Heathrow Airport strike: Three-day walkout starts as World Cup kicks off
Chalkmarks: Qatar at the World Travel Market, London, November 2022

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 18th November 2022

Heathrow Airport strike, the world lands in Doha and Winter Wonderland opens today! Your fact-packed, must-read weekly travel round-up

On the holiday hunt!

Today: Hundreds of ground handling staff at Heathrow Airport have walked out for three days over pay. The industrial action runs until Monday 21st. The disruption will affect flights leaving from terminals 2, 3 and 4 – and especially football fans flying to Qatar ahead of the World Cup starting on Sunday. The Independent has the latest.

Down in Doha: The Wembley crowds are descending on Qatar this weekend as the World Cup kicks off in two days time. The biggest sports tournament in the world is putting this small country in the Persian Gulf on the map and under the spot light. Around 1.2 million fans are expected to travel to the Arab nation over the 29-day competition. So what can they expect? Today the MailOnline reveals the Qatari royal family is expected to make a statement banning the sale of alcohol at stadiums. Earlier in the week most papers reported on the England team jetting out and on the £1 billion cruise ship for the wives and girlfriends dubbed HMS Wags!. The brand new MSC World Europa has cabins costing up to £300 a night. We wonder how it compares to our trip on Celebrity Beyond! Tatler Magazine took us on a tour. HMS Wag has a fizz champagne bar and a crystal staircase. England plays Iran on Monday at 1pm then Wales plays the US at 9pm.

This week we had the dreaded FOMO: It was the G20 in Bali, Indonesia. We weren’t drooling over Rishi Sunak and Justin Trudeau in matching shirts, pictured in the Daily Mail. No, it was the gorgeous sun, the sparkle of the Indian Ocean and the distant volcanic mountains (see more here). We remember when we were there. On the agenda was yoga, hiking and cold Bintang beers. Oh, and we met a magic man! Get the hot water bottle and read this.

See you on board: Passengers flying with British Airways to Malaga, Spain, will no longer have to show their passport to board the plane. Using the latest in facial recognition technology the airline is trialling a new camera that allows holidaymakers to upload a picture of their face and id before they leave home. When they arrive at the airport – they still need to go through security – they won’t have to show their passport at the gate, a machine will simply read their face and allow them on board. According to the airline’s David Breeze, this will allow travellers to breeze through the airport. Okay, what he actually said was: “This is a secure and efficient tool that makes for a smarter and smoother airport experience, which will reduce the time it takes us to board aircraft”. Biometric Baby, CityAm headlined it.

Welcome to 2023: Lonely Planet gave us its 30 best places to visit for the New Year. We’re going to use it as a bucket list. Divided into different categories there were many winners. Lima, Peru, won best place to Eat, which we’ve always said. The food in Lima is R-rated, R for Ricooooo! Feast your eyes! For the Journey Nova Scotia, Canada, took top spot and Accra, Ghana, was named best place to Connect. Here’s the full run down. Interestingly, Manchester was chosen as the third must-visit city in the Learn category. Here The Guardian explored why.

Where is Cincinnati: British Airways has announced a new USA flight route between Heathrow to Cincinnati taking off next summer on 5th June 2023. Famous for its breweries in the Over-the-Rhine district, the mid-Western city in Ohio, is also well-known for baseball and its legendary team the Cincinnati Reds. Plus with its German heritage, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is the second largest beer festival outside Munich, Germany. If you’d never thought of visiting the Queen City – we hadn’t – maybe you should. We might. Prices start from £499. Travel Weekly has the details. Flight time is around  7hr 45 minutes.

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!

Yes oui can: Just off the coast of Cannes in the warm seas of the Côte d’Azur is the Mediterranean’s first underwater museum and then there’s the Loire-Atlantique – filled with port towns from Le Croisic in Brittany down to Saint Gilles in the Vendee. It has a rugged coastline, fishing huts that hang off cliffs, miles of cycling trails and wide sandy beaches. 

Striking times: On Wednesday, the Evening Standard reported the RMT union had voted for more rail strikes in the run up to Christmas. No new dates have been announced. This came after The Mail on Sunday said this could be the “worst Christmas ever” with engineering works due to take place between 23rd December and 3rd January – with some services completely shut down such as the Gatwick Express and mainline trains between London and the North West and the North East.

Off to Travelodge: Taking a drive in a Formula One racing car, wearing the Duchess of Sussex’s Giorgio Armani dress or taking a cooking lesson with Aunt Bessie are just a few of things you can’t do at Travelodge. This week it revealed a list of bizarre customer requests which included afternoon tea with Paddington Bear. Shakila Ahmed, from the budget hotel chain, said: “There are some requests beyond their control such as getting ordained to officiate a wedding, getting the London Eye to rotate in an anti-clockwise formation, programming all the traffic lights in York to be green at midday for a bride to get to the church on time and taking a customer for a spin in the Red Bull Formula One racing car around Milton Keynes’ famous roundabouts.” Darn it, Travelodge! The Mirror had the story.

Jolly holidays: Christmas has started in the capital! The Christmas lights are on down Oxford Street and the Christmas markets at the Southbank, Leicester Square and in Covent Garden are up – and selling mulled wine and minced pies. The Pantos start tomorrow (oh, yes they will!) and today, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland officially opens. Merry Christmas. 

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Going far!

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