Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Shaggy dog tail of the spaniel who flew to Spancilhill instead of Arizona

More on the Aer Lingus B757 plan. Listen to Eoghan Corry on RTE’s Morning Ireland discussing the plan, which opens up the possibility of a winter schedule form Shannon, Dublin-Toronto and a return to the west Coast of the USA, possibly San Jose. See also page 31 of the April edition of Travel Extra.

hendrix the dog

Too early, alas, for Willie Clancy week, a dog named “Hendrix” was sent to Shannon in County Clare instead of Phoenix Arizona in a cargo shipment from Newark airport, New York. The six-year-old English Springer Spaniel was dispatched on United Airlines on the wrong flight in the wrong direction on the Thursday before St Patrick’s weekend. As owner Marilyn Grant’s father said: “let’s hope he had some Guinness and corned beef and cabbage.” While on the unexpected detour, Hendrix was well looked after, walked and fed by United staff and returned home on Tuesday to wake up in Arizone-eye-ay, many miles from Spancilhill. The accidental trans-Atrlantic spaniel seemed none the worse for his Clare airing, with an extra spring in his spanieldom, flaunting a new found taste for Irish music, set dancing, saffron and blue hurlers and cliff top walkies in the wild Atlantic air. See video.

Michael O'Leary Ray Conner

“I’m paying higher prices, I’m just not allowed to say so,” Michael O’Leary told the media on Tuesday, joking that Boeing executives got him drunk on St. Patrick’s Day before he signed the much-anticipated deal for 175 (count them) new Next Generation Boeing 737-800 airplanes.

The deal would be worth $15.6bn at current list prices, Ryanair claimed. Others speculated that the discounts could be more than 53pc and one analyst speculated the price was $7bn. In the midst of the post-signing knockabout, O’Leary repeated his headline-seeking proposal, originally made three years ago, to charge for use of the one remaining front toilet. He quipped that Ryanair would donate those profits to “prostate cancer and incontinence research” before giving another virtuoso TV interview on CNBC.

Boeing’s Ray Conner said Boeing’s “partnership with this great European low-cost carrier is of the utmost importance to everyone at The Boeing Company, and I could not be more proud to see it extended for years to come.” .

Ryanair expects to get the first new planes at the end of 2014. O’Leary said about 75 of the new-order 737s would replace older airplanes, the other 100 would help the fleet to grow to 400 by 2019. Ryanair expects passenger numbers to grow around 20pc to 100m passengers by 2019, and workforce to expand from 8,500 to around 11,500.

Analysts applauded. Stephen Furlong of Daveys said Ryanair shares will hit €7, Donal O’Neill of Goodbodys’ went higher to €7.25 (reached all time high of €6.30 on Tuesday). So did commentators. John Mulligan suggested the 175 aircraft could just be the start of a Ryanair spending spree. Stephen Trimble of Flightglobal speculated Ryanair would sign a deal to purchase 100 of the new 737 Max by the end of the year.

Ryanair said we continue to evaluate the benefits of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft which enters service in 2017. Announcing an Algarve route in Shannon, Michael Cawley said that Ryanair is NOT going long-haul.

This was Boeing’s largest deal to date in 2013 and largest ever aircraft order from a European airline. It will keep their production line going for five months. Boeing say their Next-Generation 737 to be built at the new production rate of 38 airplanes a month.

There were celebrations in Toulouse too as Airbus reported orders for 422 Airbus A32Xs over the course of a week, 200 by Lion Air in Indonesia, 117 from Turkish, and 105 from Lufthansa. Reuters profiled Rusdi Kirana’s rise from typewriter salesman to airline supremo. Tony Fernandez of Air Asia X questioned his rival Lion Air’s growth plan. Reuters reported that Delta are to purchase 20 each of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737

MSC group

MSC gathered key cruise agents and travel writers for the christening of their new MSC Preziosa in Genoa, a ship originally commissioned by Colonel Ghadaffi. Sophia Loren, looking amazing at 79, launched the ship at a spectacular opening ceremony in Genoa at 9.36pm local time on Saturday night. The buildup included a fabulous three-way foghorn and light show performance by three giant MSC cruise ships docked opposite each other, Opera, Splendida and the new Preziosa. Cruise line CEO Pierfrancisco Vago declared that, with the launch of Preziosa MSC, MSC is now the third biggest cruise line on the world. “Last year we were put under a lot of pressure,” Vago said, “but we weathered the storm. A storm happens but after the storm the glory of sailing returns.” It was the most spectacular and best organised of MSC’s ten launches to date, avoiding the drags and over-runs which dogged some previous launches, and included a full orchestra performance of eight familiar cinema music sets by Ennio Morricone, conducted by the man himself. After that it was time to party The 80-year-old founder President & owner of MSC Gianluigi Aponte was seen leaving Graffitti’s night club oat 2.40am. Many of the Irish lasted even later. Lorenzo Diamantini and Rebecca Kelly hosted an Irish delegation which included Mary McKenna of Touramerica, Dawn Conway of Thomas Cook and Alan Lynch of Cruisescapes.

