UEFA Euro 2016 French Host Cities

Whether you’re a UEFA football fan or not, it’s safe to say the entire country is in high spirits after the two Ireland teams qualifying wins.

After an impressive victory earlier this week, the Northern Irish and Ireland teams
IMG_1032 can look forward to taking part in the 15th UEFA European Championship 2016 in France. This exciting tournament will take place from 10th June until 10th July and a record 24 sides will contest in ten beautiful host cities across the country.

The draw determining which nation will play who and where will take place on 12th December. Each nation will play in three different cities so there’s plenty of opportunity for visitors to experience what beautiful France has to offer.

1. Lille: Lille is the city where traditional and contemporary mix to spectacular effect. This former industrial hub has reinvented itself without losing any of its rich heritage.

2. Lens: The town of Lens-Liévin is enjoying a new lease of life as the home of Louvre-Lens, the first out-of-town museum of The Louvre, which opened in 2012, and a wealth of new cultural and community sites.

3. Lyon: The gastronomic capital of France, Lyon offers outstanding museums and a dynamic cultural life, from the Renaissance Old Town to the brand new Confluence district.

4. Saint-Etienne: A former industrial city famous for its ribbons, bicycles and firearms, 21st century Saint-Etienne is now renowned for its cultural activities.

5. Marseille: France’s second largest city, Marseille has throbbed with life since the Greeks first came ashore in 600BC. Cycle along the coast or catch public transport to visit the famous calanques – rocky inlets with hidden beaches and bright blue water.

6. Saint-Denis: 10 km outside the centre of Paris, Saint-Denis is best known to sports fans as home of the Stade de France. The town’s towering basilica is a must-see too – the last resting place for some 75 French kings and queens.

7. Bordeaux: An UNESCO World Hertiage site, Bordeaux’s incredible restaurants, neoclassical architecture and buzzing culture make it a top destination for holiday-makers.

8. Toulouse: Known as La Ville Rose – the Pink City – because of its brick-built buildings, Toulouse is a vibrant southern city with a cultural scene to match. Stroll the towpath beside the Canal du Midi and take a cruise on the river Garonne on your visit.

9. Paris: The French capital needs no introduction and is home to some of Europe’s best known monuments and museums like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre.

10. Nice: Whatever you’re looking for, Nice has it – in abundance. Travel highlights include watching the sunset from the stylish Promenade des Anglais and exploring the breath-taking Old Town.

The following airlines and ferry companies offer direct travel options from Ireland to France:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Ryanair
  • Air France
  • CityJet
  • Brittany Ferries
  • Irish Ferries
  • Stena Line

All UEFA host cities apart from Lille, Lens and Sainte-Etienne have direct flight connections from Ireland. Lille and Lens are best reached via Paris Beauvais airport and Sainte-Etienne can be reached via Lyon.

For more information on France, visit http://www.france.fr/


LEADING ferry company, Stena Line, is getting a Christmas makeover this year complete with a historic name change to Santa Line across its European Network.  Not only that, they also celebrated by giving one of their ships in Gothenburg a festive new look for the day and are introducing a fun app which customers can use to win prizes as they journey across the Irish Sea. Passengers can Ho Ho Go to their festive destinations in Ireland and Britain from only £79* for single car and driver with the widest choice of routes and sailings on the Irish Sea.  For more information or to book your very own Santa Line trip log onto www.stenaline.co.uk or https://www.facebook.com/StenaLineUKIE/ or call 08447 70 70 70. Follow Stena Line on Twitter @StenaLineIE

LEADING ferry company, Stena Line, is getting a Christmas makeover this year complete with a historic name change to Santa Line across its European Network. Not only that, they also celebrated by giving one of their ships in Gothenburg a festive new look for the day and are introducing a fun app which customers can use to win prizes as they journey across the Irish Sea. Passengers can Ho Ho Go to their festive destinations in Ireland and Britain from only £79* for single car and driver with the widest choice of routes and sailings on the Irish Sea.
For more information or to book your very own Santa Line trip log onto www.stenaline.co.uk or https://www.facebook.com/StenaLineUKIE/ or call 08447 70 70 70. Follow Stena Line on Twitter @StenaLineIE

LEADING ferry company, Stena Line, is getting a Christmas makeover this year complete with a historic name change to Santa Line – what else! – across its European Network.  Not only that, they are introducing a festive app which customers can use to win prizes as they journey across the Irish Sea.


As passengers Ho Ho Go to their festive destinations in Ireland and Britain to pull a cracker with a friend, enjoy a glass of Christmas cheer at their ‘local’ or feast on a turkey dinner with the family, Santa Line will ensure their journey is a jolly one, full of fun.


“Anyone planning a journey between Britain and Ireland this Christmas should look no further than Santa Line where festive cheer and relaxation will be the order of the day”, said Stena Line’s Orla Noonan, Head of Travel, Irish Sea.


Orla continued:  “Santa Line really does put the Ho Ho Go into Christmas with great value fares from as little as £79* single for car and driver and the widest choice of routes and sailings on the Irish Sea.  And as there are no baggage restrictions you can bring all the gifts you want with you in your car.”


For those who are always last minute present buyers, Stena Line’s onboard shop offers huge savings of up to 50%* off across lots of quality lines when compared to the high street including cosmetics, perfumes and aftershaves.


“There are a wide range of much loved brands available in the onboard shop including Molton Brown, Paco Rabanne, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Victor & Rolf and Yves Saint Laurent as well as great deals on jewellery and handbags – everyone and every age is catered for,” said Orla.


Orla continued:  “Airports at Christmas are synonymous with fun-sapping queues, followed by a journey in a confining seat which can be stressful, especially when travelling with kids.  Our customers, however enjoy a quick check in process, lots of space to relax or explore as well as great onboard entertainment that even Santa himself would love.


“The fun continues onboard with delicious dining options, free festive movies and WiFi and other onboard activities. Kids will love our brand new Christmas Treasure Hunt, they simply need to download the ‘Stena Line Treasure Hunt’ app, then find the Christmas gifts onboard before collecting their prize in the onboard shop.


“Our sailings are filling up fast so Ho Ho Go to our website as soon as possible to get the times and dates you prefer,” Orla concluded. 


For more information or to book your very own Santa Line trip log onto www.stenaline.co.uk or https://www.facebook.com/StenaLineUKIE/ or call 08447 70 70 70. Follow Stena Line on Twitter @StenaLineIE


*Applies to cosmetics, perfume and aftershave and excludes electricals.


