Three strikes and we are out of here: Rail chaos and Ryanair becomes our holiday hero
Chalkmarks: Liverpool Street Station, London, England

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 19th August 2022

First triple espresso!

Forget Heathrow: The hardest part of going on holiday? Not knowing if your flight is going ahead. Bad news landed this week which made the front page of the Daily Mail on Tuesday. Heathrow Airport announced it would extend its passenger cap until 29th October. This limits the number of travellers who can pass through the airport to 100,000 per day. The cap was introduced in July due to staff shortages and was due to end on 11th September. The extension will affect more than 1million travellers, who are all waiting for an email (I got a text!) to see if their flight is cancelled. 

Hello Stansted: Keeping us moving though is Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary who said they would put on an extra 500 flights from Stansted during the school half-term holiday. He said: “While hopeless Heathrow continues to mismanage air travel, Ryanair and London Stansted will continue to grow and deliver for London families, the way we have through all of summer 2022.” This made the Metro front page.

Three strikes: This morning London wakes up to a walkout from TFL, the Overground and London buses. If you live in the capital best stay in bed, errr, we mean to WFH. And tomorrow the RMT, TSSA and Unite strike for the second time this week affecting 14 train companies. ITV News has the full list. According to the figures, 40,000 workers are walking out but trains will be running: around one in five services will operate – but everything stops at 6.30pm until Sunday morning. If you’re heading out go prepared. You know where to find us!

Beyond this week: Industrial action is expected to go on long into the autumn as little progress is being made in talks between the rail companies, the government and the unions. RMT union boss Mick Lynch said workers are determined to protect ‘pensions, secure a decent pay rise, job security and good working conditions’. Network rail chief Andrew Haines told Good Morning Britain they can’t afford higher payrises. And Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted his 16-point plan to halt crippling strikes in future. 

Boris turns up in Greece: Last week the Prime Minister and his wife Carrie were in Slovenia and this week they’ve been spotted on holiday in Athens. Larry the Cat brought us the news. Unlike Boris this city is a hot favourite but when it comes to ancient history these two have something in common. Here’s what we recommend to see, do and where to stay. They then went on to the second largest Greek island Evia according to the Independent.

Is that Concorde: The world’s largest airline American Airlines is buying up to 20 supersonic jets to fly from London to New York in 3hrs30 hours (currently it takes 6hr30). Tickets to book one of the 88-seats on board the Boom Supersonic Aircraft will cost up to 5,000 US dollars (£4,140). They will fly at twice the speed of today’s planes (around 500mph) but not as fast as Concorde which reached a top speed of Mach 2.04 – that’s more than 1,500mph!!! The planes are due in 2029. The Guardian had the story.

What’s the password: The Guardian reported that Tanzania will start providing internet access along the slopes of Kilimanjaro so climbers can post pictures to Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and TikTok on their way to the 5,895-metre summit. Its information minister, Nape Nnauye, called the move historic and said it would help improve safety as well as connectivity. Project Wifi should be complete by the end of the year.

Where next: Singapore! This tiny city state at the bottom of Malaysia is a seductive mix of cultures – Chinese, Indian and Malay – with a rag to riches history. And yes, there are 10 (maybe more) huge shopping centres on Orchard Road alone. But instead go for the food in the hawker centres that recently joined Unesco’s list of global “cultural treasures” and sip a Singapore Sling at Raffles. Here is the lowdown.

Never smelt anything like it: The tiny island of Vulcano is the first you come to off the ferry from Sicily. Most tourists stay on the next one along Lipari but from the crater of Vulcano you can see Mount Etna puffing away in the distance, and all the Aeolian Islands are laid out below. It’s stunning. But it reeks. How can an island so beautiful smell so bad? The whiff comes up from a natural mud bath where dozens are lying in the soft sludge under the hot sun. If you want younger looking skin this is the place to stay. Read on….

Bored by ordinary travel: If you’re looking for adventure go to Peru. We haven’t been back since the pandemic but we miss ceviche and Pisco sours. It’s here we learned to salsa in Arequipa and how to speak Spanish in Lima and where we watched the condors flying high in the Andean villages. It was the beginning of our love affair with the country. You’re about as far away as you can get from the UK. But where to start. How about here!

Staycation update: Holidaying at home must be booming as budget hotel chain Travelodge announced it was looking for new sites to open up 140 new hotels – 127 in London and 16 in the North East. Sky News had the story.

Watergate: That’s the name of a beach in Cornwall which holidaymakers have been warned to stay away from this weekend. Due to the sewage discharged into the sea after this week’s heavy rainfall, swimmers have been told to avoid 52 popular seasides spots around England and Wales identified as polluted by charity Surfers Against Sewage. These include Bogor Regis in West Sussex, Newquay also in Cornwall and Sidmouth in Devon. We could have led with poo at Looe but that’s just distasteful!

And away!

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