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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.

Flybe adds cheap flights from Birmingham
Feb 3rd, 2014 by elisa

Flybe is adding seven new routes from Birmingham from April and May 2014.

Flybe will offer flights from Birmingham to:

Florence six times a week

– daily flights to Cologne

Toulouse six times a week

Alicante five times a week

– Bordeaux, Palma Mallorca and Porto four times a week

Birmingham will become the airline’s biggest regional base when it adds three of its 2×2 seat Embraer 175 jets to the airport.

Seats are on sale now, with one-way fares from £34.99 including taxes and charges. Flights start on 10th April to Alicante, Cologne, Florence and Porto, and from 13th May for the rest.

European air traffic control strikes affect flights today and tomorrow
Jan 29th, 2014 by elisa

Air traffic control strikes in Europe will affect flights today and tomorrow.

Passengers flying to Milan, Rome, Venice and Lisbon will be particularly badly affected, with many services cancelled.

Airlines worst affected are British Airways, Alitalia and Ryanair. Easyjet said is has re-scheduled some flights to avoid the strike times, but there might still be an impact due to the knock-on effect of the industrial action across networks.

Ryanair has cancelled some flights from Gatwick to Cagliari, and Stansted to Bari, and warned of possible delays to other services.

Italian air traffic controllers are on strike from 13:00 until 17:00 local time; Portuguese controllers are on strike from 07:00 to 09:00 and from 14:00 to 16:00 local time.

 

French air traffic controllers will walk out later today until the early hours of Friday morning. Easyjet has had to cancel a small number of flights to Paris because it said all airlines operating to and from Paris airports had been requested to reduce flights by 20%.

 

Ryanair base in Lisbon
Jan 27th, 2014 by elisa

Ryanair will open a third base in Portugal in April. 

One aircraft will be based at Lisbon and operate four new routes to Manchester, Dole and Marseille in France, and Pisa.

Manchester flights will operate eight times a week and flights are now on sale.

Many of our Portugal properties are in the Algarve, so flights to Faro are the most appropriate/closest; however it’s only a couple of hours drive from Lisbon to the Algarve. You might want to consider this if flights work out cheaper to Lisbon and you are considering booking a hire car to see further afield anyway. We covered the benefits of booking flights further away from your destination in John’s insightful blog post late last year.

 

Holiday trends 2014
Jan 6th, 2014 by elisa

Value for money is still top of most people’s priorities when booking a holiday in 2014, according to the Travel Trends Report 2014.

The report by ABTA and the Foreign Office predicts “cautious optimism” for the year ahead.

“We know that Brits hate to cut back on their holidays and after several years of tough market conditions, we are seeing early signs of more optimism amongst British consumers,” said ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer.

“However, with the squeeze on household budgets continuing, we are expecting that tried and tested destinations and package holidays will continue to perform well in the coming year. We are also expecting a range of other overseas destinations to prove popular in 2014, as well as another good year for domestic tourism after the heatwave in the UK in summer 2013.”

The report includes a list of “destinations to watch” for 2014:

Great news for domestic tourism also; the feel-good-factor created by the Olympics and Jubilee in 2013’s sunny summer is likely to continue over into new year bookings.

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. 

Summer sun flight sale
Oct 10th, 2013 by elisa

Summer Sun picture by Flickr user Ian A Kirk

Summer Sun picture by Flickr user Ian A Kirk

The summer schedule for 2014 has been announced by Easyjet as flights to 100 destinations now go on sale.

It has more than 11.5 million seats, almost 300,000 more than last summer.

With so many seats going on sale, now might be a good time to book your summer holiday and villa while you can get some good bargains and not have to think about it until it’s time to jet off!

With flights to Spain, Italy, France, Greece and many more, we have a holiday villa to suit your needs.

Year-round sunshine – the Algarve
Feb 22nd, 2013 by elisa

Tavira in the Algarve picture by Flickr user Toni Castillo

Tavira in the Algarve picture by Flickr user Toni Castillo

One of Europe’s premier holiday destinations, the Algarve is the most southern region of Portugal and can easily be reached by flights from various airports in the UK to Faro.

