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Travel

Google Maps: Woman caught in painful position hiking Himalayas

Google Maps Street View often sends images viral, especially when they are funny and out of the ordinary. Google Maps is a great tool for navigating the planet and mapping your way to new destinations. However, the technology is also known for regular glitching leaving viewers amused and questioning if what they are seeing is real.

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One such glitch happened whilst a woman was hiking in the Himalayas.

One shocked user posted the image to Reddit to see if any other users had any idea if the image was a glitch or whether the woman had been caught in a painful position while hiking the Himalayas.

The Reddit user wrote: “Quite a contortionist.”

Glitches are very common on Google Maps Street View.

Google Maps creates the images by stitching together the 360 degree image sets submitted by users, meaning small errors can easily occur.

Glitches are therefore very common on the site.

This particular image showed a woman hiking the Himalayas and the Google camera has caught her in a position where her waist is twisted around the middle.

The top of her body is facing one way and her legs and feet are facing the other way.

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Parts of her body are also missing, making her look larger than she is.

This glitch can appear quite amusing before people work out the truth.

The man behind her also looks to be in an uncomfortable position.

It appears that he has an arm missing.

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It also looks like he is carrying something but because his arms appear to be caught in the glitch, the white object is very close to his body.

However this is just from one point of view and is a glitch that Google has created.

Another glitch that left viewers uncertain was one found in Toronto, Canada.

An image of a Range Rover with six wheels appeared on Reddit and left users questioning whether this modified car was real or not.

One eager user said: “That’s one of the cleanest glitches I’ve seen, almost looks real.”

When looked closely, the Range Rover appears to look real, with no part of the car missing.

If an object is captured whilst moving, it creates duplicates of the scene.

Should this happen, Google can end up glitching, sitting various parts of the object or person together in a weird way, appearing to be real.

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Travel

Ryanair boss slams 14-day quarantine as ‘nonsensical’ as airline to return in July

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has criticised the UK government’s plan for those arriving back in the UK to isolate for two weeks. He appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today to share his thoughts on the new rules that were rolled out yesterday. Speaking to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, O’Leary slammed the quarantine measure as “nonsensical”.

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“I don’t think this 14-day isolation will be effective,” said O’Leary.

The Ryanair CEO pointed out that “lots of British families will be still be going abroad to Spain and Portugal for their two weeks holiday” and will be back more than two weeks before schools open.

He continued: “We know from our own customer feedback that there’s a huge pent up desire to want to get away to the beaches of Spain and Portugal.”

Today, Ryanair announced plans to return to 40 percent of normal flight schedules from Wed 1 July 2020, subject to Government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted, and effective public health measures being put in place at airports.

Ryanair will operate a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, restoring 90 percent of its pre-Covid-19 route network.

However, the airline is also encouraging passengers to observe effective health measures to limit the virus.

Just some of these include Ryanair cabin crew wearing face masks/coverings and a limited inflight service will be offered of pre-packaged snacks and drinks, but no cash sales. All onboard transactions will be cashless.

Queuing for toilets will also be prohibited on board although toilet access will be made available to individual passengers upon request.

“We have released a two and a half minute video this morning on effective health measures which largely include temperature checks, hand sanitation and face masks at all stages during the airports and on board the aircraft,” O’Leary told Morgan and Reid.

“What we’re against are overly ineffective measures such as this nonsensical two-week isolation, which somehow only applies if you’re not French or you’re not Irish.”

O’Leary explained he simply didn’t think the quarantine was something that could be regulated.

“It appears that the government can’t enforce the quarantine,” he told GMB.

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“There’s no quarantine for anybody travelling on the London Underground, which is a much more lethal centre for spreading viruses and coughs.”

O’Leary added: “There are a million passengers a day flying back into the UK [in normal circumstances] so the idea that any of it would be policed by this government is a nonsense.”

The Ryanair boss also explained that they are looking to sell as many seats as possible.

“We don’t need social distancing,” O’Leary said. “In fact, the government’s already recommended that where social distancing isn’t possible – wear facemasks.

“That is the effective measure against spreading COVID-19 not ineffective measures like 14-day isolation which nobody will observe anyway.”

