October 2016

  • This month's hot topics

    Hunting for value. Helping Haiti’s hurricane victims and avoiding jail in Dubai

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  • Fly further and you’ll pay less - once you get there

    British holidaymakers travelling far afield are still able to find good value

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  • No such thing as a free lunch on BA flights

    Expect to fork out for food on all shorthaul flights in future

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  • 10 things we didn’t know last month

    Avoiding jail, exploding phones and checking in bags at home...

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  • My best holiday Ever

    Paul Hollywood remembers chasing lizards in Ibiza... and his runaway case in Cyprus

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  • How we are helping Haiti’s hurricane victims

    DialAFlight helps fund the purchase of the famous green shelterkits

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  • New places to stay

    Brand new hotels opening this month

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  • What people are saying

    A selection of customer comments from Trustpilot

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  • What's on offer?

    A selection of this month’s top money savers...

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This month's hot topics

Hunting for value. Helping Haiti’s hurricane victims and avoiding jail in Dubai

a relaxing holiday<
All the latest travel news at your fingertips

This week, there’s great news for long haul travellers as research shows that many destinations are now cheaper than last year despite the fall in sterling.

We bring news of how your money is indirectly helping victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and we pick up an award from the Sunday Times as one of the top 250 best performing companies in the UK for the 13th year in a row. Also, there’s a warning about using social media in the UAE.

We’re still the only travel company in the world to promise to answer the phone in 5 seconds connecting you instantly with an experienced travel manager.

So please bear with us if our famous ‘Live in Five’ pledge is more like ‘Live in Ten’ this weekend when 100 of our frontline staff will be meeting in Thailand for our annual ‘thanks for doing such a great job’ conference.

The majority of our Travel Managers and emergency team are still on hand to look after all your travel needs so it’s business as usual.

Enjoy your weekend.

Fly further and you’ll pay less - once you get there

British holidaymakers travelling far afield are still able to find good value

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Long-haul destinations still offer good value

Great news for long haul travellers. The cost of holiday essentials in lots of popular destinations is lower than it was a year ago, thanks to a fall in prices abroad.

New research from the Post Office shows that despite the post Brexit decline in sterling, British holidaymakers travelling far afield are still able to find good value and in-resort costs have fallen in 40 per cent of the destinations surveyed.

Cape Town in South Africa topped the list for great value with a basket of items - which includes a cup of coffee, a cocktail, sun cream and a three course evening meal for two with a bottle of wine - coming to just £48.89. The meal alone was only £27.40.

Another destination to benefit from a fall in prices is Tokyo, which ranked third in the survey behind Bali. Prices in the Japanese capital have fallen by eight per cent on last year, with its basket coming to £63.87. A meal for two in the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world came to £39.79.

Mombasa in Kenya and Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, completed the top five in fourth and fifth place respectively.

A spokesman said the price cuts would help lessen the impact of the weaker pound. "More than ever, it will pay dividends to do some holiday homework to find out where meals and drinks are cheapest," he said. "This can make a big difference to the overall cost of a holiday."

No such thing as a free lunch on BA flights

Expect to fork out for food on all shorthaul flights in future unless you are travelling Business Class or in First.

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BA's new in-flight meal service, courtesy of M&S

British Airways has announced that it will be joining its no-frills rivals and scrapping free food and drink from January. Customers will be offered food from a Marks and Spencer range including a ploughman’s sandwich, bacon bap or bag of Percy Pig’s sweets.

Meanwhile food nutritionist Karen Alexander is claiming that UK airlines are reluctant to reveal the nutritional information about their in-flight meals.

Posing as a member of the public she contacted the customer services departments of 10 of Europe's biggest carriers, to find out how healthy their plane meals are. She was denied the information or totally ignored.

Alexander's research was prompted by an impending deadline to comply with new legislation. By the end of the year it will be a legal requirement for food manufacturers to provide details on salt, fat and sugar levels, among other dietary content.

