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BA best airline but outranked in value for money
May 5th, 2014 by elisa

Good news for British Airways, which has been ranked best airline in almost every category except value by a Skyscanner survey.

BA came first for its food and drink, onboard experience, its style and customer service in short-haul flights, but ranked third in ‘best value for money’. It was beaten by Easyjet in second place, and little-known airline, Norwegian, in first place.

Norwegian was a surprise contender and fared extremely well in the survey, biting at BA’s heels in second place for most of the categories.

Skyscanner’s Mary Porter said: “Being a Superbrand and one which Brits are very proud of, it’s perhaps not surprising that British Airways has scooped the top spot in our survey.

“However it is particularly interesting to see such strong results for a far less well-known airline, with Norwegian taking second place and goes to show that low cost does not necessarily mean an inferior product or service.”

The survey was of 4,000 British travellers, surveyed on their opinion of airlines’ short-haul flights from the UK.

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.

 

 

Baggage handlers charged with theft
Sep 2nd, 2013 by elisa

Seven baggage handlers have been arrested at JFK Airport for allegedly stealing watches, jewellery and ipads from checked baggage.

A hidden camera in the hold of one EL AL’s planes was installed after the airline received complaints of missing items.

Over a five month period, the Israeli airline caught seven employees – often wearing gloves – going through passengers luggage, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

The suspects have been charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, fourth-degree criminal mischief, petit larceny and attempted petit larceny.

 

Last month a Police Community Support Officer was charged with stealing from passengers while on duty at Gatwick Airport.

American Airlines merger given EU go ahead
Aug 13th, 2013 by elisa

The American Airlines and US Airways merger has been given the thumbs up by European regulators.

The permission has been granted under agreement that the airlines will give up one daily slot pair at Heathrow and Philadelphia airports to allow for a new entrant on to the London Philadelphia route.

AA’s $11 billion merger and restructuring plan will create the world’s biggest airline, however it must still be approved by a US federal judge before its parent AMR can emerge from bankruptcy.

The EU antitrust authority said the airlines would also sign feed traffic agreements with a new competitor on the route, which will be dominated by American and Oneworld partner British Airways after the merger. Meanwhile, there remains competition from other carriers on all other routes affected by the merger.

The world’s safest airlines
Jan 14th, 2013 by elisa

Finnair - the world's safest airline. Picture by Flickr user Joi

Finnair – the world’s safest airline. Picture by Flickr user Joi

Europe’s Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC) has compiled a list of the world’s safest airlines. 

According to its data, Finnair is the world’s safest airline, with Air New Zealand a close second, and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific in third place.

The Safety Index ratings are calculated using data from serious incidents suffered by airlines over 30 years, to revenue passenger kilometres flown in the same period. Other international safety benchmarks are also included in the comparison.

The highest ranking UK airline is British Airways in 10th place. Virgin Atlantic came 15th, Easyjet 17th, Thomas Cook Airlines 18th, Thomsonfly 26th and Ryanair out in 32nd place.

The highest ranking US airline is Southwest Airlines, making it to 21st place, meaning that no US airline made it into the top 20.

Top Ten in the Safety Index

1 Finnair

2 Air New Zealand

3 Cathay Pacific

4 Emirates

5 Etihad

6 Eva Air

7 Tap Portugal

8 Hainan Airlines

9 Virgin Australia

10 British Airways

 

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!

Airlines no longer allowed to profit from card charges
Sep 3rd, 2012 by elisa

Credit card picture by Flickr User Images_of_Money

Credit card picture by Flickr User Images_of_Money

 

Following a final consultation this month, airlines will no longer be able to make a profit from processing card payments. This is a major breakthrough with regards to the ongoing concerns from consumers over excessive debit and credit card charges made by airlines.

Earlier in the year, airlines were forced to start advertising their payment charges as part of their headline flight prices following a ‘super-complaint’ by Which? that was enforced by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

“Traders will no longer be able to make a profit by charging the consumer for credit or debit card use above the amount it costs them to process that payment,” said consumer affairs minister Norman Lamb.

“These proposals will stop companies from adding on these excessive charges, and allow consumers to see a clearer and more transparent breakdown of what they are paying for.”

The exact date for the implementation of the new rules is yet to be decided, but is expected to be some time in early January.

Richard Lloyd, of Which?, said: “The government must ensure that all businesses only charge the genuine cost they incur for processing the payment and that they are upfront, and make this clear to consumers.

“We also want to see a robust enforcement regime in place, to make sure firms are held to account if they flout the ban.”

A report by OFT carried out last year found that airline passengers had spent a total of £300m on card surcharges in 2010.

 

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