Southwest 737 Suffers Catastrophic Engine Failure

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 jet made an emergency landing in Philadelphia today after suffering a catastrophic in flight engine failure.

Southwest Flight 1380, from New York to Dallas was cruising at 32,000 feet when the incident occurred. Shrapnel from the explosion collided with the aircraft’s fuselage causing a window to be broken and a nearby passenger to be partially sucked out of the aircraft. Fellow passengers saw the situation unfolding and managed to pull the woman back into the aircraft.

Damage sustained to the Boeing 737-700 (N772SW). (Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia)

With most passengers on board saying prayers and writing messages for loved ones, the crew ensured all 149 people attached their oxygen masks whilst the pilots executed an emergency descent into Philadelphia.

Upon landing in Philadelphia, a fuel leak caused by the damage ignited a small fire which was quickly extinguished by airport fire fighting services.

Kristopher Johnson, a passenger on board the flight told CNN that “Shrapnel hit the window causing a serious injury. No other details about that. Several medical personnel on the flight tended to the injured passenger”.

The broken window on that one passenger was almost ejected from. (Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia)

Whilst the exact nature of injuries suffered on board have not been made clear yet, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has confirmed that one person was killed during the incident.

Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) investigators have been dispatched to Pennsylvania to investigate the cause of the incident.

The remains of the CFM-56 Engine (Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia)

Our thoughts go out to all involved.

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April 2018 Fare Finder: Summer Holiday Preview

Your Guide To The Best Value Air fares For The Month Ahead!

We all know that finding and booking flights to your favourite destinations without breaking the bank isn’t easy, so here is a guide that gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the best value air fares. This months edition is going to be a bit different; we’re going to be looking ahead at some of the best deals for the UK Summer School Holidays. Why? Because we know that getting the best price during the most expensive time of the year isn’t easy.

This month Fare Finder has been published a little differently to previous editions. We are listing our top picks by airline and not destination. Giving you more choice than ever before!



JET2:

Part of Jet2’s advertising campaign for this summer has been flights offered at £49. So it’s reassuring to see that you can still find these flights (and even cheaper ones) for August. For anyone who has never flown with TripAdvisor’s Most Loved UK Airline, you definitely need to. With an extensive route network and award winning customer service, what are you waiting for? Give them a try!

The following flights cover some of Spain’s untapped charms. Sitting on the Southern coast are Almeria and Murica. Together they offer an alternative to the more popular resorts of Costa Blanca and  the Costa del Sol. Along with Menorca, lying out in the Mediterranean Sea, Jet2’s offering of cheap flights offers travelers the opportunity to experience the culture and comfort of these Spanish delights.

  • Birmingham – Almeria, August 26th, £39 per person!
  • Edinburgh – Murcia, August 7th, £49 per person!
  • Manchester – Menorca, August 23rd, £50 per person.
  • Book you Jet2 flights here or for the cheapest options here.
Jet2 also offer a generous 22kgs baggage allowance for a reasonable price!
Primera Air:

Much of the focus for Primera’s flight offerings has been on their Transatlantic routes. The airline is also keen to expand their European operations, with the launch of short haul routes being flown on Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Flying to popular summer sun destinations, it appears that they are looking to challenge its competitors and establish themselves in an already crowded market.

Being based out of Birmingham and London Stansted, they will be battling it out with the likes of Jet2 and TUI. Destinations such as Malaga, Alicante and Crete are popular with British holidaymakers, so it is no surprise that Primera has identified them as their first destinations. With no explanation needed for these resorts, its time to see their flight prices!

  • London Stansted – Malaga, August 28th, £40 per person.
  • London Stansted – Alicante, August 29th, £35 per person.
  • Birmingham – Chania, August 20th, £62 per person.
  • Book Primera Air flights here or again for cheaper options here.
British airways:

When most people think of the nation’s flag carrier, they don’t automatically associate them with flying to your normal bucket and spade destinations. However, the reality is far from it. Gatwick plays host to the majority of it’s European holiday destinations, giving travelers the opportunity to experience first class hospitality at economy prices.

