Newsletter - January 2008

  1. Striking start to the New Year

    Having managed to survive to festive season travellers face a dose of dificulties as we welcome 2008.

    Cabin crew at Virgin Atlantic have voted for two 48-hour strikes in the New Year forcing the airline to cancel 12 flights from Heathrow.

    The walk-outs are planned for January 9 and 16 in a dispute over pay.

    BAA were able to head off strikes called for seven airports across the UK.

    Unions were planning two 24-hour strikes starting on January 7 and January 14, and a further 48-hour strike starting on January 17.

    Results of the secret strike ballots by employees of Spanish-owned BAA at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen were announced at a news conference in London. Source: Travelmole; full story from Phil Davies; Airline Travel News; more

  2. Air France First

    Air France has become one of the first airlines to introduce mobile phone services on international flights. The development will also allow passengers to use their laptops to send e-mails.

    Using the Mobile OnAir system, passengers travelling on board one of the Airbus A318 aircraft operating European routes can now:
    • Send and receive SMS and MMS messages
    • Send and receive emails via all phones with Internet access
    During the second half of the trial, passengers will be able to make and receive phone calls, with the service being regulated to maintain passenger comfort and well-being.

    Customers on board this Airbus A318, with seating for 123 passengers, can find out more about this service in an information leaflet in seat pockets.

    Source: Airline Travel News; link full story

  3. Grand Central Sunderland to London

    Competition arrived on the East Coast mainline on the 18th December in the form of Grand Central, which started the first direct rail services between Sunderland and Kings Cross in more than 20 years.

    The first train left Sunderland at 0646 and is scheduled to reach London Kings Cross at 1032. The return will leave London at 1650, arriving back in Sunderland at 2035.

    This daily schedule will continue on Mondays to Saturdays until late January when the firm's entire rolling stock is expected to enter fully into service, enabling it to run three trains per day in each direction.

    Grand Central's services will also call at Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe (for Teesside), Northallerton, Thirsk and York.

    Source: Business Travel World; full story

  4. Low cost plans growth for Manchester

    Manchester Airport will get a boost next year with the launch of four new routes by Ryanair and a commitment by easyJet to grow operations there after its acquisition of GB Airways.

    Ryanair says it will start services to Barcelona (Girona), Bremen, Marseille and Milan from the airport in April.

    The announcement came a day after easyJet said it planned to continue to operate GB Airways' Manchester routes under its own name after its planned acquisition of the long-time BA franchise partner, which is subject to regulatory approval. The airline said it would create a new base in Manchester.

    Source: Times Online; full article by Mark Frary.

  5. Hand Bags back to two! - but only for some!

    As of today passengers will be able to carry two pieces of hand baggage through security when departing or transferring from London Heathrow, London City, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Manchester airports.

    The British Airways hand baggage allowance is as follows:
    • One bag no bigger than 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (22 inches x 17.5 inches x 9.85 inches) (including wheels, pockets and handles)
    • In addition, one briefcase or laptop sized bag

    The maximum bag weight is 23kg and passengers must be able to lift the bag into the overhead lockers in the aircraft cabin unaided.

    The restrictions on carrying liquids have not changed so make sure that any liquid containers you plan to carry do not exceed 100ml and that they are in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag.

    Gatwick, Luton and Leeds Bradford airports have yet to meet required standards put in place by the Department for Transport, meaning that as things stand the one-piece restrictions will remain at these airports.

    Source: Airline Travel News; full story

  6. ACTE & MS-UK Spring Forum Plans

    Following requests from our readers we are pleased to announce that have been able to move the date of our next Forum to Tuesday 13th May in 2008 so please make a note of this date in your Diary for next year.

    We are delighted to announce that the Agenda has now been chosen from the suggestions put forward by the participants of our last forum and this now reads as follows:-
    1. Domestic Rail - What is Fact and what is fiction - Can costs really be reduced by over 30%?
    2. Self Booking Tools - are they the Holy Grail and how can they be best used in a well managed travel programme.
    3. How should you book that accommodation, via the TMC - the HBA or an Apartment specialist?
    4. Corporate Credit / Charge Cards why are they not universally adopted and can the objections be overcome

    "There are so many of these types of events that you can attend, so I am very careful and selective about the subject matter to ensure I get the most out of being out of the office. The day you organised was truly excellent in it's format, structure and content"

    This is a transcript from a letter we received following our day in October. Photographs (very poor ones sadly) taken on the day can be found by clicking on this link, and selecting "Autumn Forum."

