Saturday snippets: July 29th 2017

By | Category: Travel news
Time for a trip to Tenerife?

Tenerife – one of the main holiday destinations this summer

Last weekend, ABTA estimated that 2.4 million of us had left the UK for the holidays. It will surprise no-one that Spain and their islands, the Canaries and the Balearics dominate the places that people are heading for.  After that, Portugal, Italy, France, Greece, Bulgaria and Croatia are all doing well for short-haul holidays. For those taking a long-haul holiday, ABTA says that Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico and Florida have done well in bookings. Domestically, the West Country and seaside resorts look to be busy. Although ABTA doesn’t mention the country, Turkey seems to be picking up more and more late bookings as people realise that it is a bargain destination compared to euro-zone countries.

A study by an online booking company, Agoda, about holiday booking trends in twenty countries suggests that we in the UK book our hotel stays – on average – 37.2 days before the holiday date. You could guess from that that we are not planners but prone to last minute decision thinking. But the area that books the longest in advance, Hong Kong only books 49.4 days in advance which is only twelve days more. Whilst this might be of interest to hoteliers it might also be beneficial for us books to know tis as well. It should mean that the algorithms that determine the prices people pay will –apart from human activated promotions and discounts – not raise prices until after booking about the 37th day have been analysed. Poor bookings and prices should drop; good bookings and prices will rise. Advice? Book 38 days before you need the hotel room to, theoretically, get the best price.

image of Tenby

Tenby – a larger police presence to deal with louts

It is not only in places like Magaluf in Mallorca and Cyprus where British holidaymakers can get out of hand. For the last few years the usually quiet Welsh coastal resort of Tenby has had problems as the town’s population gets dwarfed by holidaymakers.. This summer, additional security staff will travel on the trains and there will be more police around at weekends. The project even carries a military codename – Operation Lion which seems inappropriate for a Welsh rather than an English town. Shouldn’t it be Operation Dragon? Or does Lion refer to where the troublemakers come from?

To say that the Balearics are popular for British holidaymakers would be no surprise to any reader. In May, UK visitors to Mallorca were up by 17.6% year on year, to Menorca there was almost a 24% increase and it was slightly higher than that to both Ibiza and Formentera. In all, from January to May 2017, a total of 818,802 UK tourists visited the islands, a 9.2% increase compared to the same period last year. The local tourist board says the increase was down to its promotion of the islands as a year round holiday destination. Britons accounted for 28% of the 1.9 million visitors to the Balearics in May, making the UK the second biggest market behind Germany.

As we are now in the height of the holiday season, claims will be made against travel insurance for lost or broken items. One insurance company, AllClear is highlighting the fact that insurance companies may not pay out. The reason is that the small print of some policies limits a single item limit, typically between £150 and £200 per item. If any of the items exceeds this lower amount, Just about Travel suggests that you check the small print of your policy to make sure you are covered.

the entrance to the Pavilion Theatre in Blackpool © Blackpool Winter Gardens

The Pavilion Theatre in Blackpool is a striking building both inside and out. It seems eminently suitable to becoming a museum as was planned by the council. But now Blackpool council has decided that the £26 million project will not go ahead as the financial risk is too big. Apparently there is a gap of £8 in the cost of the conversion and the amount the council could raise from its own or other resources. This may seem simplistic but couldn’t the council adopt a different conversion so that the price fitted the money available? Or will it remain a conference centre?

According to the travel deals website, Cheapflights, some people returning from holidays or trips need up to three days to fully recover from jetlag. It appears that 36% of those who have taken a long haul holiday go back to work, but 54% take up to two days off to recover and only 24% remain unaffected by jetlag. People in the East Midlands and in Yorkshire & Humber are least likely to take any time off to recover so we know where the tough are when jetlag hits!

Ryanair says it will be tougher on cabin bag rules this summer. The airline says that
some customers are bringing larger than permitted bags on-board, which can cause delays. Due to overhead locker cabin space limitations, only 90 normal cabin bags can be carried in the cabin and any remaining bags can be carried free of charge in the aircraft hold. Any oversized cabin bags will be refused or placed in the aircraft hold for a fee of £50/€50.

Seattle seen from the Space Needle at dusk

Starting May 27th 2018, Thomas Cook Airlines will fly from Manchester to the US west coast city of Seattle.  Having launched services to San Francisco and the all-year round service to New York, where will the next flights be to in the USA? Thomas Cook’s European brand, Condor, already flies to a number of cities so my guess is that if the airline adds to its destinations from the UK it will be one or any of these; Anchorage, Fairbanks, (both Alaska)  Maui on Hawaii and San Diego in California.

Figures from easyJet show just how many of us who consider ourselves disabled or  have mobility problems are feeling more comfortable with travelling. It used to be that, for someone with these issues, travelling abroad was not for the faint hearted. In 2016 the airline flew 468,300 passengers requiring special assistance, in 2010 it was half that figure. The last twelve months has seen a growth of more than 10%, a figure that matches the increase by its other passengers suggesting that, as a general rule, those requiring more assistance are not put off flying.

The influence or adding just one flight – or losing it –can be seen in the latest figures from Highlands and Islands Airports. Whilst there was a 13.3% overall rise in passenger numbers compared to the same quarter in 2016, Inverness, Barra and Islay did well but Dundee handled 2,690 fewer passengers owing to the withdrawal of the Flybe Amsterdam service and wick suffered to less demand from the oil sector for flights to and from Aberdeen.

image of a Jet 2 plane

Jet 2 the best placed travel company in the ICS survey

The UK Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute of Customer Service, has named Jet2holidays 4th out of almost 250 companies, making the package holiday specialist the highest ranked tour operator for customer service. Jet2.com comes 29th in the list – the highest ranked airline in the study. No other package tour operator or airline even makes the top 50 which is a little concerning given the amount of time and effort that airlines and tour operators say that they spend on customer satisfaction and service. Jet2holidays is given a customer satisfaction score of 84.8%, which represents the percentage of customers who said everything was right first time when they last contacted the company. Jet2.com has 82.4%.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,