WINTER can be a costly time for families especially with Christmas fast approaching and thoughts turn to presents and excursions. Don’t worry though if you need to save your pennies for gifts and the yuletide season as Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a list of really interesting things that you can see and do in NI over the winter months that are completely free.

“You may be saving up for Christmas and all the expenses that it can bring but luckily Northern Ireland has a massive variety of pocket-friendly activities and places of interest to see that means you can have a fun day out without worrying about your bank balance,” said Tourism Northern Ireland’s Destination PR Officer, Pauline Gormley.

To help get you started, Tourism Northern Ireland has highlighted a range of free things to see and do over the coming weeks:


Occupying 28 acres of south Belfast, the gardens are popular with office workers, students and tourists. They are located on Stranmillis Road in Belfast's university area, with Queen's University nearby. The Ulster Museum is located at the main entrance.


Bookworms will love the Linen Hall Library where they can browse through thousands of books as well as check out their exciting exhibitions or events. This much loved library is the oldest in Belfast at over 225 years old and has one of the largest Robert Burns collections outside of Scotland.



Enjoy a fun day out at the Ulster Museum 2Ulster Museum where you can come face to face with dinosaurs, meet an ancient Egyptian mummy and see modern masterpieces. Admission is freeand you can explore the museums rich collection of art, history and natural sciences.

Take a stroll around Botanic Gardens where you can explore the Palm House and Tropical Ravine as well as the children’s playground, bowling green, walking routes, rose garden and lots of assorted tropical plants, mature trees and flower beds. Entrance to the gardens is completely free.

Browse the stalls at St George’s Market where you will get a unique glimpse of one of Belfast’s oldest attractions, recognised as one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland, for free.  You can experience the colour, sounds and smells of a busy trading day including lots of banter from the stall holders who sell everything from collectibles to fish.

Co. Antrim 

Keen photographers will enjoy Ireland’s Eye Photographic Exhibition at the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena. Selected photographs by Robert John Welch, a leading photographer in Ulster during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century will be on show alongside the Answer the Call exhibition.

The Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers Centre in Carrickfergus is located less than a mile from the town centre and is a traditional thatched Ulster – Scots farmhouse which was built in the 1750’s.

Entry to the centre is free where you can view an impressive exhibition on the life and career of Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States of America whose parents emigrated from Northern Ireland in 1765.

Antrim Castle GardensAntrim Castle Gardens are a real hidden gem and you will find nothing else like these 400 year old gardens anywhere else in Northern Ireland. Stroll around the magnificent location and visit some of the beautiful settings such as the Large Parterre, Her Ladyship’s Pleasure Garden and Yew Tree Pond.

Delve into 9,000 years of history at the Ballymoney Museum. Entry is completely free and you can browse through the array of rare finds from the Bronze and Medieval periods as well as exhibits associated with the political history of the region.

Co. Armagh

Armagh Public LibraryBookworms are sure to appreciate Armagh Public Library which is one of the oldest libraries in Ireland, established in 1771 by Archbishop Robinson.  The library contains 17thand 18th century books on a wide range of subjects and includes rare and valuable books, first editions and illuminated manuscripts.  The Library is also an accredited museum and holds prints, ancient Irish artefacts, gems, coins, as well as other objects. Entrance to the library is free.

If music is your thing, then the Armagh Public Library is also hosting a New Music Collection exhibition which is available until December 30. The exhibition highlights examples from the Cathedral’s collection and shows how it complements the library’s own collection of hymns, psalms and secondary works on church music.

Oxford Island centre boasts four miles of footpaths, bird watching hides, woodland, ponds, wildflower meadows, picnic and play areas. The centre is fully accessible and houses an exhibition where visitors can learn all about the history, the culture and wildlife in and around Lough Neagh. Families and friends can enjoy a fun, free day out against a backdrop of panoramic views of the Lough.

Co. Down 

Those with an interest in jewellery will be pleased to hear about the Mi – NI (My Northern Ireland) Exhibition by jewellery designer Ruth McEwan – Lyon. The exhibition takes place from November 7 to 28 in the Ards Craft and Design Centre in Newtownards and visitors can explore the special collection of pieces with a focus on Belfast.

Spend an afternoon exploring the historical ruins and lawns of the magical Cistercian Abbey Church in Co Down which was founded in 1193. Entry to the grounds is completelyfree.

Cranfield beachCranfield West Beach near to Carlingford Lough is a gently sloping sandy beach and is an area of Special Scientific Interest. Enjoy an exhilarating walk along the beach, perfect for those with a pet pooch and soak up the stunning scenery of the majestic Mourne Mountains.

Delve into the past at the Down County Museum where you can look through the exhibitions hosting artefacts relating to the history of County Down from the earliest times to the present day.
The Museum is located in the historic buildings of the eighteenth century County Gaol of Down and housed thousands of prisoners from 1796 and until its closure in 1830.

Co. Fermanagh 

Headhunters Barber Shop & Railway Museum in Enniskillen is the perfect way to spend an afternoon with family or friends and best of all, entry is completely free! Take a remarkable journey into the past bringing the golden age of the railway vividly to life. Combine your visit with a unique opportunity to have your hair professionally styled in the wonderfully nostalgic surroundings!

Lough Navar Forest rises to the top of Magho cliffs and comprises of over 2,600 hectares of coniferous forest.  Take in the spectacular views over Lower Lough Erne, Donegal Bay, the Blue Stack and Sperrin Mountains.

Bring your family for a walk up Cuilcagh Mountain which is a well-established location for hillwalkers with a network of trails that lead in and around the Mountain Park. If you are not an experienced hill walker then don’t worry as there are also less challenging walking routes available which give a real taste of the beauty in the area.

Co. Londonderry 

Roe Valley Arts and Cultural CentreThe Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre is hosting Your Story: Archiving Open Day, Big Houses of the Causeway Coast on November 7. Visitors can help Limavady Museum develop their collection further and be part of a future exhibition by bringing along their own photographs and stories relating to the Big Houses of Limavady. Attendees can peruse the photos and learn more about the history of Limavady.

Entertain your little ones at the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre with screenings of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom on Wednesday November 4.  The Gruffalo film is adapted from the bestselling book which centres on a crafty mouse protected from harm by his own vibrant imagination whilst Room on the Broom is a story about a kind witch adapted from Julia Donaldson’s much loved story.

Stock up on Christmas gifts at the 9th Annual Garvagh Craft Fair at the Garvagh Community Building on November 27. Visitors can browse the wonderful unique handmade gifts with over 25 stalls exhibiting eye catching and creative gifts.

