Bmi regional increases baggage allowance and introduces new seat allocation service


Bmi regional has increased its baggage allowance and seating policy in an effort to simplify the booking process.

Passengers will see the standard complimentary baggage allowance increase to 23kg. They will also have the option to pre-book seats through the customer service centre or online up to 48 hours in advance. This will be charged at a fee of £8 for a standard seat or £15 for an exit row seat.

In addition, there will be an online option to pre-book extra luggage and sporting equipment, with the option of booking bags weighing up to 23kg for £40 each way, with sporting equipment pre-booked for £45 each way.

Additional bags can also be booked via the contact centre for a set fee or at airports for £80 each way, and sports equipment for £45 each way. Any excess baggage will be taken at airports only and remain at £10 per excess kilo. Extra luggage can be added via the ‘Manage My Booking’ section of the website up to four hours in advance of travel.


Photos of NASA moon landing to be auctioned in New York

Astronaut moon landing

Space lovers will have the chance to get their hands on a selection of breathtaking images of outer space from NASA’s archives.

Dating from 1965 to the 1980s, some 22 large-format photographs documenting various space missions will be auctioned at Swann Auction Galleries on February 14.

Selected from by independent curator Barbara Hitchcock and Peter Riva and approved by a number of the astronauts, the photographs have been organised into a travelling exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution titled Sightseeing: A Space Panorama, 1985.

Aside from the exhibition catalogue, many of the photos have never before been published by the space agency.

The images include more breathtaking and iconic views of astronauts Bruce McCandless, Buzz Aldrin, Charles Duke, and Ed White as they travelled through space taken during the Gemini IV, Apollo 11, Skylab 3, and STS-41-B (Space Shuttle Challenger) missions.

A range of abstract topographical views of the Earth, as witnessed from beyond its atmosphere are on offer

These are the only known Cibachrome (Ilfochrome) prints made from original NASA positives. They range in size from 19.5 x 19.5 to 20 x 24 inches. All the photographs were taken between 1965 and 1984 and printed around 1985.

With the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing approaching in 2019, the images are expected to attract bids in the region of US$15,000 to US$25,000.

The auction also includes an archive of six binders containing around 280 photographs depicting Apollo Missions 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17, from launch to splashdown. Images include iconic views of the Apollo 11 mission showing Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon for the first time, the memorable images of the plastic American flag, and Armstrong’s reflection in Aldrin’s helmet visor.

There are also multiple views of Earth as seen from outer space, and various photographs of astronauts performing scientific experiments on the moon’s surface. The estimate is US$7,000-10,000.

Trump Hotels CEO says company has pipeline of 17 Scion hotels


Trump CEO Says Company Has Deals in Works for 17 Scion Hotels

A Scion Hotel by any other name is still a Trump, and one may be coming soon to your destination city.

MarketWatch ( reports that Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger said at an industry conference that the company has letters of intent to open 17 Scion branded hotels, including in cities like Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas, Nashville, and New York. They will conspicuously not feature the name of founder and current U.S. President Donald Trump — a first for the hotel company.

The Scion brand was introduced during the waning weeks of the U.S. presidential campaign and touted as appealing to a younger demographic than Trump-branded properties.

Some hotel experts were skeptical of Danziger’s claims, saying that President Trump’s polarizing politics would make such deals a troubled proposition for some developers.

Trump currently has 14 hotels in the U.S., Canada, Central America, Europe, and Asia, including properties in Washington, D.C., New York, Miami, Hawaii, Chicago, Las Vegas, Virginia (the Albemarle Estate at Trump Winery), Vancouver, Toronto, Panama City, a golf resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, and the Trump Turnberry and McLeod House in Scotland.

