Incheon Airport in South Korea is 10 years old. But for half of that time they have won awards for best service and customer satisfaction. They have won Skytrax awards, (an award voted by airport and airline users) ACI (the airports trade body) customer service awards for the last five years in a row and been featured in many publications as the airport that others aspire to.
Archive for March 2011
You are at the gate waiting to be called to the aircraft. Sometimes they load from the back first, sometimes those at window seats and sometimes just on a first-come-first-served basis. Whichever method has been tried, there have been failings. You still end up pushing past someone or waiting until they are settled. The bigger the aircraft the more time consuming it seems to get. Yet we have been used to this way for years. Is there a better way, – apart from airlines giving us our own individual doors?
Television programmes can be a powerful force in attracting us to visit destinations linked with those programmes. Highclere House was the backdrop in the successful “Downton Abbey” series and is expected to attracted many more tourists as a result. If that is right, the second series should bolster the appeal for some time to come. The are “Midsummer Murders” tours in Buckinghamshire with lits of demand from visiting Australian visitors as well as Brits. But it isn’t only series that benefit. One-off programmes can also benefit.
The Lottery Heritage Fund has just announced grants of £10 million towards restoration of some of the UK’s most popular- and not so well known – tourism destinations and attractions.
This morning the Competition Commission has ruled that BAA must sell off Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh Airports. This follows from the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the sale despite the attempts of BAA to say that the travel market had changed quite a bit since the original ruling was given. What will BAA do now? Sell and give in gracefully or try and find justification for continuing its fight?
In Copenhagen this week is a three day conference (Passenger Terminal Expo) where airport and airline suppliers sell their wares. Theoretically what makes it easier for them should make it easier for the passenger to get through what has become, for many of us, the bane of travel. It used to be check-in queues. Now it is security and having to walk or be bussed, miles to where the aircraft is parked. So is there anything at this conference that offers hope for us?
Just after the news comes out that the proposed 22 day strike that would affect anyone flying to Spain or over Spanish airspace has been called off, up pops British Airways (BA) to remind us that life isn’t plain sailing. Or even plain flying! Once again there has been a strike ballot. Once again, the vote has overwhelmingly been for strike action.
The UK government with the assistance of advisors and the governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales has put forward eleven sites to UNESCO for consideration as world heritage sites. There a committee will vet and visit the chosen 11 before the final decision is made which will join the other 28 sites that have UNESCO status in the UK.
Freelance travel writer, Cathy Winston, takes us on a tour of her five favourite destinations
I was travelling by train from our office in Leatherhead to Leamington Spa. Simple you might have thought. Not a bit of it. It turned into a long drawn out affair that has demonstrated the complexity of ticket buying, the confusion in the minds of railway staff and why people often end up with the wrong ticket.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Leamington Spa is an ideal place for a day out as readers will find out when I’ve finished writing the story.
Our China correspondent on how internet dating is catching on among Beijing’s wired generation
http://www.summitcycles.co.uk/enduro11/ Machynlleth, Mid Wales all 750 places are sold out so spectators only on the 60km course
For seven years, the Cross Foxes near Dolgellau had been derelict. Maybe even the foxes shunned the place as well regardless of their temper. (sorry, couldn’t resist the bad puns) But Dewi and Nicol Gwynne saw something in the building and decided it was for them. Two years later they opened; two months after that and they achieved the highest accolade restaurant and accommodation can achieve. 5 stars.
Today’s budget announcement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. George Osborne, has a number of items that will impact on holidaymakers and travellers. Here is a quick summary of what CD-Traveller has spotted so far.
For many the rather grand building on the north side of Piccadilly as you walk towards Hyde Park looks rather like a Victorian gentleman’s club. To those who know, this is Apsley House, the home of the famous Duke of Wellington. He took a lease on it from his elder brother and, by 1820, it had been remodeled to be almost as it is seen today. It is the last remaining town house in London that hasn’t been sold off, turned into flats, demolished or totally turned into a museum.
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-events/w-events-find_event.htm?c=1 Stourhead, near Mere, Wiltshire Garden only: adult £8.10, child £4.40 family £19.20
http://www.swindonmusicfestival.co.uk/ Most events are at the Arts Centre, Devizes Rd., Swindon but check the website for details
http://www.spiritofspeyside.com/ see website for location and prices
The Costa Brava has its critics, but a holiday here can be a delight. Your definitive guide to this beautiful stretch of Catalan coastline starts here
There are lots of websites that will give snapshots of what happens based on a few thousand examples. When it comes to assessing how punctual airlines were last year we have the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) figures as analysed by www.flightontime.info. In this instance we are talking of thousands if not tens of thousands or in the case of BA, nearly a quarter of a million flights.
Amy Sharpe from eWaterways tells us where she likes to holiday. She is running the London marathon on April 17th for a charity called ‘Shelter Box’ which sends out emergency relief boxes (each box contains a 6 man tent, first aid box, water makers, pots and pans, sleeping bags etc) to countries that have suffered major catastrophes.
e-Waterways will be at the Cruise Show at London’s Olympia this weekend
In the light of the horrific earthquake and tsunami that has hit the eastern part of the island of Honshu, you might have received e-mails requesting donations to a fund to help the inhabitants. Whilst a number of charities are actively engaged in helping, be wary of any e-mails you get. If you know the source and trust it, fine. If it comes from someone or some organisation that uses a hotmail or gmail address, be suspicious. If an organisation is named, google them and go to the official website. Donate via that method instead.
These days it seems as though each week has been used by some group of other to try and get publicity. National Sausage Week has come and gone and last week was British Tourism Week. This week is Climate Week. If you immediately said to yourself what on earth has this to do with my travelling then you only have to think back to last year. For a few weeks, flights were severely disrupted, not just in Europe but around the world as the knock on effect took place of the volcanic eruption in Iceland.
Because it had been British Tourism Week last week, I had visited a few parts of the country to see how different regions were going to attract us. And how they were coping with cuts but more about that later. This meant that I had to stay in hotel for a night. Regular readers will know that as long as the bed is reasonable and the shower functions well, I can put up with a lot. I have had rooms the size of dog kennels and some only slightly more hygienic. I can put up with no TV, no chairs or desk to work at and I don’t really mind a cobweb in the corner of the room but last week I came across something I’d not encountered before.
Keep it under your hat, but there’s more to China than the Temple of Heaven and Terracotta Warriors. CD Traveller discovers the island oasis of Hainan
Travel Destinations, Travel Rumblings
Have we lost our appetite for travelling to the USA? Figures released by the US government this week show that 1% fewer of us visited the country last year compared to 2009. What’s 1% you might say. That’s neither here nor there and can easily be made up. But the government also produced figures to show that over the last decade, the number of us travelling had dropped by 18% compared to the 1990’s. Only one other country, Japan had a higher drop over the decade.
Why might this be so?
Don’t forget that you have only until tonight if you want to enter the draw to win a pair of tickets to the Cruise Show which opens at Olympia next weekend. To enter all you have to do is send an e-mail with FREE CRUISE SHOW TICKETS in the subject line and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Over the 26th and 27th of March you will be able to visit most of the leading cruise operators in the world and see what is available. Last year, [...]
With London set to play host to an influx of visitors next month for the Royal Wedding, CD Traveller investigates whether the capital is a rip off for tourists