Posts Tagged ‘travel’

RAC say fuel prices are “highway robbery”

October 30th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

petrol guage 300x199 RAC say fuel prices are highway robberyThe RAC have had enough of fuel prices at motoroway service stations, calling them “21st century highway robbery.”

They said that they’ve looked into the whole practice and researched it all, and their findings show that petrol and diesel costs are sometimes over 15p-per-litre more expensive than normal stations, which is unacceptable for drivers who are being had over a barrel (of oil).

RAC’s survey showed that motorist felt they were being “held to ransom” and one-in-four said that they refused to buy fuel at services. Two-thirds who took part in the survey said that they wanted a price cap and that the industry or Government needed to take action. Holding your breath is not advisable if you are waiting for the industry or parliament to sort this out.

The results of the investigation show that there’s “real concern” about drivers risking running on empty fuel tanks rather than filling up at motorway services.

The RAC’s fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “It’s no wonder that motorists feel held to ransom with prices on the motorways inflated to such an extent. In some cases motorway petrol and diesel might even be 15p dearer than the cheapest forecourts, which would add as much as £8 to the price of a tank of an average family-sized vehicle.”

“We can see no reason why motorway fuel should be so much more expensive. In fact, arguably it is much easier from a delivery point of view than it is getting fuel to urban filling stations. We’re calling for motorway fuel retailers to be more reasonable with their pricing.”

Futurewatch: Windowless planes

October 28th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Windowless planes could soon be a thing if a UK developer gets their way.

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), has unveiled a video showing the technology, which has the screens replicating what is outside the plane and showing places and points of interest such as other aircraft and the International Space Station in real-time.

The giant, flexible OLED screens will show a real time view of the places you’re flying over, but might get a bit oppressive what with the whole ‘no natural light’ drawback.

However they can be powered down for a kip on long haul flights or show other content like in-flight movies and commercials… which would be a bit like flying in a giant airborne tube of adverts.

Here’s a video about it:

Apparently, the environment – something planes are keen fans of – is the overall winner. Windows in planes actually require the fuselage to be strengthened, and without them planes would be lighter and consume less fuel.

The CPI thinks OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) could be harnessed to make the screens, and that this technology will be all over the shop within the next ten years.

Dr Helliwell of the CPI said.”What would be great would be to make devices based on OLEDs that are flexible. We can make transistors that are flexible but if we can make OLEDs that are flexible, that gives us a lot of potential in the market because we can print OLEDs on to packaging, we can create flexible displays,”

“We are talking about [the idea] now because it matches the kind of development timelines that they have in the aerospace industry.

“So you could have a display next to a seat if you wanted it; you could have a blank area next to a seat if you wanted it; you would have complete flexibility as to where you put [the panel screens]. You could put screens on the back of the seats in the middle and link them to the same cameras.”

Fancy that! Keep an eye on Ryanair with this though. They might not give natural light panels, but windowless planes is something you can see them going for.

HS3 trains to halve travel times in the North?

October 27th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

train HS3 trains to halve travel times in the North?The time a train journey takes between Northern English cities could halve if predictions about the new high-speed rail project are correct, according to a report.

The HS3 plans were backed by Prime Minister David Cameron who reckons the new fast railways will ‘create a northern powerhouse’ by giving a shot in the arm to jobs and businesses.

Sir David Higgins, the head of the £50billion HS2 project, unveiled the next phase of plans which will potentially see travel times reduced between Leeds and Manchester, not to mention a host of other journeys.

He described it a ‘strategic necessity’ and as important to the North as the Crossrail is to London.

Cameron added: “Improving connectivity and reducing journey times between our great northern cities is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan for the north. That’s why we are backing HS3.”

The improvements would be in addition to the north-of-Birmingham phase two of HS2 which will see a Y-shaped route going to Manchester and Leeds.

With HS2/3, the predicted times are indeed, much shorter, with Manchester to Leeds taking half an hour, Birmingham to Sheffield taking three quarters of an hour and Manchester to York being doable in under an hour. How much it will cost everyone to use this service and whether trains will be on-time, is quite another matter.

The best and worst UK hotels revealed!

October 27th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

hotel 300x300 The best and worst UK hotels revealed!A survey by Which!!! to find out Britain’s best hotel chain has revealed Sofitel as the winner. The upmarket version of Novotel has rooms at £144 a night and only has three branches in the UK.

The runner-up Premier Inn, offers 650 hotels in the UK, and is more the hotel of choice for those on a smaller budget.

Eligible hotel firms were judged in nine categories, including cleanliness, customer service, food, and value for money. The rest of the Top five were Warner Leisure Hotels, Hampton by Hilton and Q Hotels.

