Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Non stop to Addis, the Adventure Begins

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE – DEAL WATCH

The children at a school near Agra, where the Ifonly/Emirates group visited and brought them books on a fam trip to India. Credit Paul Dolan.

The children at a school near Agra. Ifonly and Emirates fam trip to India.Credit Paul Dolan.

The headlines this week…

*Dublin’s First Dreamliner Service Goes West to LAX and South to Addis

*Another Bed Bank Gets Bed Bugs

*China First for One Visa for Two Countries Scheme

*Lack of Runway Slots Blamed for Little Red’s Failure

*Ebola: ‘Fear Spreads Faster than Disease’

Travel Extra TV

nora-gliderOur video of the week shows Nora Brier from Suffolk, England celebrating her 100th birthday with a loop-the-loop in a glider courtesy of Anglia Gliding Club. Nora is “not even a little bit” nervous, and it’s no wonder: she has already been in a hot air balloon, a microlight and a helicopter. Nora’s next stunt? Driving around a car racing circuit at top speed. Watch here.

  • Travel agent Thorne Travel in Scotland went viral this week with “the worst travel ad ever”. Pounding club music, awkward strutting and a dodgy stunt double made social media users cringe en masse and generated over 350,000 views on YouTube. The video was worth the embarrassment it seems – bookings are up. Assistant manager Christina Haywood said the video was intentionally funny and described it as “a spoof of the Virgin advert”. Watch here and decide for yourself.
  • KLM celebrated its 95th anniversary with a 4D show on an MD-11 aircraft. Watch here.
  • Continuing its series with Phil Spencer, Tourism Ireland uploaded a video of the Location, Location, Location presenter exploring the island of Ireland. Watch here.
  • While fishing with his father on Platte Bay, Michigan, Andrew Ballard captured a video of a huge fog bank rolling in over Lake Michigan. Watch here.
  • British Airways uploaded a video of US Open champion Justin Rose’s celebrity golf challenge: Gary Lineker, Jamie Redknapp, Ian Write and Jodie Kidd tried to hit golf balls from a B747 wing at a gong 146 metres away. Each hit equals a flight for the Justin and Kate Rose Foundation charity. Watch here.
  • Heathrow Airport uploaded a tutorial video explaining how to use the parking pods at Terminal 5. Watch here.
  • The Unclaimed Baggage Centre in Alabama is the only shop in the USA that buys and resells unclaimed baggage from the airline industry, according to brand ambassador Brenda Cantrell. It stocks 7,000 items from its inventory every day. Bloomberg sent reporter Matt Miller to see what was on offer – cameras, underwear, jewellery, you name it – and see how the shop works. Watch here.

Headlines

IMG_1377June 15 has been confirmed as the start date for Ethiopian Airlines 3w flights from Dublin to the capital of Africa, Addis Adaba. This will be Ireland’s first direct service to sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopian highlighted the flight in the other direction, Dublin to Los Angeles in their Friday evening press announcement. Without the fifth freedom pick-up in Dublin, stridently opposed by Aer Lingus and US carriers, the route would not be viable. Ethiopian will likely not use the US CBP in Dublin, in the early stages of the route at least, because it would delay turnaround. The Dreamliner cannot make it to the US in one hop, largely because of the altitude of Addis, which restricts the fuel load on Ethiopian’s outbound services. It means Dublin’s first regular Boeing 787 Dreamliner service is by the unlikeliest of airlines and Dublin’s first fifth freedom route. Travel Extra’s editor Eoghan Corry was in Addis Adaba in advance of the announcement this week and was told that Ethiopian anticipate that 80pc of the Dublin-Addis passengers will transfer to elsewhere in Africa, where Ethiopian’s network covers 49 destinations, including Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and South Africa. For instance it makes destinations such as Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar a one stop options. It opens up options for Irish tour operators opening up Ethiopian’s own holiday company, launched last year, selling tourist packages and the long established tour operation of Dun Laoghaire born Tony Hickey (and Holiday World exhibitor), Ethiopian Quadrants, The pioneering Ethiopian hotelier Tadios Getachew who set up the country’s first spa resort, Kuriftu Debere Zait, told Travel Extra that Ethiopia’s potential as a tourist destination was bigger than Kenya or Tanzania. Eamon Flanagan’s Premair are GSA or Ethiopian in Ireland. The De Danaan tune The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba in Galway might serve as a useful theme for the week. Picture shows Ethiopian airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam and Senior Sales Executive Michael Yohannes.

