In the News this Week...
brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
Air Asia X will switch its flights from Stansted to Gatwick on October 24.almost 8 years ago
Air Asia X will switch its flights from Stansted to Gatwick on October 24. It currently operates six round trips a week to Kuala Lumpur. The airline, long haul arm of low cost carrier Air Asia, wants to take advantage of Gatwick's bigger European network, which it thinks will attract more passengers to its services. It says it will notify individually any passengers already booked to fly from Stansted.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Selective Asia.
Porto has a new luxury hotel.almost 8 years ago
Porto has a new luxury hotel. The InterContinental Porto-Palacio das Cardosas, which opened last week, is housed in a 200 years old palace on the city's main Liberdade square. It incorporates the Cafe Astoria – replicating the cafe which was part of the palace's ground floor at the start of the 20th century – with an outdoor terrace where guests can drink coffee and eat pastries. The hotel has 105 bedrooms, 16 suites, a gym and a “wellness centre”. Porto, Portgual's second city, lies on the Douro. Among its attractions are tours and tastings in the great Port lodges such as Sandeman, Cockburn and Taylor's.
A self service system allowing passengers to tag their own bags has been carried out successfully at Gatwick Airport.almost 8 years ago
A self service system allowing passengers to tag their own bags has been carried out successfully at Gatwick Airport. News of the test, which appear to have slipped under the publicity radar, emerged today in the final report by the Government's South East Airports task force. The report said Gatwick had been working with Norwegian Air Shuttle but further details of the system and a timetable for its permanent introduction were not immediately available. Two years ago transport communications and information technology specialist company SITA launched a self service check in kiosk which are able to print tags and allow passengers to check on the status of delayed bags and file reports if their luggage doesn't turn up without queuing to talk to an agent. Self check in is already widespread. The advantage of DIY bag tagging is that it allows passengers with hold baggage to avoid the check in desk altogether.
Dartford globe-trotter wins Silver Travel holiday prize.almost 8 years ago
When she signed up for Silver Travel Advisor, 64 year old retired local government officer Jennifer Shapcott from Dartford, Kent, had no idea it would pave the way to a two night stay at Newquay’s renowned landmark, the 4* luxury Headland Hotel.
Jennifer was the first name out of the hat in the prize draw among all new members signing up during May 2011.
She said “I’m really chuffed to have won and I can’t wait to spend a couple of nights at The Headland Hotel in Cornwall. We love travelling, which is why I signed up to share some of our travel experiences on Silver Travel Advisor. My favourite holiday destination is the Canadian Rockies, though I wouldn’t mind if I had to keep going back to Austria . I love grand scenery and my partner and I love visiting historic houses and gardens and old market towns. When cash allows, we very much enjoy cruising, especially from Dover as it’s so close to where we live. I was surprised and delighted to get the good news from Silver Travel Advisor!”
Debbie Marshall, who heads up the Silver Travel Advisor team, said “we were delighted to bring Jennifer and her partner Clive Bishop news of their win and we look forward to reading all about it when she posts her next review”.
Jennifer Shapcott and her partner Clive Bishop are pictured above on holiday.
`Travelling’ Yorkshire pharmacist wins Silver Travel holiday competition.almost 8 years ago
A lively, colourful and fun article about a visit to the Italian Lake Iseo has won 53 year old Doncaster pharmacist Dave Harcombe and his wife Barbara an unexpected return to Italy, with a first prize of a week’s holiday to Lake Garda, travelling with lakes and mountains holiday specialist Inghams.
Dave Harcombe, who posts his holiday and travel reviews on Silver Travel Advisor under the pseudonym `travelling pharmacist’, wrote of his visit to Lake Iseo and peppered it with colourful references to eating local biscuits at the base of Garibaldi’s statue and coming across a ticket officer who answered his query about ferry times with a broad northern English accent. He was fortunate enough to be drawn from the hundreds of reviews posted on the site during June 2011 and can now go back and enjoy the Italian Lakes all over again!
Dave Harcombe said “Hearing the news that we’d won a holiday to Lake Garda came on Father’s Day, which also happens to be my 29th wedding anniversary, so it was a triple celebration and I can now take Barbara back to the only Italian lake that we haven’t so far visited”.
Click here to read Dave’s review.
Dave and Barbara are pictured above on their holiday to the Columbia icefield in Canada.
The World's Ultimate Holiday Souvenir...?almost 8 years ago
Forget t-shirts and postcards; splash out on Brighton Pier instead!
