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August 2015

Tips for trips. The Magnificent Seven

Travel light, queue to the left and head for the Lounge
Tips for trips

Lounge loving: book yourself into an airport lounge from as little as £25pp

Travelling can be stressful according to an article in this week’s Mail. So we asked our team of 300 travel managers, who have an astonishing 4000 years of experience between them, what tips they regularly pass on to customers. Here’s what they said:

  • Select your seats as early as possible. Generally, the more you pay the better the choice. Passengers in premium classes (First and Business) can generally select their seats as soon as they book except with BA where it is dependent on having a Frequent Flyer card. Passengers in economy usually have to wait until 24 hours before departure when they can choose from the remaining seats. It is often possible to pay a fee to pre-select your seat.
  • Fly off peak. Conventional wisdom is that booking early or late night flights can avoid the crowds. Airports are less packed and there’s less traffic on the roads. Our word of caution: It’s usually the later European flights which are delayed because planes often pick up delays throughout the day. If possible, steer clear of weekends too as mid week flights are generally better value. But there are exceptions. For example, Sundays are often a good day to travel to Europe as planes are flying out half full to collect returning weekenders. Our travel managers are a good source of advice on this.
  • Travel light. Baggage charges are a nightmare. Each airline has a different policy and these change all the time. Our best advice is that wherever possible travel with hand baggage only. It avoids annoying fees and queuing to drop off and collect bags at both ends of each flight. BA has long been known for having one of the most generous policies allowing each passenger to have two bags. But from this summer they are enforcing their rules more strictly. The cabin bag size remains the same at 56x45x25cm but the extra bag is now a maximum 40x30x15cm. Again, premium passengers have more flexibility.
  • Queue to the left. Research shows that people tend to head towards queues on their right when going through security and passport control. So do the opposite and head for the one on the left. Also watch out for people being trained as that will be the slowest queue.
  • Head for the Lounge. It’s not just premium passengers that can relax and enjoy a bite to eat before their journey. For £25 we can book you into one of the lounges at the airport. If your plane is delayed a quick call to your travel manager can arrange access.
  • Fast Track. Previously only available to premium passengers some airports have begun to offer a fast track facility though security. At Manchester Airport, for example, travellers can pay £3.50 for access to a dedicated lane that is meant to get them through security quickly. We’re not sure that it’s worth the money but it all depends on how quickly you want to get to that duty free!
  • Book a transfer. When you are travelling long haul we can arrange a ‘meet and greet’ on arrival. It’s nice to have your name on a board rather than being hassled by local taxi drivers and arguing over the fare.

DialAFlight App

PLUS: Check the App. Make sure you have the DialAFlight app on your tablet or phone. Not only does it enable you to check- in online but it will also check your flight for any delays three hours before departure as long as you have Wifi or 3G.The app can be downloaded at the Apple store or Google store.

Even more magic at Orlando

Orlando's theme parks are all planning exciting new rides...

Just when you thought holiday fun couldn't get any better in and around Orlando comes news that all the big theme parks are planning exciting new rides and experiences over the coming two years.

From King Kong to Anna and Elsa from Frozen, and roller coasters to a water park wonder, the number of new attractions waiting in the wings at Disney, Universal and SeaWorld are mind boggling.

Even more magic at Orlando

Soaring high: the 400ft Orlando Eye

Already open in the heart of Orlando's International Drive is 1-Drive 360, a 200 million dollar complex and multi-purpose entertainment centre featuring the 400 foot Orlando Eye observation wheel, Madame Tussauds and SeaLife Aquarium.

Early next year at Walt Disney World the hit film Frozen will take over the Norway Pavilion at its Epcot Theme Park, with a water ride into the animated world of Arendelle and a regal setting for Queen Elsa and Princess Anna with character meet and greets for the children.

At Universal Orlando you will shortly be able to enter the Skull Kingdom: Reign of King Kong in the Islands of Adventure park where you can experience a 3-D film and thrill ride. Also being built is Universal's first themed water park called Volcano Bay, with ground-breaking new flume rides.

