Qatar Airways Introduces Dreamliner on London to Doha Route

Qatar Airways, a Qatar based airline company, will be offering its newly acquired Boeing 787 aircraft for commercial service to London Heathrow Airport in the UK, from Doha, in Qatar.

The airline has recently taken delivery of its initial 787 Dreamliner aircraft at the Seattle, US, headquarters of the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing. The airline has flown the aircraft to Doha, Qatar, where it will be based and will be used to operate the London-Doha service.

The airline becomes the first to operate regular scheduled flights to the UK with Boeing’s next generation aircraft. The new service to London Heathrow commences from December 13, 2012.

The airline chief executive officer, Akbar Al Baker, said, ‘We are delighted at last with today’s announcement that in just over two weeks’ time, the UK market will see its first 787 on a regular full commercial service when it flies into London Heathrow.

Inaugurating our 787 on the London Heathrow route puts Qatar Airways firmly on the global aviation map as a carrier with a determination to continue its expansion drive and improve an already superior in-flight product.

Both new and existing customers in the UK and further afield on connecting flights will soon have an opportunity to fly on the most talked-about aircraft in the world in and out of London.

We have already received our second 787 with a further three to join our fleet by the end of the year. And we won’t stop there. With more 787s being inducted into the fleet next year, further route launches and our move to a brand new international airport in Doha during 2013, we continue to look forward to another year of exciting developments.

With our ever-expanding international network, more people from different parts of the world will have an opportunity to fly Qatar Airways and our new 787s to and from our Doha hub.’

A guide to Barcelona’s best New Year’s Eve parties

If you’re thinking of jetting off somewhere exciting for New Year’s Eve in 2012, Barcelona has to be near the top of your list. The Spanish are known for their love of partying, so there’s nowhere better to see in 2013 in style.

While it’s easy to get carried away with planning where you’ll be when the clock strikes midnight, make sure you don’t forget to book your accommodation – you’ll need to have a place to crash when all the festivities are over. You can find more information about some of the available options here.

Once you’ve got the practicalities sorted out, it’s time to decide how you want to spend New Year’s Eve in Barcelona.

Join a street party

If you’re on a bit of a tight budget for your getaway, heading to one of Barcelona’s street parties could be your best option, as you can join in with all the revelry here without having to pay a hefty entrance fee.

On December 31st, the biggest crowds gather at Plaza de Catalunya and along Las Ramblas. As the clock hits midnight, don’t be surprised to see people eating grapes – it’s a tradition in Spain that if you eat one grape for every chime, your wish for the coming year will come true. Get involved with the fun and see if you can manage it.

There are also spectacular fireworks displays over Barcelona that are best viewed from somewhere outdoors, so this is a great opportunity to enjoy the spectacle without having to spend a lot of cash.

Head to a club

Before midnight, many of the celebrations will be taking place at family homes, as this is traditionally a time when parents, children and other relatives gather together for a large meal.

You shouldn’t be surprised, therefore, if the clubs and bars don’t fill up until after the start of 2013. One of the biggest and best NYE parties will be held at Razzmatazz, a super-club in the city.

It’s a great choice if you’re travelling with a group of friends who all have varied musical tastes as it has got five rooms, each of which plays different tunes. So, everyone should be happy if you head here for your evening out. It’s worth noting that booking your tickets in advance can save you money on admission, while it’s cheaper to get in after midnight than before.

Another option is Sala Apolo, a venue that regularly plays host to famous DJs and holds other concerts. On December 31st this year, a selection of DJs will be spinning the decks into the early hours of the morning. Entry costs €16 (£12.85) per person, with the doors opening just after midnight.

Go for dinner – Spanish style

If you’d like to have an authentic Spanish New Year’s Eve experience – and you have the money to spare – book a table at one of Barcelona’s top restaurants in the evening. Many of the city’s establishments will have special menus on December 31st, with the likes of Ribelino’s, Shoko and Rita Blue among the eateries you can visit for a meal before you hit Barcelona’s clubs.

