News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: July 2009

  1. Ryanair announce plans to phase out check-in desks by next year

    Ryanair has unveiled plans to stop passengers checking in baggage next year in its bid to reduce airport handling costs. Under the plan, passengers would drop all but one bag at the aircraft steps, possibly paying £5 per bag for each placed in the hold.

    The move comes as part of a package of new check-in measure, which could eventually force other airlines to follow its lead for short-haul flights.

    In October it will become the first carrier to abolish conventional check-in facilities at airports across its European network, forcing all passengers to check in online before leaving home. It will still allow baggage to be checked in for the hold but will charge for the "service".

    Source: Airline Travel News - full story

  2. ACTE + PCMA - both bodies to remain autonomous

    On the 25th June 2009 The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) announced it had formed a "progressive and innovative" strategic alliance with the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) in the USA.

    It said the aim was to "leverage the strengths of both organisations to benefit their respective memberships while expanding their global brands and enhancing services."

    The link up comes after ACTE refused to merge with the National Business Travel Association (NBTA), a move which led in part to three ACTE board room resignations.

    ACTE's new president Richard Crum said the organisation has a reputation for change and innovation in its 22 year history.

    He added: "This Alliance allows both organisations to maintain their individual character and membership integrity, while giving each organisation the flexibility to respond to more complex industry issues in a more powerful fashion."

    Source: ABTN - full article by Stanley Slaughter

  3. Green's the way to go!

    A few years ago the green transport agenda was all about companies looking for credibility with customers. Now, however, with the tumultuous credit crunch year the UK has suffered, the question of costs has come to the forefront.

    In the UK the car is by far the most popular method of travel for business, accounting for 80% of all usage - compared to 8% on foot, 4% by train, 2% by bus and 1% by bicycle - according to the Department for Transport (DfT). And work-related car journeys account for nearly 40% of car CO2 emissions.

    Five or 10 years ago companies that operated alternative transport policies were those that purely wanted to be seen as green. But now, with the economic crisis, it's all about making quick bottom line savings - and changing how employees travel is a very good way of doing that.

    The easiest alternative to the car is rail, which often gets a bad press and sometimes has a reputation for being unreliable and expensive.

    But improvements on the network, especially the West Coast main line linking London with Manchester, have improved journey times, reliability and comfort - and the rail industry is accountable for less than 1% of the UK's CO2 emissions.

    According to studies carried out by the University of the West of England, one-third of business travellers spend most of their time during journeys working and studying, while a quarter read for leisure and one-in-10 people just watch and gaze.

    Source: Fleet news - full report.

  4. expands its portfolio of stunning properties

    Exclusive Use, the web based specialist in 'corporate takeovers' of historic hotels, castles and homes for important meetings and events, has been busy expanding its range of properties into towns to complement its country properties. Fourteen Hotel du Vin locations have recently been added in towns and cities up and down the country.

    Jackie Dockreay, commercial director of Exclusive Use says, 'taking over a whole property for an important meeting or event can be surprisingly cost effective and you can be ensured of both privacy and a real wow factor that is hard to achieve in any other way. Clients are pleasantly surprised by the real value that such bookings deliver'.

    The company also handles private bookings for weddings, house parties and birthday celebrations and is developing a range of exclusive hideaway properties for 'getaway from it all' breaks.

    For more information click here

  5. Flybe revives Yorkshire air link to capital

    An air link between Leeds/Bradford and London has been reinstated after Bmi withdrew flights to Heathrow.

    On Tuesday 30th June Flybe started flights to Gatwick using Bombardier Q400 aircraft with fares starting ar £24.99 one way including taxes and charges.

    Leeds/Bradford airport commercial director Tony Hallwood said: "We are naturally delighted that Flybe has stepped in with this new service.

    "As part of our 'Get Business Moving' campaign - which aims to assist companies in the region who commute regularly to London with a cost effective and speedy access to the Capital - we are offering Flybe passengers free Fast Track though airport security during July and August to make the commute even easier."

    Source: Travelmole - full story by Phil Davies

  6. Autumn Business Travel Forum Shaping up

    Management Solutions (UK) Limited and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives have announced the theme and sessions for their next London Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum to be held at the London Hesperia Victoria Hotel on the 15th October.

    The theme for our Autumn Forum will be "Buying Value for Money Travel Services" and will feature sessions on
    • "Finding Value in a Commoditised Market"

    • "Paying for Value in a Commoditised Market", i.e. Remuneration = Evolution or Revolution "Choosing the Right Value & Who How and What does Value mean"

    • the final session again being a Buyers Speakeasy titled "Buyer Value - doing something different"
    If you are a buyer and would like to make sure that you get a chance to attend our Autumn event Register Now to guarantee your space and avoid disappointment. And early registrants will benefit from the early bird lower rate!

