Basic Economy on Select Flights between Europe and North America

Starting in April, American Airlines with its Atlantic Joint Business partners British Airways, Iberia and Finnair will introduce Basic Economy on select transatlantic flights between Europe and North America, giving customers more fare options. This new addition will be referred to as “Basic” by AA, BA and IB and “Light” on Finnair. The Basic and Light fares will not include free checked baggage or choice of seat selection, though customers will enjoy the same great on-board service, including complimentary in-flight meals and entertainment.

 

Moxy Hotel brand to enter more than 40 new cities by 2020

Moxy Hotels, Marriott International’s playful, experiential hotel brand for the next generation of travellers, debuted in Europe in 2014, grew rapidly and is now expanding globally.  The brand is advancing its strong presence with plans to expand into more than 40 new destinations in both fast-growing and established markets in Europe in the next three years. With more than 50 signed hotels in Moxy’s pipeline expected to open in Europe between now and year end 2020, the bold brand is sustaining sharp growth in countries such as Germany and the UK, as well as making its entry into key European destinations including France, Portugal and The Netherlands.

Moxy accelerated its European footprint in 2017, and expects to continue to grow its robust pipeline for the continent over the next three years:

Germany – The German market already boasts nine Moxy hotels and is set to more than double its portfolio with another sixteen properties due to open by the end of 2019 in key cities such as Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg and Düsseldorf.

UK – Following the recent openings of both Moxy London Excel and Moxy London Stratford, the UK expects to see the launch of a further five Moxy hotels by the end of 2018 alone. The brand expects to have all four corners of the country covered, with properties in vibrant destinations that fit the brand’s irreverent spirit, such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, York, and Southampton – set to offer bold and experiential stays for fun-hunting travellers.

Scandinavia – The recent opening of Moxy Oslo X marks the brand’s entry into Scandinavia and paves the way for future development in what is a dynamic and growing market for European travel. Further properties in the pipeline include Denmark (Copenhagen) and Norway (Stavanger).

Market Entries – In addition to continued growth in existing markets, the Moxy brand will also make its debut in numerous new markets over the next three years, including The Netherlands (Amsterdam, The Hague), France (Paris, Lille, Biot), Portugal (Lisbon), Poland (Warsaw, Poznan, Katowice and Szczecin), Georgia (Tbilisi), Switzerland (Bern and Lausanne) Ireland (Dublin), and Greece (Patra).

 

Fly More, Collect More with British Airways

When you fly to the UK and Europe with British Airways this spring, you could collect up to 16,000 bonus Avios, which can be used towards a reward flight back to either London, or a choice of exciting European destinations. The more you fly, the higher the bonus Avios award. You will still collect your base, cabin and Tier Avios. All new qualifying bookings, including one-way and return flights, will count towards your qualifying flights and you have until 30 June 2018 to register, book and fly.

Four or more one-way flights qualify for 4,000 Bonus Avios, while 8 or more one-way flights are worth 16,000 Bonus Avios.Travellers are advised to register now and ensure you enter your Executive Club number in all of your eligible bookings before 30 June 2018. To find out more, visit: ba.com/executive-club/offers/bonus-avios  and enter the code SHAA18or speak to your Giles Travel team.

 

Virgin Atlantic launch second daily service between London and Johannesburg

We have announced a second daily service between London Heathrow and Johannesburg OR TAMBO airport. The new flights will go on sale on 24 March 2018 and will be operated by Boeing 787-9 offering our latest cabin interiors and inflight entertainment, as well as WiFi on every flight.

Our new service will begin flying in winter 2018 with the first flight departing on 28 October 2018. With two flights per day to South Africa’s biggest city, we look forward to carrying over 300,000 customers annually – helping to support tourism and trade between the two nations


British trains missed stops 160 times a day

Trains across the UK missed scheduled stops on average 160 times a day, according to data obtained by the BBC. The Network Rail data given to the BBC through a Freedom of Information request shows more than 52,500 services out of a scheduled 6 million had one or more “failure to stop” events in the financial year to February 2018.

