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Travel

Luggage: Expert reveals top reasons bags go missing during travels – and how to avoid it

Travelling with hold luggage is avoided by many as it can come with its own set of expenses or even slow down the travel process. However, for many, particularly long-haul travellers, flying with bags is simply a necessity.

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Though check-in costs and weight restrictions are one set of problems, it is the concept of losing bags altogether that can feel like a nightmare scenario for many travellers.

While there are plenty of protocols in place, including an increase in technology in recent years, the latest baggage mishandling report from SITA reveals 24.8 million bags were lost or delayed in 2018 alone.

However, one luggage expert has revealed why he thinks bags go missing, and it could actually be the fault of the passenger themselves, rather than the staff.

Myles Quee, travel expert for Send My Bag spoke to Express.co.uk, explaining that punctuality is the key.

He said: “Travellers who check in late are more likely to become separated from their case as baggage handlers need time to process luggage.

“If you’re wondering about what time to leave for your flight, remember that the later you arrive, the higher the chances are that you’ll lose your luggage.”

Indeed, most airlines encourage travellers to arrive at least three hours early to an international flight and two hours for a domestic flight.

A little extra time is encouraged for those who need to check in bags.

“There are plenty of reasons why passengers are told to arrive several hours before departure, with baggage being the main one,” says Mr Quee.

“It takes time for handlers to transport all the bags from the drop off to the plane.

“Customers who leave everything to the last minute might avoid the long security lines but may find themselves luggage-less when they land.”

This rule of thumb should also be applied to journeys with multiple flights and layovers.

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If a layover is too tight, it may mean your bag doesn’t make it to the next plane even if you do.

Mr Quee says: “Avoid short layovers – if you’re tight for time, the baggage handlers will be too. Try and leave at least two hours between flights to allow for delays and give handlers sufficient time to move your luggage.”

However, it seems even travellers who turn up with plenty of time to spare can fall victim to a case of a missing suitcase.

Another reason Mr Quee says bags go missing is due to incorrect tagging, something that has been echoed by baggage handlers and other industry experts.

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Mr Quee explains: “Another common reason why luggage goes missing is when the routing label gets damaged.

“If this happens and you haven’t attached a contact card in a luggage tag, your suitcase will likely be lost.”

On a Reddit post, another baggage expert explained: “Not a secret, just common sense; the reason some bags miss their flight or get misrouted is because passengers don’t remove old tags.

“It confuses handlers as well as the conveyor belt scanners. I see it happen all the time.”

Bag tags are used by airlines to ensure luggage is routes to the correct flight and destination.

They are usually printed with a barcode and matching stub which is given to the passenger.

However, if old tags are left on the bags this can confuse the technology in place which automatically sends the bag in the direction it thinks it needs to go.

Though baggage handlers do work hard to double-check every tag is correct, in a fast-paced environment, things can easily slip through the cracks.

Mr Quee advises: “To avoid this, put contact information inside your travel itinerary so that airline staff can contact you easily and reunite you with your belongings.”

He adds: “Put your travel itinerary inside your bag along with contact information. Luggage tags can become easily detached in transit, so you need to give airlines an alternative way to contact you if your suitcase becomes lost.”

Luckily, there are alternatives to checking in luggage – particularly if you intend on travelling with a lot of bags.

“Ship your luggage instead of checking it in at the airport,” advises Mr Quee.

“You’ll be able to race through check-in, track your goods throughout transit and not spend the entire journey fretting about whether your luggage made it onto the plane.”

Should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where your bag does go missing, do not fret.

Julian Kearney, CEO of travel insurance company Staysure spoke to Express.co.uk, offering advice on what to do if passengers find themselves in this situation.

He explained that the best things to do is “keep hold of any airline or any other ticket that confirms your travel arrangements”.

He added: “In most instances, luggage is reported missing whilst under the supervision of airlines and there is nothing that travellers can do to prevent their luggage going missing whilst in their care.

“In the unfortunate event of this happening, Staysure customers are advised to notify their airline straight away and register the loss by completing any necessary paperwork.

“This will be required in support of any claim made under their Staysure Travel Insurance Policy.”

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Travel

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall reveals royals never do this one thing when travelling

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall has enjoyed plenty of royal travel since her marriage to the Prince of Wales. They have been all over the globe together carrying out important engagements. The Royal Family have a plethora of dos and don’ts when they go away.

