Category Archives: Travel

Flights: Emirates boosts Economy with new socially distanced seating

Flights: Emirates boosts Economy with new socially distanced seating
Travel could be set to return on a larger scale as soon as May if the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce deems it possible. In anticipation of more global travel, Dubai-based Emirates has overhauled its economy cabin with new options for customers seeking a little extra room and increased social distancing.
Customers holding a confirmed booking will be given the option to purchase up to three empty adjoining seats on their flight.

However, these options will not be available to book in advance as the airline states seats are “subject to availability”.

Empty seats will be offered for purchase at the airport check-in desk based upon how full or empty the flight is.

The cost ranges from AED 200 to AED 600 (approximately £39 to £117)per empty seat, plus applicable taxes depending on the flight sector.

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Emirates says the new move comes in response to “customer feedback, addressing the needs of a range of customers seeking extra privacy and space while still flying in Economy Class.”

The airline suggests this could be of particular use for parents travelling with young children or those who “simply want the added assurance of more space while travelling during pandemic times”.

It comes alongside Emirate’s current Economy class upgrades, which allow customers to amend how much legroom they have, as well as the type of seat they sit in for their journey.

Current add-ons include extra legroom seats; twin seats located at the back of Emirates’ Boeing 777 aircraft, and on the upper deck of Emirates’ 2-class Airbus A380 aircraft; and the option to select “preferred seats”.

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Passengers can make amendments to their booking, including upgrading their seat, via the Emirates website, by calling an Emirates contact centre or at airport check-in.

Subject to availability, some seating upgrades may also be made once onboard.

In many cases, Economy Class seat preferences are offered “free depending on the customer’s Emirates Skywards membership tier, fare type, time to departure, and other special needs”.

The news comes as bookings for holidays and flights in the summer months see a surge.

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of the UK lockdown restrictions being loosened, many Britons have set their sights on travel.

The Government is set to reinstate its Global Travel Taskforce in April.

The Taskforce will assess how possible it is for safe travel overseas to resume, though it has been suggested this could be as soon as mid-May.

While Dubai is currently on the UK’s banned travel list, with arrivals subject to mandatory hotel quarantine, it is not clear how long this rule will last.

What’s more, travel bans do not seem to be impacting Britons when it comes to booking future holidays.

Skyscanner reports sales for flights to Portugal, which is also on the hotel quarantine list, have been boosted for travel in July since the Prime Minister’s announcement.

There are plenty of other holiday hotspots which are also seeing an uptick in interest.

According to the flight booking platform, some of the most popular destinations for travel in the summer months include Spain, Italy, and Greece.

Greece holidays: Latest Foreign Office travel advice for mainland and Greek islands

Greece holidays were given a boost last week when the Greek Tourism Minister revealed Britons would soon be able to travel to Greece with or without the Covid vaccine. British tourists will hopefully be able to jet to Greek shores from June to enjoy a summer holiday on the mainland or on one of Greece’s stunning islands. It’s always important to stay on top of the latest travel advice when booking a holiday, however, and today the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued new guidance for Greece.
The FCDO continued: “The rest of Greece is split into a number of categories, with different levels of measures applying in different categories. These categories are: amber areas; red areas; and areas of heightened concern.

“All measures remain under regular review: you should keep up-to-date by checking this page regularly, and following local announcements.”

The lists can be found on the FCDO’s travel page for Greece.

Entry restrictions do apply to those entering the country.

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Britons are allowed to enter but both strict testing and quarantine measures are in place.

“If travelling by air, land or sea to Greece, you must provide evidence of a negative result from a PCR test for COVID-19 that has been conducted within the 72 hour period before your arrival time in Greece,” said the FCDO.

“Failure to do so may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel and will likely result in the Greek authorities refusing you permission to enter Greece.”

As for quarantine, the authority detailed: “In addition, arrivals into Greece from the UK by air are required to undergo a rapid COVID-19 test on arrival, and if the result is negative, self-isolate for seven days.

