TUI UK launches Dreamliner flight service from Doncaster Sheffield to Florida

TUI UK, the UK-based holiday operator, has launched its new TUI Airways Dreamliner flight from Doncaster Sheffield airport to Orlando Sanford in Florida.

The new weekly flight to Sanford, Florida will be operated on Boeing 787.

In addition, TUI also announced a new summer 2020 route to Cancun from Doncaster Sheffield Airport, as well as a further new route to Girona, Spain.

Dawn Wilson, Managing Director of TUI Airways said: ‘We are so excited to be launching flights from Doncaster Sheffield to Florida today as we know how popular Florida is for UK holidaymakers and the importance of flying from a local airport. We’re always looking at ways to provide a seamless, end-to-end experience for our customers, which is why we continue to introduce more and more fantastic destinations from regional airports.

‘We are also delighted to be announcing a brand-new summer 2020 route from Doncaster Sheffield to Girona, a popular Spanish destination which will operate alongside another long-haul favourite Cancun, Mexico. We are confident customers will benefit from our continued growth at Doncaster Sheffield airport.’

Chris Harcombe, Aviation Development Director at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: ‘This is a momentous day for us here at DSA. The team has been excited about this maiden long-haul flight since it was first announced in 2018, increasing TUI seats from DSA by 25% from this April. This and the new route to Girona illustrates huge confidence in DSA and our established reputation for an easy, friendly, relaxed service for our customers. We’re proud to be the home of long-haul flights for the region and look forward to our Cancun service starting next year.’

TUI Airways has three aircraft based at Doncaster Sheffield, and will be flying to 27 destinations this summer.

Thomas Cook Airlines offers premium service from Cardiff to Orlando

Thomas Cook Airlines, a British charter airline based in Manchester, will operate a one-off flight to Orlando on its long haul Airbus A330 fleet next summer, on Friday August 28, 2015, Cardiff Airport said in a release.

Offering holidays for 14 nights, Thomas Cook’s return flight only prices start from £537 (Adult Economy), £466 (Child Economy) and £771 (Premium). Thomas Cook’s Orlando holidays on offer include 14 nights at the Rosen Inn from £949, based on two adults sharing a standard room, on a room only basis. The new service is on sale now alongside a range of package holidays.

The airline has also announced that it plans to run a further flight in 2016 – on Wednesday 25th May, also for a 14 night departure.

Rob Thompson, Thomas Cook Airline’s Director of Commercial and Planning, said, ‘It’s great news for our customers in the South Wales and West of England region that we’re able to offer our first long haul flight for many years from Cardiff Airport – due to popular demand. It’s also a flight which will benefit from the recent announcement of the abolition of APD for the under 12’s travelling in economy – which means our long haul flights are ever better value for families.

‘Like many of our long haul routes, the Orlando flight will feature one of our new refurbished fleet, with our new Premium service. Our brand new long haul Economy cabins and service will challenge perceptions of our airline, and our new Premium will ensure our customers experience a great range of services, flying in style to their summer break.’

Spencer Birns, Aviation Business Development Director at Cardiff Airport said: ‘We are really pleased with Thomas Cook’s decision to operate flights to Orlando from Cardiff next summer and in 2016. Thomas Cook has recognised the big demand in Wales for Florida flights and we’re pleased our customers are being offered more travel options to popular holiday destinations from Cardiff Airport.’

The flight to Orlando will feature 49 Premium and 265 Economy seats. Thomas Cook Airlines has recently announced a new cabin experience for customers on its Airbus A330 long haul fleet, with new Economy and Premium services from May 2015. With a James Martin three course premium meal service including complimentary drinks, the new on demand in-flight entertainment system, as well as ergonomically designed seats with extra legroom options, the airline promises to offer an improved travel experience.

 

BA’s ‘Dreamflight’ takes 192 children on their dream holiday

British Airways (BA) ‘Dreamflight’ set off from Heathrow on Sunday taking 192 children on their 10-day dream holiday to Florida.

