Back of the queue: Airports continue to frustrate with long holiday hold ups!
Chalkmarks: Inside a plane

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 13th May 2022

The Queen missed the State Opening of Parliament, and the Wagatha Christie trial had us gripped. It’s all been going on this week. And so it was for us. We had a meeting with our travel agent (Google) to book a couple of trips. This year we are focusing on the UK so we are off to Bath. The train fare was delightfully fair as was the hotel. That’s what we like: a brilliant go-to weekend getaway – it’s instantly appealing. Then we have a very special trip to Iceland to look forward to. We’re going to see the geothermal spa at Forest Lagoon, visit the wild Godafoss waterfalls and hopefully we’ll see the Northern Lights too. If you’re about to head off on your holidays, no Google search needed, here are the travel stories that made the newsstands this week. Let’s take a look!

See you in the terminal!

Holiday booked? Then get in the queue! 2022 is the year of the holiday so airports are busy and this means queuing. Airports are all about getting you excited for the fun to come but the images this week hardly scream “come on holiday” and experts say it might put some off. The advice is to get smart, arrive early and be ready to go through security. Get your sunglasses on and you’ll be in the sky in no time.

The latest: Airport waiting times are….long, and look set to remain that way well into the summer. Birmingham and Manchester airports came under the spotlight this week. A few weeks ago there was chaos at Heathrow with “mile-long queues” at immigration control. The view from Twitter showed jam-packed queues at check-in and security. The BBC had the news.

Here we go again: Why-oh-why can’t airports get more staff, passengers plead? Sounds like a reasonable question. Back in the good old days – BC (before Covid) – it all worked so well, but during the pandemic thousands of staff were let go when travel shut down. Airport bosses say they are recruiting again but that training and security checks take time. Why weren’t they ready? 

What the airports are saying: Birmingham Airport told one passenger they had 7,500 people due to take off on Monday morning and so decided to run queues outside the terminal to free up space inside. They said the queues were “managed and moving”, adding “of the 7,500 customers booked to fly out of BHX in today’s dawn peak, 99.7% successfully caught their flights. Anyone who missed was rebooked”. Manchester told passengers to arrive three hours early. MEN had the details.

What the airlines are saying: The Daily Telegraph told us that Tui was advising its customers to bring their own food on board as flights might take-off without any catering due to suppliers experiencing staff shortages. We’d take a picnic. We love a scotch egg, potato salad plus some good cake. We’re happy to ditch plane food.

Any more for any more: The Daily Mail reported that staffing issues are set to last until October after British Airways cancelled 16,000 flights and also crew threatening to go on strike.

Captain Fantastic: easyJet has a plan. The airline announced it’s ripping out six seats from 50 of its aircraft so they can fly with just three cabin crew rather that four. Simon Calder explains.

Meanwhile: Over at Tui, bookings are zooming. The holiday company warned there would be no last minute cheap deals this summer as they’re almost sold out. It told the BBC that Greece was its most popular destination, followed by the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and Turkey.

And they’re off: Across the EU, the requirement to wear a face mask on flights and in airports has been lifted, coming into affect on Monday (16th May). The European Union Aviation Safety Agency announced this week that while it was easing restrictions, passengers still have to adhere to airline guidance and the rules of the host country.

Perfect day not to travel: The 12th August! This is set to be the busiest day for air travel this year. The number crunchers at OAG Aviation say there are 16.1 million seats available on this date. We recommend getting to the airport early!

Places you’ve never been: The Airbnb website has had a redesign to help travellers discover new places to avoid over-tourism in the usual hotspots. What should we be looking for? Instead of focusing on location, its search engine will introduce 56 new categories such as “surfing” or “camping” and direct people to more of its 10,000 cities. Airbnb boss Brian Chesky wants to widen people’s horizons “because people go on Netflix and see Emily in Paris . . . everyone goes to Paris, and most people can’t name tiny little towns in France”. According to the Financial Times this is the company’s biggest revamp in a decade.

Most complained about tourist attractions: “The walk from the car park is the best thing about this day out.” This was the scathing review from one tourist who visited Stonehenge in Wiltshire. The Sun reported TripAdvisor’s analysis of the most complained about tourist attractions in the world – with three being in the UK. The two others included Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, which a reviewer described as “shabby at best”. Off with their head!

Lights, camera, Harry: If you didn’t see it this week, here is the video on Sky News of Prince Harry starring in a promo for his travel company Travalyst, which rates holidaymakers on how sustainable they are. The idea was inspired by New Zealand’s Māori values. The skit sees Harry out for a jog when he’s stopped for dropping a lolly wrapper. The upshot is that he is rated three stars out of five, and then this increases to three and a half, when they realise they had the wrong Harry. Some loved the video, some mocked it, but it was a fun way to make an important point: we can all do better!

Dragon’s Den moment: From the gothic towers of Westminster on the banks of the Thames to the markets of Brick Lane and everything in between, London’s mayor is selling the UK capital to the US. Sadiq Khan has been visiting New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles to “bang the drum for London”. He is hoping a £7million investment will see London become, once again, one of the top three most visited cities on Earth. Erm, let’s hope no one tells them that London has two of the world’s most complained about tourist attractions. Shhhhh! The Evening Standard had the news.

Happy Eurovision!

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