In the News this Week...

brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
  • News 159

    Planemaker Boeing has at last “rolled out” the first of its much delayed Dreamliners.

    about 8 years ago

    Planemaker Boeing has at last “rolled out” the first of its much delayed Dreamliners at its Seattle plant in the US. The fuel efficient jet, otherwise known as the Boeing 787, is scheduled to be delivered to Japan's All Nippon Airlines in September. British Airways is due to start operating the aircraft, which will carry 210 – 250  passengers, next year. The manufacturer claims passengers will enjoy bigger than usual windows, cleaner cabin air and higher humidity and more comfortable pressure which will make them feel they are flying at a lower altitude. 

  • Hotel Crowne Plaza launches anti snoring room.

    about 8 years ago

    Dread sharing room with a snoring partner? Don’t worry – just head for Copenhagen.

    Are you also sleep-deprived due to your partner’s bad snoring habits? If so, you will be relieved to know that Hotel Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers, Denmark, has launched an anti snoring room. The room has been especially designed using technology that absorbs and insulates sounds in order to minimise snoring – a useful technology that benefits tired spouses and, on severe occasions, annoyed neighbours.

    Read more about the anti snoring room here: www.cpcopenhagen.dk/en/Crowne-Plaza-Copenhagen-Towers-anti-snoring-room

  • KLM will soon start à la carte catering in economy.

    about 8 years ago

    Passengers flying in economy with KLM will soon be able to abandon the standard in-flight catering and get a à la carte. Choices will range from a light Japanese meal including sushi through Italian dishes such as risotto primavera to an Indonesian rijstafel – and cost between €12 to €15. They will be available from September 14 on long haul routes from Amsterdam with the exception of  those to Cairo, San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Toronto. KLM has been testing passenger reaction during a year long trials. The meals can be ordered between 90 days and 48 hours before departure. Travellers who have already booked their flights can add orders via the “Manage my Booking” tool at www.klm.com.

  • EasyJet names Southend destinations.

    about 8 years ago

    Low cost airline easyJet has revealed the first destinations it will serve from Southend. Starting next April it will fly from the Essex airport to Amsterdam, Alicante, Barcelona, Belfast, Faro, Ibiza, Malaga and Mallorca. Tickets are already on sale. 

  • Over 50s yearn of adventure.

    about 8 years ago

    Silver travellers are an adventurous lot. Almost one third of over 50s surveyed on behalf of Saga Holidays said they were considering trips to the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Egypt, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka or Vietnam/ And more than 33% said they travelled abroad more often than they did in their 30s and 40s.

  • Turkey holiday firm goes under.

    about 8 years ago

    Tens of thousands of holidaymakers bound for Turkey saw their plans thrown into disarray today when specialist tour operator Holidays 4 UK ceased trading. Around 13,000 of the Sussex-based company's customers were already in Turkey.

    The firm, which traded as Holidays 4 U and Aegean Flights, had taken 20,000 or so forward bookings, but many of those will have been for more than one person, suggesting that the number left looking for refunds could be upwards of 40,000. It is unusual for a tour operator to go under slap in the middle of the peak summer holiday season. The collapse is a symptom of the current, severe difficulties facing the travel industry with many consumers, nervous about the impact of the economic downturn on their jobs and finances, reluctant to splash out on holidays.

    Customers now abroad should all be able to finish their holidays as planned. The Civil Aviation Authority will arrange for them to fly home. Those still due to go will get their money back from the Air Travel Trust Fund, set up through a levy on package holidays.

    For further information customers can go to the CAA website at www.caa.co.uk.
     

  • AITO suspends promise.

    about 8 years ago

    The Association of Independent Tour Operators has suspended its 100% financial protection guarantee to travellers amid concern that insurance companies could suddenly withdraw cover which ensures customers get their money back if members go bust. The move follows the withdrawal of cover from a schools skiing operator which ceased trading, leaving its clients out of pocket. AITO says the insurer blamed the operator for failing to disclose certain facts when organising its policy. The insurer was able to do so because of a badly drafted clause in the Package Travel Regulations which left open a previously undetected loophole. AITO says its individual member operators will continue to offer their own guarantees but that it cannot continue to do so as an association because of the remote possibility that customers of another company might be similarly hit.

