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Hotel secrets: Never make this huge mistake if you want to bag a free upgrade says expert

Hotel holidays can be made infinitely better when you manage to score a free upgrade. However, upgrades can often seem pretty elusive. How can holidaymakers improve their chances of getting one?

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A hotel expert has revealed there’s one mistake you should never make.

Hugh Graham-Watson, Managing Director of The Hotel Guru, shared his insight exclusively with Express.co.uk.

He revealed that it’s key to be savvy when enquiring about a hotel upgrade.

Graham-Watson explained that it’s an error to do this before you arrive.

This will prove irritating to staff and they won’t be able to act on it anyway.

“Never ask for an upgrade prior to your arrival,” said the expert.

“It will only annoy the reservations staff, particularly as they will not be able to offer anything until the last minute.”

When you do arrive and put forward your request, think carefully about what you look like.

You want to make sure you’re giving the right impression.

“Do not ask for an upgrade while smoking or drinking either, and make sure you look presentable too,” advised Graham-Watson.

On some occasions, it can simply be pointless to ask for upgrades.

The hotel expert explained that it’s all to do with when you’re travelling.

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Upgrades are highly unlikely during popular periods.

“It’s pointless asking for an upgrade during peak season; school holidays, Christmas, New Year, bank holidays, Friday and Saturday nights,” said Graham-Watson.

“Hotels will be full and will be expecting to sell all their rooms.

Luckily some hotels are more likely to give out upgrades than others.

Hotels of a certain size or in certain destinations are a better bet than others.

“Large hotels and other hotels in less popular destinations that have difficulty filling their rooms are most likely to give out upgrades,” said Graham-Watson.

“Small hotels are likely to upgrade you automatically when you arrive if they have the availability.”

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Travel

Caravan sites & holiday parks open: How holiday sites are gearing up to keep guests safe

Domestic holidays may be one of the only forms of vacation many Britons get to experience before the end of the summer, as the UK lockdown persists. On Sunday evening Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK’s lockdown exit strategy, igniting some hope for domestic travel.

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Many caravan sites and holiday parks remain optimistic that they will get to reopen their doors before the end of summer, though planned dates for when this will happen varies across the board.

Reopening dates are also subject to change, and Boris Johnson was very quick to point out that positive steps towards relaxation would happen “if and only if the numbers support it”.

Many caravan and holiday parks are aiming to restart in Phase 3 of the government’s plan.

Phase 3 is anticipated to begin in July, subject to scientific and medical data.

According to a 50-page plan published by the government, phase 3 will allow for: “Some hospitality businesses being permitted to reopen ensuring they can provide safe environments and strictly enforce social distancing measures.”

Caravan parks including Away resorts, Caravan Club, the Camping and Caravanning Club, Holidaylettings.co.uk and Haven have all announced preliminary plans to restart operations and accept guests throughout July.

Across the travel and tourism industry, health and hygiene measures are a top priority, ensuring the safety of both guests and staff when they reopen.

Experts from Flogas have offered some insight into the ways in which holiday parks, specifically caravan parks, are being advised to ensure safety across their sites.

They say that one of the most important things for park’s to be certain of is that their health and safety records are up to date.

Speaking to park operators, a Flogas expert says: “In 2019, there were 45,009 people employed in short-term accommodation for guests in campsites, caravan sites, and static caravan parks industry. While it’s unknown what the figure will be when the restrictions are lifted, it’s clear that all your staff must be fully trained.

“The Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 means that anyone in control of a caravan site must look after their staff and residents’ health, safety, and welfare. Make sure your Safety Policy is up to date and correct, while carrying out a thorough Risk Assessment.”

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The government has already implemented a number of new health and safety regulations in public places, including supermarkets which now have to provide hygiene stations offering disinfectant and hand sanitiser, as well as enforcing strict social distancing guidelines.

In most cases, this means reducing the number of people allowed on site.

Though nothing has been confirmed yet, similar measures could be implemented in caravan sites.

