Feeling Festive: easyJet Launches £695 Advent Calendar With Flights

easyJet has launched its first-ever festive calendar this year, priced at £695. Called the ‘Advent(ure) Calendar,’ easyJet’s calendar consists of 12 drawers containing a travel gift. Festive gifts include four pairs of return flights for two and a year’s easyJet Plus membership worth £215. The limited-edition festive calendar will be on sale from Friday, November 26th.

easyJet launches new advent calendar

To celebrate the upcoming festive season, easyJet has launched a new, limited-edition advent calendar that includes flights. The ‘Advent(ure) Calendar’ features 12 drawers, each with special travel gifts. This is the first time easyJet has launched a festive calendar, following research suggesting the British population crave foreign adventure more than anything in 2022.

The calendar includes four pairs of return flights for two including hold luggage, as well as one year’s easyJet plus membership worth £215, vouchers to spend on easyJet’s onboard Bistro and on tours and excursions with ‘GetYourGuide’, as well as car hire, all for people to enjoy more adventures abroad in 2022.”

The calendar is priced at £695, with an RRP value of over £1500 according to easyJet. The advent calendar will be on sale from Friday, November 26th, with a limited number of calendars available.

A look at the calendar in detail:

  • Four pairs of return flights for two, including 23kg hold luggage per person
  • £75 worth of vouchers to spend on tours and excursions across Europe with ‘Get Your Guide’
  • One year easyJet Plus membership worth £215
  • A £50 voucher for car hire
  • £45 worth of vouchers to spend on easyJet’s onboard Bistro

“In each calendar customers will find all kinds of travel gifts, from flights to a choice of over 130 destinations across our unrivalled European network to unforgettable experiences and excursions, as well as travel extras to make trips next year extra special. It’s the perfect present for those who want to give the gift of adventure.”

Travel a top priority for 2022

A poll conducted by easyJet revealed that over half of British people have placed traveling abroad at the top of their priority list. The poll found that 52% of respondents see abroad adventures as a top priority, while 50% said they would prefer the gift of travel over material gifts.

The same poll also found 46% of Brits plan to do more traveling than usual next year after enduring over 18 months of the COVID pandemic, while 57% of Brits plan to go somewhere they have never gone before.

Source https://simpleflying.com/easyjet-free-flights-advent-calendar/

Vaccine Tourism: Russians Are Flying To Croatia For The EU COVID Pass

A Russian agency is running a vaccine tourism scheme to Croatia for Russians to get vaccinated in this European Union country for free. Getting vaccinated in Croatia means the Russians get access to the EU’s Green Pass, with which they can then travel internationally.

Russian Express to Croatia

Russian Express, a tour agency, is selling four-day trips to Croatia for vaccine tourism at the cost of 439 euros ($510). The tours have been running since September, and they are increasingly popular, Večernji reports.

Croatia offers free vaccinations to foreigners. Russian citizens are getting vaccinated in walk-in vaccine centers in the cities of Zagreb and Pula with no appointment required.

The vaccines on offer are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The last one is particularly popular because it is a single-shot vaccine, so travelers do not need to stay in the country to wait for their second dose.

The EU COVID Pass is on offer for free

Because Croatia is a European Union member state, Russian citizens who get vaccinated there are issued with the EU Green Pass. The digital vaccination certificate, launched in June 2021, is a world-leading tool for promoting confidence in international travel.

Around 60 Russian citizens fly to Croatia on a weekly basis to get vaccinated. When they receive their vaccine, they gain quarantine-free or test-free access to countries across the world that they do not otherwise have if they are vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

One factor that does act as a deterrent, however, and which explains why more Russian citizens are not making use of this vaccine tourism opportunity, is that Croatia and Russia have a visa regime in place.

A boom of Russian airlines in Croatia

As Simple Flying reported last week, there has been a rise in consumer choice in the market for air travel between Russia and Croatia lately.

Azur Air launched a scheduled service between Moscow Vnukovo Airport (VKO) and Zagreb Airport (ZAG) on Sunday 31st October. Azur had previously maintained charter flights on this route, but only during the summer months.

Nordwind Airlines is another new entrant. It operates flights to Zagreb from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) twice weekly throughout the winter. Nordwind flies its own Boeing 737-800 aircraft on this route on Mondays, and its regional subsidiary, Pegas Fly, flies the route with an Embraer ERJ-190 on Fridays.

At the same time, Aeroflot is maintaining its long-running scheduled flights between Zagreb and Moscow Sheremetyevo too. Flights operate three times per week throughout winter.

