Delta, Virgin announce new route between New York JFK and Edinburgh

Delta and Virgin Atlantic Airways will commence a daily service from Edinburgh Airport direct to New York JFK starting May 27, 2016.

With the addition of Delta’s service to New York, passengers will have increased choice in both direct routes to New York, as well as better connectivity across all of North America via Delta’s extensive network and Sky Team alliance at New York JFK.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said, ‘Edinburgh to New York is a flagship route between two vibrant economic and cultural power houses. The strong bonds between Scotland and America are well known and we look forward to welcoming even more inbound visitors from throughout America to Scotland’s capital city, and similarly assist more Scots in visiting North America.’

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, Keith Brown, said: ‘Scotland and the United States share strong cultural and economic bonds, so this new direct service between Edinburgh and New York will only serve to strengthen these links.

‘Of course, we could attract more direct international flights like this to Scotland by cutting rates of Air Passenger Duty, and I once again call on the UK Government to transfer these powers to the Scottish Parliament as soon as possible.’

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland added: ‘We are delighted that Delta has chosen to launch a direct service from New York to Edinburgh. The United States continues to be our biggest international market for inbound tourism but there is always room for growth. Direct route improvements over the last two years have helped boost visitor numbers and this new route will tap in to Delta’s vast North American network opening up even more opportunities for US visitors to come to Scotland.’

The airline will offer all passengers on-demand access to in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the aircraft. Those travelling in the Delta One cabin will also benefit from full flat-bed seats and a range of personalised dining options.

Birmingham gets new daily flight to JFK Airport

Birmingham Airport and American Airlines have announced the launch of new direct daily flights between Birmingham and New York John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK).

The American Airlines flight will operate daily, arriving from JFK into Birmingham at 0700 local UK time. It will depart for its return leg at 0900, arriving into New York JFK at 1155 local US time. The route will provide nearly 100,000 seats between Birmingham Airport and JFK.

David Winstanley, Chief Operating Officer for Birmingham Airport said: ‘We warmly welcome today’s new American Airlines daily service between Birmingham and New York JFK as it provides more choice for people wanting to access this vibrant US destination and has created almost 100,000 extra seats between the two cities.

‘American Airlines’ strong route network from JFK also broadens onward connectivity across the Americas and Canada, including nearly hourly connections to LA, San Francisco and Orlando, and international flights down to Buenos Aires, San Paulo and Rio, as well as up to Toronto and Montreal.

Through the American Airlines and British Airways partnership and oneworld airline alliance, the new service will offer a British Airways code share, allowing customers to earn and redeem BA air miles and Avios points. ‘This joint business and oneworld alliance with British Airways also means that we see the return of a British Airways code share to Birmingham, allowing customers to earn and redeem BA air miles and Avios points,’ Winstanley said.

The new direct service also comes as American tourists have spent around £40m in Birmingham last year, while the Midlands exported £4.8bn to North America, giving a trade surplus of £2.9bn – the largest for any UK region.

‘This service will not only help to build on the region’s success in attracting trading with America, but with so many wonderful places on our doorstep such as Stratford-up-Avon, Warwick and the Cotswolds, we’re confident that this new flight will draw in even more tourists and business to the region,’ Winstanley added.

The new flights are available via AA.com and BA.com, and through travel agents. The service will be operated by a Boeing 757 aircraft with 16 business and 160 economy seats.

New York top US destination in holidaymaker survey

New York has been named the best holiday destination in the United States in a survey carried out by travel information and review website, Tripadvisor.

In a survey of millions of the websites’ users, New York topped the popularity poll for the second consecutive year, beating Chicago into second place, with San Francisco coming third. The top five US destinations list was completed with Las Vegas and New Orleans in fourth and fifth places respectively. Meanwhile, holiday hotspot Orlando in Florida could only scrape into the top ten in last position, despite its Disney connection and its plethora of popular family theme parks. The other destinations making up positions five to nine were Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle and Washington DC.

With the survey being based on Tripadvisor’s quality and quantity of reviews for hotels, restaurants and attractions over a 12-month period, even New York did not fare well when compared with worldwide results, only managing twelfth place after being second overall in last year’s poll. Topping the international poll was Turkey’s capital, Istanbul, in its first appearance in the top ten. Rome was second, with last year’s number one, Paris, France, dropping to seventh this year. London retained the creditable third place that it achieved last year.

Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor, was reported in the Daily Mail, saying: ‘If you’re looking for trip inspiration, look no further than the Travellers’ Choice Destinations.

‘Our global travellers are the tastemakers for uncovering the best places to visit around the world.’

 

Norwegian to launch long haul services from London Gatwick to North America

European low cost carrier, Norwegian, has said that it will launch three new non-stop long haul services from London Gatwick to North America next summer, according to news a release by Gatwick authorities.

The routes include direct flights to New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL).

With the introductions, passengers using Gatwick will have a choice of a range of flights to US airports and, more importantly, competitively priced fares starting from GBP149 one way to New York, GBP179 to Fort Lauderdale and £199 to Los Angeles. On average, these fares will be up to 50 percent cheaper than fares from Heathrow.

Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said: ‘This is one of the most exciting route developments since Gatwick’s change of ownership four years ago and shows the benefits to passengers of Gatwick competing with Heathrow on routes, price and service. Norwegian’s decision to re-establish London Gatwick’s links to strategic destinations in North America gives passengers, once again, real choice about how to get there and, importantly, provide options for affordable travel to popular business and leisure destinations.

‘Norwegian’s decision to operate high quality services on new long range aircraft offering good-value fares to the US from London Gatwick is a significant industry game-changer. It points to a future in which more and more long haul routes will be served by Gatwick. This is an important industry development that I am sure the Airports Commission will want to look at closely when considering the future shape of aviation.’

Norwegian’s CEO, Bjorn Kjos, said: ‘There’s great demand for high quality flights at a low fare between the UK and the U.S., particularly to and from London Gatwick, where no other airline currently offers these routes. We are looking forward to welcoming many new customers on board our brand new aircraft. Launching intercontinental routes between London Gatwick and the United States is also an important part of our strategy to expand internationally and get a stronger foothold in markets outside Scandinavia.’

Norwegian moved from Stansted to Gatwick in 2009, and since then has increased its flights from the airport by more than a third. In spring 2013, it introduced a UK base at Gatwick and started 12 new direct European routes.

In addition to its new long haul routes, Norwegian will also be launching a number of new short haul routes from Gatwick in 2014, adding to its 25 destinations. New services will include Budapest, Santorini, Sicily, Cyprus and Corfu. From summer 2014, Norwegian will also increase the frequencies on nine of its current routes.

Jet2 to commence new transatlantic services from northern UK

Low cost airline Jet2.com is set to launch new transatlantic flights to New York and Boston, offering its services to holidaymakers in the north of England and Scotland.

The airline is set to run a series of direct flights and package holidays to the US in spring next year, flying from the Leeds Bradford and Newcastle airports to New York, and from Leeds Bradford and Glasgow to Boston. It will also provide a service from Leeds Bradford and Newcastle to Toronto, Canada.

While only six flights are scheduled presently, the airline said it would consider introducing the services on a permanent basis if the demand was high. The airline briefly ran a service to New York last November, but Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com, said that the latest move was a ‘milestone’.

The new flight schedule announced includes:

New York – three-night Easter breaks departing from Leeds Bradford and Newcastle airport on April 17.

Boston – four-night break from Glasgow for St Patrick’s Weekend, departing on March 14, and a three-night break from Leeds Bradford departing on April 3.

Toronto – three-night break departing on April 10 from Leeds Bradford and Newcastle.

No airlines currently fly direct from Glasgow, Leeds Bradford or Newcastle to North America. Presently travellers in Scotland and the north of England fly via London, paying Air Passenger Duty twice, or rely on limited services from Manchester.

Steve Heapy, chief executive of the airline, said: ‘We are thrilled to be the very first holiday company to give people direct access to these exciting transatlantic destinations from Leeds, Glasgow and Newcastle.’

‘The addition of these three routes reinforces our commitment to our regional customers,’ he added.

 

British tourists to be wooed by New York

British tourists are to be the prime target of a tourism promotion by the city of New York in the USA.

A major campaign, involving digital and social media advertising, is to be launched by a US consortium that includes NYC & Company, the city’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organisation, its sponsoring partner, American Express, and Brand USA, the body responsible for promoting travel to the United States. The promotion, which starts today and runs until June 2 this year is titled, New York Summer, and has a budget of USD1.1 million.

