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Most family-friendly destinations
May 8th, 2014 by elisa

Florida beach picture by Flickr user Adam Caudill

Florida beach picture by Flickr user Adam Caudill

A survey of 2,000 British parents regarding the most family-friendly destinations in the world found Cornwall to be top of the list, with Orlando in Florida a close second.

The only reason Orlando was pipped to the post was because of the long flying time of around nine hours from the UK, otherwise, its world-famous theme parks and near-constant sunshine ranked extremely favourably for child-friendly holidays.

The Spanish islands of Majorca, Menorca and Tenerife, and the Costa Del Sol on the mainland made up the rest of the top ten for holidays abroad, with Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Isle of Wight for holidays in the UK.

Around eight in ten respondents said making sure a destination is child-friendly is their main priority when booking a holiday. Factors that contributed to a family-friendly holiday included nearby play areas, a good choice of food to cater for fussy eaters, and a shallow sea. Half of the parents polled said the ideal holiday destination must have nice beaches, and 28% said kids’ swimming pools are essential.

The study also found that the ideal holiday would last an average of 10 days, and involve less than five hours of travelling time, making many of the European destinations ideal for family breaks.

 

BA best airline but outranked in value for money
May 5th, 2014 by elisa

Good news for British Airways, which has been ranked best airline in almost every category except value by a Skyscanner survey.

BA came first for its food and drink, onboard experience, its style and customer service in short-haul flights, but ranked third in ‘best value for money’. It was beaten by Easyjet in second place, and little-known airline, Norwegian, in first place.

Norwegian was a surprise contender and fared extremely well in the survey, biting at BA’s heels in second place for most of the categories.

Skyscanner’s Mary Porter said: “Being a Superbrand and one which Brits are very proud of, it’s perhaps not surprising that British Airways has scooped the top spot in our survey.

“However it is particularly interesting to see such strong results for a far less well-known airline, with Norwegian taking second place and goes to show that low cost does not necessarily mean an inferior product or service.”

The survey was of 4,000 British travellers, surveyed on their opinion of airlines’ short-haul flights from the UK.

£240 million in unclaimed travel compensation
May 1st, 2014 by elisa

Compensation for delayed or cancelled flights totalling around £240 million was failed to be claimed by passengers last year, according to passenger rights specialist refund.me.

Although the figure seems large, it’s much lower than the £355 million left unclaimed in 2012 and is due in part to improvements made by airlines to keep delays under the limits that would trigger compensation payments, plus more passengers being aware of their rights.

The no win, no fee firm helps eligible passengers fight for compensation under EU Regulation EC 261. Since 2004, passengers have been entitled to claim compensation of up to £490 for late cancellations or flights or delays of more than three hours, other than due to circumstances beyond airline’s control.

Refund.me founder and CEO Eve Buechner commended improvements made by airlines: “After nearly a decade of citing poorly justified “extraordinary circumstances” to avoid compensation payments, airlines appear to have turned the corner on both service and post-service quality,”

“Some airlines now have more aircraft on standby or move to pre-emptively smooth things over with passengers by offering vouchers, miles and accommodation more willingly.”

However, Buechner warned that all this progress could be put in jeopardy when a planned review of EC 261 by the European Parliament considers whether passengers should not be entitled to compensation of less than five, seven or 12 hours.

“This would effectively nullify the progress made in the last few years and set passenger rights back to their standards of 10 years ago,” she said.

“The airline industry has made significant progress in improving passenger rights in the last two years. Passengers are more aware of their rights and airlines have become more compliant and offer better service as a result. It would be disappointing to undo this progress. It would lead to more delays, more cancellations and more stranded passengers.”

Refund.me processed more than 10,000 compensation claims last year, totalling more than £3.3 million, and claimed a 94% success rate.

Tube strike 2014: causes chaos for passengers to airports
Apr 29th, 2014 by elisa

A 48 hour tube strike means passengers are struggling to get to London airports from today.

In addition to the Tube services, Heathrow said that its Heathrow Express and Connect overland services to and from the airport are also being disrupted.

A statement on the website said: “Due to the planned London Underground strikes, our trains are likely to be busier than usual so please allow more time for your journey.”

The Piccadilly Line is only operating between Acton Town and the Heathrow’s Terminals 1,2 and 3 and there is no Heathrow Connect service.

National Express is operating additional services between Heathrow and Victoria coach station during the strike period, however the coach operator has warned that some services may be subject to delays due to the impact of the strike.

All train services on the Gatwick Express are currently running normally, as are railways services to London City, however passengers are advised to leave extra time for their journeys.

The RMT union is striking over London Underground’s plans to close ticket offices and cut 960 jobs. It has warned that if the dispute is not resolved, then a second 72-hour strike, is planned to begin at 9pm on 5th May.

BA to use fuel converted from waste
Apr 16th, 2014 by elisa

British Airways has announced the site for the GreenSky fuel plant in Thurrock, Essex.

BA has joined forces with Solena Fuels for the project that will convert landfill waste into airline fuel. The airline will purchase all 50,000 tonnes of the jet fuel produced each year, for 11 years, at market competitive rates.

