Travel news - live: British Airways returns to Gatwick following South Terminal reopening

First flight in two years left South Terminal for Larnaca at 6.25 AM

Travel news - live: British Airways returns to Gatwick following South Terminal reopening

First flight in two years left South Terminal for Larnaca at 6.25 AM

Gatwick reopens south terminal as airlines ramp up schedules

British Airways is making a return to Gatwick Airport today, following a nearly two year pause on flights from the East Sussex hub.

The first BA flight from the East Sussex airport departed at 6.25 AM, headed for Larnaca, Cyprus - just two days after Gatwick’s South Terminal reopened to passengers.

The terminal, which contains the airline’s First and Club lounges, reopened on Sunday after nearly two years unused.

Today’s flights are the first offerings from BA’s new Gatwick-specific, short-haul operation, which will eventually become a subsidiary of the brand, “EuroFlyer” - similar to its “CityFlyer” programme from London City Airport.

“Initially services will operate under the British Airways Air Operators Certificate (AOC), before moving operations to a new British Airways branded subsidiary, BA Euroflyer later in the year,” says a statement from the carrier.

“The new airline will operate in a similar manner to the company’s existing subsidiary BA Cityflyer, flying under the British Airways brand and delivering a premium British Airways product.”

Read on for the latest news and developments.


Remember to check which terminal, warns Gatwick

After the best part of two years with only the North Terminal open, Gatwick Airport is now reminding customers to double check which terminal they’ll be flying from.

“Many airlines that had been flying from the airport’s North Terminal for the last 21 months, have or are in the process of switching terminals between 27 March and 29 March, including major airlines such as British Airways, Wizz Air, Vueling, Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Norwegian,” reads a statement from the airport.

“EasyJet, which will fly 120 routes from Gatwick – the most ever from the airport – will operate from both North and South Terminals.”

A tweet from the East Sussex hub this morning reads: “Some of our airlines have moved terminals. Check which terminal your flight departs from before you travel.”

Shoppers at South Terminal

(Lucy Thackray)

Lucy Thackray29 March 2022 15:45


Clear and sunny with a chance of wifi

As we approach the north coast of Portugal, the skies are clear blue and the atmosphere buzzy aboard our flight to Tenerife. G&Ts have been served, wifi accessed - albeit pretty patchy - and the crew are preparing our lunch.

“We are aware that there are some connectivity issues on our aircraft today, so we’ll come through manually and take your order” the cabin manager tells us. Not the best start for an “order from your phone” revolution.

A BA Holidays representative tells me that Tenerife, where we’re headed, is their number one destination, with five-star hotels the most popular type of booking on the island. Greece is also a big-hitter for the package holiday arm of British Airways, she tells me, while Slovenia is a rising star that is increasingly popular with BA customers.



Lucy Thackray29 March 2022 15:38


New Club Europe menu

Hipsters’ choice Union Coffee is just one of the new faces on BA’s new Club Europe menu, which we’re getting a sneak preview of aboard flight BA2702 today.

Following a welcome drink and some Socca mixed nuts from the trolley, today’s Club flyers can choose between braised feather blade of beef, roasted cauliflower risotto, and coronation chicken with baby gem lettuce for lunch.

In economy, passengers can order and pay for food from a new “Speedbird Café” menu featuring items by chef Tom Kerridge, as well as being able to order and pay for items from their mobile phones during and before the flight.

The new BA Club World menu aboard BA2702

(Lucy Thackray)

Lucy Thackray29 March 2022 15:29


Simon Calder answers your travel questions

From how long France’s remaining rules will hang on to where to book a quick, last-minute sun holiday, there’s little our expert Simon Calder doesn’t know about the fast-changing world of travel.

This week he answered some of your burning holiday questions - covering when the US might reopen to unvaccinated people, which countries have recently dropped their pre-travel tests, and how to claim money back from airlines after a Covid-related cancellation along the way.

Read the full line-up here:

Lucy Thackray29 March 2022 14:26


Gatwick to ramp up passenger numbers during the week

Gatwick’s South Terminal, which opened on Sunday, will ramp up its passengers (both inbound and outbound) over the course of this week.

On Sunday it was served by 100 flights, representing 16,000 passengers; today it will see 150 flights and accommodate 23,000 passengers.

On Tuesday it will be served by 177 flights, representing 24,000 passengers, while on Wednesday it will see 185 flights and 27,000 passengers.

