Brittany Ferries to launch Barfleur Club Lounge on Poole to Cherbourg ferry services

Brittany Ferries, a passenger car and freight service operating from eleven ports, linking four countries: UK – France, UK – Spain and Ireland – France, has said that it will launch a new, exclusive lounge on Barfleur, its cruise-ferry operating from Poole to Cherbourg this summer.

Besides the high-speed services operating from Portsmouth, the Poole to Cherbourg ferry route is the fastest way to get from the UK to France on the western Channel. The new Barfleur Club Lounge is expected to offer more premium travel experience. Accessed by boarding card, it will include USB charging points, newspapers, complimentary tea, coffee and cold drinks, as well as a sleep kit for overnight crossings.

The new 20-seat lounge will open from July 1, 2017 and customers can book a reclining seat for GBP18 during the day time and GBP25 for overnight sailings. The announcement comes as Barfleur is completing its 25th year of operation in 2017.

‘We’re excited to launch this premium service on crossings between Poole and Cherbourg in response to demand from our passengers,’ said Gareth Bewley, customer services manager. ‘They will soon be able to relax in a luxurious, reclining seat within an exclusive lounge and enjoy complimentary services throughout the sailing. Wi-fi, nespresso coffee and newspapers are just some of the things that will come as standard for travellers.’

Brittany Ferries was set up by a collective of French farmers as a freight-only operator in the early 1970s, with the aim of bringing French agricultural products to a wider British market. Today Brittany Ferries is the market leader on the Western Channel for passengers and for freight. It is also a provider of ferry-inclusive motoring holidays to France and Spain.

London Heathrow announces opening of first independent lounge

London Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport, has announced the opening of the first independent, shared use lounge at Terminal 5.

Located at Gate A18 in Terminal 5, ‘Aspire, the Lounge and Spa’ will be the first lounge open to all travellers in one of the world’s busiest airport terminals. Priority Pass members will have access to the lounge as part of their membership. Travellers without membership can enjoy three hours in ‘Aspire, the Lounge and Spa at LHR T5’ for £35 when booked in advance, or for £40 at reception on the day subject to availability. The lounge is open from 5am until 11pm daily.

Announcing the opening last Friday, Stephen Wilkinson, Property Director, Heathrow said: ‘We are delighted to announce that as of today, we now have independent lounges in each of our terminals. Our team works tirelessly to ensure our customers receive the very best service when they fly and we’re delighted that the new Aspire lounge at Terminal 5 will enhance this service from today.’

The 4,000 sq ft lounge space features an extensive British-inspired seasonal food and drink menu, which includes a wide range of complimentary as well as premium (chargeable) options. Guests are also offered a chance to sample Spey Whisky, draught beer and a selection of wines on a complimentary basis or choose to pay for selected ‘Wine Flights’, a unique offer to taste a variety of wines from different regions.

A major attraction at the lounge is the ‘Bliss Spa at Aspire’ – the award-winning beauty company’s first location in an airport. The specially designed travel spa menu includes a range of facials, manicures and pedicures available as refreshing 20 minute express, or luxurious 40 minute appointments.

State-of-the-art ‘rest pods’ allow guests to recline back and relax on specially engineered, reclining loungers before or during a long trip, watch television and rejuvenate themselves. Travellers on business will have access to connected work spaces with free high speed WiFi, charging posts and designated quiet zones.

The lounge will be jointly owned and operated by Swissport and Airport Lounge Development (ALD), Collinson Group’s lounge operating arm.

Frankfurt airport builds smokers’ stop

Frankfurt airport has built a special facility for travellers wishing to smoke.

The airport will soon open its first fully ventilated smoking lounge, to cater to the needs of about 12 million smokers who pass through the airport each year. Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Dubai International Airport have developed the facility, with the construction following a similar initiative by JTI in Dubai Airport.

JTI has also launched similar lounges in Munich, Zurich, Moscow, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva airports.

While launching the services, David Francis, general manager, Worldwide Duty Free vice president at JTI, said, ‘The Smoking Lounge concept was created in 2003 as we were looking for a solution to accommodate smokers and non-smokers in the airports – a top priority for JTI. Since then, this innovative concept has been implemented in 21 airports around the world that have a combined traffic of more than 300 million passengers per year.’

