Travel disruption: Thousands more summer holidays cancelled
Chalkmarks: Super Bloom, Tower of London, London, England

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 8th July 2022

What a week! It’s all happening on this island. The holiday headlines might not have made the front pages but they were there on the inside. Reading on, we learned that the official summer holiday season is here – woohoo – but the disruption with airlines and airports continues – boohoo. 
Also in the world of departures there was another story in town: Boris Johnson. As everyone on the planet probably knows by now he resigned on Thursday. It was a bad day for Boris. Let’s hope he doesn’t forget as he seems to have a very bad memory.
As his big adventure at Number 10 comes to an end, at least all roads out of London lead to a train station, airport or cruise terminal where he can escape. We feel he’ll need a holiday. But where should someone who’s fallen foul of our “Darwinian” political system go? The Galápagos? Or perhaps for Bojo something more low key, to level down for now. He needs a sunlounger and somewhere he can get a stiff drink…with the right travel agent anything is possible. Once there he’ll want to know what’s making the travel headlines. Here we gooooo!

Holiday, holiday, holiday!

Cancellations: This week British Airways cut 10,300 flights from its summer schedule. The cancellations will affect services leaving from City, Gatwick and Heathrow between August and October and will hit its less popular short-haul flights. The airline has already pulled thousands of flights this year due to staff shortages – bringing the total to around 30,000. BA told Sky News the latest move was to ease last-minute cancellations that cause disruption at airports – and to protect its most popular holiday destinations.

What happens next? BA said it would be in touch with customers to rebook them on to alternative flights or to issue a refund. But very quickly Twitter lit up with passengers complaining they couldn’t rebook. BA said it was “experiencing high call volumes” and asked people to visit their website.

Any advice: The Civil Aviation Authority also tweeted that passengers should expect a choice of a refund or a rearranged flight. Their swift response came after consumer group Which? last week called on the CAA to have “more teeth” and use its powers to deal with airlines that leave passengers paying the price of disruption.

New boss at BA: With problems at British Airways building there came the announced arrival of a new chief operations officer René de Groot – currently in the same role at Dutch airline KLM – due to start in October. Travel expert Simon Calder reported that the airline want Mr de Groot to help “rebuild our airline and become a better BA”.

Good BA news: The showdown between British Airlines and the unions looks like it has come to an end. This should prevent the industrial action that was expected to cause chaos at Heathrow during the summer holidays. Check-in and ground staff were due to walkout in a dispute over pay. According to the Guardian, on Thursday the two sides came to an agreement, with BA agreeing to reinstate a 10 per cent pay cut it imposed on staff during the pandemic. Unite will put the offer to its members and there’s hope the deal will be accepted.

Pay rise: Also on Thursday trade magazine Travel Weekly reported holiday giant Jet2 would hand its staff an 8 per cent pay rise plus a £1,000 bonus. Its chairman Philip Meeson said the board appreciated the “tremendous support and efforts over recent months” of its staff.

What else: The i paper reported that consumer group Which? had reported easyJet to the watchdog, the Civil Aviation Authority, over potential consumer law breaches when flights were cancelled earlier this year – which left passengers sleeping in airport terminals. Among the claims, Which? says some passengers didn’t know they could rebook flights with other airlines. The CAA said it would look at the evidence. easyJet said the claims were “unfounded” and that information on delays and cancellations was “clearly displayed” on its help page.

Britons are bored: Pool-side holidays don’t interest us so much any more. According to research four in 10 over 40s seek adventure when they’re away, choosing to hike, ride horses, bike and ski, instead of sitting on a beach. Here is a link to The Sun.

Finally some good rail news: German train heroes Deutsche Bahn have launched a €9 (that’s £7.61) train ticket for travel anywhere in Deutschland this summer. The best part is: it’s valid for one calendar month! The deal lasts until the end of August. That means you can go to Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Koblenz on the banks of the Rhine – we’ve been there, see below. The €9 deal is just unglaublich! Here is the link – you might have to Google translate it but that’s a small price to pay.

Sekt in the city: We always thought there were just three choices when it came to fizz: Champagne, Prosecco and Cava. Who knew the Germans had their own version? Sekt! Pronounced as sect, this is crisp, fruity, golden and bubbly wine. This miracle can be found just a short hour away from Stansted Airport in the romantic Rhineland – an area of vineyards, castles and river cruises. Read all about it!

Spoiler alert: Goodbye Ramsay Street, hello Booking.com. If you’re a fan of Aussie soap Neighbours you’ll know it’s been axed (sob) with the last episode airing later this month. If you can’t bear the loss, for a final farewell Booking.com is letting devotees stay in the Kennedy’s house which has become a one-bed holiday home. Live booking opens at 2am on Tuesday it says on Twitter but the website link says there is no availability until 2nd September. We need clarity. We are ready!

Over at Airbnb: The online home rental firm unveiled its latest category this week: Historical homes. The new filter already has 4,000 listings with everything available from stays in Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-on-Avon to the (Battle of) Hastings in Sussex. The top trending UK destinations include the Former Abbey at Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, Rustic Barn, Boscastle in Cornwall, and Chapel on the Hill, Forest-in-Teesdale, County Durham. Take a look.

On the tracks: Voting has opened for a city to be crowned the home of Great British Railways. This week Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the shortlist. The contenders for the title are Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York. The winning city will become the HQ for Great British Railways – a government body running the railways across Britain from 2024. In February the competition began to find a home outside of London. Voting ends on the 15th August. We have voted!

Once more unto the beach: Sandhaven in South Shields, South Tyneside, has been named The Times’ Beach of the Year 2022. Looking out to the North Sea, the newspaper praised the seafront for its sand dunes, surfing and “dollop of civic pride”. The main beach is a long stretch of golden sand with everything you’d expect from a traditional English seaside resort…in spades. Here is their review. 

Relax to the max!

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