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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”.

Shift in desired destinations for 2014
Apr 10th, 2014 by elisa

The latest TripAdvisor Choice Awards for Destinations show a marked shift in desired city breaks for 2014.

Traditional destinations such as Paris, Barcelona and New York have all dropped significantly down the rankings, making way for more Asian destinations, with Beijing, Hanoi, and Shanghai all breaking into the top 10 for the first time.

Other favourites, such as Sydney, fell 12 positions to 22, and San Francisco fell 18 places to 25. London, however, remains as popular as ever and maintains its number three position for the second year running. It was pipped to the top spots by Istanbul and Rome, taking first and second place respectively.

TripAdvisor spokesperson James Kay said: “It is interesting to see traditionally popular destinations Paris, New York and Barcelona drop down the rankings.

“This year’s results show that there are a number of destinations around the world that are starting to compete with the more traditional ones.

“However, London still continues to sustain its position in the top five and while there is no doubt the birth of the royal baby helped keep the eyes of the world on London in 2013, but the capital’s continued appeal among travellers around the world surpasses any one event.”

In the UK Awards, two seaside destinations crept into the top 10 this year. Torquay in Cornwall is in a very respectable third place, and Llandudno in Wales sits pretty in eighth place.

The awards were determined by an algorithm on the TripAdvisor website that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for accommodation, attractions and restaurants gathered over a 12-month period.

The 2014 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Destinations winners

World’s top 10

1. Istanbul

2. Rome

3. London

4. Beijing

5. Prague

6. Marrakech

7. Paris

8. Hanoi

9. Siem Reap

10. Shanghai

 

Europe’s top 10

1. Istanbul

2. Rome

3. London

4. Prague

5. Paris

6. Berlin

7. Florence

8. Barcelona

9. St Petersburg

10. Budapest

 

UK’s top 10

1. London

2. Edinburgh

3. Torquay

4. Liverpool

5. Belfast

6. York

7. Bristol

8. Llandudno

9. Leeds

10. Birmingham

 

Barbados villa: new listing
Mar 6th, 2014 by elisa

Picture-postcard scene

The Caribbean is one of those glorious picture-postcard places that many of us dream of visiting. Here at Villaseek we have many properties to choose from across the Caribbean islands, and we’re pleased to announce a new listing in Barbados.

This large, fully-equipped 10 bed holiday villa in Holder Hill, St. James offers a stunning ocean view. Split into an upper level (sleeps 6) and a lower, self-contained ground floor apartment (sleeps 4) means there are options depending on the size of your party.

Located in one of the most luxurious areas of the island, the property is well-placed for all kinds of activities and places to visit. There are plenty of golf courses, sail cruises and day spas. The island is surrounded by azure-water and pure white sandy beaches such as Blue Monkey Beach and Church Point Beach. You can also visit the nearby Frank Hutson Sugar Museum, or the Folkestone Marine Park.

The property is at the top of a small hill with wonderful seaside views and a large lawned garden with mature fruit trees for shade. The main upper section has 3 1/2 bedrooms, 1 King bed and 5 single beds, one en suite bathroom with toilet, and combination tub/shower. The second bathroom has a toilet and shower. The living/dining room has an ocean view balcony, and the kitchen is fully-equipped with an additional laundry area. The lower section is a fully-furnished 2 bed, 1 bathroom apartment.

Find out more about the property and prices here.

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.

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.

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!

Cheapest destinations for autumn sun
Oct 27th, 2013 by elisa

Flight comparison website, Skyscanner, has listed some of the cheapest places to fly for under £50 for some much needed autumn sunshine. Luckily for you, Villaseek has plenty of great holiday villas in 4 of the 7 listed destinations!

El Capistrano Village

El Capistrano Village

Malaga, from £40. With an average high temperature of 24C and 8 hours of daily sunshine, Malaga on the Costa del Sol is one of the best bets for autumn sunshine in Europe.

Accommodating between 2 and 9 people and from £165 per week this beautifully maintained village, El Capistrano, Nerja, is just 45 minutes from the airport and has wonderful views of the Mediterranean and mountains.

Entre Naranjos

Entre Naranjos

Murica, from £49. Average high temperature of 25C and 4 hours of daily sunshine, Murcia is a handy jumping off point for southern Spain. 