In a statement The Camping and Caravanning Club said: “Camping in all its forms puts us on the doorstep of the great outdoors and allows us to spend quality time together in the fresh air and be closer to nature – this will be so important in helping to heal the nation after such a long and unprecedented time of staying in our homes.

“We would urge the Government to provide greater clarity on how the sector can safely open and operate campsites with additional measures in place.

“We believe that we are well-placed to offer socially-distanced holidays and, provided the country recovers in line with the Government’s plans, we would be eager to work on trial pilot schemes for how campsites may be able to re-open with all necessary measures in place as part of the Phase Three measures.”

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Express.co.uk has also contacted Haven to gain insight into how they might be putting safety precautions in place.

As part of phase 3, the government has said that other commercial outlets, including pubs and salons, may be allowed to reopen but that social distancing measures will be enforced.

Outlining plans for the third phase of relaxed lockdown, the Prime Minister explained: “We will hope to reopen at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing.

“Throughout this period of the next two months, we will be driven not by mere hope or economic necessity. We are going to be driven by the science, the data and public health.”

According to the experts at Flogas, the key to ensuring safety and comfort is preparation.

“Preparation is key at all times – and even more so due to the current Covid-19 pandemic,” Stewart Woolley, General Manager of Flogas advises park owners.

“You will have to change your standardised plans as social distancing is set to be the ‘new normal’.

“Make sure you use your time wisely to create and implement a procedure which will continue to provide your customers and residents with a service to be proud of.”

When are caravan parks and camping sites expecting to open?

Away resorts: All parks are closed for the foreseeable future and no new bookings are being accepted until after July 3.

The Camping and Caravanning Club: All sites are closed for now but hopes to reopen campsites from July 4 as part of phase three.

Caravan Club: The company is planning to introduce a phased reopening of its sites network during July.

Flower of May: All parks are closed.

Haven: All sites are closed until July 2.

Hoseasons: Are not accepting bookings for holidays arriving on or before June 30.

Holidaylettings.co.uk: The company is reviewing its policy for travel after July 1.

John Fowler Holidays: All parks are shut until May 14, but it is likely this will be extended.

Lyons Holiday Parks: All parks are closed until at least May 28.

Parkdean Resorts: All parks are closed until at least mid-May.

Park Holidays: Bookings can only be made online beginning after May 14.

Woolacombe Bay Holidays Parks: All our Parks are now closed to holiday guests and the company is currently planning to reopen on June 1.

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Flight secrets: Cabin crew member reveals shocking reason why you should never use pillows

Cabin crew members have previously revealed plane secrets like why you should never drink plane water. Another secret has recently been revealed about why you should never use the pillows or blankets that airlines provide, usually on long-haul flights.

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Planes are often very cold to keep the cabin ventilated, and airlines provide blankets so that passengers can stay warm and sleep, particularly on a long-haul or overnight flight.

Usually wrapped in plastic, blankets and pillows along with some other items are left on seats before a passenger boards the plane.

Planes are not often the cleanest of places but one flight attendant has revealed that passengers may also want to give pillows and blankets a miss.

With a tight turnaround between flights, crews often don’t have the time to deep clean them to the standards people like.

According to industry insiders, the only deep-clean on planes happens overnight and some airlines even re-use their blankets without washing them.

Sara Keagle, flight attendant and founder of aviation blog TheFlyingPinto said that in the economy part of the plane blankets are re-used.

She says that clean blankets are only given to the first flight of the day.

After that they could just be folded and used again and again.

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Unless they are visibly dirt, plane pillows and blankets could be used for every single flight of that day and many more days to come.

However this may vary between different airlines and Delta states: “Pillows and blankets are landed after each use, so they’re clean and fresh.”

If the pillows and blankets are wrapped in plastic with a seal, they are usually fresh ones.

According to travel experts, the best thing to do is to purchase your own airplane pillow and a lightweight blanket.

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This way you will know that it is only you who has used it and do not run the risk of using an item which many before you may have also used.

Using the same pillow and blanket as many other people runs the risk of picking up and spreading germs.