As the Easter holidays start, Gatwick staff expects to see approximately 260 flights a day to and from the South Terminal.

Passengers checking in at London Gatwick

(Lucy Thackray)

Lucy Thackray29 March 2022 13:46


On one of the first ‘new-gen’ BA Gatwick flights

We’ve now boarded our flight, BA2702 from Gatwick to Tenerife.

We’ll fly the four hours 30 minutes to Tenerife’s Sur Reina Sofia airport, trying out the short-haul “Speedbird café” offering along the way.

So far, the plane - an Airbus A320 - looks exactly as you’d expect a BA short haul flight to.

The crowd is a real mix, young families but also older couples heading off for a bit of pre-Easter sunshine. Unlike the passengers in Gatwick, all of us are masked, per Spain’s rules - BA recently announced that passengers can choose not to wear masks on routes from and to destinations that don’t require a mask on departure and arrival.

In Gatwick’s departures hall, it was a half-and-half mix of masked and unmasked.

Our pilots today are Ben Matthews and Holly Simms, and they seem just as cheery as our planeload of holidaymakers to be headed for the Canaries.

Pilots Ben and Holly

(Lucy Thackray)

Lucy Thackray29 March 2022 13:41


Gatwick-Melbourne link – to Florida

Melbourne is an arrival to the departure screens at Gatwick this month. But not Australia’s second-largest city: instead, it is a new Florida gateway.

Tui has switched the hub for its programme of Florida flights from Sanford airport, north of Orlando, to Melbourne – on Florida’s Atlantic coast, about 75 miles southeast of the theme-park capital.

The UK’s biggest holiday company has signed a seven-year deal with the airport. While the airport’s location is about 90 minutes from most Orlando area hotels and attractions, it is the closest airport to Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center and Port Canaveral – a major cruise port.

The new link will also enhance access to coastal locations such as the Palm Beaches, less than two hours’ drive south.

Simon Calder29 March 2022 12:39


What do we know about BA’s new short-haul offering from Gatwick?

It was August 2021 when rumours about British Airways’ new Gatwick operation first started swirling.

During the summer, press was reporting that a new short-haul-only subsidiary would launch from the East Sussex airport - in September, the airline was keen to emphasise that the new operation would not be “budget” or “no frills”, delivering the same service and benefits BA customers are used to.

BA has always struggled to make a profit at the Sussex airport, and over the past decade – before the pandemic – it lost tens of millions of pounds.

In December, the airline confirmed that it would make a comeback at Gatwick in March, as well as moving towards a Gatwick-specific short-haul operation. Tickets went on sale for 35 routes on 14 December.

Today, it says its short-haul Gatwicks flights have relaunched almost entirely as normal, eventually becoming a distinct “EuroFlyer” subsidiary.

“Customers flying on the airline’s new subsidiary will receive the same high level of service they expect of British Airways as well as enjoying the benefits of travelling with the UK’s flag carrier including a generous baggage allowance, free water and snacks, free seat selection at -24 hours, and frequent flyer benefits which include lounge access.

“All of the airline’s services will have a Club Europe (business class) cabin, setting it apart from its no frills competitors. Customers flying in this cabin will have access to a premium check-in experience, exclusive lounges and a complimentary gourmet meal and bar service on board.”

Twenty-two BA flights are scheduled to leave Gatwick today, to destinations as far-flung as Cancun and Doha.

Lucy Thackray29 March 2022 12:30


Gatwick’s South Terminal, two days in

Hello from Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal, where a steady but comfortable trickle of passengers is flowing through check-in and security this morning.

I’m here to get a look at British Airways’ first flights out of the airport in nearly two years, as well as experience this Sleeping Beauty for the first time since 2020.

I’ve flown out of North Terminal a handful of times since Covid shut down its sibling terminal, and it feels incredibly strange to turn left into the South Terminal entrance from the train station, rather than making the usual hard right for the shuttle to the former.

A few shops are still shuttered, but the departure hall Wetherspoons is predictably buzzing, as is the Caffe Nero just before security,

I’ll be checking out BA’s new short-haul Gatwick experience a little later, on its first flight to Tenerife, so stay tuned for a sneak preview.

South Terminal is back

(Lucy Thackray)

Shoppers at South Terminal, Gatwick

(Lucy Thackray)

Lucy Thackray29 March 2022 11:32


Good morning

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog, where we’ll be posting all the latest news and updates.

Lucy Thackray29 March 2022 11:21

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