Saturday snippets: 30th December 2017

By | Category: Travel news


The USA is likely to see more visitors from the UK if ATOL research is correct

Which?, has alleged that some holiday companies are misleading us with their promotions. The consumer organisation says that price offers which encourage a quicker booking can be found after the promotion ends either cheaper or at the same price meaning consumers may have been duped into buying when there was no real reason to do so. Companies named include, Expedia, Inghams, Kuoni,, Sandals and Virgin Holidays. Which? is asking for an investigation by Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority.

Research from ATOL suggests that three million of us will book holidays this week. The figure used to be much higher in the seven days following Boxing Day but the days when we walked off Christmas excess by heading to high street travel agencies and booking two summer weeks in the sun seem to be declining as offers are available throughout the year unless you have precise wishes. The research says that the USA will be popular with a million of us looking to travel there. It will surprise none of you to read that Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Portugal are on the list followed by the Caribbean, Australia, Canada and Cyprus. At the bottom of people’s lists are Azerbaijan, Romania and Slovenia.

There are any numbers of ways of celebrating the new year. You can have friends around, go out to a themed club or party, travel abroad or even shun the whole thing and get an early night. Or you could wear coloured underwear! It is traditional in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon to don different coloured undergarments because the colour reveals (probably not the right word) your thoughts for the new year. Blue signifies good luck, red is for success in love; green is indicative of good health; yellow for prosperity and brown for a desire to progress in your career. There seems to be no interpretation about good old M&S white boxers so I shall remain a mystery to people even if I did tell them the colour of my underwear!

The biggest amusement park in the US state of Illinois, Six Flags Great America, will open the world’s largest ever loop roller coaster (and their sixteenth) in Spring 2018. At 100 feet tall, the coaster will give riders record hang-time and 360 degree revolutions, whilst the 32 face-off style seats will allow them to see their fellow riders’ reactions. This 4D interactive ride uses a high-tech approach “to deliver unpredictable twists, flips and drops, making each ride a wild, new experience.” The park is to be found in Gurnee about an hour’s drive north of Chicago and, in addition, has a 20-acre water park, shows and four kid-themed areas with more than 30 rides.

Credit cards

As from January 18th there should be a reduction in the prices you get charged for using a credit card

A reminder to those using credit cards to pay for their purchases. From January 13th 2018 the snappily named EU’s Payment Services Directive 2 comes into force which bans the charging of credit card fees. It means that travel agents, airlines, tour operators, cruise companies and every other supplier who accepts credit cards will be unable to charge us for using the cards. If you do get charged after this date, refuse to pay and remind them of the law. Should you book a holiday in late December or early January consider delaying payment until the 13th if the charges amount to more than a few pounds or euros.

La Palma in the Canary Islands is recognised by UNESCO as an official Starlight Reserve. From 11th of January to 17th February it holds the 34th Canarian International Music Festival with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and Dalibor Karvay as conductor and soloist the idea behind the event is to combine music with world class stargazing over the comparatively light- pollution free skies over the island.


Eurocamp has decided to end its presence within the UK travel trade in favour of direct channels. If you have a booking via a high street travel agency it will be honoured but in future you will have to contact the company directly. Their decision comes at an interesting time, a time when bookings via travel agencies are rising.

In flight news, TUI will launch flights from Doncaster Sheffield Airport to Naples and the Egyptian resort of Hurghada next May. A name that may be not be particularly well known to British or Irish readers, Primera Air will operate flights from Stansted next year. In April flights to New York’s Newark Airport will start to be followed a month later by flights to Boston. Then in June it will link Stansted to the Canadian city of Toronto.

there are lots of new airline routes that have been announced

Air India will be starting a twice-weekly direct service in the new year to Amritsar, the location of the Golden Temple – the holiest place of worship in the Sikh religion – from Birmingham Airport. This will be the only direct, scheduled flight from the UK to Amritsar. From March 26th, Ryanair will be offering a direct service from Bristol to Valencia. The flights will only operate on Friday’s and Mondays so the flight is ideal if you want a weekend break but not so good otherwise.  Wizz Air will fly from Luton to Athens as from April the 29th.  It is also introducing services to Keflavik in Iceland and Bari in Italy.

British Airways will fly from Heathrow to the Greek island of Kefalonia from May 15 until October 6 next year. It will also fly to Figari airport on Corsica every Sunday from May 27 until October 7 and to Almeria in Spain from March 27th. Also linking the UK to Corsica is French airline Air Corsica will have flights from Stansted to Ajaccio (2-4 times a week), Bastia (2-4 times a week) and Figari (1-2 times a week) between 3rd May and 4th November. easyJet will fly from Gatwick  to Volos in the Thessaly area of Greece over the summer next year. The flights start on June 28th. Flybe has added Venice to its 2018 summer schedule from Cardiff. The twice weekly service will start from March 27th and end on September 9th.

Emirates will launch a new daily route from Stansted to Dubai from June 8th. This means the airline will have direct services from Heathrow,  Gatwick, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester, Stansted and Glasgow enabling passengers to either stay in Dubai or link with connecting flights to Africa, Asia and Australasia.

Finally, may I wish all of our readers a happy new year. The year 2018 will ring in some substantial changes to iron out anomalies in holiday legislation and how the information we provide travel companies can be used. That should help it become a happy new year for all travellers!

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