SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Passport delays threaten summer travel
Jun 9th, 2014 by elisa

Thousands of holidaymakers could miss out on their summer holidays because delays at the Passport Office mean they won’t receive their passports on time. 

The Telegraph reports that some new applications are taking as much as two months to process, leading to fears that the backlog could worsen as the holiday season approaches.

According to some estimates, the backlog has already reached half a million and staff from other departments have now been drafted in to help cope with demand. Unions claim that staff are being forced to “paper over the cracks” by working overtime, and they may be forced to take industrial action unless urgent measures are taken to improve the situation.

Labour’s shadow immigration minister, David Hanson, said the party’s MPs have been “inundated” with complaints from constituents struggling to get their passports in time for holidays, despite applying three weeks in advance as recommended. Mr Hanson said 75 Labour MPs had reported more than 370 complaints, the majority concerning the office in Durham, which processes passport applications for children and people who have changed their names.

A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union said staff are frustrated that they’re unable to provide the level of service that the public expects from the passport office.

The Passport Office denies the extent of the backlog, claiming 97% of straightforward renewals and child applications are being processed in the three week turnaround. It puts the “exceptional early summer demand” down to the improving economy and a rise in holiday bookings.

The guidance on turnaround times are three weeks for straightforward renewals and child passports and six weeks for new adult passports.

World Cup fans could spend £5,000 phoning home
Jun 3rd, 2014 by elisa

Phone charges abroad can be a tricky issue, particularly when you’re on a contract, where your phone bill for calling home could skyrocket with roaming charges before you know it. 

Today’s Metro newspaper reports that England football fans visiting Brazil for the World Cup could end up with around £5,000 mobile phone bills due to the uncapped roaming charges in the host country.

Price comparison website, uSwitch.com is warning fans that they could be charged £465 a day because the charges are uncapped, plus they could spend £22 for a five minute phone call or to send 10 texts back home.

“Data caps that most networks will automatically opt customers into are very easy to opt out of by text – and it can be tempting to do so, particularly if footie fans get carried away by World Cup fever and want to send a picture message via Whatsapp or Skype friends and family from the stadium,” said uSwitch.com’s Ernest Doku.

Dataroam.co.uk offers a special Brazil data SIM card to avoid the expensive data charges with 30 day packages starting at £59.99.

If you have a smartphone it is probably wise to turn off the data roaming option on your phone all together, only switching it on when you really need it. Contacting your network provider to check costs before you go away, and if there are any special international data/call bundles would be wise; plus consider using a local SIM card to make cheaper calls to your fellow fans while in Brazil.

CAA suggests “noise tax”
Jun 2nd, 2014 by elisa

The Civil Aviation Authority is proposing a new “noise tax” similar to The Tax on Air Transport Noise introduced in France in 2005, reports the Telegraph. 

In its recently published Managing Aviation Noise report, the CAA proposed measures aimed at reducing noise from aircraft taking off and landing at airports in the UK, and compensating those living nearby.

The CAA said the tax would be a ‘last resort’, but if implemented it would penalise flights according to how much noise pollution they cause, with proceeds going towards paying for insulation in communities near airports. It could adopt a similar system to that in France whereby airlines are taxed depending on the number of people affected, the aircraft’s weight at takeoff, and the noise rating and time of day.

The report said: “If other measures do not go far enough to engage the aviation industry in the effort to manage noise, policymakers could consider a further incentive applied with the introduction of a noise tax.”

Virgin Galactic clear for take off
Jun 2nd, 2014 by elisa

We’re tantalisingly close to seeing commercial space flights as Virgin Galactic has been given Federal Aviation Administration approval to launch its services.

The first flight won’t be until the end of this year, but in comparison to how long we’ve been waiting for this development, it’s hardly any time to wait! Around 600 people have already reserved their $250,000 seats for the zero gravity flights on SpaceShipTwo.