The demise of another bedbank, TransHotels, currently in a Spanish form of administration, headed up in Ireland and Britain by Martin Diss, has raised anew alarm bells. While Transhotels had participated in a road show last March in Cork, they withdrew before the Dublin event and were small players in the Irish market. Pat Dawson CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association said that agents’ best option in dealing with bedbanks was to pay after the event, or for bedbanks to get their own bond as previous crashed had left agents out of pocket. “Bedbanks need to self-regulate, otherwise the trade will lose confidence with them…They are never going to be regulated by the government. The legislation is so out of date the government has no interest in this situation. It raises the question what happens if a major one goes. There are too many bedbanks on the market and the margins are so tight they cannot handle a major setback. The only options for agents are to pay late or for bedbanks to get their own bond.”

China will be the first country to benefit from the British-Irish visa scheme later this month, followed by India within a short period. Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and British Home Secretary Theresa May formally launched the scheme at Irish Embassy in London. The scheme will facilitate nationals requiring a short-stay visa to travel freely within two countries using a single visa issued by either Ireland or Britain, a mini-Schengen. Minister Fitzgerald and Home Secretary May agreed to review the operation and success of the scheme in early 2015. Subject to that review, a timetable will be finalised for the rollout of the scheme to all countries by the end of 2015. Under a new agreement immigration data will be shared between both countries.

Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive Craig Kreeger blamed the “inadequate” number of runway slots made available by regulators for the failure of the Virgin Little Red operation by Aer Lingus. Little Red will stop flying between Heathrow and Manchester at the end of March 2015 with its Heathrow to Edinburgh and Aberdeen flights ceasing at the end of September 2015. The slots used for Manchester revert to Virgin. The slots used for the Scottish routes were allocated to Virgin as a condition of the British Airways takeover of BMI and could become available to Aer Lingus.

John Spicer, acting Commissioner for Aviation Regulation, published his determination on maximum charges at Dublin Airport, requiring an average annual reduction of 4.2pc per annum over the next five years. This despite the reminder sent to him by Minister Paschal Donohue which reminded him of government policy in developing Dublin as an aviation hub, something that both Ryanair and Aer Lingus interpreted as interference. So this week the Commissioner has Ryanair and Aer Lingus on his case for bowing to government pressure, and Dublin Airport Authority on his case for not bowing enough. His determination allows for €341m in capital investment in Dublin Airport over the next five year, up from €308m proposed in the draft, up 62pc on the last four years, with further “trigger” allowances of €308m to fund runway capacity enhancements or to meet security needs should they arise.

Eoghan morning ireland july 8 2014Ebola continues to haunt the international travel industry. The news that the disease spread to Spain caused TUI Travel shares to fall 15.3pc, Thomas Cook were down 6pc, BA’s parent IAG down 7pc and cruise company Carnival 5pc. Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry on RTE’s Morning Ireland on the line from Africa “we are in danger of turning an entire continent into a leper colony, fear spreads faster than disease“. 

katie-reynoldsDon’t try to sell us anything we can get for free.” Among the headline presentations at the inaugural Swahili International Travel Exchange in Dar es Salaam was digital marketing and marketing to millennials by South African travel writer Katie Reynolds (pictured) She said marketing to millennials is like herding cats (see her illustrative video here). Vanessa Baldwin described the work of conservation unit Traveller’s Eye.

