Tag Archives: heathrow

Luggage Logged

Luggage TagOne of many interesting outcomes of Heathrow’s T5 scandal has been stories about the life of lost luggage. Unclaimed and untraceble luggage ultimately it finds its way to an auction house where it’s flogged and the proceeds given to charity. If the prospect of someone ‘winning’ your dirty underwear at auction doesn’t thrill you there are some interesting services promising to unite you with your baggage, no matter where it ends up.

i-track, TraceMe and GlobalBagTag all work on basically the same theory – by providing stickers or luggage tags with a unqiue serial number which register against your contact details – if your bag is found the finder contacts the company and the serial number matches the luggage with the owner. You’ll be contacted by SMS or email to let you know where your luggage ended up. Are there any real advantages over clearly labelling your luggage? Well, obviously the service allows for greater anonymity and saves having to label your luggage with an address and phone number, and you may be re-united with your luggage sooner. Beyond that, I’m not convinced that luggage tagged in this way isis any more likely to be returned than luggage which is clearly labelled with texta inside and out.

The real question mark over these services is whether they’re worth the asking price of £9 plus per bag. I’m not sure I can justify the extra cost over scrawling my name and details inside and outside my backpack which, in most situations will be sufficient to have your bag returned, but if you travel with checked luggage frequently or have very valuable items checked it may be worth your while.

How do you label your checked luggage? Let me know if you have any experiences with such services, whether or not you think they’re worth the money or any lost luggage stories!

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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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Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (12th of April)

Chinese Medicine

The Best Travel Tips of the Week

How to handle medical emergencies while travelling (via Bravenewtraveler.com)

Know some basic phrases (‘hospital’, ‘pain’, ’emergency’) in the local language; know your insurance situation (Australian travellers should check whether a reciprocal agreement exists with the countries in which you will be travelling which may entitle you to subsidised medical treatment) and, finally, be patient.

General

Indonesian ChildrenVagablogging and The Guardian provide reminders of the joys of spontaneous travel. Travelnotebook’s ‘How to Photograph Children During Your Travels‘ is much more interesting (and less creepy) than its title suggests.

Bravenewtraveler has some pretty good tips in 5 ways to protect your essential travel documents; a good follow-up to ‘5 Tips Every Traveler Should Know About Internet Security‘.

The LA Times chips in with 14 ways to save money on your travels, although unfortunately none are earth-shattering.

Worldhum rounds up some resources about travelling with children, while Frommers has some suggestions for keeping your family safe while travelling.

Two questions every traveller has asked – how the hell do I cross this road and is it possible not to look like a tourist?

10 Nastiest Travel Diseases because malaria isn’t the ONLY disease you need to be wary of when travelling (via Vagabondish).

Flights

How to cope with flying if you hate flying or overcome a fear of it.

Making the most of your stopover – how to get the most out of less than twenty-four hours in a major city.

Recovering airport lost property – MSNBC’s guide.

Australia

‘There are some things in life you should never see, and seeing your bags being unloaded by baggage handlers is one of them’ – James Clark’s reviews his flight from Singapore to Melbourne on Tiger and his experiences in Melbourne’s Tiger Airways terminal.

EuropeBrixton Market

The Independent rounds up the 50 best free activities in London, some great (and less-familiar) suggestions to make the most of your time in an expensive city.

Viator presents a through review of transport options from all of the airports servicing London, including (of course) Heathrow.

Budget-conscious tourists heading to Germany should check out Culture on the Cheap’s latest ‘Ask a local’ which has tips provided by ‘Mike from Munich‘, including free thrills and ‘What do you do with €5.00 for dinner? ‘.

The Telegraph tracks down finds 10 places to stay for less than £120 a night in Rome, while its competitor The Times provides selection of treks in Europe.

The Age gives some common sense advice on plane vs train travel in Europe.

Concierge.com has a feature on budget Europe.

has a guide to Barcelona or consider one of Madrid’s less well-known galleries –Museo Sorolla.

RentaTent – camp your way through in Europe.

Vietnam food

Asia

Budgetglobetrotting asks are Thailand’s islands are still the best in the region? The New York Times provides some tips on activities in Chiang Mai.

Hints for cheap lunches in Vietnam – even if the photos don’t look the most attractive.

A great list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts in Cambodia‘ by a Fillipina living in Cambodia – ‘DON’T expect nice clean public toilets to be readily available anywhere’.

United States

The LA Times has some local knowledge on transport options to and from LAX and Long Beach airports.

Intelligent Travel suggests some ‘distinctive’ American destinations or just do Vegas on the cheap with Viator.