However at the other end of the chart lurk Travelodge, Britannia Hotels and Old English Inns/Hotels. Shall we have a look at the chart in full?

Yes, let’s:

Name                                    Average Price    Customer score

Sofitel                                     £144                       83%
Premier Inn                          £61                         82%
Warner Leisure Hotels    £128                       80%
Hampton by Hilton           £80                         78%
Q Hotels                                £102                        78%
Marriott Hotels                  £110                        73%
DoubleTree by Hilton      £112                         72%
Holiday Inn Express         £72                          72%
MacDonald Hotels            £124                        72%
Novotel Hotels                    £97                          72%
Radisson Blu                       £111                         72%
Holiday Inn                         £88                          71%
Ibis                                           £63                         71%
Crowne Plaza Hotels        £107                       70%
Ramada                                  £75                         69%
Best Western                       £92                         67%
Hilton Hotels                       £110                       67%
Ibis Budget                            £32                        67%
Copthrone Hotels              £86                         64%
Mercure Hotels                  £93                         64%
The Hotel Collection        £109                       63%
Jurys Inn                               £87                         62%
Days Inn/Hotel                   £55                         61%
Thistle Hotels                      £101                       61%
Travelodge                            £44                        60%
De Vere Hotels                    £115                       58%
Principal Hayley Hotels  £120                       55%
Old English Inns/Hotels £70                         50%
Britannia Hotels                £56                         33%

Poor old Travelodge. But hey, with average price of £44 a room, it’s good for romps with your secret lover or somewhere to be sick in and crash after a work’s party.

Hate children on flights? Let Etihad help

October 15th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

With their horrible little teeth and weirdly sharp nails, children are a horrifying force to be reckoned with. And they get those wax-candles of snot on their top lips.

Being stuck on a plane with a load of kids is nightmarish at best.

Well, Etihad think they have a solution for all this – the Air Nanny. That’s right, the airline has decided to provide a service that’s akin to a modern day Mary Poppins. Hopefully, without the musical numbers.

Check this video, complete with terrifying song

This services starts at the boarding gate and continues until the families have safely disembarked, and is completely free of charge on your long haul flight.

Staff will keep children entertained with card tricks, bottles, crafts, face-painting and if all else fails, sneaking brandy in their milk so they fall asleep. Be aware, one of those is a lie. These Flying Nannies will mop up after your child if it explodes everywhere though.

Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Guest Services, said: “Flying with a young family can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced travellers, and the Flying Nanny role demonstrates our understanding of our guests’ needs and our commitment to making the journey as relaxing and comfortable as possible.”

“This includes helping serve children’s meals early in the flight and offering activities and challenges to help entertain and occupy younger guests.”

Chancellor selling Eurostar

October 13th, 2014 8 Comments By Mof Gimmers

george osborne 300x300 Chancellor selling EurostarSeeing as the government is unwilling to chase big companies for the tax they haven’t paid, there’s only one thing for it – selling off the family silver.

With that, George Osborne is going to sell its 40% stake in Eurostar before the election.

Gideon says that he’s looking for bid by the end of this month and hopes that the privatisation of the Channel tunnel train operator will raise £300m for the country. Looks like we’re selling a company that is making a profit (£18.6m last year and £16.3m the year before).

Of course, selling a profitable business is not a new thing or indeed, a bad idea. However, you can’t help but wonder if we’re all looking at a repeat of the absolute farce that was the Royal Mail sell-off.

Today, Osborne will say: “I am determined that we go on making the decisions to reform the British economy and tackle our debts. So we will proceed with the potential sale of the UK’s shareholding in Eurostar today. Ensuring we can deliver the best quality infrastructure for Britain and the best value for money for the taxpayer are key parts of our long-term economic plan.”

“As part of our aim to achieve £20bn from asset sales by 2020, the sale proceeds would make an important contribution to the task of reducing the public sector debt.”

Here’s a thing – Britain’s national debt is £1.4tn, so the sale of Eurostar isn’t going to make much of a dent and, of course, privatising railways hasn’t really worked out for everyone.

Don’t joke about having Ebola on a plane

October 10th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

ebola plane 300x300 Dont joke about having Ebola on a planeIf you joke that you have Ebola while on a plane, you can expect it to cause a load of bother for you and everyone else.

However, that didn’t stop one bloke doing exactly that one an American flight who reportedly said: “I have Ebola, you are all screwed.”

Arf.

Of course, as soon as the plane landed, it all got a bit E.T. with officials in science suits boarding the aircraft and removing the joker. Thanks to people with mobile phones, someone caught a nice video of it all, including the air hostess calling the man “an idiot.”

