Has travel lost its way? Heathrow asks passengers to push back summer holidays to ease airport chaos
Chalkmarks: Krakow Airport, Poland

Good afternoon. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 15th July 2022

The papers don’t jiggle jiggle they unfold!

Hot topic: Heathrow Airport filled the news pages this week after it told airlines to stop selling flight tickets this summer. On Tuesday it announced a 100,000 daily departing passenger cap until 11th September. Its current daily average is 104,000 – and in 2019 it saw 131,000 flyers on its busiest day. The idea behind cutting 4,000 travellers a day is to help ground staff cope with demand and end the long queues, lost baggage and last minute delays. The airport says it’s at 70 per cent of pre-pandemic staffing levels, whereas passenger numbers are up to 85 per cent. Here’s what happened on ITV news.

A word of warning: Importantly it means because the airport is cancelling flights, and not an airline, passengers are not entitled to compensation – more later.

What they’re saying: Heathrow’s boss John Holland-Kaye said: “Further action is needed now to ensure passengers have a safe and reliable journey.”

Airmageddon: It turns out Emirates is not having it. It screamed: “Airmageddon”. The airline, which operates six daily flights from Heathrow, accused it of plucking the 100,000 figure “from thin air” and blamed the airport for causing the mess. It said the request was “unreasonable” confirming it would continue to operate all its flights, adding its ground and catering teams were ready to deal with its own passengers. Channel 4 had the latest.

But but but: British Airways has begun asking passengers to rebook their holidays for later in July, for free.

No fear Simon Calder is here: The travel guru was on the This Morning sofa explaining what to do if your flight is cancelled…and he wrote about it in the Independent too.

Continental chaos: Airport disruption isn’t unique to the UK, there’s misery across Europe. Bloomberg helpfully told us which airports are much worse than Heathrow, which doesn’t even make the top 10 worst offenders. Those struggling include Brussels, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol, which has introduced a 64,000 limit on daily passengers.

More turbulence: Willie Walsh at IATA, which represents airlines, gave us a grim glimpse into the future of travel. Speaking on the BBC, he told Sophie Raworth airport chaos will be staying with us for the foreseeable and flying will become more expensive due to rising oil prices. He said: “Flying will be more expensive for consumers, without doubt. Oil is the single biggest element of an airline’s cost base. It is inevitable that ultimately the high oil prices will be passed through to consumers.”

Smoking hot: The extreme heatwave across Europe has caused wildfires which are reaching holiday hotspots including the Quinta do Lago resort in the Algarve where celebrity villas have been evacuated. In Spain firefighters have been battling fires in Extremadura and Salamanca where temperatures have passed 40C. In France thousands of locals including tourists have been evacuated from around south Bordeaux following forest fires. And in Turkey a forest fire raged for 24 hours close to the popular Data peninsula. Reuters had the footage.

Don’t forget the train strikes: They’re back and the pay dispute goes on. Two planned for later this month will affect the start of the school summer holidays and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which begins on 28th July. The first walk out by two unions – RMT and TSSA – members comes on Wednesday 27th July. The second is on Saturday 30th July when Aslef train drivers take action. Another two are in the calendar for Thursday 18th August and Saturday 20th with 40,000 workers expected to walk out across the network. RMT boss Mick Lynch spoke to Good Morning Britain.

For the weekend: Can you imagine eating creamy praline chocolate, drinking Trappist beer and eating hot frites. We can. For a small country Belgium it’s packed full of treats and if you like cycling that’s easily arranged. Here’s what to expect.

The majesty of Britain: The Great West Way is one of England’s newest tourism projects designed to shift visitors out of the capital and into the rest of the country. It’s a 500-mile picturesque route from London to Bristol taking in three World Heritage Sites, royal palaces, and rolling English countryside. We blazed the trail when it launched.

Winner: The Horniman Museum and Gardens picked up the Art Fund’s Museum Of The Year crown plus the £100,000 prize money on Thursday. The judges praised the south London museum for bringing together art and nature and for setting “the agenda for how a traditional museum can reinvent itself through powerful ideas”. 

Seek out this gem: After 46 years of capturing London life since before the Romans arrived 2,000 years ago, the London Museum is ready to move to its new home. Before it relocates to Smithfield Market in December it is putting on five-months of special events and on its last weekend is ready to stay open for 24 hours for everyone to see it one last time. Epic! Here it is in the Guardian.

Mad but we love it: An old North Sea oil rig has pitched up on the beach in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, ready to be transformed into an art project. The enormous 350-tonne platform arrived this week ready to be pimped with trees, plants, a 10m waterfall and an amphitheatre. The See Monster should be ready for visitors by August. Sky News has the news. 

I like to see travel wiggle wiggle for sure!

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