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Travel

Hotel secrets: What types of hotels are most likely to give out upgrades? Expert top tips

Hotel upgrades can prove the cherry on the top of a holiday if you manage to nab one. However, they can seem tricky to come by, with many Britons never experiencing the thrill of getting upgraded. Express.co.uk spoke to a travel expert to find out whether some hotels are more likely to dish out upgrades than others.

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Tim Hentschel, co-founder and CEO of HotelPlanner, shared his top tips.

He revealed that certain hotels are indeed more likely to upgrade you.

Hentschel explained that your chances are higher with “independent luxury four and five-star resorts.”

What’s more, he added: “Typically hotels that depend on word of mouth referrals will try to earn repeat customers and patronage from your friends and family.”

The hotel expert also pointed that it’s “never pointless” to ask for an upgrade.

However, he warned that it can be more difficult depending on the hotel.

“It’s harder if the hotel is full or it’s a one, two, or three-star limited service low rise hotel where all the rooms are the same, i.e. would you like the first or second-floor room with a view of the parking lot or the back of the building next door?”

There are various things to consider when you’re choosing a hotel that holidaymakers might not realise.

Hentschel advises looking into the last time the hotel was renovated.

“Was it a soft or hard renovation? Typically you want a hotel that has soft reinventions (linens, drapes, walls painted, carpet replaced) every five to eight years, and hard renovations (lobby and common areas reconstructed as well as guest rooms including bathrooms) every 15 to 20 years.”

In the light of the coronavirus pandemic, many people may be worried about what the crisis means for their hotel bookings.

Hentschel advised: “Hotels are letting customers change their reservations for free or get a full refund, since hotels are typically 20 percent to 30 percent more expensive over the summer travel season, they should look to see if their hotel is more expensive over the summer than what they already paid for it, if so, then they should just change their dates.

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“If their hotel is less expensive over the summer then what they paid, they should cancel for the full refund and then re-book at the lower price.

“If they decide to cancel and rebook, they should rebook quickly because China has already recovered from the coronavirus with no new cases, so their hotel market is bouncing back, once this happens in Europe and The USA, hotel rates over the summer will start spiking quickly.”

Consumer rights advocate Which? has also shared advice for holiday accommodation.

“If you had just booked accommodation, and the hotel or B&B has now cancelled, you should also receive a refund,” said Which?

“Many hotel chains like Premier Inn and Hilton have said that they will offer full refunds. Airbnb is also offering customers full refunds until 14 April.

“But we’ve heard from a number of customers struggling to get refunds. One disappointed holidaymaker, James, told us he had a holiday cottage in Northumberland booked for during the lockdown period. But Cottages.com refused to refund his stay, offering him a 12-month deadline to rebook instead.

“James said the company ‘just couldn’t tell me what would happen if this all lasts more than a year, and said I might even have to pay more when I rebook. I feel very let down.’

“If you have trouble getting a refund, you can also try contacting your travel insurance company to see if you can make a claim.”

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Travel

Coronavirus flights: How to claim money back if refund isn’t issued for cancelled holidays

Holidays have been cancelled for the near future with Britons ordered to stay at home due to coronavirus. Many people are concerned they will lose money as a result of axed flights and trips away. Holidaymakers are furious that trade firms are offering vouchers rather than providing refunds.

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This week, easyJet announced it was grounding all of its flights and Ryanair revealed less than 10 percent of its services were still operating.

It also emerged that easyJet and British Airways have removed the option online to apply for a refund.

Customers are being encouraged to accept vouchers instead.

So how can you get your money back if a refund isn’t issued? What’s the latest travel advice?

Aman Johal, Director and Lawyer for Your Lawyer, shared his expert advice with Express.co.uk.

He explained there are alternative ways to claim.

“In the wake of the coronavirus crisis and its disastrous impact on the travel industry, we’ve seen many airlines offer customer credit vouchers, rather than refunds,” said Johal.

“Consumers need to know that they don’t have to accept this, especially where there are alternative options available.

“In reality, this can come down to what is agreed in the terms and conditions of the insurance.”

One way to claim back your money, if you bought the holiday on a credit card, is to make the most of the Consumer Credit Act.

Johal explained: “As a potential alternative, if you paid for the whole of your holiday using a credit card, or paid for part of it by more than £100, you could be entitled to claim the full cost back under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

“You could make a claim via the provider which sends your bank statements i.e. Barclays or HSBC, rather than Mastercard.

