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Thursday October 30, 2014

This Week's Travel News


Book Flights Two Months Ahead for Best Savings

Travellers need to book flights at least 53 days in advance of their departure to get the best deals, according to new global travel statistics from one of the world's leading flight comparison sites.

By booking travel early - almost two months ahead - consumers could save an average of nearly a third (29 per cent) on their flight cost, the trace search site Momondo found by analysing 7.5 billion air fares worldwide.

Airline ticket prices can also vary hugely, depending on the day of the week, with the cheapest departure fares typically to be found on a Tuesday and the most expensive on a Saturday. Time of day is also an important factor to consider when booking, with flights leaving between the hours of 6pm and midnight working out cheaper.

Ticket prices are also influenced by other factors, such as day of departure, airline, season and airport - factors that play differently in on each route.

Momondo's Lasse Skole Hansen, said: "We found these trends consistent across the board, so bargain hunters should consider flying at night and on a Tuesday, if they want to save money on their travels.

"According to our travel statistics, London-New York is by far the most popular UK flight route. If travellers wish to get the greatest savings on travel to New York, our data indicates that Wednesday is the cheapest day, but that you actually have to book the ticket just 18 days in advance on this particular route, to score the cheapest ticket."



British Airways Now Flying Into Terminal 5

British Airways' flights from Belfast are now landing at the airline's flagship Heathrow home, Terminal 5. Offering up to six flights a day from Belfast, British Airways' schedule had been operating into Terminal 1 since the route started in June 2012.

The move means customers will benefit from quicker and smoother connections through the airport to over 100 cities worldwide served by British Airways from Terminal 5. Connection times will be reduced to 60 minutes as passengers will not have to transfer between terminals.

Commenting on the move, Keith Chuter, British Airways Sales Manager for Ireland and UK regions, said: "At British Airways, we are delighted that our customers from Northern Ireland will now be flying into our award winning Terminal 5.

"As well as providing seamless and faster connections onto our long-haul and European destinations, customers arriving into Terminal 5 and travelling into central London will be able to use the frequent and fast Heathrow Express service into Paddington Station."


Aircraft Named Belfast Launches London City Route

Flybe this week launched new routes from Belfast City, Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen, Exeter and Dublin to London City Airport. The Belfast service is expected to attract 98,000 travellers in its first year.

Six purple Flybe planes were christened in the 'Spirit of the Regions' theme and a naming ceremony took place at Belfast City Airport by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Nichola Mallon and the Regional Development Danny Kennedy MLA, alongside Paris Anatolitis of Flybe. Together they unveiled 'Spirit of Belfast' aircraft, ahead of the inaugural London City service.

Saad Hammad, CEO of Flybe, said: "From this week, purple Flybe aircraft will be a regular feature in the skies between Belfast City and London City as we begin our new regular daily services. This can only benefit our brand profile and reach over the longer term as knowledge of Flybe's role in connecting Northern Ireland with London becomes more widespread. Our new London City routes provide direct links for customers travelling to the heart of London's financial district. They also offer City of London and Canary Wharf customers faster and more efficient access to the UK regions and neighbouring European destinations than travelling via Heathrow or Gatwick, or travelling by, ferry, road or rail."

The picture above right shows Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon, Minister Danny Kennedy, and Paris Anatolitis and Andrea Hayes, both Flybe.


Travel With Confidence - Choose ABTA Members

ABTA has launched a new drive to tell consumers why they should choose ABTA members when booking a holiday.

The organisation is distributing new marketing tools to its members following the launch of its new 'Travel with Confidence' strapline this week.

The new Travel with Confidence slogan replaces ABTA's existing strapline 'The Travel Association' on all consumer-facing marketing. However, 'The Travel Association' will still be used for corporate and Trade communications.

Chief Executive Mark Tanzer described 'Travel with Confidence' as a "powerful and dynamic message". He said: "This revised strapline is about telling consumers much more about why they should choose our members, or why they have made a good choice already."



Record Amount Raised at Charity Ballot

The charity ballot at the recent Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards dinner raised a record amount for charity - this year the National Autistic Society for Northern Ireland.

Almost £4,000 was raised, money which will go to the South Belfast branch of the Autistic Society which provides activities for children with autism and additional learning difficulties, helping them and their families access activities and support they need.

A further £2,000 was donated by local tour operator Travel Solutions, bringing the total amount donated to the charity to £6,000. Paul McGuinness of Arrow Travel in Belfast won the top prize at the ballot, an amazing holiday to Dubai, with flights courtesy of Emirates Airlines.

