London Stansted unveils the must-see firework festivals for 2024

As Guy Fawkes Night approaches, London Stansted Airport invites all firework enthusiasts to explore a curated list of the most spectacular firework festivals across Europe and the Middle East.

Inviting travellers for a journey across borders and cultures, the airport shares insights into the top nine vibrant and explosive celebrations set to light up the skies.

From the grandeur of Dubai’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, officially recognized as the world’s largest display by the Guinness Book of Records, to the historic Bastille Day commemorations in France in July, these festivals promise breathtaking displays of pyrotechnic artistry and cultural significance.

The Cannes Firework Festival, held annually in July, transforms the skies over Cannes into a canvas of stunning pyrotechnics. Likewise, Valencia’s Las Fallas paints the streets alive with a riot of colours, music, and fireworks, culminating in a grand display on the final night.

Barcelona’s Festes de la Merce in September and Venice’s Festa del Redentore in July offer unique cultural experiences with dazzling fireworks that light up the night skies. Additionally, the Luminara di san Ranieri in Pisa held on June 16, adorns the city with thousands of candles, accompanied by an impressive fireworks display.

Reykjavik, Iceland, provides a distinct New Year’s Eve experience where locals orchestrate their own dazzling fireworks display, making it a one-of-a-kind celebration. Lastly, Zurich’s Sechselauten Festival in spring marks the changing seasons with a medieval parade and the burning of an 11-foot-tall snowman effigy filled with fireworks.

For further details on flight connections and more information about these incredible firework festivals accessible from London Stansted, travellers may visit the airport’s website or connect with the respective airlines offering direct flights.

Emirates offers direct service to Dubai and Play Airlines to Reykjavik, while easyJet offers direct service to Zurich, and Ryanair operates direct flights to all other destinations.

Jet2 expands Rhodes and Crete programmes for summer

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, the leisure airline and the UK’s largest tour operator, are expanding flight and holiday offerings to Crete (Heraklion) and Rhodes for November 2024 in response to demand from travellers seeking to bask in Greek sunshine during the later parts of the season.

Jet2 has unveiled the addition of over 11,000 extra seats to Crete (Heraklion) and Rhodes. These supplementary services will be facilitated from Belfast International, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, Manchester, Newcastle International, and London Stansted Airports.

The enhanced flight schedules are:

* Crete (Heraklion) – Extra flights operating from November 3 to November 9, 2024, departing from Belfast International, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, Manchester, Newcastle International, and London Stansted. This extension stretches the Greek island’s vacation season until the beginning of November.

* Rhodes – Extra flight services scheduled from November 3 to November 9th, 2024, with additional departures from Belfast International, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, Manchester, Newcastle International, and London Stansted.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘There continues to be enormous demand for Summer 24 from British holidaymakers, who want nothing more than to get away to the sunshine and enjoy their well-deserved holidays. As always, we listen to what customers are saying and react accordingly, so that we can provide them with the holiday choices that they want. Extending the season to these two popular Greek destinations means we are doing exactly that; giving customers more opportunity to get away and enjoy a much-needed holiday later in the season. As a result of the assurance that customers get from our award-winning flights and ATOL protected package holidays, we will be continuing to respond to the demand we are seeing, so that we can take even more customers from our rainy islands to their favourite holiday hotspots.’

Alongside the flight schedule, a variety of hotels are now available for reservation in Crete (Heraklion) and Rhodes for early November.

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays add over 45,000 seats for October 2023 half-term holidays

Jet2 and Jet2holidays, the UK-based leisure airline and tour operator, have announced the addition of 45,000 seats for next October half-term.

Jet2 said that the addition was in response to the ‘strong and sustained demand’ for summer 2023 to destinations including mainland Spain, Portugal, Greece, the Balearic Islands, Italy, Cyprus and Croatia.

The extra capacity has been put on sale from nine of Jet2.com and Jet2holiday’s UK bases – Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle International and London Stansted Airports, and are perfectly timed for the October half-term.

More than 50 extra weekly flights have been added to Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Izmir, Bodrum, Antalya and Dalaman in Turkey.

Chief executive Steve Heapy said: ‘We are seeing strong demand throughout summer ’23, with the October half-term period proving to be an extremely popular time for families to enjoy a holiday.

‘In response to that, we have added additional capacity across popular destinations in the Canary Islands and Turkey, as well as to other sunshine favourites in the Mediterranean. As families are increasingly looking for great value holidays, booking a half-term holiday for next year now allows them to get the price locked in.

‘While the size and scale of our summer ’23 programme means we are already offering unrivalled choice, we are expanding this even further and giving customers and independent travel agents even more flexibility to book or enjoy a holiday.’

London Gatwick to serve 90% of pre-pandemic destinations this half-term

London Gatwick Airport – part of VINCI Airports’ network – has said that during this October half-term the Airport will serve almost 90% of the destinations it served during the same period in 2019.

London Gatwick will serve 172 destinations during the forthcoming holiday period, compared to 197 (87%) in the same period in 2019. Top destinations for holidaymakers looking for a short break or some autumn sun this half-term include Dublin, Barcelona and Malaga, while Dubai, New York and Orlando top the long-haul charts.

London Gatwick’s Chief Commercial Officer, Jonathan Pollard, said: ‘We are really excited to see the number of destinations we fly to almost returning to pre-Covid levels for the October half-term.