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“This does, however, depend on the original terms and conditions also.”

There is also another option if you didn’t purchase the holiday on a credit card.

This is going down the legal route – although there are downsides to this process.

“You could also pursue a legal case to get your money back, but this would likely involve having to instruct a solicitor to initiate a claim in contract,” said Johal.

“Taking this route could be costly.

“It’s important to weigh up the amount of money needed to pursue the case against the original cost of the holiday.

“In other words, if you paid thousands of pounds for a dream holiday then it may be worth it, but it might be a waste of time and money if you only spent a couple of hundred pounds on a weekend away.”

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Travel

This simple hand luggage mistake could cost travellers – even if their bag is light

In recent years, airlines across the world have begun to implement luggage fees for customers. From checked bags to hand luggage, many airlines charge customers hoping to bring with them bags beyond those within their criteria.

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Though most seasoned travellers are now aware of these additional costs, things are made confusing by the fact no two airlines have the same policy, particularly when it comes to hand luggage.

From luggage weight to cabin bag size, rules and regulations vary across the board, and while a bag might be accepted for one airline, it could incur an unexpected fee from another.

This is why travel expert Nicky Kelvin says holidaymakers should always double-check the exact cabin bag size of their chosen airline before they head to the airport.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Nicky, who is the Director of Content for The Points Guy UK, advised: “Have the right size bag for the cabin. EasyJet and BA allow a wider bag for example than most airlines.

“Don’t get caught out by this if you make a connection.”

In fact, luggage sizes can vary noticeably from one airline to another.

easyJets cabin bag policy allows for a bag measuring 56 x 45 x 25 cm including the wheels and any handles.

Meanwhile, British Airways accept bags with dimensions up to 56cm x 45cm x 25cm.

Ryanair on the other hand only allows bags measuring 55 x 40 x 20cm, and impose a charge of £40 if bags need to be checked into the hold at the last minute.

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Luckily, the Irish-carrier does offer a bag sizer app uses your mobile’s camera to scan your hand luggage and show you whether your bag fits either of these size specs.

Of course, the best way to ensure your bag fits into the specifications is to do your research beforehand.

Nicky also emphasises the importance of limiting how much stuff you decide to take in your hand luggage.

This is usually the key to ensuring no extra costs rear their ugly heads.

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“Travel as light as possible,” he says.

“Wear heavy coats or jumpers, only take mini toiletries that are suitable for your length of trip, and remember, most places you go in the world you won’t be caught out if you forgot to stuff your kitchen sink in your bag.”

He adds: “Downsize on items to really maximise weight and space.

“Swapping big over-ear headphones for small earbuds, and large coats for warm down jackets that can be stuffed into tiny spaces can make a big difference when space is at a premium.”

The travel experts also have another sneaky tip for making the most out of your luggage allowance.

“Most airlines allow you to take a carry-on and a small personal item,” divulge the experts.

“While this could be a tiny purse, typically briefcases, regular-size backpacks and even tote bags or small duffels are usually acceptable, and most airlines won’t bother to weigh or measure it (though it’s still best to stay within the size/weight requirements whenever possible).”

Be sure to check your airline’s cabin baggage allowance to ensure they include a personal item too.

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Cruises

Cruise secrets: Cruise crew member reveals what staff really think when you leave the ship

Cruise ship holidaymakers enjoy being looked after by crew during their trip. Passengers can relax and indulge while on the ship while the staff are hard at work. But what’s it like for the staff themselves? What do they think of these tourists?

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A former cruise ship crew member has revealed what really goes through their minds on disembarkation day when passengers leave the ship.

Sam Catling shared the insight in his 2020 book Seems Like Smooth Sailing.

He explained that it’s only when passengers leave that crew can have some time to themselves so they’re eager for everyone to leave as quickly as possible.

“It’s an early start for debark as there is a lot of people traffic to manage and a lot of questions and complaints to assist with,” he wrote.

“Being that the job on-board is seven days a week, the window of opportunity to go shore and have some proper you time is situated between the old guests leaving and new guests arriving.

“So when the old guests are trudging down the corridor with their luggage saying goodbye to everyone, stopping and starting to make sure they have everything, in the back of your mind is a voice repeating the phrase, ‘Get off get off get off…’

“This internal mantra goes undetected for the most part and is what motivates the crew’s teamwork on these mornings.

“The quicker the crew pull together as a team and get the guests disembarked the more time we would have off that day.”