    Many of those members hold bonds approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, which can be used to refund customers due to travel or rescue those abroad when  company goes bust. Those companies and their clients are not affected. But 23 AITO member firms have resorted to the perfectly legal, Government sanctioned alternative of taking out insurance with the same aim. The Association is exploring ways of plugging the loophole and hopes suspension will be temporary. Meanwhile it has asked all relevant insurers to “sign in blood” confirmation that they will not cancel polices in similar fashion and will honour them if operators go under.

  • Heading for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand?

    about 8 years ago

    Heading for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand? Queenstown in South Island is offering 150 two night hotel stays free. There won't be any matches there but the self styled adventure capital of the world is hoping to reap longer term marketing benefits from the promotion as fans take side trips. You have to enter a sweepstake to get the rooms, which are being provided by all 19 Queenstown members of the New Zealand Hotel Association. The sweepstake opened on August 1 and closes at 10pm  (UK time) on August 7. For more detais go to www.queenstownNZ.co.nz.  

  • News 141

    Globe-trotting Grandma wins “peak” holiday prize.

    about 8 years ago

    61 year old grandmother, Jean Smith, from Huyton in Liverpool, has won a two night stay at the 4* Red House Country Hotel in the Peak District, courtesy of Silver Travel Advisor.

    Jean’s name was the first out of the hat in our prize draw among all new members signing up during June 2011.



    She said “I’m so delighted to have won and I can’t wait to spend time in the Peak District with my husband Chuck. We love travelling, which is why is signed up to share some of our travel experiences on Silver Travel Advisor. We have spent  so much time in Spain, Thailand, Australia, Chile, Argentina, India and Venezuela that we’ve not had time to explore the UK as much as we’d like to. I was so shocked to get the news from Silver Travel Advisor as I never win competitions!”

  • News 135

    Witham’s globe-trotting IT manager cruises off with first prize in our June competition.

    about 8 years ago

    A review of a trip to Bangkok with his wife Linda was among several written by retired IT Manager, 53 year old Steven Aldridge from Witham in Essex which ultimately helped win him a cruise on board the magnificent four-masted `Star Clipper’ (www.starclippers.co.uk), one of only a handful of tall ships in existence. The cruise around the Greek islands on board the head-turning tall ship is the first prize in a national holiday competition held among all members of Silver Travel Advisor site posting travel reviews during June 2011.



    Debbie Marshall from Silver Travel Advisor said “Steven posted a number of reviews during the past three months, including three in June, all of which increased his chances in our monthly prize draw. He was fortunate enough to be drawn from the hundreds of reviews posted on the site during June 2011 and will now enjoy this fabulous cruise, thanks to Star Clippers and Silver Travel Advisor”.



    Steven Aldridge said “I was totally blown away by news of our win and we can’t wait to sail on board Star Clipper. Since retiring from my job as IT Programme Manager we’ve travelled a lot more and in recent years have enjoyed swimming with turtles in the Maldives, we had a bath and a water fight with elephants in Thailand, and we’ve spent time in Venice. Cruising on Star Clippers will certainly add to our lifetime travel experiences and we’ll be writing it up on Silver Travel Advisor as soon as we return”.
     

  • News 151

    Eurostar announces opening of ticket sales for its direct ski services.

    about 8 years ago

    Eurostar, the high speed passenger service linking the UK and mainland Europe, has opened ticket sales for its direct ski services from St Pancras International and Ashford International to the heart of the French Alps.



    The direct seasonal ski train to the Alps will run from Saturday 17 December (day services) and Friday 23 December (night services) until Saturday 14th April 2012.



    Eurostar's day and night services, carry ski and snowboarding enthusiasts direct to the popular French ski towns of Moûtiers, Aime-La-Plagne* and Bourg St Maurice. Eurostar stations are located a short bus ride from the resorts avoiding lengthy transfers to and from the airport.



