Travellers yearning for a taste of the exotic this summer could find their dream holiday within reach, according to Caribbean tour operators.
Airlines keen to boost demand for flights to the region, together with hoteliers ready to lower off-peak rates, means that prices over the next few weeks could fall to remarkably low levels. Virgin and British Airways are just two of the airlines that have been running special promotions, and many of the package deals include airport transfers once you arrive at your destination.
“We’re seeing particularly good deals through all operators to the Caribbean over the next six weeks,” said Paula Whitehead, managing director at Elite Island Resorts.
“As European destinations hit peak prices during July and August, the Caribbean can be terrific value at this time, with prices significantly lower than they are in the British winter months.”
She added: “Many resorts – including St James’s Club and The Verandah in Antigua – are doing more to attract families this summer, with child-friendly menus, storytelling workshops, cookery classes and bigger children’s clubs.”
Examples of offers already available include a seven-night all-inclusive stay at the four-star Almond Beach Club & Spa in Barbados, departing from Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic, for £995; and a similar deal at the four-star Smugglers Cove in St Lucia at the end of August for £899. Both offers are available from Hayes & Jarvis.
Copyright © Press Association 2012
Aeroplanes flying to UK airports like Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick and Luton could be more environmentally friendly in the future after Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson signed a deal with a New Zealand company to develop low-carbon aviation fuel.
Branson announced that a deal had been reached with LanzaTech to create the ‘green’ fuel, in which waste gases from industrial steel production are captured, fermented and chemically converted using Swedish Biofuels technology for use as a jet fuel.
The gases would otherwise be burnt into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, making this fuel-making process much better for the environment.
The plan, according to Virgin, is to use the fuel on Virgin routes from Shanghai and Delhi to Heathrow within two or three years, as LanzaTech and other companies involved in the project develop facilities in China and India.
With the technology currently being piloted in New Zealand, a larger demonstration facility will be built in Shanghai later this year, with the expectation that a commercial operation will be in place in China by 2014.
If that is successful, operations could be set up in other parts of the world, including the UK.
US plane-making company Boeing will also be consulted in the process of enabling the low-carbon fuel to be used in commercial aeroplanes, while a “demo” flight using the new fuel is scheduled to take place in 12 to 18 months’ time.
Copyright © Press Association 2011
An airline is phasing out its novelty aeroplane-shaped salt and pepper shakers because they have been repeatedly pinched by passengers.
The Virgin Atlantic Upper Class tableware pieces are now regularly auctioned on eBay, with individual pots selling for up to £20 each.
From next month, the pots – which have been shaken and stolen for the past 12 years – will be replaced, along with the current Upper Class cutlery and dining ware.
Janune Doy, Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman, said: “Who could have guessed that salt and pepper pots designed for our aircraft would one day be found in homes all over the world and we are thankful to our Upper Class passengers for spreading the message around the globe.
She said that the theft of the condiment pots was a “back-handed tribute” to how well they had been designed by Virgin Atlantic’s in-house designers.
“We’re expecting a last-minute rush when fans realise that their supply is coming to an end,” Ms Doy said.
“Prices for ‘liberated’ examples may also increase as they do in any market when stock becomes scarce.”
More recently the salt and pepper pots had been stamped with the words “Pinched from Virgin Atlantic”.
The message was meant to deter people from putting the crockery in their cabin luggage and sneaking them on to their airport transfers – but they were still taken.
Copyright © Press Association 2011
UK airlines have been laying on extra flights to help Britons stranded in New York.
A number of flights had to be cancelled over the weekend as Hurricane Irene struck the east coast of America, leaving some passengers waiting for flights out of the New York area.
British Airways, which flies to New York from London airports including Heathrow, put on extra services from Newark in New Jersey to help its passengers get home.
The airline also offered an extra flight back to London from JF Kennedy airport in New York.
Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic laid on two extra flights from New York to London in a bid to help its stranded passengers.
Passengers at major UK airports such as Gatwick and Stansted were left facing the possibility of disruption over the weekend as operators anticipated the effects of Hurricane Irene.
A BA spokesman said: “Quite a few people have been on to us, or gone online, to rebook. We are allowing people affected by the cancellations to rebook to a later date.”
Virgin and BA were both able to resume their normal New York and Newark flight schedules by Monday.
BA normally offers seven return flights a day from London to New York, and three returns a day between London and Newark.
Virgin runs five return flights a day to both airports.
Copyright © Press Association 2011
Dita Von Teese has given the Virgin Atlantic stewardesses a run for their money during a celebration of the airline’s 10-year transatlantic anniversary in Las Vegas.
The burlesque star frolicked with owner Sir Richard Branson in front of a specially named version of the siren that adorns every Virgin Atlantic plane after taking off from London Gatwick earlier in the day.
Burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese helps Sir Richard Branson celebrate 10 years of flights from London to Las Vegas
The showgirl dazzled photographers – and Sir Richard – in a red corset, trademark fishnet stockings and a pair of sky-high heels that she refused to remove in order to emulate the bespoke livery designed to mark 10 years of the company flying from London airports to Las Vegas.
Sir Richard looked every inch the playboy airline owner, sporting a classic American blue jeans and white shirt combination and a pair of Elvis-style sunglasses as he posed for the cameras at McCarran International Airport with Von Teese, even hoisting her on to his shoulders and holding her in his arms as she lay draped in a Union Jack flag.
Tweeting before the appearance, Dita, the former wife of rock star Marilyn Manson, wrote: ‘Headed out to Las Vegas today…Sir Richard is in charge, so I’m sure it’s going to be fun. Stay tuned!’
Virgin Atlantic launched its London to Las Vegas service in June 2000 and has since flown two million passengers in search of no-holds barred decadence to the Sin City.
Copyright Press Association 2010