Catling also went into detail about how his relationship with passengers shifted over the years.

“In my early days of cruising a week went a lot slower as everything was still new to me, and during that time I forged a lot of connections with the passengers,” he explained.

“When it was the end of their holiday I actually felt quite sad to see some of them go.

“Every cruise ended with people crying as they said goodbye to those who they had bonded with.

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“Holiday romances were now coming to an end with the individuals promising to stay in touch which we all know never happens.

“All this emotion up in in the air was by no means a one-off, it was weekly.

“As the weeks went by from the start of my first contract, I gradually developed a thicker skin and I began to put up an emotional brick wall.

“No longer did I get choked up whiners guests had to leave, instead, I learnt to accept that there were no goodbyes really, as there would be another 1000+ guests coming to replace them later on that day.”

In his book, Catling also revealed there’s a common joke that you should think twice about making on a cruise.

Catling wrote: “On formal night one custom is that guests will queue up around the block to meet the captain and have a photo taken with him. It’s not an obligation by any means more a compulsion.

“They figure it’s something they may as well so just so they can say they met him or her, and also because most of them can’t wait to ask their really funny question: ‘Wait, if you’re here who’s driving the ship?’

“Which is funny the first time you hear it but once you hear it an average twenty time a cruise it wears a little thin… I made every effort to make it look as though it was one of those stories that naturally caught me off guard and incited genuine laughter but inside I would be fuming.”

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Travel

Coronavirus flights: easyJet and BA remove online refund option – how to get money back

Coronavirus has thrown the holiday plans of countless Britons into chaos. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising against all but essential travel and urging Britons abroad to come home. easyJet and British Airways are among airlines which have cancelled flights.

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Indeed, easyJet today announced it is grounding its entire fleet.

easyJet said in a statement: “As a result of the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of national lockdowns across many European countries, easyJet has, today, fully grounded its entire fleet of aircraft.”

However, what do the cancelled flights mean for your money? Will you get refunded?

Travel expert Simon Calder issued a warning on Twitter to airline passengers over the weekend.

Calder cautioned that easyJet and BA customers are no longer able to apply for a refund online.

Instead they have to call the airlines’ contact centre.

The travel guru tweeted: “If BA or easyJet cancel your flight you are due a full refund within a week.

“But both airlines have removed the website refund option, to try to get passengers to accept a voucher instead.

“To get actual money back you must phone the airline within a year from the date of the flight.”

Express.co.uk contacted easyJet who confirmed this.

An airline spokeswoman said: “Customers on cancelled flights can transfer to an alternative flight free of charge or receive a voucher for the value of their booking online or claim a refund through our contact centre.

“We are experiencing higher than average wait times so we would thank customers for their patience and assure them that these entitlements will be available long after their cancelled flight has flown.

“For customers whose flights are not cancelled but would like to move to a later date they can amend their flight online with no change fee and we have brought forward our winter schedule on-sale so customers have more choice to move their flights, up to 28 February 2021.”

Express.co.uk has contacted British Airways for comment.

The latest online BA update from Thursday states: “We’re working closely with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to continue flying where travel restrictions allow and we’ll do everything we can to help those of you who are affected by the changes.

“To allow greater flexibility you can change the destination, date of travel, or both without being charged a change fee, on all new bookings made from Tuesday 3 March to Sunday 31 May 2020, or receive a voucher for any existing bookings that depart up to Sunday 31 May 2020.”

BA adds: “If your flight has been cancelled, please do not travel to the airport. There are a number of options available to you and ways to make changes to your booking.

“If you have booked via British Airways – we’ll rebook or refund you for your ticket via Manage My Booking or you can discuss rebooking options by calling us on 0800 727 800 from within the UK, or +44 (0)203 250 0145 from abroad.

“As availability of alternative flights is limited, rebooking may take some time. Call volumes are extremely high at the moment due to the unprecedented circumstances so please bear with us if it takes some time for us to help with your booking.

“If you have booked via a travel agent – please contact them directly to discuss further arrangements for your booking.

“If your flight was cancelled and you did not check in, you can request a refund at any point up to 12 months after the start date of your journey. You do not need to claim your refund before you were due to fly.”

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Airlines UK, which represents British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, TUI Airways and Virgin Atlantic, has asked the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for a “refund holiday” until the coronavirus crisis is over, reported The Independent.

The airlines’ organisation said: “Carriers should also be permitted to issue vouchers instead of refunds.”

