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BA launch new summer sun flights from London Gatwick
May 19th, 2014 by elisa

Get closer to summer sun locations in 2015 as British Airways launches five new routes from London Gatwick.

From next April the airline will fly to Cagliari in Sardinia, Crete and Rhodes in Greece, and Bodrum and Dalaman in Turkey.

“This is the biggest launch of new routes at Gatwick we’ve had for several years and is brilliant news for families and holiday-makers wanting to get away from it all for that all-important break to relax in the sun,’ said BA head of commercial Gatwick Colm Lacy.

Cagliari will operate three times a week, Crete four times a week, Rhodes twice a week, Bodrum twice a week, and Dalaman four times a week.

Start browsing your holiday villa now at Villaseek.com!

 

Cheap tickets tricks for huge saving potential
May 19th, 2014 by elisa

Easyjet Flexifare screenshot

Easyjet Flexifare screenshot

Lowest fare guides and flexible dates options are really helpful in finding the lowest travel fares, but sometimes the cost of a flight or train when you want it is still too expensive.

Moneysavingexpert.com founder, Martin Lewis has just revealed a way to ‘trick’ Easyjet’s booking system to get the cheapest possible fare.

“The idea is to book a Flexifare on the same route at a less busy time, then switch to the dates you originally wanted. It’s not the easiest trick in the book, but if it works it could save £100s,” is says on the website.

It’s a bit of a risk as you need to know that your dates will still be available to switch to. The website provides a step by step guide on how to do this, which includes beginning a booking for 20 people on your desired flight to see if that many seats are available and therefore not likely to sell out so quickly.

One customer is quoted as saving £700 on flights to Lanzarote. The online posting said: “When we went on the Easyjet website the flights were over £1,500 including bags. We then booked the flexi flights, which were £848 – a saving of £700. A bit nerve-wracking for the 24 hours, but we know it works. There must be availability obviously on the dates you are changing to.”

A spokesperson for Easyjet said: “EasyJet’s aim is to provide easy and affordable fares for everyone which is why we provide a number of tools on our website to help customers identify the best flight for their budget.

“Our recently launched ‘low fare finder’ makes it easier than ever to find the lowest fares available on specific routes without the stress of needlessly changing dates and our Inspire Me tool enables customers to specify their budget and dates and sets out on a map where they can fly to for that budget.

“Flexifares are designed specifically for the business customer and offer the flexibility they require when travelling for business, however there is no guarantee of availability on alternative dates. Most of our passengers travelling during the peak summer understand that the earlier they book the cheaper the fare will be.”

Train fares are another contentious issue when it comes to the different prices for the same routes, often depending on whether you book early enough or use a rail card.

Tickets are grouped into three types: “Advance” for a specific train journey, “anytime” for any train on the route, and “off-peak” restricted to quieter times of travel.

“Anytime” tickets are usually most expensive because of their flexibility, but it can still seem too expensive when booking an “advance” or “off-peak” ticket, and this is where the money-saving trick comes in. If you are travelling on a popular and fairly lengthy journey, then it could be much cheaper to buy tickets for separate parts of the journey in a practice called “ticket splitting”.

For example, a one-way “advance” ticket from Oxford to Leeds will cost £90, calling at Birmingham New Street. However, a one-way “advance” ticket from Oxford to Birmingham New Street costs £33, and then from Birmingham New Street to Leeds another £49 giving a total fare of £82. This is a fairly sizeable percentage saving of the original cost, and can amount to much larger savings on other routes. National Rail allows ticket splitting (essentially travelling on the same train) as long as the train stops at the station you’re splitting the tickets for.

Another trick I found when trying to book an “anytime” ticket on thetrainline.com was that I still had to provisionally select a journey time to allow me to buy the ticket, but the price of the “anytime” ticket fluctuated depending on the time I was searching for. I selected a time later in the day to halve the price of the ticket at the time I was considering travelling, but could still use it at any point that day.

There are lots more possible money saving methods to cut the cost of travel. Let us know what your tips and tricks are in the comments section below.

 

 

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.

The UK’s most punctual airport
Apr 16th, 2014 by elisa

The UK’s most punctual airport is London City, according to the latest figures from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Across the 10 airports monitored last year, 80% of flights were on time. At London City, however, 89% were on time. Heathrow is at the bottom of the list with 24% of flights delayed.

The average delay of all scheduled flights monitored in the last quarter was the same as last year, at 12 minutes.

Iain Osborne, group director for regulatory policy at the CAA, said: “Whilst it is pleasing to see the majority of passengers arrived at their destination in good time at the end of last year, our figures show that too many people still had their flights disrupted by delays.

“We also know there were a number of cancellations during December that will have disrupted other passengers.

“Some severe weather clearly played a part in this, but there is still room for improvement. Airports, airlines and air traffic control service providers all have a role to play in delivering that improvement and it is vital they work together to make sure fewer passengers have their journeys disrupted by delays and cancellations”.

