Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Archive for the ‘ Air Travel ’ Category

CAA unveils new ATOL certificates

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

The Civil Aviation Authority has unveiled plans to introduce a new certificate to be given to every customer who books an ATOL holiday in an attempt to end confusion about who will be looked after when a company goes bust.

The certificates will guarantee to the holder that if their tour operator ceases trading they will be brought home by the CAA or refunded if they haven’t travelled.

The ATOL Certificate would be a simple document in a standard format across the ATOL licensed industry, clearly setting out what is protected by ATOL, and replacing the existing complex range of paperwork holidaymakers are currently given when they book, said the CAA.

The CAA will begin discussions with ATOL holders and consumer representatives about the certificate at The Travel Convention this week, with a view to setting up a working group to get industry and consumer expertise before consulting on the proposal.

The timing of the introduction of the certificate will be an important decision for the working group, but the CAA is starting work now to allow introduction as early as possible given the inevitable lead-in times to allow the industry to change their systems,” the CAA said in a statement.

Deputy director of the CAA Consumer Protection Group David Moesli said: “The holiday failures this summer showed that a lot of consumers are left confused and frustrated when tour operators cease trading, thanks in no small part to the poor standard of documentation in the travel industry, particularly amongst travel agents.

“Introducing the ATOL Certificate would mean that the second someone books a holiday they receive a single document that sets out what is protected by ATOL and guarantees they can finish their holiday or get their money back if their operator fails.

“A standardised certificate which is received by everyone who books an ATOL-protected holiday telling them exactly what is and is not covered will go a long way towards helping people understand their protection arrangements.

“In the future, people will come to expect to receive a Certificate in the same way you expect to receive a ticket, and they will take it overseas with them like a passport or medical card, to make sure they receive protection under ATOL.”

Aviation Minister Theresa Villiers said:  “Today’s holiday market looks very different to how it did when the ATOL scheme was originally introduced.  As a result, it can be difficult for holiday-makers to know whether their trip is protected by the ATOL scheme.

“This excellent initiative is an important milestone in our journey to providing a scheme fit for the future.  Alongside this new certificate, we are actively working on wider reforms to ATOL to make it more suitable for the diverse 21st century holiday market.”

source: Travel Mole

No frills airlines not so budget for families

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Budget airlines may not offer good value for money for families on luxury holidays, the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) has claimed.

While the headline price per air ticket may be attractive, there are other considerations, such as child-friendly facilities and staff, when booking a family onto a flight abroad.

According to Sean Tipton of Abta, budget airlines don’t offer child fares and will not offer a heavier baggage allowance that is often necessary to cope with any additional family luggage such as a buggy.

By comparison, he notes that “any traditional airline or charter airline will do discounted fares for children, no frills carriers do not”.

He added: “Not always but in many cases, they will fly from inconvenient airports and if you’ve got small children then obviously you’ll want to be in your hotel as quickly as possible.”

Virgin was voted the most child-friendly airline in a Rough Guides survey published in February 2008, while British Airways (BA) was voted second.

Meanwhile, budget airlines Ryanair and easyJet’s combined score was less than one third the individual score for either BA or Virgin.

Self-service kiosks introduced at Latin American airports

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Continental Airlines will now provide self-service check-in kiosks throughout 13 airports in a bid to improve their customer experience.

Those embarking on luxury vacations in 13 Latin American destinations including Acapulco in Mexico, home to the Fairmont Pierre Marques and Belize, where The Inn at Roberts Grove is located.

Kiosks will be provided by technology company NCR Corporation. Vice president Michael O’Laughlin noted that increased tourism in the region has raised the bar in terms of customer service expectation.

He explained: “Increases in tourist arrivals and expenditures continue to make Latin America a top ranking tourist market.

“As tourism increases, so does the need to provide travellers with an efficient and hassle-free airline check-in experience.”

Other popular luxury holiday destinations that will be getting the self-service technology installed at airports include Panama City in Panama and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

Continental Airlines recently made the top 50 list of Fortune magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies list.

Flying while pregnant determined on ‘individual basis’

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Pregnant women that fly to luxury holiday destinations need to be assessed on an “individual basis”, according to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

Getting on an airplane when pregnant doesn’t come with a definitive list or set of times when it is appropriate to travel, but it is important that travellers check existing medical conditions before flying.

Professional policy adviser for RCM, Janet Fyle, advises that airlines will usually have standard procedures with which pregnant women will have to comply before jetting off on holiday.

She said: “Some airlines say they will admit pregnant women up to a certain number of weeks and usually they want the midwife or doctor to give confirmation that she is fit.

Ms Fyle notes that in cases of high-blood pressure or a low lying placenta, travel is often not advised.

“If a woman has any existing medical conditions she needs to consult her doctor, and then the airline would make the decision,” she added.

British Airways restricts travel beyond the end of the 36th week of pregnancy, but insists on a letter from a doctor or nurse from the 28th week.

New London to Singapore flights announced

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Passengers travelling to Singapore from London are to benefit from the introduction of a new A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

The plans, announced by Singapore Airlines last week, will increase the number of services travelling on the route from seven per week to 11, with extra services being added on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The carrier will receive its fifth A380 aircraft from manufacturers, Airbus, in late June, with services scheduled to commence on July 16th.

Huang Cheng Eng, Singapore Airlines executive vice-president for marketing and regions, said the carrier’s products and passenger experience had been very well received by customers, with passenger numbers on the route having been “exceptionally encouraging”.

“The deployment of another A380 on this route will cater to continual strong demand from customers travelling between Singapore and London,” he added.

Singapore is described as “a dynamic city rich in contrast and colour” with a “harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture” by the nation’s tourist board.

New luxury travel flights from Bahrain

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

The 2008 Asia Luxury Travel Market (ALTM) event will help promote Gulf Air’s new carrier route to Shanghai, it has been reported.

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, will advertise its new route at the luxury travel show at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre on June 17th.

The air travel provider’s chief executive officer Bjorn Naf said China was one of the fastest growing economies in the world and entering this market was very important to Gulf Air.

He added: “We are delighted to be associated with the ALTM to promote our entry into the Chinese market, as we will be offering our sky beds and other award-winning in-flight services such as the Sky Nanny service to this new route, which is part of our expansion strategy to become the airline of choice.”

ALTM event director Jay Martens said the launch of Gulf Air’s first direct flight to Shanghai was an event the industry wished to celebrate.

Gulf Air provides luxury travel services to more than 40 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa, supporting business in the Persian Gulf region and the Bahrain tourist industry.

Wizz Air announces Warsaw to Rome route

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Wizz Air will operate new flights between Warsaw and Rome Ciampino airports, the carrier announced yesterday.

Complementing the existing network of 17 destinations from the Polish capital, the new services will operate three times a week from the Polish capital.

Flights will commence on September 16th, with tickets already on sale on the company’s website.

Tourists taking a break in Italy can transfer on to a number of popular cultural destinations with Wizz Air, which also flies to Budapest, Cluj, Sofia, Katowice and Bucharest from the Italian capital.

During May, the carrier announced it was to run new services from Warsaw to Cork and Ukraine respectively, providing tourists with new opportunities to travel within Europe on a budget.

Wizz Air, which recently celebrated its fourth anniversary, describes itself as the “largest low cost – low fare airline based in central and eastern Europe”.

The firm currently offers flights on more than 100 routes across the continent.