The Algarve is perfectly positioned for some of the best sun in Europe and has an enormous array of sandy beaches to enjoy it on. There are different areas to suit different people: Lagos is often a draw for a young crowd after a good nightlife, Faro has a fascinating medieval quarter, and Sagres and Carrapateira are a hit with the surfers and water sports enthusiasts for an activity holiday.

It is also a year-round destination for visitors, with much more chance of sunny weather even when northern parts of the country are covered in snow. Winter is short and mild, and spring and summer are long and sunny. It’s coming to the end of winter and into spring at the moment, so it’s a great time to visit for cheap accommodation in the off-peak season with it still possible to enjoy a trip to the beach.

Villa Casasol

Villa Casasol

This pretty, detached villa with its own pool and colourful garden is only 10 minutes from the former fishing village of Tavira. Comfortably furnished, Villa Casasol, accommodates up to six guests. It has an en suite master bedroom, 2 twin bedrooms and a separate second bathroom. A fitted kitchen with all the amenities, a large dining room/lounge with satellite TV and a wood-burning fire.

Villa Casasol

Villa Casasol

 

You would be forgiven for not spending much time indoors however, when outside has so much to offer: a tiled patio, garden with sun beds for those lazy days soaking up the sun, a pool-side barbecue and secluded outside terrace. You don’t even have to go in at night as there is outside lighting, and even the private L-shaped swimming pool can be illuminated for an evening dip! Prices start from a very reasonable £300 for long winter holidays of three weeks or more, and from £500 for all other times.

Stunning outdoor patio and pool

Stunning outdoor patio and pool

A beautiful garden

A beautiful garden

Villa Casasol is only a 5 minute walk to the beautiful Ria Formosa Lagoon (an area of great international conservation importance), Cabanas Village, and the golden sandy beach of Cabanas Island – reached by a short trip on a fisherman’s ferry boat.

How age affects 2013 holiday trends
Jan 30th, 2013 by elisa

Spain is still a firm favourite - this villa is in Moraira and only 10 minutes' walk from the sea!

Spain is still a firm favourite – this villa is in Moraira and only 10 minutes’ walk from the sea!

According to new research, budgets for holidays differ by up to £280 per person depending on their age.

The TravelSupermarket survey of 5,000 British holidaymakers revealed their holiday habits for 2013 as well as the average amount they are willing to pay for their main holiday in each age bracket.

Over 50s spend the most on comfortable travel and accommodation, with the 50-59 age range willing to be the most experimental with their holiday plans, picking less typical destinations.

The longest and most expensive holidays tend to be taken by those in the 60-69 age group at £794 per person, plus £454 on spending money (£1,248 total). These are also most likely to take more than one main holiday each year. Those over 70 are most likely to stay close to the UK with Spain and France as firm favourites.

The most adventurous age group are the youngest, 18-29. These are most likely to go on activity holidays such as skiing or mountain biking, but like to do so on a shoestring, paying the least out of all those surveyed (£540 on accommodation and £428 spending money). They are also most likely to be influenced by a place’s culture when making decisions; Asia is very popular for this age group.

30-39 are the family focused bunch, least influenced by the weather and always considering family facilities. The beach (37%) and villa holidays (18%) are most preferable – Villaseek and UK specialist HolidayCottages.cc can help with both! The Algarve is one of the most popular destinations, and on average they spend £585 on travel and accommodation, plus £452 in spending money per person.

40-49 year-olds are still family focused and tend to head away during the school summer holidays in August. Most popular are beach holidays (39%) in Spain (12%) staying in self-catered accommodation (23%). They are also most likely to take more shorter breaks away in addition to a main holiday with £580 on travel and accommodation and £449 on spending money per person.

“At this age, a lot of holidaymakers will still be heading abroad with their families. Typical family breaks, such as beach holidays in Spain will be fun for everyone, but for those looking to go on shorter breaks too France and Italy are also worth a visit.” said Bob Atkinson, TravelSupermarket’s travel expert.

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