malta-famLowcostbeds and the Maltese Tourist Board organised a fam trip to Malta for nine agents and a Travel Extra journalist. The group visited 13 properties and stayed in the Cavaleiri Hotel in St Julian’s Bay. Many of the hotels the group visited were fully booked, indicating the good late summer Malta has enjoyed, namely because agents are diverting packages to Turkey and Egypt to the island. With temperatures hitting 28 degrees in early October and set to remain in the high teens until mid-December, Malta is a strong contender for the winter market. The top property: The Dolmen Resort & Spa in San Pawl il-Baħa. It boasts spacious rooms, a casino, two outdoor pools, a tennis court, year round animation, an on-call hairdresser and access to the beach. Free Wi-Fi will be available throughout the hotel from Nov 1. Located in a good area and available from €34pp per night, agents can sell this property with confidence. The one to avoid: Topaz Hotel in St Paul’s Bay. Unclean, in need of serious refurbishment and home to some dire smells, clients won’t thank you if you put them up here. Blessed amongst women: Picture shows Michelle Cullen of Icon Travel, Katie Keyes of Skytours, Grainne Caffrey of lowcostbeds, Liz McGonagle of Paudraic Keogh Travel, Yvonne McCarthy of Strand Travel, Patricia Ryan of Limerick Travel, Erica O’Reilly of King Travel, Niamh Byrne of Ask Susan, Conor McMahon of Travel Extra and Linda Brown of Killiney Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Spain, Tunisia and Abu Dhabi are still in the running to host the Irish Travel Agents Association Conference in 2015, following inconclusive negotiations with the front-running contender destination Nice last week.

What we learned this week: Tsetse flies can bite through trousers.

Travel Trade

  • taj-mahalPicture shows Yvonne Collins, Maria Boyle and Martin Penrose; the diehards who got up at 5am to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise on the Emirates and Ifonly fam trip to India. Martin Penrose of Ifonly described the visit: This is without doubt the best educational I’ve had the pleasure to be involved with. I’ve taken many over the years, but none have captured the imagination like this one. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
    Credit: Paul Dolan. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Charlie Murphy of Dublin Port is the guest speaker at Skal’s lunch on the development of tourism and cruise business at Dublin Port.
  • Sunway and Trafalgar will launch their 2015 Escorted Tours brochure in Isaac’s Restaurant, Cork on October 16.
  • ITAA will host a frontline management training day hosted by Jerry Kelly of First HRD at Westmoreland Street, Dublin this Thursday (Oct 16) from 9:30am-5:30pm. The programme promised to teach participants skills in dealing with conflict, managing stress, improve performance and improving personal and workplace management. Cost for ITAA members €120, non-members €180.
  • Camino Ways is hosting its last talks at 53 Degrees North in Dublin on Oct 14 and Cork on Oct 15. Places are free, but book in advance. Camino’s Sunday walks will be breaking for the winter; the last prep walk takes place on Oct 26 at 9.30am. Register here.
  • mary-mckennaTour America’s Sales Day was held in the Red Cow Hotel. It was followed by a night at the Shelbourne greyhound park. Picture shows Tour America MD Mary McKenna.