“If you are staying for a shorter period of time, then you will need to self-isolate until your departure day.

“If you test positive on arrival in Greece, you will have to self-isolate for at least 14 days, or until local authorities advise.”

Travellers also need to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before they travel (both into and out of Greece).

“You must wear a face mask at all times when on an aeroplane, bus, train or ferry travelling to or from Greece; and whilst at airports,” the FCDO added.

Britons are urged not to turn to the NHS for a Covid test for travel.

“You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test,” said the FCDO.

For now, Britons cannot leave the country.

June 21 is the target date for when travel abroad can start again.

Prince Charles: Prince of Wales hates being called certain names when travelling abroad

As next in line to the throne, when Queen Elizabeth, 94, dies, Prince Charles will become King Charles.

It’s not just his name that the royal is particular about when he travels.

Carolyn Robb, the youngest and first female chef who served Prince Charles and Princess Diana and worked in the royal household for 11 years between 1989 and 2000, told MailOnline Prince Charles requested to have his homegrown food from the UK with him when he was abroad.

“He liked to have his own food with him,” she explained, meaning “piles and piles of cool-boxes” were taken around the world.

While it seems to be a strange request, it was to avoid falling ill during a full itinerary.

Spain holidays: How holidaymakers may need a green pass 'to move safely in EU'

Spain is already set to be a popular destination for British tourists, with easyJet and Skyscanner both reporting an increase in bookings to the hotspot since the Prime Minister’s “roadmap” out of lockdown was announced. However, plans for a new “EU green pass” could soon add a requirement for UK travellers looking to visit the bloc.
Mr Hancock told a Downing Street press conference the UK was “working with international partners” on the issue.

“The EU is part of those discussions, as are several other countries around the world, and it’s obviously important work,” he said.

“What I’d also say is that in a sense this already exists because you need to have a test before you can travel to the UK and, as far as I understand it from the details set out today, the EU proposal is that certification includes both whether you’ve had the vaccine and also whether you’ve recently had a test for those who can’t get vaccinated yet, which is obviously particularly important.

“Therefore it’s something that we’re working with them and others on and it matters that we get the details of this right for international travel.”

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Prof Van-Tam struck a cautious tone about foreign travel, saying: “We are still in a zone of great uncertainty about what the virus will do next.

“On top of that, many of the vaccination programmes in Europe – which is a place where we frequently go on holiday abroad – are running behind ours.

“Clearly, whether we can go on holiday abroad to places such as Europe depends on what other countries will say and do in terms of foreign tourism.

“There has to be great uncertainty at the moment.”

Downing Street said Department for Transport officials will speak to the EU about the approach it is planning for the 27-member bloc.

The full details of plans are not fully known yet, or how much they are likely to impact British tourists heading to the likes of France, Spain and Italy.

The UK Government has suggested one more is understood about the impact of vaccines, it may introduce a system which allows those who have been inoculated to travel more freely.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have said that we are looking at the issue of vaccine passports.

“As you can expect, DfT (the Department for Transport) will work (with) and do speak to countries across the world in terms of how they may look to introduce passports.”

However, one travel expert has predicted the new “green pass” may not impact Britons’ ability to travel.

“I believe that a vaccine passport will not be necessary in order to travel to the EU, but will probably be used to either eliminate or reduce any quarantine time at arrival at your destination and on return home to the UK,” Neil Wright, founder and managing director of CoverForYou told express.co.uk.

Mr Wright continued: “It would make sense for the UK to follow suit as this is clearly a way in which travel, which supports so many jobs in the UK, can be safely opened up.

“A standard Covid vaccine passport will allow for normal holiday travel to be a real possibility this summer and should be welcomed.”

Camping, caravan & staycation latest holiday restart dates – Center Parcs, Butlins & more

Hoseasons

Following the PMs’s announcement, Hoseasons issued an update to its website.

It has set out how specific rules for England, Wales and Scotland where opening dates currently vary due to devolved Government restrictions.

For customers with holiday plans in England, holidays will be cancelled up to and including April 11.