One research study found that airline blankets had traces of Pseudomonas paucimobilis, known for causing lung and eye infections.

Another study on an airplane blanket that had been wrapped in plastic was found to hold yeast, mould and high counts of bacteria.

In recent years, some airlines have even removed pillows and blankets completely, while others may charge for them if a customer desires to use one.

Another cabin crew member Jamila Hardwick explained how when the pillows do come to be washed, it is only the cover that is ever washed.

The inside of the pillow is never cleaned and will remain dirty.

She said on American television program Inside Edition: “They take off the lining and wash it, but the pillow inside is still dirty.”

Next time you’re on a flight you may want to think about giving the free items a miss and using your own.

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Avianca refund: How to get refund from Avianca

Columbian airline Avianca filed for bankruptcy after failing to meet a payment deadline and its requests for coronavirus aid from Columbian’s government have so far been unsuccessful. Here is how to get a refund.

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The carrier has said that the pandemic had cost more than 80 percent of its income, while it was still struggling with high costs.

According to the BBC, if the airline fails to come out of bankruptcy, it will be the first major airline to go under amid the pandemic.

To receive a refund from the airline, you can request and access a refund online.

The website states: “Before requesting a refund, please review the terms of your ticket on the purchase confirmation. To access your payment refund, we charge some fees which are a partial refund of your fare.”

Tickets issued to travel agencies or other issuers other than Avianca must be managed through them.

If booked through a travel agent or tour operator, contacting them will be the next step to receive a refund.

The website says that if you have a ticket to fly before October 31 2020, you can make multiple changes without penalty, regardless of the date of purchase or destination.

It also states that you can sign up for a voucher worth the same value of your ticket which you can use later.

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However this has not been updated since the recent news that they have filed for bankruptcy.

Many people have previously said that this airline were hard to get hold of via the website and instead customers should ring their call centre.

It states that they have a high number of calls at the moment due to the pandemic so the level of attention may be affected.

Credit card users can also request a section 75 refund.

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For amounts over £100, Section 75 law means your credit card must protect purchases for free.

Airhelp recommends checking the website for any updates that may come soon.
The website also recommends taking out travel insurance which covers airline failure. This way you will be protected against anything that goes wrong and it is always best to book with an ATOL protected provider.

This means should an unexpected problem arise, customers can get their money back.

When Icelandic airline WOW air ceased operations all flights were cancelled and the airline encouraged passengers to “rebook with other airlines offering lower rates,” referred to as “rescue fares.” It followed months of financial uncertainty for the airline.

After filing a bankruptcy in a New York court, Anko van der Werff, chief executive said: “Avianca is facing the most challenging crisis in our 100-year history as we navigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Entering into this process is a necessary step to address our financial challenges.”

The airline has had financial problems for many years and had survived bankruptcy in the early 2000’s.

Columbia, where Avianca has over 50 percent market share, has imposed strict lockdown measures in an attempt to combat coronavirus.

This includes a halt to all international and domestic flights until at least the end of May.

Avianca says 88 percent of the countries in which it operates have imposed either total or partial flying restrictions.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mr van der Werff has been campaigning for Columbian government help, saying that the airline only needs a loan to help them get through the crisis.

Avianca had faced a $65million debt repayment this weekend.

The airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

This version of bankruptcy allows the debtor to have a fresh start and corporations generally file Chapter 11 if they require time to restructure their debts.

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Majorca holidays: Britons could visit Spanish holiday hotspot as early as July

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot

Majorca is one of Spain’s most stunning Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean which has become increasingly popular with Britons looking for sun, sea and sand on their holidays. As travel restrictions and international flight bans remain in place across the world, many Britons’ holiday plans have been scuppered. But now, there may well be a light at the end of the tunnel for Britons who were hoping for a late summer trip to catch some sun.

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The Association of Hotel Chains (ACH) and the Hotel Business Federation of Mallorca (FEHM) have announced that they have been in talks with British travel giants TUI UK and Jet2 to potentially allow the first Britons back onto the island in July.