Travel association ABTA has shared advice to travellers regarding vouchers for cancelled flights.

An ABTA spokesperson said: “ABTA is advising Members that if they offer customers a refund credit, as an alternative to a cash refund or rebooking their holiday, they must do this in the right way to ensure the rights of customers to a refund are preserved.

“A Refund Credit Note will have the financial protection of the original booking, and is for a fixed period of time, so that at the end of this time the customer will have the option to either get another holiday or a cash refund.

“The use of Refund Credit Notes will help customers to get another holiday or a cash refund and they will help travel businesses, many of whom have not received money back from airlines and hotels, to keep trading.

“They will help to prevent the worst possible scenario of a customer’s travel provider going out of business and having to wait many months for a refund.”

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Travel

WATCH: Egypt disinfects the Pyramids of Giza to halt the spread of coronavirus

There are currently over 488,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the world and over 22,000 deaths. Egypt has 456 cases and only four deaths as the coronavirus crisis continues to impact countries all around the world.

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The Egyptian authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus.

On March 19, the Egyptian authorities announced the suspension of international flights.

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And now, to halt the spread even further, the pyramids are being disinfected.

It is one of the latest moves made by the government.

Egypt has also imposed a nightly curfew for the next two weeks, as well as closing schools and stopping flights into the country other than those returning from abroad.

From March 23 to March 31, all archaeological sites in the country have been told to shut shop to halt the virus further.

Some of the sites include the Egyptian museum in Cairo to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor which are huge tourist traps that bring in money to the country.

The world’s oldest colossal stone building the Pyramid of Djoser only reopened at the beginning of March but has now been closed again.

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Now that all the popular tourist sites are empty, they are undergoing a deep clean.

Videos online show cleaners wearing masks and hazmat-looking suits using industrial sterilisation equipment to clean parts of the pyramids.

The clean includes entrances to the pyramids, the ticket offices and the nearby roads to be make sure there is no risk of spreading the virus when they reopen.

However, reportedly the actual pyramids themselves are not being cleaned, according to the New York Times.

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Director general of the pyramids Ashraf Mohie El-Din explained why cleaning the pyramids themselves was more complex than most people realise.

Cleaning the ancient structures requires “specific materials” and a specialised team of excavators.”

He said: “We started the first phase of disinfection, and there are other phases.

“We are in the process of disinfecting all tourist sites, though the artefacts themselves require specific materials and (cleaning) must be carried out by a specialised team of excavators.

“We are making use of this period to sanitise the entire area, but also to carry out some maintenance work and renovation to have this area ready to accept visitors again.”

Most of the cases of the coronavirus in Egypt were linked to a cruise ship on the River Nile – the longest river in the world.

The cruise liner saw both foreign passengers and local crew tested positive.

The deadly virus has dealt a huge blow to the country’s crucial tourism sector.

There are currently virtual tours of the Pyramids and other landmarks available on Google Arts & Culture if you want to checkout the historical structures from home.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Travel

Coronavirus holidays: Urgent action needed to prevent Britons losing thousands of pounds

Coronavirus has thrown the travel industry into chaos, affecting the holiday plans of countless Britons. Many are worried about losing money after they parted with funds for a holiday that is no longer going ahead. However, travel companies earning no revenue during this difficult time could be sent out of business if they are forced to hand back payments for cancelled holidays.

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Consequently, some airlines and package travel providers are refusing to meet their legal obligations to issue refunds for cancelled flights and holidays.

Consumer site Which? is now warning urgent action is needed to protect Britons who face losing large sums of money amid a breakdown of the system of travel protections.

The government has pledged to protect the travel industry.

On Friday, the European Commission updated its guidance on refunds for package holidays.

The European Commission is now encouraging customers to accept vouchers or credit notes – as long as the holidaymaker can eventually reclaim their money.

However, many British consumers now face losing thousands of pounds.

Which? heard from a family who were meant to be travelling to a wedding in Italy and whose flights have not been cancelled, despite UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance against going to the country hardest hit by the virus.  

Instead, the airline is allegedly offering to switch their flights to more expensive ones in the future. In some cases, this can cost as much as £100 more per person.

People are also said to have been in touch reporting their travel agents are refusing to offer refunds for cancelled holidays, despite travel regulations.

Dozens of holidaymakers due to travel to France in the coming weeks told Which? their travel agent is refusing to issue a refund.

One customer claims he was refused a refund for his holiday with a well-known beach holiday specialist.

