Virgin Atlantic – New Economy Fares:
Virgin Atlantic have announced a new three tier economy fare on their flights from spring 2018. The light fare is the new option, launched as a cheap fare for millennials who travel without luggage in the hold.
Economy Delight passengers will enjoy a seat with 34 inch legroom, priority check in and boarding as well as advanced seat assignment.
Economy Classic will now offer free seat assignment – providing extra reassurance for families and groups that they can sit together.
Economy Light ticket will always offer Virgin Atlantic’s lowest fare – making long haul travel affordable and accessible for millennials, and customers jetting off on city breaks.
All three levels will receive the same onboard service, including a meal, inflight entertainment and wifi.
Going forward, Premium Economy will be known as Premium Class and finally there’s Upper Class, so Virgin Atlantic now have a 5 tier system for their fares.
Thomas Cook – Summer 2019 & Direct Debit Scheme:
Thomas Cook were the first of the major UK tour operators to have launched their Summer 2019 holiday packages on the 1st March 2018, which is 3 weeks earlier than last year.
They also launched a £0 deposit scheme at the same time, which as an agent we were initially disappointed with, as it’s aimed at direct customers only. Then when we looked at the details, it’s not such a good deal after all! If you cancel after making the booking, you are still financially liable for the standard deposit. On the more expensive holidays, you will have paid more than the standard deposit within 2 payments. As the last instalment is the month before your holiday, so you would need to budget to have spending money saved up too. With careful planning you can stretch out your holiday costs with credit cards, and saving plans, and you’d be in charge of your funds instead of Thomas Cook!
For those who think it’s a good idea, our Thomas Cook deposits start from £50pp and we already offer a flexible payment scheme for our clients who wish to spread the cost of their holidays. You can set up direct debits with us, or make ad hoc payments with your cards at any time.
Thomas Cook Airlines will base an extra Airbus A321 at Gatwick Airport from May 2018 to October 2018 , which increases their fleet to nine aircraft at LGW. This equates to 140,000 more seats and two additional daily flights this summer, increasing the Gatwick programme by 12%. The additional flight destinations include Turkey, Tunisia, Canaries and Balearics.
A Thomas Cook flight from Manchester to Gran Canaria operated an all female crew for International Woman’s Day. The Captain, First Officer and seven crew for the flight were all female, as well as engineers and ground staff from Manchester Airport and NATS air traffic controllers who cleared the A321 aircraft with 212 customers on board for take-off.
Ryanair – Union Agreements:
The low cost airline Ryanair is continuing their progress to come to some arrangement for pilots and cabin crew unions with EU countries.
Ryanair has just signed a recognition agreement with ANPAC, the Italian Airline Pilots Association.
This follows the UK recognition agreement confirmed with BALPA earlier this year in January, after their board of directors agreed a decision to recognise pilot unions.
Adverse Weather – Travel Disruption:
The Beast from the East and Storm Emma caused travel chaos recently. If you are planning a holiday at a time of year where flights can be affected by the weather, it’s definitely worth considering adding an option to protect you financially for travel disruption.
Airlines are obliged to offer you a full refund of your fare or a rerouted flight at the earliest opportunity, if your flight is cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. They are not responsible for any financial losses from the knock on effect of your onward journey, hotel accommodation, car hire etc. You are not entitled to the standard flight delay compensation because adverse weather is an extraordinary circumstance beyond the airline’s control.
Severe weather delays are not normally covered on standard travel insurance policies so check your small print. Some companies now offer an extension to add this on to your existing policy