Heathrow Offering Services of London 2012 Volunteers to Deal with Christmas Rush

With Christmas travelling in full swing at all UK airports, London 2012 volunteers have returned to London Heathrow airport to help the passengers tide over the rush hour of today, which is likely to see around 123,000 passengers departing from various airport terminals.

The London 2012 volunteers had earlier helped passengers at London Heathrow Airport during the London 2012 Olympic Games. The volunteering initiative reaped rich dividends during the period, when the airport recorded its customer rated best performances for July arrivals and August departures. 150 volunteers are currently back at the airport to help out with the rush of the holiday traffic.

Acknowledging the contribution of the volunteers, Normand Boivin, the airport chief operating officer, said, ‘Christmas is a special time for Heathrow, as our passengers travel to make connections with loved ones. I am particularly delighted to welcome back our London 2012 volunteers who were such a great success during the Games.’

The volunteers are currently working at airport terminals helping passengers and offering fun packs to children, and reminding them about restrictions over carrying certain items, like crackers.

This month also sees the airport’s Secret Santa campaign offering passengers daily surprise gifts including six Apple iPads, 12 Hamley’s teddy bears, 100 fragrances by Lady Gaga and an electric scooter by Lacoste; as well as chocolates, and craft sessions for children.

Nancy Baines, a 19-year-old volunteer at the airport, said, ‘Everyone is really grateful and appreciative of our help. So many passengers have said that they wish we were here all year round to help. I think it’s great to be at Heathrow as a volunteer – I am having a lot of festive fun and have learnt some really useful skills.’

Cathay Pacific Averts Threat of Strike

Cathay Pacific Airways, a Hong Kong based airline operator, has reported averting the industrial action by its flight attendants that was announced earlier.

The airline, on completion of talks – mediated by the Labour Department of the country, between the company and the Flight Attendants Union (FAU) – reported that the outstanding differences between the parties have now been resolved.

The airline general manager for cabin crew, Liza Ng, said, ‘The agreement we reached today addresses issues important to the company and the crew. It is incumbent upon the company to always ensure its long-term success when discussing short-term issues. We were able to accomplish that today.’

Some of the agreement points included a commitment to offer all destinations to Hong Kong based crew; and out port based crew can merely operate on routes between out port bases.

The airline chief executive officer, John Slosar, said, ‘This is the best possible outcome for our customers, who have always been at the forefront of this issue for us. They can now look forward to their holiday travel plans with confidence.

This is a good agreement for the company. It allows us to expand our business here at home, bringing even more services to the people of Hong Kong. Specifically, we maintain the flexibility we need to offer what our customers want us to provide.

Beyond that, we were able to look after the interests of the broader cabin crew community in terms of addressing lifestyle issues, which is important because we must keep the interests of all staff at heart. And we have demonstrated that we will listen to staff concerns and respond with appropriate solutions.’

The airline currently offers flights between Hong Kong and destinations in the UK including London Heathrow, Manchester, Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, and New Castle.

Top Ten Most Popular New Year Destinations Includes London

London features among top ten locales that US travellers are flocking to for a Christmas vacation.

This Christmas, travellers are reportedly opting for traditional cities known for their Christmas revelries, rather than exotic locations, to celebrate the festival and ring in the New Year.

According to US based discount travel site, Hotwire.com, the top ten most popular destinations to ring in the New Year for US travellers are Orlando, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Las Vegas, Nevada; New York City, New York; Miami, Florida; San Francisco, California; London, England; San Diego, California; Los Angeles, California; and New Orleans, Louisiana. London is the sole non-US city featured in the list.

According to the UK-based newspaper, the Guardian, the favourite countries which are drawing Christmas travellers across the world are United Kingdom; United States; France; Italy; Spain; Germany; Turkey; Japan; China; India; Netherlands; Switzerland; Canada; Austria; and Hong Kong.

Japanese news magazine, Japan Today, has listed its top ten holiday destinations for this vacation as San Juan, in Puerto Rico; New York in US; Bondi Beach, Sydney; Santa Claus, Indiana, US; Nuremberg, in Germany; New Orleans, in US; Tokyo, in Japan; Amsterdam, in The Netherlands; Aspen in US; and Lapland, Finland.

Clem Bason, the president of the Hotwire Group, said, ‘Booking trends show that travellers are opting for warm weather backdrops for their New Year’s Eve celebrations alongside the bigger, more traditional celebration cities. Although travellers can never go wrong ringing in the New Year in iconic places like New York or Las Vegas, some of the best deals and great experiences can be found in cities like Orlando, Chicago and San Diego, where you can stay over the holiday for under $100 per night.’