Replying to Morgan’s comment that he felt for the airline industry, O’Leary said: “Don’t worry, we are a resilient lot, we will bounce back quickly with the support of our customers.”

Since the coronavirus flight restrictions in mid-March, Ryanair has been operating a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights between Ireland, the UK and Europe.

From July, Ryanair will restart flying from most of its 80 bases across Europe.

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Travel

Travel insurance: With staycations ahead are insurance policies a thing of the past?

The importance of travel insurance has become even more apparent in recent months, as airlines and holiday operators are forced to halt operations amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Though it is not yet known how travel will look after the lockdown is finally lifted, it is anticipated that domestic holidays will be the first to return.

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In fact, recent data from CabinBookers reveals that 90 percent of British holidaymakers are planning a domestic holiday as soon as lockdown lifts.

While the majority of people know how important travel insurance for international travel, will the same policies be needed for those who are going away on a UK jaunt?

The answer is yes, although the type of policy you need may be a little bit different.

Domestic travel can also fall victim to unexpected cancellations or disruptions which can leave travellers out of pocket if they are not covered.

Disruptions can range from a hotel or booking cancellation, bad weather, or even lost and stolen property.

While some travel providers, such as hotels or accommodation providers, may offer a refund if plans are cancelled, others will not.

Similarly, unlike when travelling by plane, there are no regulations in place to protect you if you have to put plans on hold for reasons beyond your control.

What’s more, according to Policy Expert, the average domestic holidaymaker takes an average of £676 worth of valuables with them on holiday. 

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Yet around 70 percent of Britons don’t have any travel insurance in place.

The good news is, travellers won’t need to shell out for medical coverage which can add on extra cost – especially for those who have a pre-existing medical condition.

Experts from Admiral point out: “Luckily, travelling in the UK will mean that your medical care is still covered by the NHS.

“However, taking out travel insurance will mean you’re further covered for things such as inpatient travel expenses to and from the hospital, or if you have to return to your home area on the advice of a doctor.” 

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Since April 2009 there has also been no NHS medical cover for UK travellers in the Chanel Islands, so it’s important to take out travel insurance holiday plans to Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark or Herm.

There is also a small catch to travel insurance with some companies – how far you go.

According to Admiral, they only provide travel insurance for domestic holidays if a traveller is heading 25 miles or further from their home. 

Regardless of where the next holiday destination may be, travel insurance experts from CompareByReview believe Britons are now a lot more aware of just how important policies are.

According to their latest research, 85 percent of those surveyed said that they will now take far more care when selecting their travel insurance provider in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The experts said: “Many participants told us that they will be holidaying at home from now on and ‘explore their own country’ with a few even mentioning that they will investigate purchasing holiday insurance to cover these trips.”

The team also speculate that new “UK based insurance policies” could be on the horizon following the pandemic.

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Greece: Santorini trials social distancing beach chairs with hopes tourism will follow

Greek island Santorini has implemented new social distancing measures on some of its beaches, despite concerns from locals. The new additions see beach chairs and sun loungers encased within a plexiglass screen.

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It is hoped that these screens will be a helpful precaution against the spread of COVID-19 once the island welcomes back tourists, which could be from as early as July.

However, while the theory behind them is positive, there are some locals who are not happy about the new beach features.

Charlie Chahine, who owns a beach bar on the island, says he does not like them.

“We hope these constructions you see are not going to be the future for beaches. We don’t want this, but if this is necessary, and if this is what people’s safety depends on, such a construction or any such construction – we (just) want to work, we want to get going,” he said.

Yet they are just the latest in a string of health and safety measures being tested out by Greece’s hotel and tourism operators, who have already been severely impacted by the lack of foot traffic.

Vice President of the Santorini Hotel Association Andreas Patiniotis revealed that hotels are down around 40 percent compared with 2019.

He explained that bookings in June last year were at 70 per cent, while at the moment they are hitting around 30 percent.

Year-round hotels, restaurants, cafes and shopping malls are set to reopen on June 1, but distance rules will apply and staff will have to wear masks. 

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It is unlikely tourism will return to normal immediately. 

The government said it would provide more details later on how it plans to revive the tourism sector, which employs one in five workers in Greece.