    If you want to make sure of your place for this event that has sold out for the past two years please register now by emailing your interest to - we are endeavouring to keep the price below £100.00. More news will soon be available on

  7. Qatar Airways launches number 11

    Qatar Airways has inaugurated daily scheduled flights to the western Indian city of Ahmedabad rounding off yet another year of remarkable expansion for the award-winning airline.

    Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Gujarat state, becomes the airline's eighth Indian destination and 11th new route of 2007. With a population of more than five million people, the former state capital is ranked sixth largest in India.

    Flight QR 282 from Doha arrived at Ahmedabad's Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport from Doha in the early hours of the 14th December morning with a delegation of senior airline officials and international media onboard.

    Source: Airline Travel News; full story

  8. First Business Class Failure as Maxjet goes

    Maxjet customers had an unwelcome present on Christmas Eve, when it was announced that the all-business class airline had gone bust.

    Maxjet says that it has contracted with rival Eos Airlines to fly passengers awaiting return flights on the London-New York route, and would contact those travelling from London to LA or Las Vegas regarding alternative arrangements.

    Customers choosing to purchase alternative flights themselves should seek a refund from their credit card provider or travel agency.

    For more information visit Source: BusinessTraveller Online; full story

  9. Manchester Airport to Glasgow - by train

    First TransPennine Express (TPE) is expanding its network to provide 14 daily services between Scotland and Manchester Airport.

    As part of the changes to the cross country rail franchise four trains a day will run from Edinburgh to Manchester and three from Glasgow Central, opening up opportunities with direct links into the airport, which has its own station.

    This will provide local people and businesses with quick and convenient access to the network of 225 worldwide destinations that can be reached via Manchester Airport.

    Source: Air & BusinessTravel Network; full story

  10. Vienna boasts another new Novotel

    Accor has opened the 124-room Novotel Wien City in Austria's capital Vienna.

    The hotel is located just outside the city's Innere Stadt (city centre), on Aspernbruckengasse to the north of the river Danube. The property has a 19th-century façade in typical Ringstrasse style, but with a modern glass building perched on top, providing floors four to seven of the hotel.

    Rooms feature the next-generation Novotel concept complete with wifi internet access.

    The 5 Senses restaurant has been designed by Belgian interior designer Patrick Dumont, and features regional and international dishes, all of which can be ordered as appetisers, starters or main courses.

    The Novotel Wien City is the second hotel under the brand to be located in Vienna, with the Novotel Wien West situated in the western suburbs of the city. For more information visit, or

    Source: Business Traveller Online; full report by Mark Caswell.

  11. Hertz still #1

    Hertz has updated its website with a raft of new features and refined its telephone reservations process.

    Customers can now cancel and change prepaid bookings at and a new "My Reservation" link allows them to quit the site midway through the booking process and return to it later.

    More car options are available with larger images of the vehicles, and there is more information regarding which optional extras - such as sat nav systems and in-car DVD players - are offered at each location.

    A currency converter has been added, pricing made clearer, and a new search function helps customers find specific information.

    Registration for Hertz #1 Club Gold - which gives frequent users a more personalized booking service and discounts up to 15% - can be done online without the need to print, sign and fax forms back.

    The telephone reservations centre now gives UK callers contact details and opening hours of any of its branches via an automated system, which also lets customers cancel or verify a rental.

    Source: Air & BusinessTravel Network; full story

  12. Sivilised Silver Service

    All-business carrier Silverjet takes delivery of two new Boeing 767 aircraft in March with a range of more then 9,600 kilometres.

    When the purchase of the aircraft was announced at the beginning of December, the carrier listed LA as one of the cities, along with Delhi, Johannesburg, Mauritius and Shanghai, that it could serve with such a plane.

    Los Angeles was one of four destinations served by Silverjet's rival Maxjet from London Stansted. Maxjet, which filed for bankruptcy on Christmas Eve, was carrying around a thousand passengers in each direction on the route each month, according to the latest statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority

    Silverjet currently operates double daily flights to New York Newark and daily flights to Dubai from London Luton airport and recently announced their Very Sivilised Sale has now started, with return fares from £879 from London Luton to New York and Dubai booked before 31 January 2008.

    Sale fares are fully changeable and travellers don't require to stay a Saturday night (unless they want to). Click here for further details.

    Source: Business Travel World & Travelmole; full details

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