Tag Archives: britain

14,000 staff banned from flying BA because they threatened to bump the CEO’s daughter from a flight

Bump!Let me ask you a question? What would you do if, as CEO of a very large and influential company and your teenage daughter and her friend were intially bumped from an over-full international flight but placed back on the flight when you protest?

Complain? Sounds kinda reasonable.

Seek compensation? Perhaps, if you want to make a point. But maybe you’re still not satisfied…

Decree that none of your 14,000 employees will fly on the airline for business? Well naturally. Acorrding to The Times that’s exactly what an angry Chris Bell, chief cigar-chewer at UK bookmakers Ladbrokes, has done. British Airways, the airline at the center of the storm, claim to have offered the two girls, who were returning from a holiday in the Bahamas with Bell, £250 each in compensation. Mr Bell, however, is quite rationally having none if it. The Times claims ‘the private dispute, which has ratcheted up into a corporate row, could cost BA up to £2 million in business and has forced Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive, to intervene personally in an effort to defuse the situation.’

For their part, Ladbrokes claim ‘the way Mr Bell had been dealt with was only one of a number of issues the bookmaker had with the airline’.

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[Image by zen]

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Free! Travel Information Delivered To Your Door!

The internet is an incredible free source of destination information, but it can’t quite match the thrill of receiving a whole envelope full of free glossy brochures of beautiful people streched out before vistas of azure oceans. Here are two great sources of free travel information delivered to your door; one defintely useful, the perhaps somewhat other less so.

Travel BrochuresLet’s start with the best. Tourism authorities are a fantastic and often-overlooked source of travel information – particularly for decent free maps and basic info with lots of glossy pictures. ANTOR’s* represents 48 official tourism authorities (including the Australian State authorities) and the destination info page provides (along side some basic travel info) the URL, email address and contact details for all of them. If you’re interested in any major destination for Australian travellers it will be listed. Simply email the relevant authority with your address, rough dates of travel and as far as possible the specific regions or cities you’re interested in and wait for the postie everyday for a week or so! No substitute for a good guidebook or your own research but generally there will be at least a couple of genuinely useful items in the material sent.

TravelBrochures.com.au and TravelBrochures.SMH.com.au are another clearing house for free travel information, although arguably of a must less useful nature. These sites allow to order free tour company brochures, some of which are available in digital (tree-saving) format. All the majors are available as well as a few smaller operators – useful if you wish to compare tours from a number of companies or can’t get to a travel agent. Of course some major operators now send out (often unintenionally comical) DVDs as as a bonus! Be warned, however, apart from ending up on a tour (which may or may not be a bad thing in itself…), you are likely to end up on a mailing list of the tour companies from which it may be difficult to extract yourself!

*(Association of National Tourist Office Representatives in Australasia)

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[Image by Classroom III]

Europe to the Himalayas on a British double-decker

Double-decker

The Observer has an article about two British lads driving a pimped-out double-decker bus from Bristol along the ol’ hippy trail to Nepal. With years of experience pimping vintage cars the two adventurers have

rebuilt the bus from the bottom up – adding a new engine, bull bars and a fold-down top deck for negotiating low bridges. They make highly technical alterations sound like changing a light bulb. The bus’s regular supply of steaming hot water is simply ‘a calorific heat exchanger fed by engine coolant’. Of course it is.

More of a shock was the reaction of the European public. I hadn’t climbed aboard any old bus; I’d joined a celebrity on tour. With three bedrooms, kitchen, shower and sun deck, it attracted levels of adoration unimaginable on its old routes to Weston-super-Mare.

Thirty minutes later I witnessed its power as an aphrodisiac – albeit one that only works on middle-aged men. ‘Magnifico, I give you special price,’ cooed the randy moustache at the Italian motorway tollbooth, before charging for a 50cc moped. ‘Where are the sexy ladies?’

‘Excuse me?’

‘The ladies. You need sexy ladies. Go to the beach. In this bus, you will find sexy ladies in bikinis.’

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Extra! Extra! London more expensive than Warsaw

 Warsaw Royal Castle A survey by the UK Post Office Travel Service has found Warsaw to be the cheapest of ten ‘cultural captials’, with London shockingly rated as the most expensive:

For around £75 price tag tourists can enjoy a trip including visits to Warsaw’s historic art galleries, museums and heritage sites, together with nights at the renowned Polish National Opera, ballet and a symphony concert. The experience cost less than 25 per cent of the equivalent London cost. (TravelWeekly)

The survey measured the cost of admission to three top museums or galleries and three heritage sites, and tickets to an orchestral performance, opera and ballet. Prague, Lisbon and Amsterdam also fared well in the economy stakes, compared to Rome, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and New York.

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[Image via Kevin’s Gadgets]

European cheap sleeps

ClinkIn my round-up of tips and hints earlier today I left out this article from The Age Nights of Cheap Splendor. In hindsight I’m glad because it deserves to be highlighted, it really is a belter if you’re looking for a place to stay in Europe. Highlights include the Clink Hostel in London, a restored London courthouse, that starts at $25 a night, converted first class rail carriages in the Scottish highlands, a treehouse in Norway and Colditz castle which was (without intending to reinforce any unfair negative stereotypes of hostels) a prisoner of war camp.