The ship is as spectacular as the launch implied: it features the Doremi Castle Aqua Park and Vertigo, the longest water slide afloat, a truly psychadelic experience, as we found out (sadly, Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry was beaten in the race to be first travel writer down the chute by English blogger David Monk). Features of the ship include the first two Eataly restaurants at sea, and a whole host of new features in the luxurious MSC Aurea Spa. Sophia Loren, looking splendid as always (at 79), performed the christening on Saturday. Our report on the event will be in our May issue. MSC say they aim to carry 1.6m passengers in 2013, having carried 1.4m in 2012. Picture shows Lorenzo Diamantini of MSC Cruises, Dawn Conway of Thomas Cook, Rebecca Kelly of MSC Cruises and Alan Lynch of Cruisescapes. . See more photos here.

This is the week that Europe’s major theme parks reopened, PortAventura reported it had 40.000 Irish visitors in 2012, from its total of 3.8m in 2012, and a total of 780.000 Irish visitors in the last 15 years since the opening. PortAventura had international market growth of 21pc in 2012. Shambhala won “Kirmes and Parks” best attraction of the year, and “World of Parks” best novelty of the year in 2012. Its new aquatic park, Costa Caribe. is to open in May. The highlight is the tallest free fall toboggan in Europe. Efteling in Eindhoven, Legoland Windsor, and Alton Towers all reopened last week, PortAventura opened Friday, Legoland Billund and Europa Park on Saturday while Oakwood in Wales reopens on Mar 28, and Tivoli Copenhagen on Apr 11. On the nearest thing Ireland has to a theme park, a high level of stress was found among the animals of Tayto Park.

Disney, the champion Theme Park of them all have extended their 20th anniversary celebrations in Paris through to September and are celebrating this weekend with a spectacular weekend party and which they premiered the Disney Dreams show with two extra sequences, and showcased their revised parade. Travel Extra’s Marie Carberry is among the travel writers who sampled the weekend. Her report will be in our May issue.

The Department of Foreign Affairs warned tourists to take cash with them to Cyprus “alongside appropriate security precautions against theft”; ATMs, debit and credit cards can be used as normal, say the Department. Om the ground the story is a little different, with merchants worried about any money going into their account and turning down credit and debit cards. Cyprus is not a good place to be relying on plastic this week. The banks will remain closed until Tuesday but the ATMs, despite alarmist predictions, are well stocked. English travel commentator Simon Calder summed up tourist’s dilemma: the banking system has basically frozen. For what it is like to operate without plastic, ask any of the Irish fans who went to the Serbia-Ireland match in Belgrade in November 1998. Luckily not many Irish are in Cyprus at the moment. There are no direct flights to Cyprus from Ireland until May 26th.

Rafael Moreno Claudia Ruiz puebla 2013

Mexico’s major tourism event Tianguis Turistico moved inland, way inland for the first time in 2013. In keeping with the new Mexican Tourism Minister Claudia Ruiz (pictured above on right with Governor Rafael Moreno) who said that there is more to Mexico than beach holidays, and that the new government want to give a higher priority to tourism and to promote adventure, medical tourism, luxury and singles travel. The fair attracted 500 exhibitors and 600 buyers from 42 countries. But Tianguis is not renowned for being the best organised at the best of times and the event ran out of air and bed capacity. Many delegates had to stay in Cholula, Atlixco and Tlaxcala and the provision of extra charters did not succeed in getting all the registered delegates there. Time to move back to Acapulco?.

The Irish Tourist Assistance Service reported 433 incidents of tourist crime and traumatic incidents involving 739 tourists, the third highest on record since the service commenced in 1994. It said 84pc of crime against tourists in 2012 was in Dublin followed by Wicklow, Galway, Kerry and Louth. The headlines used around the world were more negative: “Dublin criminals prey on sightseeing female tourists,” suggesting that it was the level of crime rather than the service that was making the news.

