If you want go abroad any time of the year, but not too far and where they speak English, Dublin is the place. There are plenty of flights from virtually every airport in the UK. Sister publication Business Travel News' Editor-at-Large Jeff Mills has been a regular visitor over the years. This is his review. Also take a look at www.visitdublin.com
If you are thinking of travelling anywhere outside the UK over the next few months, the golden rule is to consult the comprehensive British Foreign Office country listing and security warnings. Whilst Brits may now be free to fly anywhere, the destination country will have its own rules. Do check before leaving for the airport. Most airline desks will turn you away if the direct destination country will not make you welcome, but things can get complicated if making a connection.
Don’t get too excited with the Chancellor’s Budget announcement of changes in Air Passenger Duty (APD) payments. They are not expected to be brought in until April 2023. The tax applies to adult (aged 16 and over) passengers boarding a flight from a UK airport.
For trips of up to 2,000 miles (which covers Cyprus but not Israel), the current figure is £13. For UK domestic flights, the rate will halve to £6.50 but you will still be charged both ways, even if it is the same day.
Long-haul flights are currently subject to APD of £82 in Economy, already due to increase to £84 in April 2022. From 2023, trips of 2,000-5,500 miles will rise to £87, with trips over 5,500 miles subject to slightly higher tax, £91. You are taxed on the total length of the trip.
In Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class, rates are at least twice as high – until April 2022, £26 for short-haul and £180 for long-haul.
British Airways’ customers will be able to fly to more destinations across Africa, thanks to a new codeshare agreement with Kenya Airways. Interestingly BA is a member of oneworld with Kenya Airways part of Star Alliance. In times of crisis even old rivals get together.
Customers to Nairobi with British Airways will be able to seamlessly connect onto 20 destinations across East and Central Africa, including Addis Ababa, Douala, Entebbe, Lusaka, Mombasa and Zanzibar, as well as offering customers more options to get to popular holiday hotspots, Mauritius and Seychelles.
In the reciprocal agreement, customers flying with Kenya Airways to London, will now be able to connect onto 26 destinations across the UK and Europe that BA operates to, including Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Madrid and Milan.
BA currently offers four flights a week from Heathrow to Nairobi, operated by a four-class Boeing 777 aircraft, with cabins from World Traveller (Economy) right up to First (First Class). www.ba.com www.kenya-airways.com
Whilst it is recommended to check on the website the Aspire lounge at Belfast City Airport is now open from 05:00 daily until 19:30 daily (except Saturday when special timings apply).
Travellers who in pre-pandemic times have used the lounge will find it much larger now having taken over the previous British Airways area. It is open to Aspire card holders, BA Business Class travellers and others who are eligible, plus pay-as-you-go. The lounge overlooks the apron, just by Gate 4 and is a restful retreat before boarding.
The Aspire lounge is extensive and offers quiet corners for plugging in laptops and other electronic devices. Announcements are not made regarding aircraft departures, but plenty of information screens.