DialAFlight saves hundreds of holidays in BA's mega meltdown

BA's disastrous weekend stranded hundreds of our customers and our travel teams worked round the clock rebooking their flights, amending hotels and changing transfers. So yet another tick for speedy DialAFlight service.

Our staff also helped people like Paul and Tracey West who had booked directly with the airline:

'We were due to fly to Bermuda for the Americas Cup from Gatwick. Without warning all flights were cancelled by BA.

'So sitting on Gatwick's floor we made a call to DialAFlight. Sadie answered and could not have been better. She got us on a flight from Heathrow via Boston to Bermuda straight away.

'Whilst we were running and driving between airports she confirmed our flights, checked us in, sorted an overnight hotel and all return travel as well (BA automatically cancel your return if your outgoing is cancelled).

'Sadie, phoned us several times while en route to help make sure all things were dealt with. She even asked that we phone her when we got on the plane to confirm we had made it on time.

'Looking at the costs later I was still happy as we could have so easily been charged through the roof. Thank you so much Sadie.'

Why it could pay to fly rather than drive this summer

Read about rising fuel costs and disruption

Squashed passenger sues his airline

Crouching, kneeling, bracing or standing

Scam as Airbnb tourists arrive at our London HQ

Groups of foreign tourists started arriving this week

TV's Alan Titchmarsh is down to earth when it comes to holidays...

My best holiday ever

Brand new hotels opening this month

This month's new hotels

A selection of customer comments from Trustpilot

What people are saying

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

What's on offer?

10 things we didn't know last month

Travel facts and gossip

Why it could pay to fly rather than drive this summer

Happy family ready for a holiday

It's pretty obvious that DialAFlight would advise British holidaymakers to fly rather than drive when planning a holiday to anywhere in Europe.

But those who prefer to take their cars and caravans across the Channel rather than hopping on a plane will certainly feel the pinch at the petrol pumps this summer as prices have risen steeply across the Continent.

Most European countries have seen double-digit rises compared to this time last year, with Greece registering a 40 per cent increase in the cost of a litre of unleaded. In France, the most popular country for Briton's touring by car, the price of unleaded is up 14 per cent, or 15p per litre.

The value of the pound combined with a surge in the cost of crude oil has seen a hike in prices by as much as 42p per litre.

Andrew Brown, of Post Office money, said: "The fuel price increase means UK holidaymakers driving in Europe will be well advised to plan their routes in advance to cut costs. Those taking their cars can expect to pay between 13 and 21 per cent extra for unleaded and even more than that for diesel in most countries this year."

Motorists will also be wary of rising costs and disruption after the petrol strikes that hit France last year, as well as the substantial queues in the Kent port of Dover because of heightened border controls. In July and throughout August the Government issues "red" and "black" - very difficult and extremely difficult - warnings for congestion. Dover, however, is confident that there will not be a repeat this summer.

Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the AA, said drivers in France should use the government's fuel price-tracking website (prix-carburants.gouv.fr) to plan where to fill up.

Squashed passenger sues his airline

An American Airlines passenger is squashed between two overweight fellow travellers

A man in Australia is suing American Airlines after he was seated next to two obese people for a 14 hour flight - an ordeal he claims caused permanent back and neck injuries.

Michael Taylor, 67, said the airline refused to let him move seats leaving him 'crouching, kneeling, bracing or standing' for much of the flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.

He said the uncomfortable position during the flight exacerbated his scoliosis and caused lower and upper back injuries as well as bruising to his neck.

'The airline could have put me in a crew seats or moved people around but they did nothing,' he said.

Mr Taylor was in the window seat but claimed the two large passengers encroached on his space. His lawyer said the case could lead to a push for airlines to make their economy seats more comfortable.

Scam as Airbnb tourists arrive at our London HQ

Disappointed tourists are forced to find the nearest hotel

Regular readers know how often we have warned of online scams but even we were surprised when groups of foreign tourists started arriving at our HQ in Bermondsey this week clutching fake Airbnb vouchers.

We believe that a fraudster placed pictures of a luxury apartment on Airbnb and then persuaded naive holidaymakers to transfer money to them directly rather than through the online booking site. The fraudster seems to have issued fake Airbnb confirmations directing them to our address.

Perhaps the crooks thought that using the address of a well known travel company would give their scam more credibility. All we could do was point the groups of disappointed Chinese and Canadian tourists in the direction of the nearest hotel.