As the man makes his way off the plane, you can hear him say: “I was just kidding… I ain’t from Africa.” Tough cheese. And little reward for the poor buggers who had to sit on the plane for two hours while medical teams ran tests and evaluations on Mr Backfired Joke.

You want to see the video don’t you?

London Underground Strike Action – October 2014

October 7th, 2014 2 Comments By Bitterwallet News

london tube strike 300x207 London Underground Strike Action   October 2014 If you’re travelling into or around the capital next week, prepare for a rough commute – London Underground workers are set to strike again next week as part of the long running dispute over ticket office closures.

Strike action starts at 9pm on Tuesday 14th October and runs for 48hrs, enough time to really piss off workers and those reliant on The Tube right before the weekend.

Octobers planned strikes are the latest walkout in RMT’s “Every Job Matters” campaign. Recent talks between the union and London Underground have fallen flat and whilst the union said small amounts of progress had been made, it clearly wasn’t enough to satisfy RMT’s executives after months and months of negotiations and meeting room fun.

Aside from the loss of all ticket offices and over 750 jobs by 2015, RMT’s Mick Cash said that the closures and staff loss would “render the tube a no-go zone for many people with disabilities and for women travelling alone”.

Not patronising at all.

Monarch staff opt for wage cut to save airline

September 25th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

monarch airlines 300x210 Monarch staff opt for wage cut to save airlineTroubled – or at least we were unaware they were troubled until now – airline Monarch, says its staff have agreed to pay cuts of up to 30% to save it while it goes through financial turbulence.

The employees apparently voted in favour of the plan, after having chats with the unions and that.

Monarch’s chief executive, Andrew Swaffield, said the vote was “a step forward” in the company’s re-organisation.

Mr Swaffield added that there were still “further hurdles to be overcome” but that the company had secured future investments from Greybull.

“This is firm progress for Monarch, its employees and for its customers,” he said.

Jim McAuslan, General Secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa), reckoned that pilots had made “major sacrifices to secure the future of this important British company”.

“We welcome the announcement that Greybull are moving towards securing their position as majority shareholders in Monarch,” he said.

“It is now time for the government to engage with all of the parties concerned and do everything it can to make this deal happen and help Monarch survive and thrive.”

The company is having a bit of a reshuffle, and while 900 jobs are possibly at risk – around 30% of their workforce – it was vital for the company as it transforms itself into a low cost effort.

Ryanair doing a bit better than last year

September 11th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Ryanair New Plane Logo 214x300 Ryanair doing a bit better than last yearRyanair reckon they’re flying six more customers per flight this year than in 2013. SIX WHOLE CUSTOMERS!

This small but obviously a good thing, is said to be down to the company’s improved customer service and ticket selling.

The airline expects load factors to increase 3-4 percentage points to ‘close to 86% of available seats this year.

So basically, translated into humans, an increase of 3-4 points on the Boeing 737s, with space for 189 people on them, would represent between 6-7 more passengers.

This news comes just after the Irish airline took delivery of the first part of 380 Boeing jets over the next ten years. That’s a big letter box that fits 380 planes through it.

This addition to the fleet should take the airline’s passengers from 82 million to 150 million a year.

Forward bookings also increased between September and January, when the airline started to sell tickets up to a year in advance instead of the previous nine months barrier.

To top that off, they’re looking to buy Cyprus Air and have completed all the paperwork required to start its first routes to Russia, with proposed flights from Dublin to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Train fares to increase today: protests likely

August 19th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

traintrack 300x225 Train fares to increase today: protests likelyToday’s the day when we all find out how much train fares are going up by, not that train travel is a rip-off as it is. But as morning follows night, train companies put prices up year on year when the RPI inflation figure is announced.

The formula used allows prices to be increased by an average of RPI plus 1%, but train companies have the option to add another 2% to some fares, just as long as the overall average remains in line with the formula.

Next year’s price rise could well take the overall increase to around 24.7% during this Parliament, according to the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) and protests are expected at stations across the UK.

In addition to that, Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh reckons there’ll be a further rise of 24% by 2018 if the Tories stay in power. She’s obviously forgotten about the Lib Dems being in the coalition as well, but that’s British politics for you.

The CBT are right to point out that, in the same period train fares have risen by upwards of 24% since 2010, wages had only risen 6.9%. Everyone knows that the UK has some of the highest train fares in the world and as a result, customers don’t think train companies are at all trustworthy.

Rail Minister Claire Perry did acknowledge that “we have had inflation-busting fare rises almost every year over the last decade” but insisted the Government is committed to “fair fares”.

