Posts Tagged ‘travel’
Going to the Isle of Wight for your jollies? Well, if you travel with ferry company Red Funnel, you’ll be able to have free WiFi over summer, which is just grand.
The company says that they’re going to be offering improved connectivity and greater bandwidth, which they’re providing thanks to a fivefold increase in demand.
So, if you want to Instagram pictures of the sea, or want to livetweet someone who has appalling sea-sickness, ralfing their guts up over the side of the ship, you don’t have to worry about your signal dropping out.
Red Funnel say they’ve made a “significant investment” in all this, with the number of wireless access points being increased.
Marketing and communications director Jonathan Green said: “Following extensive trials, we are delighted to be launching our new on-board WiFi service to coincide with the start of the school holidays.”
“We are particularly pleased to have overcome the technical challenges of providing a robust connection to our high-speed vessels which is a technical first on the Solent and great news for Red Funnel’s 1.1 million Red Jet customers.”
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.
Are 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
Thinking 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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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?
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
First Great Western has confirmed that they expects to run the majority of London Thames Valley services, however, long distance and local rail services will be significantly reduced, if the strike action goes ahead next week.
There’s still some meetings to be had, which could stop the strike, but talks might break down. Thanks to an overtime ban on Saturday 11 July, this could mean late notice changes or possible cancellations. It’d be worth keeping up to date with everything over at firstgreatwestern.co.uk/travelupdates for all journeys you’re planning to make.
If you have tickets for the dates affected, you can chose to travel on either Wednesday 8 July or Saturday 11 July. Full refunds will be available for those of you who decide to not travel. There’ll also be compensation for Season Ticket holders for the days affected. Seat reservations, sadly, will not be honoured.
First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: ”We are pleased that we have been able to identify a number of routes and services where we can continue to offer a service. This is limited and in some areas services are significantly impacted. However we recommend customers check the website for full details next week as they may find that travel by train is unaffected.”
“This is not true in every case and we recognise that for many of our customers the RMT’s decision to ask their members to strike will cause considerable inconvenience.”
“This industrial action is about the new trains we are bringing into operation, the largest fleet upgrade on the Great Western for a generation, which will shave journey times by as much as 17 minutes, and provide the extra seating capacity we know our customers want to see. In order to be able to do this we need to operate these trains differently to the way we operate our current 40 year-old High Speed Trains. The best way to make the most of these new trains, in an efficient and safe way, is by the use of driver operation of the doors.”
“41% of RMT members who work for us voted in favour of this action and we are disappointed that our assurances over job security; the need for more, not fewer staff; and our commitment to maintaining existing pay and conditions for affected staff have not been heard.”
“All of the issues raised by the RMT have been discussed with representatives and we believe we have made some progress. We are continuing to meet and I very much hope that the RMT will not go ahead with the strike.”
With 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.
This is a result of strike action from French ferry workers, and both Eurostar and Shuttle services have been stopped for the foreseeable after demonstrators caused a fire on the tracks at Calais.
Industrial action has caused all kinds of trouble and travel chaos on both sides of the Channel last week, after people decided to protest, worried about their jobs.
You may have also seen the area in the news, after migrants tried to stow away on lorries that were stuck in queues on the French side of the Channel Tunnel.
Eurostar, who run the trains from St Pancras to France and Belgium, issued a service update saying: “Eurotunnel has been closed following a fire caused by MyFerryLink demonstrators outside the tunnel.”
“Delays to Eurostar services are likely, more information to follow.”
The strike action in Calais has led to the closure of the port and suspension of ferry sailings from Dover also. All services between the Port of Dover and Calais are affected.
Today, the 29th June 2015, the currency of Greece is still the Euro. It is advised that you take other forms of payment with you, as well as cash. Make sure you’ve got your debit card and/or credit card. However, there’s a possibility that Greek banking services (including service of ATMs and the processing of credit card payments) could become limited at short notice.
You need to make sure you have enough in Euros to cover any emergencies.
There’s also a lot of strike action going on over there, so there can be disruption to public transport in and out of Greece. There’s also a lot of demonstrations going down, especially in Athens. The government have a dedicated page regarding planned major strikes and demos, which you can see here.
More worryingly, there’s a ‘general threat’ of terrorism and acts of political violence, and again, there’s a dedicated page where you can keep informed about all that, here.
If you’re in Greece and you need to call the emergency services, the number is 112. If you have your UK mobile with you, you can dial 999 and it will automatically put you through to the Greek emergency services.