This is the main V-Flyer Forum for general discussion of everything related to flying with Virgin-branded travel companies.
#933273 by David
02 Mar 2017, 23:02

Am guessing a certain "person" would be classifying this a Fake News, but am guessing this might be a justifyable cause in the drop in bookings.

I would have thought, or certainly in my experience, the bigger issue in my drop in travel is cost !

After my last visit to the sunshine state in September/October last year, the drop in £ to $, along with the continual increase in "gratuities" which only a few years ago was 10% and is now heading to a minimum of 20% and general price rises in everything from hotel rates to restaurant bills has meant the proposed trip in March will be no more and we will have to wait until our normal May trip and then September.

The difference in costs to previous trips were genuinely jaw dropping.

Unless the £ strengthens back to $1.50 ish, it looks like the previous 3 to 4 trips a year will decrease to 2, possibly 3.

Now I might be in the minority but reading the piece above which suggests bookings for the US "have fallen off a cliff" , im wondering what this might mean for VS who seem to be piling all their eggs into one basket i.e. Transatlantic routes.

Anyone any thoughts on my ramblings :D


#933274 by stuart_f
02 Mar 2017, 23:38
Correlation is not causation!

Labelling something a "Trump Slump" is great for newspaper headlines but as you rightly identify there are more issues in play than just who is in the White House. From your linked article:
The online booking site Kayak reported that searches by UK citizens for US destinations had "fallen off a cliff", and that hotel prices in cities like San Francisco, New York and Las Vegas dropped between 32-39%.

I would respectfully suggest that regular business travellers don't use Kayak. They have contracts with corporate travel agencies. This would suggest that, even if the number of searches on Kayak actually relates in any sensible way into number of bookings, that only the discretionary leisure market is affected.

The Global Business Travel Association estimated that for the week Trump's travel ban was in effect, the US lost $185m in travel bookings (£150m).

For the whole of USA? This seems quite a low number, the media have chosen to quote it in terms of "bookings" not profit. Normally this means they are desperately searching for a bigger number to make the figure more shocking. It doesn't look all that shocking to me.


U.S. and foreign air carriers transported 203.9 million passengers between the United States and the rest of the world for the year-ended December 2015

That's 17 million passengers a month, 4.2 million passengers a week (ish!). At a guess, an average economy ticket to US is £400 so that £150 million means that 375,000 people didn't book (huge assumptions involved). It doesn't mean they won't book later on now that the ban is lifted. In any event it's less than 9% of the total travel revenue for the month. Hardly a cliff edge.

If "travel bookings" also include hotel accommodation and spending money then that £400 figure is way too low and the 375,000 people is way too high. As ever, there's not enough data in the article to actually know what it's trying to say.

Ask my Dad what effect sequestration had on his travel bookings when he was turfed out of his hotel in Yellowstone the last time the US govt couldn't make their finance bill pass and you'll get an hour's tirade on the daft way US economics work. I would suggest that that particular week caused way, WAY more than 9% of travel bookings being impacted.

I am not an economist but I would have thought the Brexit (I said it! please don't hate me) effect will have had more than a 9% effect on bookings abroad due to the forex costs. Happy to be proved wrong.
#933276 by Sealink
03 Mar 2017, 05:49
There's so much going on in the world just now there are bound to be other factors at play, but I know several people who have changed from US to Europe for their holidays. I've still got four trips booked, but am looking elsewhere for future trips.
#933277 by catsilversword
03 Mar 2017, 10:08
Like Sealink, we are thinking about going less often to the US. Small straw poll, I know - but if this is indeed a trend, then surely airlines will suffer - as will income from the tourist dollar.
#933278 by gumshoe
03 Mar 2017, 10:23
But for Americans, coming to the UK is now a relative bargain so in theory a reduction in Brits going to the US should be balanced by an increase in Anericans coming here.

Whether that happens who knows - and it's telling that some of the US airlines have cancelled UK routes (eg United from Belfast to Newark) or handed them to their British partners (eg Delta's Manchester to JFK).