The spectacular riverside views and woodland walks in Roe Valley Country Park mean that you and your family will be entertained for hours. You can learn all about the industrial and natural heritage of the area in the museum and countryside centre as well as keep an eye out for the local wildlife which includes foxes, badgers, otters and over 60 species of birds.

Co. Tyrone

De-stress with friends or family on a leisurely walk around An Creagan Forest and River Trail. The tranquil, picturesque environment and steady trails are suitable for people of all ages and abilities and are a fun way to relax and enjoy nature.

Alley Gallery  StrabaneThe Alley Gallery in Strabane is home to an eclectic range of interesting exhibitions.  Entry to the gallery is free and you can browse through the exciting exhibitions which normally last between 4 – 6 weeks.

Discover the interesting history behind the Beaghmore Stone Circles near Cookstown by taking time out to wander around these ancient ceremonial circles and alignments. Have fun with your family coming up with ideas on stories on what they could mean.

For more information on things to do in Northern Ireland click on www.discovernorthernireland.com or visit your local tourist information centre.


V19A0061HALLOWEEN is just around the corner and to celebrate the spookiest time of year, Tourism Northern Ireland is encouraging everyone to have a bewitching time and explore the frightfully haunted places and skin crawling events that are available all over NI.  Whether you are planning a short break or dress-up days away with your little wizards and witches there are lots of great happenings to choose from including fireworks displays, spooky tours and fancy dress competitions.

There is something for everyone and thrill seekers are sure to find something that’s spine-tinglingly good explained Tourism Northern Ireland’s Destination PR Officer Pauline Gormley.

“Halloween is celebrated all over Northern Ireland and is the perfect time of year to dress up and explore all the wickedly wonderful spooky goings on that are happening with friends and family,” said Pauline.

“Whether it’s creepy castles or haunted hotels that you would like to visit or perhaps something a little less spooky and more suited to families, there is something to suit everyone this Halloween.

“We’ve put together a terrifyingly good list of just some of the events and would encourage everyone to check out what’s happening in their local areas for some guaranteed fun,” added Pauline. 


To help get you started, Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a list of spooky events to make sure you get into the Halloween spirit:


Co Antrim

The Dark, Dark Room, The Mac, Belfast, October 24 – November 1. Bring your little ghouls, ghosts and goblins along to The Mac in their best fancy dress to explore this Halloween sound installation.

Halloween Monster Mash, Titanic Slipways, Belfast, October 31, FREE event. Head along to Belfast’s biggest Halloween celebration featuring haunting street theatre, fire jugglers, music and an impressive fireworks display.

Paranormal Tours at Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, 15-31 October. This special edition 60 minute tour will take you to the various hot spots of the Gaol where Paranormal Activity has been reported and the guide will tell you of the harrowing stories associated with these areas. There have been sighting, noises and unexplained happenings within the walls that have seen 17 men executed over its 150 year history.

Broomstick Belle Steam Train, Belfast, October 31.  Ghosts and ghouls of all ages are invited to come along in seasonal costume to sample the unique steamy atmosphere aboard this Steam Trains Ireland trip from Belfast Central Station to Whitehead and back. Children with a ticket receive a Halloween themed Spooky goody bag from the Wicked Witch.


Halloween_Rowallane GardenCo Armagh

Little Spooks at the Navan Centre, Armagh, October 29 – November 1. Have spooktacular fun as you meet with Hansel and Gretel at the witch’s house in the woods. Visitors should beware of what could be lurking in the trees and enjoy the interactive ‘Billy Bones’ games and activities.

Halloween Arts and Crafts Club, Palace Stables, Armagh, October 29. Children can unleash their creative side at the Palace Stables by experiencing hair raising fun with arts and crafts workshops as well as action packed games and entertainment.


Co Down

Hallowtides Festival, Newcastle, October 31, FREE event. The popular seaside town will host a jam-packed calendar of frightful events as part of its annual Halloween celebrations. Go along to experience live music, a fancy dress competition, themed float parade and one of the area’s largest

fireworks displays.

Rowallane Garden, Saintfield, every weekend throughout October (excluding 17 and 18). Visitors can pop along and enjoy some autumnal fun with their ‘little spooks’ such as popping into the café to dunk apples in molten chocolate before playing conkers.

Pumpkinfest, Castle Ward, Downpatrick, October 24 and 25. Kick your half term holidays off with a bang at this year’s Pumpkinfest where families can choose their favourite pumpkins, scoop out the insides and draw on their own unique designs before handing them to expert carvers to complete before taking home. Visitors can also create their own spooky scarecrow to enter into the scarecrow pageant with some fantastic prizes. Other activities running across the weekend include organic pumpkin soup sampling, an autumn trail and horse and carriage rides.

Little Spooks at the Navan CentreHalloween at the Outlet, Banbridge, October 30. Come along to The Outlet in Banbridge for a spine-tingling Halloween. Enjoy a fun filled evening packed with creepy characters, fair rides, costumes and spot prizes.

Scary Newry Halloween Festival, Newry, October 26 – November 1. Discover Newry’s most famous ghosts and grisly history with Newry City Tours. Choose between a Pyschic Ghost Walk which ends in the haunted tunnels beneath the city streets and the kid-friendly Children’s Ghost Walk, which follows a ghost buster on an adventure through Olde Newry in search of ghouls and ghosts.

The Dark Side of Ballycultra, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, October 28 – 29, 6.30pm and 8pm. This is a rare and unique opportunity to visit the museum at night and hear lots of spooky stories from members of staff who will take participants through their experiences of ghostly happenings. Children must be over 12 years.

Visitors should also come along on October 31 for the Halloween Family Festival where they can embark on a mysterious adventure through the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum Cultra’s misty rural dwellings and dark train carriages.


Co Fermanagh

Share Halloween Howler, Lisnaskea, October 29 – 31. This spectacular event promises to entertain the whole family with lots of frightful fun and hair raising activities. One of the highlights of the experience will be a Ghost Ship where there will be storytelling, games and ghoulish snacks on board.

Halloween Fest and Craft Fair, Florence Court, Demesne, Enniskillen, October 25. Come along for a hair raising, fun filled afternoon where families can meet the gardener to discover what it takes to grow the perfect Halloween_Rowallane Garden 2pumpkin or even take a spooky house tour to meet the ghosts and ghouls of Florence Court.


Co Londonderry

Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, Derry~Londonderry, 29 October – 1 November. This world famous celebration of Halloween will allow revellers to experience creepy GhostBus tours, night-time markets, thrills and spills galore, with a week-long hive of devilish activities that everyone will adore.

