This is what happened in travel this week:
- A hilarious safety briefing
- Two Dutch grans take their first flight.
- Ryanair fall out of the Google rankings.
- Bookabed relaunches website.
- Bomb hoax threats and porn images on Twitter
- Watch out for Vikings as Ireland remembers Clontarf
Travel Extra’s new print edition for May will be delivered to agencies and suppliers in the coming days (read it online here). This month’s highlights include:
- The world’s highest waterslide and other theme park openings and developments in 2014.
- Ten ways Thomas Cook could have kept its Irish operation (in existence exactly 140 years this month)
- Martin Skelly’s plans for a tech-focussed ITAA.
- Aer Lingus plans to have ten US destinations by 2020.
- Destination reviews including Conor McMahon in Lisbon, the Clare Valley and Adelaide in South Australia, Lord Howe Island, fishing in Auckland New Zealand.
Karl Tyrrell’s Bookabed added Tripadvisor reviews and attraction tickets to theirrevamped website, as well as a facility to include cancellation charges earlier in the accommodation search. Other additions to the site include quicker filtering system and details of promotions such as early booking and long stay discounts, free nights, complimentary upgrades and free breakfast. Sales Manager Lee Osborne says “we listen to what the agents need, both agents and clients use TripAdvisor reviews on a regular basis and this will give them quicker access in order to make a sale.”
Video of the week is this hilarious Southwest Airlines Flight attendant (watch here) cracking passengers up with her safety announcement (“if you are traveling with small children…we’re sorry”).
If you want to prove laughter is contagious, check out the amazing tale of two Dutch grandmothers experiencing their first ever flight and the two different approaches they took to preparing for it (watch here).
Have a look at another unexpected viral hit, a contender for the world’s worst tourism advert ever from Singapore Tourism Board in an attempt to lure more Filipino visitors (watch here). It has widely ridiculed on social media websites for its terrible dubbing, ear-deadening soundtrack and infantile script (“honey, look”), prompting its removal from STB’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, with a spokesman adding it “was not resonating well with audiences” Spoiler: it comes with a surprise present for the husband, a pregnancy test displaying a positive result, presented in a jewellery box.
The first Aer Lingus direct flight to Toronto took off on Monday (watch video here). Mike Kelly’s photograph shows the 757 on takeoff. Aer Lingus launched their service to Pula in Istria in Croatia, yesterday.
- As a 14-year-old Dutch girl presented herself at a police station after American Airlines declared it was attempting to track her down over a hoax bomb threat, the airline was inundated with more hoax threats from Twitter pranksters.
- Residents of the Aran Islands expressed concern that Ernst & Young, the consultants tasked to review the need for Public Service Obligation flights have submitted a draft report without visiting the islands or meeting any of the stakeholders. Islanders said closing the air service could lead to island depopulation.
- Aer Lingus pilots are to use iPads instead of in-flight paperwork.
- There was embarrassment all round when a US Airways marketing executive who received a pornographic image on Twitter, the social networking site, attempted to forward it to the authorities but managed to retweet it instead.
- Ireland implemented Alternative A of the Cape Town Convention, a regime substantially similar to Chapter 1110 insolvency in the US relating to leased aircraft. It says this gives Irish leasing companies and airlines access to reduced cost funding.
- Pilot unions claimed the cost of repaying for flight qualifications is at odds with the stereotypical image of pilots’ jet set lifestyles.
- The Irish Aviation Authority‘s profits rose 45pc to €21.3m. The Authority reported strong growth for Dublin’s cross-channel air traffic.
- Graham Bell has decided to leave American Airlines. His successor will be Gianni Tronza.
- It was speculated that Ryanair’s URL restructure is to blame for its massive drop in search rankings. Ryanair dropped out of the top 100 Google flight search results after its website overhaul. Bloomberg reported that taming Ryanair has become a personal gamble for Michael O’Leary. Ryanair reported disappointing hotel conversion rates.
- Sean Thompson of ad agency Dare who devised the Ryanair campaign said “it was important that we tackle people’s negative perceptions of Ryanair head-on and do it with a charm and wit that people would expect of the brand,”
- FBO Chain Avflight took over general aviation handling operations at Belfast City Airport. LinksAir launched their 11w service from Belfast City airport to Doncaster with one-way fares from £64.
- Etihad talks on the Alitalia deal continued. Etihad are to increase services to Athens and Larnaca.
- Leo Varadkar and John Bruton declared a new future for the Shannon region with a Bill to set up the new Shannon Group commercial State PLC company. The Clare Champion reported this is a step closer to a legal Shannon Group.
- Lufthansa is to introduce a self-service baggage tags on selected flights and will introduce long-haul seat reservation fees from April 28.
- Istanbul caught up with Frankfurt and Amsterdam as an aviation hub.
- Intro Aviation president Hans Rudolf Wöhrl said InterSky and Cityjet will continue to operate as separate entities.
- A second Sydney airport located at Badgerys Creek, about 45km west of the Australian city’s central business district, has been given the go-ahead.