Having said that VS, BA and Norwegian have all launched new UK-US routes this year so if demand is falling they've got a funny way of showing it!
#933279 by SlimpyJones
03 Mar 2017, 10:39
I think it will be interesting to see VS' financial results this year, should be announced in a month or two. Given it's coming up to a year since the vote and we've seen no dropped routes (that haven't been replaced by other US routes) I'm inclined to say it's a storm in a teacup.
Time will tell though.
#933281 by Hev60
03 Mar 2017, 11:57
So bookings have "fallen off the cliff" and hotel prices in San Francisco have dropped between 32-39% ........OMG how I wish that was true. In fact everything about my holiday to California has gone up by 25% since we booked it in May 2016. With the pathetic $ rate there's basically no point in any retail therapy just to lug it all back to the uk.

Our future plans have changed too, no-one in my family or circle of friends have any desire to visit the US due to rising costs of flights, car hire , accommodation and being able to eat without having to cough up 1/5th of the bill !! I certainly see to point in organising my annual trip to nyc at christmas time - that is 10 females who spend an awful lot of $'s :-P So both the US tourist trade and the uk airline is loosing out by this. We are small fry - yes maybe but unfortauntely I do think this will be a trend. Look at family trips to the sunshine state. The exhorbitant price of theme park tickets on top of everything else is an eyewatering amount. Thank goodness we did it 17 times, before the greed set in.

So my two trips to the States every year since 1990 are history :-(
#933282 by mitchja
03 Mar 2017, 12:33
Isn't the current US dollar/sterling exchange rate the biggest issue at the minute?

Crude and other fuel is all traded in US dollars as well isn't it?

I know that this is having a positive effect on UK attractions and UK tourism though as I read this somewhere yesterday.
#933283 by mallin
03 Mar 2017, 13:14
As mentioned by other posters it will in most cases come down to the cost. We have already this year cut from our usual three trips to the States down to two. Thankfully we have the BA PP with the 2-4-1 to thank for one of those but the other is all self funded and as we prefer to go on a lie flat seat thats our choice. Our hotel in Vegas which I could usually get for £500 for the week as also gone to £750 plus the resort fees and parking now on top.

We are going to New Mexico via Denver in September and looking at some stop offs with hotels etc some are 50% higher than what we paid last June, so we will have to come down a category (still more than adequate). With the cuts in Avios and the Virgin miles required following suit, it just makes that little bit harder all the time, but people can only take so much. Just my thoughts. Linda
#933284 by tontybear
03 Mar 2017, 13:17
mitchja wrote:Isn't the current US dollar/sterling exchange rate the biggest issue at the minute?

Crude and other fuel is all traded in US dollars as well isn't it?

I know that this is having a positive effect on UK attractions and UK tourism though as I read this somewhere yesterday.

Yes fuel is priced in $ so is an issue depending on how airlines have hedged the costs. But an increasing oil price and a falling pound is not a happy marriage!

And yes the fall in the $ and € rates has made the UK a better value destination for visitors from those parts of the world.
#933287 by pjh
03 Mar 2017, 13:31
I think it will be more down to cost, though my Libtard Snowflake tendencies are reacting adversely to the image of the US that the current administration seems hell bent on promoting.
#933289 by Sealink
03 Mar 2017, 14:29
pjh wrote:I think it will be more down to cost, though my Libtard Snowflake tendencies are reacting adversely to the image of the US that the current administration seems hell bent on promoting.

I'm going to the US with my Indian friend next month and while I have Global Entry, I am increasingly uneasy about what her experience will be at immigration, with the direction the US is going, where white heterosexual males seem to be running the show.
#933295 by 15isto2
03 Mar 2017, 18:11
I am booked and paid already for this year and have promised to take my nephew to Disney in 2018. Were it not for my "commitments" I would not be going and would rent out my disney vacation club points. As people have mentioned costs are rising significantly but I also seriously disapprove of the direction that Trump is taking the US and don't wish to support him by supporting the US economy.
#933297 by Eggtastico
03 Mar 2017, 20:40
Blame Trump.. Balme Brexit.. fed up with the media. I now watch very little TV & read very few news websites because of the one sided view the media now has. Actually I read the Daily Mail & The Guardian & form my own Balanced opinion.

