Ryanair Urges Passengers to Book on Website to Avoid Travel Agents Charges

Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, is urging its passengers to buy their tickets from the company’s own website, rather than from on-line travel agents.

The airline claims to have received around 300 complaints from passengers that have booked their air tickets with travel booking website, ‘On The Beach’ an online travel agent (or screenscraper) that the company is now taking legal action against. The passengers complained of being overcharged by such websites, as well as not having been provided with basic services, including the confirmation of special assistance arrangements, advice regarding flight changes, or the provision of a copy of the terms and conditions of travel. This has lead to the travellers encountering problems when they arrive at the airport to take their flight.

The company head of communications, Stephen McNamara, said, ‘Online travel agents or ‘screenscraper’ websites continue to cause problems for passengers with their non-existent or inadequate after-sale service.

Many of these sites fail to pass on vital information to both passengers and Ryanair regarding issues such as flight changes, web check-in, special needs assistance and contact details, which has resulted in missed flights and repeated problems for their misguided customers. Our message to passengers is simple: book directly on www.ryanair.com for the guaranteed lowest fares and best customer care.’

The airline has reported that in some cases passengers have been compelled to pay around €60 or £60 as a boarding card reissue fee at the check-in desk, as no boarding card was ever issued by the high-cost intermediaries, an expense that could have been avoided by buying airfares directly from the airline website.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel Posts Growth in UK Market

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), a company specialising in business travel management, has reported that its UK sales have increased by 1.6 percent to £627.8 million in the first six months of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011.

The business travel agency achieved a top listing on Buying Business Travel’s list of the UK’s top 50 travel management companies (TMC). In the year to date, the company has acquired around £60 million in new business, as well as retaining 97 percent of its active clients.

The company chief executive officer, Douglas Anderson, said, ‘Our first half performance for 2012 is solid given current economic uncertainty. Our customers are continuing to travel and are looking to manage their travel in a more cost-effective way by getting even greater value for what they spend.’

However, these results also signify a slowdown in business travel in the UK market, as in the same period last year the company reported an increase in its sales volume of 10 percent and growth in transactions of 5 percent.

The company, owned by US-based Carlson, has also reported a 54 percent increase in sales volume for the meetings and events division of its UK unit.

In 2012, the CWT Travel Management Institute published ‘Mastering the Maze: A Practical Guide to Air and Ground Savings’, a report offering details on how to save on a travel programme for corporate companies. The company’s CWT To Go, a mobile app, was also awarded the 2012 innovation of the year by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)

Flybe Gains Passenger Support In War On Air Passenger Duty Tax

Flybe, a UK-based airline company, has gained support from British passengers in its battle with the UK government over Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax.

The government will charge APD to travellers flying out of the UK in aircraft that have an authorised take-off weight of more than ten tonnes, or more than twenty seats for passengers. The passengers have to pay the tax twice when they undertake a return journey, which adds around £26 to a return fare.

The airline has reported that thousands of passengers have supported its Fair Tax on Flying campaign, being held in a collaboration with 30 airlines, airports and tour operators.

Niall Duffy, the airline head of public relations and public affairs, said, ‘We would like to thank the thousands of our passengers who have supported the Fair Deal on Tax campaign to date. Air Passenger Duty is a barrier to economic growth.

Flybe supports any reform of APD that deals with the inherent unfairness that means UK domestic passengers pay the tax on both legs of their journey, while those flying abroad pay just once because APD is a departure tax from a UK airport. So, for example, a return passenger travelling between Exeter and Manchester (188 miles) pays double the tax that someone flying between Glasgow and Dalaman in Eastern Turkey does (4,086 miles). That is not just inequitable – it is scandalous.

Flybe still believes that this ‘double hit’ must be addressed in order to safeguard UK domestic aviation and UK regional economic competitiveness.’

Dental Tourism Offers Trips To Get Your Teeth Into

A firm in the US has created a site for dental tourism; not a trip to view notable dentures, but one that includes low-cost dental check ups.

