Jet2 introduces Gdansk as new Christmas market destination for Winter 24/25

Jet2.com and Jet2CityBreaks, the UK-based leisure airline and operator of European city breaks, have announced the addition of Gdansk, Poland, as a brand-new Christmas Market destination for the Winter 24/25 season.

Scheduled services and dedicated trips to Gdansk will operate from Birmingham and Manchester Airports from November 29 to December 23, 2024. With two weekly services available on Mondays and Fridays during this period, customers and independent travel agents will have ample choice and flexibility to enjoy an authentic festive experience in the charming Polish city.

Renowned for its picturesque Christmas Market, Gdansk’s Targ Weglowy area transforms into a winter wonderland, offering fairy tale illuminations, fairground attractions, a food zone, handmade gifts, local delicacies, and live artistic events. With a flight time of just over two hours, Gdansk provides a compact cityscape steeped in history, making it an ideal destination for immersive festive experiences and cultural exploration.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘There is a huge amount of demand for Christmas Market breaks from customers and independent travel agents, so we are delighted to announce the launch of Christmas Market flights and trips to Gdansk for Winter 24/25 for the first time. Gdansk is a fantastic Christmas Market destination, and we are expecting these new flights and city breaks to be extremely popular.’

With Gdansk joining seven other festive destinations – Berlin, Budapest, Cologne, Copenhagen, Krakow, Prague, and Vienna – across eleven UK airports, the Winter 24/25 Christmas Markets programme boasts its widest selection yet.

Jet2CityBreaks offers package options inclusive of flights with Jet2.com, accommodation in central locations, and additional benefits, starting from a deposit of £60 per person.

Jet2 launches biggest ever Christmas Markets programme this Winter

Jet2.com and Jet2CityBreaks, the UK’s leisure airline and operator of European city breaks, have announced their largest-ever Christmas Markets programme for the Winter 23/24 season.

The inaugural trips for this season departed from Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, London Stansted, and Newcastle International Airports on November 23. These journeys headed to enchanting Christmas Market destinations in Vienna, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Budapest. The extensive Christmas Markets programme includes flights and trips to Cologne, Prague, and Krakow for the winter season.

Jet2’s programme feature seven of Europe’s top Christmas market destinations and serves 10 UK airports – Belfast International, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, London Stansted, Manchester, and Newcastle International. Notably, this year marks the first-time operations of scheduled services and trips to Christmas Market destinations from Bristol and London Stansted Airports.

The programme introduces eight new routes, such as Birmingham to Cologne, Bristol to Prague, Bristol to Vienna, Edinburgh to Vienna, Edinburgh to Prague, Leeds Bradford to Copenhagen, London Stansted to Prague, and London Stansted to Vienna, providing ample opportunities for vacationers to revel in a festive getaway this winter.

Steve Heapy, CEO, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘We are delighted to see the first of our dedicated Christmas Market trips for Winter 23/24 take off today. Following increased demand from customers and independent travel agents, we are offering our biggest Christmas Markets programme ever for Winter 23/24 and have flights and city breaks on sale from ten UK airports. The size and scale of the programme means holidaymakers have plenty of choice and flexibility when it comes to experiencing a magical winter wonderland this winter. With Christmas just over a month away, it is not too late to book a last-minute Christmas Market trip to leave you feeling festive.’

Customers can book Christmas Markets getaways, choosing from flight-only options with Jet2.com or ATOL protected package holidays with Jet2CityBreaks, available for a £60 per person deposit. Jet2CityBreaks packages include flights with Jet2.com, 22kg hold luggage, and a choice of 2-5 star hotels in central locations, providing a base to explore and experience the Christmas Market destinations in Europe.

Wizz Air announces new routes from Glasgow to Budapest and Bucharest

Wizz Air, the European regional airlines, has announced plans to launch new flight routes from Glasgow.

Beginning in November, the Hungary-based airline will commence operations to Budapest and Bucharest, marking a shift from their previous departure point in Edinburgh.

The airline will operate two flights each week to both Budapest and Bucharest, effectively doubling Wizz Air’s flight frequency from Glasgow Airport to a total of four flights per week. This expansion opens up exciting prospects for travellers in Glasgow, offering them the chance to explore these historically rich European cities, just in time for the enchanting Christmas markets and festive celebrations. Tickets are already available to purchase now at wizzair.com or on Wizz Air’s mobile app.