In the picture above right, Cathy Mulholland of the National Autistic Society, South Belfast Branch collects the cheque for £6,000 from Jonathan Adair and Shauna Broderick of NI Travel News, and Julie Magill, Travel Solutions.


Europcar Invests in New Customer Facilities at Airport

Europcar, the largest car rental provider at Belfast International Airport, has unveiled their new rental suite located within the airport arrivals area.

Lisa McQuoid, NI Territory manager for Europcar, said: "Belfast continues to see rapid growth in the tourism sector and we are increasingly becoming one of Europe's top visitor destinations. At Europcar we are committed to investing and enhancing the overall customer experience and our new rental desks are testament to this.

With nearly 30,000 customers continuing to choose Europcar every year at Belfast International Airport our teams are committed to delivering an unparalleled and unique customer service experience from start to finish."

Europcar's new rental pods provide a fast track check out facility to get customers on their way as soon as possible and dedicated desks for those who have forgotten to book their car rental in advance. In the picture Europcar Customer Advisor at Belfast International Airport Deborah Maxwell invites Belfast International Airport Managing Director Graham Keddie to try out the new rental pods.



Paris Opens New Museum Tourist Attraction

Paris has a dramatic new museum tourist attraction. The Louis Vuitton Foundation, housing a permanent collection of contemporary art and temporary exhibitions, has opened its doors to the public.

This future landmark in Paris is designed by Frank Gehry among others, of the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. At the request of Bernard Arnault (LVMH boss), the architect designed a "iceberg" landed on the water, wrapped in 12 huge glass walls that seem inflated by the wind and play with the light and the sky. Forty meters high, the building of 11,000 m2 is a great technical achievement that disrupts the principles of architecture: not less than 30 patents were filed, a record.

Early in the project, LVMH announced an investment of 100 million euros, but technical innovations and construction delays have added to the final amount. The site on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, Paris will be open every day except Tuesdays (full price of 14 euros), tickets also give access to the "Jardin d'Acclimatation", which adjoins the building.



Want To Fly For Virgin?

Potential pilots with no flying experience are being offered the chance to train to fly Virgin Atlantic long-haul aircraft. An 18-month pilot training programme has been launched by the airline in conjunction with Southampton-based training firm CTC Aviation.

Would-be pilots will undergo pre-flight training and flight deck simulation at a new CTC centre in Southampton and flight training in Phoenix, Arizona.

The course leads to the Civil Aviation Authority's multi pilot licence and a position as a Virgin Atlantic co-pilot on Airbus A330s, according to a Press Association report. Applicants are required to have a minimum of five GCSEs or equivalent including maths, science and English.

Virgin's Flight Operations General Manager, David Kistruck, said: "Our people have always been at the heart of Virgin Atlantic and we're delighted to offer this opportunity to a whole new generation of flyers. They'll be part of the Virgin family from day one and will enjoy an opportunity like no other, as the only trainee pilots in Europe to fly straight on to long-haul aircraft once qualified."



Salisbury One of World's Top Cities - Lonely Planet

Salisbury, Wiltshire is one of the top cities in the world for travellers in 2015 according to Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2015.

Widely regarded as the world's leading travel authority Lonely Planet highlights the Top 10 countries, cities and regions to visit in 2015. Salisbury features seventh on the city list, above Vienna and Toronto, whilst Washington, DC takes top spot.

Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2015 contributor Tom Hall said: "We included Salisbury in this year's Best in Travel Top 10 Cities list because it deserves to be recognised as one of the UK's most important destinations for travellers next year.

"Bursting with history, top class restaurants, atmospheric nightlife and a host of festivals planned for 2015, we believe Salisbury is a must-see for domestic and international travellers alike."



Thai Resort Could Control Visitor Numbers

It could be more difficult holidaying in Phuket, Thailand in future. Officials are considering capping the number of tourists to the resort island, as hoteliers claim visitor figures are "reaching a tipping point".

The Thai Hotels Association says numbers should be tightly controlled to match accommodation capacity and Phuket should focus on high-spending tourists.

The idea has been floated on how to screen tourist arrivals with an emphasis on 'quality' or high-spending tourists rather than mass tourism. A spokesman for the Hotels Association said that Phuket is being overwhelmed with tourists many of them arriving in tour groups. The constant expansion prompts a surge in illegal and inexpensive hotels that accommodate budget tourists, often leading to price cutting.


 

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John Trew

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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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