BA fly to arguably the hottest holiday destination in recent years, Majorca. Much loved for it’s easy going atmosphere, low prices and stunning beaches, it’s no wonder families flock here year on year. For people looking for something very different why not try Nice? This gem of a city found in the south of France flawlessly combines it’s world renowned appeal along with its traditional feel.

  • London Gatwick – Nice, August 30th, £35 per person.
  • London Gatwick – Ibiza, August 4th, £44 per person.
  • London Heathrow – Palma, August 31st, £48 per person.
  • Book your BA flights here! or over at SkyScanner where we found excellent deals.
Even British Airways fly the night Ibiza. It’s one of the only flights where the party truly does start as soon as you step on board!
Flybe:

Europe’s largest regional airline often incorporates summer sun destinations alongside its regular flying program. This gives people living in regional parts of the UK, the ease of flying abroad without having to drive for hours to reach their nearest major airport. Operating the majority of their European sun routes on Embraer ERJ aircraft, the Jungle Jet offers comfort with it’s 2-2 seating configuration.

Flybe fly from 26 UK Airports to all over Europe

Not always seen as a first choice airline when it comes to flying the family away for their holidays, Flybe offers destinations that are off the beaten track such as Corsica. Popular with hikers who are ken to experience it’s national parks or couples looking to unwind for a week, the island offers something for everyone. For people perhaps looking to stay within the UK and hope that we have something more than a weeks worth of sunshine, the airline offers flights to Newquay. Popular with surfers or families on a budget, Cornwall could be host to your next getaway.

  • Southampton – Corsica, August 26th, £45 per person.
  • Doncaster Sheffield – Palma, August 20th, £45 per person.
  • Birmingham – Newquay, August 19th, £30 per person.
  • Book your flights here!


Want to find flight bargains for yourself? We recommend using SkyScanner and Momondo for the best deals.

In next months fare finder:

We’ll look ahead at the best flights for the May Bank Holidays!

Sweden Introduces New Aviation Tax

On April 1st, Sweden introduced a new aviation tax to all passenger flights departing the country, with hopes that it will help to limit the effect that air travel has on the environment.

Anyone travelling with Swedish based carriers such as SAS Scandinavian will be affected.

All flights departing on an aircraft that carries 10 passengers or more, will now have an added charge of between 60 to 400 Swedish Krona on it. The exact charge will vary depending on the destination of the flight. There are exemptions to this tax; with Flight Crew, children under the age of 2 and any passengers that have not yet reached their final destination.

When speaking to journalists from the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Climate Minister Isabella Lovin stated, “The objective of the tax is to minimize the carbon footprint of flights following the sharp rise in air travel”. The same newspaper held a poll amongst it’s readers, to which 53% of Swedes said they support the governments ruling to introduce the tax.

Should we be more focused on Bio-Fuels instead of taxing carbon emissions? The Centre Party certainly think so…

The move has not been without criticism, with political organisation Centre Party strongly opposing the ruling. Instead they have called for airlines to be committed to using a set percentage of Bio-Fuels in their day to day operations. Surprisingly, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has also spoken out against the Tax. Mats Björsell, a spokesperson for the Agency has said that the tax isn’t expected to have a major impact on the amount of emissions produced. Speaking to a local radio station he said, “There’s no direct effect on the emissions, it’s there, but that’s not important, but you have to start somewhere to pay for the climate impact from our flights“.

What do you think of the Tax, Is it a good Idea? Let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #londonspotter on your posts!

 

Want more like this? Why not check out our March 2018 Route Review!

 

Virgin Atlantic & Delta launch joint Summer 2018 Schedule

This week UK based Virgin Atlantic and US carrier Delta Airlines launched their joint Summer 2018 flying schedule, with the promise to offer more Trans-Atlantic flights than ever before.

The two airlines will be offering more than 5 million seats this summer, with passengers able to fly from: London, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast to a wide range of US destinations.

Delta Airlines owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic

This joint flying schedule will see the Delta resume the operation of direct flights from Salt Lake City and Portland to London. Virgin will be introducing the Boeing 747 onto the Manchester-New York/JFK route from May. At it’s peak, the schedule will feature 17 flights per week between New York and Orlando departing  from Scottish airports.