The hotel groups also spoke to German tourist groups TUI, Alltours, FTI and Schauinsland.

President of ACH Gabriel Llobera told the Spanish press that they were hoping to open hotels “in stages” and reactivate the tourism industry.

He said: “The objective is to be able to open the hotels in stages and whenever the demand justifies the business effort.

“The interest is mutual in all the parties involved because both we and the tour operators are ready to reactivate the tourist activity once the whole process of de-escalation by the coronavirus has passed.”

If talks with the British travel groups are successful and the travel ban is lifted, then Britons could be allowed back onto the island.

However, tourists from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark will be invited back first.

Currently, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all non-essential international travel “indefinitely” out of the UK.

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This means that unless absolutely necessary, travellers may be questioned by authorities on arrival at airports.

This week, Spain began its new deescalation measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus in the nation.

The country has already had over 250,000 cases and more than 25,000 deaths from the deadly virus.

The nation is now in phase zero of its plan but may allow phase 1 to take place on May 11.

This phase could see hotels being opened and people allowed to gather in groups with a maximum of 10 people.

According to Spanish Press, terraces of bars and restaurants will also be able to open with a capacity of 50 percent which in June will then include interiors.

Originally, hotels in Majorca and Ibiza said they would not open under such conditions but this has changed since talks began with the German holiday companies.

However, the hotels have said they would want to know how many reservations are available in advance so that they can know which hotels to open.

Catalina Cladera, the island’s president said previously that they will only reactivate businesses if it can be done “safely”.

She said: “We are not ending this year’s tourist season.

“Whatever we can safely reactivate, we will.

“As soon as we can, we must move to the contingency phase and live with the pandemic, always in a safe way, because people’s health is essential, as well as saving the productive fabric and jobs.”

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Holidays: This travel brand is offering a luxury holiday for the price of a coffee

Travelling abroad may become a thing of the past as many remain indoors on lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19. With travellers requesting refunds for their scuppered summer holiday plans, and travel firms reducing their operations, the travel industry looks like it could be heading for a tough couple of years. But now, one travel brand is offering keen holidaymakers the opportunity to win the trip of a lifetime, all for the price of a cup of takeaway coffee.

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Cult Travel is a luxury prize draw where players can win luxury holidays and coronavirus stay-at-home bundles for a very reasonable price.

The monthly prize draw gives budding travellers the chance to win a variety of luxury prizes, from beauty bundles to all-inclusive holidays to bucket list destinations such as Santorini and Mexico.

Purchasing a ticket for the draw is done by choosing your travel companion, selecting your dates and waiting for the prize draw at the end of each month.

The winners are announced on Cult Travel’s Instagram page on the last day of the month at 6pm.

This month’s luxury holiday prize is a Junior Suite at Ocean Riviera Paradise Hotel in Cancun, Mexico which includes all inclusive meals and drinks, return flights on chosen dates which are redeemable for up to 18 months after lockdown, and tickets to a guided tour of the Coba Ruins.

The home bundle includes skincare, makeup, haircare and professional makeup artist brushes with over £200.

CEO of Cult Travel Jessica Court spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about her travel brand and how she is managing to offer people the chance to travel to some incredible destinations.

Jessica explained how she began her business at the beginning of the year before the coronavirus pandemic began.

She said: “I started this with my partner back in February right before the coronavirus hit.

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“We’re both avid travellers and we worked in the marketing industry for five years where we realised there was a gap in the market for people wanting to visit luxury destinations and hotels but were just unable to afford it.

“With stress levels at an all-time high – especially right now – and with less people being able to afford holidays generally, we wanted to offer people the chance to see and travel the world for the lowest price possible.

“We created Cult Travel as a luxury prize draw in which people are able to win a holiday for the price of a cup of coffee.

“All flights are inclusive, including return flights, and they also get an activity as well.

“All they need to do is sit back and relax.”

As the coronavirus pandemic began to impact on everyday life and travel, Jessica explained how she adapted her business and wanted to give everybody living in lockdown “something to look forward to”.