- The Journal.ie featured photographs of Dublin by air from the Air Corps (also Ireland by air).
- Air Canada Rouge is expanding to the west of Canada to serve a number of predominantly leisure markets from Vancouver and Calgary to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Anchorage.
- Air France-KLM say a new electronic luggage tag could put an end to airport queues and lost bags.
- Dubai Airport is to close its runway between May 31 and July 20 for engineering work.
- Bjorn Kjos responded to the campaign against Norwegian Air Shuttle from American unions. “You have to bear in mind, if you have a crew based in Oslo, it’s regulated by Norwegian law: if you have a crew based in Stockholm, it’s regulated by Swedish law: if you a crew based in Gatwick, it’s regulated by English law. It’s not regulated by Irish law.”
- Over 250,000 passengers are expected through Dublin Airport this Easter Weekend. The number of residents of the six counties using Dublin Airport increased by 11pc to more than 570,000 last year.
- BA is to add fish and chips to its menu on a number of short-haul services departing Heathrow.
- The EU lifted restrictions placed on Kazakh airlines first imposed in 2009, which will allow Air Astana to expand into Europe.
- Wireless IFE provider Arconics is working with Ryanair and says it is seeking to differentiate with price.
- The European Commission launched infringement proceedings against EU member states it believes are impeding progress on the Single European Sky.
- Easytrip has partnered with QuickPark at Dublin Airport to offer savings of up to €60 for stays of 14 days or more.
- Research firm Frontier Economics said that the average ex-Heathrow ticket prices could be £300 lower by 2030 if the airportwas allowed to expand. London’s Civil Aviation Authority named Heathrow as England’s worst airport for flight punctuality last year. The airport’s CEO Colin Matthews claimed lack of capacity at Heathrow costs £14bn a year and additional hub capacity must be prioritised over point-to-point. Gatwick reported a boost in business passengers. Gatwick’s Christmas chaos which left passengers without drinking water and access to lavatories on Christmas Eve was described as a “wake up call.”
- Picture shows Julie Hanna, Tom Maher and Marie Corrigan of Cruise Broker with Will Walsh and Brian Purcell of Click & Go.com on board CMV Marco Polo during its call to Dublin port.
- Celebrity Cruises unveiled its 2015-16 sailings to Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, featuring over 70 destinations.
- Stena HSS Fastcraft returned for its seasonal service and will run on the Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead route until Tuesday September 9.
- The ferry disaster in South Korea focussed attention on the region’s safety record.
- Picture shows Irish agents and their hosts from the Spanish Tourist Board office in Dublin on a trip to Málaga, Ronda and Antequera on the Costa del Sol in conjunction with Aer Lingus: Kathryn MacDonnell of the Spanish Tourist Board, Irene McCaffrey of Travel Department, Ciara Sweeney of Corrib Travel, Katherine Crooks of Sunway, Gerard Bergin of Budget School Groups & Tours and Linda O’Donovan of Travelnet J Barter Group.
- The Irish Travel Agents Association say that 85pc of travel agents have reported an increase in ‘Dynamic Package’ bookings in the first three months of 2014 compared to 2013. The survey found that corporate Travel is increasing and that Spain, Portugal and the USA are the top Summer destinations for 2014.
- Liam Lonergan’s Club Travel reported a pre-tax profit of €3.3m, down from €4.4m a year earlier, for the year to October 31 2013. Turnover was €80m down from €86m. It employed 136 people and paid €3.6m in wages.
- American Holidays brought Neuroblastoma cancer victim Lily-Mae Morrison to Florida.
- BookaBed is giving agents the chance with each booking to win €100 a day until May 15.
- Three training and dinner evenings have been organised by ITAA Skillnet, Amadeus, Lowcostbeds, MSC Cruises, and The Travel Corporation in Ballinasloe on Tuesday April 29, Limerick on Wednesday April 30, and Naas on Thursday May 1.
- American Holidays €190pp deposit USA Easter Sale ends today.
- Avolon leasing said its fleet grew by 20 aircraft in 2014 Q1 bringing the total fleet to 202 aircraft.
- Cork Airport extra charter and scheduled flights to Marseille for rugby fans travelling to support Ireland in the European Cup Semi Final against Toulon next Saturday April 26 include chartered flights from Dawson Travel, Lee Travel and Killester Travel and an extra scheduled flight from Ryanair.
- Abbey Travel have announced prices for Euro qualifier matches, Georgia v Ireland Sept 7 €1199pp, Germany v Ireland Oct 14 from €475pp, Scotland v Ireland Nov 14 €269pp by coach.
Picture shows Tour America being presented with the Chairman’s Circle Honours award at IPW 2014: Chris Thompson CEO of Brand USA, Veronica Ahern and Linda Ryan of Tour America and Roger Dow CEO of the US Travel Association.
- Mount Juliet was put up for sale by the Mahony family’s Killeen group for €15m.
- The Barony Restaurant at Belmullet’s Talbot Hotel was awarded an AA Rosette.