Deal Watch

  • thomson-ibizaThomson‘s family resort offer: 7 nights all-inclusive Dublin to Port des Torrent, Biza from €2,139 for two adults and one child and from €2,739 for two adults and two children. Depart June 3.
  • Emirates launched a global sale on fares from Dublin. Book before October 19 for outbound travel on selected dates in November 2014: Dublin-Dubai from €499, Mumbai from €476 and Malaysia from €596, Melbourne from €824, Perth from €821 and Johannesburg from €677. Flash sail to Dubai from €454, book before October 15 for selected dates in November.
  • Celtic Horizon Tours’ Liverpool FC Premier League packages at Anfield: Liverpool v Hull City, Oct 25, 1 night coach & ferry from €299pp; Liverpool v Stoke City, Nov 29, Anfield, 1 night coach & ferry from €299pp; and Liverpool v Sunderland, Dev 6, 1 night coach & ferry from €299pp. Celtic Horizon’s soap tour package: Visit to Coronation Street Studios and a location tour of Emmerdale from €219pps incl. return travel by coach & ferry, 2 nights B&B, transfers. Depart Galway, Waterford, Maynooth and Dublin.
  • NITB is offering 2 nights B&B and one evening meal at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast for £139pp.
  • Falcon’s all-inclusive Holiday Village offer: 7 nights Dublin to Cala Millor, Majorca from €2,209 for two adults and one child and from €2,810 for two adults and two children. Depart May 16. Free sea view room with early bookings.
  • ITAA’s weekend city break offers: 3 nights at The Langham, Boston from €789pp incl. free room upgrade and direct return flights with Aer Lingus, depart Nov 27; 4 nights at the Excalibur Hotel Casino, Las Vegas from €744pp incl. return flights, travel May 2015; and 2 nights at the K West Hotel & Spa, London from €249pp incl. B&B and tickets to see the Miss Saigon musical, travel October 2014 – March 2015.
  • Falcon’s #NRG offer: 7 nights self-catering Dublin to Kavos, Corfu from €499pp for two sharing. Depart May 22.

Hotels

  • lough-erneNI’s only five-star hotel, Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen topped Huffington Post’s Best Hotels for winter 2014-15. Illinois-based Tralee Portfolio Management purchased the resort this week for an estimated €10.5m.
  • Irish Country Hotels is offering members of the Irish Farmers’ Association 25pc off a break at any of its 24 properties.
  • Paul Stenson, manager of the Charleville Lodge Hotel in Phibsborough, penned an open letter on Facebook addressed to two German guests who he claims attempted to blackmail staff in order to get a discount. He said the guests complained about “a small amount of dust on the main lampshade in the room and [that] the headboard wasn’t entirely horizontal”. Stenson said that there seems to be “a very dark trend emerging in the wonderful world of hospitality. There is a small cohort of travellers who use travel review sites as a means of ‘travelling economically’”. In his description of a “TRT – Travel Review Threat”, Stenson writes: “Essentially what they do is they take photos of some minor issue relating to the hotel room, and use photo editing software (namely the zoom function) to make the issue look ten times worse than it actually is. They then show this image to the hotel reception, and advise the receptionist that this image, along with some scathing words, will appear on the internet in a number of days, if ‘something is not done’ about the issue. When they say, ‘something is not done’, they usually mean a substantial discount on the room rate, or no charge for their room at all.”
  • The first Virgin Hotel, Virgin Hotel Chicago, will open on January 15. Rates start at $209 per night. The hotel’s website was launched this week.
  • Marriott International was fined $600,000 after the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Centre in Nashville blocked WiFi at a conference and then charged exhibitors $250-$1,000 to gain access to the hotel’s connection.
  • Later this month Marriott will install wireless charging stations for smartphones and tablets in the lobbies of 29 properties.
  • Hotels.com is plugging three “spooky” destinations around Europe to visit during the mid-term break and where to stay: The Catacombs of Paris – 9Hotel Opera from €174 per room per night; Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh – Jury’s Inn Edinburgh from €103 per room per night; and St Agnes Convent, Prague – Hotel Kings Court from €150 per room per night.
  • Belfast singer Donna Fleming will perform at Dolly Parton tribute show at Ballygally Castle in Antrim on October 18. Tickets £15.