  • Riverdance the Gathering launched their masterclasses on Thursday, and an open air concert in Merrion Square on July 20th, one of the first events to target tour operators for the Gathering effort. The first weekend in July will culminate in an attempt to create a world record Sunday world record Riverdance line of 1,000 dancers lined up along the Dublin Quays, crossing Sean Ó’Casey bridge and back over Sam Beckett bridge.
  • Etihad reported that ALL of their partners are profitable: airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways. The Centre for Aviation reported that Etihad is closest to pointing the direction for the new breed of airline partnership, with its cluster of profitable airlines including Aer Lingus.
  • United Airlines say they are to offer revamped cabins and added flat-bed seating on premium service flights.
  • A survey by Geneva airport proved what we have all suspected for a long time, that charter passengers take a lot longer to go through security. It found 10-15pc of scheduled passengers carry prohibited items as against 33-50pc of charter passengers.
  • CSO figures showed overseas trips by Irish residents were flat, up 0.5pm to 6.326m trips, while travel expenditure abroad was down 5.8pc to 4,487m.
  • Easyjet said its new Recaro seats will be 26pc lighter. Easyjet launched a daily service to Moscow.
  • Irish Ferries has extended its ‘Kids Go Free’ offer on its Irish Sea services to April 2nd.
  • A 61-year-old French man Philippe Jernnard was arrested at Philadelphia Airport charged with impersonating a pilot after being found in the cockpit of a US Airways flight about the depart
  • Australia’s new visa system for business visitors came into effect this weekend
  • SAS are returning from 3-class to 2 class fare structure from June this year, SAS Go (economy) passenegrs will still get free bag check-in and free coffee or tea
  • Ryanair has added a twice weekly Shannon-Alicante service beginning June 5.
  • Tourism Ireland reported that inbound holidaymakers up 4pc in 2012, driven by a strong performance from France and Germany, business visitors up 7.7pc.
  • 1STS hosted the second leg of their Train and Dine Road Show in the Savoy Hotel Limerick City. training from 2pm to 5pm followed by dinner at 6pm in Hamptons Restaurant.
  • An aircraft vortex ripped roof slates from a house while landing at Heathrow.
  • Travel Counsellors Ireland is hosting a special webcast on March 27, 7:30pm email discovertctv@travelcounsellors.com for details.
  • A late Winter storm in North Eastern USA delayed 10,000 flights.
  • England’s finance minister George Osborne disregarded the efforts to reduce the country’s penal aviation tax, after his Budget that long-haul aviation tax will rise again in April 2013 and again in Apr 2014.
  • IATA January stats showed premium travel up 3.3pc year-on-year, economy class up 2.9pc.
  • Krabi authorities warned tourists to be wary of ill-behaved monkeys.
  • Tarom Romanian are to start flying Dublin to Bucharest from May 1st.
  • Thomas Cook sold off Thomas Cook Canada and Thomas Cook USA.
  • Turkish Airlines sponsored Drogheda Utd v Trabzonspor.
  • Uniworld’s new river cruise ship Queen Isabel was christened by Hollywood actress Andie MacDowell in Porto on Friday.
  • US Airways announced it is extending its seasonal service from Shannon to Philadelphia (11.35am) which starts May 23 will be extended by a month to Oct 5 and the Dublin to Charlotte (9.30am) which starts May 6 will be extended by a month to Oct 6. US Airways have relaxed change-fees for some eastern US and Canada cities.
  • ProCon is to supply the ProTAS Back Office system for Atlas Travel corporate agency services in Dublin.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines cancelled 10 sailings on Carnival Triumph and two European cruises on Carnival Sunshine.
  • Fáilte Ireland reported most of the key hotels in Dublin were full with many significantly busy up until Mar 22nd. Shaun Quinn said the St Patrick’s Day bounce bodes well for our expectations.
  • Irish Ferries and Haven Holidays are offering 7-night breaks between May 28th and July 14th at a choice of 6 Haven Holiday parks.
  • LH983 Dublin-Frankfurt was among 700 flights cancelled by Lufthansa strike after 33,000 Verdi members went on strike over a wage dispute on Thursday. A weekend strike at Tap Portugal was averted, but not before the airline had cancelled 20,000 seats.
  • Reed Travel Exhibitions, who organize WTM, said they will launch their first International Ski Travel Market on Mar 17-18 next in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Fiona Jeffery is to leave WTM after 26 years in charge.
  • Fáilte Ireland’s ‘Meet in Dublin’ video was awarded third place in City Tourism Category at Tourism Media Awards in Berlin.
  • Ryanair said a Dutch court decision to fine them 370k fine for hidden charges in breach of consumer law was “littered with errors” and they would appeal.
  • Swiss are to phase out A340s in favour of B777s.
