Airline ‘Storm’ Means Cheaper Flights and Airport Transfers

Cheaper flights and bargain airport transfers sounds like a great thing for holiday makers. But what is actually going on in the airline industry at the moment, and how will it affect passengers in the long term?

Many airlines are currently revealing low profit figures for the past twelve months, with a number of the larger airlines, including Quantas Airways, reporting a loss.

At a national level, there are also signs of the current industry struggle. Low cost airlines such as Flybe are experiencing difficulties; the Exeter-based company have reported a 6.2 million pre-tax loss. Another low cost carrier, BMI Baby, will undergo closure this year.

In an overall view of the current European situation, the continent’s airlines have been predicted to deliver a record loss of over one billion dollars. For an industry that was flying high only a few years ago, many are asking how these dramatic changes have come about.

The causes for these losses are both obvious and discreet, with several factors contributing. Rises in oil prices last year hit the industry hard and, although prices have dropped by eight percent this year, the combination of oil prices and other strenuous influences have left many airlines struggling to recover.

The economic crisis has played a large part in the lead up to what has been described as an airline ‘storm’, and many fear that a global economic slump could be on the cards. Director General of the International Air Transport Association, Tony Tyler, stated that ‘If the world enters an economic slump, that will be even worse for the industry than the higher fuel price was on its own’.

As airlines struggle to accommodate the drop in passenger numbers caused by the economic crisis and rise in oil prices, downsizing and staff cuts are being considered and implemented. In fact, the rise in staff and airport costs have also contributed to the current ‘storm’ taking place in the airline industry.

The question many people are asking is, what does this mean for passengers? The good news is that the situation may in fact benefit many passengers flying in the coming year rather than have a negative effect. The drop in fuel prices has led to cheaper flights in the first half of this year.

Although passenger traffic is still comparatively low on some airlines, bargain prices are enticing more people to fly and ensuring that great deals are available.

Competition amongst companies supplying airport transfers is also ensuring that prices are kept low, and there are now a number of low cost alternatives offering great value transfers to all the major UK airports.

As Rob Gill, founder of Suntransfers.com says “Airport transfers have typically been the domain of the well healed business traveller. However through mirroring the “no frills” approach of the low cost airlines, services like ours are able to offer all the benefits of being picked up at the airport and reaching your destination in the fastest practical time.  You’ll still get the air conditioning, the only difference is the lack of chauffeur’s hat and a much, much reduced fare”.

Although a large proportion of the general public may be struggling financially at the moment, in many ways, there has never been a better time to travel. As airline economy wavers, now is an opportune time to take advantage of lower flight prices and cheaper transfers.

Written by Sophie McGovern

Unusual places to propose this Valentines Day

If you want to propose on Valentine’s Day this year, and you want to make it as memorable as possible, romance experts have searched and selected the world’s best places to propose in honour of the occasion.

“A wedding proposal is the height of romance, making Valentine’s Day a natural time to pop the question. Our advice is to skip the flowers and chocolates and take romance on the road for the moment that neither of you will ever forget,” says Nadine Hallak, Travel Expert for Cheapflights.co.uk.

Top five unusual places to propose:

London – but not the London Eye

A private capsule on the London Eye with truffles and champagne is one way to do it, but our alternative suggestion is Monument, the 17th-century flame-topped tower that stands in the heart of the City of London. Climb the 311 stone-cut steps to the top, as generations of Londoners have done before, and see London laid out in all its glory. The candle-like construction with its fiery orb suggests love’s eternal flame and a new beginning.

Paris – but not the Eiffel Tower

No, not the Eiffel Tower, or Arc de Triomphe, glorious and memorable as these locations are. Jardin du Luxembourg was much loved by writers such as Baudelaire, Victor Hugo, Balzac, Hemingway and Sartre and our favourite spot for a proposal is a shady one by the Medici Fountain. Commissioned by a king’s widow in the 17th century, the focal point is the statue of Acis and Galatea, young lovers embracing, watched over by the powerful Polyphemus. Flights to Paris from £102 return.

Verona – it’s not Venice

“In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,” is Juliet’s House. Verona’s romantic credentials are well established but if you’re thinking about proposing to your beloved here, forget about the Via Cappello and take a stroll through the Giardino Giusti instead. From the belvedere of the Renaissance garden are tower-strewn and timeless views of Verona. Flights to Verona from £102 return.

New Orleans – not New York

It’s easy to fall in love with the Big Easy, famed city of music, cuisine and a Phoenix-like character. Bourbon Street will call you with its siren song of bars and booze but proposing here wouldn’t have the necessary ‘Wow’ factor. Pop the question on a romantic old mahogany-lined streetcar instead, or under the ancient moss-clothed oak trees in Audobon Park. Flights to New Orleans from £436 return.

India – but not the Taj Mahal

There are few more enduring testaments to true love than the Taj Mahal. Built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, it’s one of the iconic monuments that needs little introduction. Ram Bagh, the oldest Mughal garden laid out in a way that suggests paradise, is a less clichéd location. The pathways and waterways are fed by the Yamuna River, while the shady pavilions offer an unparalleled setting for that all-important question. Flights to India from £358 return.