Forget souvenirs, t-shirts, postcards and keyrings, why not make your trip to Brighton even more memorable this summer and invest in the city’s iconic pier?
On behalf of Noble Entertainments Group, GVA Humberts Leisure today announced (29 June) that the seaside city's most visited attraction is up for sale, for the first time in over 25 years.
Since it opened on 20 May 1899 Brighton Pier has played host to many celebrities; Winston Churchill, Grace Kelly and Ewan McGregor have all stepped foot on this striking structure. Stump up enough cash and you could be watching your Brighton souvenir on screen in films including Doctor Who, Sweeney Todd and the recent Brighton Rock.
Like all beautiful icons Brighton Pier has even graced the front cover of Vogue magazine, and appeared on the Disney Channel. With a selection of successful bars, restaurants and rides, it’s a must for all visitors to the city-by-the-sea.
Lufthansa is to launch flights to Frankfurt from Gatwick.almost 8 years ago
Lufthansa is to launch flights to Frankfurt from Gatwick. The German airline will start flying from the airport daily when it switches to its winter timetable on October 30. It already operates to Frankfurt from other UK airports including Heathrow and London City.
The Stena Express Fastcraft has returned to Stena Line’s Fishguard to Rosslare route...almost 8 years ago
The Stena Express Fastcraft has returned to Stena Line’s Fishguard to Rosslare route on its summer schedule and will operate until Sunday September 4.
The vessel, which caters for up to 520 passengers and up to 120 cars, boasts a Stena Plus ferry lounge, Metropolitan Grill and Barista coffee house, free Wi-Fi and an onboard shop which offers a wide range of gifts, jewellery, spirits, confectionery and fragrances.
Poland Tops Poll As Best Value For Money Out Of 30 Destinationsalmost 8 years ago
A recent study by Skyscanner has shown Poland to offer the best value for money out of 30 worldwide destinations. The study, released last month (June) looked at 30 popular holiday destinations, taking into account the cost of a cup of coffee, a bottle of beer, a three course meal including a bottle of wine and one night’s accommodation. The study concluded that those looking for real value should head to Poland, as it is a fantastic year round destination, combining winter sports opportunities with beautiful summer beaches, excellent city break options – and a wide choice of cheap flights.
Spain has upped the speed limit on its motorways to 120 kilometres per hour (75mph) again after temporarily reducing it.almost 8 years ago
Spain has upped the speed limit on its motorways to 120 kilometres per hour (75mph) again after temporarily reducing it. The Madrid Government cut the maximum to 110kms per hour for four months as oil prices rocketed, arguing the move would help the country's economy, improve safety and be good for the environment. It says petrol prices have eased and the reduction, which was unpopular with many Spaniards. is no longer necessarily. The switch back to the higher limit coincides with the start of the main Spanish holiday season. Slower speeds are reported to have reduced the number of deaths in accidents and save the country some 450 millions euros in fuel costs.
Abu Dhabi's Corniche has become the first beach in the Gulf to be awarded Blue Flag status.almost 8 years ago
Abu Dhabi's Corniche has become the first beach in the Gulf to be awarded Blue Flag status. Accreditation is based on water quality, environmental management and education, public safety and other services. The Corniche stretches for four miles between the Sheraton and Hilton Hotel. It has a cycle track, roped off swimming areas, changing rooms and eateries.
One of the few advantages of advancing age is not having to travel in the summer peak, when prices are at their highest.almost 8 years ago
One of the few advantages of advancing age is not having to travel in the summer peak, when prices are at their highest. This year that advantage may not be quite so marked. Tour operators the number of Britons booking holidays abroad with departures during the school holiday period is down by about 7% overall compared with the same month last year. And reliable sources indicate things aren't much better on the home front, with sales of holidays in the UK down by about the same percentage. The main reason? Widespread nervousness about the economy and jobs. The impact? Expect more high season price cuts and the disappearance of some holiday firms – not necessarily because they're in financial difficulties but because some owners are simply getting fed up with the struggle to stay afloat.
Car hire prices around the world have fallen for the first time in four years, says Holiday Autos.almost 8 years ago
Car hire prices around the world have fallen for the first time in four years, says Holiday Autos. The biggest drop is in Ireland, whose economic crisis has helped cut average weekly rates roughly by half to £125, according to the rental company. There have also been big reductions in two other countries facing an economic squeeze. Greek rates are down 24% to an average of £261 a week. And while Spain remain among the priciest countries in which to hire a car, rates charged in Gerona and Valencia, for example, have plunged by 29% and 28% respectively to £228 and £217. These average price calculations are based on hire of a compact car in this month, compared with July last summer.
