Something to declare: Shrinking transatlantic choice; Albania; UK hotel bargains

Where to go, how to save, what to avoid

Warning of the week: Shrinking transatlantic choice

This time last year, airlines were bragging about all their new routes across the Atlantic, taking advantage of the "open skies" liberalisation between Europe and the US. This winter, that trend will reverse. Air France had made the boldest move, introducing a direct flight from Heathrow to Los Angeles; it ended last month. On 8 January, Northwest Airlines will end its brief link from Heathrow to Seattle. Passengers with tickets booked will not be offered flights on the competing British Airways service; they will have to choose between alternate flights via Amsterdam or Minneapolis, or a full refund. Two days later, the airline's long-standing Gatwick-Detroit link will be axed. British Airways abandoned its Heathrow-Detroit service earlier this year.

In Manchester, the airport is losing all its transatlantic flights with BMI early next year. The aircraft used on routes to Chicago and Las Vegas will be redeployed between Heathrow and "mid-haul" destinations such as Amman and Cairo.

Destination of the week: Albania

Next Friday is National Day in Europe's strangest state. Albania was the last refuge in Europe of Stalinism, but has now energetically embraced capitalism with reconstruction at a furious rate; if you seek retro-communism, though, some prematurely aged post-war relics continue to function as hotels, equipped with extravagant staircases and inadequate plumbing.

The capital, Tirana (above), is lively, if baffling. In addition, you should visit Durres, a port steeped in history. Under the Romans it marked the start of the Via Egnatia, which stretched across the Balkans to Constantinople. The second-century Roman amphitheatre has gone to seed, and is sinking beneath a tangle of weeds; cattle now graze where gladiators once battled. And the splendid beach is no longer off-limits to Albanians (the communist government wanted to stop them being corrupted by foreign tourists), but is still uncrowded.

Bargain of the week: UK hotels

"The bigger the boom, the bigger the bust: after five years of unbroken revenue growth... the deteriorating economic environment and travel outlook seems likely to mark a change of fortune for UK hotels." So says PricewaterhouseCoopers, which predicts that revenue per available room (Revpar) in London will fall from £94 this year to £83 next year. In other words: travellers can expect big bargains in 2009.

Travelodge, which has 350 UK properties, is responding with an incredibly aggressive campaign. Between February and April next year, you can find rooms on travelodge.co.uk at £9 – which covers up to two adults and two children.

Much of the availability is in less appealing properties, such as Leigh Delamare Services and "Cardiff West" on the M4. But there are some enticing options: the seafront at Brighton, the heart of Aberdeen, and Bath – the city with the most expensive hotels in Britain, according to hotels.com. Note that if you want to stay on Valentine's Night, you should expect to pay many times as much.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Voices
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Service Charge Accountant

    30,000 to 35,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: We are currently recruiting on...

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?