No more camel rides! easyJet bans animal attractions from its holiday tours
Chalkmarks: Amsterdam, Netherlands, February 2023

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 15th March 2024

THE price of a one-night stay in a five-star London hotel costs around £1,000. For the same money, you could book a cruise. You’ll get a seven-day sailing – food, entertainment and swimming pools included – and you’ll wake up in a different city every few days. It’s cheaper for those struggling in the cost living crisis. Have hotels been busted? The last one we stayed at didn’t even offer breakfast in the price! Before we get ranting, here’s this week’s travel headlines. Be our guest!

Cabin or hold?

Animal friendly travel: easyJet has banned all animal attractions from its tours – including camel rides, performing sealions, trips to marine parks, zoos, animal performances, animal rides and any sporting events involving animals. Matt Callaghan, from easyJet holidays said: “We’re committed to being an industry leader when it comes to responsible travel. Our own research tells us that sustainable travel experiences are important to our customers, so we want to make it easy for them to holiday better.” The Independent has more.

Hot right now: Booking holidays when it’s wet and wintry. Travel-related spending has surged says Virgin Money –  up 26 per cent on winter 2022/23. Plus, total holiday spending jumped by 82 per cent in January, compared with December 2023 – and it’s remained high in February as people booked new year deals – especially package holidays. The Independent also reported on this one.

More rainy days: We’re all penny pinching at the moment but Nationwide Building Society confirmed the trend above. If you haven’t yet booked a trip, you’re saving for one. Its research found more than a third (35 per cent) of savers are putting money aside for a holiday.

Over to the airports: In a few moments a plane will be landing on time at Gatwick. Or will it? Watchdog, the Civil Aviation Authority, found 64 per cent of flights departed or landed within 15minutes of the expected time in 2023. Gatwick had the worst punctuality with 63 per cent of its flights taking off or arriving on time. Edinburgh came second and, Heathrow third.

One giant leap for Heathrow: The (not in) London airport has seen its highest passenger numbers, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Around 5.8 million people travelled through its terminals in February more than the 5.5 million in February 2019. The Evening Standard has the news.

On the run(way): Eco mob Just Stop Oil is planning to disrupt flights this summer to prevent planes taking off. The Mail on Sunday has the scoop. The activists are planning to sit in terminals and even glue themselves to the runway. JSO co-founder Indigo Rumbelow said during a meeting: “We’re going to be saying to the Government: ‘If you’re not going to stop the oil, we’re going to be doing it for you.’ Hope to see you in the summer on the runway.”

Sorry for the inconvenience: Remember when National Air Traffic Service sparked out during the August Bank Holiday? A report out on Thursday found the chaos went on for so long because air traffic controllers were working from home – and took 90 minutes to press the reset button. A spokesperson for Nats: “We will study the panel’s interim report and look forward to their recommendations when they publish their final report.” The Guardian has the story. The “technical issue” affected 700,000 passengers with flights grounded for hours. Here Chalkmarks reported on the disruption as it unfolded. 

Is that Concorde: It’s back… but on a barge! The supersonic jet that once flew London to New York in 3hrs30 hours (currently it takes 6hr30) is back but on display on Pier 86, in Manhattan, after a seven-month restoration. The aircraft that once reached a top speed of Mach 2.04 – that’s more than 1,500mph – has turned into a museum and will reopen to the public on Thursday 4th April. Reuters has the pix of it being pulled along the Hudson.

On the slopes: One in eight ski resorts around the world could be snow free by 2100 due to climate change. A study from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, found that if carbon emission are high, average annual snow cover would fall – with the Australian Alps, the Southern Alps and the Rocky Mountains getting the least. The MailOnline has an interactive map. 

Have you seen our pictures: Our fantastic travel photos, which capture some of our favourite destinations around the world, are now available for sale on Alamy. Woohoo!

Face the music: The Glastonbury line-up is out and has surprised everyone. On Friday 28th June, Brit and Grammy award winner Dua Lipa will play the Pyramid Stage followed by pop band Coldplay and hip-hop star SZA. Country pop superstar Shania Twain will play the Legends slot on the Sunday. Also expect Little Simz, Avril Lavigne, Jessie Ware, Janelle Monae, Cyndi Lauper, PJ Harvey and Camila Cabello. Sky broke it to us. 

New connections: Watch out for direct train services coming next year running between London, the Midlands, Shropshire, and North Wales by Alstom. It’ll be named Wrexham, Shropshire, and Midlands Railway (WSMR), with trains running five times daily. But why is the question being asked on X. A rail enthusiast responded: “No one in Wrexham wants to go to London and no one in London knows where Wrexham is”. The BBC has more.

Air fryer: The oil used in the English breakfasts served up at The Perfectionists’ Cafe at Heathrow’s Terminal 2 will get recycled into biofuels for planes. Tasty. It’s all part of a campaign to raise awareness of sustainable aviation fuel (saf), after a survey showed 14 per cent of us had never heard of it. The Fly Up costs £15.95 and the best part is the toast shaped as a plane. PA Media has the story.

Going green: This is when Dublin gets lit up emerald green for St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Iconic buildings in the city including Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College and Government buildings gleam on the skyline. Going Green even happens across the world with famous landmarks such as the London Eye, Niagara Falls, the Great Wall of China and the Colosseum in Rome joining in the fun. Back in Dublin, at about midday half-a-million people begin to hear the far-off sound of drums, and soon the parade follows. The first marchers are soldiers then comes a burst of music as if the city had been plugged into an electrical current. There are street sellers with their paraphernalia from t-shirts and scarfs to specs and “kiss me, I’m Irish” ties. You can even buy a bright green hat – the one with the beard – to look like a Leprechaun. For more than an hour 3,000 artists, musicians, acrobats, dancers, poets and performers dressed as characters from fairy stories, mythical tribes and pirates float by. In the afternoon the celebrations move into the city’s 700 pubs decorated with balloons, and the tricolour that flutters in the wind. Here’s what happened when we took our place on O’Connell Street. And this is a very fast recap!

Who was St Patrick: The earliest records of the name suggest St Patrick arrived in Ireland from England or Wales sometime in the 5th century. He converted the pagan Celts to Christianity and the rest nobody really knows. The legend also goes that he used the Shamrock as a religious symbol and banished all the snakes into the sea where they drowned. That must be true, because when we were there, we didn’t see any slithering around – but that could just be because there was drizzle blowing in our eyes.

This time last year: City slickers: The three top destinations from Britain’s busiest airport Britons were back to their globetrotting ways … Heathrow Airport revealed the most popular destinations were Dubai, New York and Madrid … The Oscar for the best tourist attraction on the planet went to the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest … And, the worst to the Hollywood Walk of Fame according to luggage storage firm Stasher which crunched reviews from Tripadvisor, Google and Booking.com … Avanti West Coast announced a Superfare scheme means you book a train ticket, and choose if you want to travel morning, afternoon or evening … Gatwick stood apart from Heathrow by announcing it was back in profit after the pandemic … The largest visitor numbers for the UK’s top attractions were in London … Taking the top spot for the second year running was The Natural History Museum with 4.6million visitors … The British Museum took second place with 4million visitors, and the Tate Modern came third with 3.9million.

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Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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