Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Air tickets by the kilo & Aer Lingus goes red for Virgin

Summer, or at last the summer schedules were declared this week by Europe’s airlines. Ryanair are the kings of summer, accounting for 89 of 458 new routes launching in European summer schedule, four times the total of their nearest rival Norwegian.

Qantas daily flights from Heathrow to Sydney and Melbourne moved from Singapore to Dubai. It was reported that Emirates & Qantas were seeking more operational tie-ups.

Aer LIngus A320 in Virgin colours lo-res

Mike Kelly’s photograph shows the first Aer Lingus aircraft departing to Manchester on Sat evening repainted in colours of new airline Virgin Lttle Red. In total Virgin will operate 4 aircraft leased from Aer Lingus for routes from Heathrow to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester. The second is currently at Shannon being painted in the Virgin Atlantic livery and the other two are being prepared for delivery in Singapore.

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You might have thought that the announcement that Samoan airlines were going to start charging passengers by weight was an April Fool’s story. CEO Chris Langton said rates range from $1 a kilogram – for the weight of the traveller and their baggage – on the airline’s shortest domestic route to about $4.16 per kilogram for travel from Samoa to American Samoa. “We have worked out a figure per kilo. This is the fairest way of you travelling with your family or yourself. You can put your baggage on, there is no separate fees because of excess baggage – it’s just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo.

It being April Fools’ day on Monday, agile minds came up with travel stories. We learned that Easter Island was to be renamed Summer Island. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson posted on his blog that his airline will be launching the world’s first glass-bottomed plane. Canadian airline WestJet announced that a”furry family” programme would let pets fly alongside their owners. Aer LIngus released an April Fool’s Day video to promote the Aer Lingus Hurling Festival in association with the Gathering.

1group of five

The six states that make up Great Lakes Tourism came to Dublin to meet key trade and media. “This is the most American of American regions,” Toby McCarrick, director of the body said. They hope to attract more fly drive tourists who will fly to Chicago and use it as a jumping off point to see the attractions, which include the nearest thing America has to a fairy tale island, Mackinica island in northern Michigan. What;s to see? the sadn dune shores of Lake Michigan, and ltos of cars. Each state has a car museum, the Henry Ford Museum being the most prominent, the town of Pontiac IS a museum as is Inianapolis, even Wisconsin has a Harley Davidson museum. Picture shows Jan Kemmerling from Discover Illinois, Vickie Evans from the Henry Ford museum in Michigan and Yolanda Fletcher, MD of Cellet Travel Services, Ciara Corcoran from Celtic Horizons and Mary Twomey from Chicago’s Essex Inn

Jetblue's Terminal 5 at JFK

Transferring through JFK just got easier. Aer Lingus flights now arrive and depart from jetBlue’s Terminal 5 at New York’s JFK.

The move of Aer Lingus’ New York flight operations from Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport into JetBlue’s acclaimed Terminal 5. Aer Lingus customers connecting to one of JetBlue’s many destinations across the U.S. will benefit from same terminal connections, one-stop ticketing and baggage check-in for travel on both airlines, from the U.S. to Europe. With the move to Terminal 5, the minimum connection time from European arrivals to US departures will be reduced to just about 60 minutes. Customers travelling to Ireland will enjoy connections as fast as 40 minutes.

From last week check-in for Aer LIngus Trans-Atlantic flights has been brought forward by 15 minutes and now closes 75 minutes before scheduled departure time. The close of check-in is still one hour in business class. Two Boston fights and a Chicago flight will no longer pre-clear in Dublin. Flights EI137 and EI139 to Boston and EI125 to Chicago will have to go through immigration and customs on the other side. Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry commented on RTE’s Morning Ireland that this US pre-clearance will come under pressure later this summer.

The Cruise Lines International Association reported that 6.14m cruises were  booked by Europeans last year. The number has doubled since 2004 when it was 2.83m. Over the past five years, the European cruise market thus grew at an average of 8pc. Four of every five Europeans chose to take a cruise in Europe.

The British took 1.7m cruise trips in 2012, unchanged from 2011, Germans took 1.55m trips up 11pcm, Italians took 835,000 cruises down 9pc from 900,000 (3rd), the Spanish took 576,000 cruises in 2012 down 18pc from 700,000 in 2011 (4th), the French took 481,000 cruises up 9pc from 441,000 in 2011 (5th).

The most notable trend was the growing success of cold water cruises in Northern Europe, with a 10pc jump in attendance in 2012, at 1.33 million cruise passengers.

