Category: Travel News

Unexpected costs are catching UK holidaymakers out

Average family will spend nearly a fifth more than their holiday budget in unanticipated costs Consumer expert Simon Read shares his holiday budget planning tips Search for: Holidaymakers have to find an extra £536.80 due to poor planning New research from ATOL, the holiday protection scheme, has found British families are willing to spend 13% more on their holiday this year compared to last year, with a family of four now set to spend an average of £3,133 on their annual break. However the research into holiday spending habits also revealed unexpected holiday costs leave travellers in the red on their return. ATOL’s research revealed that two thirds of holiday makers (61%) struggle with budgeting on holiday. As families relax into their holiday it also seems they relax their purse strings with more than one in ten (12%) admitting they don’t keep track of what they are spending and then get a shock when they come to settle the bill at the end of the trip. A family of four holidaying abroad should set aside an average of £536.80, to cover unexpected costs, the equivalent of two return flights to the Canary Islands or a four day pass to Disneyland Paris. Head of ATOL, Andy Cohen, said: “Holiday costs can mount up quickly, while you’re enjoying your holiday, making it very easy to overspend. “Our research also showed the unexpected can...

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Why Easter holidays cost more than last year

Average cost of family holiday up by six per cent on last year But families can save over £1,700 off the cost of long haul destinations using budget-busting tips Search for: M&S Bank reveals the Easter Holiday budget breakers   Research from M&S Bank examined which holidays ‘beat’ and which ‘broke’ the £2,991 average cost of a week’s family holiday, and found that holidaymakers will pay an average of six per cent, or £182, more this year than last Easter.   Despite the overall rise in the cost of a family holiday, six out of 10 destinations researched all beat the £2,991 budget – leaving families free to choose whether to bank the difference or upgrade their holiday with a few little treats. Short haul budget beaters Andalucía was found to be the most affordable destination this Easter at over £1,000 less than the average.  M&S Bank says that families travelling here for a week’s holiday could upgrade to business class flights, four star accommodation and a seven-day attraction pass, and would still spend less than the average budget. Malta and Crete complete the top three most affordable holiday destinations this Easter, at £2,144 and £2,156 respectively – and are the only two destinations where a family of four can get flights for under £1,000. These budget-beating destinations would enable families to upgrade to a convertible or premium hire car and those heading...

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UK airports extra fees and charges

Think you've paid for your holiday? There could be more to pay just to get on your plane Search for: Are you in for an UK airport surprise this Easter? The first really busy travel period of 2017 is with us. EasyJet alone will welcome over 2.4 million passengers during 1 – 17 April. The airline numbers will peak on Good Friday when almost 250,000 passengers are expected to fly on 1,628  flights across the network.   In the UK alone, over 141,134 passengers are set to fly to or from easyJet’s UK airports on 934 flights on Good Friday.   Most of these travellers will be very infrequent flyers, so some will be caught out by extra charges at the airport.   Drop off charge These extras include dropping people off at the airport, plastic bags for liquids in the hand luggage and even to use a luggage trolley.   Not all the extra charges are can be easily found on the airport’s website. The CAA does have a list of airport fees on its website, but it is woefully out of date. So here are the fees to watch out for.   Dropping off Some airports allow drivers to drop off people at or near to the terminal, others charge: Aberdeen £2 Belfast International £1 Birmingham £1 Bournemouth £3 East Midlands £2 Exeter £1 Isle of Man £1...

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Colletts Travel sold to Travel Leaders Group

Abta member sold to an American group Search for: Travel Leaders Group has acquired United Kingdom-based Colletts Travel Limited, including its prestigious Colletts Collection. The acquisition is a move designed to further enhance Travel Leaders Group’s expertise in counseling and serving affluent travelers globally. Colletts Travel will maintain its distinct brand identity within Travel Leaders UK, Travel Leaders Group’s United Kingdom operations. Travel Leaders Group chief executive officer, Ninan Chacko, said:   “We are thrilled to welcome Colletts Travel – along with its leadership, its highly skilled luxury travel agents, and its exceptional clientele – into the Travel Leaders Group family. What attracted us to Colletts is its strong brand reputation within the UK’s luxury leisure market.”   Colletts Travel was established in 1983 Colletts Travel was established in 1983 by Roy Collett to focus on luxury vacations in worldwide destinations. It has annual sales of approximately $57 million. It is based in Hendon, London and has three London-area offices, as well as one in Lancashire. The leadership of Colletts Travel, including Roy Collett and Michael Berlin, will report to Travel Leaders Elite Division president Gail Grimmett, who is also responsible for Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group. Grimmett said: “Together with our Protravel and Tzell UK operations, the addition of Colletts Travel further fortifies our platform in the United Kingdom as we expand our leadership position in serving the extraordinary and sophisticated needs of...