The customer faces losing £2,300 and the only options being offered are a credit note or rebooking, reported Which?.

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And, that if he decided to cancel instead, he would have to try to claim on his travel insurance.

Faced with these difficulties, many people are finding themselves pushed from pillar to post between airlines, tour operators and insurance companies – whose policies are not set up for providers failing to fulfil their duties in this way.

Which? also heard from holidaymakers who had fallen foul of little-known exclusions in insurance policies – meaning they were not covered for cancelling an upcoming trip, even after the FCO advised against travel to their destination.

“Taken together, these issues represent a serious breakdown of the current system of travel protections, which is vital to ensuring millions of consumers have the confidence to book expensive holidays and flights abroad,” said Which?

“Urgent action is needed to protect consumers amid the crisis in the travel industry.

“It is vital that any emergency measures under discussion, such as credit notes replacing refunds for package holidays, include strong guarantees or protections so consumers know they are not at risk of losing their money if a travel firm fails.”

Which? continued: “And while consumers with holidays booked under the current regulations may choose to accept a credit note, their right to claim a refund must not be taken away retrospectively by any changes to the law.

“The hard-earned money of thousands of holidaymakers – who may be facing difficulty themselves – must not be used as a backdoor bailout of the travel industry, when direct government support is being used in other sectors.

“While the current uncertainty continues, airlines must respond swiftly to this fast-moving situation by informing passengers about what is happening with future flights, and show flexibility with rebooking options if a flight has not been cancelled.”

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Travel

Flights: Emirates grounds all passenger flights – will Britons be trapped in Dubai?

Emirates, the Dubai-based commercial carrier, has officially announced it will be grounding all of its passenger planes for two weeks. The news came after a series of tweets which saw the airline cancel flights, and then make a sudden u-turn on its decision, before finally settling on an initial two weeks suspension.

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As of Wednesday 25 March, all passenger planes will be halted for a 14-day period in a bid meet UAE government demands over safety and security during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Though there have been just 198 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates at the time of writing, the nation’s government has stepped up protective measures.

In line with this Emirates announced on Sunday it would be ceasing all passenger planes from Wednesday, however, two hours later the airline posted a tweet saying this may not be the case after all.

A statement from the airline said: “Having received requests from governments and customers to support repatriation of travellers, Emirates will continue to operate passenger and cargo flights to few countries until further notice, as long as borders remain open, and there is demand.”

Yet, upon the government’s decision to ban all flights for two weeks – regardless of the airline – the airline was forced to implement the cancellation.

So, what does this mean for Britons currently in Dubai hoping to return home?

It is hoped that the airline will be able to repatriate foreign nationals back to their home countries so long as borders remain open.

In a statement on the airline’s website HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group said: “As a global network airline, we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns. By Wednesday 25 March, although we will still operate cargo flights which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended most of its passenger operations.

“We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services.”

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“Having received requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travellers, Emirates will continue to operate passenger and cargo flights to the following countries and territories until further notice, as long as borders remain open, and there is demand: the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, USA, and Canada.”

As it stands Britons will be able to return home on repatriation efforts so long as the government does not impose new, more stringent border controls.

Travellers due to fly with Emirates are advised to contact them directly and are able to check flight status on emirates.com.

An Emirates spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “As per the latest UAE government directive, Emirates will temporarily suspend all passenger flights for two weeks from 25 March 2020. These measures are in place for the protection of communities against the spread of COVID-19, and we are in full support.

“We look forward to resuming passenger services as soon as feasible.

“Affected customers should visit emirates.com for more information on rebooking or contact their travel agents for assistance.

“Emirates continues to operate freighter flights, helping maintain vital international air cargo links for economies and communities.”

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Travel expert Simon Calder also recently revealed insight into what travellers who are currently abroad can do.

He said: “If you know that the government of the country you’re in is banning international flights in two days time just get online and get a flight,” urged Calder.

“In extremis go to the airport and see what you can find.”

However, Calder added that there is no need to panic about being trapped abroad for good. He explained: “Most people will be able to get out.”

Yet, in a gloomier outlook, Calder added: “Assume you won’t get any help from your airline, travel insurance company or embassy.”

Most passengers will have to pay out of pocket for their own flights initially, though they may be able to claim these back at a later date.

Calder said: “You need to make the best decisions.

“Spend whatever you need to, keep receipts and make a reasonable claim afterwards.”

Ethiad, another UAE airline, will also be affected by the two-week ban.