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.

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.

Airport expansion recommendations
Dec 18th, 2013 by elisa

The Airports Commission report published yesterday has recommended extra runways to be built at Heathrow and Gatwick.

The recommendation is contrary to the Boris-backed Thames Estuary options because ‘there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage’. The Mayor of London said in the Guardian that the plans to have the hub airport at the Thames Estuary are “not dead yet” as he has another six months to put forward new arguments in favour of the idea.

The current recommendation is for a new runway south of the existing one at Gatwick Airport. For Heathrow there are two options – a new 3,500m runway to the northwest and extending the existing northern runway to at least 6,000m enabling it to operate as two independent runways.

The report also advises on an ‘optimisation strategy’ to improve UK airport efficiency with better en route traffic management systems to keep airlines to schedule. It also recommends enhancing rail and road access to make other airlines with spare capacity more attractive to passengers.

Launching the report Sir Howard Davies Chair of the Commission said: “Decisions on airport capacity are important national strategic choices and must be based upon the best evidence available.

“This report is the product of extensive consultation, independent analysis and careful consideration by the commissioners.

“The capacity challenge is not yet critical but it will become so if no action is taken soon and our analysis clearly supports the provision of one net additional runway by 2030.”

The report’s findings have not been wholly welcomed, with the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) stating that the wide-spaced runway at the airport is the option that will cause the most environmental damage.

Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Craig Kreeger also outlined the wider issue on UK hub capacity: “Although Gatwick is a very important airport to us, additional runway capacity there does not address the UK’s chronic hub capacity shortage.”

David Cameron set up the review in order to delay a final decision on expansion plans until after the 2015 election. When the coalition came in to power they scrapped the former Labour government’s plans for a third runway at Heathrow, but now the line on the issue has softened and could look set for a u-turn.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told the BBC on Sunday that the government would stick to its pledge not to build a new runway at Heathrow ‘in this Parliament’.

Flybe scales back operations
Dec 9th, 2013 by elisa

Flybe picture by Flickr user khrawlings

Flybe picture by Flickr user khrawlings

Flybe is scaling back its operations by cutting another 24 routes across its network.

Starting from January 2014, the airline will withdraw 10 year-round, and 14 summer-only routes from the UK.

Already confirmed cancellations are Gatwick flights to Belfast City, Guernsey, Jersey, Inverness, Isle of Man, and Newcastle from 30th March 2014. Affected passengers are being contact to be offered an alternative Flybe flight were possible, or a full refund.

Cardiff and Glasgow to Paris services will stop in January, but will be temporarily reinstated from 20th to 24th February for the Six Nations Rugby tournament.

Chief commercial officer Paul Simmons said: “We recently announced that we would be reconfiguring our route network as part of a carefully planned strategy to optimise our operations.

“We have since taken a long hard look at all the routes we fly to make sure that our new schedule is what our customers really want and that they operate at the best possible times for everyone.”

Most of the latest closures will happen on 19th January but some are stopping on 5th January.

Year-round route withdrawals

Belfast City – Paris CDG 19.01.14

Bristol – Jersey 07.01.14

East Midlands – Paris CDG 13.01.14

Exeter – Newcastle 28.03.14

Glasgow – Shannon 05.01.14

Hannover – Southampton 19.01.14

Leeds Bradford – Southampton 19.01.14

Cardiff – Glasgow 19.01.14

Cardiff – Paris CDG 19.01.14

Glasgow – Paris CDG 19.01.14

 

Summer seasonal routes

Exeter – Barcelona

Southampton – Barcelona

Belfast City – Jersey

Bristol – Isle of Man

Edinburgh – Knock

Exeter – Nice

Isle of Man – Jersey

Isle of Man – Luton

Isle of Man – Southampton

Jersey – Luton

Jersey – Newcastle

Limoges – Newcastle

NewquayNorwich

Southampton – Beziers

Gatwick Express Christmas closures
Dec 6th, 2013 by elisa

Gatwick Express trains will not run from Christmas Day to January 1st, affecting holidaymakers’ travel plans over the busy holiday period.

The closure is to allow for essential improvement work between Redhill and Purley, at Gatwick Airport and London Victoria stations. Further disruptions on the line will also take place throughout January, with closures on 12th and 26th and reduced services on other Sundays throughout the month.

Passengers are being advised to to catch the longer Southern Rail services and to allow extra time for their journeys.

 

PCSO charged with stealing from passengers
Aug 21st, 2013 by elisa

A police community support officer has been charged with stealing £15,000 from passengers while on duty at Gatwick Airport.

Sussex Police said the PCSO, Alexis Scott, 39, of High Grove, London, was arrested and questioned over the allegations in may.

She has been charged with seven counts of theft and one count of misconduct in a public office. She will appear at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court on 2nd September.

PCSOs do not have the same powers as regular police officers but will usually patrol a beat, interact with the public, and will deal with minor offences.

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