N.E. Patriots free trip to Aruba/European travel mess/Canada airlines good news
Here's a very clever marketing idea. The Caribbean island of Aruba has offered everyone (not sure about the cheerleaders or the mascot) on the Super Bowl losing New England Patriots a free trip to the sunny south.
The Super Bowl champion Giants apparently can take a trip to Disney World. I'd take Aruba, myself. Better beaches and much more dependable weather this time of year, doncha know.
USA Today reports the package "includes airfare, hotel rooms and more, and certainly is designed to bring welcome publicity to Aruba, which has previously made headlines with the mysterious disappearances of two American vacationers."
"A spokesperson for the Aruba Tourism Authority says the offer is open to all players and coaches, and they can take advantage of it as early as Monday. The question: Will Tom Brady and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Gisele Bundchen (photo) who could probably buy their own Caribbean island, take Aruba up on its offer?"
MESSY TRAVEL IN EUROPE
So, here we are in Toronto with almost zero snow on the ground (I even saw the tip of a daffodil poking up out of the soil in my front yard on Friday) while Europe is one giant MESS of snow and ice and freezing temperatures.
The pictures of Rome in the snow look pretty funky (thanks to the Guardian for this photo of a nun struggling to get around at St. Peter's), although I suspect residents don't feel quite as enthusiastic about it...And I feel badly for any Canadians who thought back in October, 'Hey, let's beat winter and go to Rome in February." Oops.
They cancelled something like 50 per cent of the flights at London Heathrow on Sunday, and the British papers today are filled with doom and gloom headlines about how the rest of the month is going to be a total weather monster, with treacherous roads and cancelled flights and all sorts of grim stuff. The London tabloids probably love that this is taking away publicity from the phone-hacking scandal, too.
VERY SOLID NUMBERS FOR CANADIAN AIRLINES TODAY
There's little doubt Canada's travel business is in good shape these days. WestJet Monday morning announced they had a record load factor of 79.9 per cent in January of this year. That's up 2.1 per cent from January, 2011. The airline also said that revenue passenger miles (RPMs), or traffic, increased 11.5 per cent year over year, which is very good news for the old bottom line.
"We are very happy with this strong start to 2012 and the new record January load factor. Our capacity increases are being nicely absorbed and the healthy demand for air travel has continued into the new year," said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. "I thank WestJetters for their high level of engagement and ongoing contributions to the profitable growth of our airline."
Over at Air Canada, the load factor numbers for January were 79.1 per cent, versus 78.0 per cent in January 2011, an increase of 1.1 percentage points.
"Air Canada generated greater traffic in all markets with system wide growth of 3.3 per cent on a capacity increase of 1.9 per cent through higher utilization of our existing fleet," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer. "These strong results underscore the effectiveness of our disciplined capacity management and award-winning product. I thank our employees whose focus on taking care of our customers has been instrumental in earning their loyalty."
Meanwhile, Porter Airlines had a record January load factor of 55.7 per cent, four points higher than the previous year.
“It is nice to see 2012 begin with strong growth,” said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. “As business travel is typically reduced at the beginning of the calendar year, we are able to supplement our schedule with leisure destinations such as Mont Tremblant and Vermont. These are very popular and help to produce positive numbers.”