News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: August 2011

  1. More seats from Virgin Trains for Chester and North Wales

    The delivery of a new Pendolino train, which will be used on the Birmingham - Scotland route has allowed an additional diesel Super Voyager train to be transferred to the Chester-London route.

    From this week, through until early September, on Mondays to Fridays, the 09:10 and 19:10 services from London to Chester, and the 15:35 from Chester to London will all be formed of ten carriages providing an extra 256 seats on each train.

    Also, until early September an additional five coaches, providing 256 extra seats per train, will be provided on Monday to Fridays on the 09:10 London Euston to Holyhead and 1358 Holyhead to London Euston services.

    An additional service will link Holyhead with Chester on Saturdays, departing Holyhead at 11:55. More seats will also be provided on the 1809 Chester-Holyhead service on Saturdays. On Mondays to Fridays more seats will also be available on the 11:09 Chester-Holyhead and 13:58 Holyhead to Chester services.

    Virgin Trains announced that The number of journeys on Virgin Trains has more than doubled in six years - from 14 million to over 28 million. The additional Pendolino train has allowed us to reallocate other trains and provide Chester and North Wales with much needed additional capacity during the busy summer months.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - click here for the full story

  2. Etihad Gets Sporty

    Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad has just acquired the rights to rename the City of Manchester Stadium as Etihad Stadium, which will come into effect immediately. The sports ground will be a part of the Etihad Campus, which was formerly the Sportcity site in East Manchester and City Square entertainment space. Additional projects are in the works for inclusion at a later date. To celebrate the rechristening, the airline (which will sponsor Manchester City FC for another 10 years) has unveiled a Manchester City aircraft painted in the Club's powder-blue shade.

    Airline interest in English Premier League sponsorships appears to be taking off, as Emirates renamed the north London Arsenal's home the Emirates Stadium two years before lining up to be the first carrier to be an official partner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

    Meanwhile, Etihad will continue to celebrate the news when it introduces twice-daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Manchester on August 1, 2011.

    Source: Premium traveller - this and other stories

  3. Apps threat to travel managers

    Travel managers could see their travel policy destroyed if they do not get control of their travellers' use of Mobile Phone Apps.

    The warning came from IT expert Stefan Wagner, ceo of the Frankfurt-based company mvolution.

    He was speaking in a session on "Getting to grips with the mobile" at the Business Travel Market in London. This advised travel managers to adopt a mobile strategy to deal with the rise in the use of Smartphones and travel apps by travellers which some believe could undermine compliance to travel policy.

    Wagner said travel managers had four options in creating a mobile strategy.

    The first, creating a company's own mobile app, would give a travel manager control of all content and processes but was very expensive, costing up to $50,000.

    The second was using a customisable standard solution where recommended apps could be built in. There were "plenty" in the market, Wagner said and it was less expensive that option one. But the price would rise the more apps were installed. This was the recommended option.

    Thirdly, travel managers could develop a set of apps suitable for their travellers. There were already list of "suitable" apps for business travellers available which were not expensive to adopt.

    The fourth option Wagner said was to do nothing which in the long run could work out to be more expensive than the first choice.

    Tony D'Astolfo, Rearden Commerce's senior vp for travel services, said companies which had adopted mobile strategies reported that the number of calls to their TMCs had fallen, in one case by 40%, so saving the company money.

    Source: ABTN - full report by Stanley Slaughter

  4. Ryanair announces Manchester expansion

    Low cost carrier Ryanair is planning to base four aircraft at Manchester Airport next summer, in an investment worth $280 million.

    From summer 2012 Ryanair will operate 26 routes from the northern England airport.

    The airline currently operates six routes from Manchester, but from this winter it will expand to 17 routes, with two aircraft based at the airport.

    For business travellers, the launch of flights to Barcelona, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Brussels, Madrid and Rome may be of most interest - all will start from October.

    According to Ryanair, its new Manchester base will mean 2 million additional passengers each year will pass through the airport, and 2,000 jobs will be created.

    Manchester will be Ryanair's 45th European base, where the airline will be competing with Easyjet and Jet2 on many routes.

    Source: ABTN - full story by Sara Turner

  5. Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum

    96 people attended our Forum on the 12th May "A truly excellent day" was how one delegate described it.

    If you would like to catch a glimpse of the proceedings and see what you missed you might like to view the videos taken at the event.

    We also had a number of articles published on line including this one

    Our sponsors including BCD Travel, Lufthansa,, NH Hesperia Hotel and AirPlus are all working hard with our planning committee for our next event so make a note in your diary now to make sure you attend our Autumn MS-UK / ACTE Global Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum on the 3rd November 2011 - NOTE the new date!

    What makes our event different - No Powerpoint, No sales pitches - just freewheeling discussion that involves everyone plus loads of Networking including the opportunity to avoid the rush hour afterwards at the AirPlus Reception.

    Keep an eye on our Forum webpage to view the efforts of our planning committee and online booking details

  6. Lufthansa to equip all long-haul aircraft with wifi by year-end

    Lufthansa announced it will complete the roll out of onboard wifi across its intercontinental network by the end of this year.

    Currently, 17 of Lufthansa's long-haul aircraft are wired with the high-speed FlyNet service with download speeds reaching 5Mbps, ensuring downloads, uploads and streaming videos, surfing the web or Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VOIP) Skype calls all function smoothly.

    The service will be available throughout all classes and will run on any wifi-enabled device including tablets and smartphones.

