People are being given the option to stretch their Caribbean breaks with a new beach-based check-in for return flights.
A branded area on Brownes Beach in Barbados has been designated as The Departure Beach in the Virgin Holidays initiative.
Entry is free for holidaymakers staying at Savannah Beach in Barbados or those on cruises that terminate in the island. Other customers are charged £25, although the operator warned that this price can fluctuate depending on availability and season.
The facility includes an air-conditioned lounge, bathroom and shower facilities, bar and restaurant and a Virgin Atlantic check-in.
With many flights not returning to the UK until late evening, holidaymakers have been forced to kill time because the majority of hotels and cruise ships in Barbados require customers to check out before midday.
This “lost day” of holiday is expected to account for a total of 2.4 million hours of British holidaymakers time annually, the operator estimated.
As the average long-haul holiday is ten days, it equates to 10% of holidays being spent waiting in hotel lobbies or dragging luggage around city backstreets.
Travellers signing up for The Departure Beach will be picked up from their hotel after breakfast with their hold luggage taken straight to the airport. They can check-in on the beach, pick up their boarding pass and relax.
Virgin Holidays staff ensure customers catch their transfer at the correct time to reach the airport.
Head of Caribbean and worldwide product, Nicki Goldsmith, said: ”We believe that a holiday should be a pleasure from beginning to end and have been working hard to ensure we’ve removed as many pain-points as possible for our customers.
“The Departure Beach is now welcoming customers and feedback has been brilliant – no one ever wants to cut a holiday short.”
Cheryl Carter, of Barbados Tourism Marketing, added: “Virgin Holidays is the largest British tour operator to Barbados with daily Virgin Atlantic flights departing from London Gatwick and multiple flights each week from Manchester and London Heathrow.
“We’re thrilled that they’ve chosen Barbados to pioneer such a revolutionary concept – and as it’s situated on one of the most picturesque beaches on the island.”
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