Thursday, 16 November 2017

Your money has paid for Monarch's excess's

Defunct Monarch airlines has cost you a fortune!.
The collapse of Monarch Airlines on the 01st of October brought into focus the fact that airlines are not financially protected.

The irony of Monarchs collapse that even if a passenger was booked directly with Monarch the CAA in effect an arm of government picked up the bill for repatriating passengers back to the UK, in effect your tax monies have under written an airline owned by a private equity group who in effect acquired the airline for nothing and leveraged the assets.

The hit to the exchequer which underwrites the Air Travel Trust Fund is rumoured to be over £100M.

ATOL Protection.
But worse completely innocent companies were pulled down by the Monarch collapse because the CAA re-charged travel company passengers when they didn't try or bother to charge direct consumers.

The fact that a Conservative conference was on at the exact time of the collapse may have had something to do with it.  It would have been truly embarrassing if passengers were filmed at overseas airports being stranded.

Things could be much simpler if all passengers were made to take out a SAFI policy (Scheduled Air Insurance Policy) which would cost no more than £2. per head. 

Because No Frills airlines lobbied the government not to issue a levy to cover
there eventualities, the airlines won the argument.

The only way you can really trust your travel arrangements is to book with an ATOL company and if possible also take out a SAFI policy, one company that does both is FlyLolo.com a new start up, maybe we should see the airlines being compelled to safeguard your money?

Thursday, 21 September 2017

3 of The Best European Festivals in October

3 of the Best European Festivals in October
With so many European Festivals taking place during the month of October, we're introducing you to just 3 of the best.

1. FESTIVAL OF VALLS
Where : Valls, Spain
When : Late October

The town of Valls is located near the city of Barcelona, and its main square comes alive during late October when rival teams compete the create the biggest and most impressive human castle, or pyramid. Huge crowds congregate in the square, and pack balconies that overlook the scene of ever increasing towers toppling, or the youngest (and smallest) of the team claiming victory as he/she tops the castle.

2. PERUGIA'S CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL
Where : Perugia, Italy
When : 9 days in mid October


A chocolate lover's paradise for 9 days when the hilltop town of Perugia attracts over a million visitors who come here to eat and talk about all things chocolate. Complete with sculptors carving huge blocks of chocolate, beauty treatments using this sweet treat, food and drink stalls, and of course some of the finest handmade chocolates made while you watch. Buy a “ChocoCard” at the festival and benefit from discounted small items to sample.

3. OKTOBERFEST
Where : Munich, Germany
When : 16 days before the first Sunday in October

Munich plays host to the largest folk festival every year where a celebration of Bavarian beer and food is held. Over 6 million people will visit, taking their seats in one of the 14 hangar-sized tents and then perhaps moving on to the 100 or so smaller tents where specialist products can be sampled. Every 10 minutes you are reminded of the main reason for visiting this festival as the band strikes up One, Two, Three, Drink!


Today, it's relatively easy to reach the majority of places and experience so many festivals. Each month we will be bringing you our top 3 European Festivals, so watch for news of those happening during November.

As with all travel arrangements, it's important to recognise the importance of booking through an ATOL protected operator for complete peace of mind and financial protection.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Which is the best way to Search for Flight prices?

Skyscanner.net.
I have been in the travel industry for 40 years, it was a truism that when you went on holiday you would not mention that you were in travel as everyone would want to discuss their travel problems.

I am also asked by friends for cheap flights and the best place to get a quote from, my advice these days is always the same,  Check out Skyscanner.net, it's the premier search engine, It was bought by Chinese investors for £1.3 Billion, it does not sell you the fares but links you directly to various web sites.

It's comprehensive in an overview , it covers all the No frills airlines, scheduled carriers and charter flights, I use it for fare intelligence as it's a one stop shop and I can't praise it high enough.