Following this announcement, we have been reviewing the schedule and have compiled a list of our best value and most exciting routes from the schedule!



mANCHESTER – NEW YORK.

As mentioned above, Virgin Atlantic will be flying the iconic Boeing 747 from Manchester into New York’s John F. Kennedy as of May. This will news will surely comes a delight to both passengers and spotters as this route is normally flown by an Airbus A330. The first scheduled departure of the 747 will be 15th May as flight VS127.

Prices for this flight start from £388pp return, with a whole range of dates in June, September and October being available. This gives passengers the chance to experience the 747 for the first or perhaps even the last time before Virgin beings to phase out the Queen of the Skies and replace her with the Airbus A350-1000.

The Queen of the Skies is due to be replaced by the A350-1000
london – salt lake city.

Delta will resume the UK’s only direct service between London and the state capital of Utah. Launching on 1st May, it will be flown by a Boeing 767 aircraft in a three class configuration. This route is sure to be popular with travelers looking to explore Antelope Island state park which is famous for it’s hiking trails and horse riding.

Leading prices for this flight start at £539pp return. These prices are available throughout the summer, giving would be travelers the flexibility to fly on a date that suits them. Currently, the only option when flying between the two cities is to transit via at least one airport, so this announcement will be welcome news to regular flyers on the route.

Boeing 767 aircraft will be used to fly between Utah and London.
BELFAST – ORLANDO:

During the summer, Virgin will be operating a number of flights to Orlando. This service will be the cities only non stop service to the US state of Florida. Senior officials at Virgin Atlantic will be monitoring this route closely to monitor passenger numbers with many local residents hoping that the route will become a permanent addition to the flying schedule if successful.

An economy seat on this Boeing 747 starts from £485. With the flight operating on Monday’s and Friday’s during the peak summer months, this flight is certain to appeal to passengers who are looking to fly without the hassle of going indirect.

top tip.

All of our top picks can be booked for those amazing prices across a wide range of months. If you are looking to book your trip and are flexible with the dates, price comparison sites can really help you pin point the cheapest date to fly on. Popular flight comparison sites such as SkyScanner and Momondo can be used to do exactly this, and even book your flight!

 

London to Perth Direct?  That’s right, check out Qantas’ inaugural service here!

 

Air Canada Boeing 787 Premium Economy Review



When flying between Vancouver and Toronto, there certainly isn’t a shortage of airlines to choose from. Following my Premium Economy flight with British Airways,  I decided to hop on board with Air Canada to review their Premium Economy product. I booked this fare through SkyScanner which is undoubtedly the best after its interface upgrade.

Originally when booking this flight, I was supposed to be travelling in the economy cabin. However when checking in using the Air Canada mobile app, it gave me the option to upgrade Premium Economy for $295 CAD.

Premium Economy passengers can check in using the Priority desks, usually reserved for Air Canada frequent fliers or Business class passengers. The morning of my flight from Vancouver, there had been a number of cancellations to scheduled services, meaning the queue for economy check in was full of people trying to get onto alternative flights to their destinations. Luckily for me, the priority desks were almost empty meaning just 10 minutes after arriving at the domestic terminal, I was through security.

Ac34 vancouver – toronto:

The flight I was booked onto, Air Canada 34, doesn’t start it’s journey in Vancouver. It is actually the long haul service from Sydney to Vancouver then Toronto. Today the Sydney to Vancouver sector was being flown on a Boeing 777 that was delayed leaving Sydney by approximately 3 hours; rather than delay the service onto Toronto, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was put onto the route.

Air Canada also implement a zonal boarding system, much like that of British Airways. Being in ‘Group 2’, I was on the aircraft in no time at all, and took to my seat 14A. Immediately I was very impressed with the modern look and feel of this cabin, something you would expect from an aircraft that is just under 2 years old. Already, this put it ahead of the British Airways Premium Economy offering on my flight to Vancouver.

Seat 14A (As indicated by the big pink bag!)

After settling into my seat and getting a few pictures from my window seat, I was offered a choice of orange juice or water as my boarding drink. Shortly after the Captain came over the PA and announced that we would have a short delay in departing Vancouver as we would have to be deiced. At 9.20am local time we pushed off the stand and taxied to a remote part of the airfield for deicing.