Co-founded by retired British Airways cabin crew member, Patricia Pearce MBE, Dreamflight is a UK charity focused on changing young lives by taking seriously ill and disabled children from all over the UK on a life-changing holiday to Disney World and Florida. Operating every year since 1987, ‘Dreamflight’ has been supported by British Airways since the beginning, helping over 5,000 children in total.

The especially liveried ‘Dreamflight’ aircraft, a British Airways Boeing 747, is chartered once a year, and children spend 10 fun-filled days away from family in Florida, discovering freedom, self-confidence, and a new outlook on life. During their holiday, they will visit Disney and Universal parks and also swim with Dolphins at Sea Worlds’ discovery cove.

Long-term patron of the charity, Sir Cliff Richard, was present to see the children off, along with gardening TV celebrity, Charlie Dimmock, who will be accompanying two children on the trip.

Sir Cliff said: ‘Dreamflight is a charity very close to my heart and I’m so pleased I can be part of this day to see the joy, and happiness this trip to Florida brings the children.’

British Airways captain, Andrew Bean, said: ‘I feel honoured to be flying the Dreamflight group of children to Florida. The children are such an inspiration to us all and it’s wonderful to be part of this special trip.’

Dreamflight children have made remarkable achievements in life. According to the website, in 2008, eight of the Paralympians who competed in Beijing, including the charity’s patron, Liz Johnson, had been Dreamflight children. Liz won Gold in the 100m Breaststroke at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, and now provides great support for Dreamflight. She also serves as an inspiration for the children with her success story of becoming a world-class athlete.

 

Florida backtracks on law that penalised British car hirers

The authorities in Florida, USA, have backtracked on a recently introduced law that penalised British visitors wishing to hire a car in the southern state.

The law stated that all drivers of hire cars in Florida had to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) in order that an English translation of their licence was always available for production. While the law was introduced to account for the many foreign language visitors that descend on Florida each year, there was no exemption for carriers of English language licences from the UK, Canada and Australia, all of whom had been able to drive in Florida on presentation of their domestic driving licences until the law was passed. Also, the law was introduced in January with no great publicity, so British travellers were only made aware of its implications when they arrived to pick up their hire car and were told that they did not have the correct documentation.

Florida-based car hire companies who saw the legislation as a threat to their very lucrative business in fly-drive holidays soon took up the issue, and the authorities initially bowed to the pressure by saying that the law would not be enforced. When it became clear that drivers were still wary of the possible implications of flouting a standing law, despite the authorities’ assurance that they would not be penalised, the law was finally repealed. So, once again British visitors to Florida only need to carry their UK driving licence by law.

However, Rosie Sanderson, head of International Travel at the AA, told the Daily Mail, ‘Car hire companies and insurance companies can still impose their own terms and conditions and I certainly advise that travellers check with their intended car provider prior to travel or obtain the IDP as a precautionary measure.’

An IDP can be obtained from a UK Post Office for £5.50 and lasts for one year.

Florida puts foreign driving licence law on hold

The state of Florida in the US has put a controversial driving licence law on hold.

The law, which was passed with little publicity last year, stated that all foreign drivers should carry an international driving permit. Although the law was brought in to ensure that all drivers in Florida carried a version of their licence that was printed in English, its wording meant that holders of British and Canadian licences were also legally obligated to purchase a permit at a cost of just over £16.

The law caused an outcry, not only from British and Canadian drivers arriving in Florida, often unaware of the legislation, but also from the state’s car rental companies who had to deal directly with the disgruntled visitors. Now, the law has been put on hold while alternatives are considered, and those responsible for passing it have apologised for their oversight.

Florida state Republican, Ben Albritton, who introduced the bill, said in the Tampa Bay Times, ‘This one I just missed. I want to tell the people in Canada I am sorry. If I messed something up, I am man enough to fix it.’