Check it out, try using actual airports as well as cities, eg if you use London (any) you will see departures from Stansted, Luton, Heathrow, Gatwick, Southend, London City it's very powerful. For instance you can put in Glasgow (any) bring up Glasgow International as well as Prestwick, also you can check out regional airports like Southampton as an alternative to London


Friday, 15 September 2017

Easyjet to launch Long Haul flights with airline partners

WestJet B767.
EasyJet have announced a linking up with Norwegian Airlines and WestJet of Canada, beating Ryanair to offer long haul flights to Asia, South and North America with Canada being served by Westjet.Com

The proposal is that Easyjet flights to and from London Gatwick  will feed into the long haul services of the long haul airlines and will have a guarantee of ensuring passengers if they miss their connection that they will be put on the following available flight. Passengers will be allowed a 2.5 hour connection time to ensure smooth running.

Bags will have to collected and handed to the Gatwick connects desk, so baggage will not be through booked as happens on other scheduled airlines, this might prove an unattractive aspect.

But the prices are expected to be competitive and a real challenge to British airways, KLM-AirFrance  and other legacy airlines

Norwegian Airlines fly Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and Westjet fly Boeing 767

Top 10 facts about Tenerife you may not know

Top Ten Facts.

Tenerife is probably the most popular of the Canary Islands and is packed with interesting places to visit, and things to do.  Here's our top 10 facts about the island of Tenerife :

1. The emblematic flower of the island of Tenerife is the Bird of Paradise, or strelitzia.  This exotic orange and navy flower presents itself as a beak from the sturdy stems, and once one flower fades away, another is waiting to emerge.

2.  The Pyramids of Guimar in Tenerife are perhaps one of the oddest sights in the region. A mysterious collection of six stone structures, they were originally thought to be mere piles of stones. However, on careful inspection by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, they were found to be arranged in large steps with a ceremonial platform on top.

3.  In the small wine town of Icod de los Vinos in Tenerife, you will find the Drago Milenario (Thousand Year Old Dragon Tree).  This gigantic tree stands 17m high and has a diameter of 6m, and is within a protected garden.  How old is this tree? Probably around 600 years. Known for its magical properties, the resin of the tree turns red on contact with the air.

4. Vilaflor (flower town) is the highest village in the Canary Islands.  To date, the village remains unspoiled as most people tend to pass straight through it on their way to the National Park.  Linger for a while in Vilaflor's pine forests or visit the natural spring whose waters are bottled and sold all over Tenerife.

5.  Masca is a mountain village perched above a deep gorge.  Once a remote location, a road now leads to the village where visitors can then make their way down the gorge to the coastline below. However, be prepared for a long hike and ensure you're wearing suitable shoes and clothing.

6.  La Orotava in Tenerife is a jewel box of balconied facades, cobbled streets and wonderful historic buildings. Visit here during the Corpus Christi celebrations (usually in late May) to witness demonstrations of sand and flower pictures that cover the pavements. The best places centre around the Town Hall Square and the nearby streets.

7. Streets in Tenerife are often named after people and often they will be obscure local doctors, artists, sculptors, and politicians to name just a few.

8.  The cable car to the top of Mount Teide offers spectacular views of Tenerife's volcanic features, and takes visitors close to the summit of the mountain and is possibly the most painless way to ascend Teide and takes just 8 minutes to make the journey.

9.  From Castillo de San Miguel in Garachico, you will have views of the town below where you will clearly see the route taken by the lava of the volcanic eruption back in 1706 as it made its way down the cliffs to the sea.  You will see gardens and swimming pools constructed from the solidified lava.

10.  In Puerto de la Cruz you will find Plaza del Charco - full name being Plaza del Charco de los Camarones (Shrimp-Pod Square).  This reference is to days when the area surrounding the square used to fill with water at high tide and locals would then come here to fish for shrimp, 

If you're looking to visit the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, we would recommend :

Flights :  Flylolo.com
Low cost and ATOL protected flights can be booked online from Manchester, Gatwick and Glasgow over Christmas and New Year.

Hotels and Apartments :  Corona Holidays
Canary Island specialists (financially protected bookings) offering hotels, apartments and villas on the island of Tenerife. From self catering apartments to 5 star luxury hotels.  




Tuesday, 12 September 2017

EU passport check delays

Were you one of the unlucky tourists to be hit by the new EU passport checks which resulted in hours of delay at passport control?, where in the past most EU passports would be nodded through, the Eu has decreed that if you were unlucky enough to be a non schengen passport holder then a 2 minute per person computer check has to be carried out.  With aircraft averaging   180 passengers then you can work out the time to process a single aircraft, then assume that there are 5 arrivals a hour and you only have 2-3 immigration clerks then you can work out the issue.