British Airways expands summer flights from Manchester and Stansted


British Airways is to launch seven new routes from Manchester Airport this summer and three new destinations from Manchester’s sister airport Stansted.
From May the airline will begin summer-only direct flights from Manchester to the popular Spanish sunspots of Alicante, Malaga, Ibiza and Palma, the Greek island of Mykonos, Nice in the South of France and a weekly service to London City Airport.
In addition new flights from Stansted, part of the Manchester Airport Group, will launch to Florence, Geneva and Nice and there will be increased frequency on existing routes to Ibiza and Palma. Flights to Malaga and Faro will also resume for the summer.
All flights will operate on modern Embraer 190 jet aircraft, with spacious cabins and two abreast seating so every customer can have an aisle or window seat.
Club Europe and eligible Executive Club customers will also be able to use the rooftop British Airways Terraces Lounge at Manchester Airport. Club customers receive complimentary food and drinks on board, a generous free baggage allowance and free seat selection and on-line check-in.
All the new return British Airways flights from Manchester will operate once a week at weekends, with the exception of the Ibiza route which will operate three times a week, and will provide more than 35,000 extra seats from the North West.
British Airways currently operates up to 10 return flights a day between Manchester and London Heathrow.
Alex Cruz, British Airways CEO and chairman, said: “We are very excited to be launching all these new routes from Manchester and Stansted, providing customers with flights to the sun direct from their doorstep with British Airways. These are the destinations that our customers tell us they want to fly to so we look forward to a busy summer.
“In addition the Thursday night flight from London City, in the heart of the capital’s commercial district, will provide commuters with a valuable air link back to Manchester, with the return flight to London City on a Sunday.”
Basic each way fares from Manchester to Alicante, Ibiza, Nice and Palma from £49, to Malaga from and £59 and to Mykonos from £69 are available to book on
Notes to editors:
• All flights are on sale today on with the exception of the Manchester-London City flights which go on sale on February 21

Hampton by Hilton to open in Blackpool

Hampton by Hilton Blackpool

Hilton has announced plans to open a Hampton by Hilton Blackpool in 2018.

A five-minute drive from Blackpool airport, the 130-room hotel will be located within walking distance of Pleasure Beach, a popular amusement park on the coast. The hotel is part of a £31 million regeneration project that plans to build new office blocks, retail outlets, parking and additional tram stops between main train stations and the city centre. It will also be within walking distance of two tram stations providing access to the centre of Blackpool.

Commenting on the new opening Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, EMEA, Hilton said: “Blackpool is seeing major investment. The local council has successfully completed projects to upgrade the town’s promenade and reinvigorate its tram system.

“The regeneration continues with ‘Destination Blackpool’, the local council’s plan for 2015-2017, that aims to transform perceptions of the town into a quality year-round place for families. There is no better time, then, to introduce one of our fastest-growing brand in the UK, to one of Britain’s best known destinations.”

Hampton by Hilton Blackpool will join 18 Hampton by Hilton hotels in the UK. A further 16 Hampton by Hilton properties are currently under development in the UK.

Kimpton Hotels to add three US properties

The Living Room at The Everly

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced three new US properties for its growing Kimpton Hotels brand.

The Everly – located at the base of the Hollywood Hills – and La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood, will double the brand’s portfolio of hotels in Los Angeles, adding to the existing Hotel Palomar Los Angeles Beverly Hills and the Hotel Wilshire.

The two hotels are set to join the Kimpton brand this spring, and will be followed by a new property in Palm Springs later in 2017.

The Everly features 216 rooms a street-level café, and a fifth floor pool deck, while La Peer offers 105 rooms, rooftop events space, restaurant and a poolside fitness centre.

Commenting on the new additions Ed Virtue, Kimpton Hotels Area Director of Operations, SoCal – Los Angeles & Orange County, said:

“This is a very exciting time for us as we expand our Southern California influence. LA is an important region for Kimpton, and we will be uniquely positioned with four different hotels and restaurants throughout town offering the same uncompromising service our guests know and love.

As Kimpton continues to position itself as a key player in the Southern California marketplace, we’re excited to offer guests a variety of great locations while introducing some extraordinary hotel and restaurant offerings that are unlike anything else out there.”

Kimpton recently released more details about its forthcoming Amsterdam opening, and is set to open a Paris property, housed within a converted office building on Boulevard des Capucines and Rue Daunou.

Yotel to open first London city centre property

Yotel London Clerkenwell

Hotel chain Yotel is to open its first city centre property in Europe next year.

The group – best known for its compact cabin concept at airports including Gatwick, Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris CDG – will open a 212-room hotel in London’s Clerkenwell district in late 2018.

The property will be located on Clerkenwell Rd close to Farringdon station, which will be a hub on the Crossrail line when it opens in late 2018.