Departing from Runway 08R at 9.43am, we started climbing to our cruising altitude of 41,000 feet. The seat belt signs were switched of promptly after take off and a crew member came around the cabin to hand out our breakfast menu. This mornings options were either Pancakes or a Parsley Omelette. Unfortunately as I was the last to be served in the cabin, my first choice of Pancakes were all gone, leaving me with little choice but to sample the Omelette.

Before choosing from one of the many blockbuster films on offer to watch, I decided to wake myself up with a freshly brewed Lavazza coffee from the drinks service. Only the Brave (A brilliant must watch film that’s based on a true story) was my selection from the In flight Entertainment System. Watching on my Panasonic ex3 system, the latest addition to Air Canada’s IFE offerings, I was impressed at both the screen size and clarity of the image. Just as the film was reaching it’s mid point, breakfast was served.

The IFE system found in the Premium Economy cabin

The Parsley Omelette was accompanied by a chicken sausage, potatoes and relish. Also offered were fruit, yogurts and a warm bread roll with butter and jam. As appetising as the omelette looked, it wasn’t quite to my taste. Leaving the Omelette I enjoyed the rest of my breakfast. Much to my annoyance, the passenger seated next to me (who had ordered the last Pancakes dish available), decided to leave his breakfast after taking only one bite. It was only after long deliberation that I decided not to try and steal the remains!

Breakfast served in Premium Economy

As we reached the mid way point of our 3 hour 50 minute flight, I decided to stretch my legs and take a wonder around C-FGFZ, the 787-9 Dreamliner I was flying on. After being given a few odd stares when walking through Business class in my hoody and trainers, I went into the galley to find that the crew had laid out a selection of complimentary snacks to choose from. Picking up a Kit Kat, Bacardi and a Coke, I headed back to my seat.

There are 21 seats in the 787-9’s Premium Economy cabin. All with a legroom of 38″ and a seat width of 19″. Found at every seat are power ports that can be used to charge devices via USB or Canadian plugs. Most of the seats can recline approximately 7 inches, however row 14 is slightly limited due to the bulkhead located behind. Seats 14A and 14K do offer some superb shots of the Dreamliner’s wings and the General Electric built GEnx engines. With seat selection complimentary to Premium Economy passengers, it would definitely be my recommendation for anyone travelling with Air Canada in the future.

Cruising at 41,000 feet

As we descended into Toronto, the crew passed through the cabin to clear our waste and prepare us for landing. It was at this point that I felt my good experience throughout the flight was ruined slightly. I had asked the Cabin Manager if it was possible to visit the flight deck after arrival on stand, a request that was met with a short, sharp “No”. I am fully aware that flight deck visits are strictly on a request basis, but the fact that the Captain wasn’t even asked annoyed me.

The rest of the flight passed without incident and as we touched down at Toronto Pearson International, I was left feeling that the upgrade had been well worth the money.

When compared to a similar product such as the British Airways’ World Traveller Plus, It certainly leaves me with no doubt in my mind which airline I would choose to fly with when planning my next trip to Canada. BA however were spot on with the customer service, and certainly made me feel welcomed and valued as a paying customer. Ultimately when flying comfort has to be a number one priority, and that’s where Air Canada comes into a world of its own.

 

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March 2018 Fare Finder: Cheap Easter Getaways

YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST VALUE AIRFARES FOR THE MONTH AHEAD!

We all know that finding and booking flights to your favourite destinations without breaking the bank isn’t easy, so here is a guide that gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the best value air fares. At the end of this month schools across the UK will be breaking up for the Easter Holidays, so we’ve put together some of the best value airfares to jet you away from this horrible British weather! We advise that you book flights through Momondo this month to get the best airfares.

benidorm, spain:

This much loved Spanish sun and sea destination makes is the first destination to our list. Popular all year round with both families and couples alike; the Costa Blanca is calling for you to come and experience it’s golden sandy beaches and famous nightlife!