  • B/E Aerospace, a Florida-based manufacturer of aircraft cabin products, has designed smaller lavatories for Boeing’s 737. Delta are among the airlines examining the development. They say smaller toilets will allow four more seats in the economy class cabin
  • Delta Dublin to Atlanta has returned to daily.
  • Those Aer Lingus San Francisco rumours will not go away
  • Armavia Armenian National Airline has gone bankrupt and grounded flights
  • GB border staff are to strike at all airports Friday & Monday.
  • A missing turtle stolen form a museum in Iowa was found in a lift.
  • ACI reported that passenger traffic at Europe’s airports fell 0.2pc in February.
  • Dublin airport reported that passenger numbers were up 8pc to 1.6m in March.
  • After a run of bad publicity it was reported that Jetstar is working on an image change: “Staff should treat customers as if they were friends and family.”
  • Carnival Triumph’s problems continued. A high wind blew through Mobile, Alabama, tore the ship from its dock & blew a security guard into the Mobile River.
  • Dublin City Council launched details of Parnell Square Cultural Quarter – a new Cultural District for Dublin City, including a New City Library on the Coláiste Mhuire site
  • The Bristol based Regent Holidays reported an unexpected 400pc rise in demand for tours to North Korea. Alan Lynch of Citiescapes, who specialises in holidays to North Korea from Ireland says that he has lots of calls from people about his August excursion departing on August 19, and none have cancelled.
  • James Hogan of Etihad said that legacy airline alliances have outlived their usefulness. He told the International Aviation Club in Washington DC that “traditional airline alliances have evolved into slow-to-respond, bureaucratic organisations which struggle to deliver added value to their member airlines, many of which are no longer compatible with each other.”
  • OAG says Dubai is the fastest growing airline in the world measured by capacity (757,000 additional seats), 2 Kuala Lumpur (552,000), 3 Istanbul (529,000, fastest growing airport by actual passenger numbers).
  • Scotland’s 2014 Year of Homecoming will feature an all-star concert to celebrate the opening of the Ryder Cup, a flotilla to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge, Europe’s biggest brass band festival and a re-enactment of the Battle of Bannockburn
  • Aer Lingus Regional is to increase capacity by 24pc (450,000 seats), add Manchester and Birmingham to network, start additional services to Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow and improve timings to London Southend.
  • Rumours circulated that Aer Lingus will be the first airline to get A321NEO ETOPS certification for transatlantic routes.
  • Tourism Australia reported that its promotion Best Jobs in the World has attracted a half a million entries
  • Little Red (Aer Lingus leased A320 to Virgin) flights have started linking London Heathrow with Aberdeen, Edinburgh & Manchester. See Mike Kelly’s photo
  • The Kennedy Space Center in Orlando unveiled the Angry Birds Space Encounter.
  • The European Commission’s long-awaited plans to revise the Package Travel Directive have been delayed again.
  • Tiger Airways Australia’s new service between Sydney and Cairns has touched down at Cairns airport
  • Air Baltic is inviting passengers to create their own in-flight meal,
  • LOT pilots threatened to strike to protest over the proposed changes to their contracts, Dziennik reported.
  • Stansted airport has introduced 60 minutes of free wifi internet use for all passengers
  • Travolution’s annual Innovation Report investigating IT spend across all sectors of the travel industry reported a 5pc growth in online travel spend in England in 2012.
  • Wizz was reported to be eyeing up flotation.
  • BA is to buy another 18 dreamliners. The London Telegraph reported British Airways plan to buy A350s
  • Costa Cruises reports Easter bookings up 15pc on their post-Concordia figures in 2012
  • Virgin Atlantic is planning a joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia.
  • Tripadviser founder Steve Kaufer told the London Telegraph “we’ve done a very good service to the hospitality industry.”
  • News from Westport, where Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry spent Easter weekend with his family, is that Westport House is to host the Morpeth scroll Apr 20 to May 12. Adventure west is to launch snorkelling programme from Old Head Louisburgh from May while Adventure Island is to launch new adventure water park in island in Clew Bay in May.
  • Jetstar’s Hong Kong launch has been postponed
  • Florida state Governor Rick Scott signed a bill allowing car rentals to drive without obtaining International Permit
  • Google estimated that the average holiday decision involves 50 searches on the internet over 2.5 hours
  • The board of Aer Arann owner Stobart Group has been overhauled for the second time in less than three months in a boardroom counter-coup that seems to make Aer Arann’s position more secure.
  • The centre for aviation reported that Europe’s non-scheduled airlines are in long-term structural decline, but Thomas Cook and TUI were evolving
  • The North America Aircraft Services has established its HQ at Shannon
  • Belfast zoo reopened on Friday having been closed for 2 weeks by weather.
  • BA ended its flight services between London Heathrow and Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es Salaam
  • The opening of Doha Hamad International Airport was cancelled.
  • Ryanair opened a new Zadar base.
  • The list of the World’s biggest hotel brands was updated: 1 IHG, 2 Hilton, 3 Marriott, 4 Wyndham, 5 Choice, 6 Accor, 7 Starwood, 8 Best Western, 9 home Inns, 10 Radlson
  • Amadeus and IAG signed new long-term content agreement
  • Enterprise car hire opened branches in airports at Lisbon, Faro, Madeira and Porto.
  • Members of Iberia’s and GOL’s frequent flyer schemes can now earn and redeem miles on each other’s airlines.
  • Dubai recorded 10m visitors for the first time in 2102, 41,237 of them from Ireland. Dubai’s Al Maktoum airport will launch passenger services in October.
  • Crystal Cruises said it was returning to Bruges and Amsterdam
  • An American court ruled that Priceline has no fiduciary duty to tell customers that it often pays hotels less than the customer bids and keeps the difference.
  • Glenview Hotel in County Wicklow sent out a call for memories and photographs for Centenary Celebrations March 14 next year
  • Affordable Car Hire signed a new partnership agreement with ATTS
  • Cyprus reported that banks have now reopened and cash machines, debit and credit cards are working as normal.
  • The Caribbean region recorded 15m tourists in 2012.
  • The global hotel industry reported leisure bookings year-to-date were up 4.5pc.
  • The new Copenhagen Den Bla Planet (Aquarium) has opened. Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is also to get a new daredevil ride for adults in the themed area called the Merry Corner.
  • The New Delhi-based Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry said the number of foreigners travelling to India was down 25pc.

Dealwatch:  Aer Lingus USA Sale is offering €100 off flights offer to Sunday Apr 7 Travel Aug 1 -Dec 16. Malaysia Airlines sale to Apr 19, travel between Apr 5 and May 31. Travel Department is holding a 7 day online sale

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