Don’t get caught out – always use a Gatwick Approved Operator for meet and greet parking

Gatwick meet and greet parking made the headlines last week for all the wrong reasons.

The BBC Wales’ X-Ray programme revealed what happened when the Burns family entrusted their car to Gatwick valet parking company RS09.

According to the programme – which can be viewed here for the next 21 days – when the Burns family returned from holiday, their car was not waiting for them.

After initially being told his car wouldn’t start, Mr Burns found out, Five hours after his return, that his car had in fact been stolen by a rogue employee.

Almost a month later, having spent more than £1,000 on car hire, the Police informed Mr Burns that his car had be found in a car park near Horsham.

Airport meet and greet parking is an extremely convenient way to park your car, especially if you have young children, so rather than allow stories like this to deter you from using the service, it’s wise to learn how to spot the reputable companies.

How to safeguard your vehicle when using Gatwick meet and greet parking:

Always use a Gatwick Approved Operator. In July 2013, Gatwick Airport established its Approved Operator scheme for meet and greet parking companies in an attempt to regulate the industry and protect its travellers.

Gatwick Airport states on its website:

“Gatwick Airport strongly advise against using any parking supplier who is not an Approved Off-Airport Parking supplier as these other companies may not have any industry accreditation.”

All Gatwick Approved meet and greet parking companies, of which there are currently 13, have

  • Been inspected and approved by Trading Standards, and been awarded their Buy With Confidence award
  • Have had their car parks inspected by the Police to ensure that they are secure – car park checks are made annually to ensure standards are maintained
  • CRB checked all their staff

If a meet and greet car parking company is good enough for Trading Standards and Gatwick Airport, it should be good enough for you too!

At the time of writing, the following companies hold Gatwick Approved Status:

  • ABC Gatwick
  • Airparks
  • APH
  • Cophall Parking
  • Diamond Parking
  • ECO Parking
  • Help Me Park
  • I Love Meet and Greet
  • Just Valet Parking
  • Maple Manor
  • Meteor Meet and Greet
  • Ace
  • Tudor Rose

But if you want to double check, visit on of the following sites:

Manchester Airport To Stage Emergency Operation

Manchester Airport is to conduct an emergency exercise this Thursday, 5th March, so all procedures and services can be tested for emergency situations.

Required by the Civil Aviation Authority every two years, the airport will carry out a situation as if an aircraft has come off the runway.

Flights throughout the exercise will operate as normal, as it will be carried out on runway two and therefore will not affect the airport’s day to day operations.

Speaking about the emergency operation, Rad Taylor, Manchester Airport’s Operations Director, said, “The exercise presents a challenge we hope we would never actually have to experience in reality, but we have to regularly train and be confident we have the plans and procedures in place to deal with any emergency situation.
We don’t want to give too much about the exercise scenario away, as we want it to be as real as possible for the staff involved, however we wanted to let people know beforehand that this was happening and reassure local residents and airport users that there is no cause for concern on the night.

Whilst the aircraft being used will not actually be off the runway, a full emergency response will still take place to act out the scenario, so passengers may see blue light activity from our emergency services colleagues. A number of staff and partner agencies from across the airport site will be taking part, however full resources will remain in place outside of the exercise should anything happen in ‘real life’ that requires their response.”

easyJet to Axe Gatwick to Newcastle Route

From 27th March, easyJet are to axe their Gatwick to Newcastle route.

The reason? Not enough substantial interest from Londoners. The 11 flights a week service was not commercially viable and therefore will be terminated.

Newcastle Airport has expressed its disappointment, but hopes Newcastle passengers will take heed from the new Stansted to Newcastle service to be introduced by Flybe from 29th March.

Southampton Airport Posts Record Passenger Numbers

In 2014, Southampton Airport saw passenger numbers of 1,830,257, making it a record year.

The growth in passengers equated to 6.2% higher than the previous year.

The largest growth was the Blue Islands route to the Channel Islands, which saw passengers rise by 16.6%.
Other popular and growing routes included Manchester, Belfast, Newcastle, Dublin, Amsterdam, Malaga, Verona and Geneva.

Speaking about the positive results, Managing Director of Southampton Airport, Dave Lees, said, “2014 was a strong year at Southampton Airport with passenger numbers at their highest level since 2008. The growth was driven by higher numbers of passengers per aircraft, especially with Flybe, plus strong demand to and from the Channel Islands.”

2015 looks set to be an impressive year also, as the airport has already secured several new summer routes. Flights to Milan and Corsica with Flybe are now available, whilst Eastern Airways are to fly to Lorient and to kick of the festive season, additional flights are being added to Lapland by Canterbury, Transun and Santa’s Lapland.

Additional Glasgow to the Isle of Man Flights

From 1st May, Citywing will be operating 11 return weekly flights from Glasgow to the Isle of Man.

The additional flights have been added as part of the airline’s summer 2015 schedule.

The airline, which prides itself on offering the only direct flight between the two Celtic communities, also guarantee the lowest prices.

Prices start from just £49.95, including taxes and charges.

The increase in the flights is expected to appeal to both business and leisure travellers.

Speaking about the service, Managing Director of Citywing, David Buck, said, ‘We are delighted to be able to increase our services to Glasgow this summer and believe we have covered all the bases with the changes in our scheduling. Our business passengers can now take advantage of a day return whilst the leisure traveller can enjoy short breaks off the Island with weekend travel now being more available. With support from the Isle of Man Government, we will also be promoting the Island as a destination in Glasgow, which will be a further benefit to the Island.’