EasyJet has moved to rekindle enthusiasm for peak summer travel with a cheap fares promotion.almost 8 years ago
EasyJet has moved to rekindle enthusiasm for peak summer travel with a cheap fares promotion. Unusually for £35.99 or less one way. They will be available for travel on selected flights between July 15 and September 30. Examples include flights to Palma, Mallorca, from Gatwick, Bristol or Manchester from £29.99 one way, Luton – Nice from £27.99, Liverpool – Paris from £25.99, Edinburgh – Lisbon from £35.99 and Belfast – Amsterdam from £23.99.
What do Sex and the City, The French Connection and Moonstruck have in common?almost 8 years ago
What do Sex and the City, The French Connection and Moonstruck have in common? They all included sequences filmed in Brooklyn. Now a company called On Location Tours has launched a new itinerary showing customers where scenes from this and other movies or TV series were shot. The itinerary covers over 40 locations used in the likes of Boardwalk Empire, American Gangster and Catch Me If You Can. The tours are on Saturdays, starting at 11am. They are led buy local actors and cost $42 for adults and $24 for children, plus a $2 booking fee on all tickets. This is the latest of a range of New York itineraries offered by the company www.screentours.com.
Gatwick Airport, South Terminal, Saturday afternoon:almost 8 years ago
Gatwick Airport, South Terminal, Saturday afternoon: it took the best part of half an hour to get through the passport check. The UK Border Agency already plans 1700 job losses across its operation and staff fear there could be more. Delays can only get worse. The lesson: if at all possible, fly at off peak times, in mid week and in in the middle of the day, avoiding the weekend holiday scrum and the early and the morning and evening business travel rush hours.
Delhi's characteristic three wheel motorised rickshaws are to be fitted with GPS devicesalmost 8 years ago
Delhi's characteristic three wheel motorised rickshaws are to be fitted with GPS devices. The aim is ensure drivers, who complain about low incomes, take the shortest route. The move follows frequent complaints that drivers fail to switch on their meters, overcharge and spit betel juice. Reports say 25 have already been and it's likely all the capital's 55,000 will have to be equipped by the end of this month, the devices will also be fitted with panic buttons enabling passengers to raise the alarm if they run into trouble.
Qatar Airways has been voted the world's best airline in a poll of nearly 19 million passengers.almost 8 years ago
Qatar Airways has been voted the world's best airline in a poll of nearly 19 million passengers. Singapore Airlines was second and Asiana third, The vote was organised by on line research organisation Skytrax. The rest of the top ten, in order, were Cathay Pacific, Thai International, Etihad, Air New Zealand, Qantas, Turkish Airlines and Emirates – which also won the best in flight entertainment award. easyJet – which has just launched new services between Manchester and Bilbao – was voted best European low cost carrier. Oman Air came top in the vote for most comfortable business class seat. And British Airways won the best business class lounge award.
The Government looks likely to push ahead with major changes.in financial protection for air holidaymakersalmost 8 years ago
The Government looks likely to push ahead with major changes in financial protection for air holidaymakers. The Department for Transport proposes that travellers booking a flight plus hotel and/or car hire through the same firm will get their money back if that company goes bust – and will be brought home if it happens while they are abroad. It won't matter if you book the different elements of the trip at different times, as long as you don't leave it later than the end of the following day. So if you go to a travel agent, say, book a low cost flight and decide later that you need a hire car to go with it, you'll be protected by the existing ATOL (air travel organiser's licence) system as if you were buying a package holiday from a brochure. The deadline for extending the booking will based on when you request the bookings – not on when the agent makes them. You'll need documentary evidence, of course – and after complaints that poor paperwork delayed pay outs following recent tour operator collapses the Civil Aviation Authority is trying to come up with a clearly understandable ATOL certificate which will prove travellers are covered. The timetable for the changes isn't agreed yet but they should be in force by next spring.
Eurostar is set for a Bumper Summeralmost 8 years ago
Extra services scheduled to meet high demand. Eurostar, the high-speed passenger service between the UK and mainland Europe is scheduling 16 extra services on its London to Paris route, and seven extra services on its London to Disneyland Paris routes this summer to meet heightened demand.
Over 950,000 passengers are expected to travel on Eurostar in July alone making this a bumper summer for high speed rail travel.