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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The bizarre law in Florida that all British Citizens must carry an International Driving Permit in the state was repealed in April.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.

Loose seats discovered on two aircraft
Oct 2nd, 2012 by elisa

Loose seats found on two of American Airlines‘ aircraft resulted in emergency landings recently.

A Miami-bound flight took off from Boston on Saturday. A row of seats then became unhinged, and according to reports, slid around the cabin, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing at New York’s JFK Airport. The Daily Mail also reported that a second Miami-bound plane was forced to return to JFK Airport because of loose seats.

American spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan told the Daily Mail that passengers were moved to safer seats and that a “second aircraft was used to continue the flight to Miami.

“Safety is our top priority. We never have – and never will – compromise the safety and reliability of our fleet.”

It is suspected that the problem lies with the way that certain seats fit into the tracking of the Boeing 757.  However, there has been speculation that the problem could be related to tensions over labour-management at the airline. It has laid off maintenance workers while it tries to improve under bankruptcy protection. This line of thought has been strongly refuted by both the airline and government officials. The maintenance of each aircraft concerned was completed by different sets of workers and therefore is not attached to one facility in particular.

The airline is investigating the cause and has grounded an additional eight aircraft as part of its inquiry.

 

UPDATE: There has been another report of an emergency landing of an American Airlines aircraft. The Chicago to London Heathrow flight had to be diverted to Ireland’s Shannon Airport after a passenger reported a ‘smokey odour’ in the cabin. On full inspection the cause appeared to be an overheated fan. Passengers have been given overnight accommodation and will fly to London on the same plane tomorrow.

 

 

 

BA doubles Dublin-London flights
Aug 22nd, 2012 by elisa

British Airways will double the number of flights between Dublin and London Heathrow as part of its new winter schedule.

The new schedule, which will operate from 28th October 2012, will see daily services increase from four to eight return flights. There will also be a new early morning departure time of 6.25am.

The route will be operated by a 150-seater A319 aircraft with Club Europe and Club Traveller cabins.

New flights this summer
Apr 22nd, 2012 by elisa

Year-round Easyjet flights from Birmingham to Belfast are to go on sale on 23rd April.

Initially this will be a daily service between Birmingham and Belfast International, but it will increase to 12 flights a week from 29th October.

Vueling is to reintroduce flights from Edinburgh to Barcelona this summer. Flights are already on sale for the three times a week service due to start on 23rd June.

 

 

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!

 

Brits head abroad for festive period
Dec 14th, 2011 by elisa

New Year and Christmas is proving to be an even more popular time for holidaymakers to leave the UK in search of a different festive experience. According to ABTA, it estimates that 4.25 million Brits will be travelling away during this period compared to just under 4 million last year.

Peak travel days are expected to be 22nd and 23rd December so holidaymakers can touch down and settle in just before Christmas day.

Types of holidays vary greatly, some opt for warmer climates such as the Canary Islands, Dominican Republic and Cuba, whereas others want a Christmas snow at ski locations.

Paris, Reykjavik, Rome, Dublin and New York are popular New Year’s Eve destinations for a party vibe.

Mark Tanzer ABTA chief executive said: “With all the doom and gloom of the economy it looks like people are keen to escape for a break, whether they are visiting friends and family or looking to enjoy winter sun or guaranteed snow.”

Check out lots of foreign holiday lets at the Villaseek website to get your perfect festive getaway sorted.

 

Torrential rain affects travel in Dublin
Oct 25th, 2011 by elisa

The city of Dublin has put emergency plans into place following widespread flooding yesterday.

Torrential rain in Dublin caused chaos and destruction yesterday according to the Irish Independent. A month’s rainfall fell in just one day, stranding motorists and flooding homes and businesses. The city’s main shopping centre had to be closed and evacuated as the water entered.

Travel chaos ensued as flights in and out of Dublin Airport were delayed, rail services cancelled and two of the country’s motorways closed or impassable.

Meteorologists have warned there is more heavy rain on the way, however it should not be as bad. The Irish weather service has issued a severe weather warning for Ulster and east Leinster.

The UK has not escaped either with parts of south-west England, northern Ireland and Wales suffering flooding. Coastal and river areas in Cornwall, Devon, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Swansea have all now been issued with flood alerts.

Dublin airport is warning passengers to check access roads’ status before setting off to the airport, information can be found here.

 

Aer Lingus predicts challenging financial year ahead
Mar 1st, 2011 by elisa

Despite promising figures of an operating profit of €57.6 million (an improvement of €139 million), Aer Lingus has predicted a challenging 2011 financial year as its chief executive Christoph Mueller said current fuel prices would cause 2011 profit to be “significantly below 2010”.

He said: “We expect significant challenges in 2011, with trading for the year likely to be impacted by fuel price inflation and increased airport charges in combination with difficult conditions in our home market.

“We do not expect that improvements in yield performance and ongoing cost savings can offset these increased costs. If current fuel prices persist, we expect that 2011 operating profit will be significantly below that of 2010.”

The ash cloud and poor weather conditions meant Dublin Airport passengers declined by 10% yet still the carrier managed to return to profitability. The 2010 average yield per passenger was up 12% and ancillary revenue per passenger of €17.67 was up 5.5% compared to 2009.

Ireland reduces air passenger duty
Dec 13th, 2010 by elisa

In a bid to boost tourism, Ireland has decided to reduce its air passenger duty from  €10 to €3 starting in March 2011 until the end of the year when it will review its effectiveness.

However,it says the tax will be increased unless the airlines give “an appropriate response”.

Minister for finance, Brian Lenihan said: “I do not want to see the reduction in the tax being used by airlines as an opportunity to raise their fees and charges.”

The tax, paid by passengers departing from Irish airports, was introduced less than two years ago.

Ryanairchief Michael O’Leary said the reduction would do nothing to reverse a drop in air traffic as it was outweighed by a hike in airport fees.

What do readers of this blog think about the reduction? Will it make you more likely to visit Ireland?

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