International

  • A photo of a female great white snapped by a schoolteacher while cage diving off Sea Island, South Africa went viral, sparking an online debate about whether it’s ethical to bait sharks so tourists can see them up close.
  • Skyline RotoruaThe Gravity Park – which claims to be the world’s first year-round, gondola-accessed mountain bike park (it’s a mouthful) – officially opened at Skyline Rotorua, New Zealand. The park boasts 8.km of bike trails braiding down the side of Mount Ngongotaha. Half day passes start at NZ$55.
  • Around the Mountains Cycle Trails will launch a one- and multi-day guided mountain bike tour of Queensland this New Zealand summer. The trail is scheduled for completion on Oct 31. Tours are available from November to April and cost from NZ$219 per adult for a day trip.
  • Statistics journalist James Ball crunches the numbers and quashes eight Ebola myths: It is an oversimplification to suggest Ebola is a disaster for “Africa”, a continent of more than 50 countries and a land mass more than twice the size of Europe. The countries currently battling Ebola make up less than 1pc of the continent’s economy  – for much of Africa, like the rest of the world, it is largely business as usual.
  • New trails have been introduced to New Zealand’s national cycle trails, including The Pakihi Track on the east coast of North Island. Motu Trails offers bike hire for the Pakihi Track from NZ$65pp.
  • eNett and Cornerstone Information Systems have partnered to develop a direct hotel billy payment system for Travel Management Companies.
  • Anti-Airbnb campaign group ShareBetter have launched a tool that locates sex offenders living near host apartments.
  • The Eiffel Tower’s new glass floor was revealed this week as part of a €30m refit. Would you give it a verti-go?
  • Mumbai’s shipping authority, the Maharashtra Maritime Board, is in talks with operators to start a direct Mumbai-Goa passenger ship service.
  • A black hole in black cabs: Internet security firm ESET says that 190,000 mobile phones are lost in the back of London taxis every year.
  • Visit Scotland competition: Win a 2 night stay for two at Blythswood Square. Prize includes B&B, one meal at the hotel’s restaurant and return flights from Shannon, Cork or Dublin courtesy of Aer Lingus. More info.
  • The WalkAboutLove organisation invites walkers to take part in an 11-week adventure walking the Israel National Trail. Hikers are taken from Eila through the Mitzpe Ramon Crater, the Arava Desert, the Negev, Jerusalem, Caesara, the Galilee, the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon where the route finishes. Around 500 participants are expected this year. More info.
  • Japan is preparing for Typhoon Vongfong which is due to hit the country this weekend. Okinawa island is likely to take the worst hit during the storm.
  • National Theatre of Wales apologised after a 100ft poem by Gillian Clarke inscribed on Gladstone Rock in Snowdonia mountain range ended up looking like graffiti.
  • Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said he regretted suggesting that not all of the 298 passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 died instantly. He claimed that one of the passengers was found wearing an oxygen mask, although a spokesman for the Dutch public prosecutor said the mask was around passenger’s neck rather than their mouth.
  • Three tourists drowned in two separate incidents in Thailand. An Indian couple drowned after their boat capsized in strong winds off the Krabi coastline and a Belgian man died after he fell overboard during a boat trip between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan islands.
  • Euro Disney says the new financing package would allow it to invest in the business and boost visitor numbers. Visitors numbers at Disney Paris are expected to fall to around 14.1m this year, 800,000 down on 2013. Meanwhile Walt Disney Co chairman and CEO Robert Iger promised Disney Shanghai won’t suffer the same financial difficulties as Euro Disney thanks to a larger local customer base and a stronger economy.
  • Officials in Gibraltar rounded up 30 troublesome Barbary macaques and sent them to live in Blair Drummond Safari Park. The monkeys have been looting apartments and bins for food, and terrorising locals and tourists.

Food & Wine

cocktailThe Dublin Cocktail Fest takes place from Oct 13 to 18 at participating venues, including the Liquor Rooms and Vintage Cocktail Club. Each premises will offer at least one cocktail at a 30pc discount for customers wearing a festival wristband which costs €5.

Michelin star chef Kevin Thornton has created a limited edition Indochine curry for Camile Thai takeaway restaurants in Dublin. The dish is costs €14.95.

Mushroom expert Bill O’Dea is hosting a foraging trip to Sardinia from Oct 23 to 26. The itinerary includes a visit to a cheesemaker and wine producer and a host of restaurant visits including lunch at Alghero fish market. The trip costs €440pps excluding flights. To book, email bill@mushroomstuff.com.

