Strikes, mechanical failure, and air tax… what a week for the travel industry!

Well, they say it comes in three’s and for the travel industry, it certainly has been a week of bad news!

In just one day, not only was there the bad news that Carnival has had to cancel 12 more cruises following mechanical failures in four of their ships, there was also the Chancellor’s budget in which he confirmed that Air Passenger Duty (APD) is going to increase as of 1st April… not good news.

Unfortunately for Carnival, this week’s cancellations weren’t the first; Carnival Triumph was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for 4 days in February, having been the victim of an engine room fire.  The fact that the ship will not be back in service until at least the beginning of June has resulted in the cancellation of 10 cruises.  And then there’s the Carnival Sunshine which is going through a refurbishment process, which now won’t be back in service until the beginning of May, forcing the cancellation of 2 cruises.  Since then, the Carnival Dream, the Carnival Legend and the Carnival Elation have all been the subject of mechanical failure.   Gerry Cahill, Chief Executive at Carnival, said: “The changes we are implementing are focused primarily on improvements to support continued power and hotel services should unexpected issues arise.  We sincerely regret cancelling these cruises and disrupting our guests’ vacation plans.”

The fact that the Chancellor didn’t cancel the impending rise on APD was not really much of a surprise, either for the industry or anyone else, but his action has raised the criticism that he has put “beer before aviation.”  Whilst the proposed increase in APD was announced last year, it was not due to take effect until this April.  Passengers flying after 1st April could end up paying up to £376 every time they fly from a British airport.  The only ‘saving grace’ is that travellers visiting continental Europe won’t be subject to the increase in APD. 

And just when we thought that was enough bad news for one week, Lufthansa today (21st March) announced the cancellation of almost 700 flights due to their ground staff taking industrial action.  Members of the ver.di union started a 7-hour walk-out at 5.00am on Thursday, which subsequently affected flights at several major airports including Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne.  Most of the airline’s short-haul and domestic flights have been cancelled in the hope that they can keep their long-haul schedule going.  The strikes have been called by the union in response to Lufthansa’s intention to freeze pay and force their employees to work an extra hour per week; they are hoping to cut costs as competition is increasing from Middle Eastern and low cost airlines.

Indeed, not a good week for the travel industry…

However, at Heathrow Gatwick Transfers, we believe in making sure that all our taxis and chauffeur-driven cars are always in excellent condition, and ready to take you to the right destination.  We also believe in making sure that the service we offer our customers is of the highest quality, is highly competitive, affordable and meets your expectations.  Our fleet of well-maintained, spacious, chauffeur-driven cars are able to carry from one to eight passengers, plus luggage and check-in luggage!  We also offer a FREE Meet & Greet service so you can rest assured that your chauffeur will be there waiting to help you from the moment you arrive, to the moment you depart.  And if you’re flight or ship is running late?  No problem, our FREE waiting time service ensures that we will check your arrival and departures times so that we are there to meet you.

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