Jet2 announces offer for ski carriage from London Stansted, expands other winter services

As the 2017 ski season is set to begin, British low-cost airline Jet2 has announced an offer for ski carriage on its popular ski routes in Europe – Geneva, Grenoble, Salzburg and Lyon – from its newest UK base, London Stansted.

Under the offer, skiers and boarders can take 22kg of ski carriage for £1 return on featured flights from London Stansted, subject to certain terms and conditions. As part of its winter 2017-18 programme, Jet2 will operate flights to the four ski destinations in Europe from London Stansted. The offer applies to new bookings on the four routes, it said.

Tickets are available to book until Thursday November 30, 2017, and available for travel between Thursday November 30, 2017 and Monday, April 30, 2018, Jet2 noted.

Jet2 earlier this month announced an expansion to its winter schedule for 2018-19, with over 450,000 seats on sale from London Stansted to 18 destinations, including a new weekly winter service to Antalya. In addition, Jet2 will operate winter services to Nice, offering holidaymakers an opportunity to enjoy the winter sun on the French Riviera. The airline also announced a major expansion of its winter programme to Canary Islands with more services to Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Anzarote and Tenerife. A total of 180,000 seats are on sale to the Canaries next winter, it said.

The airline also announced a new winter service for 2018-19 from London Stansted to Larnaca, and a year round service to Paphos as part of an expansion of its programme to Cyrus.

In addition, Jet2 has also announced an expansion of its ski programme to European ski resorts for winter 2018-2019 with more capacity to Geneva, Grenoble and Salzburg, in addition to Lyon services. The schedule of the ski flights is available at

easyJet announces spring and early summer flights on sale across Europe

easyJet, the UK-based budget airline, has announced the sale of its flight services for spring and early summer 2018, offering flights across Europe for booking until June 24, 2018.

The European budget airline is offering a number of routes from across UK airports to destinations including Bristol to Faro from £28.49, Bristol to Cyprus Paphos from £58.49, Bristol to Barcelona from £24.99, London Gatwick to Barcelona from £24.99, Liverpool to Alicante from £17.99, Newcastle to Malaga from £17.99, Bristol to Naples from £30.49, and London Stansted to Naples from £26.99. Fares are per person, one way, based on two people travelling on the same booking. Tickets are available for booking at, the airline said.

Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s UK Director, said: ‘We’re really pleased to be putting our flights for spring 2018 on sale today. Passengers can look forward to even more low fares to Europe’s best beach and city destinations.’

‘For those who are looking for inspiration on where to go on their break, our Inspire Me app available on our website helps travellers to find flights tailored to their budget and travel dates.’

easyJet Holidays have also launched holidays up until June 24, 2017 with an offer of up to £120 off per booking, including peak season times such as Christmas and New Year, when booked by November 2, 2017.

easyJet has bases across 11 UK airports and flies to more than 800 routes on its network across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

British Airways offering return flights to European destinations for £35

British Airways has announced return flights to several European destinations for a price of £35, plus 9,000 Avios as part of its Reward Flight Saver scheme.

The airline is offering a return price of £35 plus 9,000 Avios to destinations including Nice, Amsterdam, Zurich, Paris, Dublin, Brussels, Munich and Geneva. In addition, it is offering a return of £35 plus 15,000 Avios to customers choosing to travel to Oslo, Rome, Berlin and Stockholm.

James Hillier, The Executive Club manager, said: ‘We know our Executive Club members love to have a range of ways to collect and spend Avios so we are delighted to be able to offer return flights from just £35 plus 9,000 Avios, including all taxes, fees and charges, to a host of popular European destinations like Paris, Nice and Amsterdam to name a few, so there is plenty of choice for everyone.’

Lisa Harris, Customer Director at Avios, added: ‘It’s easy to collect Avios, not only through British Airways flights, hotel bookings and car hire, but also on day-to-day shopping via the British Airways Avios eStore where you will discover over 800 plus retail partners including some or your high street favourites. With so many easy ways to collect, that next travel adventure really is within touching distance.’

The flights are available for booking, enabling holidaymakers to plan a post-summer getaway. Travellers can book through British Airways’ app or website via the Reward Flight Saver page. To book using Reward Flight Saver, Executive Club members must have collected at least one Avios in the past 12 months.

Reward Flight Saver is available year round, the airline said.

British Airways adds seven new routes to summer schedule at London Heathrow

British Airways has announced the addition of seven new routes to its summer schedule at London Heathrow.

