Disneyland Paris charging unfairly to Brits?

July 29th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

mickey mouse disney 300x270 Disneyland Paris charging unfairly to Brits?If you’ve been eyeing up a trip to Disneyland Paris this summer, you might want to get a French pal to buy your tickets for you.

Why? Well, it looks like the theme park is charging different countries, different amounts, with people from the UK and German getting stiffed compared to the French. A new report says that British families are paying as much as £1,327 for tickets, while German families are paying £1,736. The French, meanwhile, are paying £955 compared.

As a result, there’s going to be a probe into what is going on by the European Commission.

EU rules say that businesses aren’t allowed to differ the price based on a person’s country of residence. Disneyland Paris weren’t having it, and said that their promotions were based on school holiday periods in local markets, and that, basic packages without promotional discounts were the same across all countries.

The EU looked into this and assessed the prices of other theme parks in Europe, and lo and behold, they found that the variation was not the same.

Elzbieta Bienkowska, EU commissioner for the single market, said there had been a number of complaints, and she said: “It is time to get to the bottom of this. I am interested in answers and explanations, On the face of it, I struggle to see what objective justification there could be for these practices.”

In the meantime, if you have some French mates, get them to buy your tickets for you.

Travel advice if you’re going to Calais

July 23rd, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

eurostar channel tunnel Travel advice if youre going to CalaisAre you going to, or through, Calais? Well, things have been a bit tricky down there, thanks to a spate of protests.

The possibility of more disruption to cross-Channel services, thanks to industrial action, is likely, so we’re going to compile all the information you need, should you get caught up in it, or would like to prepare yourself if you’re travelling to France.

Firstly, you should get in touch with your travel operator and see what they say about any journeys you’ve booked. The same goes for those travelling across the channel from Dover/Folkestone to the Port of Calais.

Should you require an exchange for your travel tickets, contact your operator. Visit the ABTA site if you want to brush up on your rights first.

If you’re planning on an alternative route, you might want to look at this map, which shows you other ways into France.

Are you already in France and need some emergency assistance? The French emergency services are contacted by dialling 112. If you’d prefer to deal with the British Embassy, call 00 33 (0)1 44 51 31 00.

Here are the contacts for some of the cross-channel operators.

P&O Ferries: +44 (0) 800 13 0030

Eurotunnel: @LeShuttle +44 (0) 8444 63 0000 (24 hour pre-recorded travel information), +44 (0) 8443 35 35 35, +33 (0) 810 63 03 04

Brittany Ferries: @Brittanyferries +44 (0) 1752 648 637

Condor Ferries: @CF_Travel_News +44 (0) 1202 207 216, St Malo +44 (0) 825 165 463, Cherbourg +33 (0) 233 88 44 88

Stena: @StenalineUK +44 (0) 8447 70 70 70

Ryanair ban booze on flights to Ibiza

July 23rd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

drunk pilot Ryanair ban booze on flights to IbizaThinking of ‘getting on it’ on your flight to Ibiza? Thinking of stocking up in the airport so you can get bladdered in your hotel before hitting the clubs in San Antonio? Think again, as Ryanair have banned passengers from bringing duty-free booze onto flights to Ibiza from Bristol airport.

Dullards, feel free to point out that you can fly from other airports or that other airlines are available.

Anyway, this decision follows an incident where five blokes got booted off a flight to Ibiza after they were apparently drunk and abusive towards Ryanair staff.

Of course, you can still put your booze in the hold, but you can’t have it on the flight with you.

Ryanair told passengers passengers: “Any alcohol purchased in airport shops or elsewhere must be packed carefully in a suitable item of cabin baggage, which will be tagged at the gate and then placed in the aircraft hold free of charge.”

“If the bag is unsuitable for placing in the hold (e.g plastic bag) then customers will be required to dispose of the alcohol in the bins provided. Boarding gates will be carefully monitored and customers showing any signs of anti-social behaviour or attempting to conceal alcohol will be denied travel without refund or compensation.”

The Civil Aviation Authority said that they back the decision and pointed out that it is a criminal offence to be drunk on board an aircraft or to disobey the captain’s orders. You’ve been warned, booze-hounds. You’ll just have to get messy via the drinks that the flight serve on the trolleys, for 40 times the price.

Oh. We see what’s going on here.

picture 42 Are airlines selling tickets for seats that dont exist?EasyJet have been accused of selling tickets for seats on flights, that don’t exist. On top of that, those that buy these tickets end up on roundabout routes which take ages to get to your destination.