Pula Airport (PUY), where Russian citizens also go to get vaccinated, currently receives scheduled services by Ural Airlines as well as S7 from Moscow Domodedovo (DME).

Source https://simpleflying.com/russia-croatia-vaccine-tourism/

Japan Airlines Wants To Launch Flying Taxis By 2025

Could we see flying taxis in the skies around Osaka and Tokyo by the mid-2020s? If today’s announcement of a strategic partnership between Japan Airlines and aircraft lessor Avolon is anything to go by, then yes. JAL will take up to 100 Vertical Aerospace VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft in a move it hopes will spark an ‘air mobility revolution’ in Japan.

The electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) market will be lifting off for real within the next few years. Hailed as a solution to congested and polluting commutes, it could soon bring us closer to the airborne, multi-level urban highways of our sci-fi reading youth.

While there may be some time before electrical helicopters fly past the Empire State Building, the Burj Khalifa, or the Petronas Towers in silent file, they could soon be dotting skylines worldwide. By 2025, Japan Airlines intends to introduce one of the world’s first eVTOL ridesharing businesses.

Flying taxis in time for Osaka Kansai EXPO

The Japanese flag carrier has signed an agreement with Dublin-based aircraft lessor Avolon, the two announced today. Through the partnership, JAL will have the right to purchase or lease up to 50 Vertical VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft via Avolon. It will also have the option to purchase or lease an additional 50 units. Japan Airlines is targeting entry into service for the Osaka Kansai Expo, taking place over six months starting April 2025.

“Today’s announcement represents an important step towards the social implementation of Air Taxi at Osaka Kansai EXPO in 2025. Our partnership with Avolon lays out the pathway towards achieving Air Mobility revolution in Japan. The introduction of VA-X4 will also contribute to reducing our environmental impact, and we fundamentally believe that sustainability will be the engine for future growth across our business and region,” Tomohiro Nishihata, Managing Executive Officer of Japan Airlines, said Wednesday.

Unconstrained by borders

The strategic partnership will also see the leasing firm’s investment and innovation affiliate, Avolon-e, assist JAL in identifying and targeting local customers. It will also research infrastructure requirements, certifications, and commercial models related to ridesharing in the sky.

“We continue to identify partners who share the same vision to revolutionise air travel through zero-emissions eVTOL aircraft and shape the future of travel. (…) We believe JAL’s multi-decade experience will prove invaluable as Vertical seeks type certificate validation with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, demonstrating that the VA-X4 will be a global eVTOL, unconstrained by borders,” Avolon’s CEO, Dómhnal Slattery, commented.

Most pre-orders of any eVTOL vehicle

Japan Airlines is not the only major carrier interested in Vertical’s VA-X4. It is the most pre-ordered aircraft in electrical flight. Virgin Atlantic has signed up for up to 150. Across the Atlantic, GOL is looking to take 250 while American Airlines is down for as many as 350. Avolon has agreed to purchase a total of 500. Along with smaller deals, the VA-X4 has 1350 conditional pre-orders thus far.

As the name implies, the VA-X4 will have space for four passengers (plus the pilot). It will be capable of traveling over 200 mph with a range of 100 miles. It will also be 100 times quieter – and safer – than a helicopter. Vertical has scheduled the first piloted flight to take place in 2022 in Bristol, UK.

Source https://simpleflying.com/japan-airlines-flying-taxis/

When Did BWIA West Indies Airways Become Caribbean Airlines?

People that have flown in and out of Trinidad and Tobago in recent years are likely to be familiar with its flag carrier, Caribbean Airlines. This state-owned enterprise also serves as the national airline for Guyana and Jamaica. However, its history goes back further than you might think, in the form of its predecessor, BWIA West Indies Airways. Let’s take a look at the history of this carrier, and at what point it took on the identity that it retains today.

Formed in the 1930s

BWIA West Indies Airways dates all the way back to November 1939, when former World War I fighter pilot Lowell Yerex established the airline. It first took to the skies a year later, with a Lockheed Lodestar plying its initial route between Trinidad and Barbados. Its name at the time was simply BWIA, which stood for British West Indian Airways.

Impressive growth saw the carrier serve long-haul destinations such as London in the 1960s. This decade also saw BWIA enter the jet age by flying the Boeing 727, which it dubbed the ‘sunjet.’ In 1980, BWIA became Trinidad and Tobago’s national airline when it merged with Trinidad and Tobago Air Services to become BWIA International Airways.

