Eurostar adds more high-speed services to Europe

Eurostar, the high-speed rail link between the UK and mainland Europe, announced on Thursday August 19 that it is adding more trains between the UK and the continent in response to growing demand following the removal of quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers from France to the UK and the easing of restrictions for travel to Belgium and the Netherlands.

During August, Eurostar has seen double the amount of bookings, and has added 39 trains for travel between the UK and the continent this month alone. The busiest days for travel are between August 27 and 30, with Paris the most popular destination from the UK.

Since the easing of travel restrictions by the UK government in August, the high-speed rail operator has seen the gradual return of the weekend break, with a 105 percent rise in August and September weekend trips between London and Paris, compared to the same period last year and 83 percent of bookings attributed to leisure travel or visiting friends and family.

From September 6 until November 1, eight daily return services will operate, with five in each direction on the London to Paris route and three in each direction between London and Brussels, with one each way extended to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The expanded timetable is claimed to offer improved flexibility to both business and leisure travellers with fares from GBP39 each way.

The company says that travellers can book with confidence knowing that all tickets are flexible with no exchange fee up to 7 days before departure, offering peace of mind should travel restrictions or plans change. Eurostar adds that it has introduced new measures to keep passengers safe, with trains deep cleaned before every journey, and cleaning teams on board to regularly disinfect high contact areas. All travellers must wear a mask on board and in stations, this continues to apply after check-in at London St Pancras.

Eurostar claims to offer the most environmentally friendly choice for travel to Europe, with each journey using up to 93 percent less CO2 than the equivalent flight.

Ryanair launches new routes this summer as Europe opens up

Ryanair, the Irish low fares airline, has announced a new route from Manchester to Verona, operating twice weekly from July, as part of Ryanair’s UK Summer 2021 Schedule.

Additionally, Ryanair has announced a new route from Teesside to Faro operating twice a week from June 16. This new route expands Ryanair’s offer from Teesside following the airline’s return to the region this Summer with routes to Alicante, Faro and Palma de Mallorca from June, and to Corfu from July.

Alongside the announcement, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from GBP19.99 for travel until the end of October 2021, which must be booked by midnight Thursday, May 20 only on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Director of Commercial, Jason McGuinness, said: ‘As vaccination rollout programmes continue in the coming months and with the summer season just around the corner, we are delighted to announce this new route from Manchester to Verona, operating twice weekly from July as part of our UK summer’21 schedule.

Mindful that Covid restrictions change regularly, customers can now book flights for a well-deserved break knowing that if they need to postpone or change their travel dates, they can do so up to two times with a zero-change fee until the end of October 2021.’

Commenting on the Teeside route, McGuinness, added: ‘We are very pleased to announce a new route from Teesside to Faro on the back of the UK’s green list announcement. Teesside customers will now have the choice of four popular destinations this summer, with flights to Alicante, Faro and Palma de Mallorca from June, and Corfu from July.

Teesside Airport continues to deliver efficient operations and competitive airport charges, allowing for long-term traffic growth and new routes.’

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: ‘This is fantastic news, and yet another vote of confidence in our airport. Of course, it has only been made possible because of the tremendous take-up of Ryanair’s flights to Alicante and Palma by local people.

We’ve been working hard over the past few months to transform our terminal, get it fit for the 21st century and make it easier and smoother than ever to pass through. We can’t wait to welcome people back through our doors for these great summer breaks – and our growing slate of other domestic and international flights.’

British Airways announces August schedule, to resume services to more destinations

British Airways has said that it will resume services to more destinations throughout August, although on low frequencies due to the continued impact of Covid-19 across the globe.

In Europe flights will resume to the holiday destinations of Bari, Bastia, Bodrum, Bordeaux, Catania, Figari, Frankfurt, Genoa, Kefalonia, Lyon, Luxembourg, Malta, Paphos and Pula, while Antigua, Islamabad and Nairobi will join the long-haul line-up. Flights currently start from £31 each way to Europe.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and CEO, said: ‘We’re gradually returning to more of our network and will be flying to some great holiday destinations over the summer with seats from as little as £31 each way.

‘We know people want to be able to book with confidence, so we’ve introduced a range of flexible booking options to set their minds at rest, such as being able to change a booking free of charge or cancel and receive a voucher for travel at a later date.’

BA Holidays is offering a range of deals for customers, including: seven nights holiday to Paphos, Cyprus with stay at the Helios Bay Hotel Apartments & Villas from £459 per person; two nights holiday to Milan with stay at the 4-star Marconi Hotel from £149 per person; seven nights holiday to Catania, Sicily at the Best Western Hotel Mediterraneo from £489 per person; and two nights holiday to Frankfurt at the 4-star Bristol Hotel from £149 per person. In addition, British Airways’ lead-in flight only fares to Europe for this summer include Nice with fares from £31 each way, Venice from £35 each way, Palermo from £39 each way and Corfu from £48 each way. Reservations for the respective destinations can be done until August 9, at ba.com, available for travel until August 31.

To reduce the risks due to Covid-19, British Airways has introduced a range of measures for customers and crew to follow. These include: checking-in online, downloading boarding pass and self-scanning their boarding passes at the departure gate where possible; observing social distancing and using hand sanitisers placed throughout airports; wearing a facemask at all times and bringing enough to replace them every four hours for longer flights; urging customers to avoid travel in case of any symptoms of Covid-19; PPE for cabin crew and a new food service, which reduces the number of interactions required with customers.

CheapOair.com reveals popular European destinations this summer, London top

CheapOair.com, a US-focused online travel agency and provider of discount flights, has announced the most popular European destinations for summer travel in 2019.

Based on the travel trends and booking data, CheapOair revealed that London is the highest booked destination for the fourth straight year with an average roundtrip airfare of $783, a 10 per cent price decrease from 2018. London was also named the best-rated destination in the world by the 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for destinations, up from second place in 2018.

Based on its price- comparison and booking analysis, CheapOair also found that Greece is emerging as a popular destination among tourists and travellers. Athens continues to be a summer hot spot, with the price decreasing by four percent compared to 2018, making it a highly attractive destination this year.

‘Flying to Europe is becoming more affordable every year, which means it’s also becoming increasingly popular,’ said Tom Spagnola, Senior Vice President of Supplier Relations at CheapOair. ‘Consumers should take advantage of these low costs to experience European cities they haven’t been to before, but booking early is important as summer is the most popular travel season and costs will only increase from here.’

With its data on travel trends, CheapOair helps consumers and travel professionals in both planning their travel accommodations and staying current on the most popular destinations.

According to the data revealed by CheapOair, the average price to fly to European destinations has decreased by three percent this summer. With several major carriers introducing basic economy fares for trans-Atlantic flights, consumers are taking advantage of many affordable travel options to popular European cities, including Paris, Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid, it said.

Thomas Cook Airlines announces European destinations from Cardiff Airport for Easter 2019

Thomas Cook Airlines has said that it will introduce Easter 2019 flights from Cardiff airport for the first time.

As per the plan, Thomas Cook Airlines has added over 15,000 seats to destinations including Turkey, Majorca, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Cyprus and a new route to Enfidha in Tunisia. The airlines will operate 11 flights a week starting from April 3, 2019 until the end of that month.

With the new routes, Thomas Cook Airlines now flies to 12 sun and beach destinations from Cardiff and has over 120,000 seats on sale throughout 2019 (Easter and Summer). Tickets are now on sale via www.thomascookairlines.com.

Henry Sunley, Commercial Director at Thomas Cook Airlines, said, ‘This is a brand new Easter programme from Cardiff with our season traditionally beginning on May 1. It’s great to be able to reward our customers who fly with us from Cardiff airport with even more choice.’

Spencer Birns, Commercial Director, Cardiff Airport, added: ‘It’s excellent to see one of our valued airline partners adding even more choice for our passengers for Spring and Summer next year.

‘Cardiff Airport now welcomes more than 1.5 million passengers annually who are often in search of warmer weather and holiday packages that offer value for money, so Thomas Cook Airlines’ announcement of more seats and a new route to Tunisia for next year is great news for customers who choose to fly from their local airport.’

For Easter 2019, the Thomas Cook Airlines’ flight-only services from Cardiff airport are priced, one-way in economy, with fares starting from £201.99 for Dalaman, Turkey; from £59.99 for Palma de Majorca; from £141.99 for Tunisia; from £118.99 for Cyprus and from £146.99 for Tenerife.

The Thomas Cook package holiday from Cardiff airport, flying with Thomas Cook Airlines one-way in economy, includes seven nights in Turkey from £2,150 for a family of four – £537 per person including discounted price for children. The flight will depart from Cardiff on April 10, 2019, with stay arranged at the five-star SENTIDO Perissia in Side on an all-inclusive basis, Cardiff Airport said in a release.

Flybe offers up to 20% discount on limited time seat sale; refreshes onboard menu for summer 2018

Flybe, the UK-based European regional airline, is offering a limited time seat sale on a range of routes for summer 2018, with discounts of up to 20 percent on half a million seats.

The 2018 summer sale includes flights to Europen destinations such as Amsterdam, Biarritz, Milan, Paris and Rome. The seat sale features routes departing from 28 UK airports covering Newquay to Inverness, as well as the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The routes on offer include Birmingham to Milan Malpensa, Exeter to Alicante, Edinburgh to Cardiff, Liverpool to Belfast City, Southampton to Verona and more.

Booking is available through to midnight on April 25 at www.flybe.com/sale, effective for travel from May 8 through to July 19, 2018. The Flybe sale also includes a selection of routes operated by two of Flybe’s franchise partners, Stobart Air and Blue Islands.

In addition, Flybe has also refreshed its on board Cafe Flybe menu for summer 2018 to include a variety of healthy snacks and new additions to its Connoisseurs’ Gin Bar. The airline will now offer a new Breakfast Box including a croissant filled with cocoa cream, a bag of mixed dried fruit, a Nutri-Grain breakfast bar and Tic Tacs.

Customers can also purchase snacks from Graze that include a Veggie Protein Power pack and a vegan friendly Lively Lemon Flapjack. Another healthy snack on offer for summer 2018 is Joe & Sephs Coconut and Chia Popcorn, a blend of caramel with desiccated coconut and chia seeds. British biscuit classics, McVitie’s Shortbread and Milk Chocolate Digestives also feature on the Cafe Flybe menu. The Connoisseurs’ Gin Bar features an assortment of regional gins including Brecon from Penderyn in Wales, Tarquin’s from Cornwall and Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger gin.

Flybe’s chief commercial officer, Roy Kinnear, commented, ‘We want to provide our passengers with the best possible choice when they travel with us. The new healthy additions to Cafe Flybe mean that whether they are flying to an early morning meeting or heading home late in the evening, there is always something enticing to choose from.’

Jet2 announces offer for ski carriage from London Stansted, expands other winter services

As the 2017 ski season is set to begin, British low-cost airline Jet2 has announced an offer for ski carriage on its popular ski routes in Europe – Geneva, Grenoble, Salzburg and Lyon – from its newest UK base, London Stansted.

Under the offer, skiers and boarders can take 22kg of ski carriage for £1 return on featured flights from London Stansted, subject to certain terms and conditions. As part of its winter 2017-18 programme, Jet2 will operate flights to the four ski destinations in Europe from London Stansted. The offer applies to new bookings on the four routes, it said.

Tickets are available to book until Thursday November 30, 2017, and available for travel between Thursday November 30, 2017 and Monday, April 30, 2018, Jet2 noted.

Jet2 earlier this month announced an expansion to its winter schedule for 2018-19, with over 450,000 seats on sale from London Stansted to 18 destinations, including a new weekly winter service to Antalya. In addition, Jet2 will operate winter services to Nice, offering holidaymakers an opportunity to enjoy the winter sun on the French Riviera. The airline also announced a major expansion of its winter programme to Canary Islands with more services to Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Anzarote and Tenerife. A total of 180,000 seats are on sale to the Canaries next winter, it said.

The airline also announced a new winter service for 2018-19 from London Stansted to Larnaca, and a year round service to Paphos as part of an expansion of its programme to Cyrus.

In addition, Jet2 has also announced an expansion of its ski programme to European ski resorts for winter 2018-2019 with more capacity to Geneva, Grenoble and Salzburg, in addition to Lyon services. The schedule of the ski flights is available at www.jet2.com/ski.

easyJet announces spring and early summer flights on sale across Europe

easyJet, the UK-based budget airline, has announced the sale of its flight services for spring and early summer 2018, offering flights across Europe for booking until June 24, 2018.

The European budget airline is offering a number of routes from across UK airports to destinations including Bristol to Faro from £28.49, Bristol to Cyprus Paphos from £58.49, Bristol to Barcelona from £24.99, London Gatwick to Barcelona from £24.99, Liverpool to Alicante from £17.99, Newcastle to Malaga from £17.99, Bristol to Naples from £30.49, and London Stansted to Naples from £26.99. Fares are per person, one way, based on two people travelling on the same booking. Tickets are available for booking at www.easyjet.com, the airline said.

Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s UK Director, said: ‘We’re really pleased to be putting our flights for spring 2018 on sale today. Passengers can look forward to even more low fares to Europe’s best beach and city destinations.’

‘For those who are looking for inspiration on where to go on their break, our Inspire Me app available on our website helps travellers to find flights tailored to their budget and travel dates.’

easyJet Holidays have also launched holidays up until June 24, 2017 with an offer of up to £120 off per booking, including peak season times such as Christmas and New Year, when booked by November 2, 2017.

easyJet has bases across 11 UK airports and flies to more than 800 routes on its network across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

British Airways offering return flights to European destinations for £35

British Airways has announced return flights to several European destinations for a price of £35, plus 9,000 Avios as part of its Reward Flight Saver scheme.

The airline is offering a return price of £35 plus 9,000 Avios to destinations including Nice, Amsterdam, Zurich, Paris, Dublin, Brussels, Munich and Geneva. In addition, it is offering a return of £35 plus 15,000 Avios to customers choosing to travel to Oslo, Rome, Berlin and Stockholm.

James Hillier, The Executive Club manager, said: ‘We know our Executive Club members love to have a range of ways to collect and spend Avios so we are delighted to be able to offer return flights from just £35 plus 9,000 Avios, including all taxes, fees and charges, to a host of popular European destinations like Paris, Nice and Amsterdam to name a few, so there is plenty of choice for everyone.’

Lisa Harris, Customer Director at Avios, added: ‘It’s easy to collect Avios, not only through British Airways flights, hotel bookings and car hire, but also on day-to-day shopping via the British Airways Avios eStore where you will discover over 800 plus retail partners including some or your high street favourites. With so many easy ways to collect, that next travel adventure really is within touching distance.’

The flights are available for booking, enabling holidaymakers to plan a post-summer getaway. Travellers can book through British Airways’ app or website via the Reward Flight Saver page. To book using Reward Flight Saver, Executive Club members must have collected at least one Avios in the past 12 months.

Reward Flight Saver is available year round, the airline said.

British Airways adds seven new routes to summer schedule at London Heathrow

British Airways has announced the addition of seven new routes to its summer schedule at London Heathrow.

The airline has added Brindisi, Montpellier, Murcia, Nantes, Pula, Tallinn and Zakynthos, which will be available for booking effective immediately. The first services will commence from March 28, 2017. All destinations will be served by a mixture of A319 and A320 aircraft from Heathrow Terminal 3 and 5.

Flights to the sun-spot of Brindisi, located on the Adriatic Sea, will be operated on Tuesday and Saturday starting June 3, 2017, with fares starting from £85 return. Meanwhile, fares to Murcia, known for its golf courses, will start from £65 return, with flights operating on Tuesday and Saturday starting from March 28, 2017.

Flights to the French city of Nantes – gateway to Brittany and the Loire Valley and famous for Muscadet wines – will launch on March 29, 2017, with return fares starting from £71. The twice weekly flights will be operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

A twice weekly service to Montpellier will start operating from May 3, 2017, offering holidaymakers a break to the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of the Pyrenees, from just £78 return. The twice weekly flights will be operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For water sport lovers, British Airways has launched a two-per-week direct service to the Croatian coastal town of Pula starting July 4, 2017. Fares start from £76 per person, operating on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The Estonian capital of Tallinn, one of the best preserved European medieval cities and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, will also be added to the airline’s short-haul network from March 28. The flights will be operated on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with fares from £65 per person. The airline has also announced a twice weekly service to Zakynthos, operating on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting June 3, 2017, with fares starting from £81.00.

Neil Cottrell, British Airways’ head of planning, said: ‘We are thrilled to be launching seven new European routes this summer and we are confident these cities will be a big hit with holidaymakers, especially with return fares from just £65 per person.

‘More flights to more cities across Europe is fantastic news for families wanting to get away for summer sun or sightseeing and with so many new routes from London, extra services to Palermo, Mykonos and Reykjavik and convenient flight times our customers have more choice than ever before.’