P&O Cruises extends delay in sailing until October 15, 2020

P&O Cruises has announced an extension to a delay in its sailing operations until October 15, 2020 as it works with all relevant public health agencies to approve health and safety protocols.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: ‘We are working with government and industry bodies at the highest possible level, such as Public Health England (PHE) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to review every aspect of a holiday with us and establish a framework of policies and procedures. Our aspiration is to be adopting best practice in managing COVID-19 within the travel industry.

‘Unfortunately, as the world continues to adapt to this global crisis, we have made the decision, difficult as it is, to extend our pause in operations for all sailings up to and including October 15, 2020. We are so sorry for the disappointment this will cause to so many of our guests.’

All guests who were booked on these cancelled sailings will receive an enhanced Future Cruise Credit (FCC), which will include an additional 25% on top of the amount paid for the holiday. FCCs may also be used to upgrade or for a second cabin for any existing booking and also may be gifted or transferred to someone else. This option will also be available until the end of December 2021.

Expanding on the likely protocols Ludlow said: ‘We have for years had in place many of the protocols now considered advisable for other social gathering venues, such as hand-sanitizing stations and rigorous cleaning and disinfecting procedures. We also have for years gone beyond those protocols by having guests complete a health declaration form and having a comprehensive medical facility on board each ship providing 24/7 medical care and treatment. During the recent crisis, we added robust health screening upon embarkation, starting with thermal scanning of guests and crew.

‘Along with the rest of the world, we will adapt. We will work closely with medical experts and global authorities to help us determine the best way to move forward while honouring our highest responsibility – the health, safety, and wellbeing of our guests, crew and communities we visit, along with compliance and environmental protection.

‘When the time is right, we will be ready to resume our tradition of providing amazing holiday experiences for our guests.’

P&O Cruises is also introducing a 5% deposit for new bookings made between 27 May and 29 June 2020. The offer is available on applicable Early Saver and Select Price holidays of 19 nights or fewer from January 2021.

P&O Cruises visits over 200 destinations worldwide and offers itineraries generally ranging from two to 17 days and an annual world cruise. P&O Cruises sails to Australia & New Zealand, Baltic, the British Isles, Canada, Spain, Portugal & the Canary Islands, the Caribbean, Central America, Dubai & the Arabian Gulf, the Far East & Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, South America, the South Pacific, the United States and Western Europe.

Passengers unhappy with Britain’s train service, survey

More than half of Britain’s rail companies have been rated poor in customer satisfaction, according to an annual survey carried out by Which? magazine.

According to the annual survey to identify Britain’s best and worst trains, 11 of 19 companies operating the country’ trains received overall satisfaction scores lower than 50 per cent. In comparison, last year only nine firms scored lower than 50 per cent overall.

The worst reported were Greater Anglia and Southeastern, scoring just 40 per cent overall, while First Capital Connect, which connects London to Brighton and Cambridge, scored 41 per cent.

Overall one in ten of the 7,400 passengers questioned said they had reason to complain about their last rail journey, with complaints ranging from frequent delays, overcrowded carriages and malfunctioning lavatories. One in five of all passengers, including a quarter of all commuters, have experienced a delay; one in five commuters has had to stand through their last journey, while one in ten complained over defective lavatories – rising to 20 per cent for London Midland trains, 19 per cent for Southeastern and 17 per cent on First Capital Connect.

Merseyrail was rated the best operator, with a 70 per cent rating – the highest total seen during the three years, the survey found. Chiltern Railway, C2C and Virgin Trains were the only other companies to score more than 60 per cent overall.

C2C, which operates from London to Southend, was the highest scoring commuter service, scoring 66 per cent among business passengers, including top marks for punctuality.

Grand Central was rated the best long distance service, scoring 73 per cent among leisure passengers – who approved its spacious carriages and superior service. First Great Western was the lowest scorer in this category with 49 per cent, including poor marks for punctuality.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: ‘It’s disappointing to see some train companies consistently falling down on the basics of consumer service, with dirty and overcrowded carriages and toilets that don’t work.

‘Seven rail franchises end in the next two years and we want to see passenger’s experiences put right at the heart of the tender process so companies respond to consumer expectations and can be held to account if they don’t.’

On aspects that could improve their journeys, one in five passengers called for better punctuality, rising to three in ten among commuters. More than half of all travellers said they would be willing to pay more for an improvement in standards. One in five wanted free Wi-Fi.

A First Capital Connect spokesman said: ‘We are disappointed, especially after the far larger National Passenger Survey showed overall satisfaction scores of 79 per cent, but we listen to all feedback and are taking steps to deliver what passengers want.’


OAG to Launch Travel Disruption Product

OAG, a business belonging to UBM Aviation, is to launch a product to help travellers that are affected by disruption to their travel itinerary.

The airline data firm, with its head office in Luton, UK, is to launch its new Migo system that is designed to provide travellers whose flights have been disrupted due to bad weather, strikes or sudden cancellations, with alternative travel options. The options that the system will provide are not just be limited to alternative available flights but, where applicable, will also give details of land and sea routes.

OAG expects that Migo, which will include feeds from the company’s own global flight schedule database, live flight status data and ground options, will be particularly popular with TCMs and large corporate clients, for whom sudden and unexpected travel disruption can be costly. To facilitate its use, Migo will be compatible with PC’s, tablet computers and ipads.

UBM Aviation’s executive vice president of networks, John Grant, said, ‘The more information we can give the traveller then more they can make informed choices. It may be that after looking at all the options they will decide that the best thing to do is to go home, or if the meeting is very important they can find an alternative route to use. We are talking to TMCs about using Migo and we expect it to be in the market by the end of the year.’

The level of traffic disruption at each airport will be graded with red, amber and green lights, to indicate the likelihood of delays or cancellations.

Emma Swinnerton, OAG product director said, ‘We are putting the information at people’s fingertips to make the best decisions for them. It will include weather forecasts – so if it shows there will be snow for the next 12 hours, they can decide to get a hotel for the night.’