Jet2.com announces launch of holiday sales for 2021

Jet2.com has announced the launch of its holiday sale, from now until March 1, offering savings on flights and holidays for 2021.

The UK travel and holiday company is offering a discount of £110 off per person on all package holidays booked through the Jet2holidays app. Holidaymakers may download the free Jet2holidays app to search, book, save and manage holidays on their mobile or tablet. Customers can save £100 per person on all package holidays booked with Jet2holidays, and Jet2.com is also offering 10 percent off flights.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘After an uncertain and difficult 2020 for everyone, we want to give our customers something to really look forward to this year. There’s no better feeling than getting that much-needed holiday booked, and the huge savings we are offering means that customers can enjoy the double-whammy of knowing their holiday is in the diary whilst getting a fantastic deal at the same time. Whether it’s a family holiday, a break with the other half, or a group get together, we know everyone really needs that well-deserved holiday and what better time to book it than now!’

The sale is applicable on all package holidays and flights on sale.

Besides the discount and low prices, customers will receive a 22kg baggage allowance and two free pieces of hand luggage up to 10kg through a flight-only booking with Jet2.com. Jet2 has won five accolades at the 2020 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for Airlines. Customers can also avail in-resort Customer Helpers, transfers, free child places and ATOL protection through Jet2holidays.

Ireland bans flights from Britain amid new COVID strain

Following the identification of a new strain of COVID-19 in England, the Irish Government has banned all arriving passenger flights from Britain, Dublin Airport said in a release.

The ban is in place until 23.59 on Thursday, December 31, 2020. The ban applies to all passenger flights with the exception of repatriation flights. The ban does not apply to cargo flights.

Passengers affected by this ban should contact their airline in relation to their specific flight. The ban will be reviewed by the Irish Government before Friday, January 1, 2021, the Airport said.

Separately, Dublin Airport has said that it has launched a handy new feature that enables customers to receive flight updates direct on their mobile device via Twitter, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

The new feature will keep customers updated on the status of either a departing or an arriving flight. Customers will receive status updates directly on the phone, with information such as gate number, boarding times, and delays for departing flights. For arriving flights, customers will get information such as when the flight is on approach, and which baggage belt luggage will be delivered on.

The website also now has a chatbot feature, which will answer many of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) that customers might have. The chatbot window pops up automatically when the Dublin Airport website is accessed. Customers may simply type in the question, or browse the different categories to find an answer to the query. Customers can also subscribe to flight alerts through the chatbot feature, the Airport said.

Cunard to extend pause in operations amid ongoing travel restrictions

Cunard, the British luxury cruise line, and part of Carnival Corporation, has said that it has extended its pause in operations due to the ongoing travel constraints across the world.

According to the cruise line, voyages departing on board Queen Mary 2 up to and including May 28, 2021, and on-board Queen Elizabeth up to and including June 4, 2021, have been cancelled. Departures on Queen Victoria remain unaffected and are scheduled to resume May 17, 2021.

Customers who have had their voyage cancelled will receive a 125 percent Future Cruise Credit, providing an additional 25 percent on any amount paid, to redeem against a future voyage. The 125 percent Future Cruise Credit can be used on any new booking made by the end of December 2021 and on any voyage available at the time of booking. Voyages are currently available through to early 2023. Guests preferring a refund should complete the form on Cunard.com.

Cunard President Simon Palethorpe said: ‘Our extension to the pause in operations is the result of the ongoing restrictions on cruising in the UK and around the world, and recognizes the significant lead times to return to service once those restrictions are lifted.

‘We are extremely sorry for the disappointment we know this will cause. We know how much careful consideration goes into planning a holiday and apologize that our guests now have to wait a little longer to travel once again with Cunard.

‘Guests are able to use their enhanced 125% Future Cruise Credit to book for later in 2021 or for one of our newly announced 2022 voyages. The tremendous response already to our 2022 voyages, put on sale just a few weeks ago, clearly demonstrates our guests are eagerly anticipating travelling again with us. We’re equally looking forward to the time when we can welcome back our guests.’

London Stansted Airport unveils new Covid-19 testing facility

London Stansted Airport has said that it has launched a new Covid-19 testing facility, as part of a move by its parent company, Manchester Airports Group (MAG).

Accordingly, a full range of tests – RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, Rapid Antigen and Antibody – will be available to all passengers in a new facility inside the main terminal building. They will be delivered in partnership with airport services and travel medical provider, Collinson.

MAG, the UK’s largest airport group, also became the first operator to give its passengers the chance to book discounted pre-flight testing appointments on the high street at selected Boots UK stores.