Some of the restaurants – like Shoko – even have their own club, so you could look into whether there are any deals available that will provide you with dinner followed by entry to one of the best parties in town.

Top events to look forward to in Bath in the new year

Once Christmas has been and gone and the prospect of a chilly January and February are the next things on your calendar, it’s easy to feel a little gloomy. Fortunately, there’s a lot going on in the new year, and we think one of the best ways to cheer yourself up after Christmas is over is to take a short break to Bath.

Why Bath, you ask? Well, there are lots of events to look forward to next year, for one thing – and, more generally, this gorgeous city is always a fantastic base for a getaway. In terms of accommodation, we think it’s worth booking a holiday cottage in Bath, since this is probably the cosiest option. Plus, it also means you have the freedom to prepare your own meals, which could save you some money if you’re keen to watch the pennies after Christmas.

Here are a few examples of what you can do while you’re here.

Continuing the festive season

We don’t know about you, but we sometimes feel like the festive period ends all too quickly – you spend weeks gearing up to it, and then it’s over in a flash. The good news is that if you want to enjoy the spirit of the season for a little longer, there are several events that allow you to do exactly that in Bath.

One of our favourites is Bath on Ice. This ice rink is located in Royal Victoria Park (which is just below the famous Royal Crescent) and gives you a chance to skate in incredibly scenic surroundings. If you can, book a time slot in the evening, since this is when the rink is beautifully lit up.

Another great option is the New Year Viennese Spectacular, which takes place annually on January 1st at the Forum. This show promises to capture the magic of 19th-century ballrooms by playing a combination of Viennese favourites and charming French waltzes.

The London Gala Orchestra and soprano Pamela Hay are among the acts you can expect to enjoy. What’s more, there’s also a champagne lottery, which is a lot of fun – especially if you’re lucky enough to win!

Looking ahead

The new year’s treats in Bath do not end in early January, you will be pleased to hear; indeed, there is plenty to look forward to in the coming months. Among the events that particularly caught our eye is the Bath Literature Festival, which despite only having been founded in 1995 is already one of the most respected events in the UK literary calendar.

So, if you love your books, it’s a sure-fire winner. Running from March 1st to 11th at venues across the city, it will welcome a host of renowned authors. These include the much-loved JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame, who will be talking about The Casual Vacancy, her new novel for adults, as well as Hilary Mantel and PD James.

Another interesting option that might particularly appeal to you if you’re travelling earlier in the year is a new exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery. The museum will be showcasing selected paintings by Katie Sims, an upcoming artist tipped to become something of a star in the art world. The exhibition will be held between January 26th and April 7th, so there is plenty of time to see it.

Brits head to Turkey as tourism booms

Ranked the sixth most visited country in the world by the UN World Tourism Organisation, Turkey Holidays are becoming increasingly popular with worldwide travellers. Given the current economic climate, it comes as no surprise that more and more tourists are choosing to travel to Turkey, thanks to its affordable lifestyle, lively culture and pristine beaches.

Sandwiched between Greece and Georgia, Turkey is often considered to be the crossroads of Europe and Asia and is famous for its lively Mediterranean culture and natural beauty. The picturesque Turquoise Coast is just what you’d expect – endless white sand beaches, luxury resorts and relaxing gulet cruises. With Dalman holidays more affordable than ever, there’s no time like the present to escape a cold winter and set sail along the Turkish coast.

The boom in Turkey’s popularity is largely due to countries such as Germany, Russia and the UK. In 2011, 2.6 million British tourists travelled to Turkey, with figures expected to rise even more this year – 2 million Brits had already visited the country by September 2012.

So just why are UK travellers flocking to Turkey? Compared to its European counterparts, Turkey offers all the postcard-worthy views and idyllic holiday lifestyle, but minus the hefty price tag associated with hotspots like Paris, Rome and the Greek Islands. With UNESCO heritage sites nestled amongst seaside villages, Turkey is full of historic charm – the impressive array of mosques are legendary masterpieces; the ancient cities full of local life; the centuries-old ruins largely left untouched.