“Our team is working hard to begin routine and affordable space launches from Spaceport America and this agreement brings us another step closer to that goal,” said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides.

The FAA agreement outlines how the Virgin Galactic Spaceport America base in New Mexico will coordinate with normal air traffic control systems. It also has a similar agreement for the state of California where it recently completed a third successful test flight over the Mojave Desert.

Branson has previously said he and his family will be on Virgin’s first space flight.

Monarch Airlines’ improvements to bring back “humanity” to flying
May 30th, 2014 by elisa

Monarch Airlines’ new managing director has pledged to bring “humanity and warmth” back to flying in Europe.

Andrew Swaffield, who joined the airline in April, said that these qualities had disappeared from European air travel, and that the customer often gets lost in the process of a “race to the bottom in terms of the cheapest and the biggest and the most efficient” adding, “We’re small enough to think that we don’t have to be like that.”

Monarch have already begun to implement some customer improvements, including posting 45 staff at nine of its major airports to assist customers.

“The feedback tells us that our customers are increasingly finding the airport experience very difficult, so we have put Monarch employees in the airports, in Monarch uniforms, whose job is purely to help customers,” he said.

“We are measuring how it’s going down and so far it’s been entirely positive.”

He said the next stage would be to improve communication, particularly when things go wrong. This would include being open with customers about what’s going on, particularly with delays or technical problems.

Swaffield emphasised the importance of price being key at the internet booking stage, particularly as people don’t tend to differentiate between anything but price, adding “but once you’ve got somebody experiencing something better, they will come back, especially when they are travelling with their loved ones.”

Finally, he emphasised that the airline will be responding to customer travel trends and will adjust its schedules accordingly.

“It’s no longer just about Saturday departures and two-week stays, it’s about flying midweek or for long weekends and taking more, but shorter trips.”

 

Monarch has just been awarded ‘WorldHost Recognised Business’ status after 1,690 of its staff, from pilots to office workers, undertook an intensive 10-day WorldHost customer service training programme.

Heathrow rail service strike 4th June
May 30th, 2014 by elisa

A 24 hour strike on the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services has been announced for 4th June.

Rail union RMT has instructed all Heathrow Express members to take strike action from 03.00 hours on Wednesday June 4, 2014 until 02.59 hours on Thursday June 5, 2014 in response to an ongoing dispute over cuts.

The union claims 201 jobs are now under threat of redundancy because of the rail service’s plans to re-organise its workforce in order to save £6 million over the next five years.

It says the attack on jobs and working conditions are a result of the Civil Aviation Authority’s decision to cut £600 million from Heathrow Airport’s budget over the same period.

Ryanair on-time landing trumpet to sound its last
May 27th, 2014 by elisa

Ryanair’s on-time landing trumpet jingle will sound its last after passengers branded it “annoying”, “awful” and “cheesy”.

The airline has decided to stop playing the famous bugle, which sounds at the end of every flight that lands on time, after feedback from a Twitter-led survey.

The move is part of a series of customer service improvements started at the end of 2013. So far the airline has introduced ‘quiet’ flights with less in-flight announcements before 8am and after 8pm, it has also given passengers a 24-hour grace period in which to correct any minor errors made in bookings, and it’s removed the ‘Recaptcha’ security code for individual bookings.

A Ryanair spokesperson hinted that the bugle will be replaced by something else, and its “next customer improvement” will be unveiled soon.

Parents take legal action against term-time holiday ban
May 27th, 2014 by elisa

Parents are taking a stand against the ban on term-time holidays. Campaign group ‘Parents want a say‘ officially launched over the weekend and has already won support of 200,000 other parents.

The group is seeking judicial review of the rules, claiming that they are a breach of the human right to family life.

Last September, Education Secretary Michael Gove removed the policy which allowed schools to grant up to 10 days leave to families in “special circumstances”, also threatening parents with fines of up to £1,000 or even to be put in prison for taking their children out of school for a family holiday during term time.

