CheapOair.com reveals popular European destinations this summer, London top

CheapOair.com, a US-focused online travel agency and provider of discount flights, has announced the most popular European destinations for summer travel in 2019.

Based on the travel trends and booking data, CheapOair revealed that London is the highest booked destination for the fourth straight year with an average roundtrip airfare of $783, a 10 per cent price decrease from 2018. London was also named the best-rated destination in the world by the 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for destinations, up from second place in 2018.

Based on its price- comparison and booking analysis, CheapOair also found that Greece is emerging as a popular destination among tourists and travellers. Athens continues to be a summer hot spot, with the price decreasing by four percent compared to 2018, making it a highly attractive destination this year.

‘Flying to Europe is becoming more affordable every year, which means it’s also becoming increasingly popular,’ said Tom Spagnola, Senior Vice President of Supplier Relations at CheapOair. ‘Consumers should take advantage of these low costs to experience European cities they haven’t been to before, but booking early is important as summer is the most popular travel season and costs will only increase from here.’

With its data on travel trends, CheapOair helps consumers and travel professionals in both planning their travel accommodations and staying current on the most popular destinations.

According to the data revealed by CheapOair, the average price to fly to European destinations has decreased by three percent this summer. With several major carriers introducing basic economy fares for trans-Atlantic flights, consumers are taking advantage of many affordable travel options to popular European cities, including Paris, Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid, it said.

British Airways launches ‘Flying with confidence’ course from London City Airport

British Airways has launched its first ever ‘Flying with Confidence’ course at London City Airport, as part of its centenary celebrations coming up in August.

The course, which has run for three decades, has helped more than 50,000 people overcome their fear of flying. It is run by British Airways Captain Steve Allright and a specialist team who will explain the technical side of flying, challenging regular areas of concern such as turbulence. The centenary celebrations include initiatives that are designed to look ahead to the next 100 years of aviation. There will also be advice from a clinical psychologist on relaxation techniques and managing anxiety, and the day will finish with a flight on a modern Embraer 170 jet.

Captain Allright believes the course will help more people than ever take to the skies in the future. ‘We love flying and want everyone to share that feeling of limitless opportunity and adventure that only air travel can really deliver. British Airways is the largest airline at London City Airport so we want to give nervous customers the chance to spread their wings and enjoy exploring all the new destinations we have to offer, most recently Split in Croatia,’ he said.

‘We’ve had so many incredibly heart-warming stories during the 33 years of the course, but what they all have in common is that we’re helping to connect people, and that definitely makes it all worthwhile,’ Allright added.

The one-day ‘Flying with Confidence’ course will start with presentations by British Airways pilots and a psychologist, at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, New Providence Wharf. It will conclude with a 45-minute flight on a British Airways aircraft with participants guided by the airline’s flight crew and supported by experienced cabin crew.

British Airways resumes London-Pakistan service after 10 years

British Airways has said that it has resumed its service between the UK and Pakistan after nearly 10 years.

The service will be operated three times a week on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from London Heathrow. The flight will be operated using a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner with World Traveller (long-haul economy), World Traveller Plus (long-haul premium economy) and Club World (long-haul business class).

Commenting on the service, Andrew Brem, Chief Commercial Officer at British Airways, he said: ‘Today is a great occasion for British Airways as we resume flights to Islamabad after a decade. The atmosphere on board our state-of-the-art 787 aircraft was spectacular, as was the warm welcome on the ground. British Airways has a proud history of flying to Pakistan – we first operated flights to Islamabad in 1976 – and we couldn’t be more excited to be back.’

Customers travelling will be offered customized services to enhance the onboard experience including a halal meal option in every cabin, while the airline will also ensure sauces in every meal do not include alcohol or pork. In addition, customers can also pre-order a range of special meal options including vegetarian and vegan options.

Further, the airline has a number of Pakistani and British Pakistani colleagues who speak Urdu.

British Airways’ long-haul flights allow one large cabin bag with a small laptop or handbag, and offers complimentary food and drink, online check-in and free seat selection 24 hours prior to departure. Customers landing in to London can connect on to British Airways’ network which includes over 30 destinations across North America, with over 70 flights per day to the US through the airline’s joint business with American Airlines. Customers can also connect to over 30 countries in Europe, the airline said.

Virgin Atlantic to relaunch London Heathrow- Mumbai service

Virgin Atlantic has recently announced plans to relaunch its flights between London Heathrow and Mumbai, India, with flights on sale starting tomorrow, May 28.

The daily service will be operated year-round with the first service commencing on October 27, 2019. The new service is in addition to the airline’s long established route between London and Delhi.

Juha Jarvinen, Executive Vice President, Commercial, at Virgin Atlantic, commented, ‘2019 marks a significant period of growth for Virgin Atlantic and I’m delighted that we’re continuing to expand our route network once more, by returning to Mumbai. Until recently we’ve been able to serve this important market through our partnership with Jet Airways, however, since Jet Airways has sadly suspended its operation, we now have an opportunity to provide alternative options for our customers and meet this demand.’

The Mumbai flights will be operated on Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft, offering customers Upper Class (31), Premium (35) and Economy Light, Classic and Delight cabins (192).