Get ready for roller coaster magic at SeaWorld next summer in the form of the Mako, a hypercoaster at 200ft tall and topping 70mph which will become Florida's tallest, fastest and longest ride.

In nearby Tampa, Busch Gardens will celebrate the opening of Cobra's Curse, offering another twist on the coaster theme with an 80ft vertical lift hill and cars that spin on the extended descent at up to 40mph.

Just south of Orlando Legoland,in the town of Winter Haven, continues to expand following the opening of the Legoland Hotel and at the Kennedy Space Centre there's a major exhibition featuring the US Astronaut Hall of Fame which includes a state of the art 3-D cinema which surrounds visitors with the sights and sounds of America's space programme.

So, if Orlando is on your holiday wish list, now may be a good time to get booking.

And don’t forget to read our Theme Park Survival Guide which is guaranteed to save you time and money.

Stay in the World's best new ski chalet

Stay in the World's best new ski chalet

The best new chalet in the world? We certainly think so

News comes this week that Prince Andrew's wife Fergie has moved to Verbier to live in their £13 million chalet full time.

If you want to keep up with the Windsors and holiday like royalty then take a look at the new chalet in St Anton featured by our sister company Supertravel Ski. Eden Rock has an indoor swimming pool, wellness suite and bar, sleeps up to 20 and comes complete with complimentary wifi and Apple TV.

Better still, it’s been nominated for the title of World's Best New Chalet in the annual World Ski Awards!

My Best Holiday Ever

When renting a caravan seemed glamorous to sixties supermodel Twiggy

Best Holiday
I became godmother to the cruise ship Seabourn Sojurn a few years ago. After christening it, my actor/director husband Leigh Lawson and I enjoyed a two week cruise which was amazing. Leaving from Venice we explored the Adriatic coast before visiting some of the Greek Islands and Turkey.

Favourite Hotel
Le Touessrok in Mauritius. It has several restaurants with wonderful food served by friendly and helpful staff. It's set on a promontory with white sandy beaches. I stayed in the Royal Suite, which was enormous.

Favourite City
Apart from London, New York. It's like my second home and Leigh and I try to visit at least once a year. We've explored all the main attractions, so now we go to watch shows, shop and just enjoy the buzz.

When renting a caravan seemed glamorous to sixties supermodel Twiggy How often do you travel?
I like getting away at least twice a year but it can be as much as seven times. Often it's for work but I always tag on a few days to shop, explore and relax. We went to St Petersburg in Florida recently and it's a gorgeous region.

Where did you go on holiday as a child?
We'd always spend a week in the summer at a holiday camp on the coast like Hayling Island or Bognor Regis. We usually did a Pontins break because my dad thought Butlins was too expensive. Sometimes we would rent a caravan in a park. I loved it because there would be lots of kids to play with and sleeping in a caravan seemed glamorous.

Best travel advice
Always pack less than what you think you will need. I still end up wearing only a third of what I take.

To read the full interview visit www.telegraph.co.uk

What’s Up? What’s Down?

The Great Migration, Maltese massages and booming tourism to Greece
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It's all Greek to us

Bookings to Greece have picked up and there are some exceptional deals to be had right now. The travel industry, never slow to spot an opportunity, has given it a vote of confidence by heading there in October for the annual knees up ... sorry, ABTA Convention. If you’re looking for a peaceful holiday steer clear of Costa Navarino on the Peloponnese between October 10 and 14.

Join the Mile High Rub

Not even first class air passengers can expect a personal masseuse to take the strain out of their flight. But travellers in Air Malta's economy cabins are now being offered relaxing head and shoulder rubs and hand and feet massages on flights between Gatwick and the Mediterranean island free of charge. Spa vouchers have also been handed out and the airline intends to provide this pampering service on selected flights in the future.

Time to get keener on Kenya

As the 'Great Migration' of East Africa moves north from Tanzania to Kenya, there is unprecedented value for money this year in the lodges and camps of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and its surroundings. Some hotel rates are up to 30 per cent lower than normal making it a great time to take a safari and go in search of the Big Five - lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant.

