Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Network Rail 300x150 Network Rail bosses travel by plane... because it is cheaper than trainsIn the past two years, Network Rail has spent £1.3million on domestic flights for its staff. That might not seem like such a big deal, but consider this – the company has pledged to always travel by the cheapest means possible.

So, given that Network Rail run our tracks, you’d hope that they might see something wrong with the fact that it is more expensive to travel by train than plane.

This data was found after a Freedom of Information request, which showed that Network Rail sends its employees on 12 domestic flights every day. If staff need to travel abroad, then fine, but this shows a huge lack of confidence in their own services.

A spokesman said that the company travels by air because it is cheaper than riding the rails. They were pained to point out the amount of rail travel they pay for too: “Network Rail’s 35,000 people have to pay the going rate for all travel, be it air, rail or car. Our people are also obliged to use the cheapest method available, sometimes that means by air – around £650,000 last year – but mostly we travel by rail – almost £16million last year.”

Naturally, we thought we’d check to see if Network Rail staff get discounted rail travel and, hey presto! THEY DO! On the ‘employee benefits’ section of their site, it says that staff can “claim subsidies of up to 75% on rail and Underground season tickets”. So if travelling by air is cheaper than someone with a cheap ticket, then something is very wrong.

Of course, the main bugbear here is that train tickets are rising too high, too frequently. Some have risen by 30% in 5 years. Network Rail have also overseen numerous engineering works which have cocked-up and left the lines in chaos. If Network Rail won’t travel from London to Scotland by train, why should they expect anyone else to use their shitty service?

Driving abroad? Warning!

April 27th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

flooded cars 300x128 Driving abroad? Warning!Are you planning on going abroad this year and driving while you’re there? Well, there’s something you need to know - after 8th June, you’ll need to take a special code with you if you want to hire a car.

This is all to do with the computerisation of the paper counterpart of UK driving licences. Now, if you want to hire a motor when overseas, you’ll officially need a code to show convictions for offences like speeding.

You’ll have to go to the DVLA website for all that.

Get this – the code will only be valid for 72 hours, so if you’re planning on hiring a car after three days of your trip, you’ll have to get a code while you’re on holiday. If you don’t have internet access, there’ll be a phone number you can ring. All sounds like a bit of a faff, doesn’t it?

Concerning the paper bit of your driving licence, the DVLA is saying you can shred it and bin it after 8th June. However, the AA aren’t so sure about that. They clearly don’t trust a word the DVLA says. It would be wise to hang on to that document, in case some hire companies aren’t aware of the new arrangement.

“Not all car rental companies, or indeed traffic police abroad, will be aware of the changes, so a ‘belt and braces’ approach of also taking the counterpart might help,” said AA president Edmund King.

Behold, the R2D2 Star Wars jumbo jet!

April 17th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Now a new Star Wars trailer has landed online, everyone of a certain age has been reduced to a dribbling, nostalgic wreck. As Star Wars is such a huge deal, the hype surrounding it and marketing opportunities are not like any other franchise.

Not many films can get an airline so excited that they paint one of their planes like R2D2. That’s exactly the craic with Japanese airline All Nippon Airways who unveiled plans to dress their plane in a way that will see everyone making puns on ‘may the air force be with you’.

R2D2 plane 500x271 Behold, the R2D2 Star Wars jumbo jet!

In a couple of months, there’s going to be a Boeing 787 flying around the sky looking like Artoo.

This design is part of the airline’s five-year “Star Wars Project”, which means more Star Wars themed aircraft. We’re hoping for a Jabba The Hut one, as that’d look disgusting.

And while we’re here, we might as well watch the second trailer of Star Wars Episode VII and dribble all over ourselves with excitement. Yes. We know it’s a children’s film.

A steward for Ryanair found a passenger’s camera on a flight. Now, you’d think they’d hand it in to lost property and that would be the end of it, right?

Well, this particular steward thought he’d have it for himself and flog it on eBay. Fernando Miguel Andrade Viseu didn’t realise these things can be tracked and on the auction, he found he’d got a message from the owner.

The camera owner, a teacher called Aaron Galloway, was going on a break when he forgot his camera on the seat of the plane. He told the crew about it and they said they saw no sign of the £499 Nikon camera.

Galloway got home, looked on eBay and BAM, there it was. And so, he sent the vendor a message.

ad166057305email exchanges 500x396 Ryanair steward steals camera and tries to sell it on eBay... however...

Viseu replied, saying how dreadfully sorry he was and that the camera would be returned at the airport.

ad166057303email exchanges 500x266 Ryanair steward steals camera and tries to sell it on eBay... however...