The airline has added Brindisi, Montpellier, Murcia, Nantes, Pula, Tallinn and Zakynthos, which will be available for booking effective immediately. The first services will commence from March 28, 2017. All destinations will be served by a mixture of A319 and A320 aircraft from Heathrow Terminal 3 and 5.

Flights to the sun-spot of Brindisi, located on the Adriatic Sea, will be operated on Tuesday and Saturday starting June 3, 2017, with fares starting from £85 return. Meanwhile, fares to Murcia, known for its golf courses, will start from £65 return, with flights operating on Tuesday and Saturday starting from March 28, 2017.

Flights to the French city of Nantes – gateway to Brittany and the Loire Valley and famous for Muscadet wines – will launch on March 29, 2017, with return fares starting from £71. The twice weekly flights will be operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

A twice weekly service to Montpellier will start operating from May 3, 2017, offering holidaymakers a break to the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of the Pyrenees, from just £78 return. The twice weekly flights will be operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For water sport lovers, British Airways has launched a two-per-week direct service to the Croatian coastal town of Pula starting July 4, 2017. Fares start from £76 per person, operating on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The Estonian capital of Tallinn, one of the best preserved European medieval cities and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, will also be added to the airline’s short-haul network from March 28. The flights will be operated on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with fares from £65 per person. The airline has also announced a twice weekly service to Zakynthos, operating on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting June 3, 2017, with fares starting from £81.00.

Neil Cottrell, British Airways’ head of planning, said: ‘We are thrilled to be launching seven new European routes this summer and we are confident these cities will be a big hit with holidaymakers, especially with return fares from just £65 per person.

‘More flights to more cities across Europe is fantastic news for families wanting to get away for summer sun or sightseeing and with so many new routes from London, extra services to Palermo, Mykonos and Reykjavik and convenient flight times our customers have more choice than ever before.’

bmi regional hikes capacity for summer 2015, adds 60,000 extra seats

British regional airline bmi regional has announced plans to increase capacity across its network by 16 percent in summer 2015 following increased demand for its UK and European services.

Key European cities like Frankfurt and Brussels will benefit from the multiple daily flights, convenient flight schedules and new weekend flights. The frequency increases on key routes come as the regional airline is preparing for a new phase of growth.

The move will provide an additional 10,000 seats per month starting March 29, 2015. Cities including Aberdeen, Bristol, Brussels, Frankfurt and Munich are expected to benefit from the enhanced connectivity created through the move to triple daily flights and additional weekend services.

Flights from Newcastle and East Midlands to Brussels will increase to thrice daily, Monday to Friday. Bristol to Frankfurt will operate three daily while Bristol to Aberdeen will also have three daily flights.

bmi regional has also announced an additional weekend service from Bristol to Frankfurt and Munich, with extra flights on Saturday mornings facilitating weekend trips as well as more connections via Lufthansa’s Frankfurt and Munich hubs.

bmi regional chief executive, Cathal O’Connell, said: ‘Increasing our frequency and providing new Saturday services will contribute to an exciting period of growth for the airline. Our investment in new scheduled capacity will increase the number of worldwide connections we offer with our partners Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines to provide additional flexibility and choice to our customers.’

While flights from Bristol to Frankfurt and Munich are codeshares with Lufthansa, those from Newcastle and East Midlands to Brussels operate as codeshares with Brussels Airlines. The codeshare agreement allows bmi regional customers to continue their journeys from their local airport to destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa and America.

bmi regional will continue to offer its USPs across all of its services, including free 20kg baggage allowance for all passengers; 30-minute check-in and allocated seating; complimentary in-flight catering and full drinks service, and a schedule to suit the needs of business travellers.


Cruise and Maritime Voyages to launch river cruises

Ocean cruise specialist Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) is planning to start river cruises in Europe due to rising interest by voyagers.

The planned river cruises on the Rhine and Danube will start in May 2014 using a chartered vessel. CMV will be issuing a 12-page standalone brochure to market the new venture, which will be available for sale through travel agents and will also be available online at

Chris Coates, Commercial Director, CMV, said ‘We are entering the European river cruise market next year chartering the stylish Vienna 1 river ship. This premium plus vessel has been operated by a number of luxury river cruise operators in 2013 offering a high level of comfort and decor with most cabins having French balconies.’

He added: ‘CMV are specialists in offering scenic ocean cruise holidays on board smaller sized classic ships providing a leisurely and friendly style of cruising with high levels of customer service. Our on board customer questionnaires indicate that over 80% of our passengers would consider taking a river cruise. We also know that our current cruise programme, that includes many European ports situated on rivers, is already popular. It is therefore a natural progression for CMV to add river cruises to our portfolio.’