Feel free to insert a joke about being dropped off approximately 50 miles from your destination, in the sentence above.

The airline has been accused of overselling thousands of peak-season flights, which has seen some families being broken up while travelling. And it isn’t just EasyJet, as similar accusations have been thrown at British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

If this is true, then some airlines are clearly in breach of European rules on overbooking. Regulations state that airlines must get passengers to their destination ‘at the earliest opportunity’.

There were problems with tennis player Annabel Croft, who tweeted: “Have arrived Portugal minus our daughter. Not a great start to our family holiday – no idea buying a ticket didn’t guarantee a seat. I asked easyJet if I could stay with her and they said yes, but we will charge you £60. Unbelievable.”

So what do EasyJet have to say for themselves? A spokesman said: “A flight will only be overbooked after reviewing the no-show rate for the last three months. On average, across our flights we will only overbook by one or two passengers per flight.”

Travel advice for those travelling to Turkey

July 22nd, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

plane 300x225 Travel advice for those travelling to TurkeyIf you’re thinking of going to Turkey for your summer holidays, or indeed, already have something booked, then there’s some important travel advice that you should heed.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria. You should not go, unless it is absolutely essential, to the remaining areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis and Hatay provinces, as well as Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari provinces.

There’s been a lot of trouble in Turkey of late. There’s a high threat from terrorism in Turkey, and according to the FCO, “there are active terrorist groups throughout the country. These include domestic religious extremist and ideological groups, and international groups involved in the conflict in Syria. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect places visited by foreigners.”

They add: “The terrorist group DHKP-C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party Front) has launched a series of attacks in Istanbul in 2015 targeting the Turkish police and judiciary. On 5 June, two people were killed and many injured by an explosion at an HDP rally in Diyarbakir. On 9 June, 4 people were killed in an attack in Diyarbakir. You should exercise caution.”

“Border crossings into Syria and nearby locations have also been targeted. On 20 July, a suicide bomber killed at least 28 people and injured over 100 others in Suruc, Sanlurfa.”

They add that there’s been armed assaults, suicide bombings, car bombings and rocket attacks and improvised explosive devices left in bins, in crowded areas and on public transport. What should concern you, is that there’s a heightened threat of terrorist attacks against UK interests and British nationals. There is also a threat of kidnapping near the Syrian border in Turkey.

Contacts For Those Travelling In Turkey

If you require urgent help contact the consular assistance team on 020 7008 1500 which is available 24 hours. If you’re in Turkey and need emergency help, please contact the British Embassy Ankara.

Şehit Ersan Caddesi 46/A
Çankaya
Ankara
Turkey
Email: info.officer@fco.gov.uk
Telephone: +90 312 455 33 44
Fax: +90 312 455 33 52

Cheapest holidays to Europe for yonks!

July 17th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

holiday Cheapest holidays to Europe for yonks!If you’re British, it is a good time to go on holiday? Why? Well, for starters, Britain seems relentlessly bleak at the moment, so it’d be nice to get away from all moaning and austerity cuts. That’s not really what we’re getting at though.

Thanks to the rise of the pound against the euro – the highest it has been since 2007, and up 13% in a year – the exchange rate is very nice indeed. In fact, analysts reckon that the pound is set to reach 1.5 euros soon, which is great for those with holidays booked already.

In short, if you buy a pint for 5 euros, then two years ago, it would’ve worked out as £4.50, but now, it is more like £3.60.

Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said: “This is great news. Holidaymakers can look forward to cashing in on the increased buying power of sterling in most popular destinations this summer.”

Petrol is cheaper in Europe too, if you’re driving out there. The AA say this is because the UK pays a higher level of tax on fuel, and in addition to that, the combined cost of travel, accommodation, food and all that, on average, is down by more than £220.

The best foreign currency exchange rates around at the moment are to be found at AceFX, Thomas Exchange and MoneyCorp among others. Those who pre-order currency from airport branches of Travelex or Moneycorp can get a decent deal too. On the high street, your best bet is to change your money at the Thomson and Halifax bureaus.

Have a lovely time.

 

sim cards petr kratochvil pd 300x168 Hail the new SIM cards that make it easier to switch and travel!It seems like the mobile industry is pushing for SIM cards that let plebs like us, switch freely between multiple providers, which is obviously a really good thing.