Both Budapest and Bucharest are sought-after destinations for a diverse range of travellers, from couples seeking romantic getaways to solo adventurers and families looking for memorable holiday experiences. The launch of these new flight routes promises an exciting opportunity for travellers to immerse themselves in the magic of these European cities while enjoying the holiday season.

Marion Geoffroy, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK, said: ‘Budapest and Bucharest may sound similar in name, but they offer so many different, amazing activities for travellers wanting to explore more of what Europe has to offer. From incredible restaurants to the great outdoors, both locations have something for every kind of explorer. We’re pleased to continue to connect Glasgow to the rest of Europe and look forward to operating these flights from November as part of our new winter schedule.’

Matt Hazelwood, Chief Commercial Officer at AGS Airports, which owns Glasgow Airport, said: ‘Wizz Air’s return to Glasgow is fantastic news, offering two sensational destinations in Central and Eastern Europe. From this winter, Scottish travellers can jet away to Budapest and Bucharest, both flown twice weekly. Whether it’s sipping local Furmint wine on a Danube city cruise through Budapest or exploring the world’s heaviest building in Bucharest, both destinations will offer our passengers the perfect city break this winter.’

Pandemic continues to cause thousands of flight cancellations

Airlines across the globe are having to cancel thousands of scheduled flights as the Covid pandemic continues to cause travel chaos at one of the industry’s busiest times of the year.

Monday and Tuesday of this week saw a combined total of 5,600 flights cancelled globally, with a further 19,000 flights delayed, CNN has reported, quoting figures from tracking website FlightAware.

Globally, airlines cancelled more than 6,000 flights on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, many of the cancellations due to airline staff and crew calling in sick.

In the United States, more than 1,200 flights were cancelled and more than 5,000 were delayed on Sunday alone due to staff absences.

Delta said it was working to get all stranded travellers home as quickly as possible, saying in a statement, ‘We apologise to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans. Delta people are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible on the next available flight.’

Though not to the same extent, European airlines are also experiencing cancellations. German airline Lufthansa has announced that it will cancel 10 percent of its winter flight schedule due to problems inflicted by the burgeoning effects of the pandemic. Its CEO Carsten Spohr spoke to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last week saying that that due to ‘a sharp drop in bookings’ the airline will have to cancel 33,000 flights from mid-January to February 2022, or 10 percent of the group’s winter flight schedule.

Bristol Airport to hold Horrible Histories drive-in Christmas show

Bristol Airport has announced that Car Park Panto, in partnership with the Birmingham Stage Company and Horrible Histories, will organise two performances of Horrible Christmas at the airport on December 19.

In response to increased demand from around the UK as many Christmas events are being cancelled due to Covid 19, Car Park Panto and others will hold a performance of Horrible Christmas at Bristol Airport on December 19.

Staging one of the most popular family festive highlights in a car park, Horrible Christmas presents the evolutionary story of Christmas celebrations, enabling families to enter into the festive spirit in a safe, socially distanced manner from the comfort of their own car. The live theatrical show through the history of Christmas will feature Victorian villains to medieval monks, Puritan parties to Tudor treats, as well as prominent faces likes Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII and St Nicholas.

Horrible Histories Actor-Manager Neal Foster of Birmingham Stage Company, said: ‘We were thrilled to be invited to take part in the run of Car Park Party events around the country and were overwhelmed by the response of the audience, who were clearly delighted and relieved to see actors live on stage again. I was totally surprised by just how well Car Park Theatre worked and loved the whole collective experience.’

‘We can’t wait to be back on stage in cities and towns that will be crying out for a Christmas show to entertain their families. As you’d expect from Horrible Histories, it’s not a traditional pantomime, but a journey through the story of Christmas in the company of the season’s most fabulous characters. It’s the perfect story for families this winter, as one young boy battles to save Christmas for the world, in this hilarious, joyous and moving celebration.’

Andrew Morris, Retail Operations Manager, Bristol Airport said, ‘We are delighted to be able to host CAR PARK PANTO, in partnership with the Birmingham Stage Company and Horrible Histories, two amazing performances of HORRIBLE CHRISTMAS at Bristol Airport on 19th December. This year more than ever families need to have the opportunity of enjoying theatre, entertainment and performances in a Covid safe way. This innovative approach will ensure that Christmas cheer and fun can be enjoyed by all the family.’

There are limited tickets for each show priced at £47 per car (£2.50 booking fee applies). Tickets and Terms are available at carparkparty.com.

