Grab a £17 summer flight bargain… or if you want to take your dog that’ll be £6k!
Chalkmarks: Bilbao, Spain, May 2023

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 24th May 2024

HOLIDAYS are out and travel is in. There’s a lot to unpack here. When we’re young we start with family holidays. But, at some point … before long, we want to go off alone. This is when travel begins. A poll has shown a greater number of people are choosing solo travel. There’s a reason for this. The rewards are greater. Holidays with friends and family are a bit of a jolly. There’s less wonder, less adventure. On your own you have to take a greater leap into the country and its culture. When you take yourself across rolling hills, down rivers, up mountains, into cities and over seas you feel alive. Author Elizabeth Gilbert preached that gospel. She ate, prayed and loved in Italy, India and Bali. She wrote a best-selling book about travelling by herself (and spoiler: it has a happy ending). She made gazillions. You don’t need to quit your job and you don’t need a backpack, you need to start travelling. On that note, here’s this week’s headlines.

Get in the picture!

To anywhere: Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said flight prices should remain lower than expected this year due to a “recessionary feel” around Europe. He said: “We put that down to lack of consumer spending, consumer confidence, higher interest rates we think that will repair later on this year when interest rates begin to fall off and people begin to realise they have a bit more money in their pockets.” According to The Sun some of Ryanair’s mid-week flights have already been discounted to £17 in a bid to fill planes.

Eat out: We’ve all grabbed a seat outside to enjoy a drink or a meal under the sun, especially in Italy. But authorities in Rome and Milan say they are tired of their streets being turned into outdoor restaurants. Chalkmarks didn’t see that one coming! As pandemic restrictions eased, the Italian government allowed more tables and chairs outside on pavements, and this week the licensing rules were extended. But locals and councillors say they’ve had enough of the noise and they can’t park their cars. Not everyone was angry though. Restaurants weren’t complaining and neither were diners. The MailOnline had the story. 

Stay away: Mount Fuji authorities have clamped down on the numbers of hikers who can walk up Japan’s most famous volcano – many climbing to watch the sunrise. From 1st July to 10th September they’re allowing just 4,000 visitors a day – that’ll be 3,000 booked in advance and 1,000 available slots on the day. Elsewhere in Japan, the town of Shizuoka has put up a fence to prevent tourists taking photos of Mt Fuji, which locals say disrupts their lives with traffic all over the streets. AFP has the story.

Brace brace: Things got very frightening on a flight from London to Singapore on Tuesday. As the Singapore Airlines plane flew over the coast of Myanmar it suddenly dropped 178 ft (54 metres) in 4.6 seconds in extreme turbulence. The g-force caused by the dramatic change in altitude threw passengers, not buckled up, on to the ceiling. Footage showed images of bloodied travellers and crew. The seatbelt sign had come on but the plane plummeted too quickly. A British man, 73, died and 40 people were taken to hospital. The plane made an emergency landing in Bangkok, Thailand. AP had the news.

Fasten seatbelt: The mid-air nightmare made the front pages. The Mirror: Terror in the sky. The Sun: Turbulence Terror. The Daily Express: British grandad killed in flight horror plunge. The Times: Turbulence on jet kills British holidaymaker. Daily Mail: Nightmare at 37,000ft. And the Guardian: British passenger dies in severe turbulence.

What happened: While it felt like they had hit a mountain, they in fact hit clear-air turbulence which is invisible. We all know what turbulence feels like when the plane starts to shake so why was this so severe? Almost a year ago Chalkmarks reported how scientists at the University of Reading confirmed that planes were experiencing more turbulence due to climate change. They said flights across the Atlantic had seen an increase in shaking by 55 per cent. They added how increased temperatures can disrupt the jet stream suddenly causing the plane to move around more. They also predicted a more turbulent future. Sky News had the study.

