Birmingham Airport offers new flight update service via Facebook messenger

Birmingham Airport has announced the introduction of its new flight update service – Flight Smart – for departing passengers via Facebook messenger.

The Flight Smart flight update service was originally offered via Twitter, having launched in summer 2017. Following the success of the programme, Birmingham Airport will now add Flight Smart to Facebook messenger as well. Passengers can send their flight number to the Flight smart messenger page and instantly receive live flight updates direct to their mobile and tablet devices.

Jo Lloyd, Business Development Director – Birmingham Airport said: ‘In this digital age we live by our mobiles, so to be able to see where to check in, what gate to use and which restaurant to choose from, all from your phone or tablet, takes the stress out of travelling. The twitter Flight Smart has been heavily used by our passengers since its inauguration, but we were conscious that not everyone uses twitter, with the addition of Facebook messenger Flight Smart all passengers can have up to date information on their journey at their fingertips.

Paul Brugger, C.E.O of TIC said: ‘Birmingham Airport has been running BizTweet under the Flight Smart brand for eighteen months, due to its phenomenal success they will be launching our complementary Facebook Messenger service. At a touch of a button the airport will be able to provide even more passengers with real-time, high personalised operational and customer service messages directly to passengers via these two platforms.’

Facebook messenger also offers more detailed content, allowing passengers to access maps and directions, information about restaurants and contact details, enabling them to plan ahead of their trip. Flight Smart was developed in collaboration with Cork -based technology company, TIC for Facebook Messenger.

Passengers using Flight Smart on Facebook messenger may type @flybhx into the search tab on the Facebook app or the Birmingham Airport facebook page to get live updates. This service helps passengers get constant flight updates until departure and also allows family and friends to track the flight, the airport said.

Thomas Cook Airlines announces 10 additional flights a week from Bristol for Easter 2019

Thomas Cook Airlines has announced the addition of 10 flights a week for Easter 2019 from Bristol airport.

With the introduction of 10 additional flights a week from April 3, 2019 until the end of the month, Thomas Cook Airlines has added over 12,000 seats to destinations including Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Majorca. Tickets are now on sale via www.thomascookairlines.com.

Henry Sunley, Commercial Director at Thomas Cook Airlines, said: ‘This is a bigger Easter programme from Bristol than ever before, with our season traditionally ramping up from May 1. It’s great to be able to reward our customers who fly with us from Bristol airport with even more choice and we look forward to adding more destinations from Bristol in the near future.’

Nigel Scott, Business Development Director, Bristol Airport added: ‘This is exciting news. The increased capacity for next year builds on the strong growth we are experiencing with Thomas Cook from Bristol Airport in 2018. It provides even more choice for passengers when using their local airport to travel to a variety of exciting holiday destinations. We look forward to working with Thomas Cook on future route opportunities.’

For summer 2019, Thomas Cook Airlines flight-only services from Bristol airport, one-way in economy, include services to Turkey from £168.99, Gran Canaria from £203.99, Hurghada, Egypt from £325.99 and Lanzarote from £203.99. With the new services, Thomas Cook Airlines now flies to 25 sun and beach destinations from Bristol, while increasing its number of seats on sale at Easter by 40 percent in 2018.

Thomas Cook is also offering a package holiday from Bristol airport, flying with Thomas Cook Airlines one-way in economy with seven nights in Turkey from £2,035 for a family of four, or £508 per person including discounted prices for children. Stay will be arranged at the five-star Sentido Perissia in Side on an all-inclusive basis, departing from Bristol on 8 April 2019. Tickets can be booked at www.thomascook.com, it said.

Jet2 extends summer season in Ibiza for summer 2018 and 2019

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays has announced an extended seasonal service to Ibiza for this summer and in summer 19, following strong demand for holidays beyond the peak summer periods.

Ibiza is popular with British travellers for summer and remains a sought-after holiday destination beyond the peak season. The airline has put additional flights on sale to Ibiza from five UK bases between late September and the end of October this year. Jet2 is extending the seasonal service from Birmingham, East Midlands, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle Airports.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘Our commitment to providing award-winning flights and holidays means that we continue to attract more and more customers, and today’s announcement is yet more evidence of that. This news is a real boost for the tourism industry and economy in Ibiza, and is living proof that we are not just working to fill hotels in the peak summer season but that we are working with our hotel and industry partners to achieve the best possible results in shoulder seasons too.’