    The stations offer easy access to a variety of top ski destinations in the French Alps, such as Courchevel, La Plagne, Tignes, Meribel, Les Arcs, allowing people to choose a resort that matches their needs. For added convenience, Eurostar allows ski passengers to carry on-board an extra item of luggage in addition to the normal luggage allowance – such as a pair of skis or a snowboard – at no extra cost.

    Eurostar's overnight services arrive in the Alps early on a Saturday morning and depart late on a Saturday evening, making them perfect for winter sports enthusiasts looking for an extra couple of days on the slopes. On the Saturday day service, passengers can sit back and enjoy stunning views of the French countryside before they arrive rested and ready to go.



    Mary Walsh, Eurostar's Director of Communications, commented: "French ski resorts are some of the most popular in Europe, and more and more travellers are seeing that high speed rail is the perfect way to reach them, with a minimum of stress and limited impact on the environment. On average, a Eurostar journey accounts for just one tenth of the carbon emissions of an equivalent flight and allows travellers to arrive close to their resort, relaxed, refreshed and ready to hit the slopes."



    Travellers can indulge themselves on their way to and from the slopes by travelling Standard Premier, enjoying more spacious seating and meals and drinks served at their seat.

  • News 150

    The 5 star MS Deutschland has new South America itineraries for 2011/2012.

    about 8 years ago

    Renowned throughout the luxury cruise industry, this impeccable 5* vessel, reminiscent of a 1920's grand hotel, is large enough to voyage the seven seas, yet small enough to visit ports inaccessible to the large cruise liners. Exploring the tropical surroundings of South America this winter, her cruises are the perfect way to escape the cold weather of the UK and enjoy a trip of a lifetime. Choose from a number of different itineraries, including Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador and Mexico. These new South American itineraries offer cruise passengers the chance to enjoy the finest destinations in the continent. Starting in December in Rio de Janeiro, she will cruise southwards towards Argentina before rounding Cape Horn and travelling up the West coast of South America and visiting Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Panama and then onto Mexico.



    To book a cruise on the MS Deutschland, click here.

  • News 149

    World's best skyscraper is in Barcelona.

    about 8 years ago

    The winner of the renowned Emporis Skyscraper Award 2010 is Hotel Porta Fira in Barcelona. An expert committee annually presents this award to an exceptional building at least 100 meters tall completed within the award year. The critically acclaimed prize for global architecture is now in its 11th year.

    The winner was chosen from over 300 competing skyscrapers around the world. Porta Fira, with its fascinating visual appearance, beat the world’s highest structure Burj Khalifa in Dubai, into second place. The jury valued the building’s aesthetics and integration into its urban environment over humankind’s fascination with building the tallest structure. Second place winner, Burj Khalifa, was especially heralded for its technical achievements. The building in third place, Tour CMA CGM in Marseille, was recognised as a symbol of modernity and is situated about 500 km from the winner.

    The winner Porta Fira contorts to a height of 113 meters, with 26 floors, on the outskirts of Barcelona in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. The two architecture companies, Toyo Ito & Associates and b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos, conceptualised the surreal structure. "The biggest challenge of the skyscraper is its organic design. The façade of red aluminium tubes form continuous lines enclosing the complex geometry of the building, which twists and increases in size as it rises," states architect Fermín Vázquez.

    The runner-up Burj Khalifa towers over Dubai at 828 meters with 163 floors. The world icon designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill surpasses the world’s second highest skyscraper, Taipei 101, by an impressive 319 meters. Third place winner Tour CMA CGM reaches a height of 143 meters with 33 floors. The elegant glass tower is nestled near the historic harbour of Marseilles.

    Award information: http://awards.emporis.com

  • News 148

    Auto Racing Hall-of-Famer Sir Stirling Moss Headlines Bahamas Speed Week Revival.

    about 8 years ago

    On any given day, 81-year-old racing legend Sir Stirling Moss, OBE zips more than 100 miles per hour in a car worth millions of dollars. One of the world’s most famous and successful racing drivers, Moss finished runner-up four times in the Formula One World Championships and won 16 grand prix races during his career. He has competed across the globe including Australia, England, France, Italy, and the United States. This year, he makes his return to The Bahamas for a very special reunion as the first patron of the highly-anticipated Bahamas Speed Week Revival.

