Ryanair on-time landing trumpet to sound its last
May 27th, 2014 by elisa

Ryanair’s on-time landing trumpet jingle will sound its last after passengers branded it “annoying”, “awful” and “cheesy”.

The airline has decided to stop playing the famous bugle, which sounds at the end of every flight that lands on time, after feedback from a Twitter-led survey.

The move is part of a series of customer service improvements started at the end of 2013. So far the airline has introduced ‘quiet’ flights with less in-flight announcements before 8am and after 8pm, it has also given passengers a 24-hour grace period in which to correct any minor errors made in bookings, and it’s removed the ‘Recaptcha’ security code for individual bookings.

A Ryanair spokesperson hinted that the bugle will be replaced by something else, and its “next customer improvement” will be unveiled soon.

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.

Ryanair and Easyjet fined over travel insurance
Feb 20th, 2014 by elisa

Ryanair and Easyjet have been fined by Italy‘s antitrust watchdog for misleading customers over travel insurance.

The watchdog, AGCM, said the airlines had not given sufficient information for customers to make an informed choice when buying travel insurance. It said that the websites weren’t clear enough when it came to explaining what risks were covered, and that the cost of requesting a refund was higher than the insurance itself, with excess fees disproportionately high.

In Ryanair’s case, the watchdog said that the option to refuse the insurance was too difficult to find on the website, with the tick box located on a countries drop-down menu between the Netherlands and Norway.

Ryanair was fined €850,000, which it says it will appeal. However, it will amend its website. 

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “We note this ruling and while we disagree with its findings and have instructed our lawyers to appeal, we will be amending our website accordingly.”

Easyjet was fined €200,000 because it had already made amendments to its website.

An Easyjet spokeswoman said: “Easyjet is disappointed by AGCM’s decision to fine the airline for the way it sold its travel insurance product in Italy. All of the issues raised in the decision have already been remedied in consultation with the AGCM and our insurance partner Allianz. Easyjet will examine the decision and review its options.”

Lufthansa to allow passengers to use mobiles
Feb 8th, 2014 by elisa

Later this year, Lufthansa will allow all long-haul passengers to use their mobiles for texting and internet browsing from 30,000 feet. 

The airline already has eight aircraft with mobile connectivity, but will roll out the service across over 100 of its long-haul fleet using the Aeromobile network. Prices will be similar to ‘rest of world’ terrestrial roaming rates, said the airline.

AeroMobile’s services are also available on nine other airlines, including Etihad, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic. It’s available to customers of more than 240 mobile phone operators worldwide.

Customers can’t currently make voice calls on the service, but Lufthansa said it had not ruled the idea out.

“It’s great news that Lufthansa will be rolling out AeroMobile connectivity on their entire fleet this year; we know that passengers are keen to keep their mobile phones on inflight and Lufthansa clearly recognises the value of offering this service,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.

“The service will give travellers the flexibility to use their mobile devices as much or as little as they like during a flight, whether it’s to send an SMS to a loved one, keep on top of emails or update their Facebook status.”

Budget airline, Ryanair, has also announced that passengers will be able to use portable electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, laptops and e-readers for the flight’s duration, including take off and landing. However, all devices must be put into ‘flight mode’, so they can’t be used to go online, send texts or make calls.


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.


Ryanair creates more links to Greece
Jan 16th, 2014 by elisa

Ryanair is opening two new bases in Greece, one in the capital, Athens, and the other in the city of Thessaloniki. 

The airline will start flights from London Stansted to Athens on 1st April and increase the frequency of its existing service from Stansted to Thessaloniki to daily. The move is part of a $280 million investment in Greece. Ryanair said it expects to carry over 1.2 million passengers from its base in Athens, and 1.6 million passengers a year from Thessaloniki.

Ryanair’s David O’Brien said the new routes would provide passengers with an alternative to Aegean/Olympic: “Only Ryanair, with its 175 new aircraft order, can deliver the capacity, new markets and low costs demanded by Greek consumers and visitors, and looks forward to working with Athens Airport to unlock the vast potential currently suppressed by high access air costs”.

From Athens Ryanair will fly to Milan and the Greek destinations of Chania, Paphos, Rhodes and Thessaloniki as well as to London.

From Thessaloniki it will fly to Athens, Pisa and Warsaw.

Tickets are now on sale.

Easyjet winning battle of low-cost airlines
Jan 8th, 2014 by elisa

Easyjet picture by Flickr user Aero Icarus

Easyjet picture by Flickr user Aero Icarus

In the battle of low-cost airlines, Easyjet is winning, according to its latest passenger numbers.

Last year, Easyjet’s passengers numbers rose 3.6%, growing at a faster rate than Ryanair’s.

Easyjet saw its numbers rise from 59.2 million in 2012, to 61.3 million in 2013. In comparison, Ryanair saw its numbers rise by 2.3% last year, to 81.4 million.

Easyjet’s passenger load factor also beat its rival in 2013 with 89.3% compared to Ryanair’s 81%.


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.

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.


Ryanair takes action against Dispatches programme
Aug 16th, 2013 by elisa

Ryanair is taking legal action following the Channel 4 Dispatches programme ‘Ryanair: Secrets from the Cockpit’, which contained criticism over the airline’s safety records.

The airline said earlier this week: “Ryanair rejected the false and defamatory claims made by the Channel 4 Dispatches programme which wrongly impugn and smear Ryanair’s outstanding 29-year safety record based on nothing more than anonymous hearsay claims made by individuals whose identity was concealed, and/or by representatives of pilot unions of Ryanair’s competitor airlines masquerading as a non-Ryanair Pilot Group,”

To show that its safety record is above average the airline has released the latest air traffic performance data  from NATS, the UK’s air navigation service provider.

The quarterly performance table shows that, for level busts, Ryanair recorded an annual rate of 0.94 per 100,000 movements, compared to an all-airline average of 6.71.

For failure to follow ATC procedure events, Ryanair recorded 0.93 incidents per 100,000 movements, compared with an all-airline average of 1.78. And for callsign confusion events (leading to recognition errors between pilots and ATC), Ryanair recorded 3.73 incidents per 100,000 movements, compared with 4.58 all-airline average.

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “These independent statistics underline Ryanair’s excellent operating procedures, our outstanding 29-year safety record and our relentless commitment to safety.”

In addition to the legal action against Dispatches, Ryanair has also sacked the pilot who raised questions about the airline’s safety policy on the programme, instructing its lawyers to issue legal proceedings against pilot John Goss over his “defamatory contributions”.

In a statement, it said: “We will not allow a Ryanair employee to defame our safety on national television just three weeks after he confirmed in writing to Ryanair that he had no concerns with safety and no reason to make any confidential safety report to either the IAA (Irish Aviation Authority) or Ryanair.”

Goss had been with the airline for around 25 years and was expected to retire in October.


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