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Swarm of bees grounds plane
Apr 21st, 2014 by elisa

A flight was grounded after a massive swarm of bees clouded the plane’s windshields and were sucked into its engines. 

The Allegiant Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Dululth, Minnesota, was forced to turn around and land back at McCarran International Airport when it was struck by the swarm.

Passengers reported a burning smell that filled the cabin, causing some passengers to panic.

“We thought [the pilot] was joking when he said ,’I’ve never had that happen before. We hit thousands of bees,’ ” passenger Cassandra Rogers told WDIO news.

Bees grounding flights might sound unusual, but there have been many incidents in which they have caused flight delays, although the swarms are most common on the ground rather than in the air.

Beekeeper Stephen Repasky told KDKA-TV that swarms form when colonies become too large and the queen takes half the bees with her to find a new home.

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.

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.

140mph winds cause major flight delays
Dec 6th, 2013 by elisa

Some of the worst weather of the year so far is hitting the UK and parts of Europe, causing wide-spread travel disruption. 

Yesterday airports in Scotland were severely hit by delays and cancellations, and many roads were closed as it’s been claimed the country was practically ‘closed down’ due to winds up to 140mph. Although the winds are dying down in Scotland and the northern half of the country today, there are still expected to be some delays and cancellations to flights. Manchester airport is advising passengers to check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport.

British Airways and Lufthansa are warning of flight disruption, while a “significant number” of KLM and KLM Cityhopper flights have been cancelled across Europe.

EasyJet said strong winds will continue to affect northern and north eastern Europe today.

“The weather situation in Copenhagen and Hamburg is still difficult following yesterday’s disruption and flights may still experience weather associated delays,” it said.

Here is a video of a huge A380 aircraft coming in to land at Manchester Airport yesterday, clearly rocking in the difficult conditions. Watch from around 20 seconds in..

Today flood alerts are in place across England and Wales as the weather heads further south. Thousands are being evacuated from their homes in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and around 120,000 have been left without power.

 

Brits’ Must-See List
Dec 4th, 2013 by elisa

Northern Lights picture by Flickr user artic pj

Northern Lights picture by Flickr user artic pj

So, what would you expect a typical Brit’s most desirable attraction at a destination to be? The Grand Canyon? Taj Mahal? Great Barrier Reef? No, it’s the Northern Lights in Norway!

According to research from TravelSupermarket, seeing the Aurora Borealis in Norway is top of Brits’ must see lists, beating destinations such as Egypt’s Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.

It seems that previously far-flung destinations were more desired as they were harder to get to and seemed more exotic, whereas now travel across the world is much easier and more connected, British tourists are starting to consider the wonders available closer to home as just as amazing and desirable.

37% of respondents cited the Northern Lights in Norway as their number one must-see, followed by the Egyptian pyramids at 35% and a road trip down Route 66 in the US at 33%.

Other popular destinations and experiences included walking the Great Wall of China (32%), an African safari (31%), and taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon (30%).

A cruise in the Caribbean was seventh with (29%), closely followed by seeing the Taj Mahal in India (28%). Ninth was riding a gondola in Venice (27%) and tenth was diving in the Great Barrier Reef (24%).

TravelSupermarket’s resident travel expert, Bob Atkinson said: “Ten years ago African safari’s and road trips down Route 66 were appealing because they were so far away, but now we’re seeing destinations much closer to home, like Norway, become a popular choice because people have decided it’s something they must see, instead of choosing long haul destinations because they’re perceived to be once in a lifetime opportunities.”

What would your must-see attraction be? I think I might have to agree with the majority on this one and go to see the Aurora!

Beautiful holiday villa on the Croatian island of Hvar
Nov 7th, 2013 by elisa

Hvar Island

Hvar Island

With vast fields of lavender, olive trees and vineyards, surrounded by stunning beaches and crystal blue waters, the Croatian island of Hvar has to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world.

Now is a particularly good time to book as the school holidays are over and many low cost airlines are offering great winter deals on flights.

