KLM Updates European Baggage Policy

KLM Flying BlueSadly all good things come to an end as when KLM introduced the paid option for check-in baggage in May 2013, initially KLM airline waived the fee for Flying Blue Ivory (frequent flyer) members. But they have just announced that the paid check-in baggage policy has been reviewed for Ivory members travelling within Europe on a KLM Economy Class ticket and it’s not quite so good.

 

What’s new for Flying Blue Ivory Members?
Instead of a free check-in bag, now all Ivory members only receive a 50% discount on their first check-in baggage when booking a European flight as of 1 October 2014. You can check in the first piece of baggage for €7.50 (each-way) by booking it before arriving at the airport. Checking in one bag at the airport costs €15 (each-way). But they have advised that this fee can also be paid with 1,500 Miles through MyTrip section within their website.

So they have advised that passengers still have the choice to travel very light, with one item of hand baggage and one accessory with a maximum combined weight of 12kg in the cabin free of charge for the moment.

KLM have advised in addition, this revised baggage policy for Flying Blue Ivory members does not apply to:

  1. European Economy Class tickets booked and issued before 1 October 2014
  2. Fully flexible tickets (booking class Y or B) within Europe
  3. European Economy Class tickets booked with Award Miles (award tickets)
  4. Travels on intercontinental KLM flights
  5. Those on any membership level above “basic” ivory…
Update on KLM’s European baggage policy

They included this lovely little infographic to explain how the new baggage policy works

 

UK Airport Transfers Guide

1D72 1245 London Victoria to Gatwick Airport - Joshua Brown

1D72 1245 London Victoria to Gatwick Airport – Joshua Brown

After a recent trip to London where I didn’t plan a head and didn’t end up picking the cheapest or quickest option and made me think how there wasn’t a decent guide that I recalled seeing recently.  Often many discount airlines don’t often fly to Heathrow so I felt it would be useful to have a guide for several British and one Irish airport so you can book a cheap flight and not get caught out not knowing the price of the airport transfer.

London (Heathrow Airport) to Central London

There are also plenty of bus/shuttle options but because of how bad London traffic can be I would suggest taking one of following train options.  If you are in a rush the fastest option is the Heathrow Express to London Paddington which takes 15 minutes and a one-way standard-class fare is £26 on board or £21 if pre-booked online. I’d usually advise to take the Heathrow Connect which while it takes about twice as long but a one-way fare only costs £9.90.

But if you are really on a shoe-string budget you can catch the London Underground to Central London for just £5.50 but the downside is it takes close to an hour and during peak hours you will have to deal your bags knocking into a packed carriage full of somewhat unimpressed locals. But if you are travelling in a group of 3-4 people and have a heap of luggage then it is a smart option if you share a London taxi which will cost around £45 – £70 but the journey time is approximately one hour making it the slowest option.

London (Gatwick Airport) to Central London

There is a great low-cost easyBus service every 15 minutes with prices from £2, along with several National Express bus services to London, Oxford, Heathrow and Brighton.  The Gatwick Express is a direct rail service to Victoria station with a one-way pass costing £19.90 and takes just 30 minutes, if you book online and buy a return pass you can save a fair bit.

London (Stansted Airport) to Central London

There are several low costs bus services departing from Stansted including easyBus from £2, Terravision from £6 and National Express tickets from £8.50. The Stansted Express takes around 47 minutes between the airport and London Liverpool Street with ticket prices from £12 when two or more people travel and just £8 for groups of four or more.

London (Luton Airport) to Central London

There are over 70 transfers a day with National Express from £5 with the trip taking around 65 minutes with free Wi-Fi onboard.  If you are looking for a cheaper option there is the easyBus option to Baker Street with prices from £2 with all tickets available from the Onward Travel Centre in the Arrivals area.

Glasgow Airport to Glasgow Central

The best option is to buy your train tickets online and in advanced but to get to the nearby Paisley Gilmour Street Station you will need to catch a taxi or the McGills bus service, a one-way train fare starts from £3.30 and takes around 49 minutes if there are no delays. Another option that is faster, easier and more frequent is the First 500 Glasgow Shuttle that offers a direct service that takes around 25 minutes and has free WiFi access and a one-way ticket costs £6.

Edinburgh Airport to Edinburgh City Centre

The easiest way to travel between the Airport and the City is one of 3 bus services as the two main railway stations Waverley & Haymarket are in the city centre.  The first option is the Airlink 100 that runs from the airport to Waverley Bridge (near Princess Street) takes around 30 minutes and costs £3.50 for a one-way ticket or £6 for a return pass. If you are catching an early morning or late night flight then the Night bus N22 is a great option and takes just 28 minutes, running via South Gyle to the city centre and onto Ocean Terminal in Leith and runs seven nights a week from 00:47 and 04:17 for £3. The final option is Service 35 run by Lothian Bus that takes around 60 minutes and costs just £1.5 for a one-way fare.

Birmingham Airport to Birmingham 

Birmingham Airport is connected to Birmingham International Station via a free “Air-Rail Link” monorail system, and it’s a direct train to Birmingham New Street that only takes 10 minutes and only costs £3.30. There are also 3 bus services departing from the Airport Terminal or from the Birmingham International Interchange via the free “Air-Rail Link” and tickets can be purchased on the bus or from the Visitor Centre located in Arrivals.

Manchester Airport to Manchester

The First TransPennine Express trip takes around 15-25 minutes from just £4.10, but remember pre-booking online will save you over 50% on a full priced rail pass. National Express offers a airport coach service with fares from £3.90 but can take up to 90 minutes and there are also several local bus services including a 24 hour bus service (Number #43) that you can consider using.