Boots offers an in-store RT-PCR Covid-19 testing service, which returns results within 48 hours from more than 50 stores across the UK, specifically for customers who do not suspect they have Covid-19. MAG passengers will be able to access a five percent discount through the airport’s website. Airport testing prices through Collinson start at £40 for Antibody tests, £50 for Antigen tests, £79 for RT-LAMP tests and £99 for RT-PCR tests.

Steve Griffiths, Managing Director, London Stansted, said, ‘As England emerges from a ban on international travel, we know our passengers are keen to start flying again, but many of Stansted’s most popular destinations require a negative test before you arrive in the country.

This new facility will make the process of showing you’re infection-free when booking a holiday as easy and cost-effective as possible in the current circumstances. Our new booking portal makes it easy to select the right test for your destination, and at the location that is most convenient for you.

This also means Stansted is perfectly placed to support the introduction of a UK arrivals testing regime, which will enable travellers to reduce the length of time they need to self-isolate if they test negative.

Subject to the relevant tests securing government approval, this could free people from quarantine after just five days. This is the latest example of MAG leading the way as we look to work with Government and the rest of our industry to get Britain flying again.’

While some governments allow pre-departure tests in order to shorten or completely alleviate quarantine requirements in the destination country, others require them in order to gain entry. Passengers will also be able to book the tests they need to shorten their self-isolation period upon return under the UK Government’s ‘Test to Release’ scheme. The scheme, announced last week, will launch on December 15 and allow travellers arriving from higher risk countries to reduce their period of quarantine by taking a test five days after they arrive in the UK.

MAG’s testing services are the first to be offered by an airport group at multiple locations across the country. The service will cater for both outbound and inbound testing, and adapt as Government travel requirements change.

British Airways announces flight schedule for November

British Airways has said that it will operate 52 long haul routes alongside its short haul network this month as the airline continues to adapt to changing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline will continue to operate to US gateways including New York JFK, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, with Newark added to the schedule. Flights to the Caribbean continue to destinations including Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia, and flights will operate to destinations across Africa, the Middle East and Asia such as Dubai, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Flights to Santiago, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, are also set to return.

Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said: ‘We continue to connect Britain with a substantial number of destinations across the globe and customers tell us they are reassured by the safety measures we’ve put in place, including personal protection packs, screens, sanitiser stations, adapted meal services and customers and colleagues in masks.

‘The risk of contracting Covid-19 during a flight is incredibly low. IATA, the global aviation industry body, suggests that since the start of 2020 there have been as few as 44 cases of Covid-19 linked to flights. Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled. This figure amounts to one case for every 27 million travellers.

‘We believe the best way to get people flying again is to introduce reliable and affordable testing before flying. When this happens and demand returns, we stand ready to reintroduce even more destinations to our network, and carry on connecting even more families, friends and businesses.’

British Airways will also continue to serve domestic destinations including Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Newquay. In continental Europe, cities like Paris, Munich, Geneva and Amsterdam, among others, will be connected to Heathrow by frequent, direct flights. There are also regular flights to beach destinations such as Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

The operation of any flight is subject to changes, international restrictions and government approval, British Airways said, adding that the airline has a range of measures to keep customers safe when they travel, both at the airport and on board.

Eastern Airways to restart Cardiff-Belfast route in January

Eastern Airways is set to introduce its first ever service from Cardiff Airport to Belfast City Airport in January, as Wales regains its air service connection to Northern Ireland.

The UK-based regional airline will commence services from January 11, 2021 between the two cities, which will be the only air service linking Wales with Ireland, and is a former route operated by Flybe. The airline will operate daily weekday and a Sunday service, with fares starting from £79.99 one-way, including taxes and charges. The flights are now available to book at www.easternairways.com and include 15kg of hold baggage.

Roger Hage, General Manager Commercial & Operations for Eastern Airways, said: ‘The introduction of a Belfast City service from Cardiff is one so many have been asking for so connectivity between Wales and Northern Ireland is in-place as the appetite for travel increases. Eastern Airways is all about supporting the regions of the UK, connecting people and places, so adding further services at hubs we already serve is another crucial part in the economic recovery and prosperity of Wales and Northern Ireland.’

Spencer Birns, Interim CEO at Cardiff Airport said: ‘Today’s announcement is a hugely positive step and we are delighted that Eastern Airways has stepped in to re-instate a regular service between Cardiff and Belfast, offering vital connectivity between Wales and Northern Ireland.