The hotel will feature signature facilities including adjustable “smart beds”, mood lighting, free wifi, smart TVs and monsoon rain showers, along with a Club Lounge offering “flexible meeting and co-working spaces that will be designed in keeping with the surrounding area”.

Other facilities will include a gym, bar, and an “independently operated dining outlet”.

Yotel opened its first airport property at Gatwick’s South Terminal in 2007, and in 2011 opened its first city centre hotel close to New York’s Times Square.

With further city centre properties planned for locations including Singapore, New York, Boston, Geneva, Miami and Dubai, the group last year rebranded its “capsule” airport offering under the name Yotel Air, to distinguish the product from its more traditional city centre hotels.

Commenting on the news Yotel’s CEO Hubert Viriot, said:

“We are more than ready to bring the Yotel city-centre concept home. Since the opening of our flagship in New York, we have been looking for the right opportunity and we finally found it in Clerkenwell.

“The mixed-use project, developed by Medina Investments, complements the Yotel brand perfectly. It’s dynamic, creative and forward-thinking and backed by a developer with acumen and vision.”

For reviews of existing Yotel properties, see the links below:

Detentions, protests at U.S. airports in response to Trump travel ban

New York Web

Detentions, Protests at U.S. Airports in Response to Trump Travel Ban


By Bob Curley


The Trump administration’s sudden ban on travel into the U.S. from certain Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East and Africa caused scenes of chaos in airports this weekend as some travellers were detained or turned back home and protestors, lawyers, and politicians turned up to oppose the ban.


Without prior notice, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on January 27, 2017 blocking entry into the U.S. from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The order caught many international travellers in transit, including U.S. legal permanent residents holding green cards, who were detained or turned away at the airport by U.S. Customs officials.


As news of the order spread, thousands of protestors gathered at airports to denounce the travel ban, which critics said unconstitutionally targeted people on the basis of their religion. A U.S. federal judge halted the deportation of travellers detained under the ban, and the Trump administration subsequently directed that green-card holders be allowed to reenter the U.S., and many were permitted to proceed to their destinations on Sunday night, according to published reports.


Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by President Trump on January 30, 2017 after she instructed the U.S. Justice Department not to support the travel ban in court, saying that it was not legally defensible. Her replacement, Dana Boente, quickly reversed Yates’ order and told Justice Department officials to uphold Trump’s “lawful orders.”


Protests were held at Kennedy International Airport in New York, Logan International Airport in Boston, O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut, Los Angeles International Airport, Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport, among others. Protests over the travel ban also erupted internationally, and a petition drive was launched in Great Britain to block a state visit by Trump until the order is rescinded.


President Trump claimed in a Twitter post that “only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning” and blamed the protestors and a computer glitch by Delta Air Lines for delays at the airports.



Iberia confirms premium economy launch routes

Iberia premium economy seat

Iberia has confirmed the first four routes will features it new premium economy product later this year.

Bookings are now open for premium economy seating on flights to Chicago and New York (starting in May), Miami (from August), and Boston (September).

Iberia is in the process of retrofitting the new seat onto 21 long-haul aircraft during 2017 and 2018 – eight A330-300s and 13 A340s. A further 16 A350s will be factory-fitted with the new product, when they are delivered “after 2018”.

The carrier announced its new premium economy seat in October last year, with features including a seat width of 19 inches (11.6 per cent more than in economy), a pitch of 37 inches (20 per cent greater than economy), 40 per cent more recline compared to economy, and a larger IFE screen (12 inches compared to nine in economy).

Other features will include adjustable head and foot rests, noise-cancelling headphones, and an “exclusive amenities kit”. Premium economy passengers will also benefit from priority boarding and disembarkation, an extra suitcase allowance, upgraded dining options and “other privileges”.

Commenting on the new seat Iberia’s chief commercial officer Marco Sansavini said:

“Our customers have a variety of preferences and priorities, and Iberia is adapting in order to meet all those needs. The new Premium Economy is designed to reach a new kind of traveller who seeks enhanced service before and during international flights, but does not wish to elect for business class.

“Our fares in the new intermediate class will appeal to a wide cross-section of customers, and the new class of service will be ideal for special trips and celebrations.”