Apple, of course, did it with the mobile version of their iPad Air 2, and now, they’re going to be doing it with their phones too. In addition to that, Samsung have joined-in, saying that they’d like to use these new embedded electronic SIM (e-SIM) cards with the GSM Association.

It seems loads of companies around the world are getting on-board with this, and it is easy to see why – instead of being locked into plans and whatnot, users will be able to switch more freely and you’ll be able to buy phones on the contract you want, sidestepping any pointless exclusivity deals.

It’ll also help when you’re travelling too.

“With the majority of operators on board, the plan is to finalise the technical architecture that will be used in the development of an end-to-end remote SIM solution for consumer devices, with delivery anticipated by 2016,” reads a statement from the GSMA.

We think it’ll start becoming widely available in around 18 months, which is good news indeed.

euros 300x266 Fraudsters targetting EHIC travellers  and why you need an EHICCopycat websites are still all the rage, and the latest trend is for shysters to set up websites to sell you a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) even though you can get them for absolutely nothing. But the reason this seems to be such a rich vein for the fraudsters is that it seems many people don’t know that the cards are free.

According to our friends over at Which!!!, 20% of British adults, that’s one in five, didn’t know that EHIC cards are free for UK residents. They also found that almost one in 16 UK adults who’d been to Europe in the last five years had paid for an EHIC card.

The problem is, of course, that most search engines carry ads for third party websites at the top of search results pages. Copycat websites exploit this, and make themselves as official-looking as possible, so that you think you’re on the proper site, when actually you are being taken for a mug.

Which!!! reckon that the two of the most prominent adverts for EHIC cards promoted via top search bot Google lead to copycat sites charging between £24 and £35 per card, instead of getting a free EHIC card from gov.uk/ehic.

But why do I need an EHIC?

Many people think that if they have travel insurance, they don’t need an EHIC. This simply isn’t true. An EHIC will enable you to access state-provided healthcare (NHS equivalent) in European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland, at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. For example, if you want to see a GP in France, say, you will have to pay a standard amount for the consultation; showing your EHIC card will reduce the amount you pay. If you need ongoing medical care, the EHIC card will cover your treatment until you return to the UK. Unlike many travel insurance policies, the EHIC will also cover treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine (i.e not planned birth) maternity care. The NHS has a specific country-by-country guide if you want to check a particular treatment in a certain country.

But while EHIC covers state medical services, it will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK (or, obviously, lost or stolen property), which is why you buy your travel insurance. Some insurers will allow you to reclaim any costs incurred abroad, such as those charged for seeing a GP as above, but some will only refund the EHIC-net cost and some now insist that you hold an EHIC, while others will waive any excess if you have used your EHIC. So being as it costs nothing but a few minutes of your time, you’d be a fool not to get one- and carry it with you when in Europe.

Another strike for the London Underground

July 14th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

undergroundPA 175x125 Another strike for the London UndergroundRemember when people from London had to catch the bus for the day, because the Tube went on strike, and some talked about it like they’d had their basic human rights taken away from them?

Well, they’re going to be at it again, with another round of Tube strikes being announced, which will kick off on August 5th, according to the Aslef and Unite unions. Drivers will be walking out from 9.30pm for 24 hours.

Of course, Bitterwallet told them about the others ways they can get around the capital, including a boat which we think you can drink booze on, so they really shouldn’t complain too much.

If you’ve missed out on all this, because you have been asleep for a month, or indeed, just don’t care, the strikes surround pay and working hours on the new Night Tube service, set to be a thing from September 12th. Of course, some conspiracy theorists believe that the Government don’t actually have the money to run the night service, and this is all a big ruse to avoiding having to do it.

Finn Brennan, from Aslef, said last week: “Today our members will be on the picket lines along with our colleagues and friends in Unite, RMT and TSSA. We are here because London Underground management refused to deal seriously with the issues at the heart of this dispute and resolve them.”

“They wasted the opportunity to resolve this dispute without a strike. The blame for the disruption caused by the strike rests squarely with London Underground management.”

There’s more talks due, which means this strike might not go ahead, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Protesters get on the runway at Heathrow

July 13th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

plane 300x225 Protesters get on the runway at HeathrowThere’s trouble afoot at Heathrow as climate change demonstrators have got themselves onto the north runway to have themselves a protest.

