Saturday snippets: 14th February 2015

By | Category: Travel news
Taipei in Taiwan

Taipei in Taiwan

Let’s start this week with a competition to the other side of the world. To celebrate the launch of its bus advertising campaign in London, the Taiwanese airline – Eva Air – has launched a new Facebook photo competition encouraging the public to capture a photo of the Taiwanese airline’s new advertisements featured on many of London’s iconic red buses driving throughout the city and upload it onto EVA Air’s Facebook page. They will then automatically be entered into a prize draw to win one complimentary round-trip flight ticket from London to Taipei, the capital. The competition runs until the 3rd of March. Two runners-up will each win a Hello Kitty themed aircraft model.   The prize draw will be held on 12th March and winners will be personally notified and announced on the EVA Air Facebook page on 20th March. Entrants must be over 13 years old with a valid Facebook account to enter the competition. Winners must claim their prize by 17:00 on 30th of April 2015. Flights must be booked, ticketed and flown by 31st December 2015. For a full list of terms and conditions, click here.

Sunderland has been successful in its application to the Coastal Communities Fund to continue its seafront regeneration. In conjunction with neighbouring Roker and Seaburn, the latest phase of regeneration plans for the seafront includes continued improvements at Cliffe Park, Recreation Park and Bede’s Cross which will include increased, atmospheric ‘feature lighting’ to enhance the landscape. Plans for additional events and attractions along the seafront also include adding even more displays to the Sunderland Illuminations and organising a ‘Winter at the Seafront’ programme of celebrations and activities. The increased programme to provide a wider range of attractions throughout the year, will also introduce ‘Spring at the Seaside’ and developing on the LS Lowry connection to Seaburn.

Keukenhof tulips

Keukenhof tulips

Keukenhof, the Dutch annual tulip extravaganza is just over a month away. Coach companies have been offering tours across to the site for some time but you don’t need to take an organised tour.  As a day trip, it is one of the view that just about any of us in UK and Ireland can do as there are lots of regional flights to Schipol and an inexpensive bus service goes from the airport to Keukenhof. The park’s theme for 2015 will be Van Gogh, 125 years of inspiration. Gardens and four pavilions will display tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises and lilies. This year, the extravaganza runs from the 20th of March and lasts until the 17th of May. My tip is to avoid the first week as it can not only be busy but some of the blooms may not be fully in flower. Equally don’t leave it until the end if your first gardening love is the tulip as they may be going over by then.

It may be over a month to St Patrick’s Day but Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening, which sees major landmarks around the world go green for St Patrick’s Day, has a number of new landmarks have signed up to take part in 2015.. As well as the Colosseum, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and the Grand Ole Opry, other first timers include the famous Porte de Bourgogne in Bordeaux, the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in Nashville, the Jumeirah Etihad Towers hotel in Abu Dhabi, the Town Halls of Munich and Bamberg, the National Sanctuary of Cristo Rei (Christ the King statue) in Lisbon, the Fram polar exploration ship in Oslo, as well as City Hall in Tbilisi, Georgia. Can there be many places left that haven’t gone green?

Getting into the middle of Kolkata in India at night can be an experience in itself and not a good one. Many flights land during evening and the early morning yet there is no inexpensive transport downtown. Now the airport has decided to introduce an hourly nightly bus from 10 pm to 5 am.

I won't be flying first class on United!

I won’t be flying first class on United!

I wasn’t one of the lucky ones when the United Airlines website sold first class tickets for just under $100. The glitch had been sorted by the time I got to the website. Now the airline has said that it has cancelled thousands of bookings made by those who were unsuccessful. United said it would not honour the fares because the error was caused by a “third party software provider”.. Usually airlines allow these fares to be sold as the mistake was made by them. Why is United behaving differently? Could it be that too many were sold?

Those flying out of Edinburgh on Turkish Airlines can now carry 40kg of baggage free of chair when they flying economy class. This is twice as much as is usually allowed. As an incentive to attract to lure more passengers on their Fare Eastern routes this could appeal to those who just cannot manage to get everything into the more usual 20kg limit that most airlines provide.

I have moaned in these columns before about airline fuel surcharges and why they haven’t dropped. Now Singapore Airlines has announced that it will reduce charges yet surcharges will remain. Expect to still pay $US 31 per ticket if you book a flight to Singapore from them. But why isn’t it disappearing altogether? At least Singapore is reducing the surcharge which is more than many airlines are doing.



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