Thursday, 26 March 2009

Would You Pay Not To Queue At Airport Security?

Luton airport has announced it will be providing a service to those passengers who wish to pay to beat the queues at security checks. For £3 you can be bumped to the front of the queue while other passengers wait for you to be scanned and cleared. At Liverpool airport there is a similar system but instead you get lead to a dedicated scanner for the £3 charge. This seems to be a more sensible option as passengers who don’t pay will not have to watch others pass through ahead of them, holding up their progress. So are all these additional charges getting out of control? Maybe. On budget airlines you can find yourself paying extra to board the plane first, for a specific seat, or to fly with more than one item of luggage. Some airports have gone as far as charging for clear plastic bags to hold any liquids you may be carrying on board so where will it stop?

I don’t think these extras will put passengers off flying but airlines and airports need to consider if these extras are worth it as the costs add up and may affect people’s choices of where to fly from. It is apparent that Gatwick and Heathrow have no plans to introduce queue jump schemes so it will be interesting to see how customers react to Luton’s new scheme. Watch this space.


Saturday, 14 March 2009

The Nano Break And The Struggling Economy

As a consequence of the economic downturn it has been apparent that the length of a weekend break has fallen from the standard two nights to just the one. This trend has been spotted across the UK and in other European cities. In January this year there was a 29% increase in the number of Britons searching for a one night break in the UK. For example single night weekend breaks were up 143% in Bournemouth, 140% in Brighton, and 82% in Edinburgh. These are larger increases than those reported in Europe, but in Rome and Venice the increase was by 47% and 84% respectively.

So how long will this trend last for? And is it the nano break the attitude we need to help revitalise the economy and the travel industry? Well this trend is certainly not going to boost the economy out of the current recession because holiday makers are shortening their stays and spending less. In fact it is a grim outlook for the summer holiday as many are cutting their two week escapes to the sun to a ten day break instead. Something needs to happen to kick start consumer spending habits before we see a recovery. This may come from companies lowering holiday prices (perhaps in desperation), or the economy shifting to give people more disposable income.

The nano break will only be a temporary fad and will rise and fall with the UK’s economy that is for sure. Once people have the money again, it will be spent back on holidays; something the British public hold very close to their hearts. It will be interesting to see how the travel industry does recover from the global down turn and what will be left in its wake. However it is certain that this multi billion pound industry will continue to flourish despite this short term mishap.


Sunday, 1 March 2009

Will Ryanair Charge For Using Onboard Toilets?

The low budget airline Ryanair is rumoured to be contemplating charging passengers to use the on board toilet facilities. The budget airline vows to offer low price basic tickets and then charges passengers for extras such as additional luggage, airport check in, on board snacks and for credit card payments. It is possible that Ryanair will adopt this new charging policy for the on board toilets, but I for one think this is stretching the definition of the term “extras” a little too far. It is too much to charge passengers to use the toilet because it is surely a human being’s right to go when they need to. Imagine a scenario whereby you do not have the cash to on you to go to the loo. Surely you would not be expected to hold it from say London to Madrid.

Ryanair have recently tried to squash any rumours, and have deemed them untrue. They state that the airline will not be introducing a pay per use toilet scheme in the near future.