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Thursday April 17, 2014

This Week's Travel News


Travel Life Begins at Forty, Says BA Research

A new survey by British Airways to mark the airline's 40th birthday has revealed that spontaneous travel increases with age.

The airline has undertaken research of 2,000 people aged 20 to 70-plus, to see if life does indeed begin at 40. And the old adage that we're living longer, travelling further and staying younger than ever before rings true according to the findings.

Although forty-somethings are the age most likely to take family holidays, they are also the most likely to book sporting breaks, seek glamorous destinations, and partake in 'dark tourism' (travel to macabre places). By contrast those in their thirties were the biggest beach goers, the 50 age bracket most likely to get off the beaten track, and those aged 70 or older were more likely to seek romantic holidays than any other age group!

When asked what the benefit of being a seasoned traveller is, those in their forties felt grateful that they could still see the world while active, while fifty-something's said it was having the money to travel in style.

Of all age groups however, it's the 40-year-old that is most likely to have the biggest group of friends to go away with, while those in their twenties and sixties found common ground in being commitment free. When it comes to life beginning at 40, looking back, most 50-70-year-olds would agree (53 per cent) it does, however looking ahead only 32 per cent of 20-40 year olds agreed.

British Airways celebrates its fortieth anniversary this April, following the merger of BOAC and BEA in 1974. To celebrate, the airline has created special 'Ruby Murray' curry dishes available on selected flights for the month, as well as recreating classic photos from 1974 to mark the occasion.


Know Your Rights When Travelling This Easter

The Consumer Council is encouraging all consumers to know their passenger rights if travelling by air or sea this Easter.

The majority of journeys are hassle free but we all know when things go wrong it can ruin a family holiday, business trip or even a school trip as one group of 44 pupils and their teacher from Lismore Comprehensive School recently found out.

The pupils were returning from a school excursion to Amsterdam when their flight was delayed by almost four hours. The school brought their complaint to the Consumer Council and have been able to achieve compensation totalling 11,250 Euro.

Speaking about the delay, Teacher Jane Houston said: "We were delayed on our return journey by almost four hours which was an unfortunate end to our trip. Having written to the airline, who did not respond I took my complaint straight to the Consumer Council. The Consumer Council achieved a resolution for me very quickly and I am very grateful for that. I would probably still be waiting on a response for my complaint otherwise. It's great to get 250 Euro for each of the 44 pupils."

Jenny Robinson, Senior Policy Officer at the Consumer Council said: "Easter kicks off the spring and summer holiday season, therefore it's important that passengers are aware of their rights. If flights and sailings are delayed or cancelled then passengers are entitled to support and assistance. We have a range of travel guides, including 'Plane Facts' and 'Plain Sailing', to help consumers understand their rights and responsibilities. These handy guides can be packed into your luggage before heading off."


Good Weather Forecast for Bank Holiday Getaways

ABTA - The Travel Association estimates 1.6 million British holidaymakers are set to head overseas over the Easter Bank holiday weekend.

Spain is the UK's favourite foreign holiday destination over the weekend, with the Canary and Balearic Islands the most popular areas. Turkey and Tunisia have also sold well as people look to catch some spring sunshine.

Daytime temperatures this weekend are set to reach 23C in Mallorca, 34C in Tunisia, 26C in Turkey and 30C in Florida, the most popular long haul destination with its wealth of great beaches and amusement parks. Weather in the Canaries is expected to hit 25C, with mild breezes and ample sunshine forecast for the Prime Minister's family break in Lanzarote.

Foreign city breaks are popular at this time of the year with the weather being comfortable and the streets less crowded. Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Rome and New York are the top five choices.

Bookings for UK breaks are also healthy with many customers travelling to traditional sea side resorts, national parks and holiday camps.

Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: "The Easter bank holiday is very late this year which means the weather in some of our favourite holiday destinations is looking particularly good with some very high temperatures. I am delighted to see that so many people are taking the opportunity to take a well-earned break."


Easter Eggstravaganza at Belfast International

Belfast International Airport is egg-ing passengers on this Easter with chocolate giveaways, live music in the bars and great offers in the shops.

And if the Easter activities are too much, Action Mental Health are hosting a pop up Relaxation stand offering neck and shoulder massages to passengers.

John Doran, Airport Managing Director said: "Easter is always a popular holiday time for local travellers and this weekend we are expecting over 60,000 passengers to use the airport. Many people are heading for sunnier climes - we serve 70 destinations - but equally the arrivals hall will be thronged with families coming home to spend the holiday period with their loved ones."

The picture right shows little Shea Graffin wishing the thousands of passengers travelling through Belfast International Airport this weekend a very Happy Easter.



Last Minute Easter Hotel and Ferry Deals

Leading ferry company Stena Line is offering customers some egg-cellent last minute ferry and hotel deals this Easter that includes great trips for families and couples to Britain. The perfect getaway is only a click, or a phone call away, but be quick as the deals are hopping away fast.

Diane Poole OBE, Stena Line's Head of PR and Communications said: "Holidaymakers can visit egg-citing cities like Liverpool and Glasgow which both featured in Lonely Planet's top 10 most exciting cities in Europe to visit at number three and nine, respectively. They are bursting with nightlife, wonderful places to eat, things to see and do for all ages plus enough fun activities and cultural experiences to satisfy the whole family.