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On one occasion, Camilla revealed there’s one thing they all refuse to do.

She explained that there’s one very particular item of food which is a “no-no.”

Garlic is banned from any dishes served to the British royals.

This is due to the plant’s pungent smell – which could prove a problem during important royal meetings.

The Duchess made the revelation during an appearance on MasterChef Australia in July 2018.

Camilla confirmed that royal family members do not eat garlic at a royal event.

She told Gary Mehigan, a judge on the show: “I hate to say this, but garlic. Garlic is a no-no.”

The judge asked why this was, saying: “Because you’re talking, chatting?”

Camilla confirmed: “Yes, exactly. So you always have to lay off the garlic.”

Telegraph royal correspondent Gordon Rayner, who has attended 20 royal tours, also wrote about this royal restriction.

He explained that a similar rule applies to spice.

“The Master of the Household department will be in the reconnaissance party to tell foreign chefs not to cook anything with garlic or too much spice for fear of giving the Queen bad breath,” Rayner wrote in The Telegraph.

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During Camilla’s appearance on MasterChef Australia she also revealed the foods she couldn’t live without.

These were olive oil and fresh tomatoes.

“I have to have, if I haven’t got fresh tomatoes, I’ll always have tomato puree,” the Duchess of Cornwall said.

When Camilla and Prince Charles travel they make sure to take their own alcohol with them.

“Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall sometimes take their own alcohol so there’s no danger of their drinks being spiked,” Rayner told Conde Nast Traveler.

“Their police bodyguard will discreetly carry a bag of their drinks,” Rayner added.

The correspondent also aimed that Charles’s favourite drink is a gin and tonic while Camilla favours red wine.

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Heartbreaking moment Virgin crew member says goodbye before coronavirus ground flights

Cabin crew across the world are losing work as airlines are forced to grind to a halt. Through lack of demand, coupled with stringent border lockdowns, the air industry is facing devastation in these unprecedented times.

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A viral video of a Virgin Australia flight attendant depicts the true heartache felt by cabin crew members across the industry.

In the video flight attendant Cassy Appleton gives an emotional farewell speech addressing her passengers and fellow crew members.

Following this, the flight attendant will not fly for some time due to the economic impact on airlines because of the intense coronavirus travel restrictions.

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The blonde flight attendant can be seen sitting in the jumpiest and the plane comes into its final landing.

In her hand, she holds the device which allows her to speak to the cabin.

Choking back tears, she says: “A bit of a lengthy speech here please bear with us.

“Finally I’d like to say there is every chance possible this could be our last operating flight and most certainly is the last for the foreseeable future.

“As crew we’ve called the skies our home for so long and its a little surreal knowing we’ve come back down to Earth this one last time.

“To our guests thank you so much for your smiles and interactions, it’s you who help to make our day so enjoyable and in a world full of choice we’re incredibly thankful that you chose Virgin Australia to be part of your travel plans. We’re especially grateful for your loyalty and your custom.

“On behalf of the entire of the Virgin Australia team we wish you all the best during these testing times. Please take care of yourself, your neighbours and stay safe.”

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In an emotional address to her fellow crew, Ms Appleton thanks them for being with her on this journey.

“Now, to my crew, words don’t come close not describing the family bond that we all share,” she says.

“The friendships, hardships, laughter, and tears. You’ve all contributed to enriching my time here and I count myself extremely lucky to have had the pleasure of working alongside you all.

“It’s remarkable how we’ve all been here together during this chaos and I’m so proud of how you continue to hold your heads high. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. We’re all in this together.”

She then goes on to individually name the captain, first officer, and her fellow crew.

She concludes: “Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts and we truly hope to see you in the sky again soon.”

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Airlines across the world are now grounding flights, or severely reducing services, meaning there is less need for their entire workforce.

Airlines such as Virgin Atlantic have suspended crew temporarily, unable to offer pay for some time, meanwhile Norwegian Air announced it was temporarily laying off staff due to the circumstances.

Ryanair has said it will be cancelling all commercial flights until June.

Similarly, easyJet has grounded the majority of its flights.

When can Britons fly again?

There is no definite answer as to when the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown measures will come to an end.