Attractions include the Trail of terror, Awakening of the Walls, Hall of Horror and a Family Funday with fortune telling, scary storytelling, dance performance, arts and crafts, games, apple bobbing, gunge dipping and much more. Key highlights of this festival include the world famous spooktacular carnival parade- the biggest in Europe, culminating in the explosive fireworks cascade.

The Rise of the Ghostly River Gods will also offer a packed programme of events which includes the Chateau le Fear which will bring a trail of terror to Ebrington from October 16th to November 1st.

Halloween Day Tours to Derry~Londonderry, October 30 and 31. Ulsterbus Tours have teamed up with Visit Derry to offer exciting days out to celebrate the spooky season taking revellers straight to the heart of the action on one of their luxury coaches.  For further details go to www.translink.co.uk/Special-Offers/halloween-daytours-to-derry~londonderry.

Haunted House on the Hill, Springhill, Moneymore, 29-31 October. Not for the faint hearted, this is for people brave enough to visit one of Ireland’s most haunted houses. Aimed at adults, this event allows people to experience the spooky story behind the house and encounter witnesses of the headless horseman and will be tasked with navigating their way through ancient woodlands amidst freshly dug graves.


V19A0061Co Tyrone

Halloween Torchlight Tours at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, October 29-31. Take your friends and family along to a tour of the outdoor museum where you can listen to ghost stories as the darkness falls.

Pumpkins and Potions, The Argory, Dungannon, October 24 – 25. Come dressed in your most frightening costume and enjoy a weekend of family fun. Go along with your family to enter the spooky shed for ghoulish tales and a creepy Halloween trail.

Fright Night at the Courthouse, Cookstown, 22-31 October. This Halloween, the Old Courthouse, located on Chapel Street, Cookstown will be opening its doors from October 22nd for a frightful fear fest. The team behind the popular Crumlin Road Gaol, is bringing Belfast’s number one scare attraction to Cookstown for the first time. The special event will also give visitors a chance to see inside the Old Courthouse building – but be warned to expect some scares along the way.

There are lots of places all over NI which are rumoured to be haunted and Tourism NI has put together a list of these below:


Ballygally CastleHaunted Hotels and Castles

Ballygally Castle Hotel on the North Coast is one of Northern Ireland’s most famous haunted hotels. A ghost called Isabel Shaw is said to wander the corridors at night knocking on guests doors and giving them a fright. Visitors who are feeling particularly brave can request to stay in the ghost room.

The White Horse Hotel in Derry/Londonderry is rumoured to be haunted by a mail stage coach whose driver pulls up and enters the hotel only to then mysteriously disappear.

Dunluce Castle was once the scene of a tragic accident as a few centuries ago the kitchens slipped into the sea below and took some members of staff fell to their deaths. It is reported that on certain nights you can still hear the screams of the people as they fell to their watery graves.

Carrickfergus Castle is said to be haunted by Button Cap who carries his head under his arms as he walks through the battlements. Dobbins Inn, also in Carrickfergus, is said to be haunted by his girlfriend.


Spooky Locations

In Mullanakill, Co Armagh, there is said to be the ghost of a headless horse. It is claimed that Sir William Verner took his trusty steed Constantine to battle in the Napoleonic Wars and when it was killed in action, he brought it home to bury in the family graveyard.

Tollymore Forest Park is haunted by the Blue Lady, a former resident in the seat of the Roden family at Tollymore House. Visitors have reported spotting the ghostly vision wandering through the forest park and along the tree lined avenue.

Beware if you are taking a walk through the Mourne Mountains as legend says that the Slieve Binnian light will block the path of unsuspecting walkers to steer them away from the haunted trees near Spelga Dam where it is claimed that an Irish Chieftan is buried.


Coastal creepiness

There have been reports of ghostly sightings at Bogey Hill which overlooks Newcastle Harbour. A fishing disaster occurred in 1843 and since then, sightings have been reported of a grieving woman dressed completely in black, sobbing and looking out to sea in the hope of seeing her loved ones.

Sightings of a huge black dog have been seen at St John’s Church, Newcastle and the dog is said to have eyes of blazing fire and gleaming white teeth.

Mussenden Temple which is situated on the Downhill estate on the Causeway Coastal Route is said to have blood appear on the floor only to mysteriously disappear within minutes.

Newcastle Harbour is the location of many spooky legends including a banshee which has been seen walking silently among the tied up boats and lobster pots. Locals have described the banshee as a small woman with a high pitched voice.


For more details on these and other events click on www.discovernorthernireland.com/events, visit your local tourist information centre or log onto www.facebook.com/discovernorthernireland.


Aer Lingus Announces Major Long-Haul Expansion for 2016

Repro Free: Wednesday 21st October 2015. Major Transatlantic Expansion: Aer Lingus today announced a significant expansion of its long haul network for 2016 with three new routes from Dublin to: Los Angeles, Newark, New Jersey and Hartford, Connecticut. The addition of the new routes will create more than 200 high quality jobs, boost inbound tourism and grow the strategically important Dublin Gateway. Pictured at the announcement today were Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe, IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh, Alex White,  Labour TD for Dublin South and Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and Aer Lingus Chief Executive, Stephen Kavanagh with Aer Lingus Cabin Crew: Michelle Thompson and Catherine Connelly. Picture Jason Clarke

Wednesday 21st October 2015. Major Transatlantic Expansion: Aer Lingus today announced a significant expansion of its long haul network for 2016 with three new routes from Dublin to: Los Angeles, Newark, New Jersey and Hartford, Connecticut. The addition of the new routes will create more than 200 high quality jobs, boost inbound tourism and grow the strategically important Dublin Gateway. Pictured at the announcement today were Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe, IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh, Alex White, Labour TD for Dublin South and Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and Aer Lingus Chief Executive, Stephen Kavanagh with Aer Lingus Cabin Crew: Michelle Thompson and Catherine Connelly. Picture Jason Clarke

Addition of Three New U.S Routes will grow the Dublin Gateway, grow inbound tourism and create more than 200 high quality jobs

–        Number of Transatlantic routes grows from nine to twelve

–        Transatlantic seat capacity grows to over two million seats for the first time ever

–        Dublin to Los Angeles service to operate five flights per week

–        Dublin to Newark, New Jersey service to operate daily flights

–        Dublin to Hartford, Connecticut service to operate daily flights

Aer Lingus today announced a major expansion of its transatlantic route offering for 2016 with three new routes from Dublin to North America. In addition to its nine existing routes to Boston, Chicago, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Washington and Toronto from Dublin and Boston and New York from Shannon, Aer Lingus will introduce three new routes to Los Angeles, Newark and Hartford in 2016.