We have contacted Airbnb for a comment but the site, which shuns bad publicity, would only confirm that 'the case was now closed.'

How fake rental sites are ruining family holidays - Insight January 2017

My best holiday ever

TV's Alan Titchmarsh is down to earth when it comes to holidays... but loves the Caribbean
sun in winter

How often do you like to travel?
Given the nature of my work, over the years I've covered the UK from top to bottom doing programmes like Gardeners World and Songs of Praise. We sometimes go down to a friend in the South of France, near Cannes, and the countryside is beautiful.

Your earliest memory of going on holiday?
I used to go to Blackpool with my parents. We always stayed at Bispham, a village about a mile and a half from the town centre. My mother considered it the select end of town, although it wasn't as posh as Lytham St Annes. I loved the donkey rides, fishing for crabs and the little boating pond. I always remember getting sand in my egg sandwiches.

Most adventurous travel experience?
Ten years ago I went to Burma - it was on the first cruise ship that had been allowed in for years. Six years ago I went to a rainforest in Costa Rica and did whitewater rafting and explored the jungle in Guatemala. I'm just thankful I stayed afloat.

Your most relaxing destination?
My wife and I always have a winter holiday that I call the 'fly and flop'. In January and February you don't want culture, you just want to get your bones warm and eat, drink and sleep. We usually go to the Caribbean.

Favourite city?
Venice, Paris and Rome. I'm always willing to go back to Venice at the drop of a hat because I love exploring the historical buildings and art collections. I love Paris for its wide boulevards and cafes and Rome for the ancient history.

Favourite hotel?
The Danieli in Venice. It has a wonderful roof terrace that looks right out across the Grand Canal.

Best health tip while travelling?
Don't overdo the booze, especially while flying - just because it's there doesn't mean that you need to drink it. Everything in moderation.

Where next?
New Zealand - it's at the top of my bucket list. And New England in the Fall when all the leaves are changing.

For the full interview see Telegraph travel online

This month's new hotels

Nobu Hotel

Nobu Hotel - Ibiza

Offering a unique experience of island life in Ibiza, the Nobu Hotel provides a stylish refuge from the sun and sand, ideally positioned on the shores of Talamanca Bay. Step into the beach life with two seafront pools, signature journeys and the promenade right outside your door with the sound of lapping waves providing the only background noise in your well-appointed room.

OBLU Select at Sangeli

OBLU Select at Sangeli - Maldives

Situated in the North-Eastern tip of Male' Atoll, Maldives is the island of Sangeli, home to the brand new upcoming resort - OBLU Select at Sangeli. Offering the complete beach holiday experience beside the majestic Indian Ocean, the resort brings a touch of class with a variety of 'contemporary designed' stand-alone villas and suites. Add to that a fine selection of restaurants, amenities and services and you have a truly enviable holiday destination.

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills - California

Perfectly located in the heart of Beverly Hills, the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills exemplifies the very best of Californian life. Featuring 170 guest rooms and suites with oversized balconies, this urban oasis boasts stunning views of one of the world's most glamorous cities from the meeting of the Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. Designed inside and out by the legendary Pierre-Yves Rochon, you'll find a fine blend of world-class service, lavish accommodation and pure style here.

What people are saying

A selection of customer comments from Trustpilot

No more online websites for me. It's DialAFlight in future

In a time of crisis (BA had a major IT failure and all flights were cancelled) I contacted the team and instantly they found me a great deal for a flight that left the following morning. The paperwork was sent speedily and we were all booked within just 20 minutes.

I always use online services such as Skyscanner, but I will now use DialAFlight for my next flight. Thanks so much, you saved our holiday

Katherine Bradley gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot.

It's just like Ocado. DialAFlight do everything but make the tea

Using DialAFlight is like ordering your groceries on Ocado, having them delivered at the most convenient time AND THEN for the delivery driver to open your cupboards and pack the groceries away neatly for you before making you a cup of tea and smiling cheerfully on the way out as he closes the door softly behind him!

Alan, my travel manager, took time to understand the context of my trip and then sourced the most convenient flight for the best possible price.

Due to unplanned circumstances I needed to bring my return flight forward by 3 days - Alan took control of my requirement, relieving me of the burden of my predicament, finding me a seat on a plane departing within a few hours. He managed the booking and kept me informed each step of the way, ensuring I received e-tickets by email as well as on my phone. He left me with very little to do except to relax and enjoy the flight.

