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Free drinks will be offered on Thomson long haul routes for economy passenger of the Dreamliner

Thirst class: economy passengers on Thomson Dreamliners will get complimentary drinks

Free drinks will be served to economy passengers on Thomson Airways long haul Dreamliner flights from this winter.

Plus the flying experience will improve further with upgraded in–flight entertainment featuring a wider choice of films, updated monthly.

The leisure carrier gets two more of the jetlag-busting Boeing 787s next summer, bringing the fleet to eight and it has added flights from Newcastle, Birmingham and Edinburgh to Manchester, Glasgow, Gatwick and East Midlands, so it now operates the aircraft from all seven of its long haul bases.

Airline boss John Murphy said: “The Dreamliner has certainly lived up to its promise to revolutionise long haul travel and is a major milestone in our journey of modernising the holiday experience.” .thomsonfly.com.

*Beefed up menus are being served by South African Airways with its new on-board catering partner DO & CO Event and Airline Catering Ltd.

The new meals in both business and economy cabins will be available on all flights from Heathrow to Johannesburg.

Posh passengers will get Loch Fyne smoked salmon, truffle tortellini, and parmesan and mango panna cotta, while down the back of the plane there’s Viennese paprika chicken, rigatoni with rosemary sauce, and carrot and banana cake with cheese and crackers.

Its new dishes will be supported by an award-winning South African wine list.

The airline will move from Heathrow Terminal 1 to the new Terminal 2 on October


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Student admits to bomb hoax on easyJet flight at Gatwick airport

easyJet flighStudent admits to bomb hoax on easyJet flight at Gatwick airport

Muhammet Demir awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to making false claims that bomb was on plane bound for Turkey
 The bomb hoax at Gatwick caused an easyJet flight to Izmir in Turkey being delayed for several hours. Photograph: Roger Bamber/Alamy

A student has admitted falsely claiming that an explosive was on a Turkish-bound flight at Gatwick airport.

Muhammet Demir, 20, called police saying a bomb was on an easyJet flight due to fly to Turkey just before 4.30pm on 9 September.

At that time the only easyJet plane to the Turkish port city of Izmir that day was taxiing on the runway with 170 passengers on board.

It had to be recalled to a remote stand where it was met by armed police at the airport in West Sussex before being given the all-clear.

The hoax resulted in the flight being delayed for three hours, Sussex police said. An all-forces alert was sent to police countrywide about Demir.

He was eventually arrested as he tried to board a flight to Luton airport. The Turkish national admitted what he had done but refused to divulge to police his reasons for carrying out the hoax.

At Brighton magistrates court on Saturday, he pleaded guilty to communicating a false message to cause a bomb hoax and was remanded in custody to be sentenced at a crown court on a date to be fixed.

Detective Inspector Andy Richardson said: “Fortunately we were able to quickly identify that this was a hoax call but it still caused considerable worry for airport and airline staff and passengers.

“Anyone considering making malicious calls of this nature should think long and hard about the consequences. We investigate fully all claims and threats like this and will not rest until we find those responsible.

“Making hoax calls not only wastes the time and money of members of the public and the emergency services but also delays us from responding to genuine emergencies.


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Michael O’Leary has reiterated his desire to offer budget flights to the US within a decade

ryanair-vuelos-menorca   Michael O’Leary has reiterated his desire to offer budget flights to the US within a decade, saying he hopes to offer transatlantic services before 2024.  

A spokesman for the carrier expanded on the proposal, which has previously been branded unworkable by rivals, and said that the flights could touch down in between 12 and 14 North American cities.“We would love to do transatlantic flights and the business plan is there,” a Ryanair spokesman said this morning. “The lowest fares would start from €10 and we would link 12 to 14 European cities with 12 to 14 US cities.”Ryanair said it requires the appropriate aircraft to go ahead with the proposal however.“It is entirely dependent on attaining long-haul aircraft at a viable cost and at the moment,” the spokesman said. “There is a shortage of available aircraft.”Last year O’Leary claimed that the €10 fees would not include baggage fees and extras.”There is an opportunity with the EU-US open skies to, on a fairly big scale, connect 15-20 European cities with 15 of the big U.S. cities almost from day one. But you need a fleet of 30, 40, 50 aircraft and not two, four or six,” he said.He added at the time that a long-haul service, for example, might feature a “premium” section, like those offered by Asia’s low-cost, long-haul carriers.Norwegian has recently claimed to be offering some of the cheapest transatlantic air fares on the market, with returns available, for fliers who can be flexible with their dates, from £149/€187 one-way.When it launched a new long-haul service from Oslo to New York in 2013, Norwegian faced criticism from passengers after it refused to serve food or water unless paid for using a credit card. The policy, used on Norwegian’s short-haul flights, was abandoned after some fliers were left hungry and thirsty for nearly 12 hours.Currently the carrier is offering a return from London Gatwick to New York from Tuesday, November 25 to Saturday, November 29, for £360.20/€452.


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Ryanair’s CEO puts on a show in Seattle

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary knows how to dress for aerospace success.Though ultralow-cost European airline Ryanair is well known for dismissing passengers who dare complain about its skimpy service, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary a year ago unexpectedly changed course and began a serious campaign to woo business travelers.