Obviously employing more immigration staff would help, but some airports only have 5/6 booths maximum.

If you don't have to travel to the EU, then you could go to Non schengen EU countries (Eire, Denmark) or EEA countries (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland,Liechtenstein), or avoid the EU completely.

Non EU countries
Montenegro is maybe an option, Turkey  is extremely cheap and with the threat of Terrorism has depressed prices further.,  Tunisia is coming back, but again terrorism is a threat that depress's prices but also reduces demand

There are smaller airports that have less traffic which will help if you have transfer easily from them to your destination I'm thinking particularly Spanish destinations like Reus, Girona, Valancia, Serville, Cadiz, Almeria, Murcia)  .  But if your travelling to Palma, the only way to avoid that is go via an intermediate point like Madrid, Barcelona Amsterdam or Paris that have the extra immigration infrastructure and you enter the schengen zone via there.

With the Euro approaching possible parity to the pound and these type of issues I would recommend looking at the Black Sea resorts and Romania.  The quality is very good and prices are low and it's a non Euro destination.   WizzAir.com flys there from Luton to Constanza, also FlyLolo.com is looking to do a Southampton flight.  Also consider Bulgaria either flying to Varna or Bourgas.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Could Ryanair buy Monarch Airlines?

With all the talk of Michael O'Learys claim that Monarch and Norwegian airlines are in trouble, is there another underlying strategy at play.

Ryanair will need a UK AOC (Air Organisers Certificate) by March 2019, maybe even sooner if they want to be selling this by March 2018.  Monarch being a UK airline have this, they also have some fairly juicy assets, Gatwick slots and Engineering subsidiaries are a must for an airline.

Ryanair could launch a  Gatwick flight programme using the Gatwick slots and if Norwegian were not around it gives a perfect opportunity to make Gatwick a major departure point for Ryan Air

It's food for thought, no one knows whats going to happen until it happens, but you can see logic in the above theory!
Monarch engineering.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Norwegian Airlines shares plunge on the Oslo Bource by 10%

Norwegian (DY, Oslo Gardermoen) stock on the Oslo bourse plunged almost
10% in value on the opening of trading on Monday, September 4, following comments made by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of rival Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l), Michael O'Leary, about the Scandinavian LCC's future prospects. Comments attributed to the typically brash Irishman and carried by Travel Weekly said Norwegian faced bankruptcy in four to five months.“Both Monarch and Norwegian are in trouble," he said.

"It’s an open secret among airlines that Monarch Airlines (ZB, London Luton) and Norwegian may not survive through the winter. They are burning cash. Norwegian has huge aircraft orders that they don’t have the cash to pay for.” 

Norwegian Communications Director Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen later told Norway's Nettavisen newspaper that O'Leary's comments “have no basis in reality.”    "All we have to say is that this is classic O'Leary bullshit that has no basis in reality," he said. "Norwegian has run a profitable business for 10 years and we will continue to focus on our own global business, not on single-player games as is done by our competitors."

Despite Sandaker-Nielsen's response, Norwegian's stock plummeted from NOK194.70 to NOK178.20 on the opening of trading on Monday morning. Prices later recovered to NOK194.40 at the close of trading.

Norwegian and Ryanair have been in talks to develop their vaunted connecting flights project. According to O'Leary, the negotiations are still ongoing.

Are No Frills airlines becoming TOO powerful?

Ryanair B737-800.
Michael O'Leary has recently claimed that Norwegian and Monarch are in financial trouble,

"O’Leary told journalists in London: “Norwegian will go in four or five months. They are running out of cash. They are scrabbling around daily.” Norwegian denied it is in difficulty, with a spokesman insisting the Ryanair chief executive’s comments “have no root in reality.”
However, O’Leary said: “Both Monarch and Norwegian are in trouble. It’s an open secret among airlines that Monarch and Norwegian may not survive through the winter. They are burning cash. “Norwegian has huge aircraft orders that they don’t have the cash to pay for.”

So whats Michael O'Leary up to, whats his strategy in these fairy risky comments?  is he trying to weaken the airlines so they actually do collapse, cash flow is there life blood and if this is stopped or slowed then it causes a knock on effect. or is he just giving a fair assessment of the market?

