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THANKSGIVING TRAVEL DIGEST: BA’s Black Friday Deal, New OAK Lounge & More

By Tim Jue November 22, 2016 No Comments Print Share
British Airways cabin crew members gather at the gate ahead of the airline's first departure from San Jose Mineta Airport.

British Airways cabin crew members gather at the gate ahead of the airline’s first departure from San Jose Mineta Airport.

LONDON IS CALLING: British Airways has set its sights on American travelers seeking to take advantage of the strong U.S. dollar abroad, and now they’re enticing them with a Black Friday deal that will save visitors to London even more money.

The airline has announced it will give away 1,500 free hotel nights to 1,000 British Airways passengers who book overseas travel leaving the United States on either January 10th or 14th, 2017. The offer goes live on the British Airways website beginning at 10AM EST on November 25. The hotels include the Rembrandt, Doubletree by Hilton London Westminster and Amba Hotel Marble Arch. British Airways will also give those visitors a 15GBP Oyster Card that can be used on public transit in London.

RENOVATED LOUNGES: British Airways also announced it will spend $110 million to renovate lounges at key U.S. airports, including the location at the San Francisco International Airport. The project also includes improvements to its busy terminal at New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport, where the entire customer experience is in for a $65 million upgrade.

NEW LOUNGE IN OAKLAND: A long-awaited lounge has opened in Terminal One at Oakland International Airport. The Escape Lounge charges a one-time fee of $45 ($40 if you purchase a pass online). It features a full bar, a menu designed by Oakland chef Chris Pastena — who owns local restaurants Chop Bar, Lungomare and Calavera — and a space to work and relax before a flight. Passengers flying in Norwegian’s Premium Cabin receive complementary access to the lounge.

THANKSGIVING TRAVEL: All three Bay Area airports are expecting an increase in the number of travelers during the holiday travel season. San Francisco International Airport is expected to see 5.7% more passengers between mid-November and early January. At Mineta San Jose International Airport, they’re expecting 15% more passengers during the Thanksgiving holiday period alone. You may recall it’s been a big year for SJC — they’ve welcomed British Airways, Air China, and Lufthansa as new airlines in 2016. Meanwhile, SFO has produced some helpful travel tips for hurried travelers to consider when flying.

POLARIS LAUNCH: United Airlines is preparing for the debut of its new business class product, Polaris. Customers will see the new Polaris soft product, such as new meals, bedding and amenity kits, in United’s premium cabins beginning December 1, The new Polaris flat-bed seat debuts on United’s new fleet of Boeing 777-300ER planes that will be delivered beginning in December.

MORE WAYS TO SEOUL: Korean Air will expand its presence at San Francisco International Airport in 2017. They’ll increase their non-stop flying to SFO from its hub in Seoul-Incheon with 12 flights per week beginning in March. In June, Korean Air will grow service further, to two flights every day of the week. The South Korean airline dispatches its Boeing 747-8 and Boeing 777 to SFO. Asiana Airlines and United Airlines also fly the route non-stop. 

Tim Jue covers aviation & travel. Follow him on Twitter @timjue

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