Heathrow holiday hold-ups: Strikers target Easter break for walkouts!
Chalkmarks: Brits abroad, Prague, Czechia

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 31st March 2023

HEATHROW strikes go ahead, Brits not welcome in Amsterdam, and the 57-ton dino has arrived! Welcome to your fact-packed, must-read weekly travel round-up…

Suitcase or backpack?

Today: Passengers travelling with British Airways have been told some flights will be cancelled from today, Friday. So far 70 have been pulled. Until the end Easter Sunday, next week, at least 32 flights a day will be cancelled as 1,400 security workers walkout for 10 days. It’s left Heathrow Terminal 5 in a mess. The airport has asked BA to axe 5 per cent of its flights, around 300 in total, which depart to destinations including Mallorca and Los Angeles. BA said this was a ‘small adjustment’. Sky News has the details.

School’s out strike’s on: If you’re reading this and you’re about to head away on holiday, brace yourself for long queues at Terminal 5. Heathrow says it’s putting on more staff including its “entire management team” to keep passengers moving. A man at BA said: “Following Heathrow’s requirement for us to reduce the number of passengers travelling during the period of its employees proposed strike action, we’ve regrettably had to make a small number of adjustments to our schedule. We’ve apologised to customers whose travel plans have been affected and have offered them a range of options, including rebooking onto a new flight with us or another airline, or requesting a full refund.”

Brits not welcome: Amsterdam had a message for boozy Britons this week: “Stay away”. Gulp! Everyone was talking about it after the city council singled out British men. In an attempt to clean up its party reputation, the Dutch capital has launched a series of ads that will pop up when you search “stag party”, “cheap hotel” or “pub crawl Amsterdam”. They want to end “messy weekends” in the city famous for its neon-lit red light district, coffee shops and canal boat trips. Will it work? Here’s the BBC’s take. Not so long ago Chalkmarks was told that Britons had thrown off their drunken “cheap and cheerful” image. Here’s what tourist boards had to say.

One per cent: The UK was named and shamed by Greenpeace on Thursday for having the most private jets take off than any other European country last year. One takes off every six minutes, and some travel the shortest of distances. The route between two airports in Hampshire – Farnborough and Blackbushe – is just five miles and could easily be walked they say. The journey between London and Paris was popular despite the Eurostar running every 15 minutes. In total, there were 90,256 private flights in 2022, emitting the greatest amount of C02 than any other country in Europe. Doug Parr, at Greenpeace, said: “Private jets are staggeringly polluting and generally pointless. Many of these journeys can be covered almost as quickly by train, and some of them by bicycle. Millions of people around the world are facing climate chaos, losing livelihoods or worse, while a tiny minority are burning jet fuel like there’s no tomorrow.” The Guardian had the story.

World first: Digital nomads have now reinvented the cruise. With more of us than ever able to work remotely, office workers are taking it to the next level… on board a cruise liner offering a three-year itinerary taking in 375 destinations across 135 countries. Cabins cost around £73k a year. It’s a floating office building with meeting rooms and work spaces. It sails from Istanbul in November. Some on Twitter said it sounded like “hell” while others said it was the “chance of a lifetime”. See it for yourself on Good Morning America and a write-up in The Times, which focused on the age of those on board.

What’s Germany like: If like Charles it’s your first time in Germany… as King, Willkommen. He and Camilla, the Queen Consort, arrived in Berlin on Wednesday for a three-day getaway. We’d recommend much longer as there’s just so much to see, do, eat and drink. For a start there’s the Bavarian Alps. We’ve tiptoed through the treetop trail and kayaked in the Regen region. Our base was Zwiesel in the heart of the glassmaking region. If you haven’t discovered it yet, explore the crystal kingdom here.

Then there’s the Sekt: A perfect start to any weekend away in Germany is with a glass of fizz. We always thought there were just three choices when it came to bubbles: Champagne, Prosecco and Cava. Who knew the Germans had their own version? Pronounced as sect, this is crisp, fruity, golden and winey miracle can be found in the romantic Rhineland – an area of vineyards, castles and river cruises. Best enjoyed after long day, making a historic speech in the Bundestag. Read all about it!

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!

Flying scotsman: The enormous double-decker Airbus A380 is back in Glasgow to fly passengers out of the rain and over to Dubai. Perhaps it’s the baking hot temperatures that attract the tartan tourist but Emirates has reintroduced the world’s biggest aircraft to Scotland due to high demand for flights to UAE, Australia, Thailand, and India. Richard Jewsbury of Emirates said: ”The return of the A380 is purely demand driven. We’ve seen sustained demand from the Scottish market. Dubai is the number one destination but we’re seeing really good flows down to Australia, Thailand, the Indian subcontinent – which is very popular particularly for VFR (visiting friends and relatives) traffic – and the Indian Ocean.” The Scotsman has the story. Here Chalkmarks reported how Dubai became such a success story.

It’s confirmed: Wales will go ahead to introduce a holiday tax, the Welsh government announced on Thursday. It’ll be the first in the UK to charge visitors staying overnight – much like Venice and the £1-a-night tourist tax in Manchester. They haven’t decided how much, or when it will start but it’s deffo on its way. Sky News tells us what it’s all about. Here are our thoughts on Swansea, aka the ugly lovely (not our words)!

The beast is here: One of the largest dinosaurs to ever walk the earth has arrived in London. The titanosaur – aka Patagotitan mayorum – with its gigantic neck is 37 metres long, that’s three London buses – lived about 100 million years ago, stomping across all the continents eating 516 lettuces a day – that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg (we’re here all year folks!) The enormous skeleton, discovered in Patagonia, Argentina, in 2008, has just about managed to squeeze into the at the Natural History Museum. AP has the footage.

Work begins: Extraordinary and popular heritage sites across the four corners of the Kingdom will be boosted with part of a £24 million National Lottery fund. Already getting saved is “at high-risk” Crystal Palace Park in southeast London, which has received nearly £5 million – to update its Tidal Lakes and dino sculptures moved from the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1852. The Gardeners’ House in Penzance has also picked up more than £2 million, and John O’Groats Mill in Scotland has got £1.6 million. Here’s more in the Independent.

This time last year: It’s plane to see airports are in chaos Just as spring had sprung, it started snowing, it wasn’t even an April fool…Passenger numbers had surged… Greece, France and Portugal were the top three most-sought after European destinations for Britons but airports weren’t coping… Twitter was alive with holiday rage… There were queues at check-in, delays at security, lost luggage, IT meltdowns and flights being cancelled…This was partly caused by the hundreds of jobs cut during the pandemic and rehiring had not yet caught up… There were no P&O sailings between Dover and Calais, Larne to Cairnryan, or from Hull to Rotterdam… BA made its first flight across the planet to arrive in Australia – the first in two years… Many countries were still locked down to unvaccinated travellers but France opened its borders to those who had not had a Covid jab…India also reopened to international travel with a tweet: “Namaste world”. 

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A world of joy!

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