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Neil Sowerby’s travel shorts 08/09/2010

Become a travel writer, plus new budget destinations and good travel search websites

Published on September 15th 2010.

Neil Sowerby’s travel shorts 08/09/2010

THIS could be your chance to roam the world as a roving reporter. Finnair have launched a search for four Quality Hunters, independent advisers whose task is to travel to various destinations in Europe, Asia and the US to investigate the elements that determine quality in travel.

The Quality Hunters’ mission will be to travel to cities in Europe, Asia and the US throughout October and November, assessing flights, airports and destinations.

The fortunate four will share their thoughts and adventures with the public through personal blogs on Rethink Quality, a website launched today which has been specifically designed to broadcast the Hunters’ opinions.As independent advisers to Finnair, they will also pass on their impartial views and recommendations to the airline on a regular basis throughout the two-month period.

Interested individuals are invited to find out more and submit their applications online at the Rethink Quality site at www.finnair.com. Applications will be accepted until September 26.

Visitors to Rethink Quality will be encouraged to follow the blogs and participate in the dialogue. At the end of the two months, followers will vote for the Top Quality Hunter. Readers who vote or comment on the blogs will get the chance to win intercontinental flights for two between Europe and Asia with Finnair.

Finnair, operating since 1923, operates the short and eco-efficient route, via Helsinki, between more than 40 European cities and 10 Asian metropolises and makes the Finnish carrier a major player in passenger traffic between the two continents.

Spoilt for choice seems to be the watchword for Manchester Airport.

As autumn arrives the airlines using our three terminals are already announcing new destinations and increased frequencies on established routes.

For those whose pockets don’t stretch to the A380 Airbus (click here) or the long distance routes east it serves, there are intriguing options from the budget operators.

Jet2.com has launched three new routes from Manchester for summer 2011 – to Larnaca and Paphos in Cyprus and the airport’s first ever link to to Brive in the Dordogne, Jet2’s 34th destination out of Manchester. Access to that corner of France, twice weekly May-September, will be a boon to many English expats with homes there. Prices will start from just £39.99 one-way, including taxes.

There will also be increased frequencies on flights to Venice, Pisa, Nice, Palma, Murcia, Malaga, Funchal and Monastir.

Flights to Paphos will be twice weekly throughout the summer, from April 6, with the Larnaca service departing every Saturday from May 14. Fares start from £69.99 one way including taxes. More details of all services and package holidays visit www.Jet2.com.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines' Manchester-Munich-Singapore service has reverted to daily from five days a week.

MONARCH customers travelling on scheduled flights can now check in for flights from the comfort of their own home via the airline's website, www.monarch.co.uk from 18 days up to 4.5 hours prior to departure. Previously it was just seven days. Now up to 20 per cent of scheduled customers take advantage of this to spend less time queuing at the Airport

Monarch managing director Tim Jeans said: "The 18 days will allow customers on a 14 night trip to check-in for both their outbound and return flights, and print off all their boarding passes prior to leaving the UK."

If seats have not been pre-allocated at the time of booking, this can be done during the check-in process with standard pre-book charges starting from £7.50. Alternatively, extra legroom seats, which offer an extra six inches of space, can be booked from £15 per flight.

Monarch operates scheduled flights to Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, Cyprus and Turkey from Manchester. For further information or to book Monarch flights, visit www.monarch.co.uk.

UK travellers have voted Lufthansa as their favourite short haul leisure airline in the Condé Nast Traveller 13th Annual Readers’ Travel Awards, awarding the airline top marks for punctuality, efficiency, service and staff.

The awards were announced following a poll conducted by questionnaires inserted in copies of the April 2010 issue of Condé Nast Traveller in the UK, and simultaneously posted on-line at www.cntraveller.com with the 40,000 replies then collated and analysed by independent market-research company, Market Management.

Marianne Sammann, Lufthansa General Manager UK & Ireland, commented: “Travellers appreciate Lufthansa’s ‘Mobility à la Carte’ offer – which includes an on board service of food and drink – with lead-in Economy Class one way fares from as little as £49, inclusive of all taxes and charges, through to our fully flexible top class Business Class products.”

The short haul leisure airline category provided a clean sweep for airlines within the Lufthansa group, bmi and Swiss being voted second and third respectively.

Viva Espana still?

WhichBudget.com, the cheap flights search engine, reports that Barcelona was the most searched for European flight destination in July from Manchester Airport. Alicante, gateway for the Costa Blanca, was second and the Spanish islands of Mallorca and Tenerife, third and fourth respectively with Malaga coming in fifth.

WhichBudget.com’s new streamlined interactive website – with its own Facebook and Twitter online community swapping ideas – claims to offer the simplest guide to which low-cost airlines fly where across the world.

THERE”S boost for online travel searching with the arrival of Get Back To Me, a new way to book B&Bs and independent hotels in the UK. I haven’t tried it out yet but it promises to save a lot of hassle, especially with last minute bookings.

This new iservice www.getbacktome.co.uk sources relevant accommodation providers with availability and allows them to get back to you directly – in just 10 minutes. The service is free and you can choose how you want to be contacted – by email, text or phone. Accommodation is spread throughout the UK, but the service clasimes to be strong in rural areas, making it especially useful for wedding guests, walkers and those looking to escape to the country.

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