Jaime Bellos and Richard Dziurda have created a website called mydentaltrip.com that connects dental patients with dentists. The initiative is expected to help patients find less-costly dental treatment in countries other than the US.

It is believed that about a quarter-million Americans each year travel to have their teeth tended to in other countries. The company is now exploiting that trend with its own website that offers low-cost dental care in other nations.

The initiative was conceived when Dziurda discovered five years ago that he needed thousands of dollars to treat a problem with his teeth. Not to be discouraged he took the tourist route, had his teeth repaired and benefited from an enjoyable sightseeing experience into the bargain. He is now making use of that experience with his business idea, and is offering similar trips to those wishing to combine dental treatment with travel. His personal experience showed that patients could save a significant amount of money if they travel outside the US for dental treatment.

Through their site, Bellos and Dziurda allow customers to upload medical records and other information. In return, patients receive bids from dentists around the world. A similar site allows dentists to list their experience and specialities. Patients can access one bid free-of-charge and extra bids cost $25.

The founders of the site told Detroitnews that many Americans are finding it cost effective to have implants, crowns, root canals and dentures treated in countries that include Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama.

Mozambique Added to Saga Portfolio

Saga Holidays has announced that it has launched its new travel itinerary for 2013, and has added a tour to the little known African country, Mozambique.

Saga Holidays says that it is showcasing Mozambique and its diverse natural riches to those travellers that seek fun, thrills and natural beauty all rolled into one.

Mozambique has beautiful beaches, wildlife and a diverse history. Neglected by travellers for many years, the nation, a former Portuguese colony, has begun to attract the attention of those tourists and adventure seekers that have already visited other better-known destinations in Africa.

One popular destination in Mozambique that Saga says is sure to thrill visitors is the historic city of Maputo. The city, which is located close to the Indian Ocean, has many of the elements of a typical Portuguese town, because of the long years that it spent under Portuguese colonialism. Mozambique also has the great Limpopo River, made famous by Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Just So Stories’.

Saga is offering its package, ‘Transfrontier Trail: Mozambique to Kruger’, which features a 12-night tour including a stay in Maputo and three nights in Bilene beside a saltwater lagoon, where visitors can book for an optional deep-sea fishing cruise. The remaining days will be spent exploring the natural beauty of the remote Greater Limpopo Transfrontier and Kruger National Parks. This part of the tour includes a sunset safari in Letaba, and the last five days of the tour are spent in safari tents in the national parks.

Saga Holidays, which is also offering travel to other African destinations, said that staff members that are knowledgeable tour managers are responsible for its tour itineraries. The firm also offers a door-to-door travel service from wherever passengers live in mainland UK, or complimentary parking at the airport.

Travel Fair India launches new travel package

Travel Fair India has announced that it has launched a new package for tourists wishing to visit prominent destinations in northern India.

The package, Golden Triangle Budget Tour Packages, has been designed to help travellers to visit key destinations in northern India while working within a budget. It is available for visits to three of India’s most famous cities, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The three cities are famous for their heritage, history and culture, and claim to provide diverse experiences for the discerning traveller.

The package includes visits to cultural and historical monuments, modern architecture and many other popular tourist attractions in the cities.

Travel Fair India says that its new 3-city itinerary will span three nights and four days on a budget-friendly package. The three cities are home to some of the most important tourist destinations in India, and have witnessed cultural upheavals and developments throughout history.

Delhi and Agra, which have had significant historical contributions from the Mughals, retain many architectural elements of the bygone era. In contrast, the pink city of Jaipur in Rajasthan has been home to the Hindu Rajput emperors and reflects their architecture. For modern-day travellers, the tour sets out to highlight the contrast between the lifestyles of these two aristocracies.

In Delhi, the tour covers important locations, including Qutub Minar, the Red Fort, India Gate, the Akshardham Temple, the Lotus Temple, Raj Ghat, the Himayun Tomb etc. Agra is home to the world-famous Taj-Mahal, considered to be one of the greatest monuments to love. Attractions in Jaipur include Jaigarh Fort, the Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, the City Palace, Jal Mahal and many more.