Countries around the world have varying levels of national and border lockdowns in place.

In the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggests that the initial stringent measures will last for three weeks.

Mr Johnson said the measures will be “under constant review” and will be considered for relaxation in three weeks if the evidence allows.

Meanwhile, the FCO is urging Britons to avoid all but essential travel outside the UK for a period of 30 days.

Those who are abroad are being told to come home immediately.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The FCO will always take into consideration the safety of British nationals so with immediate effect I’ve taken the decision to advise British Nationals against non-essential travel globally for a period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review.

“I should emphasise this decision is being taken based on the domestic measures being introduced into the UK alongside the border and a range of other restrictions which are being taken by countries right around the world.

“The speed and the range of these measures across other countries is unprecedented some of those decisions are being made without notice.”

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Maldives coronavirus: UK government issues urgent warning as Maldives unveil strict rules

Maldives holidays are hugely popular with British tourists thanks to their gleaming white sand, sparkling blue sea and bright sunshine. However, the chances of going to this beautiful island nation any time soon are very slim indeed as coronavirus digs it fingers in and shows little sign of budging. The Maldives have now introduced tough new rules to limit the spread of coronavirus.

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Globally there are currently 472,109 total confirmed cases of coronavirus.

In the Maldives, in the Indian ocean, there are 13 confirmed cases. Zero people have died, and eight people have recovered.

However, despite these very low figures compared to many other countries (the UK has 9,640 cases) the country is taking no risks.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now updated its travel advice to the Maldives.

This comes as the Government of Maldives temporarily suspends visas on-arrival for all nationalities, effective from tomorrow (Friday), in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Maldives,” said the FCO.

“The Maldivian authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus.”

This is what you need to know about the new rules for the island nation.

“The Government of Maldives has announced a ban on entry into Maldives of anyone who has left or transited the UK in the last 14 days,” clarified the FCO.

“Like Maldivian nationals returning to Maldives from the UK, British Nationals with residency in Maldives and who have a Maldivian spouse will be admitted and placed into quarantine.

“This does not affect British Nationals already in Maldives who should follow the advice of local authorities.

“The Government has also decided to temporarily suspend visas on arrival for all nationalities, effective from 27 March.”

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The Maldives are also clamping down on movement within the islands.

“The Government of Maldives has declared a Public Health Emergency, effective until 10 April,” detailed the FCO.

“Travel from and to resorts from all inhabited islands is suspended. All excursion activities (such as day trips to picnic islands, fishing and dolphin watching) from all islands, resorts, safaris and guesthouses are now banned across the country until further notice.

“Public spaces like parks or sports grounds are temporarily closed.”

Hotels

Britons will be unable to book into Maldivian hotels during this time.

“Guest houses and city hotels on all islands across Maldives are currently banned from accepting any new bookings,” said the FCO.

“This ban does not affect guests currently checked-in to any facilities.

“Speak to your tour operator for further information.”

Flights

“The new travel restrictions are severely limiting commercial flight schedules,” explained the FCO.

“If you are visiting Maldives you should make arrangement to leave while commercial means are available.

“Speak to you airline or travel company as soon as possible”

Cruise

“All cruise ships are currently banned from entering and docking in the Maldives.

“Effective from 20 March, entry of all safari boats, yachts and other passenger vessels arriving to Maldives from an overseas location is restricted indefinitely. Speak to your tour operator for further information.”

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Royal travel: Kate Middleton’s bold choice on tour that made her a ‘sensation’ in Canada

The Duchess of Cambridge travels the world frequently alongside her husband Prince William, and occasionally their three children, as part of her royal duty. Though she has been on a royal tour many times since their wedding in 2019, it was their initial royal tour to Canada that saw Kate win over the hearts of the nation in a very bold way.

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Kate Middleton is renowned for her tour wardrobe, something she often aesthetically aligns with the cultures and practises of the nation she is visiting.

Indeed, this may have been a tradition she founded on the couple’s initial 2011 tour to Canada.

In a recent Channel 4 documentary, The Windsors: Secrets of the Royal Tour, the show’s narrator explains: “The week-long visit to Canada allowed the duchess of Cambridge to have a gentle intro to life on tour.”

However, it was her bold outfit choice that held symbolic meaning which touched Canadians and sparked “Kate mania”.