“Our reputation is a barrier to bringing new people to fly,” O’Leary said in an interview in Seattle on Tuesday. “We’ve been working very hard for the last 12 months to change some of the policies that used to piss people off.”

It’s part of the bold expansion plan O’Leary outlined this past week: to grow Ryanair’s traffic from 82 million passengers last year to 150 million in 10 years.

What policies were pissing people off?

Prohibiting a second carry-on bag; slapping exorbitant fees on families arriving at the airport with small children or with luggage a half-inch too wide; charging hundreds of dollars to print boarding passes at check-in.

And doing it all with a take-it-or-fly-elsewhere, we-don’t-care attitude.

“In the past, we were very obdurate about some of our policies,” said O’Leary. “We’ve learned to be … a little more sensitive to our customers.”

Can O’Leary successfully tweak the business model that has made Ryanair the most profitable airline in Europe?

Boeing surely needs the transformation to work. If all goes to plan, Ryanair will take an average of three 737s per month out of the Renton assembly plant for the next 10 years.

Manic energy

In Seattle this past week, O’Leary dazzled his audience of Boeing workers with his humor and manic energy.

He dived into the crowd around the airplane at Boeing Field like an out-of-control politician, shaking hands, hugging women, posing for photos and cracking jokes.

He wore a Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks jersey and on his head a silly plastic tiara appeared to sprout 737 MAX winglets out of his ears.

Given an outsized pair of golden scissors to cut the ribbon at the bottom of the stairs up to the new high-density model jet, he mugged for the photographers by putting the blades to his throat and claiming that this was the way Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Ray Conner negotiated pricing with him.

When he stepped up to the microphone to speak, he bounced up and down and starting chanting Beyoncé’s hit “Single Ladies,” earning him the title of the world’s most off-kilter and entertaining airline chief executive.

He’s also known for his profane, witty and biting attacks on politicians and aviation regulators who dare impose new taxes, fees or limits to his airline business.

In America, he tones it down just a bit.

In an interview at Boeing Field, he used the f-word only once, in reference to the failure by the Department of Transportation — under pressure from unions, U.S. airlines and Congress — to grant a license for trans-Atlantic service to Dublin-based Norwegian Air International.

O’Leary, who said he hopes in a few years to launch his own low-fare trans-Atlantic service, firmly supports the principles of the U.S.-European Open Skies treaty, even though back home Norwegian is his direct competitor.

“Those guys are flying 787s. They are supporting American jobs,” O’Leary said. “It’s a disgrace. Congress should be ashamed of themselves.”

No wider seats

But back to Ryanair. What’s behind this charm offensive?

London-based aviation analyst Chris Tarry said Ryanair, which until now has flown mainly leisure travelers content to land at secondary airports, has saturated that market.

“Its ability to stimulate low-fare growth … became exhausted,” Tarry said. “The focus had to change. They had to focus on attracting higher-value passengers who travel for business.”

Michael E. Levine, a former airline executive now on the New York University Law School faculty, said Ryanair must constantly convince the financial markets that it is growing.

“O’Leary has a bunch of people in the financial world telling him, ‘Nice what you’ve done. What’s next?’,” said Levine.

“Around the world, fast-growing low-cost airlines are coming up against growth limits,” said Levine. “They are trying to figure out how to diversify and at the same time trying to keep their unit costs down.”

Details of Ryanair’s offering to business travelers show it certainly intends to woo them without sacrificing its low costs.

The plane O’Leary took on Tuesday doesn’t feature any business-class seats.

Business travelers “don’t want a wider seat,” O’Leary said. “They want to show up, get through the airport quickly, get on an on-time flight and get where they want to go.”

With that mindset, Ryanair is offering business people a package that includes a fast-track line through security; seats at the front and back of the plane so they can exit first upon landing; and flexible ticketing so they can change flights without hefty fees.

It’s another twist on the strategy commonly used by airlines to charge for various revenue-enhancing ancillary services such as checked bags.

Airline analyst Levine is dubious that this offering will attract business travelers to switch from more standard airlines, even with the new 737 MAX 200 jets that O’Leary ordered last week.

The MAX will carry 197 passengers and feature a new light-filled interior and a tiny amount of extra legroom earned by removing the galleys fore and aft.

“The likelihood that you can move yourself upscale by putting 200 people on this airplane and saying, look, the decoration is nicer and you have an inch more legroom, that’s insufficient differentiation,” said Levine.

It will also begin to fly into more of the primary airports business travelers want to go to, competing head-to-head against the big European flag carriers.

O’Leary announced the 737 MAX 200 deal in New York last Monday specifically so that he could visit Wall Street to convince them his plan for rapid growth will be successful.

In Seattle a day later, he showed no doubts.

“The 737 MAX 200 is such a game-changing aircraft. We have such a cost advantage already. This gives us more seats,” O’Leary said. “Nothing should stop us from getting to 150 million passengers.”

The state of cider making

It’s still Washington Cider Week (yes, inexplicably, a 10-day week from Sept. 4 to 14). So who are the state’s largest cider makers?

Unfortunately the Washington State Liquor Control Board doesn’t track cideries separately from wineries or breweries.