Vicente Torres, President of Ibiza Island Council, said: ‘We are very pleased with these increases in capacity which are in line with the efforts of the Consell d’Eivissa to promote Ibiza during the out of season period. We believe that Ibiza has a great offer in spring, autumn and winter and these periods are popular with tourists who want to know about the cultural, gastronomic and sports offers of the island. We are confident that this initiative will be very successful.’

For 2019, the summer season and services will also start earlier in Ibiza, as the company has introduced April flights from four of its UK bases. For the first time, customers with Jet2.com and Jet2holidays will be able to travel to Ibiza in April, opening up the destination for the Easter holidays. The additional flights will operate twice-weekly from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and London Stansted, Jet2.com said.

easyJet offers ‘Hands Free’ luggage option for passengers

easyJet, the UK-based European regional airline, has said that it has launched ‘Hands Free’, allowing passengers to check in their hand luggage at the Bag Drop desk for an extra fee.

At The Bag Drop Desk, luggage will be tagged as priority and taken care of through to the arrival airport. ‘Hands Free’ hand luggage will also be among the first to be delivered at the baggage belt at arrivals. The new ‘Hands Free’ service comes at a price of £4 per person, or £10 for a group bundle per flight.

Passengers choosing Hands Free will be given small plastic bags to carry their essential items onboard, and are free to take any items purchased at the airport on board. Passengers will also able to board first after those with Speedy Boarding.

Andrew Middleton, Ancillary Revenue Director at easyJet said: ‘We’ve seen a fantastic response from customers upgrading to the ‘Hands Free’ experience and we’re confident once you go ‘Hands Free’ you’ll never want to drag cabin baggage through the airport again.’

‘Alongside low fares and friendly customer service, our customers tell us that the airport experience is a hugely important part of their flying experience.’

The ‘Hands Free’ service has reportedly been a success since its launch in France this Spring, with over 9,000 passengers choosing the option in just four weeks. easyJet has now rolled it out across its entire network with the exception of London Gatwick, it said.

easyJet flies over 270 aircraft on more than 880 routes to over 140 airports across 31 countries. The UK-based low fares airline carries over 78 million passengers annually, of which more than 12 million are travelling on business.

Thomson and First Choice introduce Vietnam to winter 2017 schedule, add more long-haul destinations

Thomson and First Choice have recently announced the introduction of Vietnam to their winter 2017 programme.

Further, the holiday company Thomson said that the Caribbean islands of St Lucia and Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba – destinations that were introduced to its summer 2017 programme earlier – will also be extended into the winter season. The move comes as the company seeks to build on the 350 percent increase in long haul holidays over the past 10 years.

The island of Phu Quoc is the latest long-haul destination to be added to Thomson and First Choice’s offering. Located off the coast of Vietnam with white-sandy beaches, Phu Quoc is popular for relaxing, and features dense tropical jungle and reefs. With a choice of tour and stay options, Phu Quoc is an option for travellers looking to stay and explore spots like Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as a trip along the Mekong River to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

The first direct flights to Phu Quoc International Airport from the UK will operate on Thomson Airways’ 787 Dreamliners and will depart from London Gatwick every Wednesday, taking 12 hours to reach the destination.

In addition, as a reported first ever for the UK travel industry, Thomson is introducing multi-centre holidays via its website, enabling customers to plan and book their multi-trip holiday online without having to wait for a confirmation of the itinerary. Costa Rica, Cuba, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Goa are the first destinations available for booking on a dedicated tab on Thomson’s website, which is expected to go live mid-late November.

Mark Hall, Director of Product for Thomson and First Choice, said, ‘Our focus for winter 2017 remains on the growth of our long-haul programme using our fantastic 787 Dreamliner and Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island is a fantastic addition. We are also thrilled to announce the extension of St Lucia and Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba into our winter programme, along with an array of new city breaks and long haul destinations. Our multi-centre holiday offering is an exciting venture and another important part of our continued commitment to offering customers more choice and flexibility seizing the opportunity to deliver what customers are demanding.’