With special offers when booking as a family or group, or for those staying longer than a week, this recently renovated island house might be just the accommodation for you!

It has stunning views of the Adriatic sea, town and hills. There are five double plus one single bedroom and the property has recently been renovated to an excellent standard. With all the amenities one would expect with such a substantial holiday villa, guests also benefit from two large patios, a garden, sunbeds, outdoor tables and chairs. Laundry will be done each week and you can expect to be greeted by an English/Croatian couple who will give advice on what to do and where to go on Hvar island and other nearby islands and mainland in Croatia.

One of the immaculate double bedrooms

One of the immaculate double bedrooms

Balcony view

Balcony view

The property sits five minutes away from the beach, and cafes, restaurants, piazza, market and boat hire is only a 10 minute walk away. It’s great for a relaxing holiday, but also ideal for those in search of more activity as within half a mile of the house there is sailing, water skiing, sea kayaking, paragliding, windsurfing, diving and tennis.

You can find this Hvar island house in the Croatia section of VillaSeek. For more information on the property and what to do there, go directly to the listing for the villa, where you can contact the owners directly.

Beautiful beaches

Beautiful beaches

 

Easyjet’s new aircraft
Aug 13th, 2013 by elisa

In the race towards aircraft fuel efficiency and money saving, Easyjet has a new, more efficient Airbus A320 aircraft to add to its fleet.

Rather than going in Ryanair’s direction of slowing flying times down to save on fuel, this more aerodynamic plane will help to cut the airline’s annual £1.2bn fuel bill. Also helping to save on fuel costs are the new lighter seats, 26% lighter than previous designs, and lightweight trolleys.

EasyJet customer director Peter Duffy said: “Flying the most efficient planes enables us to realise significant savings which is good news for passengers as it allows us to offer low fares – even when fuel prices are at historic highs.

“Our passengers will also notice the difference of the new, ergonomically designed seat which provides them with more space due to its clever design.”

 

Plans for European “seamless door-to-door travel experience”
Jul 11th, 2013 by elisa

A model for an information and booking system to incorporate train, plane and bus travel across Europe is being developed by an Amadeus-led consortium.

The European Commission set up aims to enable residents and visitors to “enjoy a seamless door-to-door travel experience” to streamline searching, booking and buying tickets for travel across Europe.

The All Ways Travelling consortium consists of Amadeus, Dutch and Belgian joint venture BeNe Rail, airline association IATA, technology firm Thales, rail company UNIFE and Zeppelin University. It is part of the EC’s Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area initiative which aims to increase employment within the sector and reduce carbon emissions.

Siim Kallas, vice president of the European Commission in charge of transport, said: “We need to develop European multimodal journey planners in Europe. To make the best use of all existing transport modes and infrastructure, we need to ensure the availability, accessibility and exchange of all relevant information, such as schedules, capacity and paths.”

The first stage will require the privately-funded Zeppelin university to carry out an in-depth study of multimodality, to be completed before the end of 2013. Once validated by the EC, the consortium will trial business models, operations and specific technologies for the Proof of Concept stage.

Thomas Drexler, global head of Amadeus Rail and Ground Transportation, said: “In addition to the breadth of knowledge and experience within the consortium itself, we have created an advisory board consisting of 10 representatives of the major players in the industry to ensure that the approach to multimodal travel is truly beneficial for the travel industry as a whole.”

Menorca – idyllic biosphere reserve
Mar 6th, 2013 by elisa

Turquoise sea, white sands. Menorca picture by Flickr user Paul Stephenson

Turquoise sea, white sands. Menorca picture by Flickr user Paul Stephenson

Menorca is a beautiful Balearic island; and with more beaches than Mallorca and Ibiza combined, it is serious competition for its more famous neighbouring islands.

Known as the more laid-back island, it’s perfect for families with young children or just visitors who want a relaxing holiday and slower pace of life. The resorts tend to be small and occupied with holiday villas rather than large hotel complexes.