At about 50 missed stops per day, Govia Thameslink (GTR) – which runs Southern, Great Northern and Thameslink – was the worst offender. It accounted for 16,000 of the total.

A GTR spokesman told the BBC that skipping stops is a measure it takes to avoid prolonged disruption. “We operate the country’s most congested rail network and with a train departing every 27 seconds on average, even a minor delay to one train can cause a widespread and long-lasting knock-on effect to many other services and passengers across many routes.”

GTR is embroiled in an ongoing dispute with the RMT union over the role of guards on trains, causing the franchise to suffer major disruption during strike action. The data shows South Western, Southeastern, TfL Rail and Arriva Trains Wales join GTR to make up the five operators with the highest rates of failure to stop. The best performing franchises include Heathrow Express, Chiltern and Virgin Trains East Coast. Failure to stop rates have risen dramatically since the 2014-15 financial year, with 10,000 more reported in 2017-18.

However, figures from the Office of Road and Rail show Network Rail is responsible for six in ten delays, owing to infrastructure works, signalling problems or fatalities on the line. Network Rail announced in February that its next five-year plan would focus on improving the country’s rail infrastructure to make the network “more reliable”.

 

Doing whatever it takes to get you the best fares

Here at Giles Travel we’re always thinking outside the box in order to deliver the best possible service and keenest prices. And sometimes, that means thinking outside our usual procedures, if that’s what it takes to get a better deal for you.

Most recently, with the changes in how British Airways present some of their products and airfares, that means our travel consultants may actually book BA ticket requests via a direct connection or through our own Atlas online booking tool, rather than using a traditional GDS process. This is in order to get you the best available and most competitive fare.  As a result of this change in process, the travel documentation you receive from us may not be the usual e-ticket attached to Tripcase, but appear more like a low cost carrier, where you’ll just have the flight details to allow for online check-in.

If you have any questions regarding this process change for some BA products, please don’t hesitate to contact your Client Relationship Manager.

 

Airline passengers can be compensated for ‘wildcat’ strikes

The European Court of Justice has ruled that airlines must offer passengers compensation for delays and cancellations caused by ‘wildcat’ strikes. The ruling by the highest court in the EU means passengers can claim for compensation under regulation 261/2004 if airline staff suddenly strike by calling out sick en masse. The verdict is in relation to the German case of Helga Krusemann and Others v TUIfly GmbH. The claimants took the case to court after TUIfly staff placed themselves on sick leave for a week in October 2016 following a restructuring announcement from the company.

Previously, cancellations and delays as a result of such strikes were not specifically mentioned in the regulation, but judges found such circumstances should not be considered ‘extraordinary circumstances’. Flight delay compensation law firm Bott and Co said the ruling opens the floodgates for tens of millions of pounds’ worth of compensation to be paid out in future.

Coby Benson, solicitor at Bott and Co, commented: “Airlines have argued for a long time that staff strikes are an extraordinary circumstance. This judgement from the European Court is the latest in a long line of cases that confirms airlines are often obliged to provide monetary compensation of up to £350 to passengers who find their travel plans severely disrupted at the last minute.

A spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: “The UK Civil Aviation Authority notes the ruling by the European Court of Justice and welcomes the clarity it provides to consumers who are impacted by wildcat strikes. “Although wildcat strikes are illegal in the United Kingdom, British passengers travelling abroad may have experienced disruption as a result of such action. This ruling means that any passenger who has been impacted by wildcat strike action can pursue a claim for compensation under EU261. This also means that any passenger who feels that a previous claim was refused on the basis of the disruption being as a result of wildcat strike action could now go back to their airline and request their claim is reviewed.”