How did it end?

Well, Viseu was promptly arrested and ordered to pay compensation of £145 and carry out 100 hours of community service. Oh, and now he’s on the internet known as a snide.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We arrested a 34-year-old man from the Stansted area on Friday February 20 on suspicion of theft. He was taken to Stansted area police station where he was interviewed and subsequently charged with theft of a camera and a Kindle.”

What do Ryanair think of it all? They said: “While we don’t comment on legal matters, we can confirm that this individual no longer works for Ryanair.”

Holidaymakers conned out of billions

April 13th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

holiday 300x233 Holidaymakers conned out of billionsGoing on holiday this year? Lucky you. Unless, that is, you’re being swizzed out of money by internet ne’er-do-wells.

A report from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has fired off a warning to you sun-worshippers, saying that some holidaymakers who have booked vacations online have been collectively conned out of £2.2m in 2014.

Crims have been targeting online booking firms to swipe money from unsuspecting folk, and many of those only find out that they’ve been had once they arrive at their hotel, who tell them that there’s no record of their booking.

The NFIB report shows, during a 12-month period, that 1,569 cases of holiday booking fraud were reported to the police’s fraud squad, with most complaints relating to plane tickets, hacking accounts, posting fake adverts online and setting-up bogus sites. Two groups particularly targeted were sports fans and religious groups, paying for fake tickets to religious sites and/or sporting events, where places are limited and people can charge more.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: “Holiday fraud is a particularly distressing form of fraud as the loss to the victim is not just financial but it can also have a high emotional impact. Many victims are unable to get away on a long-awaited holiday or visit to loved ones and the financial loss is accompanied by a personal loss.”

“We would also encourage anyone who has been the victim of a travel-related fraud to report it so that the police can build up a case, catch the perpetrators and prevent other unsuspecting people from falling victim.”

EasyJet to rescue everyone during strike!

April 10th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

easyjet 300x180 EasyJet to rescue everyone during strike!We told you about a large strike that was going to hit loads of flights, but there’s a knight in shining armour on the way to help out you travellers!

EasyJet are going to run some ‘rescue’ flights and may well put some bigger planes in service on busy routes in a bid to counteract the strike by French air traffic controllers. The company had to cancel 248 flights on Wednesday and a further 340 flights on Thursday.

Even though there were no cancellations today, EasyJet said some passengers still needed flights. There are more flights affected in the next few weeks, notably another strike from April 16th and a further one from April 29th.

For passengers stranded in European cities (how awful), Easyjet put in five rescue flights today, with additional flights running from Luton to Paris, Paris to Barcelona, Barcelona to Luton, Gatwick to Madrid, and Marrakech to Gatwick.

“EasyJet recognises that there are a number of passengers across the network who have been affected by these cancellations and still require flights as soon as possible,” a spokesman said. There’s going to be extended hours at their call centres too, to try and help out passengers.

If you need to call EasyJet, the number is 0330 365 5000 or click here for more details.

5 year freeze on train tickets?

April 10th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

david cameron government 5 year freeze on train tickets?Now, in Making Loads Of Promises You’ll Not Keep But You Need To Say Something In The Lead Up To A General Election news, David Cameron has promised that, if the Tories regain control of the country, rail fares will be frozen in real terms for 5 years.

The PM reckons that by extending the Retail Price Index inflation cap on regulated ticket prices until 2020, that’ll save us lot £400. That’s if you commute by train. If you drive to work, you can whistle.

This of course, is a response to Labour’s continued attacks on the coalition about the cost of living, and that most people in the UK aren’t benefiting from the economic recovery.

Cameron says: “The cost of commuting is one of the biggest household bills that hardworking families face and it is something we are determined to bear down on. It shouldn’t just be taken for granted that people across the country who get up early and come home late, spend a large amount of the money they earn travelling to and from work.”

“Because of the difficult decisions that we have taken to repair the economy, we have been able to hold down commuter fares for the past two years.”

“If elected in May, we would freeze them in real terms for the next five.”

However, the delightfully named Mick Cash, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, isn’t having it: “This latest stunt would still mean annual fare increases that would institutionalise the harsh reality that the British passenger pays the highest fares in Europe to travel on rammed out and unreliable trains.”

“The only solution is to end the rip off of rail privatisation which would allow us to free up the hundreds of millions of pounds drained off in profits to invest in services and cut fares.”

Strike cancels loads of flights

April 8th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

plane 300x225 Strike cancels loads of flightsA strike by air-traffic controllers in France has cancelled hundreds of flights to and from Britain. Ryanair has had to nix over 250 services while British Airways has said that passengers should expect significant delays for the next couple of days.

