September 6, 2013 7:25 pm

Short cuts: travel news and inspiration

Swiss ‘economy flex’ ticket for skiers, the reopening of a luxurious 48-room hotel in Austin, and new flights from Cambridge Airport
The entrance to the luxurious 48-room Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas

Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas

Geneva For more than a decade, Swiss International Air Lines (formerly Swissair) has marketed itself as “the skier’s airline” – based on its policy of carrying ski and snowboard equipment free of charge, no matter which class or type of ticket was purchased. When British Airways dropped a similar policy in 2009, Swiss triumphantly declared itself the only airline offering the free service between the UK and Switzerland, and restated its commitment to an “integral” part of its service. Last week, however, saw the introduction of a new fare structure for the airline’s European flights to and from Geneva, a key ski gateway, under which the cheapest tickets will no longer include ski carriage. Passengers taking skis will now need to upgrade to an “economy flex” ticket, which typically costs £40 more. www.swiss.com

Austin A landmark historic building in Austin, Texas, is due to reopen as a luxurious 48-room hotel on September 25. Hotel Ella occupies the Goodall Wooten House, built between 1898 and 1900 in classical revival style as the home of a local doctor. It will feature a cabana-lined pool and wraparound veranda overlooking extensive lawns (doubles from $249). Meanwhile, British Airways has announced it will launch flights between Austin and London in March 2014, the city’s first direct flights to Europe. www.hotelella.com

Cambridge Cambridge Airport’s long-held ambition to become a significant international gateway received a big boost last week with the launch of new flights to Paris, Amsterdam, Milan and Geneva. The airport opened in 1937 but by 2007 had no scheduled passenger flights. Last summer flights to Jersey were introduced along with a weekly departure to Dole-Jura in France but now Darwin Airline will operate 50 flights per week to and from the airport. The Swiss-based airline has also announced an “interline agreement” with Etihad Airways, which offers connecting flights to its Abu Dhabi hub and onward to destinations worldwide. Tour operators and travel agents can sell tickets from Cambridge to any Etihad destination, and checked-in luggage will go straight to the final destination. www.cambridgeairport.com

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