 

Avis returns to Japan

Avis Car Rental has announced its return to the Japanese market with the opening of a flagship location at Chitose International airport on Hokkaido Island. The company says this is the first of several openings planned in Japan this year, with other locations set to open at Fukuoka International, Narita International and Kagoshima International airports this summer. Idex Auto Japan, a dealer of new and used vehicles and a car rental operator based in the market, has been appointed a license to operate the Avis brand. The company is also a licensee partner for Budget, an Avis sister company.

Mark Servodidio, president, international at Avis Budget Group, said: “Relaunching our iconic premium brand into a market as large as Japan exemplifies our continued commitment to driving sustained profitable growth. And with Japan hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympics in 2020, the timing is perfect. Together with Idex Auto Japan, we look forward to bringing our world-class mobility products and services to business and leisure customers across Japan.”

Toshimichi Takada, president of Idex Auto Japan, added: “In recent years, the Japanese government took action to relax regulations in an effort to attract tourism, and its efforts have been well received. Japan has had a steady increase in the number of inbound tourists since, and East Asia is set to host some of the world’s largest sporting events. We’re exciting to build on this momentum and operate the Avis brand in Japan at such a critical time.”

 

BA to increase transatlantic frequency

British Airways has announced it will increase frequency on its flights from Heathrow to Santiago, Chile and Washington DC this winter. From 28 October, the airline will add one flight per week to its Santiago route, bringing the total number of flights to five a week. The service currently operates on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with the extra flight launching on Sundays.

Meanwhile, BA will add three flights a week to its current two-a-day schedule to the US capital from 29 October. The extra services will operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

All flights will be operated by BA’s B787-9 Dreamliner. BA says it will operate up to 67 daily flights across the Atlantic in partnership with American Airlines starting this summer.

 

Eurostar launches hotel collection

High-speed rail service Eurostar has started offering passengers access to a range of hotels with special rates when booked with train tickets. Eurostar says it has curated the collection to provide travellers with a selection of high-quality, city centre hotels across all price points. The properties are grouped in different themes, from design-led boutiques to gastronomic hotspots.

Properties featured in the collection so far include Hotel Square Louvois in Paris, the Pulitzer in Amsterdam, the Augustin in Brussels and Dukes Palace Hotel in Bruges, among others. Roberto Abbondio, MD of new digital business at Eurostar, said: “We’ve created the new platform to engage with our passengers on more than just their journey, bringing our destinations to life with a range of accommodation and experiences that can be selected to suit their individual needs, to create the ideal trip.”

 

Four Seasons unveil 19202-inspired luxury residences at Ten Trinity Square, London

Coming almost exactly one year since Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts first announced Ten Trinity Square as their second London site, the Canadian based company has now launched a range of ten new luxury residences at the address. Located between the third and seventh floors of Ten Trinity Square, a converted grade II listed building, the exclusive accommodations feature open-plan living areas, dining rooms, fully equipped kitchens and up to four-bedrooms, plus a bird’s eye view of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

The interiors of each apartment has been styled to recapture the elegance and poise of the ‘Roaring 20s’ – an era known as much for its slavish devotion to aesthetics as it is laidback approach to life, encapsulated in the works of PG Wodehouse and Evelyn Waugh. Some of the UK capital’s top designers, including Martin Kemp Design (no, not that Martin Kemp), LINLEY, Richmond International and Fox Linton, have created artworks for the property.

General manager Vincent Hoogewijs said:  “We’re excited to be launching these new accommodations and expanding on our existing offering at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square. The Residences will be a great addition to the hotel, offering a new level of comfort and privacy for our guests on a short or longer-term basis. We look forward to welcoming our first guests and introducing them to our local neighbourhood.”

The spacious residences will offer the comfort and convenience of a hotel, with additional benefits such as the privacy of a dedicated entrance. Guests will enjoy full access to the hotels’ services and facilities including three dining options – Michelin-starred La Dame de Pic London, Asian restaurant Mei Ume and the Rotunda Bar and Lounge, plus in-room dining.

Also onsite is a spa with fitness centre and indoor pool, a Gielly Green Hair Salon, plus meetings and event spaces which can accommodate up to 200 delegates.

 

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