Gatwick Airport Protests against Frequent Flight Cancellations Due to Bad Weather

Gatwick Airport in the UK has expressed its anger at frequent flight cancellations by airlines following the forecast of bad weather conditions, including snow.

The airport has written to Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, requesting a solution to help keep flight cancellations to a minimum due to bad weather conditions, a problem which has recently impacted on the travel plans of a significant number of business and leisure travellers.

Stewart Wingate, the airport chief executive officer, said, ‘It just cannot be right that passengers are being asked to accept apologies for pre-emptive flight cancellations. Huge numbers of business meetings and holidays will have been impacted and misery caused to travellers.

The over-scheduling of flights at Heathrow during the winter period should stop, but we also need to maintain and grow our connectivity to the world.

I am proposing that for the key winter months of December, January and February, Heathrow declares a level of capacity it can cope with in winter conditions. The additional flights then, for those three months, can move to Gatwick and Stansted.

As a result there would be better use of the existing capacity at our London airports, safety would be enhanced and passengers will not have to panic every time it snows. London’s and the UK’s reputation is on the line and the airports should work together to make this happen.’

The airport has recently introduced an £8 million snow fleet to keep its runways clear of snow. The new equipment includes 98 vehicles, with snowploughs, brushes, cutters, blowers, and de-icing vehicles.

Boeing Dreamliner Battery May Not Be At Fault

Boeing, the US based aircraft manufacturer, has been cooperating with US and Japanese investigators to discover the problem with its next generation Dreamliner 787 aircraft, and recent report suggests that the fault may be with the aircraft’s electrical components.

Earlier, airlines had grounded the aircraft globally, on fears regarding its airworthiness, following incidents of its onboard battery catching fire. Two Japanese airlines, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airlines, were the first of many to ground their Dreamliner aircraft and commence an investigation into the safety standards of the aircraft, claimed to be the first to offer mid-size airplane capabilities on long-distance routes.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had also issued an emergency airworthiness directive for temporary suspension of operations for all Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the US, a decision that resulted in the grounding of all Dreamliners flown by United Airlines.

Recent investigations suggest that the fault may not be with the battery used onboard the aircraft, but with the electrical system that monitors battery voltage, charging and temperature.

The Japanese transport ministry official, Shigeru Takano, said in an interview with the BBC, ‘We have found no major quality or technical problem with the lithium-ion batteries.’

Currently, Boeing has around 800 planes on its production line, due to heavy demand for the aircraft from commercial and military organisations across the world.

The aircraft is claimed to offer greater fuel efficiency from its lightweight, as well as customisable interiors, cleaner air, a lower cabin altitude, high humidity, better windows, and more overhead storage space for aircraft passengers, making it the most sought after next generation aircraft, prior to its recent problems.

Silversea Announces New Voyages in 2013

Silversea Cruises, a cruise operator, has announced a new collection of eight short cruises for 2013.

The company is offering four- to seven-day voyages to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean for busy professionals looking for a short break.

The new shorter voyages for 2013 include the four-day Northern Europe Voyage aboard the Silver Cloud, from June 15 to 19, 2013, a Mediterranean Voyage aboard the Silver Wind, from March 16 to 20, 2013, a Mediterranean Voyage aboard the Silver Wind from May 14 to 18, 2013, a five-day Mediterranean Voyage aboard the Silver Wind, from March 11 to 16, a five-day Mediterranean Voyage aboard the Silver Wind, from May 18 to 23, and many more.

Ellen Bettridge, the company president for the Americas, said, ‘Many travellers today have busy schedules that make it difficult to fit in time for an extended luxury cruise vacation. It’s important for us to offer options that cater to these consumers as well as those who have time for longer voyages.’

The shorter cruises range from four to seven days, with fares commencing from £1,040, and are claimed to be the perfect way for first-timers to sample a cruise. The cruises are available to book through the Silversea website (

The company also has a special collection of extended voyages from 34 to 54 days on offer for travellers who enjoy a more relaxed pace.

Ellen Bettridge, said, ‘Our Grand Voyages are the perfect option for true travel enthusiasts who can spare the time and prefer a more immersive on-shore experience. You can circle South America, sail around Europe or sweep across hemispheres between Asia and the Americas-all while enjoying the personalised luxury of our intimate ships and all-inclusive shipboard lifestyle.’

Emirates Announces New Service to Tokyo

UAE-based airline company, Emirates, has increased its commitment to Japan with the introduction of a new service between Dubai and Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

The daily, non-stop flights will be commencing from June 3, 2013. Haneda Airport is the 131st destination served by the airline, and a three-class Boeing 777-200LR will operate the service

Thierry Antinori, Emirates executive vice president for passenger sales worldwide, said, ‘As Emirates’ third gateway in Japan, the Dubai to Haneda route will help to build on the vibrant relationship between the United Arab Emirates and Japan, in terms of trade and increasing the opportunities for business and tourism.

Emirates has been operating to Japan since 2002 when we introduced non-stop flights to Osaka; our commitment continued when we launched flights to Narita International Airport in 2010.

We are confident that the demand in terms of both passengers and cargo is strong enough to warrant Emirates operating non-stop, daily flights to both of Tokyo’s airports, offering our passengers more flexibility on the route to Dubai and onwards to over 70 destinations in the Indian Ocean, Middle East, Africa and Europe.’

The airline had previously announced another new service, this time to Poland, commencing from February 6, 2013. The airline is offering a daily service to Warsaw in Poland, from Dubai in the UAE, with a 237 seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

The airline is currently offering five flights daily for its passengers from London Heathrow Airport in the UK to Dubai, as well as two flights daily to Dubai from Glasgow Airport in Scotland. The airline also offers direct to Dubai flights from Birmingham, London Gatwick, Manchester and Newcastle airports in the UK.