And John Tupps, the deputy press secretary for Florida governor, Rick Scott, said. ‘We will work with the legislature to amend the law this year so it does not burden international visitors to our state, who make up an important part of our tourism industry.’

Despite the climb down, the Canadian Automobile Authority is still recommending that Canadian Nationals visiting Florida continue to purchase an international permit until the law is officially changed.

Each year, approximately 3 million Canadians and 1.3 million British travellers visit Florida.

Florida tightens driving rules for Britons

Even as thousands of British holidaymakers are heading for half-term holidays in Florida, the administration in Florida has tightened rules to dissuade rash and unsafe driving.

The administration has issued a warning that foreign drivers would need to carry an international driving permit as well as their local driving license to be authorised to drive a vehicle in Florida. The law could lead to jail terms for people who violate the law.

Until this year, drivers only needed a standard British photo card licence with the green counterpart to drive in the US. But Florida’s legislature has changed rules that would require them to also carry the international permit as well as their national licence. Violation of the law would lead to harsh penalties and mandatory court appearances, authorities warned.

A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said, ‘We have raised changes to Florida driving laws with the Florida authorities. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has advised us that they are urgently looking to amend the law for those countries who issue driving licences in English.’

Few British motorists carry the permit, which costs £5.50. It is issued by the AA and RAC by post. They can also be obtained in person at Post Offices.

About one million UK citizens visit Florida annually. Elle Hubbard of the rental broker, Tripwheels, said, ‘We had hoped that perhaps there might be a ‘grace period’ or leniency shown given that many tourists will be already in Florida and unaware of the new rules. However, we were told ‘Law enforcement is there to enforce the laws, we are not selective nor can we disregard the law.’

Plan Your Summer Trip for 2013 Now

Planning your summer trip next year, looking at those rain clouds hovering over Britain? Then here are some destinations finding favour with UK travellers for those looking forward to sunnier weather.

Direct Destinations, a UK based travel company, is suggesting that a popular travel destination for British travellers is the US. In 2012, travellers from the UK to the US increased 4% over that in 2011. Popular destinations in the US include California, New York and Florida.

Florida is the most popular US destination for British families with its sunny beaches and famous attractions, including Walt Disney World Resort, and the recently opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Families are also opting for Cyprus, in the Mediterranean, for the sun and sea experience. In 2012 to date, around 100,000 UK residents have visited the island country, with its rich heritage and culture – a mingle of flavours from Europe, Asia and Africa.

A travel price comparison website, dealchecker.co.uk, has suggested that Dubai, in the UAE, is also proving to be a popular choice with British families for vacations. In the spring and summer of 2012, UK travellers searching for holidays in Dubai increased by 36% compared to the same period in the preceding year. Another report, by ACI Passenger and Freight Flash Report, said that Dubai International Airport has reported a 13.7% increase in passenger traffic in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Mark Attwell, the managing director of dealchecker.co.uk, said, ‘Cities across the Middle East and Asia have grown in popularity this year, from the relatively nearby Dubai and Istanbul to far-flung hotspots like Hong Kong and Beijing. From London, you can fly to Dubai in the same time that it takes to drive to Scotland, making this exciting and family-friendly city more accessible than ever.’

Isaac ruins travel plans

Travel and tourism have been badly affected throughout south Florida in recent days because of tropical storm, Isaac.

Tourists and travellers were stranded at airports and ports after flights and cruise ships were cancelled due to bad weather. However, it is expected that travel will resume from Tuesday after the storm started to abate and show signs of moving on.

Stranded passengers from all over the world had no choice but to sit and wait for the storm to pass after learning that their flights could be delayed for two to three days. Weather forecasts suggest that while air and sea travel in south Florida could return to normal by Tuesday, cities along the nation’s northern Gulf will continue to suffer weather-related restrictions.

On Monday, local travellers were left stranded after 158 flights were cancelled and 117 delayed at Miami-Dade. About a dozen flights were cancelled and 30 delayed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Port Miami had been closed until Monday afternoon and some cruise ships were delayed. Cruise passengers had to stay on their ships for longer than expected and had to join the queues to search for temporary lodging or to change flight plans after landing. Some cruise lines offered compensation to clients for the delay in reaching port.