The airline will commence a year round direct service between Dublin and Los Angeles from May, 2016 with five services per week. Direct daily year round flights will start in early September from Dublin to Newark in New Jersey. A third new route will commence in late September with a daily service from Dublin to Hartford, Connecticut.

This is the single largest expansion of Aer Lingus’ transatlantic network since the airline commenced transatlantic flying in 1958.

The growth initiative will create more than 200 new, high quality Aer Lingus jobs for pilots, cabin crew and ground services staff.

Aer Lingus’ total long haul seat capacity will grow by more than 17% in 2016, representing the fourth consecutive year of more than double-digit long haul growth.

The growth plan underpins Aer Lingus’ successful strategy of expanding its Dublin Airport base into a major European transatlantic gateway. The convenience of U.S Customs and Border Protection services at Dublin has enhanced the continued growth of Aer Lingus’ Dublin operation as a connecting gateway.

The new routes will not only connect Ireland with Los Angeles, Newark, and Hartford but will also connect a range of UK and European cities.  Customers in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Rome, Manchester, Edinburgh and many other European cities will be able to choose Aer Lingus to bring them to these new U.S. destinations.

In summer 2016 Aer Lingus will operate 28 daily services across the Atlantic offering value to business and leisure customers in an increased number of markets across Europe and North America.

Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Executive, Aer Lingus, said: “We are delighted to be delivering on the growth opportunities that being part of International Airlines Group presents and to be creating over 200 new jobs in the process. The introduction of these three routes will open up new tourism and business opportunities with improved connectivity through our Dublin Gateway. We look forward to welcoming guests on board our new services in 2016.”

Within weeks of the completion of the IAG transaction, Aer Lingus is delivering on its commitment to grow Ireland’s connectivity and to create high quality jobs.

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive, IAG, said: “Ireland’s geographic location and US immigration pre-clearance provides IAG with the natural gateway to build our business between Europe and North America through Aer Lingus. This is the first step in our plans to add North American destinations, bring new aircraft into the fleet, increase passenger numbers and create new jobs. This shows also our keenness to develop Dublin as another key hub within the Group.”

Commenting on the announcement, Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: ‘Foremost in the Government’s mind when considering the disposal of the State’s share in Aer Lingus was the benefits that would be delivered for the company as part of IAG. The airline’s ability to enhance connectivity, grow jobs and secure its future was significantly improved under IAG. Today’s announcement of three new routes, the creation of 200 new jobs and transatlantic capacity growth to more than two million seats for the first time ever demonstrates the strength of Aer Lingus as part of the Group. This news also comes on the back of the new routes and frequencies announced by Aer Lingus just two weeks ago as part of its short-haul 2016 summer schedule. All of this combines to strengthen Irish aviation and encourage additional tourists to come here which will further support our economic recovery. I wish the company every success’.

Flights between Dublin and Los Angeles, and Dublin and Newark go on sale today on aerlingus.com with great each way fares, including taxes and charges, full details below. Flights between Dublin and Hartford go on sale on aerlingus.com on 3rd November 2015.

Brussels Airlines connects Belfast city airport with the European Capital

large37Brussels Airlines, Belgian’s leading airline, announced today a new route from George Best Belfast City Airport to Brussels. Northern Ireland will be linked 5 times a week with the European Capital.
Passengers can also continue their journey via Brussels Airport to many other Brussels Airlines destinations. The new service will start on the 27th of March 2016.

Flying between Belfast and Brussels will be much easier as from the 27th of March next year. Travel times of more than 5 hours and connecting at airports will become a thing of the past thanks to the new direct non-stop service that Brussels Airlines will inaugurate at the start of the next Summer Season.

Schedule (in local times):


Flightnbr      From           To               Departure Time     Arrival Time  Days


SN 2151       Brussels       Belfast         BHD  15h30                           16h15        

SN 2151       Brussels       Belfast BHD  14h30                           15h15                  …4…

SN 2152       Belfast BHD  Brussels       16h50                           19h35        

SN 2152       Belfast BHD  Brussels       15h50                           18h35                  …4…



Brian Ambrose and Diane Dodds MEP a the launch of Brussels Airlines new route

Belfast George Best City Airport will be connected 5 times a week with Brussels Airport by a Brussels Airlines AVRO RJ 100 jet (97 seats). Flights will operate on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Thanks to the convenient timing of the flights in the afternoon, passengers can not only travel comfortably to Brussels or Belgium, they can also continue their journey to one of the many Brussels Airlines destinations in Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, Austria, Hungary or Poland.


Brussels Airlines, member of the Lufthansa Group and Star Alliance, offers ideal travel solutions for business and leisure clients. Passengers have the choice between 4 different travel formulas: Bizz&Class, Flex&Fast, Light&Relax and Check&Go.


Brussels Airlines will be the only Star Alliance member operating to and from Belfast. The launch of the Belfast service also means that Belgian aviation is back in Ireland after an absence of 15 years.

“We are delighted that we can add Ireland to our continuously growing map of European destinations”, says Brussels Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Lars Redeligx. “On a weekly basis we will offer close to 1.000 seats on the route. Belfast is an important touristic, administrative and economic destination. Thanks to our investment in this new service we give the region also access to our Brussels Airlines and Star Alliance network. This is not only great news for the inhabitants of the Belfast area but also for the economy and the tourism industry in Ireland.”

Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive of George Best Belfast City Airport, said: “2015 has been a very successful year for Belfast City Airport with passengers numbers expected to be up 10% on last year. We have had our sights set on increasing connectivity with key European destinations and I am delighted that we have been able to deliver on these promises commencing both an Amsterdam and Brussels service.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s announcement is really good news for tourism to Northern Ireland in 2016. We look forward to co-operating with Brussels Airlines to maximise the promotion of this new flight to Belfast. As an island, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism. Tourism Ireland is committed to working with Brussels Airlines, Belfast City Airport and other tourism partners, through co-operative marketing, to drive demand for this new service, as well as working with other carriers and partners to promote and help maintain vital routes and services to Northern Ireland.”
Welcoming the news, Invest NI’s Chief Executive, Alastair Hamilton said: “Invest Northern Ireland is strongly committed to supporting the Northern Ireland Executive’s aim of enhancing direct air linkages between Northern Ireland and Europe as a vital contributor to economic development. This new air route will be strategically important in helping to deliver this objective. Our local exporters will now be positioned to take advantage of the direct connectivity it will offer to Brussels but also be able to use this service as a springboard further into Europe. I congratulate Belfast City Airport and Brussels Airlines for their commitment to make this happen.”


Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive, Visit Belfast, said: “This brand new Brussels-Belfast air link will be hugely significant in our targeted efforts to promote Belfast as an attractive, modern and cosmopolitan city break destination to one of our key European markets and will be essential to assisting us in promoting our award-winning credentials as a leading, easy-to-access destination for major international conferences, meetings and events. As the capital of an expanding Europe, Brussels is a major tourism market for the city and this new route will assist us greatly as we look to bring in even greater numbers of business and leisure visitors. It also strengthens our European connections further and will allow many more visitors to travel to Belfast, and to Northern Ireland, both directly and indirectly.”


Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) said: “The introduction of new routes benefits local business people in terms of developing business linkages and improving access to overseas customers and international markets. In particular, this new service will restore Northern Ireland’s direct air connection to the very heart of Europe, building our position as a destination for business and leisure tourism. It will also give people in Northern Ireland direct access to the capital of the European Union where important decisions are taken by the European Parliament which impact the business community and citizens in Northern Ireland.”

004mBrussels Airlines, member of Lufthansa Group and a Star Alliance member, is the Belgian airline that offers the widest choice of flights to and from the capital of Europe, Brussels Airport. The company has more than 3.500 employees and 49 aircraft operating some 300 flights daily, connecting the Capital of Europe to over 80 premium European and African destinations and New York JFK and Washington D.C. On long haul flights, the airline operates an all new Business Class with full flatbeds and state of the art inflight entertainment, and a brand new Economy class with ergonomic seats and individual inflight entertainment touchscreens. On its European routes Brussels Airlines offers the choice between Check&Go, Light&Relax, Flex&Fast and Bizz&Class.

In addition to its 19 destinations in Africa and 2 in the US, Brussels Airlines and its intercontinental partners also offer long-haul codeshare flights to the United Arab Emirates, China, Thailand, India, North America and Canada. Brussels Airlines offers cargo capacity on all its flights, commercialised by the Cargo Department. The airline also handles its own daily maintenance. Brussels Airlines is owned by SN Airholding and is backed up by more than 90 years of


Make the most of the upcoming half term holidays with the family this October by taking a short break and staying in one of Northern Ireland’s luxurious hotels, moody castles, self-catering accommodation or for the more adventurous what about glamping. There are some great-value deals to be had and Northern Ireland is packed with amazing things to do and places to go, explained Tourism NI’s Destination PR Officer Pauline Gormley:

“The half-term break is the perfect excuse to get away this autumn.  Whether you’re looking for some rest and relaxation, a busy shopping break or perhaps a romantic get away with your other half, there are a range of great value accommodation offers available all over NI to avail of,” Pauline added.

Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a list of accommodation offers* and suggestions for places to visit and things to do this half term:



Europa Hotel If it’s a jam packed short break you’re after then Belfast is perfect as it is bursting with musical, cultural and foodie goings on. The city has everything including shopping, award winning restaurants, bars, museums, lots of family attractions, and much more.


Enjoy a two night stay in Belfast’s city centre at the Europa Hotel from only £130 per person sharing for bed and breakfast and visit one of the world’s oldest pubs, the Crown Bar, just across the road.  The Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast, close to Queen’s University, is offering two nights bed and breakfast from £89 per person sharing.

One of Belfast’s newest hotels, the Clayton Hotel, is offering a two night mid-week deal for bed and breakfast from £99 per person.  The popular Malone Lodge, Belfast’s half term offer is two night’s bed and breakfast mid-week from £99 per person.

Ramada Plaza
Belfast is offering visitors one night’s stay and tickets to explore Crumlin Road Gaol from only £59.50 per person sharing.  Park Avenue Hotel is offering a midweek break for two night’s bed and breakfast from £109



Ballygally CastleCo Antrim

Co Antrim is simply awash with stunning rugged coastline, picturesque glens and quaint harbour villages. The perfect place to get away from it all on half term break, every nook and cranny of this county is just brimming with outstanding natural beauty.

Bayview Hotel, Portballintrae is offering two night’s bed and breakfast with one four course table d’hote dinner plus tickets for Bushmills Distillery Tour from only £129 per person sharing. Ballygally Castle Hotel just outside Larne is offering two nights bed and breakfast midweek from £109 per person sharing and is the perfect base point for exploring the Giant’s Causeway and new Gobbins walk path.

Causeway Hotel, Bushmills

Golf enthusiasts will be delighted to learn about the Galgorm Resort & Spa’s golf themed offer which gives visitors the chance to enjoy 18 holes at Galgorm Castle’s Championship Golf Club along with an overnight stay with full Irish breakfast and use of the Thermal Spa facilities. This break is available from £85 per person sharing.

Why not take advantage of the Ramada in Portrush’s weekend offer which includes two nights bed and breakfast from only £89 per person sharing or try the Causeway Hotel in Bushmills which is offering two nights bed and breakfast, one evening meal and one days entry to the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre as well as a tour of two people to the Bushmills Distillery from only
£125 per person sharing.The Galgorm Resort & Spa


Co Armagh

County Armagh may be smallest county in NI but what it lacks in size it makes up for on beauty, ancient landmarks and sacred monuments, many of which have ties to St Patrick.  Visitors to the county are sure to be mesmerised by the beautiful Armagh Public Library, County Museum and beautiful Churches.


Armagh City HotelArmagh City Hotel is offering two nights bed and breakfast mid-week from £89 per person sharing. Visitors can also avail of a special Pamper Break which includes one dinner in the Callan Bar, bed and breakfast, plus £40 worth of beauty treatments at the onsite ‘Fab’ beauty salon.


Co Down

Why not spend your half term break finding out more about the county that inspired C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. The stunning Silent Valley is sure to impress visitors as are the remarkable Mourne Mountains or Castlewellan Forest Park.


Culloden Estate and Spa, HolywoodTry the Culloden Estate and Spa for two night’s bed and breakfast on a weekend from £170 per person sharing or the Millbrook Lodge Hotel in Ballynahinch which is offering two nights bed and breakfast on a weekend from £89 per person sharing. Use these hotels as your base to explore nearby Cranfield beach or why not spend the day shopping in Newry.

Avail of the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa’s two night value break which includes a full Irish breakfast and dinner in the Oak restaurant or stay at the Clandeyboye Lodge Hotel in Bangor where you can enjoy two night’s bed and breakfast on a weekend from £99 per person sharing.

La Mon Hotel & Country Club in Comber is offering a spa break which includes one night’s bed and breakfast in a deluxe room, a bottle of Ame and chocolate covered strawberries, a 45 minute Spa Treatment per guest, two course meal served in either The Mill restaurant of Charlie’s Lounge or full access to the leisure suite. Visitors to Comber can experience this from only £130 per person sharing.