Virgin Atlantic offers a full on board service in each of its cabins, featuring complimentary food, drink and over 300 hours of entertainment across films, TV and music channels. All of the airline’s 787-9 are fully Wi-Fi enabled, allowing customers to stay connected throughout their flight.

The new Mumbai flight is Virgin Atlantic’s 27th daily service from London Heathrow and its third new route announcement this year. Flights to Tel Aviv, Israel are set to commence in September 2019, with flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil starting in 2020, the airline said in a release.

London Gatwick adds 10 new summer routes in response to travel trends

London Gatwick has recently announced the addition of ten brand new routes for this summer season, with nearly 17 million passengers expected to depart from the airport during the season.

In response to the summer travel trends from the airport, London Gatwick is introducing ten new routes this 2019 summer season, including from Rio, Brazil to Rijeka, Croatia. The new routes include three flights per week to Asturias, Spain; two flights per week to Chisinau, Moldova; seven flights per week to Cluj Napoca, Romania; seven flights per week to Gdansk, Poland; one flight per week to Lametia – Terme, Italy; seven flights per week to Miami, USA; one flight per week to Rijeka, Croatia; four flights per week to Rio, Brazil; five flights per week to San Francisco, USA; and, three flights per week to Zadar, Croatia.

In addition to new routes, airlines operating from Gatwick will also increase the number of flights they operate to a range of destinations. For summer 2019, Gatwick will see an increase in frequency of flights to Spanish destinations Almeria, Bilbao, Jerez and Alicante as well as to Antalya, Turkey, Kos, Greece and Budapest, Hungary.

Stephen King, Head of Airline Relations, Gatwick Airport said: This summer, ten new routes will start from Gatwick which is the very latest demonstration of passenger demand for flights from Gatwick. It shows that, even though it’s one of the busiest in Europe, airlines can still acquire slots and grow at our airport.

‘Rio de Janeiro has just joined Gatwick’s roster of long-haul connections while our airlines are opening up new must-see destinations to explore, particularly in Europe.

‘Our summer seat availability is nearly double that of our winter season. With the airport set to have its biggest ever summer this year, we are delighted to treble the days our in-terminal passenger entertainment of musicians, performers and comedians is available. ‘

Delta, Virgin Atlantic to launch London-Gatwick route from Boston and New York-JFK in 2020

Delta Airlines has announced the launch of two new international routes – nonstop services from Boston’s Logan International Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to London’s Gatwick Airport.

The new service will begin next summer in partnership with Virgin Atlantic. Full Gatwick schedule details will be announced later this year, the airline said.

In New York, the additional flight adds to Delta and Virgin’s combined eight daily flights to London-Heathrow – and three additional daily flights to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester – from Delta’s JFK hub.

‘Delta once again shows that we are able to connect Boston and New York to the world through an unmatched global network paired with our award-winning service, industry-leading reliability, and an enhanced customer experience both in the air and on the ground, said Roberto Ioriatti, Delta’s Vice President – Trans-Atlantic. ‘These new services will offer even more ways for our customers on both sides of the Atlantic to experience the products and services that set Delta and its partners apart while traveling to the destinations they value most.’

‘Virgin Atlantic is pleased to announce that we’re expanding at London Gatwick, with the addition of new routes to New York-JFK and Boston operated in partnership with Delta,’ said Juha Jarvinen, Executive Vice President – Commercial for Virgin Atlantic. ‘Together we offer customers an unrivalled choice of U.S. destinations and the leading transatlantic service as well as one of our newest and most luxurious Clubhouses, located in Gatwick’s north terminal. The new routes to New York and Boston will go on sale later this year and will complement the wide range of Caribbean and Florida flights already offered at London-Gatwick.’

Delta has also recently announced plans to enhance its aircraft on all flights between London-Heathrow and both Boston and JFK. Delta flights between Boston and London-Heathrow will now operate on an Airbus A330-200, which already serves Delta’s JFK-Heathrow flights and features additional premium seats.

British Airways commences new service between Inverness and London Heathrow

British Airways has commenced an early-morning flight between Inverness and London Heathrow – the first flight connecting the route for more than two decades.

The new morning service allows customers to travel between the two cities and return the same day, and will be supporting the business sector. Launched on March 28, the service was operated by an Airbus 319 aircraft. Departures from Inverness airport do not have Air Passenger Duty (APD), which also benefits the route.

The new Heathrow – Inverness schedule will see a 30 per cent increase in capacity on the route and brings the number of flights up to three return services on Saturdays and Sundays, with a double daily service Monday to Friday. From October, British Airways will operate a double daily service between the two cities seven days a week.

Phyllis Stuart, British Airways’ Airport Manager at Inverness Airport, said: ‘This is an important day for British Airways, for Inverness and for the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The introduction of our new and expanded schedule gives the people and businesses of Inverness and the Highlands and Islands even greater access to more than 150 destinations on our global network from Heathrow.

‘This is British Airways’ centenary year, so we were delighted that members of the Inverness Royal British Legion Pipe Band, which is also celebrating its 100th birthday, were with us today to mark the start of our new expanded schedule.’