‘Belfast has been one of our most in-demand routes since Flybe entered administration for both customers travelling for work, or to visit friends and family. We’d like to thank Eastern Airways for their continued confidence in regional connectivity from Cardiff.’

Katy Best, Commercial Director at Belfast City Airport, added: ‘Today’s announcement that Belfast City Airport will once again operate flights to Cardiff is not only a positive development for the airport itself, but also extremely welcome news for passengers who regularly travel to Wales..

‘Despite the challenging aviation environment of recent months, we continued exploring options to secure connectivity with the Welsh capital, and we’re very happy that our partner Eastern Airways has committed to this service.’

easyJet holidays to provide further customer protection on holidays

As holidaymakers demand increased security and flexibility, easyJet holidays has launched its new Protection Promise, providing protection in the event of travel disruptions amid Covid-19 risks.

According to new research, more than 33 million Brits have had their holiday plans disrupted this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, while more than half (53%) of Brits are only willing to book a holiday abroad if they feel confident their money is protected. However, despite ongoing travel restrictions, a report from easyJet holidays into consumer travel trends has revealed that almost a quarter (24%) of Brits plan to still go on holiday abroad in the next three months, rising to 37% in the start of next year. Almost two in five (38%) are even willing to quarantine for two weeks on their return in order to get away, with just over one in five (21%) saying that not having a holiday or break away has affected their mood.

In response these consumer needs, easyJet holidays is launching its new Protection Promise, a guarantee of flexibility and protection for customers. The new, long-term customer policy is in addition to the short-term commitments the company has in place to support customers’ bookings impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has included a promise to cancel any holidays where there is a known quarantine or self-isolation requirement in the destination and any customer refunds have been processed in an average of 12 days.

Matt Callaghan, Customer Director at easyJet holidays, said, ‘Consumer confidence in booking a holiday abroad has taken a huge hit this year and travellers have different priorities so at easyJet holidays we know, given the restrictions continue to change, we must adapt to this new reality. That’s why we’re launching our new Protection Promise, setting a benchmark for customer flexibility in the industry and encouraging travellers to book their holidays with the reassurance that if things change they are protected. And this isn’t a short-term move, this is a fundamental change to what customers can expect whenever they book with easyJet holidays.’

The report from easyJet holidays also revealed that COVID-19 has made Brits reconsider their priorities, four in ten (40%) proactively look for destinations that have a low rate of infection, while three in ten (31%) said they now prefer self-catering or self-contained holidays.

easyJet holidays’ Protection Promise offers customers: a Refund Guarantee in the event of a change of travel plans, offering a full refund, including their deposit in credit, up to 28 days before departure and free of fees; a chance to pay for their holiday in instalments with no fees and only pay in full 28 days before they travel, Best Price Guarantee; Freedom to Change until 28 days before departure and ensure a return of deposit, if plans change, up to 28 days from departure.

Ryanair expands service from the UK to Faro with 14 extra flights every week

Ryanair, the Irish low-fares airline, has announced it will be expanding its connection between the UK and Portugal over the coming weeks from September 11 to October 24, with 14 additional flights to Faro every week from 12 UK airports – including an extra weekly flight from Cardiff.

This move comes following Portugal’s sharp decline in Covid cases and the UK’s announcement to place it on the list of countries UK holidaymakers can visit.

To celebrate Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares starting from £19.99 one way, across the UK- Portugal network, for travel in September & October 2020.

Ryanair’s Eimear Ryan said: ‘Ryanair is thrilled to strengthen the connection between the Cardiff Airport and sunny Faro over the coming weeks with 3 flights per week – making it easier than ever for Cardiff holidaymakers to book that long awaited trip in the sun.

‘To celebrate the UK’s decision to place Portugal on its ‘safe list’ of countries UK travellers can visit, we have extended our seat sale on flights to Portugal in September and October, with fares as low as £19.99 one way. ‘

Cardiff Airport’s interim CEO Spencer Birns, added: ‘The global pandemic has created huge, unprecedented challenges for the aviation industry, and it has also affected our customers’ travel options. It’s great to hear that Portugal is now on the air travel corridor list for the UK, meaning that visitors to the country will no longer have to quarantine when they return.

‘We are very grateful that Ryanair has stepped in to provide more flights for our customers, who now have the option to enjoy a trip to this stunning destination this summer.’

Cunard extends stoppage of operations, confirms itinerary changes for 2021 and 2022 World Voyage

British cruise line Cunard has said that will be extending its stoppage of operations from November 2020 until March 25, 2021 for its ship Queen Elizabeth; until April 18, 2021 for Queen Mary 2 and until May 16, 2021 for Queen Victoria, due to issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: ‘We are so sorry to all those guests who were due to sail on any of the cancelled voyages and for the disappointment this news will cause. After very careful consideration and reviewing the latest guidance, we simply do not feel it would be sensible to start sailing again with our current schedule so we have reviewed future itineraries.

