Christmas is a time when many Britons choose to head abroad. But what can holidaymakers expect on their flights over the festive season?
BA passengers will be able to enjoy a Christmas on board. The airline will serve 66,000 Christmas dinners in total over the festive season. To be precise, 330,000 brussels sprouts will be prepped alongside 270,000 roast potatoes and 8250kgs of turkey.
A record number of mince pies will also be served, with nearly 100,000 of the festive treats given out to customers.
They will also offer up to 40 new Christmas films, TV show episodes and audio available, including popular favourites Elf and The Holiday.
Ryanair will not be offering flights on Christmas Day – the only day in the calendar when Ryanair does not fly.
The last flight on Christmas Eve will land at 5.55pm and they will resume on Boxing Day.
Virgin will be offering a full festive feast. “We always offer a full Christmas dinner onboard in all cabins,” an airline spokeswoman told Express.co.uk.
“Customers can tuck into roast turkey, potatoes, pigs in blankets and all the trimmings.”
The airline has also branched in the fashion sphere with their very own Christmas jumper.
“The jumper will be worn by all the cabin crew and airport teams over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Even founder Sir Richard Branson will be sporting one all the way from the Caribbean!” said the spokeswoman.
EasyJet, like Ryanair, has no flights on Christmas Day and will not be celebrating the holiday.
A spokeswoman told Express.co.uk: “There isn’t anything special of note” over the festive season.
Passengers travelling in Economy will be able to enjoy a festive menu – turkey roll with mashed potato, pan-fried Vienna Chicken Sausage, green peas, baby carrots and cranberry jus lié followed by milk chocolate mousse with cranberry compote topped with a reindeer chocolate button.
However, those in First and Business class will benefit from an even more superior feast – roasted turkey breast and apricot stuffing, roast potatoes with creamy brussels sprouts with turkey bacon and cranberry jus lié followed by festive sweets such as a chocolate Yule log garnished with meringue drops, chocolate stars and a Gingerbread Man or a Chocolate Mint dome decorated with snow fondant and a festive leaf served with crème anglaise.
Young flyers this festive season will also receive a chocolate lollipop featuring a reindeer with all children’s lunches and dinners.
No matter which airline or class holidaymakers are travelling this winter, passengers need to remember there are certain popular festive items they won’t be able to pack in their hand luggage.
For instance, brandy butter may start off solid but at the end of a flight it can turn into a liquid which means airlines count it as such, so again, it will have to be under 100ml to be able to fly with you. The same rule applies to camembert.
Christmas crackers are also a tricky item. Under heightened security measures, airlines such as Ryanair, Etihad, Emirates and Norwegian Airlines have all banned Christmas crackers.
Opinion: Are we ready for the tourism rebound?
Canadians are ready for the borders to be re-opened and will be flocking to sun destinations this winter like never before. The number of people who have said that they are ready to “get out of Dodge” and “fly the coop” is an indication that there is a pent-up demand for travel and excursions that has been bolstered by a two-year sabbatical from vacations of any semblance.
While Canadians are going to be heading south, we can expect some of our citizens as well as those from other nations to be looking to Canada for their adventure holidays. When the requirements for the two-week quarantines are lifted, we will be seeing a quick rebound of tourism as other countries who have already lifted their restrictions have seen.
But are we ready?
In 2019, tourism contributed $105 billion to the Canadian economy. Tourists from outside of Canada spent over $16 billion dollars. Those numbers were down considerably in 2020 and it is only natural that many people in the industry suffered as a result of the effects of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
While some folks, fearful of the spread of variants, believe that the borders should never be re-opened, the reality is that to save our tourism industry and the economy, we need tourist traffic from outside of Canada as well as interprovincial travel. As Canadian and foreign tourists start their migration towards our tourist and nature attractions, there is some hesitancy about the readiness of the industry to manage the coming tsunami of people.
Hit harder than many sectors, the tourism industry has been affected by the pandemic in ways that other industries haven’t. The closure of attractions, fairs, tour bus companies, sporting events, concerts and community events with any semblance of a large group has forced workers in this industry to look for jobs elsewhere to survive. As a result of this migration of talent there will be many tourism related businesses that will have difficulty scaling up to meet demand. According to Statistics Canada, 32 per cent of accommodation and food service companies expect that attracting workers is going to be an obstacle for them this year.
Even if you have some warm bodies to fill your positions, having well-trained staff will remain a problem for many tourism and food service companies. Most business leaders in the industry understand the result of having improperly trained staff working in positions serving the public. The consequences of poor customer service can be long lasting and devastating. Unfortunately, as a result of the constant opening up and shutting down scenarios that have been seen in the economy over the past 18 months, most operators have been reluctant to increase the staffing levels that will be necessary to meet demand. The consequences will be that there will be no other option but to have staff that are not fully trained or optimally equipped to take care of the flood of vacationers.
In order to adjust to the coming demand, tourism-related businesses will need to be prepared to hire and train new employees to promote and deliver their services. This should include systematization of training, hiring and onboarding processes to enable companies to get up to speed quickly when the demand starts.
While tourism deserves to have their days in the sun and profit from increased business, we need to recognize as Canadians that it takes a country to host visitors and we need to encourage and support those people in the industry who have been hit so hard.
COVID-19: Tourism bookings start increasing as B.C. opens up
Tourism in B.C. is restarting but don’t expect it to be the same as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
While B.C. Ferries is welcoming recreational travellers and relaxing its mask requirement at terminals, face coverings will still be mandatory on board whenever you’re not in your vehicle.
Several Indigenous tourism businesses and locations that were closed to visitors are planning to reopen July 1.
“Everyone needs to travel with a great deal of patience,” Everett said from Nanaimo. “Most businesses are running at a fraction of capacity of what they did prior to COVID.”
Many tourism sector workers have left the industry and found work elsewhere, Everett said. Particularly hard hit are restaurants that can’t find kitchen workers and companies doing tourism-related activities such as kayaking.
He said the benefits of tourism won’t be evenly distributed.
Last year, Victoria struggled all summer long and while bookings for accommodation have increased, some of the city’s restaurants are only open for lunch, others only for dinner.
“This is all going to take time to build up,” Everett said.
“Frankly, I think it will take years. This summer, bookings are going up, that’s what we’re been waiting for. It’s not going to be the exact same experience you were used to prior to the pandemic. I hope people remember and recognize that.”
Mountain biking the Sea to Sky Trail
With the 700-metre granite dome of the Stawamus Chief as a backdrop, my friend, Ken, and I climbed on our bikes in Squamish and began pedalling north. Our destination was Whistler, an uphill trek of some 80km that we hoped to cover in two days.
It would be easier to ride the opposite way—from Whistler to Squamish—because it’s downhill. But it wouldn’t be the Sea to Sky Trail if we rode that way. Besides, how hard could an elevation gain of more than 600 meters be?
I have driven the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler many times. It’s arguably one of the best drives in Canada, but when I learned about the Sea to Sky Trail, I knew I needed to experience it on a bike. It’s a slower pace, and largely away from the highway, so it would allow us to appreciate the journey—the valleys, river gorges, lakes, and forests—in a way you can’t in a car.
While the Indigenous peoples of the Coast Salish and Interior Salish have used this corridor as a historic travel and trade route, the idea of a multi-purpose Sea to Sky Trail was first imagined in the early 1990s. But given the geographical and funding challenges, it’s only been in the last decade or so that the vision of the 180km trail from Squamish to D’Arcy, north of Pemberton, has been realized.