    The full list of exciting speakers will be posted on our web pages as we finalise all the details.

    Buying Business Travel is our forum media partner so look out for their report in this month's edition (out now) of their publication click here to see part of their coverage of our May event.

  7. It pays to read the small print before booking online

    British Airways is taking the fight for customers to the no-frills carriers by launching a 'value calculator' on It will allow customers to check the true cost of Ryanair and easyJet's added charges versus the value of BA's full service.

    In a press release it points out that on a round trip customers can be paying up to £375.00 on Ryanair and £79.00 on easyJet for 'extras' in addition to their fare.

    The system enables customers to select how they are choosing to travel, be that checking in at the airport or online, selecting a seat 24 hours before they fly, taking a bag, or opting for food and drink on board. It will then calculate what Ryanair, easyJet and BA will charge in total for those options. View the BA value calculator here.

    Source: AERBT - full story.

  8. St Pancras is passengers' favourite

    A nationwide survey of 26,000 rail passengers has found 81% are satisfied with their experience of trains and stations.

    It is the first time the National Passenger Survey has asked travellers about stations, finding St Pancras is their favourite, followed by Manchester Piccadilly.

    Independent watchdog Passenger Focus, which published the survey, highlighted four train operators for their improved passenger satisfaction scores: c2c First Great Western, TransPennine Express and London Overground.

    Top performers were Heathrow Express, MerseyRail, Chiltern Railways and Heathrow Connect, along with c2c, said Passenger Focus.

    The lowest ratings for overall satisfaction were given to London Overground, National Express East Anglia, First Capital Connect, Southeastern and London Midland.

    The watchdog added that punctuality and reliability continue to cause concerns for some passengers, especially following the problems on the West Coast Mainline.

    Punctuality and reliability has fallen by six points to 79% on Virgin Trains and eight points to 70% on London Midland.

    Source: e-Tid - full story.

  9. Bmi provides eat to sleep

    Bmi's premium passengers travelling on night flights to Moscow and Tel Aviv can now take advantage of pre-flight dining at the carrier's new Number One Heathrow lounge.

    The new service is available after 8.30pm to passengers taking night-time flights to Tel Aviv or Moscow, or those connecting at London Heathrow. Dining options include soup "served fresh from Bmi's bespoke Aga", macaroni cheese, salads, hot salt beef bagels with rye and pickles, and Mark Hix ice cream.

    Pre-flight dining on night services gives passengers the option to sleep undisturbed by the meal service during their flight, and was a concept pioneered by BA on its "red-eye" flights from New York to London several years ago.

    Source: Business Traveller online - full report by Mark Caswell

  10. Secretary & PA now later this year

    In light of the current economic climate the Times Crème Executive Secretary and PA Exhibition organisers made the decision to postpone this year's show until later in the year.

    The annual exhibition, aimed at top level PAs and office support staff, was originally planned for May 12-14 at Earl's Court Olympia but will now take place at the same venue on 17-19 November.

    The organisers hope to reach out to a greater number of both guests and exhibitors by delaying the show to ensure an event that is as informative and useful as possible to the visitors.

    Source: Executive PA Magazine online - full story

  11. City inn Leeds

    Hotel group City Inn is to open a 333-room property in Leeds next month, its sixth UK hotel.

    The 13-storey new-build property overlooks the River Aire and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, and forms part of the city's redeveloped canal side area at Granary Wharf, which also comprises two residential blocks adjacent to the hotel.

    Room features include floor to ceiling windows, Apple iMacs in every room, free wifi, and an air-conditioning system which City Inn says pumps 30 per cent more fresh air than standard systems.

    Source: Business Traveller Online - full story by Mark Caswell

  12. Marriott and Starwood to use TelePresence

    Marriott International and Starwood Hotels have announced plans to install "life-like" TelePresence suites in hotels around the world within the year.

    The Cisco-designed teleconferencing suites will be installed in Marriott hotels in 25 cities including New York, Hong Kong, Frankfurt and London.

    Starwood, in its announcement, said it would feature the technology in ten hotels to begin with, including Sheraton hotels in New York, Sydney and Toronto.

    With teleconferencing increasingly seen as an environmentally sound alternative to travel, the move by Marriott and Starwood could result in less travel and therefore lower demand for rooms

    Source: ABTN - full story by Andrew Gough

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