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-   -   Bad news - BA's NCL lounge reportedly to close permanently (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/2024726-bad-news-bas-ncl-lounge-reportedly-close-permanently.html)

corporate-wage-slave Sep 8, 20 1:27 pm

Bad news - BA's NCL lounge reportedly to close permanently
 
I am probably the bearer of bad news.

I heard last week, and had a second confirmation today, that BA's wonderful lounge in NCL is to be closed permanently. I understand the staff employed there have been cosulted, as in consulted about being made redundant. I don't know if the intention is to use the lacklustre Aspire lounge next door instead, or for NCL simply to have no lounge facility at all. I guess the other option is a Toronto option, where Aspire takes over the BA space, but I very much doubt that is the intention. NCL was building a new lounge, owned by the airport itself, but that too has been shelved. So the future is uncertain, but it would be a future without a BA branded lounge in NCL from here on.

If this is confirmed, and I fear it will be, then it will be terrible for the wonderful staff at the lounge, who have made it a home from home for me and many others. In many ways it was the perfect lounge, in terms of location, space, staff service and the "welcome to BA" that starts when you enter the door.

I hope those based in the North East and other regular users send in complaints to BA about this. I appreciate that BA is losing millions of pounds every day, and things will perforce have to change, but if BA cuts off their own legs they are asking not to be able to walk again.

The small ray of good news is that EDI is aiming now to reopen in the next month or two. The other lounges (MAN, ABZ, LGW, GLA) are not under threat as such, but since they are unlikely to open until Q2 2021 there are likely to be redundancies in view of the long closure. BHD and JER are independently operated but I don't know about their plans.

navylad Sep 8, 20 1:31 pm


Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave (Post 32661150)
. BHD and JER are independently operated but I don't know about their plans.

JER has been open for the last 5 1/2 weeks and continue to be used. There is plans for a new lounge with the new terminal, but the new terminal (or rather extension) is facing opposition from some who donít want the current crumbling arrivals terminal to go.

florens Sep 8, 20 1:37 pm

ItĎs really going downhill. What the heck.

Thoughts with the affected staff.

S_W_S Sep 8, 20 1:52 pm

That's such a shame, I only visited once in March but it was a nice lounge (if a little dated). Perfectly located for boarding too.

My best wishes to the staff. With Covid19 just becoming a concern I didn't see much of them in March, but you could they were proud of the lounge.

Genius1 Sep 8, 20 1:52 pm

Sad news if confirmed. One of the last bastions of the Terraces era.

I suspect BA will come to an arrangement with a third party operator, as they did with BHD and JER when BA stopped operating the lounges there.

To take a trip down memory lane, see my review of the lounge in 2017: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/brit...es-lounge.html

cheshirepete Sep 8, 20 1:57 pm


Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave (Post 32661150)
The other lounges (MAN, ABZ, LGW, GLA) are not under threat as such, but since they are unlikely to open until Q2 2021 there are likely to be redundancies in view of the long closure.

Such a shame what you report about the MAN Lounge. So not till after March next year. Perhaps MAG will reopen Premiair before then....

KeaneJohn Sep 8, 20 2:09 pm

This is one of my favourite regional lounges, mainly due to the warm and welcoming staff.

Virtually all my visits have been after a very good night out in Newcastle. The warming soup, some bubbles, some cheese, port and sandwiches is the perfect hangover cure.

I can sort of understand BAs rational re costs but at some stage they will need a ... moment to realise that a shiny piece of plastic will be of no use apart from selecting seats at the time of booking won’t cut the mustard and it won’t be acceptable for the *where available to be rolled out when previous perks were offered but aren’t any longer.

rockflyertalk Sep 8, 20 2:14 pm

What a shame for a regional hub. That canít be the news you and many others in that neck will want to hear CWS.

BA didnít really need an excuse to watch their costs before, but boy...they have the perfect excuse now. I hope itís not all short term damage or gains (half full/half empty) with no long term plans to ensure the heritage and prestige for such a well known brand.

These times are going to make or break many businesses.

My thoughts are with the staff affected.

NWIFlyer Sep 8, 20 2:16 pm

Having never visited the NCL lounge personally I know only of it by reputation. From experience of another regional lounge at GLA several times last year I fully emphasise with the view that the staff are friendlier and more personable than can be found elsewhere in the network.

BA is not going to succeed in winning customers back by reducing the proposition for status and business class customers - this seems incredibly short sighted, and ultimately will damage the brand ever further. A rethink via customer pressure is definitely needed - let’s face it, what happens at Newcastle may well end being a model for other outstations otherwise.

Ldnn1 Sep 8, 20 2:18 pm

Is NCL itself at risk of losing BA service altogether?

