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ON THE GROUND ➔ Rail is the preferred option

RESEARCH by rail ticket distri- butor SilverRail has revealed an overwhelming preference among travellers for high- speed rail over air travel, with time, cost and comfort the main factors cited. The results showed that 90

per cent of respondents would like to see rail options displayed alongside flights when searching for travel, with 79 per cent saying they would choose a train over a plane if high-speed rail existed on the route, and 61 per cent said they would choose rail over air if the cost was the same or better. When it comes to saving

time, the poll showed travellers took into consideration door-to- door travel time, with 86 per cent of people willing to accept a longer total travel time in order to avoid the process of checking in, security and


RAIL operator East Coast will introduce a new 'Quiet Coach' in First Class from May, alongside a new complimentary meal and drinks service. The new coaches will provide

more than 4,000 'silent seats' per day across its network by the end of May, where phones are required to be turned off or to silent mode and making or receiving calls is banished to vestibules between carriages. Personal audio devices, games consoles and other electrical equipment must also be in silent mode and customers must speak quietly. Wifi access in First Class has also been upgraded. The additions are part of

a raft of improvements the company is making in a bid to increase its share of the market for travel between London, the Midlands, Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland. East Coast already offers 'Quiet Coaches' in standard class.

AVIS has announced the further expansion of its business team this March, appointing a new account manager to work with travel management companies. The move comes after the company announced its market share increased to 43 per cent in 2010. Lisa Eastwood, head of business travel sales, says, “To achieve more growth in this market, Avis will support the frontline staff with training on sales, products – including Avis Business Traveller, an SME product designed specifically for the TMC market – and the GDS system. Having a dedicated regional account manager and trainer

to do this will be key for us.“ The company has recently

added 37 new rental branches across the UK, 21 of which are in partnership with Regus, the workplace solutions provider, enabling customers to hire Avis cars directly from their local Regus office space. Anthony Ainsworth, Avis UK commercial director says, “50 per cent growth of Avis’ town and city branches in just two months is a significant achievement for us. Our ultimate goal is to have an Avis branch within a few miles of every household in the UK. Next year will see the number of Avis branches increase with a further 100- plus locations.“

Five minutes with... Ciarán Kelly



Ciarán Kelly has an impressive track record of achievements within FCm Travel Solutions and parent company Flight Centre Limited since 2002. Before becoming UK general manager last year, Kelly held the position of business development director for FCm’s EMEA team, fronting the acquisition of £120million in new business.

boarding at the airport. In fact, two-thirds of respondents said they would happily add an hour or more of travel to their trips to avoid the hassles of airport check-in and security. In terms of cost, 89 per cent admitted to trying to avoid baggage fees, with 19 per cent even packing underwear in a

laptop case to avoid checking in baggage and paying fees. Only 61 per cent of respon- dents said baggage should be included in the ticket price. Waiting in line was defined as the ultimate air travel hassle by 72 per cent, with 47 per cent yearning for the past and an easier era of travel.


What is your most memorable business travel trip and why? Las Vegas 2005, celebrating at FCm’s global gathering event with almost 3,000 colleagues and being carried onto the stage to collect an award!

What is your worst business travel experience and why? Travelling back from New York on one occasion when we were kept waiting on the runway for eight hours. I had fallen asleep when I boarded the plane and woke up six hours later thinking we had landed in London but we were still in JFK. The plane in front of us had skidded off the runway due to the snow and ice. Our pilot got the all clear to take-off but he decided to abandon this due to ice on the wings. We disembarked and waited another seven hours before eventually boarding again!

What is your favourite destination worldwide and why? The South Pacific, and Tahiti in particular because of the weather, the colour of the ocean and sand, the coconuts, palm trees, visibility of the stars at night and speaking French with the locals.

What three items do you never leave home without when on business? A packet of peanut M&Ms, my phone and credit card.

What single thing could be done to improve your business travelling life? Someone could invent a real pair of magic ruby red shoes. If only I could click my heels together and be home in seconds after the business day is over – that would be excellent.

What destination would you like to visit next and why? Rio de Janeiro. I hear from a lot of people that it is a fantastic place to visit.


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