Killyhevlin-HotelCo Fermanagh

Fermanagh is renowned for its beautiful scenery and lakes and is blessed with spectacular sites such as Castle Coole, Florence Court, Lough Navar and Crom Estate. Experience something really different at the Marble Arch Caves, Devenish Island Monastic Site or enjoy a round of golf at the Lough Erne Golf Resort.

The Enniskillen Hotel is very close to the town centre and visitors can enjoy a drink at Blakes of the Hollow, one of the county’s oldest bars, before enjoying two night’s bed and breakfast from £89 per person on a mid-week break.

Have a mid-week pamper and pitch break at the Killyhevlin Hotel, Spa and Health Club from only £117 per person sharing. Visitors can enjoy one four course dinner, cooked breakfast and use of the Killyhevlin Health Club. Included in the price is a round of golf on the nearby Castle Coole Golf course as well as a 30 minute spa treatment in the Elemis spa.

Enjoy a romantic autumn getaway at the Westville Hotel, Enniskillen where you can kick back, relax and enjoy one night’s bed and breakfast plus a three course meal in the WV bar from only £125 per person or alternatively try Mahons Hotel, Irvinestown for two night’s bed and breakfast on a weekend from £89 per person sharing.


Co Tyrone

As the largest county in Northern Ireland, Co Tyrone offers sweeping hills and lush valleys as well as exciting cycling and walking routes and delicious places to eat and drink. Visitors should be sure to stop off at the Ulster America Folk Park where they can explore the story of Irish Emigration.


The amazing Valley Hotel Fivemiletown


Enjoy two nights bed and breakfast at The Valley Hotel in Fivemiletown from £92 per person sharing. This offer is focused around shopping and those who avail of this can take advantage of a 5% discount in shops such as Queen Bea Ladies Boutique, Pinochos Gift Ware, Floral Valley Florist and Garden Centre and Valley Antiques and Restoration.

The Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh is offering a romantic two night spa break in association with the renowned Lavender Health Spa from only £160 per person sharing. The two night stay will include a full Irish breakfast, four course dinner in Barreta Bar and Grill as well as a demi carafe of House wine per person. Only minutes from the bustling market town of Omagh visitors can explore lively bars such as Sallys and Main Street. 

Co Londonderry

The world famous walled city is just bursting with artistic, musical and creative things to see and do. Culture vultures will be in their element as they marvel at Europe’s largest collection of canons, famous murals and the beautifully restored Guildhall.

Treat your other half to a romantic break at The Maldron Hotel in Derry and enjoy two night’s bed and breakfast plus a four course meal as well as a bottle of sparkling wine and strawberries which will await you in your room. This offer is available from £99 per person sharing during midweek and from £119 per person sharing midweek. Or why not try out the Ramada Da Vinci’s Hotel where you can avail of two night’s bed and breakfast on a weekend from only £99 per person sharing.

EvergladesThe Everglades Hotel in Derry ~ Londonderry is offering a value break which includes two night’s bed and full Irish breakfast with dinner on the first evening in the Grill restaurant and golf enthusiasts should take advantage of the Roe Park Resort’s golf break which includes an overnight stay, unlimited rounds of golf, use of the Fairways Health Club and a locally sourced full Irish breakfast.

To find out more about activities and events taking place in Northern Ireland click on www.discovernorthernireland.com/autumnleaves or visit your local visitor information centre.

*All offers are valid until December 13th 2015.



Spontaneous getaways, be they with friends, family, or even business, can be hard to get right.

Because let’s face it, the very nature of dashing off at the last moment means you won’t have planned what to pack, researched the destination, mastered some basic phrases, booked a hotel, or finished that report for your boss. But with a humble smartphone, anything and anywhere is possible.

So if you like to live life on the edge, take a look at this round up of must-have apps from hotel bookers LateRooms.com, conveniently put in order of when you might need to use them next time you embark on a spur-of-the-moment trip.

Skyscanner_-_Compare_Cheap_Flights__Hotels___Car_HireSkyscanner (free – iOS and Android)

First things first, pick a destination and get those flights booked. Skyscanner does the hard work so you don’t have to, pulling together up-to-date rates from hundreds of airlines in seconds. Its ingenious drop-pin feature means it can calculate routes to literally anywhere (on earth). And if you haven’t even thought of where you want to go, it’s got the modern day equivalent of sticking a pin in a map down to a tee.  Just select ‘Everywhere’ in the destination field – it’ll show you how far your money will take you.



Packing Pro (£2.29 – iOS)

One of the hardest things about preparing for any trip is deciding what to pack. Well, if you use Packing Pro it’ll become one of the easiest, even if you’re short on time. Just pop in where you’re going and how long for and it will tell you exactly what you take with you – kind of like a digitalised Gok Wan.



Air Sharing (£2.99 – iOS)

If your off-the-cuff trip means you’ve got some work to finish en-route, then it’s definitely worth investing in Air Sharing. It allows you to preload your phone with important documents at the airport so you can check them while in the air, meaning your phone needn’t be a blunt instrument for the duration of your journey.


Google Translate (free – iOS and Android)

So you’ve touched down and finally switched off airplane mode, but the first call you receive is from nature and you don’t know how to ask where the toilets are, or indeed say anything in the vernacular. But no bother, Google Translate is on hand (or in hand) to help you navigate the local dialect. It even has a ‘visual recognition’ function in some languages, which lets you simply point your smartphone camera at some text and it will translate. Nifty.

LateRooms_-_Low_Cost_Hotel_booking__Last_minute_deals__Compare_Hotels_on_the_App_StoreLateRooms.com (free – iOS and Android)

Once you’ve mastered the lingo it’s time to make sure you’ve got a place to sleep. LateRooms.com’s App gives you access to over 150,000 properties globally and allows you to book a room in under 60 seconds. Its geo location functionality plots a map around your current location to show you every hotel with availability (and their room rates) within your surrounding area for that very night – so you can book your stay and check in within minutes.  What’s more, hoteliers looking to sell remaining rooms on-the-day often show Mobile Exclusive Rates that could save you up to 40%, on top of what you might find elsewhere. Handy and thrifty, what’s not to love?

Travel Safe (£0.79 – iOS, £0.64 – Android)


Of course, there’s only so much we can plan for and, if you never got around to looking up international emergency contact details before you left, it’s okay: Travel Safe is on hand. It’s the ultimate emergency contact app, and has details for nearly every country on planet earth. In just one tap you can call for help, and it even provides embassy details should you lose your passport.


