Saturday snippets: 10th October 2015

By | Category: Travel news

virgintrainseastcoastVirgin Trains, the company that took over the East Coast line, will start a service to Sunderland from the 14 th of December as well as one from Stirling to London from the same date. Readers who have been with us for a while might remember that there was no direct service to Shrewsbury until a company called Wrexham and Shropshire started one. It lasted three years. Virgin Trains suddenly found it could operate a train on the line after saying it hadn’t been possible. The result? Goodbye W&S which had a longer timed run into London. Sunderland is served by Grand Central which has been successful in linking cities in the North East that other train companies overlooked. I hope that they don’t go the same way as the W&S. Did I also mention that Virgin East Coast has recieved the largest number of customer complaints according to the latest figures from the Office of Rail and Road but only after Virgin West Coast?

You will, no doubt have seen Air France staff being escorted away after demonstrators ripped their shirts as they objected to planned job cuts. It got Air France and the demonstrators world-wide coverage. Is this where airline passengers are going wrong? When we have a cancelled flight, the toilets are out of commission or you are left with the food selection that everyone else has rejected should we rip the shirts of the back of the cabin crew? It might encourage some airlines to take better notice of us and treat us better. But then again, can the cabin crew help it? They just have to make do with what the faceless powers say and passengers never get to meet them.AirFrance

The other strange site of the week was some of the patents filed by Airbus for seating on planes in the future. The Daily Mail initially published the story which was then taken up by other media showing double decker seating. If you think that is the way seating might be in the future then you might be right. But the main aircraft manufacturers – Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer – file patents as often as we have hot dinners. Most never see production so don’t be persuaded, yet at least, that this is how you’ll sit on your flight in ten or twenty years’ time.

Petra in Jordan

Petra in Jordan

The film, The Martian, starring Matt Damon and which opened on the 2nd of October, was filmed in Wadi Rum in Jordan. Coinciding with the launch is a new, six-month campaign promoting the country. The tourist board wants to position the country as a land of genuine hospitality, history, culture and discovery and I can testify that it is. But given the situation in the Middle East and the recent study by Travelzoo will people book? I hope so as there are few destinations that can offer such heritage sites as Petra and the Dead Sea, such sea resorts as there are at Aqaba and such scenery and a meld of Arabic and western fusion food that some of the clever chefs at the restaurants are creating.

Utah claims to have America’s largest ski and snowboard resort following the merger of Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort. The two have been combined to create Park City, part of a $50 million investment by Vail Resorts, and has 7,300 skiable acres and over 300 trails. In addition, the 2015-16 season will also see the opening of Utah’s newest ski resort, Cherry Peak Resort. Located near Logan in northern Utah, the resort is two hours from Salt Lake City, and features three triple chairlifts, a 1.25 mile-long-run, and a three-storey day lodge that will host events year-round.

On a day when there were only 20 or 30 motor bike riders

On a day when there were only 20 or 30 motor bike riders

Last weekend, more than 7,500 motorcyclists from the UK and overseas started a ride from eleven different points across our countries. Their target was to meet at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for a service or remembrance. Why? Because they took part in in Ride to the Wall – an annual event, which is the only one of its kind in the country and also helps to raise funds for the Arboretum which is part of the Royal British Legion. I’m told that it was quite an event with the money raised probably running into six figures. If you haven’t been before, stick it in your diaries for next year.

One of our largest tour operators is changing its name. No longer will you see the Cosmos Holidays name. It will be Monarch Holidays instead. The holding company is the Monarch Group and it has decided to use the same name for its tour operations as it does for its airline. Monarch will offer flights from five UK airports (Birmingham, Gatwick, Leeds-Bradford, Luton and Manchester) to 39 European destinations, and holidays to thousands of hotels across Europe in 2016. Cosmos Tours, the touring and cruise specialists, of the group will retains its name.

rome a city break destination

Colosseum in Rome. – fewercaoches in the future?

Rome is proposing a five-fold increase in the permits it issues to coaches allowing them to enter the city. Given the high bedroom tax that is slapped on visitors you do sometimes wonder whether Rome wants any visitors at all The European Tourism Association (ETOA) opposes this rise which will affect all of us who pick a coach tour. The reason for the increase is to act as a deterrent and force groups to travel on public transport to the various sites within the centre of Rome. That doesn’t even consider the problems that some elderly or those with disabilities suffer. Because coaches can get nearer than some public transport services it enables those who do have walking difficulties to consider tours like this. Will ETOA succeed in persuading the Roman authorities to change their minds? Don’t bet your pension on it but with the resignation of the Rome mayor, Ignazio Marino on Thursday due to alleged credit card misuse, could the authorities rethink?!

Next week is National Chocolate Week and there will be a show at Olympia where, for the princely sum of £12.50, you can see and sample. But it is also National Curry Week and curry houses up and down our countries will be making offers. But will anyone offer Curried Chocolate?

Finally, let me remind you that this weekend sees the last of the CRUISE Show’s for the year at Glasgow’s SECC. The same organisers though have one more exhibition before the year closes. The UK’s only event dedicated to helping families discover their holiday and travel adventures together, the Family Travel Show, will take place at Olympia London from the 31st Oct – 1st Nov 2015.

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