.

Fares and ticket types will be simplified with mobile tickets and smartcards introduced. Stations will be improved with refreshed waiting rooms, better customer facilities, more car parking spaces and greater accessibility for those who need it. 

Speaking at the launch of the new brand, Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of First Rail, one of the UK’s most experienced rail operators, said:

We’re looking forward to taking over the franchise and we are very pleased and proud to be working with Trenitalia, a strong partner who is committed to playing an increasing role in UK rail and has many years of expertise in the high speed sector in Italy.

We are committed to our customers and over the next few years, we will work with our industry and local partners not only to invest in, and improve, rail services on the route, but also to attract more people to rail and connect communities across the country.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management, said:

These exciting investment plans on the West Coast Main Line will be a huge benefit to a lot of passengers.  And, with improved Wi-Fi and better catering, rail will become an attractive option for business travel between London, the north west of England and Scotland.

At Global Travel Management, we are looking forward to the feedback our clients give us on this new rail operator and we are excited to be able to add Avanti West Coast to the range of domestic and international rail services we provide.

You can book rail journeys on GTM Online or by contacting your GTM Account Manager.

Can I be sure my business trip will take place?

At GTM, we know how critical clients’ meetings are. But carefully planned business trips can be at risk if suppliers fail to meet their obligations.

As well as the terrible job losses, the news of Thomas Cook’s demise in September 2019 and that of Monarch Airlines in October 2017 caused huge problems for holiday makers and unprecedented peace-time repatriation efforts.

Disruption to holiday plans is upsetting and unsettling. But if business travel plans are compromised, even more could be at stake.

So, at GTM, we make sure we offer our clients the greatest levels of protection and confidence possible. To back up the professional service all clients receive from our experienced business travel consultants, we benefit from membership and accreditation from a number of professional travel organisations.

GTM is accredited by IATA The International Air Trade Association comprises 290 airlines, representing 117 countries. IATA accreditation is the industry’s “seal of approval” and is recognised worldwide. You can find out more about IATA here https://www.iata.org

GTM is a member of ABTA ABTA, The Travel Association (formerly, the Association of British Travel Agents) maintains a Code of Conduct for its members, so that our clients benefit from accurate information; advice on passport, visa and health requirements; an offer of alternative accommodation in the case of building works. You can find out more about ABTA here https://www.abta.com/

GTM holds an ATOL licence The Air Travel Operators’ Licence is the independent specialist aviation regulatory arm of the Civil Aviation Authority. The ATOL scheme ensures its members are financially sound and that clients are protected in case of company failure. You can find out more about ATOL here https://www.caa.co.uk/Our-work/About-us/Our-role/

GTM is part of the Advantage Travel Partnership The Advantage Travel Partnership is the United Kingdom’s largest independent travel agency partnership, solely owned by its members. You can find out more about the Advantage Travel Partnershp here https://www.advantagemembers.com/

GTM is a member of the WIN Global Travel Network The WIN Global Travel Network is a connected group of travel management companies employing more than 30,000 people in 75 countries, providing round-the-clock support and ensuring service excellence. You can find out more about the WIN Global Travel Network here https://wintravel.org/

The diligent professionalism with which our staff carry out travel management for our clients is enhanced and backed-up by our long association with these travel organisations. So, if any business trip is let down by a supplier being unable to carry out its commitments, GTM is perfectly placed to ensure that others can step in and save the day.

Qantas to operate “Project Sunrise” research: Direct flights from London and New York to Sydney

Qantas has announced three ultra long-haul research flights to gather new data about inflight passenger and crew health and wellbeing.

The flights form part of planning for Project Sunrise – Qantas’ goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) to London and New York.

The three flights over three months will use new Boeing 787-9s and re-route their planned delivery flights. Instead of flying empty from Seattle to Australia, the aircraft will simulate two Project Sunrise routes – London and New York to Sydney.

Each flight will have a maximum of 40 people, including crew, in order to minimise weight and give the necessary fuel range. Carbon emissions from the flights will be fully offset.

People in the cabin – mostly Qantas employees – will be fitted with wearable technology devices and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the approximately 19 hour flights. Scientists and medical experts from the Charles Perkins Centre will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment to assess impact on health, wellbeing and body clock.

Monash University researchers will work with pilots  to record crew melatonin levels before, during and after the flights.  Pilots will wear an EEG (electroencephalogram) device that tracks brain wave patterns and monitors alertness.  The aim is to establish data to assist in building the optimum work and rest pattern for pilots operating long haul services.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the flights will give medical experts the chance to do real-time research that will translate into health and wellbeing benefits.

Ultra-long haul flying presents a lot of common sense questions about the comfort and wellbeing of passengers and crew. These flights are going to provide invaluable data to help answer them.
Flying non-stop from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York is truly the final frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork to get this right.

No airline has done this kind of dedicated research before and we’ll be using the results to help shape the cabin design, inflight service and crew roster patterns for Project Sunrise. We’ll also be looking at how we can use it to improve our existing long-haul flights.

Qantas has already conducted data on passenger sleep strategies on its direct Perth–London service, and some of these initial findings will be assessed further as part of these dedicated research flights. Customer feedback on food choices, separate stretching and wellbeing zones and entertainment options will also be tested.

Airbus and Boeing have both pitched aircraft (A350 and 777X) to Qantas that are capable of operating Project Sunrise flights with a viable commercial payload. A final decision on Project Sunrise – which depends on aircraft economics, regulatory approvals and industrial agreements – is expected by the end of December 2019.

Global Travel Management Sales Director Paul Baker commented:

This is an exciting innovation from Qantas, an airline we have been working with for many years.  We wish them all the best and look forward to being able to offer London-Sydney non-stop flights to GTM customers from the end of 2019.