A news report featured in the documentary says: “For the occasion, Kate was wearing a hat adorned with a Canadian maple leaf. She has become an instant media sensation here.

“Kate mania has been added to the vocabulary.”

The hat was symbolic for Canadians, as she took the red colour from their flag, as well as their national leaf, and incorporated them into this small but incredibly meaningful fashion detail.

It is small, thoughtful details like this that Royal Commentator Richard Fitzwilliams says makes the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge such important foreign ambassadors.

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He said: “There’s no question that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are much sought after as ambassadors abroad.

“They promote softer power and goodwill in Europe, but their first official tour to Canada was especially significant.”

In recent times, Kate has continued this type of fashion forward-thinking, taking into account traditions of the region she and Prince William are visiting, when planning her travel ensembles.

Recently in Ireland, the Duchess stepped out in a classic all-green ensemble to represent the country.

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She wore a mid-length green gown which appeared to have a floral print.

The mother of three coupled it with an emerald dress coat and pointed heel shoes.

Towards the end of 2019, when she and William visited Pakistan, the Duchess similarly opted for a traditional outfit.

The Duchess was pictured wearing traditional royal-blue kurta, trousers and matching scarf as the couple visited the Model College for Girls in Pakistan’s capital.

The outfit is also believed to be from local designer Maheen Khan.

She was also photographed later at a mosque wearing a traditional teal and gold outfit with a headscarf as a mark of respect.

Royal family biographer Marcia Moody says that often this type of cultural dress is a specific requirement for the family.

In a piece for Town & Country she wrote: “Adhering to dress codes means that for some countries hemlines, sleeve-lengths, and necklines need to be considered.

“Men may need tie pins, medals, sashes, and handkerchiefs.

“Women often pay respect to the country with a national flower or symbol incorporated into their clothing. Symbolic colours are chosen, significant jewellery decided upon.”

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Holidays: Lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t explore the world thanks to amazing VR travel

The UK has gone into an unprecedented lockdown in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus and lessen the strain on global healthcare systems. This has meant, for the first time in modern life, airlines have been grounded on a nationwide level and the passion for exploration and travel we once had as a world is being forcibly placed on hold. Yet, even in these times of lockdown and isolation, technology offers a new way to discover far off lands, and provide a dreamy escape from reality.

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“For those longing for culture and entertainment in a world where you can’t explore outside your home, and when you can’t quite commit to ANOTHER series, virtual travel could be the answer,” says Nicky Kelvin, Content Editor at The Points Guy UK.

“The increasing lockdown of people around the world is likely to fuel the popularity of such experiences, but this should also spur on advancements in the quality of VR beyond the pandemic so that more and more people will be able to enjoy these improved experiences.”

Here are some of the coolest virtual exploration opportunities available right now.

Get up close and personal with wildlife

Though zoos across the globe are closing their doors to the public, the animals are still living on behind the gates and eager animal-lovers can still get an insight into what daily life looks like for these magnificent creatures. In Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is streaming live cameras of its Giraffes herd, which includes a brand new member baby Viv who was born in June last year.

The camera will be broadcast for eight hours every day so that giraffe-fans can watch the animals graze and relax.

San Diego zoo is also offering a similar setup, offering the chance to get a sneak peek into the life of over some of its liveliest residents. Choose from baboons, penguins, polar bears and koalas.

Meanwhile, Monterey Bay Aquarium in California has ten live cams spread throughout its exhibits. Be delighted by the antics of sea otters, take in the mysterious beauty of jellyfish, or watch the sharks swim through the deep waters.

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Soak up the culture of an art gallery

Art galleries in cities across the world allow enthusiasts to take in some of their finest works from the comfort of their homes by using their websites. Paris’ Louvre, Musée de l’Orangerie, and Musée d’Orsay all offer plenty of their paintings and artworks online, including a 360-degree virtual visit to Water Lilies by Claude Monet.

Similarly, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Uffizi Gallery, Florence and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam show plenty of their beautiful pieces on their websites, which virtual visitors can click through and learn the back story of, too.

The Art Institute of Chicago allows art lovers to get up close and personal with Van Gogh’s self-portrait, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC has several online exhibits ideal for browsing from the comfort of your couch.