Corporate Travel Deals With Ethiopian Airlines

The UK business market can benefit from two new incentive schemes with Ethiopian Airlines this year.

The airline has created two new loyalty programmes for individual business travellers and corporations.

Regular business travellers, by joining the frequent flyer programme – ShebaMiles – can sign up to the Corporate Bonus Programme, whereby 100% of the miles are added to a miles collector scheme each and every time a flight is taken. Miles can then be redeemed against future flights and upgrades.

What’s more, companies of the business traveller can also earn points each and every time an employee travels, enabling them to also earn miles to use for future business travel.

In addition, the new Corporate Incentive Programme sees members enjoy a range of upfront discounts and cash incentives.

Ethiopian Airlines is the ideal carrier for the business market, offering priority and online check-in as standard, additional baggage allowance, security fast track and full lounge facilities at a number of international airports.

Runway on the Runway Kids’ Cancer Charity Event at Manchester

Runway on the Runway is returning for its second year at Manchester Airport this March, having raised a staggering £40,000 last year!

On 27th March 11 schools and collages from the North West will take to the unique runway; under the legendary wings of Concorde, sponsored by Thomas Cook Airlines.

Created by the North West Teenage Cancer Trust’s Ambassador, Margo Cornish, the event is hosted to raise awareness amongst young people to the early signs of cancer. Which according to research carried out by the Trust is at its lowest awareness levels in the North West compared to the rest of the UK.

The fashion show sees the likes of top end brands such as Little Mistress, Coast, BCBG, Lipsy, Manchester fashion brand Boohoo.com, Mori-Lee, Quiz, Kurt Geiger, Marks and Spencers and local celebrity designer Vicky Martin take to the runway; whilst hair and beauty are taken care of by Harvey Nichols Manchester and Trevor Sorbie respectively.

Tickets are now on sale, and can be purchased for £25pp at www.runwayontherunway.co.uk

Speaking about the event, North West Teenage Cancer Trust Ambassador, Margo Cornish said, “Around 500 young people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the North West and greater awareness leads to speedier diagnosis and better prognosis. The theme of the show is prom, which is the most anticipated event on most young people’s social calendar, it’s a sort of coming of age, a time to get dressed up and feel like an adult. So what better way to capture the attention of this important key demographic and get the important health message across at the same time.
The event provides pupils with the opportunity to get unique on the job experience with which can provide a huge boost to their CVs and university applications.”

New Iraqi Airways Routes From Manchester

National flag carrier of Iraq, Iraqi Airways, has announced it is to launch two new weekly routes from Manchester Airport.

The airline will fly between Manchester and Sulaymaniyah from 15th March. The airline will also fly from Manchester to Erbil.

The Sulaymaniyah service will fly each Sunday, departing Manchester Airport at 10pm, whilst the Erbil service will fly every Wednesday, departing at 10pm – both services will be operated using a brand new Boeing 737-800.

Tickets are now on sale online, with prices starting from £383pp.

Speaking about the two new flights, Chief Commercial Officer at Manchester Airports Group (MAG), Ken O’Toole said, “We are pleased to welcome Iraqi Airways to Manchester Airport and further increase the options and choice for passengers travelling to and from the Middle East. Manchester is now the only airport outside of London to offer these routes with Iraqi Airways, and confirms the national role played by our airport. With Manchester already having two runways and a catchment area of 22 million people living with two hours of the airport, we have the capacity to support airlines that have ambition to grow in the UK.”

Whilst Iraqi Airways General Manager UK, Saad Al-Khafaji, added, “We are looking forward to working with everyone at Manchester Airport to offer passengers the opportunity to fly direct to Iraq. With a strong Kurdish community across the region in the North and West Midlands, we are sure the route will prove to be popular.”

New Edinburgh to Doha Service

A daily direct service between Edinburgh and Doha has been announced by Qatar Airlines, increasing their current frequency.

The new daily, 7 days a week, service will operate from 1st May, having operated only 5 times a week.

The airline will fly a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, carrying both Business Class and Economy seating. The larger aircraft will mean that even more passengers can take advantage of the 146 worldwide destinations available from Qatar Airways via Doha, out of Hamad International, the airline’s global gateway hub.

The daily service will depart Edinburgh – QR 028 – at 13:45, arriving in Doha at 23:45.
Whilst the return flight – QR 027 – will depart Doha at 07:30, arriving in at Edinburgh at 12:15.

Southampton Ranks Top UK Airport Service Poll

In the Airport Service Quality survey for 2014, Southampton Airport has come out top for service in the UK.

The global benchmarking programme measures passenger experience whilst they are at the airport, and annually records the opinions of 6.6 billion global passengers.

Both leisure and business passengers ranked Southampton Airport highly including areas such as waiting times at security points, the walking distance between terminal and boarding gates, Wi-Fi services, the comfort of its seating areas and business lounges. As a result the airport came out top, beating off other UK airports. Passengers also noted the helpfulness and courtesy of airport staff, in particular noting check-in and security staff.

Speaking about the coveted accolade, Neil Garwood, Head of Customer Service at Southampton Airport, said “With passengers rightly demanding higher levels of service, and competition among airports being so high, this is a sterling achievement for our teams at Southampton Airport. We’ve significantly invested in our passenger experience by increasing our seating areas by 30%, introducing free Wi-Fi and upgrading our Priority Lounge in 2014. We’ve had a fantastic year, and we’re ready to welcome many more delighted passengers in 2015.”