Aviation

shannon-winRyanair say that Shannon is set to overtake Cork as Ryanair’s biggest passenger base in Ireland outside of Dublin. Shannon next year will have 825,000 customers, an 18pc growth, while Cork will have declined by 6pc to 750,000 passengers. Ryanair plans to increase passenger numbers at Shannon in the 2015 summer season by up to 18pc.  It will operate services to 19 destinations, one more than this year, with an extension of the winter Kaunas route and Manchester replacing Liverpool. Picture shows Shannon winning the airport award for airports with fewer than 4m passengers at the World Routes conference in Chicago.

Malaysia Airlines has moved to new offices at junction of Thomas Street and Francis Street, a third floor office suite above Café Noto.

Dublin Airport is on course for 21.4m passenger sin 2014. Just over 2m passengers passed through Dublin Airport in September, 8pc up on the same period last year. British routes were up 7pc, Continental routes up 5pc, transatlantic routes up 20pc, and Middle East and North Africa routes up 33pc.

The last Aer Lingus Regional operation from Dublin-Blackpool is scheduled for October 15, the last day of full operation by the airport.

CityJet will discontinue flights from Cardiff Airport to Glasgow at the end of October.  Air Transat will not operate Dublin-Shannon-Toronto 3w services in summer 2015 as Shannon traffic was down 30pc. Their 2w Dublin-Toronto service, and 1w Montreal.

Belfast City Airport returned to profit in 2013, with a profit of £1.2m. Belfast International Airport had a profit of £398,000 in 2013, down from £2.2m in 2012.

Combined air traffic at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports was up 9.9pc in September. The individual breakdown: Dublin up 9.4pc with an average 545 daily commercial movements; Cork down 4.6pc with an average 59 movements; and Shannon up 29.9pc with an average 75 movements. Commercial terminal traffic for the three airports was up 6.1pc from Jan-Sept. Ireland’s en route traffic was up 7.5pc and North Atlantic Communications flights increased 6.4pc.

SendMyBag.ie launched this week. The site collects bags and delivers them to holiday destinations, allowing passengers to fly luggage-free. The site hopes to target the 20pc of Ryanair passengers who bring a check-in bag on-board.

Jet Assist 1The new business jet centre at Belfast International Airport, Jet Assist, was officially opened on Friday. Picture shows Graham Keddie, Belfast International Airport MD and William McCrea, MP for South Antrim, with Jet Assist MD Ian Morrow.

Aer Lingus passenger numbers were up 5.3pc in September to 1.041m passengers. Load factor was up 1.6pc to 83.3pc. Long haul traffic was up 27.8pc to 138,000 passengers and short haul traffic was up 1.2pc to 784,000 passengers.

Aer Lingus Regional passenger numbers were up 12pc in September. This is the fifteenth consecutive month the airline has reported passenger growth. Operator Stobart Air said the airline carried 118,601 last month. Passenger numbers were up 12pc at Dublin, 43pc at Shannon and 9pc at Cork.

Ryanair launched a customer Twitter account, @RyanairFlights. Customers can send their Ryanair flight number through a direct message (provided they follow the account) and will receive an update on the status of their flight by Tweet. Travel Extra tested the service: it took less than 1 second to receive a response from the obviously automated service.

welcome-award-belfastBelfast International Airport received a Welcome Award by the Positive Futures charity. The award is a public endorsement of the quality of the service that businesses offer disabled people and their carers. Picture shows Susan Armstrong, who is supported by Positive Futures’ supported living service, presenting staff with the award.