BAeuro Sep 8, 20 2:18 pm

This is very sad news and my thoughts go out to all those in Newcastle.

Personally, I canít see BA operating many lounges themselves going forward. It is much easier to outsource and pay for a third-party lounge than run your own. Itís an easy way to cut some costs and reduce the headcount. I think the only places that will see a BA lounge will be London/New York and 1 or 2 others.

Itís disappointing and worrying to hear that EDI/ABZ etc wonít open till Q2 2021. I wonder what the plans will be for Milan/Rome/Geneva. If they stay closed for that long one would expect an alternative to be put in place.

florens Sep 8, 20 2:26 pm


Originally Posted by BAeuro (Post 32661262)
This is very sad news and my thoughts go out to all those in Newcastle.

Personally, I canít see BA operating many lounges themselves going forward. It is much easier to outsource and pay for a third-party lounge than run your own. Itís an easy way to cut some costs and reduce the headcount. I think the only places that will see a BA lounge will be London/New York and 1 or 2 others.

Itís disappointing and worrying to hear that EDI/ABZ etc wonít open till Q2 2021. I wonder what the plans will be for Milan/Rome/Geneva. If they stay closed for that long one would expect an alternative to be put in place.

Given that BA is nearly halving flights to GVA from 79 weekly flights to just 45, I am also curious to know what will happen to the lounge proposition. Time will tell.

drmish1 Sep 8, 20 2:29 pm

Very disappointing news.

KARFA Sep 8, 20 2:35 pm

I am sorry to hear this cws. I have enjoyed that lounge before and was planning to do so a bit more frequently in future for obvious reasons. I agree that it seems a short sighted move.

I am also sorry for the staff there. I hope they are able to find alternative work as soon as possible.

IAMORGAN Sep 8, 20 2:35 pm

This is a real shame. Thank you for sharing CWS.

I do think this is the tip of the iceberg. If business travel doesnít come back, which I doubt it will ever to 2019 levels, then I expect weíll all be digitally connected as a globe but perhaps less physically connected. Just as Concorde was never replaced, I wonder whether BA will serve arteries and run lounges at really key cities and there to be less provision (due to lower demand and frequencies) in other places. Itíll be interesting to see whether BAís focus shifts a bit towards leisure & away from business.

madfish Sep 8, 20 2:39 pm

Disappointing, but understandable. It’s quite a large space and could be put to better use in some ways. The fact it was dated doesn’t help. A sad scenario for the staff.

gms Sep 8, 20 3:13 pm

Very sad news. Both for the staff who will be losing their jobs and for travelers.

I really do think that some of these decisions are very short-sighted by BA. Unless there are decent alternative arrangements made by BA, then I will probably be choosing car, train or some of the new routes from Eastern Airways (e.g. SOU-MME) ahead of BA.

Stez Sep 8, 20 3:19 pm

That's a great shame, and likely to go down like a lead ballon with NCL based regulars. It was a popular lounge and a fantastic location to see your bus come into to the gate and gauge the boarding progress. Not only that, and not least, the friendly staff and they offer a functionally useful service (especially when check-in staff is unable to) And always nice to see their smiles as I go off to a desert or jungle for months on end to look for things.

It was also very well received by many FTers at the NCL Do one windy December day in the distant past.

scottishpoet Sep 8, 20 3:25 pm

sad news and suggests no imminent plan to increase frequencies

The _Banking_Scot Sep 8, 20 3:47 pm

Very sad news

GumshoeW12 Sep 8, 20 4:00 pm


Originally Posted by scottishpoet (Post 32661400)
sad news and suggests no imminent plan to increase frequencies

And yet on Oct 1 there are still 5 LHR-NCL flights on sale. Compared to none the day before.

I assume the October SH cull must be imminent ...

BA1321 Sep 8, 20 4:40 pm

First the 747 retirements, then losing BA1, now this... In the space of less than 6 months I've lost three of the things I perhaps enjoyed most about BA. For reasons that others have written before, this was one of my favorite lounges on the network. I've been using it since the days when the entrance was at the other end, and while NCL is not really "home" anymore, I will miss the lounge when I travel back to see family.
I am not sure how much it will impact my decision to fly BA out of NCL since I almost always connect long haul at LHR and my other options ex-NCL would be KLM or Air France (neither of which resonate). What it likely will impact will be my airport arrival time - I shall be making sure I cut it down to the bare minimum as the general terminal area at NCL is not great and I imagine the Aspire lounge will be very busy once flights start increasing toward normal levels...