The creation of tasty airline food has long been a struggle as chefs must contend with how the cabin atmosphere dulls the taste buds and dries out ingredients, all of which impact on passengers' ability to sense flavour by around 30 per cent. Accordingly, airlines must play with increased salt and sugar levels and the use of spices that cooks on the ground might avoid.

She said: "The main message from this research is to be informed and if in doubt, check before you fly. Picking up pre-packed food in the terminal at least ensures that you can self-regulate your intake of some of the riskier ingredients."

Meanwhile, she has helped put together a guide to some of the healthiest options available at regular airport outlets, such as Pret, EAT and Leon.

Another food expert, Sonia Pombo said: "We are all eating too much salt and sugar and it's a scandal that airlines are still serving unhealthy food - with limited nutritional information being made available. “

A spokesman for BA said that its chefs used umami-rich ingredients such as mushrooms and tomato to flavour food and avoid increasing salt, while Emirates also said its chefs adapted their cooking techniques "to preserve the original flavours while avoiding unnecessary addition of fats, salts and sugars."

10 things we didn’t know last month

Avoiding jail, exploding phones and checking in bags at home...

1. New BA service lets you check in your bags at home - for £40

British Airways passengers will be able to check in their suitcases at home and travel to their airport without heavy baggage from later this month. The airline is launching the new service, which will cost between £20 and £40, for passengers living inside the M25 and flying from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports. It has teamed up with the London- based developers of the AirPortr app and once the service has been booked on the app, which has to be at least seven hours before departure, a team will arrive at the home address, weigh the baggage, slap a tracking bar code on and seal it in an “anti-tamper” bag before taking it to the airport. At the terminal it is removed from the bag, passed through an X-ray machine and put in the airport’s normal baggage handling system. The passenger picks up the bag as normal from the luggage carousel at the destination.

2. Exploding Samsung phones banned by cruise lines

If you want to stay in touch while you are on a cruise better ditch your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone. Major cruise lines including Carnival and Royal Caribbean have banned passengers from using the ‘exploding phones’ on board ship due to safety issues. They must be switched off, disconnected from any charging equipment and have all applications that could involuntarily activate the phone switched off. Samsung has issued a global recall of the devices.

3. You could be doing bird if you tweet in Dubai

Travellers visiting the UAE are being warned that posts on social media could lead to prosecution and even imprisonment. The advice, issued by the FCO, comes after the UAE's aviation authority reprimanded tourists who had posted images and videos of Emirates flight EK 521, which crash landed at Dubai airport in August. Last year, Australian Jodi Magi was jailed, then deported, after posting a picture of badly parked cars on Facebook. Under a vaguely worded federal decree on combating cybercrimes, posting news, pictures and comments, even if authentic, can be punishable by six months in jail.

4. Huge reef discovered behind the Great Barrier Reef

Scientists have discovered an enormous reef-like structure off the coast of Australia. Measuring around 2,300 square miles, or four times the size of London, this deep water reef was hiding in plain sight behind the famous Great Barrier Reef, researchers say. The discovery was made using cutting-edge surveying technology , which revealed vast fields of doughnut-shaped mounds measuring up to 300 metres across and 10 metres deep. Known as bioherms, the mysterious rounds are formed by a calcifying algae.

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Paris is working hard to lure tourists back to the city
5. Hotel rates slashed as Paris fights to win back lost tourists

Paris is fighting back this autumn in a determined bid to bring back its 'lost' visitors and salvage its tourism industry. And this could mean lots of great hotel and package deals in the capital, which has suffered so much because of the recent terrorist attacks. It is estimated that these have cost the city £650 million in lost revenue. Lots of hotels have slashed rates in an effort to lure tourists back, with some offering discounts of up to 59 per cent and savings of hundreds of pounds.

6. Chance to sniff out a new attraction

A perfume museum is to open in, where else, Paris, in December. Le Grand Musee du Parfum will trace the history of fragrances from their origins - masking the smell of human sacrifices in ancient Egypt - right through to the world of baffling ads featuring women climbing silk ropes in deserted chateaux. The four-storey attraction is in a renovated mansion on the chic Rue du Faubourg Sainte-Honore, in the 8th arrondissement. Go and have a nose round if you are in the area!