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Flight delays: Will your flight leave on time?

Which UK airport has the most delayed flights? Will you get to the beach on time? Search for: Flight delays: Should you chose your departure airport by punctuality? January is the peak holiday booking season. Millions of holidaymakers are looking for the best deal for their summer holiday. Most, if not all, will be looking for the best possible price. But should the research include looking at the departing airport’s timekeeping? Using data from the Civil Aviation Authority it is possible to find which UK airport has the largest percentage of delayed flights. The following charts show how UK airports are managing to get planes in the air on time, and how long average delays...

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Travel consumer expert warns people not to lie about holiday sickness

Travellers might be encouraged to submit a false claim Search for: The UK travel industry is concerned about the dramatic increase in illness claims made by holidaymakers. Marketing from claims management companies both here in the UK and at resorts, may lead people to believe that submitting a claim could bring them some easy money.   Frank Brehany, consumer direct at Holiday Travel Watch, has warned holidaymakers that submitting false claims could see them in court as the defence. He said: “Consumers need to be aware there is plenty of criminal law in this country that can catch up with you and you will go to prison for a long time.” He is disgusted that some firms are persuading consumers to make a claim when clearly there isn’t one. Brehany warned those who are active in resorts encouraging holidaymakers to claim that they won’t escape the clutches of the UK legal system here in the UK. “You can be prosecuted for being party to the commission of a fraud and you too can go to prison for a long time.” ABTA members are concerned and are calling for action Following reports from members of dramatic increased in claims during 2016, ABTA, the Travel Association, met with officials from the Ministry of Justice in November to highlight the growing problem of gastric illness compensation claims made through UK claims management companies....

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Cabin air – is it safe?

Three flights experience fumes in the cabin Is the bleed air system safe for crew and passengers? Search for: Cabin crew felt unwell Several flight attendants complained of headaches during a flight aboard an Airbus A330 last week. This was the third instance on an American Airlines plane in the past three months. In another incident, in October 2016, flight attendants on board a British Airways Airbus A380 had to use emergency oxygen after suspected “toxic fumes” were detected in the cabin. It is believed by some that the method of introducing air into the cabin adds toxic fumes into the confined space. The bleed air system To have a sufficient air pressure to breathe at the altitudes at which jet airliners fly, a supply of warm compressed air is required. Possible health implications for crew and travellers   Frank Brehany, consumer director, Holiday Travel Watch, began to look into the possible health implications of cabin air in 2006. He said: “The majority of aircraft that are flying today are powered by engines with a bleed air system. “When you are sitting in your seat on the aircraft, the air that you are breathing as you look out the window is coming through the engine that is keeping the aircraft aloft.” This air supply is bled from the compressor sections of the engines, there is no contact with combustion...

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Travel companies fall foul of advertising standards

Advertisements from two travel companies have been criticised by ad watchdog Search for: Advertisements from two travel companies have been criticised by the Advertisement Standards Authority (ASA). The findings into the two complaints (which date back to September and October 2016) were released in the first week on the peak holiday season. An ASA spokesperson said that this release was not specifically timed to coincide with the peak time. “It’s about giving the advertisers the right to defend their ad and obviously investigating it thoroughly, to make sure all the evidence has been taken on-board.” The rulings involved Lastminute.com and Ryanair. Lastminte.com New York trip In September, lastminute.com was offering New York holidays for £569. A holidaymaker complained to the ASA they had to pay an extra £70.77. In response to the ASA, lastminute.com said if an airline seat or hotel room sold out at the displayed price during the booking process, or after the booking request was submitted, they would always try to find a suitable alternative with no price change to the customer, and if that was not possible, they would offer the same or similar option with additional surcharge that would allow them to confirm the booking request. They said that they always offered customers the option not to proceed with the booking if that was no longer suitable for them. The ASA noted that approximately...