EasyJet have cancelled 118 flights too.

British Airways said: “Unfortunately there will be some knock-on delays to other parts of our short-haul network as a result of the strike action, given how much airspace in Europe will be affected. We are sorry for any disruption to customers’ travel plans.”

So if you’re travelling to or from France this week, better ring up the people you bought your tickets from, and find out what is happening.

The strike saw the French aviation authority, DGAC, urging companies to reduce the number of flights to and from France by 40% and there’s going to be a knock-on effect with all flights across Europe, thanks to the large number of flights that normally occupy the airspace in France.

This particular strike is in protest at working conditions by France’s biggest Air Traffic Controllers union, SNCTA, and there’s a further strike planned on 16-18 April and another from 29 April to 2 May.

ryanairvsign Ryanairs softly softly approach seems to be workingA while ago, Ryanair promised that they were going to start playing nicely and everyone wondered just how soon they’d snap and start acting the goat again.

Well, it hasn’t happened and, with that, they’ve been making more money as a result as people prefer to be treated nicely, rather than like cattle with a Kick Me sign on its back. The airline has reported a 28% rise in passenger numbers last month.

Passenger numbers reached 6.7m in March, which is 1.5m more than the same period last year. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You also catch more flies with bullshit and more pertinently, why would you want to catch flies?

Anyway, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the performance was due to its ‘Always Getting Better’ (AGB) customer charter which the company kicked off in March 2014: “With our new routes, increased frequencies and Business Plus service, customers can now look forward to further service enhancements, as we roll out the second year of our AGB programme in 2015.”

One of the things that has helped hugely is a lack of a visible Michael O’Leary. He has acknowledged that the airline “pissed off customers” and as you’ll know, more often than not it was his fault when he let his mouth run off with itself.

However, with O’Leary keeping quiet and a revamped website and app to make bookings easier, not to mention a price comparison function and ‘reserve a fare’ service, they’ve seen an increase in passengers and a rise in shares.

We still await the entire company having a nervous breakdown and charging travellers for breathing.

Ryanair ban booze on flight

April 7th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Ryanair New Plane Logo 214x300 Ryanair ban booze on flightA booze ban on flights?! Are Ryanair out of their minds?! Well, the sanity of Ryanair is another debate, but don’t get your knickers in a twist, boozehounds.

Ryanair has banned passengers from taking duty-free booze onboard its Prestwick-Ibiza flights after a load of incidents with drunk people from Glasgow, going for a lovely rave.

Some of you will know that this particular night flight has become infamous for boozy behaviour. One such journey in 2013 saw the flight diverted to Paris, throwing off 14 blokes because they were so badly behaved. They were so smashed, that they thought they were in Ibiza anyway.

Don’t you habitual alcoholics worry though – you’ll still be able to have a liver’s worth of G&T or a shed of wine, provided you’re not flying from Glasgow to Ibiza, as it is the only flight where this is being enforced.

Passengers will be searched at the boarding gate and any duty-free items will be put in the hold. A memo to passengers warns: “Customers attempting to conceal alcohol will be denied travel without refund or compensation.”

picture 42 EasyJet plane lands after stewardess punched over buttyAn EasyJet flight had to be diverted to Rome so staff could eject a passenger. Troublesome passengers on planes are nothing new, as we know from the poo that was so bad a plane had to stop its journey, and the drunk woman who got arrested after doing the nasty with herself.

This one, however, is a little unusual thanks to being something that escalated over a magnificently trivial matter.

A passenger punched a stewardess to the floor in a row about a sandwich.

So what happened? Well, the man in question complained that his sandwich was taking too long to get to him and his gaping gob, and so, he did something that was logical only to himself, and smacked a crew member on the flight from Geneva to Pristina.

A witness said: “He shouted at the stewardess, then he stood up and punched her, and when she fell to the floor, he carried on hitting her.” Before the attack, he apparently shouted: “I’ve been waiting for hours, I’m hungry.”

After he punched a woman because his stomach was empty, the rest of the plane set about him, restraining him while a doctor made sure the lady was okay. The man punched the woman hard enough to break her glasses.

The stewardess told a Swiss newspaper: “I was totally shocked. I can’t understand how anyone could react so violently over a sandwich.”

train 287x300 Action for Rail reckon train rail fares could be 10% cheaperThe cost of travelling by train is something that sticks in a lot of people’s craws, and Action for Rail have been pondering about it with a new study.