7. Hotels fail to keep a clean sheet

Some hotels in New York are not changing the sheets after guests check out, it would appear. Reporters from an American TV show used a washable paint that shows up only in ultraviolet light to spray the message "I slept here" onto sheets in nine hotels, checked out then checked back into the same rooms. In three of them, the La Quinta Inn and Suites, near Central Park, InterContinental's Candlewood Suites and the Marriott Residence Inn, Times Square, the message remained on the linen.

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Germany's new resort of Prora Solitaire
8. Germans have ways of making a resort

One of the biggest relics left behind by the Nazis is set to become a luxury tourist destination. Prora, on Germany's Baltic coast, was designed to house 20,000 tourists as part of Adolf Hitler's Strength Through Joy programme to keep the German nation healthy. However, construction begun in 1936 halted in 1943 due to the war and the eight concrete monoliths were left to go to ruin on Rugen's sandy beaches. Now, developers are aiming to make the resort a success. The first development opened this summer called Prora Solitaire and came complete with a cream-coloured facade, glass fronted balconies and a spa. More than 95 per cent of the holiday apartments are sold.

9. Child free zones get thumbs up from fliers

Travellers overwhelming support the idea of child free zones on aircraft according to a poll by the Telegraph. Almost 90% backed the idea of introducing areas in which children under 12 were not allowed to sit following news that Indian airline IndiGo would ban children from several rows to protect business travellers from disruption.

10. Melbourne gets a rival as most liveable city

Melbourne has recently been crowned the 'world's most liveable city' for the sixth year in a row. But the accolade has been challenged by New York based design publication Metropolis, which names Copenhagen as the best city. Denmark's capital came out on top in the survey which judges the cities on housing, transportation, sustainability and culture. Berlin ranked second in the study and Helsinki third. Melbourne could only manage eighth while no British city featured in the top ten.

My best holiday Ever

Bake Off 'desserter' Paul Hollywood remembers chasing lizards in Ibiza . . . and his runaway case in Cyprus

Paul Hollywood
Paul Hollywood loves the stone crabs at Joe's in Miami
How often do you travel?

Constantly. Filming Paul Hollywood - City Bakes I was in Miami, New York, Paris, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Munich, Naples, Madrid and Warsaw to taste and make their specialities. At the last count I've been to 47 cities in the past year.

Your first memory of travelling abroad.

When I was little we visited various campsites around Conway, north Wales. My first major holiday abroad was to Ibiza with my parents when I was five. I vividly remember the plane touching down and that the hotel had great swings with lots of lizards darting about that I was determined to catch.

What do you need for a perfect holiday?

Anywhere remote or quiet, whether it's in the countryside, up the west coast of Scotland, or smaller boutique hotels that aren't crowded. Ironically, when I was in Dubai with the BBC Good Food Show, even though it's an urban area, where you see the vast panorama from the top of the Burj Khalifa, it felt remote, as if it had just sprung up out of the desert.

The best place you've visited?

St Petersburg. I was filming there just after Christmas and it was the most beautiful city I've ever been to. The winter and summer palaces make Buckingham Palace look like a two up, two down.

The worst food you've eaten on your travels?

The sheer amount of cabbage and vinegar I had while filming in Warsaw was just too much - even the rye bread was loaded.

Favourite city for food?

Can I have more than one? I love Rome for their calzones and New York for the variety of quality eateries, but I absolutely fell in love with Miami for the stone crabs at Joe's, just off Ocean Drive. The steaks out there are colossal - it's like having a cow on your plate.

Worst travel experience?

This was equal parts awful and comical. I was staying in Cyprus at a hotel I won't embarrass. The porter came to collect the bags from our room at the end of our stay and he loaded my big one on a trolly, which was on a slope outside, and the slope led to the pool. As he nipped inside to get another bag, the trolley took off at speed and crashed into the water. I raced after it and jumped into the pool to get my soaking wet bag out. Imagine the sight at the airport - my bag was like a sieve with water pouring out of it. Everything was ruined.