Alternatively, put Google Street View to good use and “stroll” around the Guggenheim in Los Angeles, where you can take in Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art exhibits.

In Pittsburg, the Andy Warhol Museum is offering interactive art lessons on its website, giving creatives an insight into how to create pop art style self-portraits using collage.

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Take a 360-degree tour of vacation havens

Whether you’re dreaming of the sand between your toes or wishing you were on an urban exploration, modern technology brings the gift of adventure to your living room. Head to Japan and embark on VR 360° tour of Japan using japan.travel/en/ Whether you want to see the streets of Tokyo,

Whether you want to take in the streets of Tokyo, watch a sumo wrestling match or even see the majestic deer in Nara champ on a snack, the virtual reality cameras are on hand to make magic happen.

Head over to Tahiti 360 (tahititourisme.uk/en-gb/) and experience an exclusive virtual reality tour that takes intrepid travellers onboard an award-winning Paul Gaugin cruises ship, boasting a unique look into the heart of French Polynesia. Be amazed by aerial views of stunning private beach Motu Mahana, or look through locally sourced produce and goods at Papeete marketplace. What’s more, travellers can even gain an insight into the island’s nature, setting their sights on stingrays and shark encounters.

Thrill-seekers can virtually explore the wonders of Yosemite Mariposa County from the comfort of their own home using yosemite.com and the Xplorit program.

The interactive tour will take viewers above the granite giants, through the rushing waterfalls and across verdant valleys, giving a one-of-a-kind 360-degree view of the whole country. Friendly park rangers are even on hand to give information about the natural landscape.

If you are dreaming of sunnier times, why not log onto one of Santa Cruz’s beach cams, bringing the calming waves and glistening shoreline to your home.

Santacruz.org boasts nine beach cameras dotted around the beach town, offering scenic views of Aptos, Moss Landing, and Capitola via beach pier and surf cam. Or take an aerial tour of the boardwalk.

Alternatively, a four-part series called Wander List gives viewers an insight into the attractions of the desert oasis via a four-part series. Wander List will explore scenic hikes, the shoes of the Salton Sea and the towering windmills of San Gorgonio Pass.

Chill Chaser looks at local farmers’ markets, Sunday polo matches, and rock climbing. DineDPS highlights a few local restaurateurs transforming the desert dining scene and the latest series, craftGPS explores the cocktail scene through the eyes of the locals. Simply log onto visitgreaterpalmsprings.com to find out more.

Learn something new at a museum

Museums are the perfect opportunity to spend some time whilst also learning something you didn’t know before.

In Sacramento, California, The California Capitol Museum is offering virtual tours of its blended architectural neo-classical and Renaissance Revival styles, allowing users to roam its halls and take in the 40-acre surrounding park all while learning about the city’s historic background. The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, has also opened its doors – online – to flight enthusiasts. Access the cockpits and interiors of the aircraft houses in the museum from the comfort of your own living room.

These 3D self-guided virtual tours include Concorde, the NASA Space Shuttle Trainer, and the first-ever presidential jet plane, aka the “Air Force One”.

Closer to home, The British Museum website offers an interactive look around the Museum. Simply select which period you want to look at from which part of the world and then learn interesting facts about the piece.

Being on lockdown can feel like a sad, long prospect, however, embracing the opportunities the online world has to offer means travel lovers can still explore the world and gain an insight into far off lands.

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easyJet: ‘Majority of fleet grounded’ from Tuesday as flights cancelled amid coronavirus

easyJet is a hugely popular airline among British holidaymakers thanks to its low prices and wide range of destinations. However, the budget carrier is one of many which is suffering as coronavirus sweeps the planet. easyJet has already cancelled multiple flights as the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all but essential travel.

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Now it has announced that it will be grounding the majority of its fleet from Tuesday.

Rescue flights will continue to operate, with these likely being completed by Monday 23 March.

easyJet has said they intend to operate “a minimal schedule of essential services on some routes.”

The carrier will be reviewing their flight schedule every week.

easyJet said in a statement issued yesterday: “Following the country lockdowns, travel restrictions and changes to travel advice across its network, easyJet has taken the decision to ground the majority of its fleet of aircraft from Tuesday 24 March onwards.

“We will continue to operate rescue flights as required to repatriate customers and anticipate most of our rescue operations to be completed by Monday 23 March.