One e-petition in opposition to the rules and school holiday price hikes gained well over 160,000 signatures in February and led to the topic being debated in Parliament.

The new campaign group is run by Karen Wilkinson, a mother of three from Bath in Somerset.

Its website argues that last year’s changes are unfairly criminalising hardworking families for wanting to enjoy affordable holidays together.

“The cost of a family holiday during the school holidays is an expense many working families simply can’t afford,” it says.

“Furthermore, it is not simply a matter of cost for many families; most businesses can’t allow large numbers of their staff to take leave at the same time either.

“Those hardest hit by this short sighted policy include the country’s highly valued public sector workers. Military families are restricted on when they take holidays due to work, training and overseas deployment, as are many NHS doctors and nurses for similar reasons.

“Those caring for our country’s elderly, operating national transport systems and our police force will also suffer under this policy, unable to enjoy family holiday’s when work schedules allow them to without facing fines for doing so.

“Government inference without due consideration to the families it will effect is unacceptable. The responsibility of making decisions about our children should be put back in the hands of the parent. All children who have a good attendance record should be allowed to enjoy and benefit from experiencing time abroad with their parents on an annual holiday of up to 10 day per year.”

 

Do you feel that the rules are unfair and unlawful? Post comments below. 

Orlando top destination for Brits
May 21st, 2014 by elisa

Brits just can’t get enough of the sunshine state of Florida, with Orlando the particular holiday favourite for this summer according to recent analysis.

The metasearch website momondo.co.uk analyses its UK flight search data from the last three months, for travel during the UK holiday period and a departure date between June and August 2014 and came up with Brits’ top summer destinations.

Orlando was the clear winner, proving the theme-park capital and family-friendly atmosphere is something that keeps it at the top of our summer holiday list.

The website also studied the most popular places in the world according to data from 20 of the UK’s biggest airports to create each airport’s “Top 5” summer destinations. Orlando appeared in seven out of 20 of these airport lists.

Other firm favourites were Spanish destinations of Alicante and Malaga, coming in third and fourth respectively on overall most-searched destinations for summer 2014. Both also appeared in the top five for 13 out of 20 UK airport lists. 

“It’s encouraging to see Orlando in favour with Brits this year as a popular place to visit over the summer holidays, with its excellent activities and parks for the whole family. And long-haul destination New York was also popular this summer too – at a time when the climate is warm.

“It seems the traditional Spanish summer break though will always appeal to Brits, with short-haul flights and a practical sun guarantee. It is interesting to see Turkey hot on the heels of Spain however, with Dalaman coming in fifth most-popular destination overall. Sizzling hot weather and great deals on this up and coming destination no doubt will be drawing the crowds in this year,” says Julie Pedersen, Spokesperson for momondo.

OVERALL TOP 10 MOST-SEARCHED SUMMER DESTINATIONS FOR BRITS

1) Orlando

2) New York

3) Alicante

4) Malaga

5) Dalaman

6) Bangkok

7) Faro

8) Palma de Mallorca

9) Los Angeles

10) Tenerife

New Cardiff to Tenerife flights
May 20th, 2014 by elisa

Ryanair will start a weekly Cardiff to Tenerife service from 30th October.

Flights will operate on Thursdays, leaving Cardiff at 11.15 and arriving in Tenerife at 15.20 local time. Return flights will be a 06.55, arriving in Cardiff at 10.50.

Tickets are on sale now.

Start to look for your perfect holiday accommodation on the island from our large selection of holiday villas.

Choose from a selection of quality villas and apartments in Tenerife with Greenslades Villas and Apartments. Many have private or shared pools to choose from, and travel and car hire can also be arranged.

Greenslades Villas and Apartments in Tenerife

Greenslades Villas and Apartments in Tenerife

Greenslades Villas and Apartments in Tenerife

Greenslades Villas and Apartments in Tenerife

Greenslades Villas and Apartments in Tenerife

 

 

 

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright Villaseek.com