She explained: “We heard quite a few people especially during lockdown saying, ‘This sounds great, it gives us something to look forward to’ – and that’s exactly what we want.

“Our original plan was to offer a big holiday and then a weekend break but obviously where everything has gone into complete lockdown with travel restrictions coming into play, we’ve had to change our approach to things.

“We’ve got a smaller lockdown bundle where people can win smaller prizes like a makeup bundle or a Netflix/Amazon/Disney plus bundle.

“It’s for everyone – people with kids and people who are just sitting at home by themselves.

“Our way of adapting to this was giving people what they want while they’re inside the home.

“Because of the coronavirus, we’ve said to everyone if you win the holiday, the holiday will be valid from the end of lockdown until eighteen months afterwards.

“Lockdown could end but travel restrictions may not end until six months later so we wanted to give people that reassurance that you’ve won your holiday and you’ll be able to go on your holiday and we want to make this work for you.”

She added: “We’re still working in conjunction with the Government restrictions and we’re still in compliance with the travel restrictions and it means that everyone is happy and safe.”

But Cult Travel is offering more than just luxury prizes for those in lockdown, with an opportunity for people to support those NHS workers on the frontline battling against the coronavirus.

She added: “All the money from the stay-at-home bundle is going towards helping NHS charities and helping them get the PPE they need to help fight this.

“This is our way of giving back and helping to contribute towards beating this.”

A standard ticket costs £3.50 and a family ticket is £6 for the luxury holiday prize draw, while a home bundle ticket is £1.50.

Cult Travel will email the winners just before they are announced on social media.

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easyJet refund: How to get refund from easyJet

EasyJet has suspended its service for two months after completing its final rescue flight earlier this year. All cabin crew have been given a leave of absence for this duration. The company wants to reduce £4.5billion in spending, including payments for the new aircraft from Airbus, in response to the drop in demand for air travel amid the coronavirus pandemic. But how do you get a refund?

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Budget airline easyJet grounded its entire fleet at the end of March.

EasyJet has not confirmed a date for restarting commercial flights yet.

Additionally, the airline said 4,000 of its 9,000 staff members would be furloughed for two months starting from April 1.

The company had already cancelled most services but was running rescue flights to repatriate Britons stranded abroad.

So far, easyJet has flown 650 rescue flights, taking 45,000 people home, but has said it will continue to work with government bodies to assist rescue flights as requested.

When its planes resume travel, the airliner plans to keep the middle seats on its places empty to allow for social distancing.

As things currently stand, easyJet intends for holidays in June, July and August to go ahead.

The airline says that cancellations are being evaluated daily, and if your flight does get cancelled, you’ll be notified at least seven days in advance.

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The airline said: “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.

“Over recent days easyJet has been helping to repatriate customers, having operated more than 650 rescue flights to date, returning home more than 45,000 customers.

“The last of these rescue flights were operated on Sunday, March 29. We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.

“At this stage there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights.

“We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view.”

The news from easyJet came as regional airline Loganair said airlines were unlikely to survive without a government bailout.

Loganair boss Jonathan Hinkles told the BBC any airline saying it could survive without government help “would probably be lying”.

EasyJet said on Monday it would not need a bailout.

The airline said: “We have no plans currently to ask the government for bespoke support as outlined by the chancellor.”

It added: “To support recovery in the future, we believe that further actions will be needed such as a temporary removal of Aviation Passenger Duty and Air Traffic Control Charges.”

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How to get a refund if you have a flight booked with easyJet

EasyJet flights are cancelled until at least June.

If your flight has been cancelled you are entitled to a full refund to the original form of payment within seven days under EU air passengers’ rights rules.

You may also be entitled to a voucher for the value of their original booking or an alternative flight of the same price.

The airline has said impacted customers will be contacted to discuss their options.

If you are affected, you can contact easyJet yourself, but the airline has warned that customers are likely to experience long wait times due to the massive number of disrupted flights.

The customer service number for easyJet is 0330 365 5000.

