Is Ryanair charging for boarding passes?
Chalkmarks: Madeira, Portugal, December 2023

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 8th December 2023

HELLOOOOO and ho ho ho, just when you thought Chalkmarks had finished travelling in 2023 – we hadn’t. We took a last cheeky trip to Madeira – the Portuguese island in the Atlantic. In December, the temperature is 20CThe sky is blue and there are wispy clouds in the sky (see above). At the Christmas markets, in Funchal, the festive fairy lights twinkle as we sip a glass of Madeira wine with honey cake. Pinch us! It’s warm and toasty just what we want at this time of year. Legend has it that Madeira is full of old people. We’ve got something to tell you! Oh yeah? It’s not. It’s a myth. The Gen Z influencers are here, they’re currently in the mountains making TikTok videos and tagging them the Hawaii of Europe. Ugh! Well, if you can’t beat them, join them. So, we trekked to the highest point of the island, from Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo known as Pico a Pico (peak to peak). There’s plenty of photo ops up there. It’s got some serious rizz (err, is that right Gen Z?). Don’t wait your entire life to get out here. Grab your sunglasses, get out of the cold and into the warm. Madeira is Christmas in a glass. Happy holidays and Feliz Natal from all at Chalkmarks! Here’s this week’s travel headlines. 

Holiday kingdom!

Flying low: Passengers travelling with budget airline Ryanair have new beef with the carrier claiming they’ve been having to pay for their boarding passes. Usually you book a ticket and print or download it to your phone. If you want to reserve a specific seat that’s an extra cost but many are happy to check-in and wait for an allocated surprise slot. This week passengers complained that once they had booked and checked-in they were then asked to pay for a seat to access the digital boarding pass – or else queue at the airport for a free paper ticket. The response from Ryanair was not clear. “All Ryanair passengers can pay for a reserved seat if they so wish or if passengers wish to avoid this seat fee, they can select a randomly allocated seat entirely free of charge,” its spokesperson said. There are no doubt more questions to come. The BBC has more on the scandal. 

Flying high: How we love to hate the cheap the airlines! According to This is Money, Ryanair and Wizz Air reported a rise in travellers in November. Wizz Air flew 4.8 million passengers – up 29 per cent on this time last year, and Ryanair carried 11.7 million, up 4 per cent. 

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!

We’ve done it: We’ve come back to Tenerife but we have grown up. We’re not in one of those 18-to-30s-resorts where young Britons enjoy the sun, sea, fry-ups and Irish pubs. We have been there, and done that. In fact I thought the whole place was one big Spanish party island but all that noise is tucked away in a very small corner in the south. In the north, in the capital Santa Cruz, this is the place to be hot but lazy.  It’s a whole different island, far away from the busy beaches, bars and sunburned punters. If we’d felt nostalgic for a foam party, dancing till sunrise and downing shots, we could have nipped into nearby Puerto de la Cruz for a dizzying all-nighter. Instead we did this!

Write to Santa: easyJet has put up orange letter boxes at Gatwick, Luton, Bristol and Manchester airports to post your letters to Santa. And if you don’t know the address, don’t worry they will fly all the letters up to Lapland where Father Christmas is preparing for his big day. Don’t delay, there’s just two weeks to go. The MailOnline has more.

This time last year: Lights, strikes and the fastest flights: What’s in store for travel this Christmas! The RMT rail union announced staff would strike on Christmas Eve… Over in the airports Father Christmas would get stuck in queues as UK Border Force voted to walk out for eight days over Christmas week… Eurostar security staff also took industrial action affecting trains in the run-up to Christmas… The RAC warned this could lead to heavy traffic on the roads… Coach company Megabus said it would put on 1,000 extra seats… Then the Highways Agency went on strike over Christmas for 12 days… Then, the then-Home Secretary Suella Braverman advised holidaymakers to “think carefully” before flying for Christmas… Elsewhere, the experts at Which? found that London City Airport had the quickest security queues at just 12 minutes 3 seconds… Leeds Bradford came out worse at 34.4 minutes… Heathrow was in the middle taking on average 20.2 minutes… Also Which? magazine found that York’s St Nicholas Fair, with its wooden chalets and twinkling lights, was the nation’s favourite Christmas market… Belfast came in second with its festive offerings of bratwurst and crocodile burgers… Edinburgh took third spot for its ice rink and Christmas Tree maze.

In case you don’t follow us on social media you really should. Here we are, here too and over here. Say hola muchacha! 

Airplane mode!

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