The programme for winter 2017 will be on sale from mid-late November, Thomson said.

easyJet carries record 1.3 million skiers- 90,000 more than in 2015

easyJet, the UK-based low-fares airline, has recorded the busiest ski season in its history this year as more people than ever chose the airline’s ski routes.

With a 40 percent share of the UK ski market, easyJet carried 1.3 million passengers to ski destinations across Europe this season – 90,000 more than last year. A host of new routes, good ski conditions and a strong consumer demand have fuelled the growth in customer numbers, the airline said.

Sophie Dekkers, UK Country Director, easyJet, said: ‘We are pleased to announce record levels of demand from our customers who want to experience the best ski resorts across Europe. The rising popularity of ski holidays has given first half revenues a lift. Ski breaks provide our customers with an alternative to a winter sun holiday and helps provide the airline with a strong revenue stream in the winter months.

‘2016 has been our best ski season ever, helped by plenty of snow and good ski conditions this year. High profile sporting events such as the winter Olympics coupled with the ever increasing quality of ski resorts across Europe are helping to inspire first time skiers and contributing to the rise in popularity we are seeing amongst our customers for ski breaks.’

In 2015, easyJet strengthened its position adding new routes between Belfast and Lyon, London Luton and Innsbruck, as well as a new connection to Lyon from London Southend.

easyJet operates ski flight-services to Lyon, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Grenoble, Friedrichshafen, Turin and its largest gateway Geneva. On any Saturday in January, easyJet will have up to 119 flights and carry over 15,000 customers throughout the day into Geneva alone, easyJet said.

The airline operates ski flights from 14 UK airports including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, London Luton, London Gatwick, London Southend, and Bournemouth. The services include 10 daily flights between London Luton and Geneva, and an additional 11 daily flights between London Gatwick and Geneva, its two largest UK airports operating ski flights.

British Airways announces new route to Alicante from London City

British Airways has announced plans to launch a new leisure service to Alicante from London City Airport this summer.

The new flights to the popular holiday destination on Spain’s Costa Blanca will operate four times a week for 10 weeks from the end of June.

The new Alicante route will be the seventh Spanish route for British Airways at London City, where already operates flights to Madrid, Malaga, Palma, Ibiza and Menorca. In addition it also operates services to Granada, which is the only direct air-link from the UK to the Andalucian airport.

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager commercial and customer, London City, said: ‘The Spanish Costas are still one of the most sought after holiday destinations for British holiday makers and our new service means they can travel from the heart of London to Alicante in just two and a half hours.’

With the launch of the new service, British Airways will serve 33 destinations direct from the Docklands, where the airline is also launching new services to Berlin and Hamburg this summer.

During July and August, British Airways will offer over 170,000 leisure seats to Europe from London City, 40,000 more than last summer, and will operate extra 433 flights. The busiest days are expected to see more than 20 leisure flights a day.

British Airways will add a new 98-seat Embraer 190 jet at London City in June, which will be the 20th Embraer aircraft to join its fleet there. All British Airways flights include a choice of two cabins, Club Europe and Eurotraveller, complimentary refreshments and drinks on board and no debit card charges, the airline said.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport announces flights to Disneyland Paris

Doncaster Sheffield Airport has announced a new service for Yorkshire residents to visit Disneyland Paris this summer 

Based in Marne-la-Vallee, Disneyland Paris is the most visited theme park in all of France and Europe. The resort has two theme parks, several hotels, a shopping, dining and entertainment complex and a golf course. Tickets to the popular theme park can now be booked for people looking to fly from Doncaster.

Steve Gill, managing director of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: ‘We are delighted that our passengers can now book trips to Disneyland Paris flying out of their local airport.

‘For Yorkshire passengers travelling to Disneyland Paris meant a trip to London for the Euro Star or a flight from outside of the Yorkshire region. From March they can use their local airport to fly directly to Paris and enjoy a family trip to Disneyland.’

The new Disneyland Paris service, which will be operated by Flybe, comes as a part of the UK-based airline’s plan to operate eight new routes from Doncaster Sheffield Airport. Accordingly, starting from March 2016, passengers will be able to fly to Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Faro, Malaga, Alicante, Jersey and Newquay.