The first departure – ‘Magical Rhine’ – will start on May 19 for seven nights from Nuremberg through to Amsterdam. On a ‘Grand European Discovery’ cruise departing May 26 for 14 nights the ship will sail from Amsterdam down to Budapest – cruising the Rhine and Danube.

On June 9, a reversed itinerary will operate between Budapest and Amsterdam. These 14 night itineraries are also available as seven night sectors to/from Nuremberg. Optional pre- and post- cruise city stays are also available in Amsterdam, Prague (from Nuremberg) and Budapest.

Prices start at £1,199 per person for seven nights including flights and transfers, full board cuisine, selected drinks with lunch and dinner, entertainment and a range of half-day excursions. Two week prices start from £1,999pp.

Global tourism registers five percent growth, helped by Europe

Global tourism has grown by five percent in the first eight months of the year, hitting a record 747 million international tourist arrivals, Travel Weekly has reported, citing the latest figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Helped by strong results in Europe, Asia/Pacific and the Middle East, the 2013 figures were 38 million more than in the same period of 2012. Europe, registered a 5 percent growth, with an estimated 20 million more arrivals in the region.

Speaking at the opening of the European Tourism Forum in Vilnius, UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai, said: ‘While global economic growth is in low gear, international tourism continues to produce above average results in most world regions, offering vital opportunities for employment and local economies.

‘This is particularly important for Europe, where unemployment is a major concern in many destinations and where the tourism sector has been a source of job growth in the last decade.

‘Furthermore, through its value chain, tourism creates businesses and jobs in many other sectors and produces significant export revenues which contribute favourably to the balance of payments in many countries.’

While the 100 million figure was exceeded for the first time in June, the peak summer months saw international arrivals exceed the 125 million mark in both July and August.

The largest international tourism earners saw receipts increase in double-digits, including Thailand at 27 percent, Hong Kong registering 25 percent, Turkey at 22 percent, Japan at 19 percent, the UK at 18 percent, Greece at 15 percent, India at 14 percent, Malaysia by 12 percent and the US by 11 percent.

Tourism spending was slower in the advanced economies, with Canada, the UK, France and the US registering less than 5 percent increase, Germany at zero percent increase, while Japan, Australia and Italy saw declines in expenditure.

The emerging economies are ahead in international tourism expenditure, with all BRIC countries except India, reporting double-digit growth, the report said.


EU MPs reject move to harmonise pilots’ working hours

EU MPs have rejected the move to harmonise pilots working hours across the EU, The Telegraph has reported.

The harmonisation move could have effectively increased the working hours for British pilots. The vote by the EU and Transport and Tourism Select Committee was hailed by pilots unions, including the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), which had warned that it could put passenger safety at risk. However, the vote was condemned by the aviation industry.

‘We are really surprised after two years of consultation it can be rejected,’ said a spokesman for the European Low Fares Airline Association, whose members include Ryanair and easyJet. ‘There were penalties for airlines, which we accepted because of the benefit of harmonising arrangements across Europe.’

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commissioner, said, ‘This vote puts at risk key measures to improve aviation safety. Safety is the first priority for the EU and the sole objective of this revision. Pilot fatigue is a very serious issue and that’s why there are already strong EU rules in place.”

The all-party Transport Select Committee at Westminster, which shared BALPA’s concerns, said that the proposed changes would have led to a lowering of standards in the UK.

Jim McAuslan, the general secretary of BALPA, welcomed the decision saying: ‘British pilots with 40 million hours of flying experience between them and by the public, 90 percent of whom are concerned that a pilot could be landing their aircraft having been awake for 22 hours.

‘The commission must now go back to the drawing board and work with pilots and scientists to develop rules on flying time and tiredness that are based on evidence and expert experience.’

The vote comes after a BALPA survey found that nearly half its members had fallen asleep in the cockpit, with one in three saying that they had woken up to find their co-pilot also asleep. BALPA has warned the proposed changes would lead to pilots being awake for 22 hours if standby hours are taken into account, which could risk passenger safety.

The EU had said the changes were essential to ensure airlines in all 27 member states operated on a level playing field. According to proposed rules, pilots could work a maximum of 110 hours in a two-week period, more than the 95-hour limit under British regulations. At nights the flight limit would be extended to 11 hours from the current 10-hour limit.

Though endorsed by ministers, euro-MPs have voted by 20 to 13 to reject the move. A final decision is expected at the full session of the European Parliament later this year. If approved, the new rules drawn up by the European Aviation Safety Agency would have come into force in 2015.