"If you like your breaks action-packed then visit Alton Towers in Stoke-on-Trent or M and Ds Theme Park in Scotland which are assured crowd pleasers for kids and couples alike. So make sure you check out our fantastic range of fun days away, city breaks and family trips as travelling by ferry gives you the freedom and flexibility to make your holiday your own.

Diane continued: "The ships on the Belfast to Cairnryan and Liverpool routes have everything the modern traveller would need including a great choice of lounges for maximum passenger comfort, a delicious selection of onboard dining options, Barista Coffee area, Free WiFi, kids play area, suites and cabins to relax in or for a good night's sleep. And exclusive to the Belfast - Cairnryan route the Pure Nordic Spa which offers a range of tempting treatments from massages to foot rubs or simply relax in the Jacuzzi."

For details of the deals available in places like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool log on to the Stena website or call Stena Line in Belfast.


Airline Eases Restrictions on Electronic Gadgets

Passengers on easyJet are now able to use personal electronic devices such as laptops, tables and mobiles onboard throughout the whole flight, including during take-off and landing.

The gadgets must be placed in 'Flight Mode' and mobiles can't be used for making or receiving calls or texts.

EasyJet said the move follows recent recommendations from the European Aviation Safety Agency for restrictions on the use of gadgets onboard aircraft to be relaxed.

Peter Duffy, easyJet's Group Commercial Director, customer, product and marketing said: "We know that portable devices are an important part of our customers' journey with us so we are pleased they can now use their electronic devices onboard in 'Flight mode' for the duration of their flight with us - we think this will be a popular change."



Catch the Tulip Festival at Powerscourt

Attractions up and down the Province are opening for the first time this year over the Easter weekend, but one attraction, just a little bit further away at Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow is definitely worth the extra time travelling.

Powerscourt Estate in spring is ablaze with colour. And you can watch over 10,000 tulips gently dancing in the breeze at the Annual Tulip Festival which runs until April 24. Displays of tulips are located throughout the gardens, from the Italian Gardens to the Herbaceous Border.

Don't miss the Japanese Garden which comes to life in spring. Inhale the fragrances from sweet magnolia flowers, perfumed azaleas and cherry and apple blossom trees, bearing cascades of pink and white flowers. The Camellias in the Memorial Garden are a welcome surprise for visitors while thousands of daffodils add some spring cheer after the long winter months. Afterwards, unwind in the Avoca Terrace Cafe with tea and a cake or two!



Airport Taxi Transfers - Cheapest and Most Expensive

Ranking by £ per km, Copenhagen, in Denmark, is the most expensive airport-city centre taxi transfer in Europe. Although the journey by road from Copenhagen airport to the city centre is only 8km, the average fare registering on the meter is £33.33, which equates to £4.17 per km. That means a round trip will set travellers back almost £70.

The next most expensive taxi journey by £ per km is Geneva, in Switzerland, to the centre of Geneva. Again the journey is relatively short, only 6km, but will set holidaymakers back an average of £22.11 or £3.68 per km. On price alone, the 46km taxi ride from Milan's Malpensa airport to the city centre is the priciest, costing an eye-watering £70.25

East European cities are not surprisingly some of the cheapest places to visit when it comes to the cost of taking a taxi from the airport. Sofia airport to the centre of Sofia, will set you back just £2.12 for the 10km journey, or £0.21 per km. While, Bucharest's Otopeni Airport to Bucharest central is just £4.67 or £0.27 per km for the 17km taxi ride. In terms of price per km, a taxi ride from Istanbul's Ataturk Airport to the centre of Istanbul is actually the best value, with the 25km trip costing an average of £4.65 or £0.19 per km.

The new research which shows the most expensive and cheapest airport transfer taxi fares in Europe is from travel money specialist company No.1 Currency.



Easter Treat for Cruise Line Clients

Norwegian Cruise Line UK has something egg-stra special with its latest promotion, 'Norwegians Love An Easter Treat'.

Customers booking a Balcony Stateroom or higher, on a wide variety of sailings of seven nights or longer and cruising between April and June 2014, will receive $100 on board spend per stateroom when booked between April 11 and 29, 2014.

Included in the promotion are cruises on board Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian's two newest and most innovative ships. Norwegian Getaway will be sailing nine-night Eastern Caribbean fly-cruises travelling: Fly UK / Miami (USA) - Phillipsburg (St. Maarten) - Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands) - Nassau (Bahamas) - Miami (USA) / Fly UK whereas Norwegian Breakaway heads from her year-round homeport of New York City to Bermudas pink beaches on nine-night fly-cruise holidays.

Also on offer for customers looking for an early summer getaway are sailings on board Norwegian Epic when she returns to the Western Mediterranean out of Barcelona or the Adriatic and Greek Isles out of Venice on board Norwegian Jade, as well as Norwegian Sun's nine-night Glacier Bay from Vancouver fly-cruise, plus many more.


Taking a Break for Easter

The weekly Thursday E-shot for the Travelling Public is taking a break for Easter next week. The next Public E-shot will be today fortnight, May 1.

 

John Trew

john_trew-200

Following seven eventful years as front-line Editor of the Belfast News Letter, John Trew wisely opted for the quieter pleasures of travel journalism.  Now, after 23 years and 270,000 miles, he is living proof that travel not only broadens the mind but the buttocks.

View John's articles

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