With the plan, Flybe will become the largest low-fares airline to operate from the Doncaster Sheffield Airport with nearly 44 departures per week and an additional 500,000 seats on the new routes in the first year of operation, the Airport had said in November.

‘We are confident we have created a schedule that delivers attractive travel options that are both appealing and affordable for Summer 2016 as well as providing opportunities for onward global connections,’ Phil Delaney, sales and distribution director, for Flybe, said.

 

bmi regional introduces ‘Flight Pass’ on Norwich-Aberdeen route, increases capacity

UK-based regional airline bmi regional has announced a multiple purchase discount scheme on its Norwich – Aberdeen route along with an expansion of services.

bmi regional is introducing ‘Flight Pass’ – a multiple purchase discount scheme on the Norwich – Aberdeen route offering regular travellers’ savings of between 10 per cent and 40 per cent on the base fare. In addition, starting January 11 2016, the airline will increase capacity on the route, moving from two to three daily return flights.

A valuable offering on the route, Flight Pass is expected to attract a high number of regular travellers. It will enable passengers to achieve savings in excess of £1,000 by booking up to six return trips in advance. Based on a sliding scale of discounts two return trips will attract a 10 per cent discount while six return trips will attract the maximum 40 per cent reduction.

Flight Pass customers will continue to enjoy bmi regional’s services including fast track security at Aberdeen Airport, online check-in, lounge access with a full bar service, 20kg baggage allowance and complimentary drinks and snacks on-board, Norwich Airport said in a release.

Jochen Schnadt, chief commercial officer at bmi regional, said: ‘Flight Pass offers our passengers excellent value for money on this popular route, while the additional daily flights provide added convenience to our passengers.’

Separately, bmi regional announced that it will add capacity on its Paris to Bristol route for dates throughout February and March to meet the increased demand for travel between the UK and France by rugby fans.

Commenting on the plan, Schnadt said: ‘In our effort to constantly improve our customer offering and become more responsive to our customers’ demands, we are happy to announce these additional services between Bristol and Paris so that the many passionate rugby fans and customers looking for some Valentine’s Day magic can conveniently travel between both cities at optimal times with the usual comfort bmi regional offers its customers.’

easyJet set to launch ‘Flight Club’ airline loyalty scheme

British low-fares airline easyJet has announced that it will introduce a new recognition scheme for its most frequent travellers, Flight Club, aimed at rewarding loyalty and providing flexibility for frequent flyers.

The announcement, which follows a successful trial, comes as easyJet’s customer loyalty increased significantly over the last five years. In 2015 nearly 74 percent of the airline’s passengers chose to fly with easyJet again – equating to more than 50 million returning passengers, compared to 34 million in 2010.

The scheme will be rolled out across easyJet’s European network from early 2016 when passengers will be invited to join ‘Flight Club’. The invitation will be based on the qualifying criteria of having booked and flown 20 or more flights and/or making a minimum spend with easyJet over a 12 month period.

Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet, said: ‘I am incredibly proud that more than 50 million of our customers flying with us this year have flown with us before and chose to fly with us again. This is testament to the customer service they receive, our low fares and our unrivalled network across Europe.

‘easyJet’s Flight Club will reward our most loyal, frequent flyers – most of whom will fly with us more than 20 times a year. It isn’t like a traditional airline reward programme because our customers have told us that those schemes can be a source of frustration. This is a loyalty scheme with a difference because it gives passengers benefits they really value and can access immediately.’

Members of the ‘Flight Club’ scheme will receive a range of benefits and features including free flight changes, free name changes, lower price promise, previews of new routes and special offers. The 18 month trial of Flight Club involved around 15,000 high frequency travellers.

easyJet expects thousands of passengers to qualify for Flight Club based on the criteria that match both the airline’s most frequent flyers and its most loyal customers. Full details of the ‘Flight Club’ scheme will be published closer to the launch date, the airline said.

The loyalty scheme will run alongside the easyJet Plus scheme, which launched in 2008 and allows passengers free allocated seat choice, dedicated bag drop and fast boarding, easyJet said.