Airport parking charges
Jan 23rd, 2014 by elisa

Britain has some of the most expensive airport parking charges in the world, with peak-time charges close to double those of other major international airports.

Heathrow’s Terminal 4 is £12 for between one and two hours at peak-time, and a two hour stay is £11 at Luton and £10 at Stansted and Gatwick. This is compared to £5.50 at New York’s JFK airport and £6.60 at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle.

Glasgow and Edinburgh airports are also high at £9 and £8.90 respectively.

The only other major international airport close to British airport parking charges is Sydney, with a one to two hour stay costing £11.

The reason for Heathrow Airport’s peak tariffs is to help improve the journey times for passengers travelling to Terminal 4 between 0600 and 0800, and 1830 to 2030, with free time at the longer stay car park across the road.

A spokeswoman said: “We made the decision to make the long stay car park just a few meters across the road from Terminal 4 free for the first two hours with a bus connecting to the terminal every 10 minutes.

“The reason for this change is because Terminal 4 has been reaching over capacity during these hours with the volume of friends and family being brought to meet arriving and departing passengers – this is specific to Terminal 4 only.

“Without our intervention, the vehicle queue to the car park reaches back to the motorway, putting passengers at risk of missing their flight while impacting the safe flow of traffic.”

2013 round up
Dec 30th, 2013 by elisa

It’s nearing the end of 2013, so it’s time for our annual round up of travel news and features covered in this blog over the year.

January is normally the time when you start to examine your finances after the Christmas splurge, and this year was no different for the travel news. A Sunday Times report that found customers were seriously losing out on foreign currency exchange rates when purchasing their travel money at airports.  We also looked at the financial benefits of flying to an airport further from your destination and driving the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Spain was voted the best value destination for 2013, and Eve told us why she thought Spain was a great winter destination.

However, it was all about Greece in February! With its award-winning beaches and Thomas Cook trend survey that revealed a huge increase in bookings during the month. The month ended with a warning to check your travel insurance small print, as many travellers were reported to have fallen foul of clauses in their insurance, which meant they wouldn’t get a pay out on claims.

In March, a woman successfully smuggled a dog onto a plane; we looked at the biosphere reserve that is Menorca; and BA started selling tickets for flights on its ‘red carpet route’ to Los Angeles in its new super jumbo A380. Easyjet installed new, lighter, seats on its aircraft in an attempt to save on fuel and CO2 emissions. Bitter weather threatened to blight travellers’ Easter holidays, but this didn’t stop Peter Rabbit visiting children at Heathrow.

The bizarre law in Florida that all British Citizens must carry an International Driving Permit in the state was repealed in April. Samoa Air launched its controversial pay by weight flights and we looked at the facts about turbulence.

Easyjet began testing its volcanic ash cloud detection technology in May. We found that trillions of air miles are going to waste; and there was the slightly disturbing report of a flight being diverted because the pilot got locked out of the cockpit. There was good news for Harry Potter fans going on holiday in Florida, as the Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley “environment”.

A US ban on using a laptop during take off on flights was lifted in June.

Tenerife enjoyed at 14% rise in arrivals from the UK in July. It was also discovered that many English families were flying from Scottish airports to save up to £500 on their holiday travel costs. It may have been one of the hottest summers we’ve had in years, but this didn’t stop large numbers of Brits leaving for even sunnier holiday destinations in the last weekend of July. We gave advice on how to avoid common pick pocketing scams as the Foreign Office issued a warning about pick pockets in Switzerland.

As August enjoyed more of the heatwave, Ryanair had a drop in flight bookings; it also took legal action against an unfavourable Dispatches programme “Ryanair: Secrets from the Cockpit”.

Etihad Airways launched its “flying nanny” service to look after passengers’ children in September. Helly Kitty planes took to the skies with Taiwan’s EVA Air, and a computer glitch in US Airways system sold $0 flights on its website. Spain enjoyed record visitor numbers over the summer, proving the predictions earlier in the year.

In October, Manchester was announced to be the UK’s first Airport City; and Ryanair announced that it would work on a better customer service.

It was all about the measure of happiness for travel in November, and BA introduced interactive billboards to remind people of the magic of flying.

The Northern Lights in Norway topped Brits’ “must see” list in December. Britain also endured wide-spread bad weather with winds of up to 140mph battering parts of the country, and flooding hitting others.

