Which? best and worst airlines
Dec 16th, 2013 by elisa

Thomas Cook Airlines plane picture by Flickr user Andy_Mitchell_UK

Thomas Cook Airlines plane picture by Flickr user Andy_Mitchell_UK

The latest Which? poll reveals the best and worst airlines of the year. Thomas Cook Airlines sits at the bottom of the list as the worst short-haul airline, closely followed by Ryanair.

Ryanair scored only 32% in a customer rating, 2% worse than last year. However, it has recently announced improvements to its service for 2014, including allocated seating and lower baggage fees.

Thomas Cook scored the same 36% customer rating as last year, keeping it as one of the lowest scorers for the last three years. The airline’s CEO Christoph Debus hit back at the results, claiming that they are in complete contrast to the airline’s own customer feedback results.

“From our own survey – which takes the views of over 900 times more of our customers than the Which? report – we have customer satisfaction scores of 87% rating their flight as either excellent or good for their holiday this summer,” he said.

“This is set to increase as we improve our fleet further – we’ve very recently taken delivery of the first of many brand new Airbus A321 and a new A330, which are already taking short and long haul customers on holiday, By 2016, we will have replaced 50 per cent of our UK fleet and for the rest the cabins will be completely renewed.

“It’s impossible to see how this survey offers consumers a like-for-like comparison when Which? is comparing airlines with completely different product offerings that appeal to completely different customers – including, for our package holiday customers, where the priority is getting them to their holiday on time.”

Top of the Which? poll for short-haul, with a score of 87%, is Guernsey-based Aurigny Air. Swiss came second with 82%, and Norwegian third with 79%.

Joint top of the long-haul airlines came Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines, both with 87% and consistently high-ranking over the last few years.


Mauritius tries the villa route
Dec 28th, 2010 by jason

Many long-haul destinations offer mainly hotel-based holidays, which can mean they fail to attract families who prefer the freedom and flexibility of villa-based holidays (the huge growth in Florida villa holidays shows just how many such families there are). But things could be starting to change. For instance, in September the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius saw the launch of a new luxury villa resort, Villas Valriche, at Domaine de Bel Ombre on the island’s less developed, southwest coast.

Mauritius has long been known for its luxury hotels and is especially popular with honeymooners, but the villa concept is relatively new. However, mindful of the well-heeled nature of its target clientele, the resort offers five star hotel services for villa renters who don’t want to self-cater. The location is away from the tourist hotspots, with the Valriche Nature Reserve and over a kilometre of white sand beaches on its doorstep.

The resort’s three and four bedroom villas are equipped with high-tech gadgets (iPod docking systems, Nintendo Wii game consoles and plasma screen TVs) as well as free internet access and international satellite channels. They’ve been designed with families in mind, featuring large landscaped gardens, infinity pools with child safety features, spacious patios with verandas, BBQs and even a sheltered heated outdoor shower.

In addition to in-villa services including a 24 hour concierge, private chef, butler and babysitting, guests can enjoy full access to the facilities and restaurants at neighbouring five star Heritage Le Telfair and Heritage Awali Golf and Spa Resorts. Latest addition to the resort is the Bel Ombre Beach Club, which includes a large swimming pool, chill-out area for teens, beach sports, parties and two restaurants.

Does this approach represent the best of both worlds, and the way forward for exotic destinations? While most villa renters in mainstream destinations probably won’t wish to pay for luxury cosseting, the approach probably makes sense in an expensive-to-reach location that only the affluent can afford.

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