Trump has nothing to do with it.
Its the exchange rate that is pricing people out of US. I cant justify a 20% increase. (obviously Im not prepared to take the current rough, compared to the smooth $2 - £1 a few years ago)

If trump was such a bad thing, how come the US$ did not crash the same the way £ did after the referendum vote?
The collapse IMO was completely manufactured & we are getting punished so a few investment bankers can add another zero or three to their bank balance.

As for Gratuities - it wont be long until 25% is the norm.
No wonder US corporations are so strong in the service sector. They dont even need to pay the staff a decent wage.
#933307 by VS075
04 Mar 2017, 18:34
From my perspective, if there is a slump in tourism from the UK, then I agree with the others in saying that this is undoubtedly attributable to the weak £ vs the $. I guess we will only find out how much of a slump there's been when tourism figures become available later this year and can see how they compare to last year. There would have been little/no impact last summer when the £ first nosedived as many people would have been committed to travelling long before the referendum.

As for me, I have no plans to go to the USA this year. This is partly due to other travel commitments as I have 2 trips to Spain booked plus I'm in the process of buying a house, but the weak £ is not making the US attractive. I'm not going to rule out planning trips to the US in 2018 or 2019, but the currency situation will play on my mind a lot, especially as Brexit nears and it becomes more clear what's going to happen. I suspect others are thinking along the same lines.
#933322 by NV43
05 Mar 2017, 15:00
Our last rip to the US was, significantly, more expensive than the previous excursion.

The restaurant prices (in US$) had ramped up to the point that I was wondering who could afford them; nonetheless, the restaurants appeared to be doing well, with tables filled.

Gratuity charges are, however, becoming a joke: 20% on top of the bill?

It may be discretionary, but 20% is way over what I will tip in a Michelin starred eatery.

The reduced £/US$ exchange rate, increased fuel costs (£/US$ exchange rate) and increased prices (generally; see shop prices) have made the US a far more expensive destination, with profits being made at every level.

That said, it's still a great Country to visit and, if you are sensible, good value.

Let's see what happens to the £ and the €, when we have an Italian bank crash.

As a side note, I always how the restaurant tips are distributed, and only tip by CC if they do not involve management/owners,; otherwise by cash to the waiter (relying on their honesty to pass cash on to the kitchen etc.).

#933354 by Smid
06 Mar 2017, 15:22
I think there is about three bits of news in here....

A bit of complaint about the nonsense that is brexit killing off all our wonderful travels. Yep. Looks like across the board, even New Zealand at Christmas for me was quite expensive, so it's not just the US. I've got two reward flights booked this year to the US, and its the first time in years that I've not bought some sort of revenue flight to the US or Carribean. I have no plans to book any further trips to the US. Brexit has made my world smaller, or rather, more expensive to travel in. Like a lot of people here...

However, the US dollar is strong versus the Euro as well, and has been for about the same length of time. Pre dating Trump. I think our provincialism forgets that our 60M pales in significance to the other 440M who are suffering from similar weak currency. Sure the euro is not at a low of the modern age, it was below the dollar for a significant time of its early life, but I think that has had much more of an effect on US travel patterns than our crappy self important little country.

And then there's the actual Trump slump. I think this is genuinely real. There is a unpleasant mood coming from the US which discourages normal people travelling, sure, but let's not forget the details of that immigration ban. Airlines with flight crew from many nations were suddenly put in the position that their pilots or crew might be refused entry to the US. An industry which thrives on multiculturalism and lingualism.