The website states: “During national lockdown and in Step one, holiday accommodation is not permitted to open in England.

“We have emailed all customers with a booking in England that are due to travel on or before April 11 2021 with their options, which include the choice of a refund or a voucher of the amount paid for the booking. Please refer to that email to make your choice.”

From April 12, single households will be permitted to travel to self-catered accommodation.

Hoseasons adds: “In Step three, domestic overnight stays will be permitted provided that the party size is no greater than six people (from up to six households) or is no more than two households (of any size).

“We have emailed all customers that we believe are affected by this rule with the option to reduce party size or cancel for a refund or voucher.

“If you have not received an email from us, and you are unable to use your booking in compliance with the household/party size restrictions or updated government guidance, please contact us to discuss your options, which will include the choice between a refund and a voucher of the amount paid for your booking.”

Customers in Wales will have their holiday cancelled if it was due to go ahead on or before March 12.

Hoseasons has assured it will email options to guests, including the choice of a refund or a voucher of the amount paid.

“If you have a booking on or after 13 March 2021, rest assured that we will be in touch with the options available to you closer to the time,” adds the holiday provider.

Holidays due to go ahead in Scotland are cancelled up to and including April 25.

CoolCamping

CoolCamping is a platform which allows holidaymakers to book camping, glamping and caravan holidays from a number of independent providers.

As a result, many of the parks it covers have set out differing plans for when they will be safety reopening.

CoolCamping is keeping its website up-to-date in line with the latest news and regulations to help customers.

Following the latest announcement, CoolCamping updated the travel advice on its website.

It explained: “Accommodation with self-contained facilities may be permitted to re-open from no earlier than April 12, subject to the state of the pandemic at the time.

“However, this is only for individuals or individual household groups.

“Accommodation with shared facilities, plus other hospitality and tourism venues may be allowed to open from no earlier than May 17, with a limit of up to six people or two households holidaying together.”

It added no specific dates have been announced for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but the firm will update the website once new information is available.

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Marella

Marella Cruises, owned by TUI, has announced sailings due to depart on or before May 16, 2021, have been cancelled.

“If your booking can’t take place due to COVID-19, we’ll be in touch as far in advance as possible to discuss your options with you,” said TUI.

“This will be done in departure date order.”

MSC Cruises

MSC has resumed some operations out of Italy as of January 24, however, are only accepting guests who are residents in Schengen countries.

In an updated statement the cruise line said: “Following the UK government’s briefing on the nations’ roadmap to recovery in which they outlined international travel restrictions will not ease before May 17th, MSC Cruises UK & Ireland has taken the decision to cancel the majority of our sailings until 31st May 2021, for our UK and Irish guests only.

“A report is expected from the Global Travel Taskforce on 12th April and we hope that this report will further support our optimistic outlook for Summer 2021 but in the meantime, we must ensure we study the new framework and to ensure our guests can have a seamless return to holidaying with MSC Cruises.”

Antonio Paradiso, MSC Cruises UK managing director, previously said: “MSC Cruises is ready to welcome British and Irish residents when the guidance changes. We are working closely with CLIA and the relevant authorities to enable British and Irish guests to be welcome back on board our ships when the time is right.”

Norwegian Cruise Line

All Norwegian Cruise Line cruises up to and including May 31, 2021, are cancelled

Customers who have had their holidays cancelled will receive a future cruise credit worth 125 percent of the cost paid. This is valid until December 31, 2022.

Customers who no longer wish to sail will be able to request a refund of the fare paid.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises has updated its restart date to June following the Prime Minister’s “roadmap” out of lockdown.

In a statement, the cruise line explained: “Following the UK Government briefing on Monday showing the roadmap back for hospitality and travel, we await more clarity on likely dates for domestic and international cruising.

“While we seek additional clarification to fully understand the requirements and impact of the briefing, and to minimise any potential further disappointment, we have temporarily stopped selling all cruises that are due to depart before 21 June 2021.”