  • Travelport announced they would become the first GDS to offer access to American Airlines’ alternative content, as well as flights.
  • Two Southwest planes collided while leaving adjacent gates at Detroit Metropolitan airport.
  • Datalex reported revenue up 15pc to $32.4m.
  • The Sunday Life reported how a Derry airport security worker lost his job because he posed for a photograph with Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud and posted it on a social networking site.
  • Airlines for America pleaded with Washington not to double TSA passenger security tax in their budget proposal.
  • American Airlines said it is to Install Runway Overrun Safety Technology on aircraft.
  • ANA said it wants Boeing cash, rather than discounts, for 787 grounding.
  • KLM is to fit its first fully-flat business class seat in the B747-400 for July 2013 then another 22 aircraft. KLM denied rumours that is starting scheduled flights from George Best Belfast City Airport to Amsterdam.
  • Moxy hotels announced plans to open 150 properties in 10 countries Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.
  • Turkish Airlines reported that it has tripled its operating profit in 2012 plans 20pc seat growth this year.
  • Viking River Cruises set a world record in Amsterdam with the christening of 10 new Viking Longships in one day.  Amawaterways launched their 106-passenger Amaviuda in Porto on Friday, with Sharon Stone acting as Godmother.
  • In a week when London (but not the DFA) issued a travel advisory warning female travellers in India and the owner and the security guard of the Agra Mahal Hotel arrested when a English tourist was injured jumping from a balcony, Gill Charlton compiled 6 Do’s and 5 Don’ts for women travelling in India.
  • Royal Caribbean announced that Liberty, Navigator, Serenade and Splendour of the Seas will all sail the Med in 2014; Independence, Adventure, Brilliance and Legend will sail Northern Europe.
  • Steve Blackhall’s five favourite wildlife swimming spots, bizaarely, included three in Britain (the personal favourite of Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry was swimming with freshwater crocodiles in Kakadu).
  • The Guardian reported that Australia is now the third most popular destination for Irish emigrants.
  • The Hills Balfour team came to Dublin on behalf of their tourism and travel clients, which include Queensland, Chicago, Arizona and a new client, Sarawak. Rebecca Cleaver reported that the Best job in the World promotion by Australia has had 250,000 applicants so far,.
  • An Egyptian court acquitted the former tourism minister of corruption charges.
  • Anna Aero reported that Ryanair accounted for one-third of all new routes in Germany last year.
  • Belfast is to celebrate the 400th anniversary of its first charter in April 1613 over the Easter weekend Mar 30-Apr 2. Titanic Belfast will be offering ‘Get the Message’ workshop for families Mar 28-Apr 7.
  • Boeing shifted to the tougher RTCA standard for their revamped 787 battery system.
  • Doha’s new Hamad International airport said 10 airlines including Flydubai and Air India Express will move in when it opens April 1.
  • Hotels.com said Dublin was the third most popular destination for English travellers, up from 8th in 2011, behind Paris and NY and ahead of Amsterdam, Las Vegas and Rome.
  • In advance of Ramadan there was a health scare with the death of another person from the same Manchester family due to contracting a new Sars-like deadly Coronavirus after returning from Saudi Arabia.
  • LAX has awarded contract for Construction of New Connector Facility Between Tom Bradley and T-4.
  • The Statue of Liberty is to reopen by July 4th after repairs to docks, energy infrastructure, and other facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
  • Travelport launched their new smartpoint App for Worldspan Go! promising automated processes to speed up reservations and reduce call handling time.
  • TripAdvisor survey of the cost of room service found Cape Town, Sharm el Sheikh, Mumbai, Istanbul and Puerto Vallarta best value, Moscow most expensive.
  • VeryFirstTo.com announced the World’s most expensive holiday: €525,000pp for two-year tour of 962 UNESCO heritage sites.
  • Consensus Research Group reported that one in three visitors to the US say they have experienced a customs process that is “inconsistent, confusing or embarrassing.”
  • Celtic Horizon tours offer: €155pp self drive package on Stena Adventurer, 2 nights B&B in Derby, 2 days entrance to Alton Towers.
  • Freedom Travel are recruiting for a full time retail manager for Leixlip Branch. Minimum 3 years experience CV to ciara@freedomtravel.ie.
  • Finally, check out Gerry Mullins’ fine obituary of the great Mick Kenneally, subject of an iconic Dorothea Lange photograph in 1954 (and much-loved uncle of Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry).

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