A spokesperson for group Plane Stupid (geddit?) said that a dozen or so demonstrators cut their way through the airport perimeter fence and got onto the runway at 3.30am this morning. Seems like they got on a bit too easily, if that’s all they had to do.

This particular protest, of course, is regarding the Heathrow expansion and the protesters plan on staying there for as long as they can. This inevitably will see a few harder-nosed people demanding that the protesters get run over by planes, no doubt.

A Heathrow spokesperson confirmed that “a group of people” had got through the fence: ”We are working closely with the police who are dealing with the incident. The southern runway remains open. Our priority remains to ensure the safety of the airport community, including passengers, employees and protesters.”

“Both runways are open and operational but we expect some delays/cancellations. We’re advising passengers to check with their airline.”

Sky got to talk to one of the activists - Ella Gilbert – and they said: “Building more runways goes against everything we’re being told by scientists and experts on climate change.”

“This would massively increase carbon emissions exactly when we need to massively reduce them, that’s why we’re here. We want to say sorry to anyone whose day we’ve ruined, and we’re not saying that everybody who wants to fly is a bad person.”

“It’s those who fly frequently and unnecessarily who are driving the need for expansion, and we cannot keep ignoring the terrifying consequences of flying like there’s no tomorrow. No ifs, no buts, no third runway. And we mean it.”

Fancy sitting face-to-face on flights?

July 10th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

If you think cheap flights are already cramped affairs, you ain’t seen nothing yet. A patent filed by Zodiac Seats France wants to cram everyone in even more, by having passengers facing each other.

Travelling could become a rather intimate experience, with passengers slotted in, like fingers interlocking in a system that has been dubbed Economy Class Cabin Hexagon.

Have a look at the patent diagram.

559ef0837772ff921f95c9e7 horrible airplane design 1 762x428 500x280 Fancy sitting face to face on flights?

Of course, this will increase the amount of people you can get on a plane, which of course, means more money for airlines. We can all think of at least one company that might be interested in this, can’t we?

Remember the whole Ryanair debacle when Michael O’Leary looked at the possibility of standing seats?

tunisia Evacuations from Tunisia after new terror warning   everything you need to knowThousands of holiday goers from the UK and people working over there, are being evacuated from Tunisia after the government issued a terror warning.

The Foreign Office has warned that you shouldn’t travel to the country at all, unless it is completely essential, after the government received intelligence that a terrorist attack is “highly likely”. This comes a month after last month’s terrible beach shootings.

They said in a statement: “Further terrorist attacks are highly likely, including in tourist resorts, and by individuals unknown to the authorities whose actions may be inspired by terrorist groups via social media. You should be especially vigilant at this time and follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities and your tour operator, if you have one.”

Thomson and First Choice are bringing their staff home and extra flights are being made available to get tourists back. It is thought that there’s around 3,000 Brits currently travelling into the country.

If you’re over there at the moment, you should immediately contact your tour operator. If you’re travelling independently, you should make your own arrangements to leave while commercial airlines are operating, said the Foreign Office.

If you need consular advice, then get in touch with the British embassy in Tunis. British nationals who need emergency assistance outside normal office hours should call 00216 71 108 700, where you’ll get information on what to do and how to contact the Global Response Centre.

Thomas Cook and First Choice have said that they’re cancelling all future bookings to Tunisia until 31st October. They say: ”Customers due to travel to Tunisia up to and including 31 October will be given the opportunity to amend their holiday free of charge to any of our destinations currently on sale, or receive a full refund.”

Thomson and First Choice have all the information you need here, including when the flights out of Tunisia are.

If you want to contact them about bookings you’ve made, then call the customer service centre on 0800 009 3847 or 0203 636 1998 between 9am-9pm on Monday-Friday, 9am-8pm Saturday and 10am – 8pm Sunday.

Monarch have said that full refunds are available for customers on cancelled flights and should contact their customer services team on 0333 003 0700. All the details you need from Monarch can be found here.

ABTA added: “Holidaymakers should be aware that travelling out to Tunisia at this time is likely to invalidate travel insurance policies. Most insurance policies will still provide cover for travellers in a country at the time of Foreign Office advice change. Those with holidays booked within the next 48 hours to Tunisia are advised to contact their travel company to discuss available options.”

“If you have booked a package you will be entitled to a refund or alternative holiday.”

Last-minute talks to avert a 48-hour rail strike on First Great Western services have failed, according to the RMT union. That means, services between London, the west of England and Wales will be affected, as of teatime last night.