40 minutes from either Murcia or Alicante airport is this 3-bedroom villa and 2-bedroom apartment on the new development of Entre Naranjos, set amidst the orange groves and a short drive from Torrevieja. Prices start from £190 for the villa and £140 per week for the apartment.

Tavira, East Algarve

Tavira, East Algarve

The Algarve, Portugal, from £30. Average high temperature of 23C and 7 sunshine hours each day. One of Europe’s most popular destinations but still pretty warm even into November.

Sleeps 4 (plus cot) this townhouse is situated in a secluded, luxury, mainly owner-occupied, hilltop development with spectacular views across the Roman fishing town of Tavira (2km) to the sea. Prices start from £200 per week.

Villas in Pollensa

Villas in Pollensa

Majorca, from £38. Average high temperature of 24C and 3 hours sunshine each day.

Choose from a great selection of properties with pools in Pollensa/Puerto Pollensa.

 

 

 

Disney resorts change disabled visitor policy
Sep 27th, 2013 by elisa

Disney World queue picture by Flickr user mrkathika

Disney World queue picture by Flickr user mrkathika

Disney World in the US is changing its disabled visitor policy after an increase in able-bodied visitors abusing the current system to skip queue waiting times.

Disabled visitors will no longer be able to automatically skip long queues but instead will be issued with reserved time tickets which will allow them on the ride at an allotted time on busy rides. This means that if a queue for a ride is around a 45 minutes long then the ticket will be issued for in 45 minutes time allowing the disabled person to go to a less busy attraction in the meantime.

Until now, Disney has allowed anyone in a wheelchair to bring as many as six guests with them to a ride’s backdoor entrance. According to a New York Post article, wealthy New Yorkers have been abusing this system by hiring disabled “black market Disney guides” to Disney World in Orlando.

The guides reportedly offered their services to pose as family members to enable their clients to skip the queues. They would charge around $130 and hour (£81), or just of $1,040 (£649) for a full day.

Walt Disney World issued the following statement: “We have an unwavering commitment to making our parks accessible to all guests. Given the increasing volume of requests we receive for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process to create a more consistent experience for all our guests while providing accommodations for guests with disabilities.

“We engaged disability groups, such as Autism Speaks, to develop this new process, which is in line with the rest of our industry.”

The policy has not been universally welcomed, with some disability groups arguing that the change could deter disabled visitors to the parks in future. Disney said further details will be announced once park employees have been briefed.

New Easyjet base in Hamburg
Sep 26th, 2013 by elisa

Easyjet is expanding with a base in Hamburg next spring. It will also add the eighth aircraft to its fleet in Berlin.

The airline’s 23rd base in its European network will open with three A319 aircraft, offering an additional 15 routes from Hamburg, from where it already flies to six destinations.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “I am really pleased to be able to announce the launch of a new base in Hamburg which will enable us to double the size of our operation. Hamburg and its region is one of the most dynamic economies in Europe with a significant and growing tourist industry.

She added: “These expansion plans mean that we expect to carry twice as many passengers in the first year of operations which will take us to more than a million passengers annually for the first time.”

Easyjet expects to bring an additional 275,000 visitors in Hamburg in the first year. The airline also expects to carry an additional 130,000 passengers to and from Berlin, topping the 4 million it carried over the last year.

 

 

Heatwave hits Ryanair’s bookings
Jul 31st, 2013 by elisa

The heatwave might have been great for domestic tourism, but summer bookings for Ryanair were hit because of the more temperate climate across Northern Europe.

Profits fell 21% to 78 million euros in the three months to 30th June, reports the low cost airline.

The timing of the Easter holidays and the impact of the French ATC strikes caused average fares to fall 4%, but revenue per passengers rose 1% due to strong ancillary growth.

It said the close-in summer bookings were slightly less in recent weeks due to the ‘heatwave in in Northern Europe’, but full year guidance remains unchanged.

It said: “While we expect full year traffic to grow 3% to 81.5m, we still have no visibility over next winter’s yields, and on the basis that the recent yield weakness in close-in summer bookings does not continue, we see no reason to change our full year profit after tax guidance which remains at between €570m to €600m.”

Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, said: “As previously guided higher fuel costs and the timing of Easter led to Q1 profits falling €21m to €78m. Ancillary revenues grew by 25% to €357m (27% of total revenues) driven by the successful development of reserved seating, priority boarding, and higher admin credit card fees. “

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