‘The summer was incredibly busy, and we took steps to provide more certainty for passengers, including recruiting more than 400 new security staff, so we are well resourced for half-term and beyond. It’s great to see our departure lounges busy again with people eager to jet off and enjoy our fantastic range of destinations, across Europe and further afield.’

At the end of half-term, Gatwick will welcome new airline Bamboo Airways, with a new route to Hanoi, Vietnam. JetBlue is also adding a second daily service to New York – which adds to over 50 weekly flights to the US currently on offer from Gatwick.

Passengers will also be able to shop at Gatwick’s retail outlets, which include the new Lego stores in each terminal, which opened in July, alongside other brands such as Ted Baker, Hugo Boss, Superdry, Harrods, Hamleys and World Duty Free, the Airport said.

Norwegian announces biggest ever USA sale from the UK and Ireland

Norwegian has announced the launch of its autumn sale offering holidaymakers from across the UK and Ireland the chance to book flights to the USA for lower fares.

Available for travel from October 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, travellers can now book transatlantic flights from London Gatwick starting from £140 one-way in economy and £415 one-way in Premium. Flights to the east coast of America from Scotland and Ireland are available from £139/€99 one-way at www.norwegian.com. The sale fares are available to book at www.norwegian.com/ie/fall-flight-deals. The autumn sale will end on Monday September 17, 2018.

Norwegian’s 11 nonstop routes to the US from London Gatwick are included in the sale with prices starting from New York JFK from £155 one-way in economy and £465 one-way in Premium; Boston from £140 one-way in economy and £415 one-way in Premium; Orlando from £165 one-way in economy and £515 one-way in Premium; Fort Lauderdale (Miami) from £160 one-way in economy and £515 one-way in Premium; Denver from £165 one-way in economy and £515 one-way in Premium; Las Vegas from £180 one-way in economy and £515 one-way in Premium; Los Angeles from £175 one-way in economy and £515 one-way in Premium; Oakland (San Francisco) from £165 one-way in economy and £515 one-way in Premium; Chicago from £140 one-way in economy and £430 one-way in Premium; Austin from £170 one-way in economy and £515 one-way in Premium; Tampa from £160 one-way in economy and £515 one-way in Premium.

Passengers from Scotland will also be able to avail a flight to the U.S. east coast with Norwegian this winter. Daily flights from Edinburgh nonstop to New York Stewart International Airport are included in the autumn sale offering access to New York state. Fares are available from £139 one-way from Edinburgh. Passengers in Ireland looking to explore New York state and New England can also enjoy discounted fares on Norwegian’s transatlantic flights from Shannon and Dublin this winter, with fares from starting €99 one way.

Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer at Norwegian said: ‘We are giving consumers in the UK and Ireland the chance to fly to the States for less with fares from £140 one-way from the UK and €99 from Ireland in our autumn sale.

For the first time, we are also offering passengers flying from Gatwick the chance to upgrade their trip for less as our Premium cabin is also included in the sale. With further savings on long-haul routes from the UK and Ireland, Norwegian is continuing to make US travel even more affordable for thousands of British and Irish passengers.’

Visiting Autumn Festivals in France

All over Europe, the summer months are more than known for the usual hype of music festivals, that are able to boast incredible bands and a ton of outdoor activities. There is also much drinking and food involved, turning these occasions into a feast of the senses, and to top it all, the sunny weather helps, too.

With the coming of Autumn, there is no reason to stop searching for other just as incredible venues; as the temperature falls, don’t let your enthusiasm get bummed out as well. For instance, in France, there happens a number of events worthy of a visit and equally exciting.

From mid-September until the very last day of December begins the Paris Autumn Festival, a contemporary arts festival featuring well over 40 events around the city and giving you plenty of time to plan a few days off in advance, travel to the City of Light and tour your favourite showcases with all the convenience and ease. From dance, theatre, music, to a variety of artists coming from all corners of the world, this is the perfect opportunity to get in tune with the current times!

During the following week, however, two other events have grasped our attention and we can’t help but share them with you: the Marseille International Fair has opened last Friday, the 23th of September, and will be keeping its doors widely open to all visitors until the coming Monday, 3rd of October. The time-span may be short, which gives you all the more reason to go check it out as soon as possible!

You may find that having a car hire booked during your days in Marseille will show itself helpful to reach the destination with less hassle and get you there in no time; also, there is no need to worry about parking: the venue offers 1,500 parking spaces, allowing you to leave your vehicle in safety while you spend the day visiting this massive exhibition.

And what is there to see, anyway, you may wonder. Well, all I can tell you is: what isn’t there to see! Parc Chanot, where the fair is hosted, holds over 1,400 exhibitors from a total of 50 countries and whose showcased products range from interior décor, technology, home improvement, beauty care, gastronomy, leisure… Whew, all of this at the price of 7.50€ – what a bargain, wouldn’t you say? Better yet, it makes for a great family outing since kids under the age of 12 are free of charge. Other discounts concerning groups as well as more information is available on the Foire de Marseille official page.

While you’re by the French Riviera, do go admire the St Tropez Regatta, considered the ultimate event of the season as it occurs at the beginning of October. This sailing race comes as the ideal chance to marvel at yachts from all over the world or, if allowed, to be part of the sailing crew in one of these sailing beauties.

So, as you can see, Autumn may change its feathers but these are still entertaining months, where you won’t be short on opportunities to amuse yourself, whether by car, foot or… boat!