That’s the round up for 2013, make sure to follow this blog for more travel news and articles in 2014, and book your holiday villas at a wide range of destinations on Villaseek.

Ferry linking Ireland and western France and northern Spain
Dec 23rd, 2013 by elisa

A ferry service linking Ireland with western France and northern Spain will be launched by LD Lines on 7th January. 

The service will operate between Rosslare Europort in Ireland, St.Nazaire on the French west coast and the Spanish port of Gijón.

St.Nazaire is a gateway to popular holiday destinations such as Brittany and Bordeaux. Gijón is a good access port for self-drive holidays to Portugal and northern Spain.

Consider staying at Quinta Casal Maior (sleeps 13 + 4) in the little village of Lanheses between Ponte de Lima and Viana do Castelo where you can choose from activities such as surfing and windsurfing, visiting local festivals and outdoor markets, and also see many equestrian events in the exhibition centre in Ponte de Lima. 

2011 Round up
Jan 3rd, 2012 by elisa

Happy New Year to all our readers! Before we move on to this year’s news, here’s a round up of some of the biggest stories we covered on this blog in 2011, it certainly was an eventful year!

January started with the troubled BMI threatening to withdraw its Heathrow – Glasgow route after passenger charges at Heathrow were raised (this was confirmed a month later). Ryanair returned to Manchester with four new routes. And the political troubles in Egypt disrupted flights.

Spiraling conflict in Egypt caused complete cancellation of routes to popular holiday destinations in February. Meanwhile, Which? launched a super complaint on airline card fee charges,the cost of Qantas’ engine troubles were revealed, and airlines flying from the UK finally started to show clearer air fares.

March brought faster flight times under a deal signed by traffic controllers. But by far the biggest news of the month was the huge tsunami which hit Japan and led to re-routing of flights to avoid possible radiation risk, and advice to leave Tokyo.

A Skyscanner survey found Spain back in favour for British holidaymakers in April.

In May Belfast Airport started to charge for going for a cigarette break, and the ongoing battle between Unite and British Airways was finally settled!

More natural disasters happened in June with violent aftershocks in Christchurch, New Zealand and volcanic eruptions in Chile.

The News of the World phone-hacking scandal broke in July with airlines withdrawing their advertisements as a result.

In August research revealed the use of smartphones were ruining people’s holidays.

The Rugby World Cup was held in New Zealand in September, where Wales’ hopes were dashed.

The first biofuel passenger flight took place in October, however green campaigners claimed it wasn’t as environmentally friendly as everyone thought.

Europe announced a ban on body scanners at airports in November, but the UK decided to go against the decision.

Finally, December saw 150mph winds hit parts of Scotland, which is where we are now at the start of 2012 as tremendous winds continue to batter the UK once more.


So, what travel news is in store for 2012? Keep up to date here!


Review of 2010
Jan 6th, 2011 by elisa

Volcanoes grounding flights, snow grounding flights and stopping trains, strikes galore – 2010 has not been the best year for the travel industry, but in this run down of some of the top stories covered in the Villaseek blog throughout the year I’ll include these and also try to find some good news to include as it wasn’t all bad!

January started with the controversial full body scanner trial at Manchester Airport.

There was the awful Haiti earthquake which sparked calls for aid from holiday makers nearby and help from airlines to deliver aid packages.

The full review of the Eurostar travel delayswas revealed and spared no one.

Easyjet and Ryanair fought it out in a battle over an unflattering advert.

There was some increase in the business travel economy.

The year was plagued by strikes by British Airways cabin crew in a battle over pay and working conditions, the first were in March.

The BA and Iberia merger was agreed in April.

Perhaps one of the biggest pieces of travel related news was the volcanic ash cloud which closed down airspace across much of northern Europe and cancelled the travel plans of millions of people throughout April and May.

A coalition government was formed in the summer and one of the first things they did was to scrap the planned third runway at Heathrow.

There were more BA cabin crew strikes in May, the first for 5 consecutive days.

Despite the strikes and ash trouble, some good news for the aviation industry came as a study showed growing satisfaction with airlines.

A new campaign was launched in July to make passengers more aware of their travel rights, which made for a very informative read.