The closest airport to Benidorm is Alicante-Elche, which is just a 40 minute drive south. This airport is served all year round by a number of airlines, one of these being easyJet. Taking off from London Gatwick on March 27th for 8 nights, a return ticket will cost only £81 per person. With prices as low as these, it’s no wonder that EasyJet are becoming a regular feature on Fare Finder! These flights can be booked most cheaply through Momondo but also SkyScanner.

Benidorm’s famous Levante Beach
algarve, portugal:

The Algarve is world renowned for it’s beaches. That being said, at this time of the year, it may be a little chilly to go swimming in your trunks! The coastal city of Albufeira offers an alternative to braving the temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean. With it’s bustling waterfront promenade and marina where you can watch fishermen return with their latest catches, days can be well spent exploring the city and the surrounding areas. When the sun goes down, be sure to head to the old town to sample local delicacies and the freshly caught fish dishes.

Budget carrier Ryanair are offering a return Bournemouth to Faro flight ticket for £70 per person. Your 7 night stay would see you departing on March 25th, giving you ample opportunity to experiences this gem of a city. With recent changes to their baggage policy, be sure to check Ryanair’s website to avoid any surprises at the gate!

When flying into Faro, be sure to keep an eye out for this stored Boeing 727!
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

Wanting a city that has guaranteed heat and world class shopping? Look no further than Abu Dhabi. The capital city of the UAE has it’s skyline dominated by luxury apartment buildings and hotels. Travelers will be able to visit the world famous Formula One track, Yas Marina Circuit and unleash their inner boy racer at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways fly from Edinburgh using a two class Airbus A330 aircraft for the 7 hour 30 minute flight to the Gulf. A return economy ticket seeing you leave on March 29th will cost only £550 per person, which for a last minute long haul deal, isn’t bad at all! Follow the link to the Etihad’s website to book.

The stunning skyline of Abu Dhabi
Amsterdam, netherlands:

This city has it all. It’s immersed in culture, it’s picturesque meaning that no Instagram filter will be needed on your uploads, it has a vibrant night life AND the best thing is, it’s only an hours flight away! With attractions ranging from the Anne Frank House to the Van Gough museum, your days sightseeing will be busy and fast paced. On the evening, why not take a trip to the IceBar where everything (yes even the glasses) are made from ice!

Flybe operate hundreds of flights a week from the UK to Amsterdam, giving bookers the choice of which airport and time suits them. We’ve picked out flights from Manchester on March 27th for a short 2 night stay for only £90 return. However, as mentioned a wide range of choices mean that you can find a deal that suits you. Momondo should do the trick and get you the best deals but be sure to check out Flybe’s website too.



in next moths fare finder:

We look ahead to the August school holidays to give you a head start on planning your summer getaway.

British Airways Boeing 747 Flight Review

The Boeing 747 will soon slowly begin to fade from British Airways’ fleet. They are due to be replaced by the newer, more fuel efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner and in the not too distant future, the Airbus A350. During the winter season BA operate the 747 to Vancouver in place of the Airbus A380, giving me the perfect opportunity to get a hands on look at the Queen of the Skies.

No1 lounge terminal 3:

Prior to my departure from Heathrow, I had booked myself into the No1 Lounge in Terminal 3 as a nice relaxing way to start my trip. The lounge offers complimentary food, drink and Wi-Fi to all customers, as well as complimentary use of one of the few shower rooms that are on site. After my drive down from Birmingham earlier that afternoon, I thought it would be a good idea to freshen up before my 9 hour 30 min flight to Vancouver.

The shower rooms themselves could not be faulted, all essentials such as towels and shower gels/shampoos were provided free of charge. My only complaint with this is the actual walk in shower itself, it seems the water temperature has only 2 settings: Boiling Hot or 3rd Degree Burns Hot! For anyone who was booked into the lounge in the near future and intends on using the showers, my advice would be to re adjust your hair or makeup in the bathrooms that are separate to these shower rooms as they can become very hot and humid when the shower has been running!

The Fish Finger wrap from the menu in the No1 Lounge

The complimentary meal options at the lounge were limited, I was given a choice between 4 cooked meals and eventually chose to sample the Fish Finger wrap. When served to me at my table overlooking Runways 27L-9R, one issue immediately jumped out at me, the portion size. Now, I know with complimentary food you can’t go In expecting a 5 course feast, but this really did look like something served from a kids menu at a fast food restaurant. With a limited selection of snacks from the self serve counters, the catering really does let the lounge down.