Below, you can see a map of all the lines which fall under this area. Click on the map to enlarge.

Red lines are not expected to operate. Black lines have a limited peak service. Yellow lines have a reduced service. Green lines are normal.

latest map 966x680 500x351 First Great Western strike   which trains are affected?

For the latest news on the First Great Western strike, click here. Also, if you want a refund on your train, you can check here to see if you can get one.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: ”The company still feel that the configuration of the new super express trains is out of their control and that it would be in their best interests to have ‘driver-only’ operations and to remove the buffet cars.”

“That position is totally unacceptable and the union is clear that the design of the new fleet of trains is a matter for First Group and that there is still time to modify the rolling stock,” he said. Last week’s ballot saw 80% of workers supporting strike action.

A FGW spokesman said: “Progress has been made, sadly not enough progress for the RMT to be able to cancel their strike at short notice.”

**UPDATE**

First Great Western ‏- “Time restrictions on tickets have been lifted from now until the end of service today. Passengers can use tickets for any time train.”

EasyJet crew set to strike

July 6th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

picture 42 EasyJet crew set to strikeThere’s more strikes afoot. You’ll know that there’s been rail strikes, strike action at the Channel Tunnel and of course, walkouts in the airline industry.

Now it is the turn of EasyJet cabin crew, with 2,000 workers set to down tools (wet wipes and uninflated life jackets) over a pay row, and is likely to take place sometime next month.

Of course, this could potentially ground thousands of flights, which in turn, would affect a lot of families who want to get a break in during the school holidays from a number of the country’s airports.

EasyJet bosses have indeed, offered a pay rise to cabin crew of 4.1% and 5.1% to the managers, but this has been refused by unions who think the working staff deserve more than that. They’d like to see a bigger pay increase to reflect the staff’s responsibilities and long working hours that they put in.

Some EasyJet cabin crew are apparently on a basic salary of just £10,000. Considering that various people in the know say that a living wage in 2015 is in the region of £17,500, you can see where the argument lies.

An EasyJet spokesperson said: “EasyJet’s cabin crew receive the highest pay in the UK airline industry. EasyJet has now awarded its UK cabin crew increases of 4.1% for cabin crew and 5.1% for cabin managers over two years backdated to January 2015 on top of an already market leading set of pay and conditions in the UK.”

We’ll keep an eye on things and report back with news of any affected flights.

Ryanair set up petition against strikes

July 1st, 2015 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

ryanair 300x225 Ryanair set up petition against strikesWith traffic control unions striking all over the place, Ryanair have decided to launch a petition about it all. Are they supporting the workers, hoping they get better treatment at work? Of course not! This is Ryanair!

Their petition is called Keep Europe’s Skies Open’ and is a protest against further strikes from those pesky union, commie rats! They may not have said ‘commie rats’, but they may have muttered ‘pinkos’ under their breath.

Of course, French air traffic controllers are due to walk out this week, so this is a timely petition. The last time there was one of these strikes, the airlines of Europe had to cancel over 3,600 flights, troubling over 5000,000 travellers.

With online petitions being just the thing in 2015 (look how many people signed the Jeremy Clarkson one), Ryanair hopes they’ll be able to attract one million signatures from people across Europe, which they’ll then present to Brussels and urge the EU Commission and the EU Parliament to finally take action (look how Jeremy Clarkson didn’t get his job back at Top Gear, for more on that).

Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: “It’s unacceptable that Europe’s consumers repeatedly have their holiday and travel plans disrupted or cancelled by the selfish actions of ATC unions every summer, who use strikes as a first weapon rather than a last resort. French ATC unions will again stage three further days of strikes this week, which will impact hundreds of thousands of European consumers.”

“It is particularly reprehensible that these strikes are taking place at the height of the peak summer season, deliberately targeting holidaymakers and families.”

“Today we have launched this keepeuropeskiesopen.com website where consumers can support our online petition calling on the European Commission and European Parliament to either remove the ATC unions’ right to strike, or allow other European ATCs to operate French or Spanish airspace during these repeated strikes.”

“It’s time the Commission and parliament took action to prevent Europe’s families and ordinary air travellers having their hard earned holidays or travel plans regularly disrupted by these ATC unions closing the skies over Europe. If the EU won’t listen to the airlines, perhaps they’ll listen to Europe’s citizens.”

Want to sign it or look at it mockingly? Whatever your angle, click here to see it.