Whether it’s a family holiday or a romantic rendezvous, Turkey has something for everyone, and every budget. To the west, Bodrum sits on the pristine Aegean Coast and is one of the most popular resorts in Turkey. Aside from the crystal clear waters, you can also find one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, a tomb built in 350BC. Shopping is abundant, and haggling for bargains a given.

A little further south sits Dalaman – a region filled with mud baths, ancient ruins and traditional cruises. A popular destination for British sun seekers, Dalaman offers a luxury lifestyle with affordable prices. The ever-popular gulet cruises are a unique way to take in the Turkish Riveria. A single-mast wooden ship, a gulet cruise allows you to sit back, relax and let the crew do the hard work. Indulge in fresh seafood, sunbake the day away and take a dip in the turquoise waters.

So whatever is on your Turkish itinerary, you’re sure to have an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime holiday – after all, 2.6 million Brits can’t be wrong.

British Airways Announces New Short Distance Routes

British Airways, a UK-based airline, has recently launched three new short-distance services from London Heathrow Airport.

The airline is offering a new service from London Heathrow Terminal 1 to Leeds Bradford airport, commencing from December 9, 2012. The new service, with up to four flights a day, will be connecting Yorkshire with the widespread international route network from London Heathrow airport.

The new service to Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, is also commencing on December 9, 2012, with the airline offering three flights per day departing from London Heathrow Terminal 1. The other new service is to Zagreb in Croatia, also commencing on December 9, 2012, and the daily flights will also operate from London Heathrow Terminal 1.

The new routes are being offered as a result of 42 slots becoming available at London Heathrow Airport through the airline’s parent company, IAG, following its acquisition of Bmi, another UK based airline.

British Airways has recently commenced its new route from London Heathrow Airport to Seoul Incheon Airport, in South Korea, from December 2, 2012.

The airline has also recently upgraded its ‘In-flight Entertainment Experience British Airways’ on its long-distance aircraft.

The entertainment experience will vary with the type of aircraft, although most will be offering a wide range of content that will be available from boarding to arrival at the destination.

However, with the new safety regulations in place, the airline’s passengers will only be able to use the headsets provided by the airline for taxi, takeoff and landing. For passengers in First and Club World and the front row seats, screens will have to be stowed away during takeoff and landing, but they can still enjoy the audio transmissions.

Cityjet Offers New Services to Germany

CityJet, an Ireland-based airline, is offering new services to Germany from London.

The airline is introducing two new routes to Dresden and Paderborn, in Germany, for the summer of 2013. Flights to Dresden commence from April 1, 2013, and services to Paderborn commence from April 22, 2013. Airfares start from £70 one-way to Dresden, and £85 one-way to Paderborn.

CityJet will be offering six-times weekly services to both destinations, and will be serving the Paderborn route with a Fokker 50 aircraft.

Christine Ourmieres, the airline chief executive officer, said, ‘There is a strong inbound demand for direct routes to the heart of London from Germany both from a business as well as a leisure perspective. By expanding our German network to four destinations, including Munster and Nuremberg, we are answering that demand at a time when Germany continues to remain Europe’s economic powerhouse.

Paderborn will strengthen our offering out of Westphalia, whilst our route in Dresden opens up a whole new region to British-based families and couples looking for a relaxed weekend break or business travellers seeking easy access to the Silicon Valley of East Germany.’

Dresden is located on the banks of the River Elbe in Germany, and features a number of museums and historic buildings, such as the Elbe Castle, Villa Quarter, the Semper Opera House and the Frauenkirche. Paderborn is situated at the mouth of the Pader River, and its attractions include a medieval cathedral and university.

The new routes will increase the airline destinations to 22 cities in Europe, including Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and UK.

The airline has earlier announced a new service to Nuremberg in Germany, from London City Airport, in the UK. The service commences from January 27, 2013, with twice a day flights served by an Avro RJ 85 aircraft.