Read the original interview on Telegraph Online

How we are helping Haiti’s hurricane victims

DialAFlight helps fund the purchase of the famous green shelterkits

The Azamara Quest
Victims of hurricane Matthew receive much needed aid

We’ve been supporting Shelterbox for several years, donating more than £250,000 to fund the purchase of their famous green boxes for use in disasters around the globe in addition to arranging flights for their rapid response teams which are often among the first rescuers on site.

Within hours of Hurricane Matthew wreaking havoc in Haiti an advance rescue party left their base in Cornwall and it was the job of our travel management team to get them into Port au Prince as quickly as possible.

While the capital is relatively unscathed, almost 80% of the buildings in the southern peninsula are damaged or destroyed and more than 800 people have died.

The famous green box has everything for survival for families who have lost everything. Specially designed tents that are cool in summer and hot in winter, cooking equipment, water purifying kits, cooking utensils, tools and 53 other items. They even include drawing materials for the children

Shelterbox has 77 ShelterBoxes and 370 tents already in the country. There are also another 1,300 shelterkits on the way from Panama, and 323 boxes that will be making their way from Curacao on two Dutch Naval vessels.

More information about Shelterbox.

This month's new hotels

Brand new hotels opening this month

Paul Hollywood
Six Senses Zil Pasyon - Seychelles
Six Senses Zil Pasyon - Seychelles

The newest resort by Six Senses, the Zil Pasyon is delightfully placed on a private island in the Seychelles, making for an idyllic retreat away from the stresses of modern life. Featuring spectacular granite rocks and white sand beaches, this location is the perfect accompaniment to the renowned Six Senses flair and hospitality. Boasting a sophisticated spa offering an exceptional sensory experience and a superb choice of bars and restaurants providing a true taste of locally sourced produce.

Paul Hollywood
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge - New York
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge - New York

Set in the perfect spot of the Big Apple, with expansive views of the East River and Manhattan’s glorious skyline, the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge welcomes guests to the enviable Brooklyn waterfront. Primed to explore this enchanting city you could be at the foot of some of the world’s most iconic buildings or gliding down by the riverfront on a rewarding bicycle tour within minutes. The hotel also features one of the finest spots in the city – The Rooftop. A great vantage point to see the city from, you can relax in a plunge pool with a cocktail, or cosy up to a fire with a glass of wine, all with the best view of the city.

Paul Hollywood
Soneva Jani - Maldives
Soneva Jani - Maldives

Opening this month, the Soneva Jani invites guests to embrace island life with a stay in a fabulous overwater villa in a lagoon. Surrounded by crystal clear waters and silky soft sands, the resort can be reached by a scenic 40 minute seaplane flight from Male International Airport and offers guests a range of experience opportunities. From guided atoll diving, to the overwater Cinema Paradiso and an awe-inspiring observatory the Soneva Jani is somewhere where you can really unwind in blissful surrounds.

What people are saying

A selection of customer comments from Trustpilot

I’ve been wasting my time? Now I’m using the team

For years we have been making our own travel arrangements to fly to/from the USA numerous times a year. And I'm now asking myself why?

Having recently travelled with a large family group and had ALL the travel plans dealt with by Tom and his team at DialAFlight I will be sure to take a back seat for future trips and let them make all the arrangements. It sure made it a holiday for me and knowing that I'd get an update with reminders/changes was particularly helpful for my peace of mind!

Thanks for a great service DialAFlight. I will be in touch very soon.

Jacquie Collins gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot

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

Forget trawling the internet. Carla’s the girl for us.

We have travelled widely and are used to trawling the internet for the best deals, however on this occasion we decided to use DialAFlight.

We were most impressed. Carla not only found us a cheaper flight but phoned us a few weeks later to let us know that she had now found a direct flight. We changed our dates and asked for our hotel stay to be extended and Carla arranged all of that and found hotels near the airports all included in our overall package at no extra cost, we were amazed.