It's rare to find a company that delivers customer care of this high quality in such a natural and effortless way.

Steve Byrne gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot

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

Friendly, helpful and polite. Exactly what we needed.

I took my daughter, grand-daughter and her friend to New York for 4 days. The support and service I got from the staff at DialAFlight was excellent. I had problems sorting the Esta and the staff were at the end of the phone and indeed stayed on the line while I filled in all 4 Estas. They were a pleasure to deal with. Friendly, helpful, polite and so patient, I cannot say thank you enough. I will certainly recommend them to my friends and family.

Mary Hyland gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot

Jasper switched the flights so we didn't get stuck with BA

When I wanted to take my children and grand-children (12 of us in total) away Jasper made the process simple. He found a hotel in our chosen destination and added flights and transfers, to and from.

Even when our preferred carrier (BA) had system problems on our return date, he made sure the possible delays were minimised to just 40 minutes later than originally planned. So our splendid 5-star holiday remained 5-star, as voted by everyone in our party. We will definitely be using DialAFlight again.

Andrew gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot

Read more reviews

What's on offer?

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

FREE flight upgrade when you stay at Aria, Las Vegas

Enjoy all the thrills of sin city, travelling in ultimate style with 5 nights at 5* Aria Resort & Casino. If this wasn't enough, we're also offering a complimentary one-way upgrade to Virgin Atlantic's Premium Economy where you'll enjoy superior comfort and that all important glass of champagne before take-off. 5 nights from £635pp when you travel on selected dates in January and February 2018

Grecian Spendour at 5* Sani Asterias: Save 30%

Retreat to Greece for some post-summer sun with a week of beachside elegance at 5* Sani Asterias. Completely unwind with your very own suite that overlooks the marina and with lazy days on the pristine private beach, before sampling fine international fare prepared by Michelin-starred executive chefs. Our offer saves you 30% when you stay 7 nights B&B in a Junior Suite inclusive of flights. 7 nights from £699pp when you travel on selected dates in October 2017.

Stay in a luxurious Dubai villa and receive a FREE flight upgrade

For a family holiday offering lashings of luxury and the privacy of your own private villa, choose the Royal Residences at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. Save when you book a Two Bedroom Lagoon Residence and enjoy the services of a butler, unlimited access to Wild Wadi Waterpark as well as a 150 Dirham spa voucher and much more. We also include a one-way flight upgrade to Premium Economy when you book this offer with Virgin Atlantic flights. 5 nights from £1599pp based on a family of 4 travelling this summer.

Double the luxury in Cuba: Save £100pp

Combine effervescent Havana in all its colourful glory with some time out on the sensational beaches of Varadero with this two-centre trip. You'll be staying in ultimate style with 4 nights at the new Kempinski Gran Hotel Manzana in Havana before 7 nights of all inclusive pampering at 5* The Royalton Hicacos where you'll enjoy the benefits of a Junior Suite Diamond Club room. Save £100pp with our offer which includes transfers and Virgin Atlantic flights. 11 nights from £2249pp when you travel in November.

Treat yourself to The BodyHoliday St Lucia and save over £600pp

Enjoy a Caribbean escape like no other at 5* The BodyHoliday St Lucia. Indulge your mind, body and soul with daily pampering in one of the Caribbean's leading spas. Plus enjoy sumptuous dining and a huge choice of sports and activities all included in the price. Our offer saves you over £600pp when you stay 7 nights in a Luxury Room inclusive of flights with Virgin Atlantic. 7 nights from £2299pp when you travel 29 Oct - 13 Dec.

Naturally New Zealand - Save £200pp on a boutique tour

Unearth the many wonderful sights of New Zealand's South Island with this 11 night 'Bike and Hike' tour staying in unique and boutique accommodation throughout. Your journey will be completed mostly by car, with bikes and walking shoes taking you further to immerse yourself in the country's natural beauty and wildlife. Highlights include the culinary delights of Christchurch, the blue penguins of Oamaru and Wanaka where you can enjoy a unique jet boating experience taking in scenes of Middle Earth. Save £200pp with our offer that includes some meals, car hire and flights with Emirates from £2895pp when you travel in October.