Now you can in Iran

Iran's tourism industry looks set to grow quickly following the lifting of economic sanctions, with more Westerners looking to visit and schemes in hand to develop tour companies, hotels and tourist facilities. There are plans for lots of new hotels in the capital Tehran and the locals have welcomed the chance to develop the country's ancient sites and promote its historic buildings and rugged mountains.

Slippery slope to break all records

Not content with having the world’s largest indoor ski slope Dubai has just announced it will build an even longer one at 1.2 kilometres as part of a marina development which will also include the world’s tallest residential tower at 2,333 metres!

Down Arrow

Downhill for the Ski Club

The Ski Club of Great Britain has finally bowed to pressure from French law makers and replaced its free leader service in the French Alps with paid-for guides from French ski schools. The Ski Club has provided complimentary tours of French resorts to its members since the 1960s but the service was withdrawn last season following a legal challenge by the French authorities.

Shut Up Pompeii and rodents in Rome

The famous ruins at Pompeii, near Naples, had to be shut for a couple of days recently in the latest of a spate of closures, as Italian workers went on strike over pay delays and staff shortages. The related site of Herculaneum was also closed. Meanwhile in Rome authorities are struggling to control a colony off rats that has invaded the Trevi Fountain looking for water during the summer heat.

Don’t be a turkey. Watch out for this visa scam

The Foreign Office says at least 100 British holidaymakers have been deceived by fake visas for Turkey following the launch of the country's e-visa scheme in the Spring. Since the abolition of the £10 visa on arrival, visitors must now apply in advance on line at a cost of £13 but websites charging up to £55 for fake visas have caught some travellers out. Bona fide e-visas are available only from www.evisa.gov.tr/en/.

Quirkiest hotel of the month

Sleep with the fishes inside a luxury underwater suite which comes with your own private butler...
Sleep with the fishes inside a luxury underwater suite at ! Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai

Rooms with a view...Poseidon and Neptune Suites at Atlantis, The Palm

Imagine a luxury suite filled with every conceivable indulgence including your own private butler, state of the art in-room technology, sumptuous interiors and 65,000 fish! Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai offers just that in a choice of two underwater suites: Poseidon and Neptune.

Each of the three-storey suites create the illusion of being underwater, with floor to ceiling windows looking out into the Ambassador Lagoon aquarium. Bashful guests needn’t worry though, the windows are fitted with one-way glass so you can completely relax.

With prices starting around £5,500 per night, the suites appeal to affluent honeymooners and celebrities including Danni Minogue and the Kardashians although more affordable rooms are available with some great special offers.

Mailbag Update

We love feedback as it helps us improve.
Here’s what people are saying...

Why booking online no longer works

Gone are the days when online booking and enquiries are a convenience.

Googling flight details and options just stacks up too much useless information. That along with no commonality between the airlines’ own apps wastes too much time.

Thankfully DialAFlight offer a personal service which is easy to use and quick to provide options and results.

Edward Woollands   |   Durban   |   29th July

Thanks for your humour and travel skills

We had a wonderful holiday and you took so much stress out of it by your care and professionalism.

All the flights worked perfectly although some seat numbers did change for no apparent reason but we spotted it and sorted it before we went to Heathrow. Your good humour and travel skills were much appreciated by me and the whole family.

DialAFlight should be shortened just to DLight as far as I am concerned.

Barry Oldham   |   Cagliari   |   25th July


Great personal service and expert advice

We were investigating a first big trip to Australia on Internet when DialAFlight came up.

Not long into their web page it said to telephone, so we did. Because it is ‘dial-a-flight’, not ‘web-page-a-flight’. The phone was answered in an instant and Justin, who became our travel expert, answered. He had great personal knowledge of the trip we were planning and gave us insider knowledge on best price airline, best flight times, best connections, best seats on the plane, best hotels. We chose Emirates who have been fantastic.

Everything was so easy and the whole trip went without a hiccup. Back now and full of praise for DialAFlight.

Recommended friends who have booked with the same ease. Excellent.

Marvin Wright   |   Brisbane   |   12th July

Sparkling footnote: Marvin's name was pulled out of the hat in our monthly Trust Pilot draw and a case of Prosecco is on its way to him.


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