Open Jaw: Where readers write back


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The Independent Travel

Virgin and Delta: A match made in heaven?

Although Mr Calder remains unconvinced, anyone who knows the airline industry can see how a deal with Delta Airlines will be beneficial to Virgin Atlantic. Although he rightly points out that Virgin’s travellers will be less than enthusiastic to travel on Delta, this misses the point that Delta’s travellers will be happy to fly on Virgin. Because Delta has a much larger membership of its frequent flyer programme, this alone will help. Also, teaming up with Delta gives Virgin access to new non-stop destinations such as Atlanta. Virgin has long been at a competitive disadvantage against the BA/American Airlines alliance due to a lack of these components.


In the beginning, there was BCal ...

Not for the first time, Mr Calder fails to mention the immense contribution that British Caledonian Airways (BCal) made to change the face of air transport for the benefit of travellers during the 1970s and 1980s. It was done against the regulatory odds, and the entrenched positions of the state corporations, BEA and BOAC and latterly British Airways, and was achieved long before Richard Branson and Virgin had discovered aviation.

BCal went on to develop the network of air services at Gatwick airport with the introduction of new routes to new destinations including Houston, Dallas and Atlanta, providing a competitive spur to BA, while being banned from serving Heathrow. It pioneered the operation of the low-fare “Moonjet” services to Scotland, “Miniprix” services to Europe, established the BCal commuter network, the Gatwick-Heathrow Airlink helicopter service, and it was the first carrier to introduce business class on intercontinental services to and from the UK. Not a bad record of innovation, investment and improved customer service from an airline and its 7,000 dedicated staff. But Mr Calder seems to prefer a different view of history!

L N Price

Aberdeen-Cornwall by train for £500+

I wonder whether if anyone actually ever pays these fares? You could fly to almost anywhere in the world for the same price. Obviously the rail operators have lost touch with reality.


The high price  of altitude

A timed, same-day ticket for the Burj Khalifa costs only £17 [as opposed to £67 for immediate access].  Is this the world’s largest premium for immediate access?

Andrew Bartlett

Lake Tahoe – seven resorts, seven days

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful resort – I was there some 15 years ago and the views of the lake on one side and the Nevada desert on the other are stunning. There is a viewing point at the top of one of the lifts, some 3,000m up, where you can see both sides of the state line. I would love to go back!


Runway ruminations

I’m flying to Cape Town in February from Birmingham with Emirates. The flight is via Dubai [rather than direct] but worth the transfer time as I can avoid the M1/M25 journey to use our “national” hub. I hope other airlines follow Emirates to Birmingham airport when the runway extension opens in 2014 as there are millions of Midlanders who’d like a full choice of destinations.

Bob Keys

Majestic landscapes with cuisine to match

I toured New Zealand’s South Island earlier this year and I agree with your comments about Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park in general, and the Boat Shed restaurant in particular. No one could possibly come away disappointed. Neudorf and Cloudy Bay wines are excellent too.

Colin, Brisbane