EasyJet said: “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.”

You can also manage your booking online using the easyJet website here.

What happens if you have issues getting a refund from easyJet?

If you struggle to reach an agreement, you can escalate any claim to an alternate dispute resolution body.

EasyJet is a member of the Consumer Dispute Resolution Limited group and you can find information on how to start a complaint here.

If you booked a flight through a third part company, you need to contact them regarding a refund or alternative flight.

You can also claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.

Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.

If you bought a flight using a debit card, you can claim a refund via your bank using the Chargeback scheme, which can be used to reclaim cash for goods and services you did not receive.

Claims apply for purchases made by debit card or by credit card for purchases under £100, but must be within 120 days of the transaction.

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Coronavirus flights: Three major UK airports and Eurostar force passengers to wear masks

Manchester Airport, Stansted Airport and East Midlands Airport now expect passengers to wear masks and gloves when travelling. The three UK airports join Eurostar in the new PPE rule in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus. The trio  – which are owned by the same group – will also be trialling temperature checks.

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What’s more, plans to ask all passengers to make a health declaration before entering the airports are being considered.

Travellers at the three airports will be expected to bring their own supplies.

However, the hubs will have some equipment available.

A Manchester Airport spokesman told MailOnline: “Manchester Airport can confirm it will be piloting various new safety measures that are being put in place across Manchester Airports Group (which also owns and operates Stansted and East Midlands) later this week.

“They are designed to help the small number of passengers currently making essential journeys through our airports feel safer and more confident about flying at this time.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the airports for comment.

Eurostar is also demanding passengers wear face masks for travel.

The train company’s new rule applies from today.

Those who flout this may face fines.

Eurostar explains on its website: “From 4 May, passengers must wear a face mask or face covering at our stations and on board in line with guidelines announced by the French and Belgian governments.

“Please ensure you have a mask with you when you travel.

“Any type of mask is suitable as long as it effectively covers your nose and mouth.

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“If you don’t have a mask you may be refused travel on our services.

“We’d like to advise you that fines may be imposed in France and Belgium if you’re not wearing a mask.”

There was concern over the weekend that travellers to France would have to face a compulsory two-week quarantine, following a press briefing with French Health Minister Olivier Veran.

However, Paris has since clarified visitors from the UK and European Union member states will not face the mandatory 14-day quarantine despite a move to impose a coronavirus isolation on new arrivals.

The French Embassy in London tweeted: “People entering French territory from European countries (EU/Schengen and United Kingdom) will not be affected by the quarantine measure announced in France, the terms of which will be specified shortly.”

France’s borders have been closed to tourists and other non-essential travellers since April 8.

Paris is still yet to reveal when it intends to allow hotels, restaurants and bars to reopen.

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Flights: Wizz Air lands first commercial flight bringing over 100 travellers into the UK

Wizz Air has resumed its commercial routes, breathing some life back into London Luton airport as passengers emerged into the arrivals hall on Friday morning. The flight, which was carrying over 100 passengers, landed at 7.30 am.

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It was the first flight to land at the airport after a 10-day shutdown.

Wizz Air flight W6 4301 arrived from Sofia in Bulgaria, and according to The Guardian was filled with many passengers who were on their way into the country for work.

The newspaper reports that many of those arriving were seasonal farmworkers, as well as those heading to jobs on building sites, as lorry drivers or in some foot service shops.

Many were also Britons who had been trapped in Bulgaria since the lockdown began.

One passenger on board the plane reported not feeling any fear about the virus or his safety while on board.

“It was fine,” Alissa Kotsant, a psychology student from Ramsgate told The Guardian.

“There were no sick people on the flight, and we all wore masks. You could smell that they had just cleaned the plane.”

Wizz Air announced last week that it would be implementing brand new measures for both passengers and crew on its flights in a bid to increase hygiene levels and slow the spread of the virus, while also being able to maintain commercial travel.

As part of an updated safety video, passengers must now wear face masks when they are travelling through the airport and on board.

