Week in Travel: Disney announces opening dates for Star Wars theme park

And Jet2 have been named as the best travel brand, Filipino airlines are being forced to increase prices, and a man has accidentally run a marathon in the United States

It’s time for Star Wars to fans to begin practicing bullseyeing womp rats in their T-16. Disney have announced that two Star Wars theme parks are to open next year, so hopefully they will soon be barrelling down the trench in an X-wing towards the exhaust vent. It’s not impossible.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will launch at Disneyland in California next summer and at Walt Disney World in Florida in the autumn of 2019.

The $1 billion Galaxy’s Edge will be largest expansion in the history of both parks. Construction began in April 2016.

“Guests will land in the middle of the action as they live their own Star Wars stories,” Disney said in a statement. “We are still hard at work creating our largest single-themed land expansions ever.”

One of the main attractions is expected to allow visitors fly the Millennium Falcon, while another will “make guests feel like they’re inside a hangar bay in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance”.

Jet2 named best travel brand by Which?

Week in Travel: Disney announces opening dates for Star Wars theme park
Which? have named Jet2 as the best travel brand – Fasttailwind / Shutterstock

Jet2 has been named as the Which? best travel brand of the year. It is the first airline to do so, and it comes in a year where many of its competitors have struggled through strikes and mass cancellations.

HF Holidays, Premier Inn and Riviera Travel were also shortlisted.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: “Since its inception, the Which? Awards has been committed to rewarding brands who have consistently put their customers first.

“Which? Awards are not handed out to just anyone. This year’s winners have reached exceptional standards, delivering excellent products, services and value for money.”

Jet2’s commercial director Steve Lee, who collected the award, said: “We are very proud to be named Which? Travel Brand of the Year, as it is a ringing endorsement of the service that we give our customers.

“These coveted awards are given to organisations that provide the very best customer experience, and it goes to show that the investment and hard work that we put into delivering a VIP experience for our customers is working.”

Filipino airlines forced to raise fares

Week in Travel: Disney announces opening dates for Star Wars theme park
Filipino airlines are struggling with an increase in fuel prices and a currency that’s sliding – N8Allen / Shutterstock

The increasing price of fuel and the decline of the Filipino peso are working hand-in-hand to force carriers based in the Philippines to raise their fares.

Cebu Air and Philippine Airlines have applied for regulatory approval to add fuel surcharges to their tickets.

Skift reported that an increase of $1 in the price of a barrel of oil adds $11 million a year to the costs incurred by Philippine Airlines. The cost of jet fuel increased by $13 between January and April of 2018. Cebu’s costs have increased by $13 million a month.

The Philippines peso is currently at its lowest level for three years. One US dollar will currently buy you 52.58 pesos. The slide is thought to be because of high interest rates in the US.

US airlines are also feeling the pain of the increase in fuel costs, with many starting to cancel routes that were unprofitable but carried strategic advantages.

While the news may be bad for the airline industry, it means that migrant workers from the Philippines will be able send home larger remittances.

EU to ban single-use plastic products

Week in Travel: Disney announces opening dates for Star Wars theme park
Fishing gear makes up a significant amount of the plastic waste in the oceans – Shutterstock

The EU Commission has announced plans to ban single-use plastic products across Europe in order to fight the surge in plastic waste.

Products such as straws, plates, utensils, coffee stirrers, cotton swabs with plastic stems and balloon holders will be targeted by the legislation, which was proposed on Monday.

The directive also takes aim at fishing gear. 70 per cent of plastic waste found in the oceans is single-use plastic or fishing gear, while 27 per cent of the waste that washes up on Europe’s beaches was caused by fishing.

EU first vice president Frans Timmermans said: “Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem, because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food.”

Plumber accidentally runs marathon

Week in Travel: Disney announces opening dates for Star Wars theme park
“I’m just going to go for it, because why not?” Mike Kohler said – Shutterstock

Mike Kohler has been gradually improving his running over the past few years. Last year, he ran the Sanford Fargo 10k, and the year before he completed the 5k. This year, his plan was to complete his first half marathon.

However, the West Fargo plumber misread the time of his race and pitched up at the start line with the runners competing in the full thing.

At first, Kohler thought the signs he was following showed that the half route had joined with the full route. When he realised his mistake he decided it was too late to fix and just kept going.

“I’m just going to go for it, because why not? I’m already here, I’m already running, I’m already tired. Might as well try to finish it. This just kind of proves you can do a lot more than what you think you can sometimes,” Kohler told the Grand Forks Herald.

Kohler finished the 26.2-mile race in just under six hours, which isn’t bad work for a mistake.