66 years of service as the national airline

Under the new name, BWIA’s fleet and network grew. In addition to its existing London route, it also served other European destinations in the form of Frankfurt, Glasgow, and Manchester. The airline, which locals affectionately knew as ‘Bee-Wee,’ flew various jetliners, including widebodies like the Airbus A340, the Lockheed TriStar, and even the Boeing 747.

At face value, BWIA was in a strong financial position at the turn of the century. Indeed, 2003 saw it carry 1.4 million passengers and 8,100 tonnes of cargo, while employing approximately 2,350 members of staff. This generated earnings of around $276 million.

However, despite these earnings, BWIA continued to make losses. Financial injections from the Trinidad and Tobago government helped to prop it up, but, in September 2006, the carrier announced its closure after 66 years of service. The government agreed that a new carrier, known as Caribbean Airlines, would take over its role, starting in January 2007.

Caribbean Airlines today

Although this could have meant that BWIA’s 1,700 employees at the time would lose their jobs, Trinidad Express reports that they were able to apply for contracts with the new carrier. However, Caribbean Airlines started off as a somewhat streamlined re-incarnation, with routes to the likes of London, Manchester, New York, and Toronto being cut.

As such, the airline, which celebrated its 14th anniversary earlier this year, has more of a short to medium-haul focus. That being said, it did receive a boost when it acquired Air Jamaica in 2011. According to ch-aviation.com, its present fleet is as follows.

  • 7x ATR72-600.
  • 10x Boeing 737-800.

In terms of the airline’s destinations, it flies primarily to locations throughout the Caribbean. That being said, it also has a presence at four US airports and one in Canada, as well as three countries in South America (Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela).

Source https://simpleflying.com/bwia-west-indies-airways-rebrand/

Are Premium Cabins On Planes About To Get Smaller?

For many airlines, premium cabins are a key source of income. While they generally seat far fewer passengers than economy class, the higher prices that premium seating demands mean that the front of the aircraft is a big money-spinner. However, as the airline industry navigates through its post-pandemic recovery period, are these cabins set to downsize?

Slower recovery in business travel

The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally altered several facets of what we previously thought to be everyday life. As many of us will have experienced, the health crisis has seen remote work replace in-person, office-based roles. This shift has been made in an attempt to reduce unnecessary travel and, with it, the spread of coronavirus.

With the pandemic now beginning to subside, working in a physical workplace rather than at home is becoming the norm once again. However, for many people, the health crisis has been an eye-opener that has highlighted that the viability of remote work might be greater than previously believed. This also has implications for business travel’s recovery.

Advances in digital communications that have been made during the pandemic have allowed international meetings to take place live and online from the comfort of workers’ homes. COVID-19 has highlighted the fact that, while in-person meetings are important, it might not always be necessary to travel around the world for them

Subsequent reconfiguration projects

Over in Europe, a reconfiguration project at Virgin Atlantic has also seen it downsize certain premium cabins. The headline of this onboard reshuffle is the fact that it will replace the ‘Loft’ social space with ‘The Booth,’ a two-person area, on certain Airbus A350s.

However, a by-product of this new leisure space will be a reworking of the A350’s seat map. As Simple Flying reported at the time of Virgin Atlantic’s announcement, the newly configured aircraft will feature just 16 Upper Class suites. Behind them will be a far larger economy class section, which can accommodate up to 325 passengers.

In contrast, SeatGuru reports that Virgin’s standard A350s have a larger 44-suite Upper Class Cabin, and just 235 economy seats. Both configurations have the same 56-seat premium economy section. Small premium cabins are not new to Virgin Atlantic. Indeed, the 747s that flew its leisure routes had just 14 Upper Class suites in the plane’s nose.

Smaller aircraft = smaller cabins

Another aspect to consider in terms of the future of premium cabins is the movement away from larger aircraft. The advent of long-range narrowbodies like the Airbus A321LR has allowed carriers like Aer Lingus and JetBlue to redefine transatlantic operations.

With the future of long-haul narrowbodies looking bright, it seems probable that premium cabins will indeed become smaller on average. To use Aer Lingus as an example, its transatlantic A321LRs have a 16-seat lie-flat business class cabin. Meanwhile, its widebody A330s seat between 23 and 30 premium passengers.

As such, if more airlines follow suit and implement long-haul narrowbodies on intercontinental routes to allow greater point-to-point connectivity, smaller premium cabins, as are natural on smaller aircraft, seem a certainty, especially when combined with the factors discussed earlier. Of course, smaller premium cabins might also feel more exclusive, and thus may prove to enhance passenger experience in such business class sections.

Source https://simpleflying.com/premium-cabins-getting-smaller/