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Free Westpac ATM cash withdrawals overseas

Hole in the WallDespite being a long time Westpac customer, before today I’d never heard of the (rather menancingly named) Global ATM Alliance which, apparently, allows Westpac customers to access cash without paying international access fees at ATM’s owned by Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Barclays and Deutsche Bank. This allows reduced-fee access at ‘over 32,000 cash machines in over 40 countries’.

Regular account fees and a currency conversion fee apply.

Westpac certainly don’t seem to have done a great job at promoting this, with no mention on their ‘access your money overseas’ page. Indeed, all I could find on their website was this 2001 press release.

So has anybody used this service or have any other tips for accessing money overseas? Leave a comment.

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[Photo Creative Commons via ohad* on Flickr]

Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (19th of April)

Travel Tips of the Week

Tony Robinson’s Ten best train trips in BritainWestern Highlands Railway

Tony Robinson – Baldrick in Blackadder, host of Time Team, History’s Worst Jobs amongst many other great TV gigs – is a man in whom I live in awe. A train-nut, he shared his 10 favorite rail journeys in Britain with the Telegraph. A welcome reminder that Britain, despite it’s frequently disparaged rail services, has some of the most evocative (and most overlooked) rail journeys in the world. Is there anything this man cannot do?

General

‘Don’t hesitate, vaccinate’! Stress less about malaria and worry more about dehydration. Give those anti-malarials a run before you leave to roadtest side-effects. All this and more in MSNBC’s10 health pitfalls to avoid while travelling.

Vertigo Bar, Bangkok

Forbes Traveller counts down its list of the world’s sexiest rooftop bars. Because alcohol and great heights really do mix.

Luxury trains – who needs em? The Man in Seat 61 explains how the journeys on five luxury trains can be replicated on regular services for a fraction of the price.

MSNBC’s 5 common ticket screw-ups travellers make’ could be summed up in one: ‘don’t be stupid’. Read these tips and be stupid in your own original ways.

Get all zen with Bravenewtraveler which reckons travelling solo can teach you ten things about yourself. One thing it can occaisionally teach is how much you miss home, but Vaggabonding has five tips for dealing with homesickness. When you do head home, whether out of choice or necessity, bravenewtraveler has some tips for reconnecting with friends when you get home.

Luxury biking tours? I remain unconvinced by MSNBC claims to have tracked down ten of the best.Vespa

Betta getta Vespa – Rome by Vespa is one of the Guardian’s five best quirky city tours.

Free stuff always catches my eye and The Broke Vacationer has no less than 100 ways to get free stuff while travelling.

I spy with my little eye five games to pass the time while travelling at Vagabondish.

Africa

Reading Body in Motion’s 10 Things You Should Know Before Coming to Africa will guarantee you suffer no culture shock when arriving at Lagos airport. Okay, it may help. A little bit.

The Americas

Discover your inner Mickey – Fodor’s has 15 Tips for enjoying Disney at any age and Smartertravel will help you get around Disney World. The Telegraph has some budget (well sub £140 a night) hotel advice, while you’re there here are some New York recommendations from National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel.

Canada means Hockey and World Hum has some interesting and useful cultural background for neophytes (like me) interested in checking out a game.

Europe

The Crancky Flier gives the run-down on Heathrow’s new T5: would you be surprised if phrases such as ‘poor customer service’, ‘Someone tried to get way too clever’. ‘stupid’ and ‘Indifferent’ featured prominently? If not the conclusion ‘adequate but nothing more’ might even come as a pleasent surprise.

‘For a low-cost airline, AirBerlin’s service was very pleasant and efficient’ – Europestring.com enjoys a trip on German cheapie Air Berlin.

Even more free stuff to do in London from National Geographic and Europcheapo, while two contributors to The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget suggest Prague and Naples for Euro cheap eats and Belgrade for the best value nightlife in an interview with Budget Travel

Ian Walsh from the New York Times, recommends walking Rome by night. The article is accompanied with a map of a suggested route from Piazza Venezia to Lago Argentia with embedded audio commentry. HighCultureLowBudget’s regular ‘Ask A Local’ feature is off to Firenze this week with Florentine Katie who can make 10 euro go a long way.

The Guardian has posted an audio guide tracing the May 1968 Paris student protests, while the Flyaway Weblog suggests twenty ways to explore Paris like a local.

The Times has an extensive guide to Vilinus and The Chicago Tribune has some tips for Athens.

Asia

BoracayLet’s Go Phillipines lists some budget hotel options in Boracay.

Budget Travel will get you started if you’re planning a trip to China, and The Telegraph has a feature on Beijing; ‘it’s grim to look at and as grey as a Mao suit, its climate is generally awful, it’s built on the most inhuman scale imaginable…’. Arthur Frommer writes that Ctrip is the only place to purchase tickets to or in China.

Flaway has some brief recommendations for eating cheaply and well in Phuket and Khao Lak. Shopping in Bangkok? I didn’t know such a thing existed. Travelling Blogger set me right. Mike Smith meets mummified monk of Khao Samui.

VietnaminFocus tackles when to visit Vietnam. August to March comes a close second to anytime, while Vietnam Travel Focus suggests beating the heat in Hanoi at The Army Hotel where you can hang out at around a rather nice looking pool for USD$4 for the day.

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