“I believe we have to start somewhere, so that there is work for our suppliers, for our employees. There are so many people that depend on hotels,” said Mr Patiniotis.

It is not yet clear when international travellers, including Britons, will be welcomed back to the island.

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Although Greece is now relaxing its lockdown measures, with restrictions on Greeks’ free movement lifted on May 4, citizens in the country will not be allowed to leave their wider region of residence.

There remains a ban on non-EU nations including the United States and Britain as well as of Spain and Italy from passing the Greek border.

Despite this, Greek officials have said that they hope British tourists do eventually return.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme  Greek tourist minister Harry Theoharis said coronavirus measures would remain in place throughout the summer season, but that Britons would be welcomed back eventually.

He said: “We want people to come to Greece.

“Of course, we will take precautions in terms of the requirements before travelling but also in the way that we travel, the way that we stay on the beach etcetera.

“Social distancing rules will apply but we have welcomed tourists for more than 50 years and we want to continue showing the kind of hospitality that we’re very much known for.”

In 2018, Santorini welcomed around 2 million people, meanwhile last year alone Greece attracted 34 million visitors and earned 18 billion euros from tourism.

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Travel

easyJet latest travel advice for holiday plans in July, August & September

Britons may be slowly becoming less certain about their future holiday plans, as lockdown measures show little sign of imminent change. easyJet is one of the many who have cancelled vast swathes of its planned flight schedule in the coming months, with all flights cancelled “until further notice”.

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Couple that with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) advice to Britons to avoid all but essential travel for an “indefinite” period of time, it paints a worrying outlook for impending holidays that have not yet been officially cancelled.

For those who have been warned by the government to take extra safety precautions, such as people with pre-existing medical conditions or who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, the concept of travelling abroad before a vaccine is developed might be concerning.

However, airlines such as Jet2 have hinted at flights restarting as early as June, which is a positive nod towards the future of travel for many.

Of course, given the nature of the pandemic, the future is uncertain in almost every way, and easyJet has given no clear sign as to when travel will resume.

“In these extraordinary times, we’re missing travel as much as anyone. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will be flying again,” reads a statement on the easyJet website.

“Until then, we thank you for your support and understanding.”

So what options are available to easyJet customers?

The airline has currently grounded all flights, other than those aiding in a vital repatriation effort to bring Britons home.

easyJet says it has already flown “around 45,000 customers” back to the UK and continues to “work with governments to support the ongoing effort.”

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Customers who’s flight plans have already been cancelled should expect to hear from a member of the airline’s customer service team.

They will then be given a number of options to chose from in line with the airline’s coronavirus cancellation policy.

“We know that this has been a difficult and frustrating time for many of you who have had your travel plans disrupted, for those who may have had to wait on calls, or for those who faced difficulties booking onto rescue flights,” reads a statement from the airline.

easyJet is currently working on a 7-day rolling basis which means customers are only likely to hear the fate of their future travel plans a week before the anticipated departure date. 

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Those who have cancelled plans will be given the option to reschedule or receive a flight voucher worth the value of their journey.

According to easyJet customers can “switch to any other flight, any time.”

They advise: “You can fly anywhere on our network and you will not pay change fees.  

“Seats are currently for sale until May 2021 and you can do this via Manage Bookings or the easyJet app.

“Claim a voucher for the full value of your ticket. If you aren’t ready to book again just yet, a voucher provides the flexibility to book travel in future, for flying through to at least Summer 2021.”

The airline aims to accommodate all requests within 28 days of contact. 

Customers who wish to claim their money back instead can do so via the airline’s dedicated call centres, but they warn “our call centre team have been impacted by a combination of high demand and national lockdowns, so call waiting times and processing will be considerably longer than usual.”

Customers who have future plans which they may no longer feel comfortable with are also being offered the opportunity to amend their travel dates free of charge.

However, should they wish to cancel, the airline says they are not able to offer a refund.

easyJet explains: “We review our flying program every seven days and we advise customers to wait until that time frame to be able to choose all available options given to them.

“If your flight is not cancelled we are unable to process any refund requests.”