Their communications with us were superb keeping us up to date with any changes and then just before we flew out they made sure we had all our paperwork in place. We will certainly be using them in future

Bryan Spence gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot
No more DIY now I have found DAF.

I've been a 'DIY' flight booker ever since the internet was available but my mum suggested I use DiaAFlight for my recent long haul flight to Australia.

They found me a great deal that I would never have got online and Robert was very helpful. I'd definitely use them again for future bookings.

Victoria Cullip gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot
Rico’s planning went like clockwork

My husband and I have just returned from a trip to New York. We used DialAFlight to organise everything as we had used them before to go to Dubai and were very happy then.

I gave Rico an idea of the kind of accommodation and the area where we wanted to stay and it was stunning and within our budget. He organised everything from our parking and overnight stay in Heathrow before our early am flight and everything went like clockwork.

I would definitely recommend using DialAFlight and will come back when I plan another trip.

Jacqui Taylor gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot

Read more reviews at https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.dialaflight.com

What's on offer?

Our top 6 money savers you can't afford to miss

California, Canyons and Vegas – Save 10% on a self-drive tour

Puerto Vallarta

Find out why the West is best with this imaginative 9 day Western Visions tour of America. From the pulsating cities of Los Angeles and Las Vegas to the natural beauty of Bryce and Zion National Parks and the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, you will see the very best of the West, beginning and ending in LA. We include 8 nights accommodation, car hire and flights with American Airlines all from £845pp. Valid for deps 1 Nov- 23 Dec.

A luxury desert escape in Dubai- 1 night FREE

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Enjoy the romance and mysticism of the desert in 5 star style with an escape to Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa. This Luxury Collection Resort combines Bedouin culture with 5 star hospitality in unparalleled comfort. Indulge yourself with 3 nights for the price of 2 in a Bedouin Suite which comes complete with a private swimming pool, luxurious bathroom and sumptuous interiors. Also included are flights with Virgin Atlantic and luxury car transfers from £1245pp. Valid for deps 22 May- 20 Jul 2017.

Save 40% at Waves Hotel & Spa, Barbados

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Set on a cliff-top, above the sandy beach of Prospect Bay, Waves Beach Resort is an all-inclusive wellness hotel on the West Coast of Barbados that's the perfect place to get away from it all. Enjoy a wide range of activities as part of the all-inclusive programme, including watersports, fitness classes and golf. You can also work out in the well-equipped fitness centre, or relax in the two pools. Save 40% on a 7 night stay including flights with British Airways from £1299 when you travel in June 2017.

South Africa: Save 10% on a Garden Route & Safari Self-drive

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No trip to South Africa is complete without taking a trip along the famous and beautiful Garden Route. And on this 12 day self drive tour you will see the best of it. Wildlife-spotting, deserted sandy beaches, sheltered lagoons, bush land and a safari for good measure. Save 10% with our offer which includes 11 nights accommodation, full board on safari as well as car hire and flights all from £1429pp. Valid for travel Nov- Dec 2016.

Save £2000 per family at Paradisus La Esmeralda, Mexico

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Treat the family to a luxury all inclusive break at the sensational Paradisus La Esmeralda and enjoy the benefits of a Paradisus Junior Suite Swim Up room which include a personal concierge service and more. Feel the soft white sand between your toes and enjoy ultimate relaxation with plenty of activities to keep the kids happy. Our offer includes a saving of £2000 per family as well as transfers and flights with British Airways from £945pp. Valid for deps 1 May- 30 Jun 2017. Price based on a family of 4.

New Zealand’s Best- Save £450pp on an escorted tour

Puerto Vallarta

Discover the very best of New Zealand on this 18 day escorted tour which takes in the highlights of the North and South islands. Sample delicious local food and wine and marvel in the awe-inspiring scenery, as you tour past glistening lakes, towering mountains and even gorgeous glaciers. Save £450pp with our offer including some meals, transfers and flights with Singapore Airlines. 17 nights from £3999pp. Plus book by 31st of October for savings on a huge choice of other AAT Kings New Zealand tours.