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You may have missed… (7th of April)

Apparently the operators of Melbourne’s gloriously public-transport inaccessible Tullarmaine Airport have been ACCC Gangstersgouging Johnny Public for parking, with almost $1 in every $5 earned by Tulla’s private operator comes from parking. The Herald Sun screeching this morning that ‘It costs more to park at Melbourne airport than at Heathrow in London or JFK in New York’. Now, even disregarding events of recent weeks, I have long believed that the less Tullamarine has in common with those two airports in particular, the better. The Federal Government is planning to send some burley ACCC officers through all five major domestic airports to do something about it for tea and cakes.

The Federal Government will ban the importing of high-powered lasers that have been used to try to blind pilots of passenger planes landing at Sydney Airport.”

Heathrow has been denied the opportunity to send the luggage of thousands more passengers halfway across Europe with 62 flights cancelled because of unseasonally cold weather. These could be the first passengers ever to be relieved their flights were cancelled. Ahh well, at least it distracted from the management’s on-going goof-ups which revealed a ‘software problem’ in the baggage system. ”We know what the problem is. We have a potential solution and we are having to carefully consider how and when we apply this to avoid further problems,’ said a spokeswoman cryptically (presumably with a roll of masking tape and a screwdriver in his hand).

“If we see the problems [at Heathrow’s T5] resolved in the coming weeks I think we’ll forget about it fairly quickly. But if it drags on for months and into the summer, then I think it’s going to become a much more challenging issue for him personally.” A bit like saying that if the Titantic had only kept a low profile everyone would have forgotten. Thus concludes a glowing profile of BA’s Chief Executive Bill Walsh in the International Herald Tribune

More and more aircraft makers are moving down Tijuana way, according to USA Today

The International Herald Tribune has a great story on Rome’s Appian Way

The Airline Blog muses on the reasons for Skybus’ collapse beyond it’s shocking orange livery.

NPR has a report from the on-going Stonehenge excavation.

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You may have missed…

Alitalia, the Italian airline, was Wednesday night left considering whether to start bankruptcy proceedings after Air France-KLM pulled out of takeover talks. Just this week they’ve been beaten to the punch by Aloa, ATA and US low cost carrier Skybus.

Continued fall-out from the Heathrow T5 Lou and Andykerfuffle while the previously unruly baggage has been shipped by truck to Italy and is being taught a lesson by the Milanese in the back of some unused warehouse. The Italian in charge of the luggage told The Guardian, apparently with a straight face that ‘ “I won’t hear a bad word about British – they are professionals and have really invested in baggage retrieval.” Also chuckleworthy – “It’s the Americans who get angriest, followed by the Indians and Israelis.”

Three different reactions to increasing fuel prices – Rex is increasing its fuel charge by $3 per sector due to “steep and persistent rises in the price of fuel”; speaking of hidden costs Continental will impose a charge of $25 for economy passengers who check a second bag (at least this fee can be avoided). More creatively Wired has an article about US carriers attempting to offset higher fuel prices by lightening aircraft:

US Airways is chucking meal carts and replacing them with models that are 12 pounds lighter. They’ve also tossed the glassware in first class in favor of less jet-set but lighter plastic cups. Carriers also are pulling magazine racks, trash compactors and ovens (because honestly, what U.S. airline is broiling up hot meals these days?)

American Airlines has all but called in Jenny Craig to shave weight from its fleet, pulling in-seat phones and their heavy wiring, removing lavatory power converters and investing in lighter silverware for business class passengers. American, which has something of a reputation for chopping costs (its legendary former CEO Bob Crandall once bragged that he saved the airline $40,000 by removing olives from first class dinner salads), has fired up the troops by forming an employee-driven “Fuel Smart Team” charged with continually searching for ways to save energy.

JetBlue says removing extra trash bins and other supplies will shave $16,000 in fuel costs from each three hour flight. US Airways says using lighter beverage carts will save $1.7 million in annual fuel costs.

How long until they begin charging passengers by weight…

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Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web

Bus

Streching the dollar in Europe (MSNBC)

How to survive airport stopovers (Travelling Board)

That’s Sick! 9 Ways to Avoid the Bug When You Travel (Frommers)

How to survive your next bumpy bus ride (Gadling)

The waiting game: How to cope when widespread delays hit the air travel system (MSNBC)

10 ways to get the best airplane seat (MSNBC)

How to avoid Heathrow Terminal Five (The Telegraph)

How to Avoid Being Pickpocketed (eHow)

How to Avoid Getting Bloated on a Long Flight (eHow)

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Heathrow Hilarity

More mirth at the expense of Heathrow and BA via The Guardian

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