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The Hungary-based airline is asking customers to check-in for all flights online and make any additional inflight purchases such as seat upgrades or additional bags, online prior to their journey.

Purchases onboard are “encouraged” to b+ made using contactless payment, to minimise the need for physical contact.

Airline bosses add that a stringent daily cleaning schedule will remain in place, with the entire aircraft being disinfected overnight.

Owain Jones, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK said: “As we restart selected Luton flights to provide an essential service to passengers who need to travel, our primary concern is the health, safety and well-being of our customers and crew.

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“The protective measures that we are implementing will ensure the most sanitary conditions possible.

“We encourage our customers to watch our new video on how to stay safe when travelling, as well as for more details on our new health and safety measures.”

Scheduled flights include routes to Budapest in Hungary, Burgas, Varna and Sofia in Bulgaria; Lisbon in Portugal, Tenerife in Spain; and Tel Aviv, Israel.

The airline had hoped to also introduce routes to and from Romania, however they had to be pulled at the last minute after the country further restrictions were put in place by the Romanian government.

Despite the new routes, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office maintains that Britons should avoid all but essential travel for an “indefinite” period of time.

Though the future of the UK’s lockdown measures remains unknown, it is thought some rules will be relaxed in the coming weeks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to update the nation on Sunday.

The government continues to push ahead with its £75 million repatriation effort to bring Britons home from abroad.

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Baggage handlers reveal the key to ensuring your luggage stays safe when flying

There is no worse feeling than arriving at your destination after a long plane journey to find that your luggage has been damaged in transit. Though it is a worst-case-scenario, unfortunately, it’s not an uncommon one.

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According to MoneySuperMarket data, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has received over 2,000 complaints regarding lost, delayed or damaged luggage complaints about flights to and from UK airports since 2015.

Work for a baggage handler is fast-paced, with thousands of bags to move between flights and arrival and departure times to coordinate between.

It’s no surprise that in this hurried environment bags can sometimes be thrown, particularly those that are heavy.

This isn’t such an issue for bags that are filled with durable items or soft clothing, however, those filled with precious cargo could suffer.

However, a group of baggage handlers on Reddit shared a top tip that will ensure your bag is moved with maximum care.

“The airport I work at, the ramp was known for being pretty good about the fragile tags,” wrote one baggage handler.

Another added: “I generally try to be careful with them, I can’t speak for everyone else at my station though.”

A fragile tag can be acquired at check-in and is placed on your luggage, emblazoned with the word “fragile’ to notify that there is something valuable or breakable inside.

Another, hidden perk of the fragile bag tag is that these bags often come off the plane and onto the baggage belt first, meaning a speedier departure from the airport.

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Contrastingly, some of the baggage handlers did suggest that the fragile tag can also be a catalyst for a worrying fate for luggage at some airports.

“There are a lot of people who see the fragile and purposefully rough it up more than they normally would,” said one worker.

If you do discover your bag has been damaged it should be reported immediately upon arrival.

Most airports have a dedicated desk within the baggage claims area for passengers who find themselves in a predicament.

Passengers will often be given a Property Irregularity Report (PIR).

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You will also need to put in a written claim to the airline within seven days, however, submitting a PIR is no guarantee that the airline will accept the claim.

If the airline accepts a claim they tend to pay for the baggage to be repaired or even cover the cost of replacement baggage.

However, if they deny it, passengers can escalate the complaint to the CAA.

In any circumstance, having travel insurance is absolutely vital.

A good policy will ensure you are never let down, regardless of whether the airline accepts the claim or not.

Anna Sant, travel insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, advises: “Most luggage arrives at its intended destination without a hitch. However, with the Civil Aviation Authority receiving over 2,000 unresolved luggage complaints in the past five years, it’s clear that it’s not always an issue that airlines can fix themselves.

“Noting the contents and value of your cases will also assist with any subsequent insurance claims.

“It’s therefore vital you take out travel insurance with the right level of cover, as soon as you book your trip. Most policies will cover the full cost of your belongings but it’s worth double-checking before proceeding with a policy.”

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