Express.co.uk contacted easyJet for further comment, and to determine if there is a way to claim money back for future travel. 

A spokesperson explained that customers who want to cancel are still bound by easyJet’s standard terms and conditions relating to refunds.

They said: “Customers on cancelled flights can transfer to an alternative flight free of charge or receive a voucher for the value of their booking online or claim a refund through our contact centre. Customers may also submit a claim in writing via a new dedicated refund webform, online.

“We are processing refunds for customers and aim to so in less than 28 days, however because of the increased volumes due to the pandemic, it could, unfortunately, take longer. We would thank customers for their patience and assure them that these entitlements will be available long after their cancelled flight has flown.    

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TUI travel advice for holidaymakers with flights booked in July, August and September

TUI is a popular holiday company to travel with among many British jet-setters. However, the UK tour operator’s services have been forced to temporarily pause amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many Britons who have trips booked with TUI are concerned about how the fallout from the virus will affect their summer holidays.

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What is the latest travel advice regarding TUI bookings for July, August and September?

TUI explains on its website that it’s had to follow the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s advice against all but essential travel.

As a result of this, TUI has suspended all package holidays and cruises and will not be resuming operations until mid-June.

A TUI spokeswoman told Express.co.uk that holiday departing after June 12 will go ahead as planned.

However, if your holiday falls into the below categories, your holiday will no longer go ahead as planned.

• TUI holidays travelling on or before June 11 2020

• Marella Cruises sailings on or before June 30 2020

• TUI River Cruises sailings travelling up until and including November 25 2020

The TUI spokeswoman said: “Our holidays departing after 12 June 2020 are currently due to operate as planned, so we ask all customers to make their balance payments as normal.

“We appreciate that customers may be feeling apprehensive about paying their final balance, so we’d like to reassure them that all of our package holidays are ATOL protected, so they can pay the balance with confidence.

“If the holiday has to be cancelled, a refund credit incentive or cash refund option will be given.

“For customers travelling after 12 June 2020, we have extended our flexible amends programme until 11 July, so customers with bookings between 12 June and 11 July can amend to another date for free”.

Like many other operators, TUI is offering a refund credit for those whose holidays have been affected.

TUI explains: “If your holiday can no longer go ahead as planned, you’ll receive a refund credit for the full value of your holiday, and we’ll give you a separate booking incentive up to 20 percent.

“We understand that you may not be ready to book again just yet, so the refund credit gives you the flexibility to book your travel in future.

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“Plus, if your original booking was for a package holiday, you’ll get a separate booking incentive up to 20 percent.

“You will receive a separate email four weeks from your original departure date with all the relevant information.

“Also, if your original booking was part of a package, your refund credit will carry the same ATOL protection.

“And, if your Marella Cruises or TUI River Cruises booking was cabin-only, or sailed from a UK port, your refund credit is protected under the ABTA bonding scheme.

“You can therefore be confident that you have financial security.”

As for refunds, TUI states: “If you’re unable to accept a refund credit you can apply for a refund; due to the volume of holidays impacted, we’re asking you not to contact us until you receive your refund credit so we can continue helping customers in date order.

“However, if you do need to request your refund before this you can do so using the details below. Please be aware that our call centre teams are incredibly busy, so call waiting times are considerably longer than usual. You can call 0203 451 2868 between 9am and 7pm from Monday to Friday.”

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Ryanair travel advice for holidaymakers with flights booked for July, August and September

Ryanair is a popular airline of choice for British travellers heading off on their summer holidays. However, with coronavirus bringing travel to a standstill, holiday plans have been thrown into chaos. What is the latest travel advice for holidaymakers with Ryanair flights booked through to September?

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Ryanair is currently operating less than one percent of its aircraft.

The budget airline has had a limited schedule in place for many weeks.

London flights are currently only flying to Dublin, Eindhoven, Lisbon, Cork, Berlin and Budapest.

Birmingham, Edinburgh, Bristol and Manchester are flying to Dublin.

Minimum flight links have remained open for emergency reasons but the overwhelming majority of aircraft have been grounded.

At the end of April, this was extended until Thursday May 14.

However, in Ryanair’s most recent update – issued Friday May 1 although not published to its website – the airline revealed flights would not be returning to normal until after June.