Please read the safety information: Aviation consultant John Strickland told PA that turbulence is different across the world. He said: “The South Atlantic, Africa and the Bay of Bengal are all places that spring to mind where there’s a greater incidence. It can never be taken lightly when airlines recommend you keep the seatbelt loosely fastened throughout the flight.”

How to avoid turbulence: Fly at night! When the sun goes down, the wind changes less, say experts. 

Mission impossible: Venice’s tourist tax has been branded a failure after the city introduced the €5 (£4.29) entrance fee, which started in May to deter tourists. Critics say even more day trippers had turned up to see the floating city, its canals and St Mark’s Square. But city councillor Simone Venturini, sensibly, said it was too early to call it after just a few weeks. Currently, the fee is only payable during weekends including Italian national holidays. The Independent picked this one up.

Have you seen our pictures: Our fantastic travel photos, which capture some of our favourite destinations around the world, are now available for sale on Alamy. Woohoo!

Absolutely buzzing! Chalkmarks did it again. This time our photo made the Mail+ pictures of the day – and if that wasn’t enough, it was turned into a jigsaw puzzle. Wanna have a go? Play here!

Fetch your tickets: US pet company Bark flew its first dog-friendly flight across America this week, complete with inflight treats such as barkaccinos. Known as Bark Air, it aims to fly pups in first-class style as opposed to in the hold. Its maiden flight flew from New York to Los Angeles was sold out. A route is planned from New York to London, although tickets will cost £6,000. Reuters has the footage.

Travelling to Paris: Eurostar is spending £8.5million to revamp its check-in area at St Pancras. It is building 49 self-service, border-facility kiosks at the station where Britons will scan their own tickets, passports, give their finger prints and answer four questions about their travels ahead of the new EU visa rules Entry/Exit System (EES) expected some time later this year. Eurostar insisted passengers will experience a “seamless and stress-free journey” despite the extra checks. The i has the story.

Goosebumps: The moment you see Venice for the first time it’s stunning. Arriving by train is the best way for that first impression. And you don’t have to go looking for Venice: A kingdom of palatial buildings is there, straight out of the station doors. The water taxis rush by on the Grand Canal looking like they’re straight out of a James Bond film – and the captains all look like male models. The gondolas are there too. It’s that classic image. We need a minute! And everyone arriving is the same. Most people are standing around, just looking around. And so, it’s up the staircase and across the  Rialto bridge we go – trundling our suitcase behind us. We’re so excited. We channel our inner Bond girl – someone take our picture, please! Here are some of our favourite pix of the trip!

Travellers gonna travel: Traffic over the bank holiday weekend will be very heavy, warns the RAC. It predicts it’ll be the busiest on the roads since the pandemic as people take the car out for a day trip to the seaside, theme park, shopping… or somewhere else! Last year they said there were 19.2 million car trips, but this year that’ll soar to 20 million. The worst day will be Friday. The Independent has the best times to travel. Clue: either very early, or very late!

This time last year: Home or away? The only thing we all agree on is holidays are back It was 24C over bank holiday weekend … The RAC predicted the busiest May Bank holiday weekend since 2019 … Britons habits of taking summer holidays abroad had not waned despite the cost-of-living crisis … In 2022 they were going twice, according to Advantage Travel Partnership … A survey by Visit Cornwall showed more than half of Britons were planning on holidaying at home … Many said they would prefer the cooler temperatures of the UK … Ryanair announced its return to profit having made £1.24 billion following the return of travel … Have you ever got wifi on a train? No! … Yet in bizarre news came there could soon be no more free wifi on trains after the government announced it needed to make cutbacks … It looked like the EU would be forced to accept English as a common language across its rail network despite the UK’s Brexit in 2020 … Brussels was looking to mandate that train drivers across the 22 nations communicate in one language to ensure ease of movement across the bloc and English had been selected … Five museums were shortlisted in the battle to be named Museum Of The Year with a £120,000 cash prize … The finalists were the Natural History Museum in London, the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) in Belfast, The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scapa Flow Museum in Orkney and Leighton House in London.

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