The airline says approximately 575,000 tonnes of post-recycled waste, normally destined for landfill or incineration, will be converted into 120,000 tonnes of fuels using Solena’s patented high temperature plasma gasification technology.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, said: “The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.”

Due to be completed in 2017 the facility will create up to 150 permanent jobs.

Easyjet passengers allowed to use gadgets on flights
Apr 16th, 2014 by elisa

Easyjet passengers are now allowed to use personal electronic devices throughout their whole flight, including during take-off and landing.

Gadgets such as laptops, tablets and mobiles must be placed in ‘flight mode’ and mobiles cannot be used to make or receive calls or texts.

The move follows recent recommendations from the European Aviation Safety Agency, which have allowed for restrictions on the use of gadgets onboard aircraft to be relaxed.

Peter Duffy, Easyjet’s group commercial director, customer, product and marketing said: “We know that portable devices are an important part of our customers’ journey with us so we are pleased they can now use their electronic devices onboard in ‘Flight mode’ for the duration of their flight with us – we think this will be a popular change.”

Shift in desired destinations for 2014
Apr 10th, 2014 by elisa

The latest TripAdvisor Choice Awards for Destinations show a marked shift in desired city breaks for 2014.

Traditional destinations such as Paris, Barcelona and New York have all dropped significantly down the rankings, making way for more Asian destinations, with Beijing, Hanoi, and Shanghai all breaking into the top 10 for the first time.

Other favourites, such as Sydney, fell 12 positions to 22, and San Francisco fell 18 places to 25. London, however, remains as popular as ever and maintains its number three position for the second year running. It was pipped to the top spots by Istanbul and Rome, taking first and second place respectively.

TripAdvisor spokesperson James Kay said: “It is interesting to see traditionally popular destinations Paris, New York and Barcelona drop down the rankings.

“This year’s results show that there are a number of destinations around the world that are starting to compete with the more traditional ones.

“However, London still continues to sustain its position in the top five and while there is no doubt the birth of the royal baby helped keep the eyes of the world on London in 2013, but the capital’s continued appeal among travellers around the world surpasses any one event.”

In the UK Awards, two seaside destinations crept into the top 10 this year. Torquay in Cornwall is in a very respectable third place, and Llandudno in Wales sits pretty in eighth place.

The awards were determined by an algorithm on the TripAdvisor website that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for accommodation, attractions and restaurants gathered over a 12-month period.

The 2014 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Destinations winners

World’s top 10

1. Istanbul

2. Rome

3. London

4. Beijing

5. Prague

6. Marrakech

7. Paris

8. Hanoi

9. Siem Reap

10. Shanghai

 

Europe’s top 10

1. Istanbul

2. Rome

3. London

4. Prague

5. Paris

6. Berlin

7. Florence

8. Barcelona

9. St Petersburg

10. Budapest

 

UK’s top 10

1. London

2. Edinburgh

3. Torquay

4. Liverpool

5. Belfast

6. York

7. Bristol

8. Llandudno

9. Leeds

10. Birmingham

 

Track your flight stats
Apr 7th, 2014 by elisa

Want to know how many times you’ve flown around the world? A new online tool by British Airways shows customers how many times they would have flown around the world according to the total miles they’ve flown with the airline.

‘My Flightpath’ is available to members of the British Airways Executive Club and displays a timeline of all their flights since they joined. Members can also see where they’ve flown to, where they fly to most, and how many miles they’ve travelled.

Included in the site is ‘My Passport’ which awards stamps to customers when they reach certain milestones in their travels, such as the number of countries they’ve visited or number of miles flown. The stats can also be shared via social media.

Ian Romanis, head of customer engagement, said: “We wanted to give customers something that would help them to capture the magic of flying and we’re sure they will enjoy sharing their travelling milestones with their friends.”

Anyone with a BA booking can join the club free of charge and start tracking their stats.

Ryanair looks to fly to new markets
Apr 1st, 2014 by elisa

Ryanair is looking to grow passenger numbers by extending its budget flights to new markets including Turkey, Israel and Russia.

It has ordered 175 new aircraft, the first of which will be delivered in September and be used to service the new routes.

New head of corporate travel and groups, Lesley Kane, said “We are talking to new airports, a lot of which are key business airports, some of which are in totally new markets which are actively looking to encourage Ryanair to fly there.”

The airline wants to attract more business travellers, groups and families to increase its passenger numbers from 81.5 million to 110 million by 2019.

Not always known for being easy for families, Kane said that it aims to launch more children-friendly products. Currently children are allowed to take a teddy and an extra bag on board, and the airline is looking into giveaways such as free allocated seating for children to sit next to their parents.

Next winter Ryanair will have aircraft based in Athens, Brussels, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon. Most of these will offer multiple flights to Stansted.

Etihad Regional launch Cambridge to Verona flights
Mar 28th, 2014 by elisa

Etihad Regional is launching a new route from Cambridge International Airport to Verona in Italy this May.

The service will fly to the city’s Villafranca ‘Valerio Catullo’ International Airport on Saturday afternoons between 17th May and 25th October.

Bookings are being taken now and lead-in fares start from £100 per person each way.

Look for holiday villas in Italy on the main site.

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