They also anticipate a dramatic reduction in the number of plane passengers.

“Due to Continent-wide EU Government flight restrictions, Ryanair expects to operate less than one percent of its scheduled flying program in Apr, May & June 2020,” said the airline in a statement.

“Q1 traffic of fewer than 150,000 passengers will be 99.5 percent behind the Q1 budget of 42.4m passengers.

“While some return to flight services is expected in the second (July-September) quarter, Ryanair expects to carry no more than 50 percent of its original traffic target of 44.6m in Q2.

“For the full year ended March 2021, Ryanair now expects to carry less than 100m passengers, more than 35 percent below its original 154m target.”

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What’s more, under new plans, up to 3,000 Ryanair pilots and cabin crew are set to lose their jobs. Pay cuts of up to 20 percent and unpaid leave will also be introduced.

Frustratingly, it is not known what Ryanair’s schedule will look like beyond June.

However, the airline explains that anyone whose flight has been cancelled will have been notified.

Ryanair states on its website: “If your flight has been cancelled you have been notified by email and SMS and given the option to request a refund, rebook or re-route your journey and avail of reasonable care, as applicable.

“Otherwise, your flight is operating as normal.”

For Ryanair passengers hoping to get refunds, CEO Michael O’Leary confirmed on Friday it could take as long as six months for customers to get their money back because of the surge in refund requests the coronavirus pandemic caused.

In their latest refund update, Ryanair has said vouchers and free changes to other flights are being issued for cancelled flights. However, those who wish for a cash refund will only receive it “once this crisis has passed.”

Ryanair passengers will be able to exchange vouchers for cash after a 12 month period if they have not redeemed them in this time.

Express.co.uk has contacted Ryanair for further comment.

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WATCH: Shocking moment two planes smash into each other amid violent storm in viral video

Two Qatar Airways planes have been filmed in a dramatic plane crash. The incident took place at Hamad International Airport in Qatar. The airline has been one of the few long-haul airlines to continue flying many of its regular routes during the pandemic.

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Footage from the hub caught the shocking incident on camera from April 30.

One plane at the Qatari airport was seen slamming into another.

So what happened and what caused the crash?

A big storm in the Middle Eastern country sparked the incident.

As the violent weather battered the airport one of the aircraft broke loose.

Footage filmed during the storm shows the two planes parked next to each other.

As strong winds hit, the plane on the left – a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner – can be seen breaking free.

The Dreamliner can carry up to 254 passengers and weighs a whopping 120 tonnes when empty.

Despite this huge weight, the video shows the aircraft starting to move from the force of the storm.

It then begins to turn on the tarmac.

The plane then turns 90 degrees so its nose is facing the adjacent aircraft.

Although the footage is hard to decipher due to the severity of the storm and the video quality, the loose plane can be seen directly heading for the other.

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The plane rolls forward and collides into the body of the parked aircraft.

Images taken in daylight after the accident depict the extent of the damage.

The front of the Dreamliner is clearly battered from the impact.

However, damage to the aircraft is considered minor, said Qatar Airways.

“During extreme weather conditions, with storms and high winds of 70 knots, a parked Qatar Airways 787-800 (sic) briefly shifted from its chocks and made contact with a QR A350-900,” the airline said in a statement, reported Stuff.co.nz.

“The aircraft had been parked securely and chocked in accordance with AMM (aircraft maintenance manual) guidelines while operations at the airport had been temporarily suspended due to the high winds.

“No passengers or crew were on board at the time and the aircraft suffered only minor damage.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Qatar Airways for further comment.

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Flights: Experts reveals surprising way you can bag Avios points without even travelling

Flights are often considered the main way to rack up points and miles. However, with all travel paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is no longer an option. Nicky Kelvin from The Points Guy UK has revealed an unlikely way Britons can earn Avios points from home during lockdown.

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Kelvin revealed that those keen to build on their points and miles should consider airlines shopping portals.

“If you’re looking to earn points or miles and you ever shop online, signing up for a shopping portal is a no-brainer,” he exclusively told Express.co.uk.