10 things we didn't know last month

1. No more tom yum in your Thai tummy

Bangkok is facing a struggle to retain its culture in the wake of a decision to ban all street food from the city. Roadside bowls of spicy tom yum soup might be a thing of the past in the Thai capital by 2018 after authorities announced they were pressing ahead with a move to clear all vendors form the city for "order and hygiene" reasons. Bangkok is regarded as one of the best cities in the world for street fare and is renowned for scruffy pop-ups that peddle dishes such as pad Thai and Khao Gaeng and many locals feel that the more than 20,000 street vendors currently operating in the city add to the local colour and are popular with tourists.

2. Inch by inch the legroom is less

American Airlines, the world's biggest carrier, plans to cut leg room in its economy class cabins by up to two inches, in a effort to make room for additional rows of passenger seats. The seat pitch on the US airline's new Boeing 737-800 Max aircraft is expected to be reduced from 31 to 29 inches in three rows and to 30 inches across the rest of economy. Passengers in the seats with two inches less legroom will still be charged full economy fares and it is yet to be determined how the airline will decide which passengers will be given these seats.

3. More fivers needed to see the Big Five in Botswana

Botswana to hit tourists with conservation tax

A safari in Botswana is to become pricier with the introduction of a £23 tax on tourists entering the country. The Botswana Tourism Authority said the new levy will now be payable by any visitor passing through the country's airports and border posts.

4. When we Brexit, this village takes centre stage

Britain's impending exit from the European Union is being welcomed in at least one corner of Germany. The village of Gadheim in the region of Bavaria is still reeling from the news that, once the UK says auf Wiedersehen, it will become the unlikely heart of the EU. According to the ING Institute in Paris, the settlement of just 80 people will officially become the geographic centre of the bloc on March 29, 2019. The village, which is deep in Bavaria's wine country, is bracing itself for an influx of tourists when this happens.

5. Denmark's Little Mermaid sees red

Copenhagen's famous Little Mermaid statue has been vandalised yet again - this time in protest at whaling in the Faroe Islands. The bronze sculpture, which is perched on a rock in the city's harbour, was daubed in red paint while the words words "Danmark defend the whales of the Faroes Islands" were graffitied on the promenade. Tourists continued to flock to the statue inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale and commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg, while police were investigating.

6. Swiss village photos with a negative impact

The little known Swiss village of Bergun, which is a stone's throw from trendy St Moritz, has banned people from taking pictures claiming that the beauty has a negative impact on those on social media unable to witness it first hand. Mayor Peter Nicolay said he didn't "want to make the people outside the community unhappy."

7. Moody monkeys may come out biting

Risk of being bitten by monkeys as many think the animals are 'smiling' or 'kissing'

Tourists interacting with monkeys in places like Thailand and Morocco are mistaking signs of aggression and distress for smiles and kisses, according to research just published. A study by behavioural ecologists at the University of Lincoln concluded that tourists meeting wild macaques should be given crib sheets on how different moods in monkeys present themselves, to save them from risk of injury. Monkey bites are the second biggest cause of injury by animals after dogs in south-east Asia and one of the main causes of disease transmission between humans and animals.

8. Be vigilant in the Philippines

Military officials in the Philippines have reassured holidaymakers that one of the last unspoilt island paradises on Earth is safe to visit despite US government warnings that terrorist groups are plotting to kidnap foreigners. However, our Foreign Office repeated the American concerns adding that Britons should "exercise heightened caution" in certain areas, particularly the Palawan province.

9. 'Useless' airport welcomes first flight for a year

A £285 million airport dubbed "the world's most useless" has welcomed a commercial flight a year after it opened and more than a decade after its construction was announced. Sixty passengers flew into St Helena airport, on the tiny British oversees territory in the middle of the Atlantic recently. But the arrival from Cape Town of the SA Airling Avro was only because two ships that provide the usual method of accessing the island were cancelled. The airport opened in June last year but with a major proviso - large jets cannot land there because of dangerous winds. A Boeing 737-800 on a test flight needed three attempts to make a successful landing and now only small private aircraft have been cleared to use it.

10. Kids can fly free to Legoland

British Airways is offering free flights to children under the age of 12 to six destinations from Heathrow this summer - including Billund, the home of Lego in Denmark. The carrier has announced that up to two children can fly for free with a fare-paying adult on routes between the London airport and Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Inverness and Belfast, as well as the Danish airport. A BA spokesman said: "Saving every penny counts when it comes to a family holiday so flying kids for free will make it cheaper to fly away for fun this summer." Legoland Billund opened in 1958, nine years after the plastic toy bricks began life in the same small Jutland town.