Zoom will compete with British Airways between Europe and the island of Bermuda next June.The Canadian carrier is set to launch a service from Gatwick on June 8 with flights being extended to New York JFK on June 23. Flights to Bermuda will operate twice a week while the New York service will operate every day.
What it means is that Zoom will be possibly the first airline to allow passengers to visit both Bermuda and New York on the same trip. That means passengers will be able to book all flight sectors at an advantageous price.
Flights to New York from Gatwick are priced from £258 return and, when Business Traveller checked Zoom's website this week, there is plenty of availability in June at this price. The service to Bermuda is costlier and you can expect to pay upwards of £360 return. Zoom has yet to finalise prices (and so cannot yet accept bookings) with the regulatory bodies for the Bermuda-New York sectors.
Passengers paying an extra £99 per sector qualify for premium economy seating which includes extra legroom and various other frills.
Schedules call for a 1300 departure from Gatwick arriving in New York at 1545 (or 1845 on Wednesday and Friday when the flight stops in Bermuda). In the return direction, Zoom departs JFK at 1930 arriving in Gatwick the next morning at 0600 (or 0755 when routed via Bermuda).
A major advantage of Zoom's pricing is that passengers can book on a one-way basis. They need not include a Saturday night stay (as the major airlines require) or book round trip only.
Zoom is using B767-300s. Seating in economy is 31 inches rising to 36 inches in premium economy. One drawback, for passengers spending some time away, is Zoom's meagre luggage allowance which is only 20 kilos (or 30 kilos in premium economy) in total. Zoom's 20 kilos limit is less than half the "per piece" allowance (normally two pieces of 23 kilos each) offered by the conventional airlines.
Whether the Zoom concept will work is a moot point. The big transatlantic airlines cross-subsidise their economy fares with high business class fares. Zoom doesn't have this advantage. On the other hand Zoom is spreading its risks by including Bermuda, so only time will tell.
For more information go to flyzoom.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter