Thomas Cook Airlines launch long haul economy light fares

Thomas Cook Airlines has announced the launch of ‘Economy Light’ fares on its long-haul routes.

The fares, available with Thomas Cook Airlines in the UK and Condor in Germany, are intended to be competitively priced flights under the scheme. Economy, Premium and Business (Condor only) fares will remain the same, the airline said. Meanwhile, the Economy Light fares from Manchester to New York would start from £299.99 return and Economy, £359.99 return.

Henry Sunley, Commercial Director at Thomas Cook Airlines, said, ‘We wanted to ensure that we provide fares that support the different needs of our customers, which can differ from trip to trip. Economy Light offers an option for those customers who want less amenities for their journey but want to benefit from fantastic cost savings.

‘They are the first fares that we have introduced on a pan-European scale across Thomas Cook Group Airline for our seat-only business.’

Economy Light fares include a 6kg cabin bag as well as a personal item (such as a handbag). Light fares do not include any hold baggage and check-in is online only. The on-board experience remains the same for all Economy customers, as people will receive signature James Martin meals and inflight entertainment.

Economy Light fares will be available online at and through participating retailers for selected long-haul flights from November 1, 2018. Customers can expect fares such as Manchester to New York return from £299.99 return.

In addition, Thomas Cook Airlines in the UK has also introduced a ‘Flex’ option to its Economy fares for customers looking for more flexibility with their booking. Adding Flex turns a non-refundable fare into a flexible ticket that allows cancellations and removes penalties and charges for date and route changes.

The company said: ‘Economy Flex fares have been available with Condor for a number of years and are a great option for business and leisure travellers alike. We believe that our UK customers will welcome the chance to add extra flexibility to their trip if they wish to. With Economy Light and the option to add flexibility with Economy Flex, we are providing more choice than ever for our customers.’

Ryanair offers fares on Sabre Network

Irish airline Ryanair has commenced offering its budget fares and ancillary services to Sabre-connected travel agencies and corporations across Europe via the Sabre global distribution system (GDS).

The offer follows Ryaniar’s agreement with Sabre Corporation, a global technology provider to the travel and tourism industry, earlier in May.

With its budget fares and extensive route network, coupled with Sabre’s retailing technology and expanding reach in Europe, the Irish airline expects to further improve its business travel offering. The Sabre agreement follows the introduction of Ryanair Business Plus last year and a dedicated corporate and group service, enabling increased businesses access to Ryanair’s fares.

Ryanair’s Head of Communications, Robin Kiely said: ‘Ryanair is pleased to announce that our fares are now available on the Sabre network, allowing us to provide our improved product to an even wider range of business and corporate customers.

With more than 27 percent of our customers already travelling on business, we are continuing to enhance Europe’s best business service, with the lowest fares, most on-time flights and our tailored Business Plus service. Business travellers, corporations and TMCs will now have greater access to our low fares and Europe’s largest route network thanks to our agreement with Sabre.’

‘Ryanair has become a popular option for corporate travellers and it’s now easier, faster and more efficient for travel agencies to shop and book Ryanair’s fares and ancillary content all within the Sabre system. Our industry-leading retailing capabilities also allow Ryanair to merchandise their fares and ancillaries the way they want to, ensuring brand consistency across all of its retail channels,’ Harald Eisenaecher, Senior Vice President, Sabre Travel Network, EMEA, said following the agreement in May.

The Sabre offer is the latest in an on-going series of Ryanair customer experience improvements under the ‘Always Getting Better’ programme. Under the programme, the airline has launched its new and interactive Ryanair website, a new app with mobile boarding passes, allocated seating, a second carry-on bag allowance and a dedicated family service, Family Extra, as Ryanair strives to make itself the preferred airlines for both business and leisure travellers.


Ryanair to cut Stansted fares, 7,000 new jobs expected at airport

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has agreed to cut fares from Stansted airport after reaching a 10-year agreement with Manchester Airport Group, the airport’s new owners, according to a report by the Mirror.

The cheaper flights are part of plans to increase passenger numbers by at least 50 percent to more than 20 million a year by 2023, the budget airline said. The agreement is crucial to MAG, as Dublin-based Ryanair already accounts for 75 percent of Stansted’s business. Ryanair had accused the airport’s previous owners, BAA, of imposing rip-off charges, making the airline less profitable.

Ryanair is also looking to increase passenger traffic at the Essex airport by at least 50 percent, to more than 20 million a year by 2023.

‘We will be cutting our average fares to deliver this. We are the good guys,’ Michael O’Leary reportedly said.

Meanwhile, MAG said that it was in talks with other airlines with regards to introducing long-haul flights from the airport, which presently focuses on short-haul flights to holiday hotspots. According to O’Leary, Stansted’s expansion could create more than 7,000 jobs.

The Stop Stansted Expansion campaign group has however opposed the deal. The Mirror has quoted its economics adviser, Brian Ross, as saying that he failed to ‘understand the business logic’ behind the deal. ‘It will simply entrench Ryanair even deeper as the dominant airline at the airport and reinforce Stansted’s reputation as nothing more than a ‘cheap flights’ airport,’ he said.

He added, ‘When MAG bought Stansted, it said that it wanted to make the airport more broadly based, with more airlines and more destinations. This Ryanair deal, coming on top of the deal MAG did with Easyjet a few months ago, indicates that MAG has so far done exactly the opposite.’

Speaking at the World Low-Cost Airline Congress in London, O’Leary repeated that there is potential growth for a low-cost transatlantic operation.

He said that a transatlantic operation would not follow the no-frills business model adopted by Ryanair’s short- and medium-haul operation, saying that there would be a business-class cabin on the transatlantic services.


UK Rail Fare Increases for Passengers in 2013

Rail fares in the UK have increased by an average of 3.9 percent at the beginning of 2013, as most railway companies announce hikes in their New Year fares.

Previously, East Midlands Trains, a UK-based train service, had announced an increase of around 4 percent in its fares, effective January 2, 2013, with the cost of a single journey to increase by around £0.52 per ticket.

Recent research published by the UK’s Trade Union Congress (TUC), has shown that since 2008, average train fares have increased around three times faster than average wages. This has resulted in the rail fare for an average family of four travelling to London from Swansea, Plymouth, Leeds, Manchester or Newcastle on an any time ticket, costing in excess of £481, which is the average weekly wage for a UK worker.

TUC general secretary and chair of Action for Rail, Frances O’Grady, said, ‘I understand the frustration felt by many commuters going back to work today. At a time when real wages are falling and household budgets are being squeezed, rail travellers are being forced to endure yet another year of inflation-busting fare increases.

As well as having to shell out record amounts of money for their tickets, passengers also face the prospect of travelling on trains with fewer staff and having less access to ticket offices. They are being asked to pay much more for less.’

Defending the fare hike, David Horne, the managing director of East Midlands Trains, said, ‘Railway funding can only come from the taxpayer or from the passenger. The government’s policy remains that a bigger share must come from people who use the train.

We know that nobody likes paying more for their travel, especially to get to work. That’s why we are working hard with the rest of the rail industry to make the system more cost-efficient and help take the pressure off future fare rises. At the same time, we are investing in our trains and stations to deliver a better railway for our customers.’