Why flight prices are climbing in 2024!
Chalkmarks: Nottingham, England, UK, September 2022

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 1st March 2024

TRAVEL has entered a new era! Expect to hear more of this in 2024 – and this is because of cruise ships. They are floating, resort hotels which are leaving land-based hotels languishing in the shallows. Most ships come with swimming pools, a nightclub, a gym, and a casino as standard. Many hotels do not offer these “basic” facilities, and quite a lot don’t even include breakfast anymore. But ships do, and they’ll offer you meals and snacks all day long – with vegetarian and vegan options too. And still, they’re going much farther. They have West End productions, high-octane activities, sunrise yoga, cabins fitted by award-winning furniture designers, all-day buffets, menus created by Michelin-starred chefs and celebrities flown in on helicopters to perform or give talks. On Celebrity Beyond, Captain Kate McCue is the on board superstar. When she heads down to the bar to greet passengers, she’s flanked with security because she gets mobbed like Taylor Swift on her Eras tour. You’ve never seen that happen to a hotel manager. To hear more here’s our interview with cruise expert Kathy Taylor. And here’s this week’s travel headlines.

Where’s the ballroom?

Newsflash: High flight prices are also shaping up to be another big travel story of the year. They’re high because many airlines are still running fewer flights than before the pandemic. This means they’re squeezing in more passengers on to fewer flights and that is pushing up the prices. Also there are delivery delays and safety issues.

High demand: On Monday Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said its prices could soar by as much as 10 per cent on last summer – and blamed a delay of new aircraft being delivered by Boeing, which he said was up against it with concerns about safety after a door blew out of an Alaska Airlines flight in January. He said: “Fares in summer 2024 are going to be up again on summer 2023. Our average air fares in summer 2023 rose 17%. We don’t think we’ll see that kind of double-digit fare increase this year. We’re doing our budgets based on a fare increase of 5-10%, which to me feels kind of reasonable. It could be higher than that, it could be lower than that, we don’t really know. If capacity was growing, I think fares would be falling. If we could get all 57 aircraft deliveries from Boeing in advance before the end of June we would make out like bandits all summer long because we have airports at the moment beating the door down to us.” PA Media has the story.

When is the right time to book: Travel whisperer Simon Calder was on the This Morning sofa on Wednesday answering questions about why flight prices are so high. He said it’s going to be “really, really tricky”. His advice was to book six months in advance. He said there is no such thing as a last minute deal when capacity is low. His best advice on how to bag bargain was to fly to or from a less popular airport, or to take a non-direct route and change.

Speaking of Which? Guys, we can copy and paste this one from last year after consumer champs Which? named Wizz Air the worst short-haul airline for delays and bad customer service once again. Also repeating from last year, Ryanair came second in its annual survey which analysed data from 10,000 flights. Third was Iberia, fourth, Vueling and fifth British Airways. Why is it when prices go up, standards come down?

In response: The Independent reported that Wizz Air was not happy with the Which? result, saying: “We conduct customer satisfaction surveys across our network and hundreds of thousands of passengers have said they are satisfied with the service we provide. Our results show our customer satisfaction has improved year-on-year and is significantly higher than this report suggests.”

High flyers: Jet2 came out top of the survey earning five-stars for customer service, followed by Icelandair, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines and Loganair.

Sky’s the limit: British Airways reported mega profits in 2023, making £2.3 billion. Boss Luis Gallegos said they’d be investing in 178 new planes until 2028. Chalkmarks didn’t see he mentioned improving customer service. The full report is in the Guardian.

A new love island: Thought One Day on Netflix was a romantic drama? Wrong, turns out it was a travel show because fans are already flocking to La Maison in Highbury in London, where Dexter opened his cafe, and they’re planning to meet up at Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh on Swithin’s Day, 15th July. And also, travel agents are predicting they will swamp the romantic Greek island of Paros where Dexter and Emma take a holiday. You can get there from Athens on the ferry which takes a few hours. It offers white sandy beaches, and blue sky and sea – everything the Greek flag promises. Follow the film here at the Daily Express.

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!

Life on the high seas: Bionic bartenders that shake and stir 120 cocktails an hour, a skydiving windtunnel and a surfing simulator are all found aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. This sea creature was built to seduce the IT crowd. Luddites be warned. There are virtual windows in the cabins that beam live views from the horizon, a virtual 75-piece Philharmonic orchestra and moving robo-screens in the entertainment theatre. But, there is plenty of razzmatazz to satisfy those less tech-savvy including a spa, eight swimming pools and 18 restaurants. We went on board when this $1 billion cruise ship launched in Southampton.

Bank of England museum: If you like money, you’ll love the new displays at the Bank on England with everything from a Roman gold bar to debit cards and even some good ol’cash. Its museum inside the famous 330 year old Threadneedle building in the City of London has opened a new exhibition called The Future of Money! And it’s free – maybe that’s the future! It’s also available to listen to for free online. But if you want to see the new bank notes with King Charles head before they enter circulation in June you’ll have to go… or take a peek on on AFP.

Two miles away: The National Gallery which marks its 200th birthday this year welcomed 3 million visitors through its doors in 2023 – this was 14 per cent up on 2022. More in the Evening Standard.

Plastic fantastic: The Barbie film may have been snubbed at the Oscars but this summer she’s back. The Design Musuem will open what it’s billing “one of the most eagerly awaited exhibitions of 2024”. They’ll be 180 Barbie dolls on display to mark her 65th birthday. Ken might be there too!

Next stop Glasgow: There’s already a train service from London to Glasgow but in 2025 there might be another, courtesy of Lumo. FirstGroup which runs Lumo is considering taking on Avanti West Coast and LNER by extending its service from London to Edinburgh and connecting through to Glasgow. What does Lumo offer over the others? Cheap seats! It’s in the Scotsman.

This time last year: Red Sea alert: Sharm el Sheik named the hot spot where the pound still has value Post Office Travel Money revealed that summer fun in the sun cost less in Egypt …  £1 bought 36 (that’s the Egyptian pound) in 2023 (this year it’s E£39 … Millions of pounds of holiday vouchers had gone unclaimed following hundreds of cancelled flights from three years ago at the start of the pandemic … IAG, which owns BA, Aer Lingus and Iberia, had £533 million in unredeemed tickets and easyJet £110million … Norway’s budget airline Norse Atlantic Airways announced it would fly to more US cities from Gatwick than any other carrier … Tripadvisor gave us 25 reasons to go on holiday when it unveiled the world’s best beaches according to travellers … Baia do Sancho off the coast of Brazil came first followed by Eagle Beach in Aruba and Cable Beach in Western Australia … Liverpool announced a two-week cultural festival ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday 13th May … Tickets would cost £30 to £380 … The reopening of the Young V&A was set to reopen 1st July …  Previously known as the Museum of Childhood, it would reemerge after more than three years and a £13 million refurb, as a space for children under 14s – with fewer displays of old toys that date back to the 1800s.

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