Jet2 expands New York programme from Manchester and Newcastle Airports for next winter

Jet2.com and Jet2CityBreaks, the UK-based travel and holiday company, has expanded its number of direct New York flights operating from Manchester and Newcastle Airports for next winter.

In total, there are seven additional trips now on sale from Manchester Airport, timed for holidaymakers looking for a Christmas experience in New York. The new trips announced from Manchester Airport will depart on November 29, December 2, December 9, December 13 and December 16, in addition to a Christmas in New York special on December 22 and New Year in New York trip on December 28.

These extra services are in addition to the existing programme of trips and services from Manchester Airport, which include a Black Friday trip departing on November 27, as well as Christmas Shopping and Winter in New York trips on November 30, December 4, December 7, December 11, December 14 and December 18.

From Newcastle Airport, there are now five trips on sale, timed for holidaymakers looking to celebrate Thanksgiving, as well as experience the festive season in the city. The full programme of four-night trips means flights depart from Newcastle Airport on November 22, November 26, December 3, December 6 and December 17.

Further, Jet2 has introduced a total of 27 New York trips from across six of its UK bases for Winter 20, with over 8,500 departing seats on sale in total. In addition to the flights with Jet2.com, there are package city-breaks for sale with Jet2CityBreaks across 3-5 star hotels in central New York locations.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2CityBreaks said: ‘Next winter’s programme of once-in-a-lifetime specials to New York are proving to be extremely popular, so we have responded to that by doubling the number of trips on sale from Manchester Airport, and adding another fantastic trip from Newcastle Airport. This means we have 14 magical trips to New York on sale from Manchester next winter, and five trips on sale from Newcastle. With Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Black Friday and Thanksgiving covered, holidaymakers have never had so much choice when it comes to getting to the Big Apple at this special time of year.’

British Airways announces Christmas holiday breaks to European destinations

British Airways has announced Christmas festive getaway programmes to European winter destinations and Christmas markets including Berlin, Innsbruck, Stockholm and Vienna from major UK airports, with fares starting from £129 per person.

Starting November 27 to December 26, 2017, British Airways Holidays (BAH) will offer a two-night holiday from Heathrow to Berlin, with stay arranged at the three-star Days Inn Berlin West, from £149 per person. The German capital has more than 60 Christmas markets across the city throughout November and December.

Starting November 15 to January 6, 2018, BAH will offer two-night holidays to Innsbruck from London Gatwick, with stay arranged at the four-star Alphotel Innsbruck, from £179 per person.

From December 1 to December 24, BAH offers three-night holiday breaks to Nuremberg from Gatwick, with its famous Christkindlesmarkt on the Hauptmarkt square in the old quarter, among other city and market experiences. The stay is arranged at the four-star NH Forsthaus Furth Nurnberg hotel, from £209 per person. Starting December 2, 2017 to January 6, 2018, BAH will offer two nights to Prague from London Heathrow, with stay arranged at the four-star Duo, from £129 per person. Christmas markets are held in the Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti) and the Havelska market (Havelske trZiSte).

Further, from November 19 to December 23, 2017 BAH is offering UK holidaymakers from Heathrow a chance to enjoy Stockholm’s Christmas markets – some of the most traditional in Europe with the Skansen on the park island of Djurgarden. The two nights stay is at the three-star Scandic Prince Philip, from £159 per person. In addition, from November 18 to December 30, 2017, BAH is offering, from Heathrow, two-holidays to Vienna. The stay is arranged at the three-star Donauwalzer hotel, from £129 per person.

Tickets can be booked until October 31, and includes Euro Traveller return flights and accommodation with breakfast, the airline said.

British Airways to fly over 2.7 million customers during Christmas period

British Airways is expecting to fly its biggest ever operation – carrying nearly 2.7 million customers over the festive Christmas period this year – following the addition of 20 new aircraft into its fleet since last year.

On December 25, 817 pilots will be operating 267 flights across the airline’s network and 3,500 cabin crew will serve customers more than 37,000 turkey dinners, along with opening thousands of champagne bottles. The busiest day for the season will be Friday December 19, with some 129,000 people flying.

The top destinations for a Christmas break are Dubai, Barbados, New York, Australia and Barcelona, BA said.

In addition to the general in-flight entertainment system, the airline will be airing a selection of TV programmes and the holiday classic ‘Home Alone’. Christmas specials showing on board during the festivities include: Doctor Who, The Big Bang Theory, Friends, Family Guy, Mrs Brown’s Boys, The Vicar of Dibley, One Foot in the Grave, Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas Home Cooking, and for children – ‘Gangsta Granny’.

