More airlines offering stripped-back fares

More airlines are offering stripped-back fares to help compete in the growing market of budget-conscious travellers.

European airlines, KLM and Air France are the latest so-called legacy carriers to introduce a reduced fare that doesn’t include seat selection, check-in luggage or the ability to change a booking.

Reports from the UK say that the fares – scheduled to start in April on transatlantic flights – are part of a growing trend among European airlines.

Alitalia is also offering an Economy Light fare that limits passengers to one piece of hand luggage and does not offer booking amendments or ticket refunds.

Lufthansa also offers a similar fare.

A few months ago, we were charged a fee to slightly amend two tickets on Aegean Airlines.

American, Delta and United airlines also offer basic economy fares – some of which do not allow use of overhead lockers.

And British Airways made headlines last year after it announced that people who bought its basic fare would board its planes last.

Air news Finding cheap flights Tips

Sales are open for new route to Europe

People planning to fly to Europe from Asia and Australia have another option – and tickets are already on sale.

Scoot, the low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines group (SIA) has launched initial ticket sales for a second long-haul service to Europe.

From June 20, Scoot expects to start non-stop flights from Singapore to Berlin, Germany.

brandenburger-tor-201939__340

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

The airline already operates popular flights between Singapore and Athens, Greece.

And it recently also began long-haul flights to Hawaii via Japan.

Launch fares

Confirming the starting date of the Berlin corridor, Scoot announced promotional fares from Perth, Australia at $379 one way, with additional charges for baggage and food.

Flying in the airline’s premium ScootBiz class, from Perth to Berlin initially will cost $1199 one way.

d57424f9-60e7-4892-a86c-22e1b8e1c72d

Dreamliner magic

Scoot says that flights from Melbourne or Sydney to Berlin are on sale for $439 one-way (bags and food extra) or $1299 in ScootBiz.

Fares from Australia’s Gold Coast initially are $429 (bags and food extra) and $1299 in ScootBiz.

For more on ScootBiz inclusions, see our age-friendly review of the premium service.

The promotional fares are subject to availability and will remain on sale until one-minute to midnight on January 31 in Perth; until 0159 on February 1 in the Gold Coast; and 0259 on February 1 in Sydney and Melbourne.

These fares are for travel between June 20 and October 26.

Scoot is also offering an additional $30 off selected FLYBAG and FLYBAGSEAT fares for people who key in the promotional code GOBERLIN while booking.

scooties

Photo courtesy Scoot

The four-times-weekly Singapore-Berlin return flights will feature ultra-modern, widebody, twin-aisle Boeing 787 Dreamliners, subject to regulatory approval.

See our detailed review of the remarkable Scoot 787 Dreamliner.

Germany applauds new service

Director of the German National Tourist Office in Sydney, Stefanie Eberhard, described the new Scoot flight to Berlin as “fantastic news for Germany”.

“It opens up many new opportunities for Australian visitors and, with additional flights, travellers can easily explore the capital Berlin and nearby cities such as Dresden, Leipzig and Hamburg.

“Berlin is a happening city packed with exciting events, concerts, exhibition and shows all year round. Germany’s focus for 2018 is ‘Culinary Germany’ which aims to introduce travellers to the country’s gourmet highlights”.

Taste of Scoot

Scoot’s taste of Germany – photo courtesy Scoot

Continuing to expand choices

Scoot’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lee Lik Hsin, said the airline’s long haul flights to Athens and Honolulu had lived up to expectations.

“Our guests tell us that the 787 Dreamliner has been key to convincing them to travel long-haul on low-cost.

“With Berlin, we continue our mission to add more choices for great value, long-haul, low-cost travel.”

Scoot currently flies to 63 destinations across 17 countries.

21C77EDE-275F-4E2B-AE1F-062D8878A02F

Powering the Scoot Dreamliner

The airline has a fleet of 16 Dreamliners and 24 Airbus A320’s – with a further four Dreamliners and 39 Airbus A320neo aircraft on order.

IMG_1308 2

Berlin cathedral

The new Berlin route will be flown four days a week – each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Air news Scoot travel

Leaning toward a ban on plane seat reclining

We were flying Economy from London to Sydney with British Airways when a man in front abruptly reclined his seat the full distance, almost striking Sue in the face.

He then took a tablet and seemed to fall asleep. This occurred so quickly that there was no chance of negotiation.

Before his companion had time to do the same, I raised my feet and pushed hard on the back of the seat to prevent that one from also reclining.

The woman tried several times and then gave up.

Standing on the seat

Now, Sue is, by nature, a gentle soul, but when she was unable to lower the table for a meal and was forced to stand on the seat to get out for a call of nature, she alerted the cabin crew.

However, neither the man nor his companion could be woken by the crew  and the steward finally shrugged and promised to seek an alternative seat for Sue.

We didn’t want to be separated, so we suffered the situation for most of the trip.

IMG_3024.JPG

Hence, we’ve watched with interest as the question of banning reclining seats – initially on domestic flights – has become a hot issue in recent months.

This is not an ‘Age-Friendly’ issue: fully reclining seats can cramp the space of all passengers.

However, it is one of the biggest travel complaints that we hear – and we’re not alone.

Late last year, several flights were diverted after midair passenger fights over reclining seats.