A study found that three weeks in a holiday villa is the perfect holiday!

Which? revealled airline processing fee rip offs in September.

Airbus’ with Rolls Royce engines got an awful couple of months of bad press after a mid-flight emergency on a Qantas flight.

The year ended with festive gridlock at airports and across the country’s roads due to the snow.

So, it’s been an eventful year indeed! If you want to catch up on the year’s UK travel news, then check out the 2010 review on our sister site, Holiday Cottages.

VaVroom to solve your transfer nightmares
Jun 17th, 2010 by elisa

A brilliant new airport to villa transfer service has been introduced, it’s called VaVroom and can be found through this link.

VaVroom caters to all possible transfer needs, is incredibly easy to use, and most importantly is a simple way to take the hassle out of trying to find a local taxi after a long flight. One particular difference to other transfer sites that I find reassuring is that throughout the holiday season VaVroom will be open 24/7 so you will always have a (real) person on the other end of a phone to speak to should you need to at any time of the day.

VaVroom will send you a text the day before your transfer with pick up time and a reminder of their number should you need it.

You can mix and match your transfer options from having a limo or even a helicopter transfer on arrival for that glitzy start to a holiday to returning by car. There are options for frequent flyers who need to make regular transfers; also you can book a block of transfers in one and once your account has been set up (this is automatically created when you make your first booking) then a lot of the information is saved for future visits, making it a lot easier than having to fill in the same information over and over again as with other transfer companies.

So if you’re going on holiday and want to take the hassle out of finding transport to your villa, often somewhere you might not know the exact location of and could find it difficult to find a driver who does then follow this link to VaVroom, which will take the anxiety out of airport transfers.

Fuel rises across Europe to affect cost of holidays
Jun 8th, 2010 by elisa

Holidaying on the continent to avoid ash cloud and cabin crew strike cancellations could save on wasted time in airports but may not be a cheaper option as fuel prices are set to rise across Europe, according to the Post Office’s Travel Money report. It says that continental fuel prices have gone up by as much as 24p a litre for unleaded petrol and 30p for diesel. Despite this, Europe is still cheaper than the UK for diesel motorists.

The highest rises are in Sweden which actually had the lowest prices in 2009. Germany saw the lowest increases in price, up 4% for unleaded and 12% for diesel. Diesel costs 19p less a litre in Spain (£1) than in the UK (£1.23).

Luxumbourg is the thriftiest place to drive with 91p litres of diesel, the only place in Europe where you can get this amount of fuel for under a pound. 

In France, diesel costs 24% more than a year ago but still remains 5p cheaper than in the UK. However, unleaded petrol in France has risen by only 7.6%, far below the 17.3% increase in the UK.

Post Office head of travel money Sarah Munro said: “Fuel costs may have risen steeply across Europe this year but our survey again found wide variations in pump prices. This means that UK tourists taking motoring holidays can still make significant savings if they plan carefully. For example, motorists travelling through eastern France could save 15.7 per cent by crossing into Luxembourg and filling up there.

“The clear message to tourists is to check prices before planning their route and fill up in countries where unleaded petrol or diesel is cheaper. Avoid topping up the tank on motorways and instead get fuel at the ferry ports, where it is invariably cheaper, or stop at European supermarkets where it costs less too.

“With sterling on the rise, tourists should also change money in the UK before they leave to avoid paying more overseas.”

If you’d like more information on the report, then you can view it here.

Spanish roads get safer
Jan 3rd, 2010 by john

Image by Flickr user EkoSystem

Image by Flickr user EkoSystem

The good news for anyone driving in Spain is that the country’s roads have been getting safer at a remarkable rate. New figures show that road deaths in 2009 fell for the sixth year running, with the total of 1,897 down by 13 per cent on the 2008 figure. The last time road deaths were below 2,000 in Spain was 1964, when there were just two million cars on the road, compared with 31 million today. In the last six years the number of road deaths has more than halved, from 3,993 in 2003 to last year’s 1,897. Improved driving standards were the main reason, according to the Spanish interior ministry: “ The Spanish drove better, they were more cautious and safety-minded.”

A lot of the credit must also go to Spain’s huge investment in better roads, as well as the improved safety of modern cars.

Want to practise your Spanish? Read the full story as it appeared in El Mundo.

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