Silverjet Takes Flight

Posted in Air Travel News, Business Travel by Jeff on the February 20th, 2007

After much publicity in recent months, the new business class only service from Silverjet made its debut on Thursday January 25th from Luton airport.

Silverjets first transatlantic crossing was made by a newly reconfigured 767 and although Silverjet have opted for the traditional seating configuration, it’s reported that the new seats were very comfy and reclined to an almost flat position.

Overall, Silverjet have made it their business to ensure that the travel experience is as much about the service on the ground as it is in the air. Judging by reports from the passengers on the inaugral flight, they have very much succeeded in delivering everything from a speedy, comfortable and stress free check-in to a great on-board service.

Only time will tell if this new service will claim market share from the other established operators, but with bookings reportedly increasing day on day since launch, it’ll be interesting to see how many business travellers who make their way over from the Luton airport parking sites or turn up on foot head over to the Silverjet check-in.

With Silverjets commitment to carbon neutral flights in todays environmentally aware society, it’s sure to quickly gain a loyal following of Eco friendly travellers.

Keep visitors on site

Posted in Travel, Web Travel News by Jeff on the February 19th, 2007

A recent survey by Nedstat has revealed that a third of all visitors to a travel website will leave after only looking at one page and that only one in every 200 visitors will make a booking.

The figures compiled were collected after tracking 41 million visitors to 10 travel company and travel agent websites over a 6 month period.

The study also concluded that on average, people stayed on site for 6.5 minutes per visit in which time they viewed an average of 4.5 pages. The Nedstat and Genesys survey has revealed that one of the most important factors for keeping visitors on-site is to ensure that they are directed to a relevant “landing page” rather than a generic home page. An example would be that if someone was specifically looking for “Gatwick airport parking” in Google, when they make their selection from the returned results, they’re taken directly to a web page or more specifically, a landing page that deals with “Gatwick airport parking” rather than a page that contains general information about Gatwick airport or directions and flight times.

Further details show that 55% of sites were visited directly from the URL being typed in, 20% from links on another site, a further 20% via search engines and the final 5% from adverts.

In short, if you have a great travel site with highly relevant landing pages or a great travel blog with useful information and links, you have a much better chance of gaining and cultivating new visitors.

BA Excess baggage Charge

Posted in Air Travel News, Travel by Jeff on the February 19th, 2007

With the much publicised news surrounding BA’s recently introduced ‘excess baggage’ charge, it seems that things haven’t been going as planned for BA.

It has recently been reported that BA have delayed the new charge and will use its discretion until October of this year. A spokesman for BA has stated that “This is not a back-down, it is a transition period. We realise people might not have heard about the changes.”

The new excess baggage charge that was introduced for all departures on or after the 1st February 2007 could add an additional £60.00 on a return domestic flight, £120.00 on European flights and a staggering £240.00 on long haul return flights.

Much criticism has been made over the new policy and questions asked as to how the elderly, disabled or infirm are supposed to carry the maximum allowed weight allocation in one bag.

Before travelling, make some enquiries as you may be able to find some helpful check-in tips that could save you some time, money and hassle at the BA desk.

Airport stress

Posted in Air Travel, Travel by Jeff on the February 9th, 2007

Every year, I look forward to those couple of weeks when I can get away with my partner to enjoy some quality time in some distant land. Although we both look forward to a well deserved holiday, there’s always the same little hiccup every year when things get tense between leaving home for the airport and arriving at our holiday destination.

The trip to the airport always seemed to upset the balance of Karma and I could never figure out why. Every year I would analyse the whole experience to find out why our normally tranquil relationship would, for a few brief hours, seemingly fall apart. Had I not left enough time for traffic delays? Had I not got the best deal on airport parking? Had I missed some other detail that was so important to my partner?

In the end, I just put it down to the old saying that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. After years of self analysis, I can at last relax thanks to a recent survey conducted by Leflein Associates Inc for Amadeus North America. Without boring you with the facts and figures, this survey of a thousand travellers (500 men & 500 women) basically concluded that women get more stressed than men when traveling as they tend to worry more about catching a flight or connection. Now this conclusion may very well upset a lot of women travelers who will strongly disagree, but it’s a good enough explanation for me.

Apart from telling my partner not to worry, which can make the situation worse, I can’t really change her perception of what she considers to be a potential problem or not. This survey however has made me realize that, as far as traveling to the airport car park and catching our flight is concerned, we don’t think alike. Like they say, a little knowledge is a powerful thing.

In an attempt to make this year different, I carried out a little research and found that for less than the cost of a good night out, I could bridge the normally stressful period and earn some brownie points in the process.

For this year’s Easter break, I’m extending our normal long weekend by an extra day. Travelling to the airport the day before our flight will avoid any panic over time, traffic, or other unforeseen problems. I’ve booked an overnight stay at the 3 star Luton Holiday Inn airport hotel with inclusive airport parking for the duration of our holiday for just £79. With Internet access, swimming pool and gym I thought it would be the perfect way for us to relax and get a good night’s rest before our flight. If this doesn’t re-balance the airport Karma, I don’t know what will. Rest assured, I’ll check in on my return and let you know how it worked out.

Air Tax

Posted in Air Travel, Travel by Jeff on the February 2nd, 2007

UK Air Tax, how will it help?

The new UK air tax came in to force on the 1st of February 06 after the Chancellor Gordon Brown stated that airlines should pay more for the damage that they cause to the environment. Although from an environmental point of view this sounds like good news, I can’t seem to see the logic in the way this charge has been implemented nor can I remember seeing exactly how this new found revenue for the chancellor will be spent to tackle the issue of global warming.

In my mind, wouldn’t it have been much easier to have just implemented the new tax for all bookings made on or after say the 1st of February? The policy of back dating this charge for anyone that has already booked for a flight on or after the 1st of February seems to me a bit harsh for both the airlines and passengers. Lets face it, if I went to a shop, saw something that I wanted like a new TV, paid for it upfront for collection later, then when I turned up was told that I couldn’t have it unless I paid an additional £40.00, I wouldn’t be happy. With my limited understanding of consumer law, if this situation were to happen in a shop, I would have thought that the retailer would be in breach of contract as both parties had already given and received consideration and acceptance of the terms of the deal i.e. big TV for £500.

My next question would be, how much money will the chancellor make from this new tax in the next year and how exactly would this be used to tackle the issue of global warming? I personally can’t remember seeing any specific details but if anyone can remind me of how these newly found millions will be spent it would be appreciated.

Maybe it’s just me being cynical but without any clear statement on how this new revenue will be spent, I can’t help thinking that this might be just another stealth tax that will be used to prop up MP’s ever increasing travel, entertainment and accommodation expenses or some other Meaningless project or cause.