The UK government has urged Britons in the country to “leave as soon as possible.”

The FCO website states: “There is now a reduced airline service to and from the UAE and it may be completely suspended at short notice.

“We know that some airlines have already cancelled all flights to and from the UAE and Emirates Airlines have confirmed that they have cut back on their global routes.

“If you are in the UAE, and it is essential that you return to the UK, you should consider urgently contacting your airline or tour operator and arrange to leave as soon as possible.”

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Categories
Travel

How many flights are still running for Britons stuck in New Zealand? Full list

In a bid to protect its citizens, New Zealand has become the latest country to declare a month-long lockdown which will begin on Wednesday night. The move will see the entire country forced to remain in their homes apart from those working in essential services. The country’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern said in an address to the nation that she was not willing to put the lives of her citizens in danger.

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But the urgency to stop the spread of the virus could see many Britons trapped in New Zealand for the foreseeable future.

Here is a list of flights from some of the biggest names in the airline industry.

If your flight is cancelled it is advised that you contact the airline operating your journey for information on how you can get a refund.

Most carriers are updating affected passengers in due course.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand’s latest announcement says that they will be adding more domestic flights in the next 24 hours to support people wanting to return home safely.

The announcement says on their website: “As a result of the latest Government announcement, we are working on adding more domestic flights in the next 24 hours to support our customers to safely return home.

“We will update you shortly. Thank you for patience and support.”

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However, their website also says that the New Zealand government is recommending everyone travelling in New Zealand should consider returning home.

If there is no option to return home and Air New Zealand cannot assist then they recommend contacting the “national consulate or embassy in the country you are in”.

The nation has further strengthened its travel restrictions and has closed the border to almost all travellers, apart from New Zealanders.

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Qatar Airways

The airline has said that all customers affected by the current situation who have booked their ticket via a travel agency are advised to get a refund or rebook.

All tickets until June 30 will be affected for travel on or before that date.

The airline has had an unprecedented amount of people contacting them with enquiries.

They posted on Twitter: “If you are trying to contact us, we hugely appreciate your patience and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

“Unprecedented call volumes and closure of call centres due to global government restrictions is limiting our capacity to respond as usual.

“Please bear with us.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has said that a number of international flights to and from New Zealand have been suspended.

The FCO is advising British Nationals already in New Zealand to contact their airline, travel provider, and insurance company for the latest information.

They also said that those who want to return to the UK soon should take account of the fast moving situation and plan accordingly.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Travel

Google Maps Street View: Tool’s hilarious privacy error captured in funny photo

Google Maps Street View provides users with on-the-ground views of what locations around the world look like. However, there’s much more to the tool than just mundane images of the planet. Sometimes Street View throws up true gems of comedy.

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In this time of coronavirus doom and gloom, anything that can spark laughter is appreciated.

Google Maps Street View has plenty of comic images up its sleeve, often of people doing weird and wonderful things the world over.

It’s not always people who are caught in entertaining situations though.

A photo from Street View has provoked much hilarity after being shared on Reddit.

The image depicts a fairly ordinary patch of land with a house in the background.

In the centre of the photo, a small horse can be seen.

It’s simply standing minding its own business – seemingly unaware of the fame it’s about to discover.

However, there’s something rather unusual about the quadruped.

Google Maps seems to have have taken the extreme measure of blurring out its face.

Indeed the photo was uploaded to Reddit with the caption: “Google street view blurred out my horses face…”

Blurring is normally done to human faces and number plates to protect identities.

The tech giant explains online: “Google takes a number of steps to protect the privacy of individuals when Street View imagery is published to Google Maps.

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“We have developed cutting-edge face and license plate blurring technology that is designed to blur identifiable faces and license plates within Google-contributed imagery in Street View.

“If you see that your face or license plate requires additional blurring, or if you would like us to blur your entire house, car, or body, submit a request using the ‘Report a problem’ tool.

“Please note, however, that once Google blurs an image, the effect is permanent.

“If you submit a request to have your house blurred from Street View imagery, all historical and future images of your house will also be blurred.”

Could there a reason the horse’s face was blurred out? Is it a horse of great importance? Does it harbour a secret?

Although one cannot be certain, the likely reality is that the steed is merely an ordinary horse but Street View was simply overzealous with its blurring.

Reddit users have been quick to respond to the snap.

“If the face is blurred, how can you be sure it’s your horse?” one viewer quipped.

“That’s nice that they respected his privacy,” another added.

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