“Details of the rescue flights we are operating to repatriate customers can be found here.

“If you are currently abroad, we urge you to rebook yourself onto a rescue flight prior to Monday.

“In addition, we anticipate operating a minimal schedule of essential services on some routes.

“This will be a maximum of 10 percent of our usual capacity during this time of year and mainly routes to, from and within the UK.

“We will continue to review our flight schedule on a weekly basis to ensure that it matches current demand.

“With recent guidance, we recognise many customers with existing reservations do not intend to travel, and so we would encourage them to change their tickets for free now, as this will allow us to best match our remaining flying to the demand.

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“easyJet continues to waive all change fees for customers who want to move their flight to a later date and they can now change up until 28 February 2021.

“Customers will be contacted directly if their flight is cancelled and will be provided with their options.”

Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO, said: “These are unprecedented times for the airline industry.

“We know how important it is for customers to get home and so are continuing to operate rescue flights over the coming days to repatriate them.

“Significantly reducing our flying programme is the right thing to do when many countries have issued advice to their citizens not to travel unless it is essential and the aircraft groundings will also remove significant levels of variable costs at a time when this remains crucial.”

As for those stuck abroad, travel expert Simon Calder shared his travel advice on BBC’s The Travel Show today.

“Assume you won’t get any help from your airline, travel insurance company or embassy,” Calder said.

“You have to make decisions now, there’s no time to lose,” the expert warned. “Spend what you need to, get family and friends to pay for your ticket – just get yourself out and then ask questions later.”

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Flights: Lufthansa offers discounts for passengers who rebook cancelled travel

Following a flood of cancellations due to coronavirus, Lufthansa airlines is now encouraging its passengers to rebook onto future flights. Not only has the airline extended its rebooking period, with no added cost, it is also giving discounts to passengers who choose to book onto a future flight.

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All customers due to fly with any airline in the Lufthansa Group are entitled to the deal, including those flying with SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti.

Passengers will now be able to rebook a new departure date up to August 31, 2020, to the same or a new destination.

Furthermore, any passenger who opts to do so will receive a discount of €50 from their journey.

Passengers can rebook with a discount using the Lufthansa website, or via customer service.

Those who booked through a travel agency should contact the travel agent to instigate the prices.

To make things even easier, Lufthansa says that rebooking can be done after the original flight date too.

The rule change applies to tickets booked up to and including March 31, 2020, and with a confirmed travel date up to and including 31 December 2020.

An airline spokesperson said:” In view of the exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of the coronavirus, Lufthansa Group Airlines Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti are continuously reviewing measures to ensure they meet customers’ needs.

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“As already announced on 13 March, customers who have tickets for cancelled and existing Lufthansa Group flights can keep these tickets without having to commit to a new flight date straight away.

Existing bookings will initially be cancelled, but the ticket and ticket value will remain unchanged and can be extended to a new departure date up to and including 31 December 2020.

Customers can also rebook to another destination.

“Previously, customers were asked to notify the airlines of their desired rebooking date by June 1, however, this period has been extended by twelve weeks until 31 August 2020.

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“With this policy extension, the Lufthansa Group Airlines are responding to the wish of many customers to help make their travel plans more flexible under the exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of the coronavirus.”

However, the airline adds that a change of class or destination resulting in a higher ticket price will still be payable regardless of the discount.

The airline is currently working to help return customers to their home countries following the closure of multiple borders.

“The spread of the coronavirus has placed the entire world in an unprecedented state of emergency,” said a Lufthansa spokesperson.

“At present, no one can foresee what further consequences will ensue. What is certain, however, is that additional medical personnel will be needed. As a large German company, Lufthansa is living up to its social responsibility even in this exceptional situation.”

It adds: “The Group also takes its responsibility seriously on another level: in order to bring as many people as possible back home quickly, the Lufthansa Group airlines also operate numerous special flights all over the world.

“In close consultation with the governments of their home markets and on behalf of tourism companies and cruise lines, Lufthansa Group airlines are currently offering around 140 special flights.

“More than 20,000 passengers are thus flying home with Lufthansa, Eurowings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Edelweiss. Further special flights will follow in the next few days.”

“At present, no one can foresee what further consequences will ensue. What is certain, however, is that additional medical personnel will be needed. As a large German company, Lufthansa is living up to its social responsibility even in this exceptional situation.”