  • US tech firm Sandisk will lease office space at Ryanair’s new headquarters in Swords.
  • Dublin Airport Fire Service evacuated Burger King in the airside of T1 on Friday after black smoke filled the food hall. It was later reported that burning oil caused the smoke.
  • Virgin Atlantic is scrapping Little Red’s Heathrow-Manchester and Edinburgh-Aberdeen services next year. In light of the announced, Ryanair launched a seat sale on services from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • A man was arrested and charged over a violent car hijacking at Dublin Airport on Tuesday.
  • Rugby fans hoping to catch the Pro 12 derby at one of Dublin Airport’s bars or restaurants were left disappointed after an administrative error caused Sky Sports coverage to be cut off at the airport.
  • Graham Keddie, managing director of Belfast International Airport, plans to seek enterprise zone status and develop land around Aldergrove.
  • Outgoing Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller was tipped by the Malaysia Insider as the first foreigner to lead Malaysia Airlines. However, the rumour looks likely to remain grounded: Mueller said he wants to remain chairman of An Post, owns property in Howth and said that his family wants to stay in Ireland for as long as possible.
  • Thailand will press ahead with a multi-billion dollar expansion of Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, which will include the construction of a third runway. Three regional airports will be constructed in border regions and other regional airports will be upgraded over the next five years.
  • ebola-joke-hazmatA US Airways passenger caused a disruption on a flight from Philadelphia to the Dominican Republic after he sneezed and jokingly shouted “I have Ebola, you are all screwed” shortly before landing. After the aircraft landed in Punta Cana, emergency personnel wearing blue hazmat suits boarded the plan and the passenger was taken to the airport’s medical centre for tests. The aircraft was held on the tarmac for almost two hours until medical officials determined there was no risk to the other passengers. There have been no reported cases of Ebola in the Dominican Republic. The straight-talking flight attendant as she reassures passengers: I think the man who said that is an idiot. Watch footage of the man being escorted off the aircraft here.
  • China Airlines took delivery of its first of its ten B777-300ER, which feature a three-seat configuration in economy class that can combine to make a single flat surface described as a “family couch”. The new interiors were created by Taiwanese designer Ray Chen. The aircraft will be launched on the Hong Kong route later this month and will be used on transpacific flights from Taipei to LA, San Francisco and New York. Meanwhile Thomson Airways plans to create family booths that can seat four to six people facing each other around a table. Families can sit together while couples can opt for pod seating with mood lighting and in-flight charging docks. Both innovations are planned for the airline’s new 737 MAX aircraft, due for delivery in 2018. Other plans include an on-board kid’s club play area on flights to Holiday Villages and Thomson Family Resorts, and an adult’s play area in the form of bookable child-free sections.
  • A US Airways flight from La Guardia airport in New York to Charlotte was delayed after a shipment of love crabs managed to escape in the cargo hold.
  • Flybe announced a rewards partnership with Avios, taking effect from Oct 27. The partnership replaces Flybe’s Rewards4All frequent flyer programme.
  • Aon Benfield Reinsurance launched a product for charter company SHY Aviation which will cover SHY in instances where charter flights have been cancelled because of mechanical problems, lack of flight crew, adverst weather conditions and refuelling delays. SHY can offer clients “the same or better” aircraft when a cancellation occurs.
  • The HSE confirmed it will not introduce Ebola screenings at Irish airports.
  • Aeroflot signed up for Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding service.
  • Ryanair is suing former pilot Ian Somner for allegedly making defamatory remarks on Dutch TV documentary Mayday! Mayday!
  • Qatar and S7 Airlines announced a codeshare agreement.
  • The cost of the Air France pilot strike has been updated to €320-€350m.
  • Alaska Airlines has been testing a biometric fingerprint access system at its airport lounges. The airline hopes to use fingerprints to check in for flights and pay for inflight purchases. The airline has a history of innovation: It began online ticketing in the 1995, launched wireless check-in in 2001 and was the first airline to integrate GP and EGPWS technology.
  • Bruno-MatheuEtihad Airways announced the appointment of Bruno Matheu (pictured) as Chief Operating Officer Equity Partnerys. Bruno joins Etihad after 20 years with Air France-KLM.
  • Passenger traffic at European airports increased 7pc YOY in August.
  • Heathrow renamed T5 Business Parking POD Parking.
  • Qatar’s first A380 aircraft completed its inaugural flight from Doha to London Heathrow.
  • Etihad launched the Etihad Airways Partners initiative. Five “like-minded” airlines will participate in the partnership with Etihad: airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Jet Airways and Darwin Airline.