The most popular coastal resort is probably Son Bou / San Jaime, with over a mile of white sand, perfect for sun-worshippers! It is not just good for beach-goers though, the newly constructed coastal path, Camí de Cavalls, is ideal for walkers, too. The whole of Menorca has been classified as a biosphere reserve by Unesco because of the striking wildlife and natural surroundings. On a walk around, you could see booted eagles, red kites, Egyptian vultures and even osprey! If you aren’t sure where to start, you could book a guided tour with Walk Menorca to ensure you see the best there is.

The capital, Maó, spreads along a cliff above the harbour with bars and restaurants. The old town is filled with small plazas and a market to explore. Across the other side at the western most point of the island is Ciutadella, a picturesque old town with cobbled streets, harbour, Gothic cathedral and museum.

If you like a fiesta, however, then go around the Saints’ days between June and September to enjoy the buzz and jollity of each town’s special programme of celebrations. For more information about up-coming events around the year, visit Menorca Live, which I’ve found rather helpful for finding things to do once you’re there.

We have many holiday villas in Menorca, but if you’d like some inspiration, then you won’t go far wrong with this pretty and spacious villa in Puerto Addaia.

The villa sleeps 6 and has 3 bedrooms (2 double & 1 twin – both doubles have air-con). There is a balcony overlooking the pool, and a large roof terrace with lovely sea views. There is a main bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen, lounge with Sky TV and French doors which open onto a partially covered patio with built-in barbecue and large, extendable sun awning. The pool is excellently maintained and has a children’s section. The villa is also close to local shops, restaurants and marina. Also close by is Arenal, a beautiful beach.

Great for family holidays

Great for family holidays

For this villa and many more across Menorca or other holiday destinations, check out our main website for details.

 

2012 Round up
Jan 2nd, 2013 by elisa

Happy new year to all our readers! 2012 was an eventful year for travel news, so here’s a round up of the major stories that we covered over the year.

The year started with opposition to the newly introduced European Commission’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with the China Air Transport Association (CATA) stating that its members would not cooperate with the new tax; followed by a meeting between other opposing countries to discuss possible retaliatory measures.

February continued with the debate over ETS. Europe dug its heels in to keep the scheme while opposing countries signed a declaration regarding measures they wished to be taken before they would comply.  Meanwhile, growing social unrest in Greece prompted warnings from the Foreign Office.

KLM and Malaysia Airlines launched their own cheeky social networking in the sky schemes in March. Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines suspended international flights on eight major routes shortly after BA suspended its codeshare agreement with the airline. Ryanair caused controversy as it was investigated over leaving exit seats empty after introducing a premium charge for the extra legroom they provided.

April began with travel disruption in Spain and Portugal. Malaysia Airlines implemented adult only sections on flights. Up to 1,200 redundancies at BMI were announced after the takeover by IAG.

Speculation over the improbability of IAG finding a buyer for BMI Regional was quashed when it sold the airline in May.

Positive news in June as figures for international air travel rose by 7% compared to the previous year. However, these figures were not enough to stop Easyjet from announcing the closure of its base in Madrid.

A landmark move by the Office of Fair Trading forced airlines to be transparent about their credit and debit card charges in July. Strikes at major UK airports were averted at the last hour on the eve of the Olympics, preventing large-scale travel disruption.

The UK and the world was overtaken by London 2012 Olympics fever in July through to August. Helped by around 1,300 volunteers, Heathrow gave the athletes a grand London-themed send off.

A new generation of security scanners was trialled at Manchester Airport in September. A new compensation ruling was implemented in October for flights over three hours late. Hurricane Sandy battered the East coast of the USA at the end of October, which caused many flight cancellations.

Ryanair introduced a 2% credit card fee to bookings in November. In the same month, a new low-cost African airline, Fastjet, was launched.

Gatwick reinstated the volunteers which were so well received during London 2012 to help with Christmas cheer over the busy festive travel season.

 

So, that was 2012. What a year! Keep an eye on this blog for more travel news over 2013!

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