No Frills airlines are increasingly becoming too powerful, they are becoming political lobbying and threatening governments and local authorities across Europe, they are creating a tunnel vision for consumers, where as the only way is Ryanair or EasyJet, how does the consumer kick back against these moves!

Well I would recommend Skyscanner.net, it's the premier airfare search engine and always comes up with the cheapest fare, They are objective and help counter the dark noncompetitive forces who try to relieve you of your hard earned money.

One thing you may not know is that there is no consumer protection for No Frills flights, apart from the Consumer Credit act of 1973 where if you have paid by a Credit Card and the purchase was over £100 and it was a UK transaction then you are covered. apart from that you can take out a SAFI policy, FlyLolo.com who recently launched gives this away with the seat sale. Also FlyLolo and other licenced Tour/Flight operators are covered by a CAA ATOL, no Frills are not apart from holiday package arrangements through their holiday divisions. 

So my advice for whats its worth is do a search and check out fares, because if we get down to only one or two airlines on a route, the consumer will pay dearly!!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Pound to Euro where to look for better value

Romania Black Sea coast (Hidden Gem).
The pound has slipped to below 1.09 this week and the likelihood with all the Brexit negotiations as a back drop means that there is a possibility of parity.

The obvious choice to look for the best value is to avoid Euro Destinations, if your talking about Winter sun then the options of Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt might appeal if you can get past the taint of threat of terrorism.

The canary islands because of their duty free status does give good value as alcohol is much cheaper even though you are purchasing in Euro's but an all inclusive deal could appeal as these were negotiated last year and the holiday companies to certain extent have hedged against the Euro.  

Also look at All Inclusive deals in Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic as well as the Maldives and Goa (India).

Winter Ski wise you could look to Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania

For next years summer sun  the Black Sea Bulgaria (Fly to Bourgas or Varna), Romanian Black Sea coast  (Fly to Constanza) .  Turkey is on it's way back and will be fantastic value as well as Greece, although a Euro destination, because of the economic hardships has had deflation and is still cheap.  Also look at Montenegro as well as Croatia.

Getting there, you have the normal Low Cost airlines Ryanbnair.com, Easyjet.com, Monarch.co.uk, WizzAir.com currently flys to Constanza as well as Bulgaria and other eastern european destinations, FlyLolo.com is planning to operate a Southampton programme to Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Croatia, Bari southern Italy and Spain.. The best search engine for fares is Skyscanner.net


Friday, 18 August 2017

Winter-sun-Want inspiration on where to go

 Adverisment.
Winter sun can be the lift you need in the depths of a cold hard winter months,

But where to choose, the hotter you want the further you have to travel

Closest to home would be  the Spanish Costa's or southern Portugal, but the weather is problematic and can't be guaranteed.  Also you will need jumpers and cardigans even in the middle of the day.  The Costa Blanca because it juts into the sea has some of the better temperatures.

Slightly further afield and back on the block is Tunisia, fantastic value if you can find a flight as it's only just had the restrictions lifted, Also Morocco particularly if you travel further south to places like Agidir.

Egypt was the old favorite with fantastic value, but with the terrorist threat Sharm el Sheikh is still off limits, but there are other resorts you can fly to Hurghada (Thomas Cook)  and Marsa Allam (Thomson Holidays).

The Canary Islands there are 7 islands, but the main four are  Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura, flights are good value and there's plenty of good priced accommodation deals.

Cape Verdi islands offers good sunshine, but its just over six hours flying, but there are a number of islands with various different characteristics.

Gambia in west Africa is a reasonably cheap option, but the political problems of last year shows how fragile some countries are.

Cuba, Jamaica or the Dominican Republic are good value Caribbean islands with direct charter flights and of course you have Florida.

Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus, but again the weather can be changeable and you are reasonably far north, but also Eilat in Israel, Aqaba on the Red Sea in Jordan with the Rose red city of Petra not far away.

The Gulf, you have Dubai, but also Oman is new on the block and better vale.