Afloat

  • Silversea’s all-suite Silver Galapagos sailed her first expedition voyage following a refurbishing of all the ship’s suites, corridors and lounge. The colour palette – beighe and blue – is inspired by the décor of Silver Discoverer.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line added a new module to its NCL U online training platform that focuses on Norwegian’s 2014/15 itineraries in the Mediterranean & Canary Islands. It promises to help travel partners boost business and knowledge for the winter cruise season. Agents who pass the 10-question test at the end of the course will receive 25,000 points towards their NCL U points and in December, all NCL U students will be entered into a draw to win cruise prizes.
  • Irish Ferries passengers have until October 31 to book their 2015 Haven Holiday at 2014 prices at any of the seven parks in Wales and England.
  • Stena Line is offering 50pc off cabins on its Rosslare-Cherbourg route. Book by November 30 for travel until December 17.

Ireland

LOOP HEAD 3Visitors to Loop Head Lighthouse increased by 7.5pc so far in 2014. 20,368 people visited the lighthouse. 61pc were domestic visitors, while North America, Britain and Germany represented 8pc each. Italian and French visitors represented 5pc of the total.

Tourism Ireland is running a three-week online campaign promoting the Wild Atlantic Way to the British market with Canon and Secret Escapes. The promotion involves marketing 50,000 Secret Escapes customers via email and on the Secret Escapes website. Canon is highlighting the promotion on social media. Tourism Ireland is running a competition as part of the campaign, giving entrants the chance to win a Canon camera and trip to Ireland.

forever-happeningThe Forever Happening South East Tourism initiative – which is made up of members of the tourism industry and local authorities in Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny – is hosting a tourism information day tomorrow (Oct 13) at The Brandon House Hotel in New Ross at 11am. Picture shows Fiona Delahunty, The Griffin Hotel Group, Bettie Marie Burger-Smit Irish Hotels Federation, Peter Wilson Whites of Wexford, Wexford, Lynn Cahill, Tourism Officer, Waterford Metropolitan District, Carolyne Godkin Tourism Officer, Wexford County Council and Mags Darrer, Dooley’s Hotel, Waterford.

Lonely Planet’s new book, Ultimate Signspotting, contains three unusual signs from Ireland.  One in Glendalough that shows a person walking on water (Lonely Planet quips: “Unless you have a miracle up your sleeve, you might wait until winter before attempting this.”); a ‘Temporary Sign’ in Dublin (“Locals are anxiously awaiting the new ‘Permanent Sign’. This temporary one just doesn’t fill the void.”); and ‘Splash N Dash Car Wash, Best Hand Job In Town’ in Dublin.

The Adventure Travel World Summit took place in Killarney this week. 700 delegates attended, many of whom took part in pre-summit adventures (kayaking, climbing and mountain biking) which showcased outdoor activities in Ireland. Ahead of the event, a group of tour guides from Nambia took part in an adventure guide development programme in Tralee.

Belfast Film Festival is hosting a screening of Mad Max 2 on October 18 at shipyard turned skate park T13 as part of the BFI Sci-FI season Days of Fear and Wonder. Tickets £8.

NITB-choirTitanic Belfast will host the final of RTÉ’s All Island School Choir competition on November 16. Over 400 schools applied to compete in the competition, now in its sixth year. Picture shows Howard Hastings, Chairman of NITB, Gregory Dunstan of St Patrick’s Cathedral Armagh and Terry O’Neill of Cooperation Ireland with members of the Strathearn School Choir who were the winners of the 2013 Ulster regional heat.

Ireland’s three Geoparks – The Burren & Cliffs of Moher, Marble Arch and Copper Coast – confirmed they will attend the World Travel Market in London next month. The three sites are working on an itinerary that invites visitors to Ireland to take the three locations over a 7-day period.

The restored Octagonal Walled Garden at the Battle of the Boyne site was officially opened after a restoration.

Carrick Mountain in Wicklow will host the second round of the Enduro World Series mountain bike race. The race, which takes place on May 23 and 24, is expected to bring €500,000 to the county.

Email editor@travelextra.ie to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

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