The main thrust of the promotion will be advertising on 500 bus shelters across London. The adverts will feature graphics of iconic New York imagery, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as street scenes. Further promotion will be in the form of a blog hosted on social media platform, Tumbir and titled, The British Guide to NYC. It will feature a British author and include photos and posts that provide relevant information for British travellers to the city.

Chief executive of NYC & Company, George Fertitta, said ‘New York City welcomed a record 52 million visitors in 2012 and over a million of these came from the UK – more than any other overseas country. With the New York Summer campaign, we’re not only renewing our commitment to our most important overseas market, we’re also giving Brits a million more reasons why summer 2013 is the time to visit New York City.

‘From free outdoor events such as cinema screenings, concerts and theatre to the 14 miles of beaches, botanic gardens and parks across the five boroughs, summer is the perfect time to visit New York City.’

Titanic to sale again as cruise liner

A Chinese shipyard is in the process of updating its facilities in preparation to build a full-size, serviceable replica of the ill-fated RMS Titanic.

Nanjing, China-based CSC Jinling Shipyard Company appears to have won the contract to build the vessel from Clive Palmer, the billionaire Australian businessman who is funding the project.

While aesthetically the ship will be the exact image and dimensions of the iceberg-prone original, nervous potential passengers will be pleased to know that it will be powered and navigated by the latest technology. Similar to the original, it will have 9 floors and 840 cabins, to carry 2,400 passengers and 900 crew.

On completion of its 3-year build programme, the ship is also expected to have luxurious facilities including fitness rooms and a swimming pool. Access to certain of the vessel’s facilities could be selective however, as three classes of ticket will be available, to keep faith with the levels of service that were available on the original liner.

Tickets for the 40,000-ton vessel’s maiden voyage in 2016 are already high on the wish lists of the rich and famous. The ship will be following the same route from Southampton to New York as the first Titanic, and rumours are suggesting that well-heeled potential passengers are offering as much as USD1 million to guarantee their berth.

Hopefully they will get to see the New York skyline, unlike their unfortunate predecessors in 1912. On April 10 that year the ‘unsinkable’ ship defied it’s billing and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic after hitting an iceberg. 1,517 passengers lost their lives before help could arrive.

 

Take in world-class art along Manhattan’s Museum Mile

There’s nothing we like to do more in our free time than wander around galleries and museums, which is why New York is one of our favourite holiday destinations in the world. By coming to the Big Apple, you’ll get to check out dozens of great cultural landmarks, though we think the best are to be found along Manhattan’s Museum Mile.

This is the name given to a stretch of the world-famous Fifth Avenue in the city’s Upper East Side district that incorporates ten world-class museums and galleries. As it’s thought to contain one of the densest displays of art anywhere in the world, we believe it’s the ideal destination for any culture vulture to visit.

In fact, as it’s possible to spend an entire day exploring each museum along the strip, you could quite easily end up coming here several times during the course of your holiday. With that in mind, here is some information about a few of the institutions along the Museum Mile that you can visit.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

As it’s one of the biggest art museums to be found anywhere in the world, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or the Met, as it’s often referred to) is one place that keen art lovers definitely ought to check out.

Indeed, as the institution contains some two million pieces of art we don’t think you’ll struggle to find something you love. If you’re into Oriental art, we recommend you visit the Florence and Herbert Irving Asian wing. Here, you’ll discover everything from Tibetan paintings to textiles from south-east Asia, as well as ceramics and calligraphy.

Alternatively, you may want to look at the armour galleries in the John Pierpont Morgan wing. Come here and you’ll get to see hundreds of weapons that form part of the Met’s extensive permanent collection, including pieces from America, Japan and Europe. While the museum’s collection has more than enough objects to captivate you, if you’re hoping to see something new you might want to consider look into what temporary exhibitions will be taking place during your time in the city.

If you’re planning on visiting the museum this summer, you’ll get to take in displays that look at the American Civil War and a retrospective of the life and work of Los Angeles-based sculptor and painter Ken Price, who died in February 2012.

Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design

As the only museum in the country to be devoted entirely to historic and contemporary design, the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design is one institution that should not be missed.