If I had not of booked this lounge at a discounted rate to that advertised on the website, I probably would not have booked it at all. I would however, recommend it to any passengers transiting through Heathrow T3, as those shower facilities are a god send.

BA85 LONDON HEATHROW – VANCOUVER:

Sitting in the waiting area of Gate 31, gave me the opportunity to witness British Airways’ new boarding process by inviting passengers to board by ‘Group Number’ as issued on their boarding card, in this instance I was assigned Group 3. It all worked without a hitch and the time between arriving at the gate and boarding G-CIVA, my Boeing 747-400 aircraft was minimal.

Taking to my assigned seat 15K (a seat that I had to pay £45 to pre book), I was immediately impressed with the amount of legroom a the the World Traveller Plus cabin offered. Seating in this cabin boasts an impressive 38” of legroom. Now the extra legroom is brilliant to have when flying, especially when that flight is long haul. Seat width however is something that needs to be improved in this cabin. Not being the smallest person in the world I found it difficult to sit comfortably in the old style seating with a width of 18.5”. The personal IFE remote is housed on the inside of the arm rest, and can become very uncomfortable when sitting for a long time as it digs into your thigh.

The legroom offered in World Traveller Plus was exceptional

The In Flight Entertainment offerings were impressive, with a range of the latest Hollywood blockbusters and TV series’ available to browse and view. The system did show it’s age however as the software was slow at responding and the screen was tiny when compared to rival products such as the Emirates IFE System. The noise cancelling headset came in handy, especially due to my seat’s proximity to the engines.

The IFE seat back screen

We pushed back from the gate on time, and taxied for 20 minutes down to Runway 27R for our departure. I was very surprised to find that when the throttle was pushed forward to being our take off roll, I wasn’t pushed back into my seat by the power of the engines as I have been in the past, especially when flying on the Boeing 757. Our climb out took us north passing over Coventry and Liverpool.

Once the seat belt signs had been switched off, the first inflight drinks service and small bag of Pretzels was provided by Jennifer, who was fantastic when looking after us in Traveller Plus. As we climbed to our cruising altitude of 36,000 feet and headed towards Iceland, the meal service began.

I had pre booked my meal prior to checking in online for the flight, this service is offered complimentary and allows you to guarantee yourself a tasty chicken or beef option. I opted for the Chettinad chicken with Tadka Dal and Coriander Rice. Passengers in Plus are treated to the same appetiser and desert as their fellow passengers in World Traveller, but get to choose from one of two main meal options offered from the Club World menus. Plane food doesn’t have the greatest reputation amongst fliers, but I can assure you that the chicken option on this flight will not leave your taste buds dissatisfied. For those with a sweet tooth, the Salted Caramel and Chocolate dessert is the perfect treat to enjoy whilst watching a film.

The Inflight meal offered to Premium Economy passengers

Following the meal I grabbed some sleep, but was woken about 90 minutes before landing by the crew handing out snack boxes. These contained a sandwich and biscuit, both of which I chose to leave and decided instead to sit back and take in the beautiful scenery we were passing over.

The descent into Vancouver was smooth and before long the bright lights of the city came into view. We touched down on Vancouver’s Runway 26R and pulled onto the stand at 1830, 40 minutes ahead of schedule. During disembarkation, I was lucky enough to be invited up to the flight deck by the First Officer for a quick chat and photo opportunity. I found out that British Airways intends to keep the Boeing 747 in the fleet for another 5 years before sending them off for retirement.

The World Traveller Plus Cabin Inflight

With a flight like the one I experienced, I can see why BA has become so attached to these aircraft. Their long range and large passenger and cargo capacity makes them favourites for flying to destinations such as Vancouver and Nairobi. World Traveller Plus itself is well worth the upgrade on a long flight, the exceptional service and smaller cabin size have certainly made me think about flying economy again. On a newer aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner I’m sure this cabin is unfaultable, that being said; I can’t take anything away from the unique charm of the Jumbo Jet.

