There’s a flurry of problems facing the travel industry at the moment, not least the question of its survival in a time of lockdowns and travel bans. But to their credit, industry leaders are still finding innovative ways to help where they can, as is currently being demonstratedRead More »
The moment the world is unlocked – or at least you and I can travel, for fun, across the Channel – I predict a surge of Brits heading for the French town of Châteauroux. Inland from the lovely city of La Rochelle, in the departement of Indre, it would struggle to merit a Michelin rating of “Worth a Detour”.Yet aircraft enthusiasts will rate it, right now, as outstanding. They have the unprecedented opportunity to witness half of British Airways’ entire fleet of Airbus A380 jets lined up in a corner of a foreign airfield.
When the iconic show Twin Peaks first erupted onto viewers’ screens in 1990, it quickly gained a cult following, along with a reputation for being a mystery/horror/drama/fantasy series like no other.The question “Who killed Laura Palmer?” kept the world enthralled for weeks as viewers followed FBI Agent Cooper’s every move in investigating both the murder and the supernatural world within Twin Peaks – the eponymous town where the mystery unfolded.
The Dunkirk spirit was invoked by the coronavirus crisis, when a small 25-cabin cruise yacht helped 19 Cuban crew from a mega cruise ship return to their homeland. Variety Cruises’ vessel Panorama made a special 14-day diversion in the Caribbean to repatriate the group from MSC Preziosa. Panorama’s captain Vasilis Mazarkis came across the plight of the Cubans when his ship called into Barbados to refuel ahead of a transatlantic crossing after a winter season spent cruising off the coast of Costa Rica and Panama. Panorama was empty other than her crew. She berthed near MSC Preziosa, a super-sized cruise ship that carries up to 4,360 passengers and 1,300 crew. Nineteen healthy staff were keen to return home but given the constraints of Covid-19, had no realistic option for doing so. Following a request from the Cuban government, Mazarkis agreed to repatriate them to Havana, a journey which took the cruise yacht seven days. The Cuban government covered the cost of the fuel but Variety Cruises made no other charge for their brotherly act. Health declarations were provided by the Captain of MSC Preziosa and the Barbadian medical authorities, and the new passengers were thermo-scanned prior to boarding and on every subsequent day of the journey. After disembarking his charges in Havana on April 4, Mazarkis said: "During these difficult times we are facing, it is important to help each other. Knowing that we were helping fellow seafarers by getting them back to their families makes us all happy. We wish and hope that all stranded crew and passengers alike manage to get home to their loved ones and that the world will return to normal soon."
While most holidaymakers are scrambling to get refunds on their booked trips after countries around the world imposed strict travel bans, a group of hotels in Italy, which was at one point the epicentre of Covid-19 in Europe, is encouraging people to book holidays with them.But far from shamelessly drumming up trade during a crisis, the hotels involved, all situated along the Amalfi coast, are actually hoping to use the initiative to raise money to go towards medical research in the fight against coronavirus.
As coronavirus continues to spread, the epicentre of the pandemic has shifted from China to Europe and now the USA.Tens of thousands of new cases continue to be reported each day, with thousands of deaths.
United Airlines is being sued by a passenger after allegedly refusing to refund him for cancelled flights amid the coronavirus pandemic.Jacob Rudolph filed a lawsuit in Chicago’s federal court following the airline’s refusal to approve his request for refunds on three plane tickets purchased in January for travel on 4 April, reports Bloomberg.
As the travel trade association Abta pleads for extended deadlines for holiday refunds, a senior figure in the industry has warned the move would wreck public confidence.Kane Pirie, founder and managing director of Vivid Travel, said: “I don’t want the travel industry to be the next ‘bankers after the bail-out,’ where people don’t respect and trust us.
The latest ranking of the world’s passports is out, with Japan’s crowned the most powerful – but the current situation renders the results meaningless, according to the study’s authors.The Henley Passport Index, first launched in 2006, is one of the leading rankings of countries’ travel documents, determining their strength by the number of destinations passport holders can visit visa-free or by getting a visa on arrival.
Some Airbnb hosts are advertising their properties in the UK as “self-isolation retreats” during the coronavirus pandemic, a move that has been branded “incredibly irresponsible and dangerous” by the government.Countryside listings have been calling themselves “Covid-19 retreats” that are “perfect for isolating with family”, according to research conducted by the BBC.
As the coronavirus crisis deepens, Britain’s second-biggest holiday company has cancelled all flights and holidays up to mid-June.Jet2, based in Leeds but with operations from airports across the UK, made the move after the Foreign Office warned against overseas travel “indefinitely.”
“The Foreign Office indefinitely advises against all non-essential global travel” – that was the blunt warning issued at the weekend.This was an extension to the previous advice, which was due to end 16 April.
Change the law on refunds for cancelled holidays, or half-a-million jobs are at risk: that is the warning from Abta, the travel trade association.The coronavirus pandemic has brought almost all domestic and international tourism to a standstill.
Travel firms in the US have been accused of encouraging students to take trips over Spring Break, despite the global coronavirus pandemic.JusCollege, which organises all-inclusive group trips for college students, sent an email to customers saying: “our travel destinations remain among the safest and most enjoyable places in the world to visit right now,” reports NBC.
A criminal investigation into the docking of a cruise ship is being launched by police in Australia after 600 passengers who disembarked later tested positive for coronavirus.Carnival’s Ruby Princess cruise liner docked in Sydney on 19 March with 2,700 holidaymakers and 1,400 crew onboard.
Continuing our series, Chris Leadbeater enjoys a virtual holiday in Sin City. Previous articles include New York, Rio and Venice
This piece was originally published as part of The Independent's That Summer series. Find out more about it here.During the last tutorial of term, a compulsory month at an Italian language school was announced. I recoiled in horror at delighted shrieks of “let’s share a flat in Florence!” I wanted something magical to happen, not a sleep-over. And then an afterthought from Dr McLaughlin: “Don’t suppose any of you fancy a place in Sicily called Erice?”
A bleak near future for global aviation: that is the expectation of one of the world’s biggest air hubs.Singapore Airport, known as Changi, has announced it will close one of its terminals for 18 months.
Joy and anger, triumph and disaster, passion and tears: a typical day on the travel desk of The Independent, perhaps, but also the range of emotions that travelling generates.In the now-distant summer of 1994, the-then Weekend Editor, Stephen Wood, conceived a series called simply, That Summer. It became a collection of voyages of discovery for the soul.
India’s railway network has announced it will convert trains into hospitals to house coronavirus patients after all passenger services were suspended at the end of March.Indian Railways has said it plans to convert as many as 20,000 train carriages into isolation wards, complete with curtained-off beds, a nurses’ station, doctor’s cabin and space for medical supplies and equipment.
The founder of easyJet has warned that the airline will run out of cash by August if an order for more than 100 new Airbus jets is not cancelled.Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who has no executive role but whose family controls one-third of the carrier’s shares, is seeking to remove the chief financial officer, Andrew Findlay.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to bring travel to a standstill worldwide, many passengers are finding that their flights have been cancelled.Under normal circumstances, getting a refund would be a fairly straightforward task.
UK citizens have criticised the government’s £75m repatriation programme as too little, too late and too expensive.British tourists seeking to fly home from the Philippines must pay £1,000 for a repatriation flight – four times more than travellers flown home from Peru.
British citizens stranded in India by the coronavirus lockdown must wait several more days for the first repatriation flights to the UK – which will initially serve only three locations across a vast country.Scheduled flights to, from and within India have been suspended until 14 April, and tight restrictions are in place for domestic travel.