Hundreds of flights to New Orleans are due to be cancelled on Tuesday and Wednesday.

For their part, air carriers are mostly allowing customers to change their flights without penalty, even though some conditions apply. Most firms are waiving change fees and some are not charging for the difference in rebooked fares.

Avatar theme park to break boundaries

The blockbuster success of Avatar made left many fans wishing they lived in James Cameron’s fictional world. Whilst they may not be able to visit the real thing, Cameron will be working with Disney to create an Avatar-themed park at Walt Disney World Florida.

 

The new attraction will be situated within the Animal Kingdom area, with the construction planned to begin in 2013 – costing an estimated $400m.

 

The director of the major £D movie will help to design the park, which he stated would ‘go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling’.

 

The park will see the planet Pandora created – park visitors will be able to walk through rainforests and ‘experience the oceans’.

 

The beautiful setting of Avatar will be brought to life using animatronics and 3-D and holographic technology.

 

‘The scenes that people liked best were not the obvious things like the big battle scenes,’ Mr Cameron said. ‘It was the creatures, it was learning to fly, it was being in the forest at night.

 

‘So here’s an opportunity…to bring this world to life and get you to wander in it and see things you didn’t see in either in the first film or the subsequent two.’

 

Adding to the experience visitors will be able to explore new locations, characters and stories planned especially for the park.

 

Two more Avatar films are currently in the pipe-line, and the new theme park is rumoured to featured animals and characters that will not be revealed to film goers until the second and third movie come out in 2014 and 2015.

 

The new part of the theme park aims to go beyond current boundaries, bringing the world of Avatar into reality.

 

 

Travel to the Heart of Florida… to yes, you’ve Guessed it – Orlando

The Doubletree Resort Orlando is the perfect hotel choice for those looking to enjoy the fun of Orlando. The Doubletree Resort Orlando is located in the centre of the magic, next door to SeaWorld and across the street from Aquatica, and only a short drive away from Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disneyworld Resort. The hotel prides itself on its contemporary style following a recent multi-million dollar renovation, and boasts a spa, three swimming pools, a mini golf course and a games room. With plenty to keep the kids occupied, and a sleek design with modern interiors, the Doubletree Resort Orlando is the perfect hotel for both children and adults.

Just a short ride away in the heart of Downtown Disney, the Disney Port Orleans Riverside Resort offers a taste of New Orleans and its Southern hospitality. The Disney Port Orleans Riverside Resort features Mississippi style rivers where guests can take advantage of the riverboats which travel up and down the waterways. With a number of different food outlets (which even includes a pizza delivery service to rooms!), a whopping seven swimming pools, and transport links straight to Walt Disneyworld Resort, the Disney Port Orleans Riverside Resort is an ideal hotel to come back to after a tiring day at the theme parks!

Orlando hotels must be among some of the most expansive and entertaining resorts the US has to offer. With Orlando hotels dotted from International drive, Walt Disneyworld Resort, Kissimmee to Universal Orlando Resort, there is a resort to suit every want or need whether that be a plethora of swimming pools, contemporary and modern design, delicious restaurants or close proximity to the fun and magic of Florida’s theme parks. In the heart of Florida, with exciting theme parks and attractions right on their doorstep it is no surprise that Orlando hotels attract families all year round and prove to be a favourite Virgin Holidays destination.

The Disney Yacht Club Resort is a favourite amongst kids thanks to the resorts three acres of swimming pools with water slides and whirlpools aplenty. The Disney Yacht Club Resort captures warm and hazy summer days on the Eastern Seaboards with classic, New England style surroundings. The nearby Epcot resort is just a short walk away, and Walt Disneyworld Resort is within easy access due to the hotels free transport system.

To book – www.virginholidays.co.uk or Call 0844 557 3859