 

Check out our BA Premium Economy 787 review to see how it compares!

Jet2 celebrate 15 years of flying



Yesterday Jet2.com celebrated 15 years since the airlines very first flight departed Leeds Bradford Airport bound for Amsterdam. With a fleet of just two Boeing 737-300 aircraft, the airline carried 360,000 passengers in it’s very first year. Fast forward 15 years and the airline are expecting to carry over 12 million paying customers in 2018.

Operating from 9 UK bases Jet2 have grown to become the United Kingdom’s third largest airline whilst sister company Jet2holidays have become the UK’s 2nd largest Tour Operator.

G-JZHN wearing the Jet2holidays livery

Passengers travelling from Leeds Bradford yesterday were greeted by a morning filled with celebrations as airline executives, current and former employees and even Peter Andre were present to mark this momentous occasion. The Australian born singer surprised guests checking in to their flights, and boarded a Jet2 flight before it’s departure to give crew and passengers a private concert by singing ‘Happy Birthday’.

The airline has grown rapidly over the past few years, with 2017 seeing the airline expand it’s operations south by opening new bases at Birmingham Airport and London Stansted. These saw brand new Boeing 737-800 aircraft located at the respective airports, just some of the 34 Jet2 has on order with Boeing. These aircraft will replace the ageing 737-300  aircraft in the fleet, and come equipped with the modern ‘Sky Interior’ cabins.

G-GDFO seen here in Malaga, Is just one of the 737-300’s soon to be replaced by the new Boeing 737-800’s

More recently Jet2 have announced they will be upping their Transatlantic schedule with more flights than ever departing the UK destined for New York/Newark. Jet2holidays have marketed the flights as “affordable shopping breaks to the Big Apple from your local airport”. In a recent Interview, Commercial Director Steve Lee ruled out the airline launching a full long haul service, stating that they would “focus on growing capacity where it’s needed in the western and eastern Mediterranean”.

Airbus A330 G-VYGL was leased by Jet2 for the summer flying season in 2017

The low cost carrier’s roots can be traced back to former scheduled service and freight airline Channel Express. This is still evident today as Jet2 still carry the Air Traffic Control call sign “Channex”. With 15 years having flown by, everyone at TripAdvisor’s favourite UK airline will no doubt be looking forward to the next 15!

 

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Fare Finder: February 2018

YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST VALUE AIRFARES FOR THE MONTH AHEAD!

We all know that finding and booking flights to your favourite destinations without breaking the bank isn’t easy, so here is a guide that gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the best value air fares. February 14th as we all know is Valentine’s Day, so this months Fare Finder is dedicated to flights for short romantic getaways. (Excellent for those of you out there who haven’t found the perfect gift for your partner yet!). All of these flights are bookable through SkyScanner and other websites.

PARIS, FRANCE:

We couldn’t start off a Valentine’s themed Fare Finder without including Paris at the top of our list, could we? With the picture perfect Eiffel Tower setting the back drop for the French Capital, what could be more romantic than a stroll down the Champs-Élysées whilst watching the sun set?

This one is for our Irish readers, with direct flights from Dublin provided by Dutch owned low cost airline, Transavia. Understandably Paris is very popular at this time of year, and the flight prices reflect this. Nevertheless for just £113 per person return, you could be enjoying a 3 night break in this wonderful city. The link to Transavia’s website can be found here.

Paris’ most recognisable land mark, the Eiffel Tower dominates the city’s skyline!
Edinburgh, SCOTLAND:

Perhaps a surprising inclusion on this list, but Edinburgh has a lot to offer that may not always be obvious at first glance. With everything from candle lit dinners to stargazing at the cities observatory, there is no shortage of activities to keep you entertained during your time here. Lovers of the great outdoors will feel right at home here, with Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat offering superb views of the city for those who reach the top.

Flying from Bristol, easyJet are willing to whisk you away on a 2 night stay in Scotland for just £65 per person return.  Readers living in the South East of the country who prefer a London airport as their departure point, the easyJet stronghold of Luton is offering a return ticket for £66 per person. As usual, easyJet can be reached at their website www.easyjet.com.