British Airways Offers Perfect Tea Blend for Altitude

UK based airline, British Airways, is partnering with Twinings, a tea marketing company, to offer an innovative tea blend to its passengers.

The new tea has been specially blended to be palatable at higher altitudes, and will be available on the airline’s flights from February 1, 2013, for passengers in all cabins. Recent research has shown that the taste of standard beverages can fade by around 30 percent at 35,000 feet. The new blend is expected to counteract this effect and provide the real goodness of a blended tea to the airline’s passengers, even at cruising altitude.

Kate Thornton, the head of product and service at the airline, said, ‘British Airways has decided to lead a campaign to improve tea in the air. With an incredible number of teas available from around the world, there is a real opportunity to create innovative new flavours, perfect for flight. At British Airways we serve 35 million cups a year and we are proud to have what we believe is the best traditional British cuppa in the air.’

The airline has recently added a number of other enhancements to its services, including offering complimentary hotel rooms to visitors to the UK as part of its endorsement of the ‘Big British Invite’ promotion, in partnership with VisitBritain, the official tourism website for Great Britain.

The airline is currently offering two nights complimentary stay to customers that buy a roundtrip airfare between the US and the UK. The offer is valid until March 31, 2013, for travel from January 9, 2013, to May 31, 2013. During the promotional period, the airline is offering hotel accommodation for roundtrip airfares that originate in the US.

Europcar Announces Addition of BMW Models to Fleet

Europcar, a France-based car rental company, will soon be offering its customers the choice of hiring a BMW.

Reacting to customer demand, the company will be including the BMW 3 and 5 Series vehicles as part of its Prestige by Europcar fleet. These vehicles are claimed to offer a superlative driving experience, and a number of customisation options for customers, and they can be booked for rental from February onwards.

Ken McCall, the managing director of Europcar UK Group, said, ‘BMW stands for engineering perfection, elegance and class, so we are really excited to be adding these vehicles to the Prestige fleet.

Whether it’s impressing clients on a business trip or turning heads at a special event, driving a BMW makes travelling a pleasure rather than a chore.

Our new partnership with BMW ensures Europcar customers continue to gain access to some of the most desirable cars on the road today. And available from our national network of locations, the Prestige by Europcar fleet takes the stress out of travel and adds that touch of luxury.’

Recently, the company also introduced van hire to its range and is offering discounted rentals on all van hire booked up until January 31, for reservations up until August 31, this year.

Ken McCall said, ‘The current economic climate continues to put pressure on businesses of all sizes. But for those organisations that can plan ahead, our January sale provides a great way to manage transportation costs through the year. Hiring, rather than having to find the funds for vehicle purchase, makes a lot of sense for businesses. And our January sale makes it even more cost-effective to add extra fleet to meet big orders, providing a vital lifeline for SMEs keen to keep their drivers on the road.’

Action Holidays for Lovers of the Great Outdoors

Does your dream holiday involve big skies, raw natural beauty, and plenty of outdoor activities? Feel your riding skills could do with a boost – or a kick start – but can’t be bothered to take lessons?

What you need to look into is a dude-ranch holiday.

See Big-Sky Country the Right Way

Now, take a deep breath and put Billy Crystal and Jack Palance in City Slickers out of your mind for a minute. Drunken cowboys and terrifying trail bosses aren’t part of the package. But choose the right insurance – in this case you’ll probably need to get a specific Allianz single-trip travel insurance to cover you for the unexpected– and you’ll be ready and set to saddle up.

If you’re not safari-mad, but you still want your dose of sunshine, then America is just the place to get your riding kicks. Of course, you’ll need to make sure your policy covers you in the US, but for scenery and professionalism it’s hard to beat CowBoy Country ranches. And they come in all styles – from family-friendly guest ranches to toughen-you-up working ranches.

Luckily for lovers of the great outdoors, you’ve got all the Western-movie beauty you could ask for right where most dude ranches sit. Think high desert and canyons in Arizona and Texas, to snow-capped mountains and prairie in Idaho and Montana. And horseback riding gives you the chance to see it like few people do.

Do the Real Cowboy Thing on a Working Ranch

For intermediate and advanced riders, a stay on a working ranch is definitely worthwhile. Get the urbanite out of your system with fast-paced, overnight horse and cattle drives, where it’s all about round-ups, long rides, and campfire meals by clear lakes.

Most ranch stays are 7 nights, including a  couple of days to get used to your horse and then wind down after the drive. So you’ll have a good four days out ‘working’. Then you can tell everyone back home that you’ve herded hundreds of Longhorn cattle or frisky colts.

Soak Up the Scenery on a Guest Ranch

Or go for the gentler guest-ranch experience where you can take daily rides along mountain trails and through the desert, depending on your skills. Beginners who don’t fancy 8 hours in the saddle can still get intensive lessons, but in an amazing setting rather than the pony ring

Guest ranches will also have activities for non-riders or those who just want a day out of the saddle. If you’re thinking more about relaxing, check if there’s a heated pool or games room. Some ranches also offer extra sports activities like hiking and white-water rafting.

Ranch-Hand Meals

All that activity helps you make the most of a very important part of any US visit – the food.

One of the things I love most about dude-ranch holidays is the food. Whether you’re waking at sunrise to coffee and bacon strips cooked over an open fire, or settling down to a melting-soft steak, homegrown veg, and freshly-dug potatoes after a trail ride, the cowboy diet is the crown on the whole ranch experience.