Graeme Bell, General Manager at Inverness Airport, said: ‘The air link between these two cities goes from strength to strength and we very much welcome these additional flights. The new service will provide business travellers with more flexibility and connectivity between the two cities. The additional flights will also enhance worldwide connections to the Highlands and Islands, making the area even more attractive to overseas visitors keen to experience the best of what our region has to offer.’

Jurys Inn opens new hotel in Central London

Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels UK & Ireland has announced the addition of its newest hotel, Jurys Inn London Holborn, opening its doors to guests on April 9, 2019.

A hotel group in the UK and Ireland, Jurys Inn operates 37 hotels under the Jurys Inn brand and nine hotels under the Leonardo brand – 40 in the UK, four in Ireland, and one in Prague.

Located at 50-60 Southampton Row and formerly known as Grange Holborn Hotel, Jurys Inn London Holborn has over 200 bedrooms, meeting and events facilities, two bars, a restaurant, a Health & Leisure Centre and a Spa. The new hotel is located in the Midtown district between London City and West End, offering guests easy access to key city attractions. The hotel is near to the British Museum and Covent Garden, making it a central spot for guests visiting London for business or leisure.

Jason Carruthers, Managing Director of Jurys Inn & Leonardo Hotels UK and Ireland, said: ‘We are thrilled to be expanding our UK portfolio with this incredible London property. Whether you are planning a weekend city break, a business trip or a relaxing afternoon at the spa, we are excited to welcome guests old and new to experience our newest hotel.’

Jurys Inn London Holborn offers a large range of food and beverage options – from Koto Japanese restaurant, serving speciality ethnic cuisine, to the Constellations Restaurant. The hotel also has a Hermes Bar and the Sky Bar and Lounge, with views of the city.

The hotel houses 14 meeting and event suites that can accommodate up to 450 people. Each space is adaptable for use for many different functions from conferences and seminars to galas and award ceremonies. Guests can relax at Ajala Spa, which features a 13- metre indoor pool, steam room, sauna and a selection of ambient treatment rooms. The hotel’s Health & Leisure Centre has a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art gym which guests can use free of charge, and is also open to private membership.

Norwegian launches London Gatwick-Miami route

The European low fares airline, Norwegian, has launched its first-ever service from London Gatwick to Miami International Airport, on March 31.

With the new service, travellers will have a daily nonstop option between Miami and London Gatwick Airport. The service will be operated using Norwegian’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that seats 344 passengers in a two-class configuration.

Norwegian CEO and Founder, Bjorn Kjos, said: ‘South Florida is one of our most important markets in the U.S., and by moving our London service to Miami, we will become even more competitive and offer more South Florida residents more affordable flights to London and beyond, while we will also have access to many more opportunities, including cargo. We are very committed to this market, and look forward to increasing our presence at MIA in the future.’

Commenting on the new service, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, said: ‘I applaud Norwegian for adding Miami-Dade County to its global network. The United Kingdom is already our County’s fifth-busiest international travel market, and Norwegian’s new daily flights are sure to generate even more tourism from that region and from across Europe as well.’

‘We are honored by Norwegian’s decision to launch first-ever Miami service, which provides our passengers with yet another nonstop travel option to Europe. We proudly welcome their award-winning service to MIA, where nearly one million passengers already travel to and from the United Kingdom annually,’ added Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director and CEO Lester Sola.

Norwegian airline operates more than 500 routes to over 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Thailand, Caribbean, North and South America.

Virgin Atlantic announces new service to Sao Paulo from Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will launch flights between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2020.

The daily service – the 11 hr 55 min flight – between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport is Virgin Atlantic’s first to the South American continent. Sao Paulo is the commercial capital of Brazil and one of the largest cities in the Americas for multinational companies to have offices, and will enable Virgin Atlantic to expand its offering to existing corporate customers.

The airline will operate a Boeing 787 aircraft boasting Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, Premium and Economy Delight, Classic and Light offerings.

Flights to Sao Paulo are on sale later this year.

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic executive vice president – Commercial, commented, ‘2019 marks the start of a new phase of growth for Virgin Atlantic as we work to become the most loved travel company. Sao Paulo represents an incredible opportunity for our business, and we’re very excited to be flying to a brand new continent for the first time. There are a significant number of corporate customers, and multi-national businesses, located in this Powerhouse of South America who can now enjoy the Virgin Atlantic experience on this busy international route.’

‘But it’s not all about business – I’m also thrilled to introduce an exciting new destination to our leisure customers. Sao Paulo boasts numerous cultural institutions such as the Museu de Arte, has a rich architectural history, and acts as a gateway for leisure travel within the rest of Brazil and beyond. This is a prime opportunity for Virgin Holidays who are busy securing a range of ancillary partners and diverse accommodation options for those customers seeking a full-service holiday offering.’

Virgin Atlantic is set to become the founding member of a new, $13bn transatlantic joint venture with over 300 daily transatlantic flights and 96 non-stop transatlantic routes, alongside Delta, Air France and KLM as well as launching new services from London Heathrow to Las Vegas, Manchester to Los Angeles and London Heathrow to Tel Aviv.