Guest impacted by the latest changes will be offered a voucher worth 125 percent of their original booking which can be used for any sailing up to the end of March 2022.

Holidays: 'No reason not to book' package getaways for 2021 encourages Simon Calder

“There is going to be a huge demand for places around England at the moment,” Calder said.

He said the main way to get more bang for your buck is to be flexible.

“It is all about timing, of course, if you don’t have to go on holiday during the school holidays then please don’t,” he said.

“One top provider is selling holidays from April 12 which coincides with the last week fo the Easter holidays.

Camping holidays: How to prevent 'costs from spiralling' – big campsite mistakes to avoid

Penny-pinching pros at NetVoucherCodes.co.uk explained that costs can easily soar if you’re not careful.

A spokesperson shared their travel advice: “Generally, people think camping is cheaper than stopping in bricks and mortar accommodation, and whilst this largely true, it’s surprisingly easy for costs to spiral.

“By the time you’ve added on the cost of a tent, ground mats, sleeping bags, air beds, and cooking equipment, your bill could easily run into the hundreds – that’s before you’ve even booked a pitch!

“Luckily there are plenty of ways to save money on your next camping adventure, so whether you’re feeling frugal or are on a tight budget this summer, you can enjoy the great outdoors regardless!”

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Can I go abroad this summer? Dates, latest advice and vaccine passports

Lockdown measures are reaching a sombre milestone this month, with March 23 marking a year since stay at home orders were first issued. Now the Government has issued a roadmap out of the third national lockdown, with a timeline of when certain measures can ease. For many, this has given hope for a return to somewhat normality during the summer months.
Britons have been unable to nip to non-essential shops, travel across the country freely or book holidays abroad in recent months.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, starting with children returning to schools on March 8 – less than a week away.

As the vaccine effort continues across the country, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed his plans to lift restrictions.

One major aspect of normality is a return to holidays abroad, but when exactly can Britons head away for summer breaks?

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Then the majority of accommodation including hotels and holiday parks have a date of May 17 for opening.

May 17 has also been given as the earliest date which the restrictions on international travel may lift.

However, these milestones will only be met should the Government find all four conditions for lockdown lifting be met.

These are

  • Vaccine programme continues
  • Data shows vaccines are reducing deaths and the numbers of people in hospital needing treatment for Covid
  • The infection rates aren’t putting hospitals at risk of surging numbers
  • New variants don’t add risk to lifting restrictions
For those planning to travel to the UK from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to three days before departure.

If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.

Vaccine passports

One element of international travel returning could be the introduction of the so-called vaccine passports.

The government is said to be debating bringing in vaccine certificates as part of lockdown measures easing.

This may be added to the NHS app or a separate card which is added to medical records.

Britons may need to use the vaccine passport to enter certain venues or even travel abroad.

Israel has introduced a green pass scheme, allowing those who have been vaccinated to return to somewhat normal life and visit bars, swimming pools and hotels.

Holidays: Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal – latest FCDO travel advice

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week showed some hope for future travel, announcing the reinstatement of the Global Travel Taskforce and the potential for some travel to resume from mid-May.

This will, of course, be dependent on the state of Covid in each nation around the world, as well as their specific travel restrictions.

What is the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office(FCDO) travel advice for Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal?

Spain

The FCDO advises against “all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

Spain has placed entry restrictions on arrivals from the UK since December, with only Spanish nationals and legal residents of Spain permitted to enter.

“If you are resident in Spain, you should carry your residence document (the green paper EU residence certificate or the new TIE), as well as your valid passport when you travel,” advised the FCDO.

“If you are not in possession of a residence document, the Spanish government has formally confirmed to the UK government that UK nationals who were legally residing in Spain before January 1 2021, and as such are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement, can present other documents to prove their residence status when entering Spain.”

All passengers are also required to show a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrivals.

“You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country,” states the FCDO.

“You should arrange to take a private test and should confirm with the testing facility the type of tests available prior to booking an appointment.”

They must also fill out a passenger locator form.

Britons returning from Spain must self-isolate at home.

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