Wi-Fi Finder (free – iOS and Android)

No prizes for guessing what this one does. Wi-Fi Finder stands out thanks to its offline mode that lets you download Wi-Fi maps before you arrive, keeping those roaming bills as low as possible and letting you get the most out of your awesome new Apps.

So there you have it – tool up your smartphone before you next nip away, you’d be app-solutely mental not to.


Win a Deadly night for Halloween in “the world’s largest grave”

Win a Deadly PrizeFor the most terrifying night of the year, the Catacombs of Paris and Airbnb give you a chance to be the very first live person to sleep amongst the dead…

Airbnb, the world’s leading community driven hospitality company, has revealed that the Paris Catacombs, one of the world’s largest cemeteries, become the latest host on the platform.

For one night only, two brave souls will have the chance to experience a Halloween night they will never forget, 65 feet under the city.

During the night of October 31st, the Catacombs of Paris and Airbnb are offering an exclusive night in the depths of the city, alongside the centuries-old remains of millions of Parisians, including the famous Jean de la Fontaine, Charles Perrault and François Rabelais*.

After a private tour of the labyrinth of bones and skulls, the guests will enjoy a daunting culinary experience to the sound of violins. At bedtime, a storyteller will read some catacombs legends to make sure the pair don’t experience any sweet dreams. The next morning, the guests will become the first people to ever wake up from the Paris Catacombs.

“After the incredible night in a ski lift 2700 meters above the ground last year in Courchevel, Airbnb is now sending you 65 feet under Paris! Our travelers are always on the lookout for original experiences and what could be more unique for Halloween than spending a night among the bones and ghosts below Paris,” commented Nicolas Ferrary, France Country Manager of Airbnb.

Located south of the former city gate, the Catacombs of Paris contain the remains of millions of Parisians transferred there gradually between the late eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries as City graveyards were closed due to public health risks. Each year, 500,000 people from around the world visit the Catacombs, but this will be the very first time that people are allowed to spend the night there. This exclusive night is organized through a partnership which contributes to the financing of renovation works in the Catacombs. Special measures were put in place to ensure the safety of participants and the preservation of the ossuary.

517167_num1107008How to win a spot?

For a chance to win this unique experience, visit the Catacombs’ listing on Airbnb no later than October 20th at 11.59pm (CET) and tell the host why you think you are brave enough to spend a night in theCatacombs. The contest is open to everyone, two people maximum. All terms and conditions of the contest are available on airbnb.com

House Rules

  • Thanks for respecting the peaceful sleep of Parisians
  • Do not try to summon bad spirits
  • Do not follow the ghosts through the galleries, you might never find the exit
  • Trick or Treaters beware

About Airbnb

Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and over 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions. airbnb.com


LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: A presentation is given to BA Loyalty programme winners from small and medium businesses at British Airways Vanguard House on August 19, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for British Airways)

A presentation is given to BA Loyalty programme winners from small and medium businesses at British Airways Vanguard House on August 19, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for British Airways)

As airline research reveals the real value of mentoring, plus differences in how the sexes approach it

As part of British Airways’ re-launch of its On Business loyalty programme for businesses, the airline is set to host a mentoring flight on October 20 to Austin, Texas – the heartland of innovation in the USA – for three lucky business owners in Northern Ireland.

On the flight, the winners will have mentoring sessions with Josh Baer and Steve Welch from the Austin-based Capital Factory, known as the center of gravity for start-ups in the United States. Josh and Steve are both experienced entrepreneurs and mentoring experts that have helped hundreds of businesses develop and grow.

The winners will have their undivided attention for the duration of the ten hour flight to discuss and solve a business challenge they’re facing.

The flight comes as the airline releases research conducted with 175 of its top customers in to the value of mentoring.

The top findings revealed:

  • 97 per cent said mentoring added real value and 82 per cent agreed it helped boost their business.
  • 53 per cent of men said they were a mentor, compared to 39 per cent of women
  • 20 per cent of women will organise mentoring for themselves versus just 8 per cent of men
  • 84 per cent of women want mentoring for career development and improving performance at work versus 71 per cent of men
  • 8 per cent more men than women want mentoring to help them run a business and 4 per cent more want it to help them build relationships
  • 83 per cent conducted their mentoring face-to-face
  • The top names that people wanted to be mentored by included Barak Obama, Warren Buffet, Alex Ferguson, Joanna Lumley, Tim Cook and the Dalai Lama

Business owners interested in making the most of this mentoring opportunity can go to www.ba.com/flywithleaders to submit a pitch to explain why working with the Capital Factory would help transform their company.

Andrew Crawley, British Airways’ chief commercial officer, said: “British Airways’ On Business loyalty programme benefits both the company and the individual, by enabling the business to save money on flights and the flyer to collect Avios and tier points.

“The British Airways’ Mentoring Flight will give a lucky group of specially selected SMEs the once in a lifetime opportunity to receive brilliant business support through two amazing mentors from one of the world’s best business incubators, the Capital Factory.

“Based in one of the fastest growing cities in the US, with an unrivalled reputation for helping businesses start up and grow, there’s no better placed organization to mentor SMEs than the Capital Factory.“

Joshua Baer, the founder and executive director of Capital Factory, said: “I’m really looking forward to meeting the winners of British Airways’ competition on the flight. Mentoring at 35,000ft will be a new experience for me, but all that dedicated quiet time on the flight will definitely deliver results.

“There has never been a better time to connect the number one start-up city in the U.S. with the number one start-up city in Europe and sinceBritish Airways established a direct flight between Austin and London we are seeing more Austin companies doing business across the pond and vice-versa.

“Meeting face-to-face is a really important part of that but budgets are tight for start-ups, so making your finances go further and work harder by joining schemes like On Business makes perfect sense.”

On Business has saved firms £34m on travelling to do business face-to-face and the re-vamped programme will now enable travellers to choose between an immediate discount of at least five discount on selected flights or On Business points that can be used towards future trips and upgrades.

On Business members can enjoy:

  • The flexibility to choose between earning points on flights or having a cash discount
  • More flights to collect and redeem on, by flying on British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia. There will also be more reward flights available. Customers who are members of the British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus can also earn Avios from their flights
  • A new three-tiered programme, with each tier related to the amount spent on flights in a year, rather than distance travelled. The higher the tier, the greater the points towards reward flights.
  • A simplified earn and spend, so customers can now earn on the money they spend on each flight rather than the number of sectors flown.
  • Discounts on ba.com/ib.com/aa.com, with exclusive news and member-only offers to boost points and savings



s can join On Business for free and read more about the programme on: www.ba.com/onbusiness