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Thursday August 28, 2014

This Week's Travel News

New Over Fifties Show Added to Holiday World

One of the biggest and best attended public exhibitions in Northern Ireland has just got bigger! The Belfast Telegraph Holiday World show, the annual celebration of travel, tourism and all things related is set to expand with the addition of a whole new concept - the Belfast Telegraph 50+Show.

The two events will run as companion attractions over the weekend of January 16-18, 2015 at The King's Hall Pavilion in Belfast, not only opening a window on the world of vacationing, but also tapping into the huge and growing 50+ market. For the public, there will be more variety, choice and entertainment than ever before and, for exhibitors, there will be an important new conduit to target an important, yet often hard to reach, sector of the Northern Ireland marketplace.

Show Director Maureen Ledwith explains the thinking behind the new departure. She says: "In our 22 years of organising Holiday World shows in Belfast we have seen the steady rise in importance of the 50+ age group. They have been holidaying more than ever before, often enjoying several leisure breaks as well as a main holiday in the course of a year.

"Many choose this period of their lives to splash out on spectacular travel such as cruises or long haul 'trips of a lifetime'. They are also at the front of the queue when it comes to buying holiday homes, caravans and motorhomes, for they see these as vacation investments which they will be able to enjoy for many years with their children, grandchildren and wider family circle."

Launching the initiative to would-be exhibitors, Maureen added: "In Northern Ireland 50+ make up 32.7 per cent of the population so they are statistically important, but as a group they are also more likely than other age groups to have substantial assets, cash and the time - and maturity - to really enjoy life."

Airline's Summer Seat Sale Launched!

Aer Lingus has announced its end of summer seat sale, with prices cut by up to 20 per cent on flights departing from George Best Belfast City Airport.

Travellers can escape the back to school blues with a last minute sun holiday, with flights to Malaga, Faro and Palma on sale today from just £39.99 one way for travel between September 1, and October 25, 2014.

Savvy shoppers can also bag a bargain with flights to London Gatwick from just £25.99 or to London Heathrow from £38.99 and enjoy the comfort and convenience of Aer Lingus' new home at Terminal 2, Heathrow airport. Flights are valid for travel between October 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015.

"We're very pleased with how our routes from George Best Belfast City Airport have performed this summer, with travellers across Northern Ireland taking advantage of our low fares and quality service," said Declan Kearney, Director of Communications at Aer Lingus. "We hope that our 'pack up and go' end of summer seat sale will encourage people to do just that; treat themselves to some late summer sun, or a city break to London during the winter months.

Fares quoted are one way and must be booked by September 15.

Second Belfast Route Announced by Wizz Air

Low-cost carrier Wizz Air is starting a second route from Belfast International Airport, to Katowice in Poland. This follows the announcement a fortnight ago of a service to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

Wizz Air operated two routes to Poland from Belfast International Airport a few years ago before withdrawing from the marketplace here. Wizz Air now operates more than 300 routes across 36 countries and provides millions of travellers with low fares on its routes throughout Europe.

The new services to Katowice and Vilnius begin in Spring next year. The central European low cost airline has announced a number of new routes across its network this week and is increasing its fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft in Poland to 18.

Turkish Airlines Supports Belfast Mela

A record crowd of 25,000 enjoyed the 2014 Belfast Mela Festvial in Botanic Gardens, Belfast last weekend.

Turkish Airlines was delighted to be a major sponsor and part of the Belfast Mela which is Northern Ireland's largest multi-cultural festival incorporating music, dance, food and other aspects of different cultures.

"The award-winning Festival provides opportunities for communities to get together and build bridges between their cultures and it was a great opportunity for Turkish Airlines to be present and promote their flights to 257 destinations in 105 countries via Istanbul," said Onur Gull of Turkish Airlines.

Turkish Airlines operates a daily service from Dublin to Istanbul and is currently exploring setting up a service from Belfast to the airline's Istanbul hub. Onur Gul is pictured above right with Ugur Tok of the Northern Ireland Turkish-Irish Association.

Avoid the Queues - Check in via Your Mobile Device

United Airlines has become the first US airline to offer customers the ability to scan their passports to check in for international flights via their iOS and Android mobile devices.

United is offering customers the opportunity to use passport scanning functionality on the airline's mobile app as the carrier completes testing.

Customers may access the passport scanning feature when checking in for international flights in the 24 hours before departure. After initiating the app's check-in feature, customers will have the option of verifying their existing stored passport data or scanning their passport.

The app uses the mobile device's camera feature to capture travellers' passports, similar to a mobile banking deposit. Jumio Inc., a credentials management company, will then verify the passport for additional security. Once the verification process is complete, customers will receive a boarding pass. Customers requiring additional travel documentation, such as visas, must continue to check in at the airport.

United will collect feedback during the testing phase of passport scanning functionality with the goal of further improving the product and launching additional customer-friendly features utilising this technology.

Everything You Need to Know About Cruising

Whether you're familiar with cruising or contemplating taking to the high seas for the first time, the 2014 edition of the Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships by Douglas Ward tells you "everything you will ever need to know - and even a few things the cruise lines might prefer you not to know."

With more than 650 pages of colour pictures, hard facts and forthright opinions it gives cruisers and would be cruisers all the information they need to pick the right cruise. A raft of charts, diagrams, graphs and statistics will satisfy the die-hard cruise enthusiast.

This weighty tome, now in its 29th year of publication, is written and meticulously researched every year by renowned expert Douglas Ward, who shares his encyclopedic knowledge of the industry to inform travellers of the ever-changing, recession-busting world of cruising. All his reviews are completely independent; and includes candid reviews of new fewer than 285 ships. He also gives moneysaving tips, how to find the best facilities, food and service an analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the top cruise lines.

Berlitz: Cruising & Cruise Ships Guide retails at £17.99 and is also available as an eBook for any reading device that supports electorinc publication, such as Apple, Nook and Kobo.

Free One-Night Stopover in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia Airlines has teamed up with Tourism Malaysia and three five-star hotel partners in Kuala Lumpur to offer a free one-night stopover in Kuala Lumpur.

The offer is valid for two adult passengers travelling together from the UK and Ireland to destinations across Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Australia and New Zealand, on bookings made between August 22 and September 30 for departures between September 15 2014 and June 30, 2015.

First and Business Class passengers are entitled to one free night at the five-star Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur, whilst all passengers can choose from the Berjaya Times Square Hotel or Sama-Sama International Airport Hotel Kuala Lumpur. The complimentary nights for all three properties are on Room Only basis.

Each hotel offers visitors the chance to soak up the cosmopolitan city of Kuala Lumpur, with the option to stopover on either the outbound or return journey.

Aircraft Without Windows in the Future?

Windowless aircraft could be on the way as airlines look at innovations to save money on fuel.

A government technology centre has been looking at plastic display screens projecting the sky outside which could line the cabin of an aircraft, taking the place of windows. The new technology would reduce aircraft weight and cut fuel costs without worrying nervous passengers.

Tom Taylor, who is part of the management team at CPI in County Durham, was quoted in the Financial Times: "Getting weight out of a plane is a key goal for the industry. You could see the first of these coming to market in three to four years." Travel Insurance

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John Trew


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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