The initial smoking lounges developed by JTI were just basic smoking areas. However, JTI soon improved the services for their demanding customer base and started providing upgraded cabins in 2007. Working with Frankfurt airport, JTI has launched its latest, fully enclosed and ventilated smoking lounges.

The first, new Camel-branded smoking lounge measures 65sq.m and is located in Terminal B-East. Its launch will be followed soon by nine more smoking facilities with a total area of just under 1000sqm.

Francis said, ‘Frankfurt airport serves over 55 million passengers a year of whom we can expect at least 12 million to be adult smokers. For both travellers and the airport this will be a world-class customer service facility significantly enhancing the traveller experience at the airport. The new fully ventilated lounges that we are now opening are the results of a close working relationship between us and the airport who recognised from the start that dedicated adult smoking facilities are a solution that satisfies all airport users.’

 

Airport lounges ease airport stress

According to new findings from life assistance company CPP, four in ten (42%) people say airports make them feel stressed and 23% find the prospect of getting on to their flight as stressful, if not more so, than moving house. The problem has become so bad that one in ten (9%) of us are now avoiding flying altogether as a result.

But it’s no surprise that Britons are worried about making it to the gate on time – over 2.9 million travellers have missed a flight in the past, while one in five of us having had to run to the gate with minutes to spare.

Studies have shown that the airport experience is having significant physiological effects on a traveller’s anxiety levels – one previous experiment using Heathrow airport saw holidaymakers’ heart-rates rise to a level equivalent to doing intense exercise. This was supported by CPP’s research, which revealed that holidaymakers, who had visited more than one airport, cited Heathrow as the most stressful, followed by Gatwick and Manchester.

According to Psychologist David Moxon, airports are inherently stressful places. Moxon comments, “Humans are wired to experience stress in situations where many feel out of control – and airports, where you have to follow instructions that are likely change at the last minute, and procedures that are unpredictable, lead many to react with a stress response. There is also what is known as an accumulation effect, resulting from other anxieties that we may be harbouring.

If you head to the airport having worried about waking up on time, or what you’ve left behind at work, the airport itself will seem more stressful as a result.”

Travellers have however come up with ways to make airport more pleasant – popular suggestions include less queuing, and cheaper and nicer food and more seats. 40% of travellers say a quiet environment would help reduce their stress levels, with 35% recommending access to an airport lounge to calm their airport anxiety.

Joanne Gibbons, from CPP says, “It’s a real shame that holidaymakers are experiencing such high levels of stress during what should be the beginning of a period of rest and relaxation. But rather than turning away from airports altogether we’d urge families to have a strategy for staying calm prior to boarding – by checking in online, minimising the amount of luggage they check-in and taking advantage of airport lounge opportunities.”

CPP’s tips for avoiding airport stress:

1. Choose your airport carefully. Bigger airports tend to be busier and more stressful so consider flying to a smaller, local airport to reduce transfer times and hassle.

 

2. Do as much as you can online beforehand. If you can, why not check in online before you arrive at the airport? This will reduce the amount of time spent queuing when you arrive – just remember to print off your boarding pass.

3. Minimise parking time. Airport car-parks are big so a good idea is to drop off all your passengers at check in leaving only one person to park the car.

 

4. Check in minimal luggage. With airlines increasingly charging for checked-in luggage, you can avoid queues and save cash by taking carry-on luggage where possible, especially for short breaks. This means you can go straight through to security and save time on the other side.

 

5. Opt for fast-track security. Some larger airports now allow passengers to pay for the opportunity to fast-track through the security gates. This can speed up the airport process and give you more time relaxing on the other side.

 

6. Take advantage of airport lounges worldwide. Airport lounges are a great way to relax and get that holiday feeling before boarding the plane – you’ll be guaranteed a seat and get complimentary snacks. CPP’s Airport Angel AirText service will even text you when your flight is boarding to ensure you get there on time.

 

7. Have a boarding strategy. If you have pre-booked seats it may be worth boarding last, meaning you can spend longer in the lounge and less time queuing at the gate. If you haven’t got pre-booked seats, think about getting priority boarding or leaving a little more time at gate to get to the front of the queue.