    “The original Speed Week was a love affair with The Bahamas as much as it was with motor racing,” said Moss. “It was an event that everyone looked forward to and the cast of characters that wrote its history were truly world class. I am pleased to see it return and I accept wholeheartedly His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes’ invitation to attend as the first patron.”

     

    During the late 50s and 60s, Nassau was an unlikely, distant site for an historic, week-long racing event. These years were described by car enthusiasts and spectators as the golden age of motor racing, where internationally acclaimed drivers from around the world attended to compete, but more importantly to soak in the backdrop of sun, sea and scorching hot cars. Now a revival of those storied events is being planned for November 30-December 4, the traditional time frame for Speed Weeks in the past.

    With the return of Sir Stirling Moss, the love affair continues.

    For further information visit www.bahamasspeedweekrevival.com

  • Summer holidaymakers walking in the country are alerted to watch out for ticks.

    about 8 years ago

    Summer holidaymakers walking in the country are alerted  to watch out for ticks. The reminder comes from the charity Lyme Disease Action, which warns that the tiny blood sucking parasites, about the size of a full stop on an A4 page, are present in the great numbers between April and October. They are found throughout the UK, Europe ad North America. Lyme disease causes a range of unpleasant symptoms which may include a circular red rash, headaches, a stiff neck, extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and disturbances of sight, hearing, digestive system and sleep. If left untreated it can progress to the joints, the heart and the nervous system. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and trousers, keep a careful eye on exposed skin  and remove ticks asap using tweezers or a special tool available at £4.99 from the charity www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk.

  • Time to kill at waiting for a flight at Los Angeles International Airport?

    about 8 years ago

    Time to kill at waiting for a flight at Los Angeles International Airport? It's a half century since the first jet flights took off there and the museum in the airport's Imperial Terminal is turning a spotlight on 1961, with models and photographs of the aircraft of that era, the Douglas DC-8 and Boeing 707. There are shots of stars photographed at the airport during that period, including Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn. The Flight Path museum is at www.flightpath.us.

  • News 146

    Barcelona will have a new hotel this autumn...

    about 8 years ago

    Barcelona will have a new hotel this autumn when Sheraton opens a 154 room property under its Four Points brand. The hotel will be in the city's [email protected] district, not far from the Mediterranean. The district, once the site of factories and textile mills known, at the end of the 19th century, as the Catalan Manchester, has been redeveloped since 2000 as a hub for media and creative companies but has now also become residential, with shopping centres.



     

  • News 143

    A new scenic train route will open in eastern Canada this September.

    about 8 years ago

    A new scenic train route will open in eastern Canada this September. Le Train du Massif de Charlevoix will run for 140kms along the St, Lawrence River between Quebec City and La Malbaie. It's the brainchild of Daniel Gauthier, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, who has bought the recreation area which includes Le Massif ski area. A four course meal will be available on the westbound, evening leg of the journey. UK tour operator Bridge & Wickers  is offering trips on the train as part of tailor made packages.

  • News 142

    Silver weddings are the most popular anniversary reason to visit Australia.

    about 8 years ago

    Silver weddings are the most popular anniversary reason to visit Australia, tour operator Austravel has found. Researching its own database is discovered that marking 25 years of marriage was a powerful incentive to celebrate down under. The finding chimes with general travel industry research which has consistently shown Australia as a prime aspirational destination. The operator says popular activities on Silver Wedding trips include helicopter flights over Ayers Rock or the Great Barrier Reef, swimming with wild bottlenose dolphins off Perth, hot air ballooning over the Outback – and wildlife or winery tours. www.austravel.com.

  • American civil war buffs will find plenty to satisfy their appetites...

    about 8 years ago

    American civil war buffs will find plenty to satisfy their appetites as the US marks 150 years since hostilities began in 1861. One example is the publication of a new guide to sites in Boston associated with the conflict, It has been published by the Freedom Trail Foundation (see our review: Boston on Foot ). The city was the hub of the abolitionist movements and places listed include the “underground railway” for escaped slaves and locations  where firebrand speeches were made, prisoners were rescued in jail breakouts, and troops trained. The book costs $9 – or around £6. Go to www.TheFreedomTrail.org