Edinburgh as seen from the top of Calton Hill
london, england:

Most will think that the River Thames would be a no go in February, but they’d be wrong to think that. A Thames Dinner Cruise would be a fantastic way to end your 2 night stay in the city, taking in world famous landmarks such as Big Ben and The London Eye whilst enjoying a live band playing in the background. If the thought of sailing doesn’t float your boat, then evenings can be spent enjoying a West End show following a day of Oxford Street shopping!

Yet again easyJet are offering cheap flights into London. This time anyone fancying a last minute trip to London from Edinburgh can reach the capital for just £71 per person return. These flights are based on flying into Luton, so who knows, you may even see some of your fellow Fare Finder readers heading up to Scotland when your flight arrives. For easyJet’s website click here.

 

Reykjavik, iceland:

Our last offering is most definitely a wildcard. Perhaps not necessarily a destination that most would assume is a romantic destination, but instead one that is filled with activity and exploration. Much like Edinburgh, couples who feel at home whilst experiencing what Mother Nature has to offer, will certainly not be disappointed with Iceland‘s offerings. With lava tunnels of extinct volcanoes waiting to be experienced and tours of the Game of Thrones filming locations allowing you to see where the action happened, travelers heading north and braving the cold will not leave feel unsatisfied.

Another reason to feel satisfied is the price of the flights. Departing with TUI from London Gatwick, you will almost certainly have a smile on your face after having paid just £49 per person return for your flights. What’s even better is that this fare is based on a 7 night stay in the land of Ice and Fire, giving you ample opportunity to discover one of the worlds most scenic countries! Flights are bookable through the TUI website.

The Northern Lights draws thousands of tourists to Iceland each year
in next months fare finder:

We will be  looking to find you affordable flights to jet you off during the Easter school holidays.

 

Please note that all pricing and availability is correct at the time of publish and is subject to change. This is an independent article and is no way endorsed by any airline or tourist board.

 

 

 

Leaked: United to Launch Premium Economy

A company memo that was leaked this week has revealed that United Airlines has plans to launch it’s very own Premium Economy cabin. Although the details have not been finalised yet, we do know that United’s Premium Plus cabins will be rolled out across selected International routes by the end of 2018.

Premium Plus will launch on selected International routes

When these seats come out on general sale within the next few months, travelers will find themselves travelling in more spacious seating as opposed to the airlines international economy seating which offers a legroom of 31-32″. On-board services will also be upgraded with a redesigned menu being served on china dinnerware. Luxury US department store Saks Fifth Avenue will be supplying blankets and pillows for use during the flight.

A spokesperson for United has confirmed that Premium Plus is coming but has not revealed any details other than those leaked in the memo. The move comes after rival airlines Delta and American Airlines both successfully integrated Premium Economy into their own business models over recent years. The upgraded economy cabin has been operated by various European airlines such as British Airways for a number of years, but it seems that only now the US carriers are playing catch up.

A concept image of how the cabin will look

United will certainly be hoping that their Premium Plus cabins are a huge success, especially after the pretty disastrous year that they had in 2017. April saw a passenger forcibly removed from an overbooked Chicago to Louisville flight. Just one month before this incident, United refused to fly two female passengers to their destination as they were “not properly clothed via the Contract of Carriage”. The two passengers in question were not ‘properly clothed’ because they were wearing leggings.

Despite the negative press in recent times, the airline has just launched a new advertising campaign in association with Team USA to celebrate their participation at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. The advert features US athletes such as Jamie Anderson, Gus Kenworthy and Erin Hamlin alongside airline employees with a variety of different job roles. It details their superhero powers necessary for winning medals at the games, and more importantly those needed by United staff to get them and fare paying customers there destination.

The United States Olympic Committee and United Airlines have a long standing history of transporting athletes to and from the games, and this isn’t the first time Olympians have featured alongside airline staff on video. In 2016, Team USA participated in a safety video that was broadcast on the majority of United’s aircraft. As the official airline of Team USA, United flies everything and everyone from athletes to equipment to wherever it is needed.

Video Credit: United Airlines.

 

If you liked this article, why not check out the brand new our review of Emirates’ new cabin or any other of our new cabin reviews including Finnair, Lufthansa and Singapore.