In Case You Missed It, here are just a few highlights from this week in Travel News. And, in case you missed it, you’re enjoying Issue Number One, 28 November to 5 December 2015. There is so much that happens in the travel industry every week, and only a portion of it makes it to TravelLatte or other travel blogs. We’ll try to capture the highlights each week with this new recurring feature. Please let us know you like it with a comment!
Are You Not Entertained?
Apparently, we are not. As of November’s end, Gladiators and Centurions are banned from Rome’s historic Colosseum. Yea, the very venue of their glory now shuns the often aggressive imposters cajoling tourists into commemorating their visit with a “unique and special” selfie. (And pocketing a quick 10 Euro in the process.) Also banned are touts for tour tickets, and bicycle-rickshaw drivers, all no longer allowed to operate in the historic Forum and Colosseum area.
The move by city commissioner Francesco Paolo Tronca comes just before the Catholic Jubilee Year, which begins 8 December. He cited security concerns and protection for tourists, but the decree comes amid efforts to tidy up parks and piazzas across the Eternal City for the Jubilee.
Millions of pilgrims flooded Rome for the last event, in 2000. This year, Pope Francis declared an Extraordinary Jubilee Year for the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The celebration Jubilee year starts on 8 December, and lasts until the Feast of Christ the King in November 2016. If you plan to visit Rome during that time, be prepared for more than the usual horde of visitors. But, at least, you won’t have to worry about Gladiators attacking you at the Colosseum.
Gotta Get Back to the Future
Yes, that is a TWA plane on the runway. No, this is not 1999. Although, if you’re an extreme fan of vintage aircraft liveries, you may want to party like it is.
Last weekend, American Airlines put the finishing touches on its Heritage Livery, nine aircraft paying homage to the airlines that have gone into American over the years. The project began in 2014, and wrapped up last weekend as the Air Cal Heritage plane rolled onto the runway. Also back in service in November were TWA and Reno Air.
The Heritage tradition was started by US Air after its 2005 merger with America West, and it’s become widely popular with employees and passengers alike. Of course, several more airlines were absorbed along the way than are reflected in the new liveries. US Airways absorbed at least seven carriers before being folded into “the new American,” where it joined four other legacy carriers.
If you’re keeping track and trying to find the whole fleet, the Heritage Livery planes (and the year they joined American/US Airways) are listed below. Of course, the true airline fanatic will be collecting the heritage amenity kits handed out to lucky Business and First Class flyers.
- Air Cal (AA 1987)
- Allegheny (US Airways 1957)
- American Airlines “Double Eagle” (Affectionately known as the Meatball)
- America West (US Airways 2005)
- Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) (US Airways 1988)
- Piedmont Airlines (US Airways 1989)
- Reno Air (AA 1999)
- Trans World Airlines (TWA) (AA 2001)
- US Airways (AA 2013)
IHG Lands at Heathrow
InterContinental Hotels Group has announced an exclusive agreement with Heathrow Airport, to develop two hotels directly connected to London Heathrow Terminal 4. The two adjoining hotels, Crowne Plaza London – Heathrow Terminal 4 and Holiday Inn Express London – Heathrow Terminal 4, are due to open in 2018. The new hotels will operate under a franchise agreement with IHG and will be managed by Arora Hotels, a division of The Arora Group.
100% More IHG
Speaking of IHG, the hotel group is once again offering 100% Bonus Points when purchasing points, through 11 December. You must purchase points in 1,000 point increments, and the price goes down as you purchase in bulk:
- 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
- 11,000 – 25,000 points for $12.50 per 1,000 points
- 26,000 – 60,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points
At the top end of $11.50 per 1,000 points, that works out to $0.00575 per point. Is it worth it? Lucky at One Mile at a Time analyzed it well when this offer was available in the fall of 2014. In short, it could be worth it. At most, IHG Reward Nights will set you back 50,000 points/night. At these special rates (which are the same as they were last year, by the way), you could get 100,000 points for $575; that’s enough for two nights at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand for New Year’s Eve, for example, where the Best Flexible Rate is $571/night. So yes, the value is there.
The limit is 60,000 pts + 60,000 Bonus Points for $690. It’s a nice way to quickly build up your balance if you are (or would like to be) an IHG Rewards Club member. It’s worth noting that Rewards Club members can only buy up to 60,000 points per year, so doubling up in December is not a bad idea, providing you will use them.
A Viking Returns to North America
A year after making its ocean cruising debut, Viking Ocean Cruises is cross the Atlantic for the first time. The European cruise line will sail first to Canada, then down the eastern seaboard en route to their winter cruising grounds in the Caribbean. From October 2016 through February 2017, the Viking Star will home port in San Juan and sail the West Indies Explorer. The passengers will visit the Lesser Antilles and Leeward Islands on 11 day round-trip itineraries. The Viking Star returns to Europe with a San Juan to Barcelona crossing. You can read more about it here.
They don’t call it GREAT Britain for nothing!
Can’t get enough of Great Britain? Then Visit Britain the GREAT Britain campaign have just the thing for you: Imagination, a new magazine aimed at inspiring even more people to visit the nation.
At a time when the number of international visitors breaks record after record, do they really need a magazine to draw even more tourists? Probably not, but we’re looking forward to it anyway. The magazine promises to showcase why Britain is an ideal place to vacation, study and do business by profiling iconic people, places, and things to do that make Britain great.
For example, Issue Number One features Highclere Castle in Berkshire, known outside of Britain as the setting for Downton Abbey, and TV host Bear Grylls will talk about studying in the UK. Plus, profiles on places to shop, dine, and have a jolly good adventure. (Sorry, it’s a rule that any article about Great Britain must include the words “jolly good”.)
The magazine is available in print and digital formats in ten languages, and you can download it for FREE right here. While you’re there, be sure to enter their giveaway for a theatre trip to London. Enjoy and good luck!