Dublin Airport (Aerfort Bhaile Átha Cliath) to Dublin City

There are no current direct rail link options between the airport and the city but there are over 1,000 buses & coaches daily that makes it easy to get almost anywhere across Ireland.  The easy option is the AirCoach Route 700 from Terminal 1 & 2 to Dublin City Centre from €7.00 one-way or €12 return and takes around 24 minutes.

There is also the alternative Dublin Bus that goes from Dublin Terminal 1 to D’Olier Street, Ashfield House in the centre of Dublin that costs €6 and can take up to 55 minutes.  If you are staying on the west side of Dublin near the Guinness Storehouse then one option is the Airlink that costs €6 each way between Heuston Rail Station and Dublin Airport.

TIP >> Book online early and save money!

The big advice is to book your airport transfers as soon as you have booked your airfares and know which hostel you are staying in.  I usually advise to catch the train as they are faster, more spacious but the lure of free WiFi on the bus services is sometimes a deal that is too good to pass up.

 

25 Million Overnight Stays in Berlin

Visit Berlin TourismThe VisitBerlin team have ended 2013 with a bang as they have announced a new visitor record and the first time in history that the city has had over 25,000,000 overnight stays in the city.  It’s a great success for the Berlin tourism team and they expect to pass more than 26 million overnight by 11,000,000 individual guests visits to Germany’s capital by the end of 2013.

The figures also include a large number of domestic visitors who account for around 571.% of the cities guests. The big growth in visitors has come from Eastern Europe, Arab Gulf States and the APAC region along with traditional markets of USA, UK and western Europe.

The success of Visit Berlin efforts have resulted in annual growth of 8.4% to the German capital placing the city as the fastest growing destination in Europe.  Berlin is regarded as the third most popular destination after London and Paris.

Each overnight guest will spend an average of €204.70 each day while in Berlin making tourism and the convention industry the most important economic industries in the capital. If you are travelling to Berlin we recommend you book ahead of time to get the best deal on accommodation.

You can find out more facts & figures from their official press area.

Rail Europe Cuts Commission further

Rail EuropeI’m not sure if there are any major implications of posting this letter sent to me as part of Rail Europe affiliate program but there are several aspects about this email really annoy me as an affiliate.  The big issue is how Rail Europe is communicating the change and how potential affiliates are having to deal with decreasing margins in a increasingly difficult travel market.

I understand that businesses have to take hard decisions but with the average price of many tickets increasing it seems to be a double bonus for Rail Europe, where I would expect they would be able to keep their businesses sustainable based on the higher commissions they would earn overall.

It’s the second year in a row that they have lowered the commission and for some affiliates the failing rates might raise some alarm bells if their own businesses are also under performing because of industry changes and Google algorithm impacts. The big item that stood out was the expectation that Rail Europe would see a 22% growth in their turnover during 2014? Would that be so high if they didn’t cut affiliate commissions during 2013 and 2014.

——————————————– affiliate letter below —————————————

Dear Partner,

Years are becoming more and more challenging and as we told you last year, carriers keep on lowering their commission. We lowered our commission by 0.5 points on January 1st, 2013 and this year, we have no other choice than to lower it again by 0.5 pt, effective on January 1st, 2014. We know this is hard news for you, but unfortunately this is the only way to keep the business sustainable. Please rest assured we at RE4A are keeping ourselves aware of the market standards and making sure our commission is still among the highest commissions in the train travel market.

Despite the 0.5% decrease last year, we have all together been able to achieve great results this year. We thank you sincerely for all you hard work. On our side, we have developed new tools (a travel book offering useful information to our clients, a coupon book offering great deals), created a mobile app so that one has all required travel information in one?s pocket, launched the Trenitalia direct connection offering great prices and e-ticketing. As well we have done a rehab of our website increasing the conversion rate and offering a better user experience to our clients. We have also animated our website with numerous promotions offering always the best prices.

We expect a 22% growth of our turnover for 2014. In order to achieve these ambitious results we plan on launching the DB direct connection as well as a mobile website and the second version of the Mobile App. Another key project for us will be to redevelop the sales dialog!
We hope 2014 to be all the more successful thanks to these developments and to your hard work as always!

We value our partnership and we look forward to making 2014 even more prosperous!

Yours sincerely,
The Rail Europe Team

Hawaiian & China Airlines Frequent Flyer Partnership

logo Beginning the 15th December 2013 members of HawaiianMiles & Dynasty Flyer frequent flyer programs are able to earn or redeem miles earned on either Hawaiian Airlines or China Airlines.

The airlines are offering codesharing flights which allow for travellers to have seamless check-in on a single ticket when travelling between Hawaii, North America and major destinations in Asia.

 

“Through our partnership with China Airlines, we are extending our network and increasing the value of HawaiianMiles to allow members to earn miles and access award travel to more than 15 new cities around the world that Hawaiian doesn’t currently serve,” said Vicki Nakata, Hawaiian’s managing director of partnerships and travel products. “We look forward to welcoming a new stream of Dynasty Flyer members onboard to experience our signature onboard hospitality.”

In addition to the codeshare agreement, the airlines also completed an interline agreement that allows for seamless travel to additional destinations in Asia such as Okinawa, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, and Jakarta.

Through the arrangement, travelers can book single-ticket travel combining flights on both carriers and also enjoy one-stop check-in with bags checked through customers’ final destinations.

Source: Hawaiian PR