BA is also showing Doctor Who Earth Conquest, a documentary filmed during the British TV show’s recent world tour, of which British Airways was an event sponsor. From Boxing Day, passengers will also be able to watch the Queen’s annual address.

Audio albums on board include ‘Advent Calendar’ by The Choir of Somerville College, Oxford, with traditional carols including The Twelve days of Christmas, Silent Night and In the Bleak Mid-Winter, as well as ‘Christmas the Collection’ and ‘4 Girls 4 Harps’ featuring O Holy Night, Deck the Halls and Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

British Airways is also set to launch its ‘thank-you’ campaign, featuring images sent in from customers from their travels around the world. The 70-second video will feature on the airline’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and G+ platforms. The video will also play on the airline’s in-flight entertainment system. In addition, travellers will be asked to recommend destinations for 2015 by uploading their images to Instagram.

 

London Gatwick apologises to passengers affected by travel chaos, offers £100 in good will

Gatwick Airport (GA) has said that it is extending its sincere apologies to all passengers who were affected by the disruption on Christmas Eve.

The extremely adverse weather in the UK, including heavy rain storms, caused flooding of all waterways around Gatwick Airport. The flood waters also caused significant damage to electrical substations and switch rooms, which resulted in power supply disruption to the North Terminal.

As a result, several flights were cancelled and others were subject to significant delays causing considerable inconvenience for passengers.

Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick chief executive, said: ‘We appreciate that lots of our passengers were travelling to be with their families over the festive period and we are sorry that flights were cancelled and passengers left disappointed, particularly at this time of the year.’

London Gatwick will now offer GBP100 of high street vouchers to each passenger whose flight was cancelled on Christmas Eve as a gesture of goodwill and in recognition of the exceptionally difficult circumstances.

Affected passengers may email customer.services@gatwickairport.com with evidence of their booking on a flight due to depart from or arrive at Gatwick Airport on December 24, 2013, and with their postal address. After verifying the details, a voucher for GBP100 will be posted to passengers within 28 days of the application for payment.

Following the incident, London Gatwick had worked with its airport partners to help support passengers, ensuring that 414 of the 535 scheduled flights departed and arrived safely. Ever since all efforts have been focused on restoring the North Terminal to its full operation and a full schedule of flights was operated on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and thereafter.

Gatwick, which has invested over £12m on improving the flood defences, has introduced several short term measures since Tuesday to reduce the risk of such incidents recurring.

In addition, a full review will be undertaken, led by David McMillan, the former director general of Eurocontrol and a non-executive director of Gatwick Airport. The report and recommendations are expected to be published in February 2014.

 

Heathrow predicts British Christmas to be enjoyed across the world

Heathrow Airport has said that the trappings of a traditional British Christmas will be enjoyed across the world this festive season.

Britain’s biggest transport interchange is expecting a record year for sales of popular UK products, including English tea, Scottish salmon and single malt whisky. During November and December, international visitors departing from Heathrow purchase more than 918 tonnes of British products to bring a touch of Great British style to their festivities.

According to Dana Jaber, a personal shopper at Heathrow, the type of items passengers are looking for have changed significantly in the last five years. While English tea sold at Heathrow is popular with Chinese passengers, Turkish and Japanese passengers are the key buyers of Scottish Malt Whisky, and Middle Eastern passengers are the biggest customers for sealed Scottish salmon. The most popular British brands include Mulberry and Jo Malone.

Dana Jaber said: ‘More than 5.8 million travellers will pass through Heathrow this Christmas, searching for a little piece of Britain to take home. Thanks to the Royal Wedding, the Olympics and more recently the birth of Prince George, the desirability of British brands has never been higher. Visitors are keen to take home a little piece of the UK for their own Christmas celebrations.

‘The Asian market – including mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore – like the romance and heritage of a traditional British Christmas, and tend to go for items that allow them to recreate British traditions at home,’ she added.

Heathrow’s Personal Shopping service is open to all passengers and no minimum spend is required. Home delivery is available to those travelling within the UK or the EU, and is free when passengers spend £300 or more at Heathrow and use a Heathrow Rewards card. For passengers without a Heathrow Rewards card the service is free, subject to a minimum purchase of £500.00.

Busy travellers can also choose and order from a wide range of products available at the airport by using the free online service, Heathrow Boutique, to reserve and collect items. The web address iswww.heathrow.com/boutique.