She said: “What we have got to do is make sure rail passengers, who could be forgiven for thinking ‘What on earth am I getting for these rises I’ve seen over the last decade?’, start to realise that they are paying fair fares for comfortable commuting.”

“Passengers are paying for the “biggest investment in the rail network since Victorian times”, she added while yammering on Radio 4.

First Great Western 300x225 Quiet carriages still a thing, says First Great WesternCome in off the ledge everyone, First Great Western are NOT removing their quiet carriages after all.

Phew.

The train company were keen to dismiss such balderdash after several reports had said they’d done away with them.

A name-free First Great Western spokesman said: “There will be a quiet carriage on all our high speed trains for the foreseeable future. Claims that there will be no solace for customers who want a quieter journey are simply unfounded.”

What is true, added the spokey, is that they’re removing the First Class quiet carriage in the next few months, as an overall overhaul of its First Class carriages.

“The company is converting some First Class carriages into Standard carriages on all its long distance trains, which will only leave one and a half First Class carriages.

“To make one of those carriages ‘quiet’ would be madness, but it is a practical decision based on the need to increase the number of standard seats on our services. The renewed First Class carriages will instead be fitted with specially designed headrests and partition screens to keep noise levels to a minimum.”

WELL THAT’S A RELIEF! (Shhh! – Ed.)

luggage Staff shortages at Gatwick may affect your luggage Going on holiday and flying from Gatwick this weekend? Well, you’ll be able to go, but you might not be able to take your luggage with you.

That’s because of ground staff shortages on the biggest holiday weekend of the year. Swissport, who operate baggage services for some airlines at Gatwick, simply don’t have enough staff to put your suitcases on the plane.

Why? Because they use staff on zero hours contracts, and nobody wants to work at the weekend. (Ha ha – up yours Swissport!)

Still, it’s not very good news for travellers flying with the following airlines and travel companies: BA, Virgin, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson.

Some passengers who flew last weekend are still waiting for their luggage, and one Commonwealth Games paraylmpian was left stranded at baggage claim for four hours, waiting for his wheelchair.

Monarch have already sacked Swissport, but there has to be a notice period of 120 days before they can employ another baggage handling firm.

So what can passengers at Gatwick expect this weekend?

‘Gatwick is working closely with its airlines to improve the performance of Swissport in line with the airport’s own high standards of passenger service.’ said a Gatwick spokesrobot.

OH WELL, THAT’S REASSURING.

£10 charge for London diesel drivers

July 29th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

pollution £10 charge for London diesel drivers Boris Johnson – Foursquare Mayor of the Bullingdon Club chophouse – is considering charging £10 for each diesel vehicle to enter London from 2020, in a bid to tackle the city’s monstrous pollution levels.

Low emission zones might become widespread in major cities as efforts increase to oust clapped out old diesel vehicles, which are responsible for the majority of stinking local air pollution.

Boris would pile the £10 charge on top of the existing Congestion charge, meaning that lorry and van drivers would be forking out £20 minimum to enter Central London. And if you’re in a diesel car made before 2006, you’ll also have to raid your wallet.

However, if your white van or lorry meets Euro 6 emission standards, you won’t have to pay.

It comes as Labour proposes plans to introduce a network of UK-wide low emission zones. If not, most British cities will be choked up with dangerous levels of pollution by 2030, and we’ll all probably choke to death.

Boris’ environment lackey, Matthew Penchartz, said: ‘We want to see an unwinding of incentives that have driven people to diesel. Euro engine standards on emissions have not delivered the savings expected, meaning we now have a legacy of a generation of dirty diesels.’

However, for years, everybody was happy to push diesel as a ‘clean’ alternative to petrol. In fact, ministers encouraged people to buy into it to fight climate change.

Well, you live and learn, eh? *coughs*

25% phone in sick after their holidays

July 28th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

holiday 25% phone in sick after their holidays There’s nothing like going on holiday to make you realise that you’re wasting your life in your dead end, wage slave job. Instead, why not just live on sun lounger with rum coursing through your veins?

This horrific post holiday epiphany could be why a whopping 25% of us take an unofficial holiday extension and chuck a sickie on our first day back from holiday.

A survey by Travelex also found that if we didn’t phone in sick, we spent our lunch hour pining for the fjords and planning our next trip out of the office hellhole.

The survey asked 2000 workers about their holiday attitudes, and also found that nearly half of us admitted to being distracted or forgetful after their holidays.

But you can hardly blame people, can you? You’ve got a skinful of pina colada and a digestive tract brimming with calamari, as well as sunstroke.

And let’s face it, we all need 24 hours to recover from a Ryanair flight.