Housed in the former mansion of industrial tycoon Andrew Carnegie, this museum has hosted hundreds of exhibitions since its launch in 1897, with a vast array of objects displayed in that time.

Among the items you’ll find in its permanent collection are designs for French parasols, postmodern glassware and 17th-century tsubas, a protective guard that is found on Japanese swords.

Museum Mile Festival

While you can visit the above institutions and the rest of the museums in this part of New York at any time of year, we think it’s a particularly good idea to do so in the summer. By taking a flight from the UK to New York in June, you may arrive in time for the Museum Mile Festival.

Taking place on June 11th, this fun event sees the museums offer free admission to visitors for three hours, while sections of Fifth Avenue are closed to traffic so that a fantastic block party can take place. With this spectacle consisting of live music, children’s activities and street performers, it’s a great option for those seeking a family-friendly day out in New York.

If you’re a culture vulture, which New York museums and galleries do you want to visit the most? We’d love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts and leave a comment below.

New York to construct world’s biggest Ferris wheel

Developers in New York are adhering to their plans to construct the world’s largest Ferris wheel.

The city, which is in rebuilding mode after the devastating super storm, Sandy, is to go ahead and build the structure, which it is hoped will also be seen as a mark of the city’s resilience. The new addition will grace the shoreline of storm-torn Staten Island and, once completed, the structure is expected to be the world’s largest Ferris wheel.

Even though flooding after Sandy has caused some changes to the nearly $500m project, the developers have maintained their impetus and not scaled it back. While supporters say that Staten Island needs the boost now more than ever, detractors are of the view that there are other more immediate needs that had to be fulfilled rather than building the Ferris wheel. The 625-foot-tall tourist attraction is set partly in a flood zone.

Developer, Richard Marin, said that the development would add to the beauty of the city’s, oft-dubbed, ‘forgotten borough.’

Marin, the chief executive of New York Wheel LLC, said, ‘We’re providing some things for the city and for the local community that they would have no other way of getting right now. Quite frankly, this borough is extremely lucky that this kind of project is under way.’

Private money will pay for the project, and the city will receive $2.5m a year in rent for the two parking lots where the wheel, a mall and a hotel will be located. The project was planned in such a manner that ground floors will sit above what the federal government has so far considered to be once-in-100-year flood line. After Sandy, the developers have been taking extra care to ensure that buildings can withstand flooding.

UK Travellers in New York Face Delays Despite Airports Reopening

New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Airport are slowly resuming normal service, after remaining closed for two days, bringing some relief to travellers that have been trapped in the city, due to the severe weather in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy has battered the northeast coast of the US, before moving northwards, causing extensive damage to the cities of New York, New Jersey and many others. Most of the public transportation system in New York, the financial capital of the US, has been shutdown, with some underground tunnels being completely flooded.

Both New York airports opened to some extent at 7am local time, but La Guardia Airport, which suffered most from flooding, remains closed.

Virgin Atlantic, an airline subsidiary of UK-based Virgin Group, has announced the resumption of flights to and from New York, with plans to run most of its scheduled flights, as well as a ‘special recovery flight’ to JFK Airport from London, to bring back the stranded UK passengers.

However, UK-based British Airways has stated in a web update, ‘On Wednesday 31 October we have cancelled the majority of our flights to and from New York, JFK and Newark (EWR). Flights to other East Coast US airports should be operating normally. Please only come to the airport if you are confirmed on a flight.

Public transport links to East Coast US airports continue to be disrupted, please check your flight and local travel plans before leaving for the airport.’

According to the flight tracking service FlightAware, around 18,300 flights were cancelled across the US East Coast in the last three days, with 8,183 flights cancelled on Monday, 7,258 on Tuesday, and 2,829 to date on Wednesday.

The airports may take some time to become fully operational, as the public transport system is taking time to become functional, and airport staff face difficulties in commuting to work.

For UK passengers who are delayed in the US and are travelling with an EU-based airline, all reasonable costs incurred during the period that they are waiting for a replacement flight should be covered by that airline. These include food, hotel bills and phone calls. The airline might provide food and accommodation directly, or reimburse the passenger against receipts provided.

Travellers with non-EU based airlines may have to claim theses expenses on their own travel insurance, dependant on that airline’s policy.