ECR Sep 8, 20 6:11 pm

I did fear that when the BA lounge in Belfast was handed over to Aspire to become a third party lounge around six months ago, that it would not be the only domestic route to lose a dedicated BA lounge. It is very disappointing to hear that Newcastle is next. I do fear for the long term future of the remaining domestic lounges outside of London. Manchester in particular must be at risk,

I wonder if it is possible that it could be taken over by Aspire as in Belfast, and open to more than just BA passengers. It has been a while since I've been in Newcastle, so I may have remembered incorrectly, but from what I recall to get to the BA lounge you had to pass through door to go down a corridor, after which you couldn't return to the main terminal. If that is the case, it doesn't make it a great location for a third party lounge open to all.

The Aspire Lounge at Newcastle isn't that big from what I remember and has always been quite busy anytime I've been there, so I would imagine it would struggle with space if the BA passengers were accommodated there too. I haven't seen the Aspire Plus side of the lounge though, so maybe BA would do a deal to accommodate passengers there if the existing BA lounge space doesn't become a third party lounge.

SKT-DK Sep 8, 20 7:29 pm

Nooooo, these are terrible news :( The NCL lounge is one of the best regional lounges, if not the best - all thanks to the wonderful staff. I feel truly sorry for them :(

passy777 Sep 8, 20 11:21 pm

NCL is my ‘home’ lounge and what sad news, although BA,s cost cutting actions just don’t shock me anymore.

My sympathies go to the great staff there and they (and the lounge itself) really will be a miss. I have used the Aspire at NCL, but it certainly wasn’t a great experience. As I live local, I am fortunate enough to arrive at the airport late enough to avoid hanging around and if this sad news is correct, then that will be my tactic going forward.

Best wishes to the staff there and I hope they find alternative employment very soon.

Airprox Sep 9, 20 12:35 am


Originally Posted by florens (Post 32661278)
Given that BA is nearly halving flights to GVA from 79 weekly flights to just 45, I am also curious to know what will happen to the lounge proposition. Time will tell.

I think GVA and AMS are the only European outstation lounges with a chance of staying, although I would not say it is a particularly high chance. I'm fairly confident all the rest will go. So in Europe we will have BA lounges in LHR, GLA, EDI, GVA and AMS only.

PGberkshire Sep 9, 20 12:44 am


Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave (Post 32661150)
I am probably the bearer of bad news.

I heard last week, and had a second confirmation today, that BA's wonderful lounge in NCL is to be closed permanently. I understand the staff employed there have been cosulted, as in consulted about being made redundant. I don't know if the intention is to use the lacklustre Aspire lounge next door instead, or for NCL simply to have no lounge facility at all. I guess the other option is a Toronto option, where Aspire takes over the BA space, but I very much doubt that is the intention. NCL was building a new lounge, owned by the airport itself, but that too has been shelved. So the future is uncertain, but it would be a future without a BA branded lounge in NCL from here on.

If this is confirmed, and I fear it will be, then it will be terrible for the wonderful staff at the lounge, who have made it a home from home for me and many others. In many ways it was the perfect lounge, in terms of location, space, staff service and the "welcome to BA" that starts when you enter the door.

I hope those based in the North East and other regular users send in complaints to BA about this. I appreciate that BA is losing millions of pounds every day, and things will perforce have to change, but if BA cuts off their own legs they are asking not to be able to walk again.

The small ray of good news is that EDI is aiming now to reopen in the next month or two. The other lounges (MAN, ABZ, LGW, GLA) are not under threat as such, but since they are unlikely to open until Q2 2021 there are likely to be redundancies in view of the long closure. BHD and JER are independently operated but I don't know about their plans.


Sad times, even though I never used it, it doesn't bode well for services across the business.

The Toronto model does work however, having used it in Jan. a small, modern section of an Aspire lounge run for BA, with BA policy on drinks etc is a good compromise.

orbitmic Sep 9, 20 1:03 am

Sad news indeed. :( Sadly, after the closure of the LBA route and this, I can imagine a few further pieces of domestic bad news to hit us in months to come.

chipster Sep 9, 20 1:09 am

I live very close so I don’t usually have long to wait. But that’s not the point. Aspire isn’t very nice, but EK do put their premium passengers in the aspire + part but it wouldn’t be big enough to take ba customers. What I’m more worried about is NCL losing all BA service, as at present we have gone from about 5 departures a day to not even daily flights. All very depressing

BOH Sep 9, 20 1:22 am


Originally Posted by chipster (Post 32662214)
I live very close so I donít usually have long to wait. But thatís not the point. Aspire isnít very nice, but EK do put their premium passengers in the aspire + part but it wouldnít be big enough to take ba customers. What Iím more worried about is NCL losing all BA service, as at present we have gone from about 5 departures a day to not even daily flights. All very depressing

This is no doubt because there are very few long-haul flights to connect onto at the moment, most O&D traffic between the NE and London would take the train. When (if) long-haul services properly start again I'm pretty sure NCL will be back on multiple daily flights.