It adds: “The Group also takes its responsibility seriously on another level: in order to bring as many people as possible back home quickly, the Lufthansa Group airlines also operate numerous special flights all over the world.

“In close consultation with the governments of their home markets and on behalf of tourism companies and cruise lines, Lufthansa Group airlines are currently offering around 140 special flights.

“More than 20,000 passengers are thus flying home with Lufthansa, Eurowings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Edelweiss. Further special flights will follow in the next few days.”

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WATCH: Cars park on airport runway to stop Europe flights from landing in shocking video

Coronavirus has pushed Ecuador to prevent planes from Europe landing. Shocking video footage, seemingly filmed from a helicopter, captured the scenes from the air. This is because workers at the Jose Joaquin de Olmedo airport in the city of Guayaquil have parked their cars across the runway.

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The vehicles can be seen strewn up and down the ground, leaving no space for planes to land.

The Ecuadorian workers were reportedly ordered to park on the runway by the city’s Mayor Cynthia Viteri.

The measure was reportedly brought in place by the city council.

The aim is said to been to prevent an Iberia Airbus A340 landing after taking off from Madrid.

They also wanted to prevent a Boeing 777 operated by KLM from landing after taking off from Amsterdam.

However, it later transpired that there were no passengers onboard the Iberia flight.

Local media reported the Iberia flight eventually landed in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, but with only 11 crew members on-board.

It turned out that it had been sent to Ecuador to pick up Spanish citizens in the country to take them back to Spain.

Images taken onboard the aircraft depict rows upon rows of empty seats – and no passengers.

The KLM flight also landed in Quito with only crew members on board.

Reports state 170 passengers then boarded the KLM plane but it is unclear if the two planes have since returned to Europe.

Prosecutors have reportedly begun an investigation into the incident.

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The Ministry of Transport and Public Works is said to have blamed the Guayaquil City Council for making air activity more difficult during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Viteri, who belongs to the conservative Social Christian Party party, took responsibility for the incident.

The official stated she would do it again to protect the city from the arrival of people at risk of having COVID-19.

She claimed the planes had been about to land in the city and the crew members were scheduled to spend the night there before returning the next day.

The mayor said Guyauquil is bringing in strict restrictions on movement in and out to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The city is one of the worst-affected areas in Ecuador.

Ecuador has suffered 168 confirmed cases of the virus, leading to three deaths.

The investigation is still ongoing.

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Categories
Travel

Coronavirus Dubai: FCO issues urgent new travel warning for UAE – latest update

Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are normally very popular with British holidaymakers. The destination is ideal for winter sun and those looking for a relaxing and luxurious break. However, the UAE today issued an urgent warning concerning travel in the light of the spread of coronavirus.

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Subsequently, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now updated its travel advice.

Entry rules to Dubai and the UAE have been changing almost daily in the past week due to coronavirus.

Previously, the country revealed that the majority of visitors won’t be able to obtain a visa and so won’t be able to enter.

“From 19 March, the UAE will temporarily suspend all visas on arrival with the exception of Diplomatic passport holders,” stated the FCO in its travel advice yesterday.

However, the UAE has now gone one step further with its entry restrictions.

Visitors are now not allowed to enter the country at all.

The FCO explained the details in its latest travel advice to Britons, updated today.

“With effect from 19 March only UAE Citizens will be allowed to enter the UAE,” said the Foreign Office.

“All UAE Residents who are abroad will not be allowed to re-enter the UAE for a period of at least two weeks.

“This period could be extended. Please contact your nearest UAE Embassy for further advice.

“Visitors are not allowed to enter the UAE until further notice.

“If you are transiting through a UAE airport to another destination please check with your carrier before travelling.”

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The FCO added: “The UAE authorities have stated that any violation of instructions and procedures put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be treated as a crime punishable by law.”

There are current 113 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UAE.

Globally there are 227,310 confirmed cases and there have sadly been 9,311 deaths.

This week the FCO advised against all but essential travel outside the UK for 30 days.

“If you now need to change or cancel your travel plans, follow these steps,” said the FCO.

These are:

– Contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers

– Get in touch with your insurance provider

– Continue to follow the NHS coronavirus guidance. 

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