U-turn on hand luggage rules as high-tech scanner glitches cause more airport queues!
Chalkmarks: Celebrity cruise ship, Oslo, Norway, May 2024

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 14th June 2024

HOLA mi gente! Nope, we’re not in Spain. We’re in London. No sunglasses required here, it’s raining, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have dos cervezas por favor. We can be Brits abroad… right at home. And on that note, we’ve been thinking about Spain and we have an announcement to make! We don’t want to go to Magaluf anymore. “OMG! Where else is there,” we hear the two million Britons who go every year scream? Yeah, we went there already. We did that. We loved it. It’s not a flex. It’s good for bar crawls. It’s good for cheap shots. And it’s good for staying out until 7am. But there’s no twist in the tale. We know exactly what we’re going to get. Now, we want to go to Athens or Helsinki. We still want a cocktail but not at breakfast or served in a bucket. We also want to know what else there is to do. Are there hiking trails or a cycling route? We also like walking tours and taking a train journey to visit other cities. We no longer want to lie down on a beach or by a pool tbh. We’ve consigned Magaluf to history. You could say it’s inspired us. We just wish we had the budget to go everywhere we want. We ask the world wide web: “the cheapest holiday near us”. Urrrgh, it’s Magaluf. It’s a trap! Here’s this week’s travel headlines. Dos more cervezas por favor!

Everybody at the bar getting tipsy!

To the polls: Post Office Travel Money calculated that many of us bust the budget while on holiday by £155, up from £135 last year. They didn’t say if that was over a weekend, a week, or two weeks! It seems we get caught out by the cost of restaurant meals, supermarket food and drink, and sightseeing trips. They also revealed the average budget per person is £334. So, how not to blow the budget? Expect to blow the budget! The FT covered this story.

Where holidaymakers fear: Passengers were pictured having to wait in the rain to get through security at Birmingham Airport this week. The headlines blamed the government’s u-turn on the 100ml liquid rule. It’s true, the rule where passengers take out their 100ml mini cosmetics, which must fit into a plastic bag, was due to ease as new super-scanners can detect liquids inside suitcases. But the government has requested, that for a while, it wants passengers to keep taking them out for inspection particularly at regional airports. Birmingham Airport said this was causing the huge queues, but there weren’t queues outside other airports? inews discovered that Birmingham Airport is also going through a £50 million refurb of its security hall, which is still under construction. So until that’s ready, expect to wait outside in queues. Three hours was the wait on Sunday. BBC News and Sky News had the story.

Why has the government back tracked? Travel expert Simon Calder has a theory. He thinks that due to the Euros in Germany and the busy holiday period in general, large numbers of people are now travelling – and so it remains smoother if passengers remove their mini liquids because the high-tech scanners (known as next-generation security checkpoints) are mis-identifying items, especially sunscreen as dangerous and rejecting bags for inspection. This is what creates the long delays. Examining lots of suitcases takes much longer than passengers removing their plastic bags.

Jet-setters are back: Heathrow saw an uptick to 81.5 million passengers in the year to May. That was an increase from 71.6 million the year before. Boss Thomas Woldbye said ‘we have put Covid firmly behind us’. The Independent had the story.

Reviews are in! Again, Wizz Air has taken the crown for the longest delays from UK airports. Every year, the Civil Aviation Authority puts these figures out, and almost every year, Wizz Air wins… or loses! This is the third year in a row. On average, their flights took off 31 minutes and 36 seconds behind schedule in 2023, which is better than the 46 minutes and 6 seconds in 2022. Turkish Airlines came second with an average delay of 28 minutes and 36 seconds, followed by Tui being 28 minutes and 24 seconds late. Wizz Air said: “While we saw significant improvements in 2023, there is still work to be done.” PA Media has the scoop!

Stop bugging: Holidaymakers heading to Europe this summer, are being warned about rising cases of dengue fever spread by mosquitoes. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said climate change has caused cases to rise in recent years. In most cases dengue fever isn’t serious. It’s a viral infection that causes fever, which can be relieved with painkillers, keeping hydrated and resting. But if symptoms are more severe, you might need a trip to hospital to be put on a drip – eek! To keep safe they recommend covering up so you don’t get bitten and using mozzy spray. The BBC has more.

Then this: Travellers have also been warned to look out for scams on X. The BBC discovered that when an airline passenger sends a message for booking help they are increasingly being responded to by scammers using fake accounts. Travellers are often asked for a mobile phone number so they can be contacted directly but it’s a ruse. Don’t do it. Check the reply has come from the correct account. All major airlines have been targeted and they urged customers not to share any personal info on social media.

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!

Don’t stop me now: We’ve having such a good time, We’re on a golf buggy. We’re having a ball. Welcome to Isla Mujeres. I’m driving around this absolute gem of a Caribbean island at 12mph. By rights it’s a hideous idea that we’re cruising along the Rueda Medina Malecon past wide, sandy beaches on this golf cart. But everyone’s doing it too. It’s not a super car but it’s a super idea. These pocket rockets will get you up to North Beach in no time. And with North Beach ranked among the 10 best in the world, we want to get up there for sunset. There are hundreds of these buggies on this tiny Mexican island and they’re super easy to find – the minute you step off the ferry from Cancún. Is it safe? Not when we’re around. Where to go if you don’t know!

Sterling work: The Pound boomed against the euro this week after president Emmanuel Macron announced a snap election in France. £1 was buying around €1.15 but now it’s worth €1.18. Woohoo! That adds up to an extra ice cream. Disclaimer: maffs is not Chalkmarks’ strong point!

This time last year: The £1k holiday bombshell: Average spend for week away soars to a grand new total! Holidaymakers had ramped up what they were spending to getaway by almost double … According Travelodge survey, Britons were spending up to £1,000 on staycations – compared to £513 in 2022 … Holidaymakers also noticed the cost of travel creeping up by £135 … Post Office Travel Money found that 66 per cent of people felt ripped off once they were away … They were caught out by unexpected charges for food, drinks, transport and day trips. … Elsewhere it was a race to Jet Zero for the airlines which were warned that those who don’t start switching to sustainable aviation fuel could find themselves out of business … Over at Heathrow the first two-day security strike at terminals 3 and 5 were called off … Banksy’s famous murals including the Kissing Coppers, and the stab-vest worn by Stormzy at Glastonbury were going on display for the first time in Scotland.

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Happy Father’s Day!

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