Then there's the genuine ban on green card holders/us residents from coming back in. Even Trump supporters dismissed that as "oh he didn't mean that". Bannon apparently did. For whatever reason. So would you, as a US based muslim, or even a offspring of an US based muslim travel outside the US in the next few years with a chance that you'd never get back in and be sent back to a country you've not lived in for years/ never lived in? Trump has made his dislike be more than that: Mexicans for instance, and has also said there are "Too many asian CEOS in Silicon Valley". Plus there was a perception of the weaponising of the TSA making travel just a bit less pleasant.

I think the actual effect of banning effectively tourism from a bunch of countries which are not exactly affluent, or even having direct US flights, probably made some difference, but not that much.

I think there's definitely an effect of Trump's recent "doings". How big it is, is hard to quantify, but I'm pretty sure you've lost a lot of foreign holiday bookings for muslims alone. Perhaps it has raised the concept of fear into the US travel industry, be it baseless and exaggerated, which would be much more significant.

However, as hard as it is on us, I'm pretty sure it has little to do with brexit.
#933358 by cheesebag
06 Mar 2017, 17:05
There are still bargains out there though! We've got five days in NY just before christmas with Club room hotel an UC seats for less than a quarter of the price of the seats alone on the VS site!
#933359 by Smid
06 Mar 2017, 17:17
cheesebag wrote:There are still bargains out there though! We've got five days in NY just before christmas with Club room hotel an UC seats for less than a quarter of the price of the seats alone on the VS site!

Yeah, but sometimes its more than just the flight and hotel costs. Transport, food, drink etc... Motivation to go there for shopping...

I would be interested where you got that deal though. Sounds a good one.
#933371 by sickbag
07 Mar 2017, 20:03
I've not travelled to the states with VS for years having chosen other cheaper carriers as I found the service had gone down hill. So we've been flying with AA/BA and United (which was a very good flight to LA xmas 2016).

Will be flying VS again this Xmas having picked up 5 seats at £385 each to Miami on netflights. That's at least £300 cheaper than we've ever paid to travel over Xmas. So we are benefiting from any perceived slump.

Hopefully VS have upped their game and service levels returned to what it was like in the 80s/90s.
#933384 by kered
08 Mar 2017, 11:31
mallin wrote:......<snip>........ Our hotel in Vegas which I could usually get for £500 for the week as also gone to £750 plus the resort fees and parking now on top.........

(My bolding)

Parking !! ?? :-O

Is parking now being charged for at Las Vegas resorts ??

Edited to add.... Just went Googling & answered my own question, seems that the free parking is indeed coming to an end...... real shame :-(

Still won't stop us visiting the U.S. We love it & it's really the only place we go.
Last edited by kered on 08 Mar 2017, 13:25, edited 1 time in total.
#933385 by mallin
08 Mar 2017, 11:45
Hi Kered,
All the MGM group of properties in Vegas brought parking charges in last year. It depends on what type of property i.e. three star was $8 plus tax each day, the higher up the rating the more expensive it got. it was like resort tax years ago MGM were the first to introduce it then nearly all the others followed.

It make the headline rate per night look relatively cheap then when you add on all the extras not so much. Linda
#933386 by ScoobySu
08 Mar 2017, 12:04
CET (Caesers' group), Cosmo and Wynncore have also bought parking fees in, although ISTBC Wynncore charges just for valet at the moment :-(

If you have Mlife status then self park at MGM resorts is free if Pearl and Valet free if Gold. I haven't stayed at CET properties so I don't know if their Total Rewards scheme gives any benefits.

MGM has recently increased it's resort fees and I believe the room tax has also increased this year so Vegas is definitely not the bargain it was. ;-( ;-(
#933387 by Smid
08 Mar 2017, 12:35
I find it interesting about the vegas parking.

Resort fees only really hit people staying at a casino.

Parking affects people getting to a casino. So if somewhere offers free parking for people not staying, or for people staying elsewhere, all of a sudden that casino might be a place getting a lot more business.

I don't drive, and wouldn't in Vegas, so not really my thing. But plenty drive to Vegas for events from elsewhere...
Virgin Atlantic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], mk31 and 19 guests

Itinerary Calendar