    Prices for the FlyNet service start from €10.95 (US$15.8) for one hour of internet access. Lufthansa's Miles and More members can also use their miles to purchase HotSpot passes.

    Lufthansa is the first airline to carry out the ambitious plan to offer onboard internet access across its long-haul intercontinental network, but it is not the only one to offer the service.

    Source: Business Traveller - full report by Alisha Haridasani

  7. Panopolis for the metropolis - London City Airport welcomes new eatery

    London City Airport welcomed the launch of Panopolis recently, as the food and beverage brand opened its doors with two outlets, in the main check-in concourse and in the departure lounge.

    Offering even more choice to passengers passing through the capital's time saving airport, both coffee shops focus on using premium breads and offer a varied selection of fresh sandwiches with a choice of fillings, salads and sweet treats, as well as hot drinks and alcohol.

    The two outlets operated by SSP UK, the leading dedicated operator of food and beverage brands in travel locations worldwide, are the first Panopolis outlets to trade in a UK airport. SSP UK also opened the Illy Espressamente Café at London City Airport earlier this month. This brings the number of food and beverage outlets at the airport to seven.

    These new openings complement the food and beverage offering already present at the airport, which includes well-known brands such as Pret A Manger and Caffe Nero.

    Source: London City Airport news - full story

  8. Passengers 'pay too much' on confusing websites

    WATCHDOG Passenger Focus has warned that many passengers are risking being deluded into thinking they have bought the cheapest tickets for their journeys when booking online.

    PF said its research, which involved 34 interviews, found many examples of good practice, but also misplaced confidence from some passengers who may be paying too much.

    The watchdog has recommended that the rail industry does more to help passengers make the right choice for them, in particular taking action to prevent people buying more expensive tickets than necessary and combatting the complex fares structure, the confusing terminology and its use of jargon.

    Of the websites included in the survey, First Great Western, Virgin and East Coast gained the greatest confidence from users, while National Rail Enquiries and the gave its users 'medium' confidence. Other third-party websites, such as Raileasy, MyTrainTicket and Quno did less well.

    Source: Railnews - complete article

  9. Cityjet to launch Twitter concierge service

    Air France subsidiary Cityjet is to launch a Twitter concierge service, with its feed acting as a customer service platform, as well as offering passengers the chance to book hotels, restaurants and taxis directly through the virtual service.

    The new service, which will initially trial for two hours per day (Monday to Friday from 1400-1600) from August 1, will "endeavour to help all Cityjet passengers with their travel related queries", with the aim of turning around requests within 15 minutes.

    Customers can use the Twitter concierge for requests including reserving hotel rooms and restaurant tables, but note that Cityjet will not carry out any requests which require a financial commitment upfront, such as ordering flowers or booking theatre tickets.

    The service will be available via the carrier's twitter page at, and information will also be carried at

    Source: Business Traveller - full report by Mark Caswell

  10. Electric Car Hire

    Will you one day emerge bleary eyed from the terminal to a car park full of fully electric rental vehicles? Car looks at the short term viability of the electric car programs being rolled out by the major car rental companies worldwide and starts by examining Sixt, and their new electric cars available in London.

    Electric Car Hire UK is a reality now with Sixt pushing the 30 KW Citroen C1 Ev'ie in their Fulham and Chelsea branch in the heart of London. The cars have a lithium battery in the place where the conventional fuel tank would sit and even harness some of the friction when breaking to increase the charge range.

    No congestion charge: I said they were good for city driving and the first big pro is not having to pay the daily charge for congestion in London. The car will already be registered as a fully electric car with the DVLA (government) so when the congestion cameras get you there is no bill waiting back at the rental counter.

    Free charge points: They are being rolled out slowly but show 54 charge points in the London area with some incurring a fee but many being public points for your use. You can get up to 4 hours of charge from these points.

    Free Parking: Now this is isn't without cost as you have to register with many councils in London for around £75 per year to get free parking for electric vehicles. Sixt doesn't mention it so I would presume it isn't available on their rental fleet but still a pro for electric cars in London.

  11. Ferry companies welcome new tunnel

    Driving from London to Portsmouth (and vice - versa) should be a more enjoyable experience from now on thanks to the opening of a new tunnel on the A3.

    The tunnel at Hindhead will remove one of the worst bottlenecks on the drive between London and Portsmouth.

    According to Brittany Ferries, which operates from Portsmouth, it will now be possible to make the 68-mile journey from Wandsworth in Southwest London to Portsmouth International Port all the way on dual carriageway and in just over an hour.

    Source: Travelmole - full story

  12. United launches iPhone and iPad app

    United Airlines has launched a free app that allows United and Continental customers to check in online and access mobile boarding passes.

    The app, available to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users, also allows travellers to make reservations, get live flight updates and manage their Mileage Plus and One Pass frequent flyer accounts.

    In addition, it features interactive airport maps and access to United's Twitter feed. Some 101 airports worldwide are participating in United's mobile boarding offering.

    The app can be downloaded free of charge on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or by logging on to United has plans to bring the app to the Android platform as well as other smartphone devices. Airline partner Continental already has an app for iPhone, iPad and Android users allowing mobile boarding.

    Learn more about mobile travel apps by reading our "101 travel apps" feature in the March 2011 edition of Business Traveller.

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full story by Rebecca Lloyd

  13. PS Complaints?

    If you need to complain or are in need of a smile then follow this link to what is now regarded as the world's best complaint letter

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