Indian ocean, Goa and the Maldives have direct charters

Wherever you go make sure you are covered financially and look out for the ATOL or ABTA symbol to protect you and your travel provider against financial collapse. also innoculations are required for some of the destinations.  Also some destinations (Egypt) had notorious reputations on food poisoning


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Hold Baggage comparrison

AirEuropa B737-800.
Travel Advice Bureau has compared the different costs of baggage for No Frills airlines, it's not an easy task as there is no definite answer for each airline, many airlines operate a dynamic pricing where prices change from booking to booking driven by demand and load factor, so we have comparison of minimum and maximum.  Also it's a bit like comparing apples with pears, as some airlines offer bigger weights.


No-Frills Online bag costs for a bag in the hold
Airline15kg20kg23Kgs
Ryanair.com£10-£50£15-£60N/A
EasyJet.comN/A£13-30N/A
Monarch.co.ukN/A£15-£36N/A
Vueling.com€8-16 Euros*€8-16 Euros*€8-16 Euros*
Air Europa FlyLolo.com£15£45N/A
British Airways BA.com£20-40*£20-40*£20-40*
* anything up to 23kgs

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Top 15 International Airlines, some surprises ?

Top 15 airlines for international seats in S17.
Source

Medano Hotel, El Medano, built above the beach

Of all the hotels that have impressed me the most is the Medano Hotel in El Medano, if you like the sea and being close then this is the hotel for you.  The only downside is the restaurant which is great for Breakfast, but limiting if you are on a Half Board or Full Board option.   The only company that can sell you the Bed & Breakfast option is Corona Holidays, I have know the owner for over 20 years, you can book via there web site Coronaholidays.co.uk









PERIOD
Sell pppn B&B
21-Jul-17 - 31-Aug-17
£34
01-Sep-17 - 31-Oct-17
£28
01-Nov-17 - 08-Dec-17
£40
09-Dec-17 - 21-Dec-17
£35
22-Dec-17 - 06-Jan-18
£53 > Min Stay 4 Nts
07-Jan-18 - 31-Jan-18
£35
01-Feb-18 - 01-Apr-18
£40
02-Apr-18 - 30-Apr-18
£35












Supplement for: Half Board £7 per person per night
3rd Passenger: Sharing a room with 2 adults -25%

1st Child 0/12: Sharing a room with 2 adults -100%

Adult + 1 child : Pay price of single room




[3rd passenger discounts are not applicable on the Half Board supplement]






*******************************************************************************************************






SINGLE USE WITH BALCONY & SEA VIEW







PERIOD
Sell pppn B&B
21-Jul-17 - 31-Aug-17
£49
01-Sep-17 - 31-Oct-17
£43
01-Nov-17 - 08-Dec-17
£55
09-Dec-17 - 21-Dec-17
£50
22-Dec-17 - 06-Jan-18
£68 > Min Stay 4 Nts
07-Jan-18 - 31-Jan-18
£50
01-Feb-18 - 01-Apr-18
£55
02-Apr-18 - 30-Apr-18
£50






Supplement for: Half Board £7 per person per night









Saturday, 29 July 2017

Quick guide to Inflight WiFI

We did some research, not easy to find info as airlines are not ready to shout about not having WiFi

I did see a Mailonline article which gave me some insight Mailonline link


AirlineInflight WiFiNotes
Air EuropaYes**Some planes being rolled out
RyanAirNo
EasyJetNo
NorwegianYes**Not on Trans-Atlantic
British AirwaysNo
Monarch AirlinesNo
Thomas Cook AirlinesNo
Thomson AirlinesNo

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Quick guide to inflight drink costs



Inflight catering is a difficult item to compare, the airlines have different offerings and also some different currencies, so I did a little exercise in comparing 3 different objects from the bar, here is a quick comparison, Air Europa came out best

AirlineCup of Coffee18.7ml bottle of wineBottle of Still water
Easyjet.com£2.50£4.50£1.80
Ryanair.com£2.65£5.31£2.65Converted at £1= €1.13
FlyMonarch.com£2.80£4.50£1.80
Jet2.com£2.60£4.50£1.80
British Airways£2.30£4.50£1.80
Vueling.com£2.30£4.86£1.85Converted at £1= €1.13
AirEuropa.com£2.21£4.421.77Converted at £1= €1.13

Adverisment