Travellers urged to confirm currency requirements, use cash-cards

One-tenth of holidaymakers are unsure of the legal currency at their destination and carry the wrong currency especially when travelling on holiday to European countries, according to a survey by the International Currency Exchange (ICE).

ICE plc, a UK-based foreign exchange and prepaid currency card provider, has conducted a survey of 2,000 people who went on holiday in August. The agency is now urging holidaymakers and travellers to double-check the legal currency in use at their destinations and not to assume that any European country will accept euros, according to Travellers to Euro destinations are also urged to use a fee free and secure prepaid currency card, such as the ICE Travellers Cashcard, to avoid confusion.

Tom Johnson, head of ICE Online Business said: ‘It’s easy to assume that if it’s Europe it must be euro.

‘It’s even easier to assume it’s euro if it’s an EU country. But currently only 17 of 28 EU members have adopted the European currency, creating some currency confusion for travellers. ‘

For example, while Poland is part of the EU, the currency currently in use in the country remains the Zloty, not euros. Similarly, despite being in the EU, Denmark and Sweden both use their own form of the Krone, while Finland use euros. Croatia, the latest country to join the EU, is currently advising travellers to take both euro and Kuna.

Johnson said: ‘Wherever holidaymakers are heading, it’s important to do some research on the local currency. The Eurozone may seem familiar territory, but it still has some surprises up its sleeve and holidaymakers can get caught out. Order the right currency before leaving the UK, preferably online to obtain the most competitive rates and to avoid additional charges incurred through ATMs when using debit and credit cards abroad.

‘Travellers to Euro destinations can also consider a fee-free, prepaid currency card such as the ICE Travellers Cashcard, as a more secure and convenient way to pay for goods and services than carrying cash.’

The ICE Travellers Cashcard is a fee-free, PIN-protected Mastercard prepaid currency card that claims to offer travellers a secure and convenient method of payment overseas. Provided with a free back up card if the first is lost or stolen, the card has no ATM charges, no penalty fees, no fees for topping up and offers 1 percent cashback on all point of sale purchases.

Britons face high costs when driving in Europe

Failing to take out excess waiver insurance (EWI) can cost holidaymakers that hire cars in Europe up to £1,186.

EWI reduces the excess payable for accidents or theft to zero. However, a report by UK Post Office Travel Money Car Rental found that nearly two-thirds, or 63 percent, of holidaymakers who hired a car to drive overseas, paid only the basic rental charge and failed to take out EWI.

The Post Office analysed the excess charges in 19 European holiday destinations and found that they were lowest in Turkey at £400 and Bulgaria at £404. However, the cost could rise to more than double this amount. The excess charges levied in Italy were £842, while in Norway holiday motorists could face costs of £893, and in Portugal £961.

In Switzerland, those that venture out without EWI could pay £1,064 or more if their car is damaged or stolen, and £1,186 in Ireland.

According to the research, nearly 80 percent of holiday motorists also failed to take out insurance cover for tyre, undercarriage and window damage, thus facing hundreds of pounds in excess charges. However, the Post Office also found that paying for the extra cover when hiring a car from airports at holiday destinations could also add hundreds of pounds to rental costs. For example, the cost of including EWI and tyre, undercarriage and window damage insurance adds £152 to a week’s basic car rental package of £124 in Spain’s Costa del Sol, while the charge for an additional driver adds another £41.

The Costa del Sol was just one of six destinations where rental costs doubled when extras were added. The others were the Costa Blanca, Tenerife, Majorca, Larnaca and Dublin. Car hire extras costs are reportedly cheapest in Marmaris, Turkey, at around £35 for EWI and £19 for an additional driver, but were almost four times costlier at Pisa Airport in Italy (£205).

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: ‘Car hire costs can go through the roof when extras are added so it is understandable that many motorists go for the cheapest rate offered when booking online. It can also be very difficult to find out the cost of Excess Waiver Insurance before travel and it is only when collecting the car that what seemed a cheap deal becomes a very expensive one.

‘However, the consequence of not paying for the extra insurance could be a much higher bill if you have an accident or if another driver hits your car and leaves without giving his details. There is an easy solution to this because you can buy an insurance policy before leaving home for a fraction of the cost of EWI. The lowest cost we found was around GBP14 for a week’s insurance compared with an average of almost £102 for EWI in Europe,’ he said, adding: ‘In many cases drivers must pay for car hire extras when they collect their rental car, so it makes sense to carry enough foreign currency to cover this – rather than incur charges for paying on plastic.’