They think that commuters in the UK would see 10% cheaper rail fares by 2017, provided the trains were run by the public sector. In a study, they found that £1.5bn could be saved if lines were brought under public sector control.

Action for Rail chair and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The UK has the most expensive rail fares in all of Europe.”

“If services were run by the public sector, it would make a big difference to families and hard-pressed commuters, who have suffered year after year of wage-busting fare increases under privatised rail.”

It has been reported that Transpennine, Greater Anglia, West Coast, London Midland, East Midlands, South Eastern, Wales & Borders, Great Western, South Western and Cross Country are set for contract renewals between now and 2020 and that, in shareholder dividends alone, somewhere in the region of £520m could be saved.

O’Grady added: “Money that could be spent on making journeys cheaper is instead being siphoned off into shareholders’ pockets and wasted on bidding and other franchising costs.”

British Airways accounts hit by cyber-attack

March 30th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

British Airways 857 19385812 0 0 4005 300 British Airways accounts hit by cyber attackBritish Airways have had to freeze tens of thousands of frequent flyer accounts after a cyber attack.

The airline said that customers’ personal info, like addresses and bank details was not stolen in the attack, which is something, but those affected won’t be able to use the air miles they’ve accumulated while BA try and sort everything out.

A spokesperson said: ”British Airways has become aware of some unauthorised activity in relation to a small number of frequent flyer Executive Club accounts.”

“We would like to reassure customers that, at this stage we are not aware of any access to any subsequent information pages within accounts, including travel histories or payment card details.”

“We are sorry for the concern and inconvenience this matter has caused, and would like to reassure customers that we are taking this incident seriously and have taken a number of steps to lock down accounts so they can no longer be accessed,” the spokesman added.

There’s no word on which set of hackers it is (it doesn’t look like the work of our pals at Lizard Squad), but it is thought that the hackers got into the company’s computers by utilising an automated computer programme that looks for vulnerabilities in online security systems, which is gaspingly unsurprising.

Anyway, reset your passwords if this affects you.

Don’t catch a train over Easter

March 30th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

train Dont catch a train over EasterGot time off over the Easter weekend? Congratulations! You don’t work in retail. Fancy a nice day trip somewhere? Well, whatever you do, don’t think about catching a train.

You see, as usual, the train companies have decided to do a load of engineering works on the days when loads of people might actually want to use them. Naturally, that means there’s going to be huge traffic jams as well, so you might as well stay in and sulk.

So what’s going down? Well, there’ll be no Southeastern trains running to or from Charing Cross, Waterloo East or Cannon Street in That London. As well as that, there’s major works going on at Watford, which means there’ll be no Virgin or London Midland trains able to run in-and-out of Euston station between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Virgin won’t have any trains running any further south than Milton Keynes, Rugby or Northampton and there’ll be no direct London Midland services between Euston and Hemel Hempstead, with Virgin saying that they are “strongly recommending” that passengers don’t travel between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Trains through Manchester will also be affected as well as services in Scotland and, well, bloody everywhere. If you’re planning a journey, have a look at your routes to see which ones are going to be a pain in your backside.

The roads will be chockablock too, with traffic information givers from Inrix saying that the congestion hotspots this weekend will be in the South East and the South West of England.

If you’re travelling by road to Gatwick and Heathrow, journeys could take four times as long, so set off early if you’re going on holiday.

British Airways 857 19385812 0 0 4005 300 Airlines review safety procedures after Germanwings disasterIf you’re flying anywhere this week, you’ll understandably be a bit nauseous after the tragedy that is the Germanwings disaster.

With that, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that they have got in touch with all the British airlines “to require them to review all relevant procedures”.

The details of the crash in the Alps are well documented, so you’ll know that, in the lead-up to the crash, Andreas Gunter Lubitz waited until the captain of Flight 4U 9525 left the cockpit and then crashed the aircraft into a mountain range.

Post 9/11, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) brought in rules which require a member of the cabin crew to enter the cockpit if the captain or first officer needs to leave for some reason. These rules weren’t put in place across Europe.

The CAA said: “Following the details that have emerged regarding the tragic Germanwings incident, we are co-ordinating closely with colleagues at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and have contacted all UK operators to require them to review all relevant procedures.”

“All UK airline pilots undergo extensive and regular medical assessments to determine their fitness to hold a licence. As part of this, aeromedical examiners are required to assess a commercial pilot’s mental health at each medical examination which, for an airline pilot flying with at least one other pilot, is undertaken annually.”

Virgin, Thomson, Monarch and Easyjet have said that they’ll be bring in the procedure immediately and Ryanair, Jet2 and Flybe already undertake this system.