‘Queen Elizabeth has returned to the UK and with ongoing uncertainty over the re-opening of many ports and countries, it is sadly not practical to continue her planned itineraries for 2021. Therefore, in addition to the pause in operations, all of Queen Elizabeth’s sailings due to depart between March 26, 2021 and December 13, 2021, in and around Australia, Japan and Alaska, will be cancelled.

‘These voyages will be replaced with a programme of shorter duration European holidays ranging from three to 14 nights, departing from Southampton. These will start at the end of March 2021, with a series of scenic voyages around the coast of Cornwall, the west coast of Ireland and the Scottish Isles. There will also be short breaks to Amsterdam which will include an overnight in the city, as well as voyages to northern and southern European destinations including Norway and the Iberian coast, with several of these itineraries featuring overnight city stays.’

All new itineraries on board Queen Elizabeth will be available to book from September 29, 2020. ‘Queen Elizabeth’s new programme will be completed with a series of seven and 14 night voyages in the Mediterranean, sailing from Barcelona. It is an exciting new programme which I am sure will have great appeal,’ Palethorpe said.

‘Additionally, recognising the immense disappointment of those on board Queen Mary 2’s curtailed World Voyage this year, and the cancellation of her World Voyage in 2021, we are delighted that Queen Mary 2 will sail a classic World Voyage in 2022. This will replace her scheduled sailings departing January 3, 2022 to April 3, 2022, including the voyage to South America,’ he added.

The new 118 night adventure will depart roundtrip from New York on January 3, 2022 and include calls to Greece, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Australia and Bali before returning to Southampton via Abu Dhabi, Oman, Italy and Portugal. The ship will sail through the Suez Canal both on the outbound journey and on return. It will be bookable, either as a full world voyage or as one of six sectors, from September 8, 2020.

Cunard will be contacting guests and travel agents who are impacted and all guests who have had their voyage cancelled will automatically receive an enhanced 125 percent Future Cruise Credit or alternatively can fill in the website form for a 100 percent refund.

Full details of the changes to operations and options available to guests due to travel on cancelled voyages, as well as the latest updates, can be found at www.cunard.com, it said.

KLM increases flights from Newcastle to Amsterdam Schiphol

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has increased its services from Newcastle International Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol.

Starting August 3, the airline offers three flights a day to the Dutch capital. After a pause in services from Newcastle for a month, KLM resumed its daily service to Amsterdam on June 1. With the schedule increasing to three flights a day for August, passengers will have more choice and enhanced connection opportunities via Amsterdam Schiphol. Here, UK passengers can connect to the airline’s network of 165 destinations worldwide.

Benedicte Duval, General Manager for Air France KLM in the UK & Ireland said: ‘Our decision to increase the frequency on our Newcastle to Amsterdam service to three flights per day for August is a positive sign of recovery, after what has been, and still is, a challenging time for our industry. As travel restrictions across the UK begin to ease, we are increasing capacity in line with consumer demand.’

‘Naturally, safety is our number one priority as travel gradually resumes and we have introduced a range of measures to ensure passengers can travel with confidence,’ he added.

Leon McQuaid, Head of Aviation Development at Newcastle Airport, said: ‘The KLM route between Newcastle and Amsterdam is extremely important to both business and leisure passengers across the region. We are delighted to see signs of market recovery and KLM responding to demand by increasing to three flights a day – further improving the opportunity for connection between the North East’s largest Airport and destinations across the world.

‘Our recently introduced Ten Point Plan ensures the terminal is a safe environment for all and along with KLM’s additional safety measures on board their aircraft, we hope this will help to provide confidence to passengers looking to travel with us in the future.’

KLM has introduced a range of measures to ensure safe travel for both passengers and staff. Face masks are mandatory for both passengers and crew when boarding and during the flight. New aircraft cleaning procedures have been introduced including the disinfection of all surfaces in contact with customers such as armrests, tables and screens. In addition, the air in the cabin is renewed every three minutes, and the recycling system on board KLM aircraft is equipped with ‘High Efficiency Particulate Air’ or HEPA filters, identical to those used in hospital operating theatres.

Newcastle Airport has launched its Ten Point Plan of safety measures in June. New measures include an enhanced cleaning regime, mandatory face mask wearing, social distancing measures and hand sanitiser stations throughout the journey.