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Holidaymakers are warned to be on the lookout for travel scams

Holidaymakers lose millions to travel scams Online fraud has increased by 425% year-on-year Search for: Travel scams are increasing People booking their holiday online are being warned by ABTA, the Travel Association,  to be on their guard against fraudsters. According to a City of London Police report released last year, travel fraud is up 425% year-on-year, and costs holidaymakers £11.5 million. Be Smart This fraud comes from fake websites, online scams and non-compliant travel companies that have no financial protection in place. As part of an advertising campaign, Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said:       “Booking a holiday should be an exciting experience, however it can be ruined by clever and unscrupulous scams. “We have seen a significant increase in fraudulent activity over the past year, so we are encouraging all holidaymakers to stop and think about the company they are booking with.” What to look out for ABTA has produced a list of tips that will help to reduce the risks faced by holidaymakers looking for a great deal. Businesses not providing financial protection In 2016, ABTA passed on the details of more than 100 travel companies that were selling package holidays without having the correct financial protection in place. Scam websites These are websites that are set up purely to defraud customers. This is an area of growing concern for ABTA. The organisation advises travellers...

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Travel agents and tour operators are said to be at risk of collapse

450 travel companies are at a “real risk” Including around 160 tour operators Search for: Tough trading in the travel industry Travel companies are finding it tough, according to a report from Company Watch. The report says that there are 1,800 (26% of the UK travel industry) with a “warning rating”. Of these, 450 are at “real risk”, including around 160 tour operators. Recently, the All Leisure Group announced that it was closing on 4 January 2017, and just before Christmas, the cruise excursion specialist Tripashore closed. The H Score Information analysed by Company Watch is given a ‘H Score’. This is derived from a company’s published financial results and how closely the accounts resemble those of companies which subsequently failed. A company spokesperson said: “We actually predict if a company will fail, which we can prove with the information we hold on the report.” Company Watch reports on various industries on a regular basis. In a report based on the construction industry last year, Companies Watch warned of the possible failure of two companies. “There were two main companies that we knew where going to go into liquation and they did do. [This was based] purely on the H Score.” This report on the travel industry could be useful to holidaymakers that are about to book. Copies can be purchased from Company Watch. However, due to the investment needed, it is...

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Thomas Cook’s new animal welfare policy

The tour operator will audit animal attractions in its portfolio Thomas Cook had already banned elephant rides Search for: Thomas Cook has launched a new animal welfare policy.  The travel company has asked Global Spirit to conduct a full audit of its animal excursions. These will be measured against the standards set out by ABTA’s Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism. Chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, said: “Our animal welfare policy, developed in partnership with the Born Free Foundation and animals in tourism specialists, Global Spirit, will require all animal attractions and outings sold by Thomas Cook to evidence full compliance with the ABTA Global Welfare Guidance.” This is not the first time that Thomas Cook has shown its commitment to animal welfare. In January, following a petition by World Animal Protection, it joined STA Travel and Intrepid (who both stopped in 2014) in a ban of elephant rides. The holiday review website, TripAdvisor, following a long  World Animal Protection campaign said in October that it will stop selling tickets to attractions where travellers come into physical contact with captive, wild or endangered animals.   So why not just stop selling the tickets? Instead of auditing attractions why doesn’t the company just stop selling them altogether? In the blog published to announce the new policy, the company said: “…We know that for many people, animals in captivity of any form is unacceptable. However, it...

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Glasgow Airport: Workplace for the UK’s first humanoid robot airport ambassador

Glasgow Airport's new team member - GLAdys The UK’s first humanoid robot airport ambassador Search for: Glasgow Airport’s new ambassador. State-of-the-art GLAdys, whose name comes from Glasgow’s International Air Transport Association (IATA) code, will be based in the main departures area. Gladys has initially been programmed to entertain passengers of all ages as they pass through the airport. The robot is part of Glasgow Airport’s Digital Passenger Experience Project, which was introduced to explore how customer engagement and communication can be further enhanced through the use of digital technology. Gladys has three functions GLAdys will be escorted by Glasgow Airport’s ambassador team and has so far been programmed with three main entertainment functions for passengers to choose from. Sing and dance to three Christmas songs – Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Rocking around the Christmas Tree and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Telling three festive tales – T’was the Night before Christmas, When Santa Claus Comes and Santa’s Workshop Passengers will also be able to pose for pictures with GLAdys thanks to a hand-mounted selfie camera When a passenger is happy with the selfie photograph it can be sent to their own email address and/or to Glasgow’s digital team for use on the airport’s social media social media channel with a #GLAdysRobot hashtag. Glasgow Airport’s operations director, Mark Johnston, said: “We are always looking for new and innovative ways in which...

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