And in the past few weeks, British Airways, announced that it would ban seat reclining – at least on short flights. In doing so, it joined several other  airlines, including RyanAir.

For decades, it was assumed that if you bought a seat, then you had the right to recline it.  This argument still has plenty of supporters.

Times change

But, times change and a few recent online polls of air travellers appear to have  shown a preference for non-reclining seats. Obviously, the issue has been simmering for some time.

The way we see it, whatever space there is in Economy, is effectively shared space.

If, for some genuine reason, we needed to recline a seat, the person behind would be informed first.

Most people wouldn’t consider reclining their seat sharply in a car. So why is a plane any different?

What do you think?

Air news

Taking sustainable tourism seriously

There’s two sides to the question of sustainable tourism.

In Europe, there have been surges of resident concern about overcrowding and the impact of cruise ships on fragile ancient cities like Venice, Barcelona, Dubrovnik and Italy’s Isle of Capri.

Tourism contributes enormously to economies and job-creation, but also creates pressure on local cultures, the environment and energy resources.

Anyone who has visited the Greek islands, Venice or Capri in Summer will attest to the problems of cruise ships and coaches disgorging thousands of people into tiny, Medieval streets.

However, there’s another key side to the issue that doesn’t necessarily grab the headlines, but is even more important.

Positive action is being taken across a range of areas to ensure that mass tourism doesn’t destroy the attractions that draw people in the first place.

One of the most high profile measures occurred when the United Nations highlighted the issue by designating 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

unwto-logo.jpeg

This gave important impetus to a range of industry measures that were able to be highlighted during the year.

Its tourism body, the UNWTO, encouraged practices like minimizing the use of plastic; protecting natural and cultural heritage such as rain forests and historical sites; supporting local communities by employing local staff, buying local products and engaging in charity work.

However, sustainable tourism measures were well underway before 2017.

The airline industry, for example, has long been investing in new-age planes that burn less fuel and provide health and cost-saving benefits.

For example, we recently rated the Age-Friendliness of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Scoot Airlines between Australia and Athens.

bcc76d2e-226f-4de3-a8e3-9ad96860895f

It was an eye-opening experience.

The Dreamliner is made of composite plastic, uses less fuel, leaves passengers feeling more refreshed upon arrival and seems much quieter than similar-size jets.

Scoot has set a tremendous example of sustainability and environmental consciousness by dominating its fleet with Dreamliners.

And, of course, that is only part of an important trend.

Treading in the right direction

10462890_747168288660125_7424016551669484611_n.jpgOther notable and praiseworthy steps toward sustainable tourism include the TreadRight Foundation, a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, which include prominent industry players AAT Kings; Trafalgar Tours; Red Carnation Hotels; Insight Vacations; Contiki Tours; Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection; and Creative Holidays.

TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit that encourages sustainability by providing grants to protect natural attractions and unique heritages. To date, TreadRight has helped support at least 40 sustainable tourism projects worldwide.

An example is the first-of-its-kind guide for sustainable river cruising. This guide suggests strategies for reducing water and energy use and waste generation on river cruises.

These type of positive initiatives allow travellers to select and support companies that are showing a commitment to sustainable tourism.

The cruise industry itself has also been involved in ocean conservation measures such as reducing exhause emissions – and has invested in fuel efficient ships and water and waste conservation.

And, importantly, cruise companies are increasingly looking beyond their ships to the places they visit – encouraging onshore tour providers to adopt sustainable practices.

The Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST) is a research organization with the aim of increasing the positive global impact of responsible tourism.

CREST says it helps governments; policy makers; tourism businesses; nonprofit organizations; and international agencies to find solutions to critical issues confronting tourism.

For the individual traveller, there are alsoa growing number of online travel purchasing platforms, such as Kind Traveler, claiming to help consumers choose companies that are giving back to their communites.

Air news Features Sustainable Tourism

An ace of a flying tip

Here’s an interesting tip: travellers are being urged to take a tennis ball on long-haul flights – even if they’re not planning on playing a match at their destination.

We’re yet to try it, but a report out of the UK claims that running the tennis ball over your skin while flying can help keep blood flowing to the heart.

There’s no denying that long flights can often cause your feet to swell; muscles to tighten and the body to generally feel bloated and gassy.

And regardless of the mode of travel, sitting motionless for long periods may also increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in the muscles,

DVT is a serious issue and it’s also important to keep moving your legs – even when waiting in the airport terminal – wear compression stockings to put gentle pressure on leg muscles and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

iu.jpeg

The tennis ball technique is a somewhat logical extension of the usual precautions,  according to the UK’s Daily Star newspaper.

The UK report suggests that the ball be rolled over areas of the body that become uncomfortable on a long trip.

Think about the soles of your feet, the small of the back, the ankles, legs and arms.

The Daily Star quotes consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Ali Ghoz, from the London Orthopaedic Clinic. as saying that massaging in this way could help boost circulation.

He also suggests massaging lower legs from the ankles upwards.

By pressing down slightly and moving the ball, you can soften knots and tight areas.

It all sounds feasible – and we’ll certainly give it a try.

aid134015-728px-Do-an-In-Flight-Fitness-Workout-Step-3.jpg

We’re also great believers in  feet exercises and getting up and walking  down the airplane aisle at least once per hour.

See more tips:

Read a passenger’s experience of getting DVT.

Tips travel