“Airlines offer these online programs, which earn you rewards when you sign up and click through to a retailer from the portal (rather than simply going to a shop’s website directly).”

Shoppers need to be savvy about where they shop, however.

“The number of bonus points or miles you’ll earn depends on the retailer you’re shopping with as well as the shopping portal you use,” Kelvin explained.

“Bonuses tend to be awarded as a multiplier of how many pounds you spend, though some offer a set amount of when you click through a portal to sign up for a specific service.

“Shopping portals are a great way to double-dip, and it’s always worth taking the extra few seconds to sign up and then click through for all your subsequent online shopping sprees.”

So what’s the best way of choosing what to sign up for?

Kelvin advised: “Choose the portal that will earn you points or miles in your loyalty programs of choice, and don’t be afraid to sign up for more than one and compare earning rates at a specific store before you click through.”

Below are the current earning rates for the BA eStore:

White Company – 5 Avios per £

Appleyard Flowers – 20 Avios per £

Soak and Sleep – 8 Avios per £

ASOS – 3 Avios per £

John Lewis – 2 Avios per £

Argos – 2 Avios per £

Apple – 3 Avios per £

Nike – 7 Avios per £

The Body Shop – 6 Avios per £

Just Eat – 2 Avios per £

Union Coffee – 5 Avios per £

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Kelvin also explained that making the most of Amex Offers is another good way to rack up points while in lockdown.

“American Express regularly runs what it calls Amex Offers with a wide range of retailers,” he said.

“With them, you can earn bonus points on your purchases or save money in the form of a statement credit.”

There are many active deals that could prove to be useful at the moment.

“For example, you can get 10 percent back in the form of a statement credit on your next Morrisons food delivery,” pointed out Kelvin.

“Plus, double-dipping could become triple-dipping when you utilise an Amex Offer, purchase through a shopping portal and pay with a credit card.

“In other words, you’ll save money or earn additional points on each of these three.”

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Wizz Air announce strict new face mask rule for all passengers

Following Wizz Air’s recent announcement that some operations will resume in May, the airline has introduced strict new safety protocols for staff and crew. Both passengers and crew will now be obliged to wear face masks when travelling with the Hungaryl-based airline.

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Along with mandatory masks, the crew will also wear gloves, and distribute sanitising wipes to passengers for personal use onboard the aircraft.

The airline will also remove all onboard magazines from the cabin.

Flights, which will resume on Friday 1 May from Luton, will now feature a brand new safety video which will outline the new hygiene measures onboard.

The new protocols, which have been developed in line with government protocols, will support physical distancing during boarding as well as throughout the flight.

Customers are being asked to check-in for all flights online, and make any additional inflight purchases such as seat upgrades or additional bags, online prior to their journey.

Purchases onboard are “encouraged” to be made using contactless payment, to minimise the need for physical contact.

Airline bosses add that a stringent daily cleaning schedule will remain in place, with the entire aircraft being disinfected overnight.

Owain Jones, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK said: “As we restart selected Luton flights to provide an essential service to passengers who need to travel, our primary concern is the health, safety and well-being of our customers and crew.

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“The protective measures that we are implementing will ensure the most sanitary conditions possible.

“We encourage our customers to watch our new video on how to stay safe when travelling, as well as for more details on our new health and safety measures.”

From 1 May 2020, flights will be departing to many top holiday hotspots.

Destinations on offer include Budapest in Hungary, Belgrade in Serbia; Bratislava and Kosice in Slovakia, Lisbon in Portugal, Tenerife in Spain; and Tel Aviv, Israel.

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There are also eight locations in Romania which include Cluj-Napoca, Constanta, Craiova, Iasi, Suceava, Targu Mures, Satu Mare and Timisoara.

Wizz Air chief executive Josef Varadi told Travel Weekly earlier this week that planes will not be filled to capacity for social distancing.

He said: “The industry will have to address physical distancing.

“In the first few months planes will not be filled.”

It is not yet known if the Foreign and Commonwealth’s (FCO) current travel advisory will be lifted by this time.

At the moment the FCO is advising Britons against all non-essential travel for an indefinite period of time.

The FCO says this is “due to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions.

“All countries may restrict travel without notice.” 

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