- Mount Wolseley Hotel in Tullow, which owes €60m to various banks, asked the High Court for protection from its creditors to put a rescue plan in place and save up to 175 jobs.
- Marriott Rewards ranked highest in the inaugural J.D. Power 2014 Hotel Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report with an overall customer satisfaction score of 707 on a 1,000 point scale ahead of IHG Rewards Club (704) and Canada-based Delta Hotels’ Delta Privilege (703).
- The Hotels.com Price Index revealed that visitors to Dublin paid an average of €206 per night for 5 star accommodation. European visitors to San Francisco paid the most (€495) for a 5-star accommodation in 2013 followed closely by New York and Tokyo. Warsaw offered travellers the best deal on 5-star accommodation with an average price of €83 per night, followed by Budapest and Cairo at €121 and €131 per night.
- The Carter Hotel in New York, winner of TripAdvisor’s “Dirtiest Hotel” award on three separate occasions, is for sale.
- After it reached the milestone of 100 million downloads, TripAdvisor is now the world’s most popular travel app.
- An investigation by the National Consumer Agency found just 5 of 21 Irish travel websites complied with European Consumer Rights legislation. Since then 12 of the websites are now compliant and 14 require further action. Ireland’s compliance proportion of 46pc compared with an EU average of 62pc.
- A competition to find the most inept holiday photographer was launched by the website CheapHolidayLand.com.
- Austria got some fresh snow this week with lower temperatures and cloudy weather. French, Swiss and Italian resorts have had sun all week. Colorado is still enjoyed fresh snow from the beginning of this week. A dusting of snow has freshened up Canadian resorts this week and further snowfall is forecast over the Easter weekend.
- Egypt’s tourism ministry said revenue dropped by almost half in the first quarter of 2014. As Air Berlin became the latest airline to cancel flights to Sharm El Sheikh, the resort is reliant on Russian tourists after 15 countries issued travel warnings against going there, including Ireland (read DFA advice here).
- Malta specialist Belleair are offering offers 10pc discount on all Irish accommodation only bookings for Summer 2014.
- Mandala research concluded that women are more likely to visit friends and family than men, and are more likely to take part in group packaged travel.
- A tourist was charged €3,150 to download a Neil Diamond album in South Africa focusing attention on roaming charges.
- A theme park in Southend banned men from taking their tops off. A record number of beaches were graded “excellent” by England’s Marine Conservation Society.
- Munich legalised public nudity
- Surrey Police tweeted an amusing road safety rule: don’t try ‘sexual interaction’ when driving.
- Giro d’Italia organisers expect 140,000 spectators along the race route in Antrim, Armagh and Dublin on May 9-11.
Today is millennial of the Battle of Clontarf. The National Museum of Ireland is hosting the exhibition Clontarf 1014. Dublin City Council is recreating the battle at St Anne’s Park in Raheny and 40,000 spectators turned out for the first day of re-enactments. Other events will take place in Armagh, Clare and Tipperary. Clannad singer Moya Brennan and harpist Cormac De Barra are touring with Ten14, a music show about Brian Boru’s life, for families and children. Picture shows Desmond Burke, Tourism Ireland, with ‘Vikings’ Emma Greene (left) and Rebecca Birka at the dress rehearsal for the re-enactment at the Fotevikens Museum in Höllviken.
- The Restaurants Association sent out their annual condemnation of the Good Friday alcohol ban. CEO Adrian Cummins said it was an unacceptable and outdated law that was damaging the tourism, restaurant and hospitality industry.
- Dublin city engineer and director of traffic, Michael Phillips said there are problems with the first phase of cycle lanes that were put in the in 1990s.
- The Huffington Post rated Temple Bar as one of the top 10 most disappointing tourist attractions in the world. Frank McDonald wrote: Temple Bar is a travesty of what it was meant to be when this flagship urban renewal project in the centre of Dublin was first conceived in 1991.
Titanic Centre in Belfast has won a Visitor Centre Outstanding Achievement Award from the Themed Entertainment Association along with some of the world’s top attractions, including Disneyland Hong Kong, the Mind Museum in the Philippines, and the Michael Jackson ONE showcase. To commemorate the anniversary of the ship’s sinking, the London Telegraph selected 40 facts about the ship, and its demise and 10 ways to remember the sinking of the ship on April 15, 1912.
- Loop Head Lighthouse in West Clare reopened to the public yesterday.
- Mayo still lead the Irish Times best place to go wild competitionwith 487 votes well ahead of Cork with 192.
- The Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company, set up by an act in Westminster in 1853, ceased operating on Friday. It claimed to the oldest surviving railway company still trading as a commercial concern following a High Court petition by HM Revenue and Customs which sent the company (now a bus operator) into liquidation. Ramelton-based Boyce Travel is interested in taking on some of the Lough Swilly bus routes.
Picture shows Helen Maguire and Jack Foley of Aer Lingus with Alison Metcalfe and Jayne Shackleford of Tourism Ireland, in Toronto Pearson International Airport before the departure of the inaugural Aer Lingus flight to Dublin.