Dan72 Sep 9, 20 1:35 am

Very sad news. But if the industry changes significantly, I can see that BA will need to change too, to survive. I expect lounge costs are justified against fares and can see that fewer J and flex economy fares will make lounge provision a less viable proposition.

I would not be surprised if we came out of this pamdemic without any arrival lounges too. Few other airlines offer these. If VS disappears I can see that the commercial need for them would fast fall away.

BOH Sep 9, 20 2:00 am


Originally Posted by Dan72 (Post 32662248)
Very sad news. But if the industry changes significantly, I can see that BA will need to change too, to survive. I expect lounge costs are justified against fares and can see that fewer J and flex economy fares will make lounge provision a less viable proposition.

I would not be surprised if we came out of this pamdemic without any arrival lounges too. Few other airlines offer these. If VS disappears I can see that the commercial need for them would fast fall away.

The key thing with all of this is that over the years the LCCs have changed the perception of so many that air travel is simply a commodity and therefore lowest price wins. By unbundling the various components such as fees for seat selection, check-in baggage, on-board meals etc etc the "race to the bottom" is now complete and BA will have to further adjust to this.

I totally agree with you, with the huge drop in high yield C/J/F pax and feed-in connecting traffic from smaller airports virtually disappearing for the foreseeable future, the days of the independent BA lounges in the regions and smaller European destinations are doomed.

DrBenO Sep 9, 20 2:50 am

Sad times. Growing up in the North East this was the first BA lounge I visited (on my first ever flight).

MarcD Sep 9, 20 3:12 am

Oh that is bad news. While as others have mentioned it was showing it's age a little I always loved being in NCL Terraces and having a 'proper' BA lounge at our home airport, never crowded and super service. Best of luck to all the staff affected.

A future of Aspire, or no lounge at all does not exactly appeal. I am really not a fan of Aspire which I find quite a depressing space with disappointing food and drinks.

As an almost exclusively NCL based leisure traveller these days this will make me question whether it's worth maintaining BA status going forward, especially if the schedule is next to take a hit.

GumshoeW12 Sep 9, 20 3:44 am

Iberia doesnít have any of its own lounges apart from at its main hub does it?

Maybe thatís the most viable future model. Airport-operated or third party lounges only apart from LHR and maybe JFK.

Cw novice Sep 9, 20 3:53 am


Originally Posted by GumshoeW12 (Post 32662371)
Iberia doesnít have any of its own lounges apart from at its main hub does it?

Maybe thatís the most viable future model. Airport-operated or third party lounges only apart from LHR and maybe JFK.

I wonder if outwith main hubs if they have Oneworld lounges. If for example T3 reopens soon would we likely see a combined oneworld offering especially if MH & QR move there.

As for regions in the UK I would imagine EDI & GLA would be ok as plane still trumps train for short haul business travel plus longhaul leisure connections

Prospero Sep 9, 20 4:37 am


Originally Posted by GumshoeW12 (Post 32662371)
Iberia doesnít have any of its own lounges apart from at its main hub does it?

Maybe thatís the most viable future model. Airport-operated or third party lounges only apart from LHR and maybe JFK.

IB used to have its own lounges at Frankfurt, Orly, and Mexico City, now branded as ďPremium Traveller LoungesĒ. I donít know if Iberia still has any involvement in the running of these lounges

Brighterside Sep 9, 20 4:41 am

Thank you CWS for this - If confirmed this is indeed sad news especially for the lovely staff at Newcastle Airport who are always so plesant and welcoming whenever I use the lounge. It doesn't really matter to me that it could do with a refresh ascompared to some other European Lounges it is a clean and comfortable, space. As my local airport the lounge has always seemed busy when I have used it and like others have mentioned it is perfectly situated for the normal BA departure gate.

Stez - I remember the Flyertalk Do at the Badger and let us not forget the 26 July 2010 when BA used a 747 on the LHR-NCL route to celebrate the airports 75th Birthday.

DYKWIA Sep 9, 20 5:06 am

I wonder what this means for the new MAN lounge that was mooted for T2? I believe it would be a OW lounge rather than BA - and would have covered BA/QR/CX/AY etc.

Tobias-UK Sep 9, 20 5:39 am


Originally Posted by DYKWIA (Post 32662447)
I wonder what this means for the new MAN lounge that was mooted for T2? I believe it would be a OW lounge rather than BA - and would have covered BA/QR/CX/AY etc.

Given the current climate it wouldn't surprise me if the MAN lounge remained closed with no oneworld facility being offered until the anticipated move to T2 and perhaps a oneworld lounge.


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