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Travel

Holidays: These stunning virtual tours allow you to explore the world from your home

For many people around the world holidays are on hold as countries lock down their borders and ask citizens to stay home in an unprecedented pandemic. However, just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you can’t explore all the beauty that the world has to offer thanks to these incredible virtual travel tours. Who knows, perhaps they will inspire you for your next big adventure in the future.

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Technology experts at Uswitch have been working hard to round up some of the best virtual tours to help those seeking to relax and escape the current climate.

Whether you are looking to immerse yourself deep within nature, get up close and personal with wildlife, or simply just want to experience the calming tides of the ocean, these five virtual tours could be for you.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher are a series of sea cliffs located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare.

Spanning 14 kilometres, these rugged wonders make way for the crystal blue waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Transport yourself to the coastline, imagine the wind in your hair and the soothing tides all thanks to this virtual tour.

Take in the views from Blarney Castle gardens, fly high above O’Brien’s Tower and watch the day turn to twilight.

Visit https://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/virtual-visit-tour/ for the full experience.

Kenai Fjords, Alaska, USA

Thanks to Google Arts and Culture, intrepid explorers can experience a guided tour of one of Alaska’s most beautiful national parks, the Kenai Fjords.

The Kenai Fjords National Park was established in 1980 and covers an area of 669,984 acres on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska.

It is known for its vast expanse of ice fields and glaciers – containing the Harding Ice field, one of the largest ice fields in the United States along with 38 glaciers.

Led by experienced tour guides and showcasing breathtaking imagery, users are shown things many people may never get the chance to witness, and can navigate their way around the park.

Kayak through icebergs, explore deep crevasses and watch a glacier melt before your eyes.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes, Hawaii, USA

As part of Google’s package, explorers can transport themselves to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, located on Hawaii Island.

At the heart of this stunning natural wonder are the Kīlauea and Mauna Loa active volcanoes.

As part of the virtual tour, users will find themselves looking down upon one of the bubbling, active volcanoes, exploring a lava tube, and taking in the awe-inspiring views of the volcanic cliffs.

The tour is guided by a park ranger who grew right beside the national park and has dedicated her life to learning all about the natural environment.

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Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, USA

Nestled in the Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico is the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

This area is home to more than 100 caves, decked out in naturally formed stalactites.

These impressive caverns burrow deep into the earth, with huge underground chambers for visitors to explore.

The virtual tour, led by a park ranger, will take users deep underground and through these incredible caves which remain a mystery even to the experts today.

The tour also boasts stunning desert views, canyons and brings users up close and personal with thousands of bats.

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Dry Tortugas, Florida, USA

Dry Tortugas National Park, just west of Key West Florida, is situated in the Gulf of Mexico and surrounded by crystal clear cerulean waters. Made up of 7 islands, plus protected coral reefs, the area is home to beaches, the 19th-century Forth Jefferson, and a wealth of wildlife.

Popular amongst divers, aquatic adventurers can dip below the surface and catch a glimpse of the stunning Loggerhead Reef, the Windjammer Wreck, the remains of an 1875 ship.

This virtual tour is led by a National Park Services Diver who takes users through 99 percent of the park which is hidden beneath the ocean’s surface.

Visit https://artsandculture.withgoogle.com/en-us/national-parks-service/welcome to experience all of the above national park tours.

The National Aquarium, Baltimore

Baltimore’s famous aquarium is home to almost 20,000 animals, from sea life to beautiful birds.

Though the museum has closed its doors in a bid to enforce social distancing, enthusiasts can still sneak-a-peek at some of its finest creatures thanks to this virtual tour.

The non-profit aquarium has an annual attendance of 1.5 million visitors, holds more than 8,300,000 litres of water and is home to more than 17,000 specimens representing over 750 species.

Walk around the aquarium’s exhibits, taking in jellyfish, alligators, and sea turtles, as well as an in-depth look into wildlife native to the Channel Islands and the Amazon River.

Visit http://samuraivirtualtours.com/example/nadc/index.html to experience the tour.

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Travel

Caribbean holidays: Enjoy free virtual salsa party and cocktail-making class this weekend

Holidays are something Britons can now only fantasise about as all travel grinds to a halt due to coronavirus. The holiday experience doesn’t need to evaporate altogether though. The tourism board for Caribbean island Puerto Rico is here to help despondent Britons get into the holiday spirit this weekend.

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Discover Puerto Rico has launched a series of fun online events.

From your own home, you can master the salsa, rustle up cocktails or whip up a Puerto Rican feast.

A different masterclass will be put on each day and will last about an hour.

They are also all free to join.

The island’s tourism board explains that, when the coronavirus nightmare is over, visitors to Puerto Rico will have plenty to explore there.

“They can put their new salsa dancing skills to the test or sample some of the best cocktails and island dishes.”

This is what you need to know about the weekend’s schedule.

Friday March 27

What: Salsa Dancing

When: Midnight

Details: Renowned danders Tito and Tamara are leading a salsa party. The class will start will a brief summary of basic salsa steps “so people can have a little fun from the comfort of your homes.” No previous experience needed.

How to take part: The class will take place via Zoom – you can join it through the link here with meeting ID 293-759-126.

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Saturday March 28

What: Cocktail-making class

When: 11pm

Details: “The best bartender on the island” Roberto Berdecia, co-owner of the renowned La Factoría bar and Jungle Bird, is leading a cocktail class.

How to take part: To participate, join via Instagram Live at @discoverpuertorico.

Sunday March 29

What: Cooking class

When: 11pm

Details: Chef Wilo Benet will show participants how to make a favourite dish that can easily be made at home. Benet is said to have “redefined Puerto Rican cuisine.” His concept is to combine traditional Puerto Rican ingredients with Japanese, Chinese influences, Thai, Spanish, Italian, French and Arabic.

How to take part: To participate, join via Instagram Live at @discoverpuertorico.

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Travel

British Airways makes big inflight changes amid coronavirus – continues reduced flights

British Airways has notified passengers expecting to travel in the coming weeks of changes to its onboard services, including the usual food service. The measures come in a bid to up the protection for both staff and passengers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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Many airlines are grounding flights, with BA’s owner IAG saying the airline would slash operations by 75 percent amid the crisis, although some routes will continue to run.

The Heathrow-based airline announced it would be seriously reducing its onboard food offering, encouraging travellers to bring their own food as supplies on board would be limited.

The usual hot meal service will be removed from all cabins, and passengers will be served “pre-packaged snack bags or boxes” which include sandwiches, crisps, and a snack.

Water will also be served in a plastic bottle, though “hydration rounds” will continue mid-flight as standard. The exact type of food on offer will depend on the route the passenger is travelling on.

A spokesperson for British Airways told Express.co.uk: “We have made temporary changes to our onboard catering, customers will be offered pre-prepared refreshments and drinks.”

Alcoholic beverages will no longer be available, the distribution of menus will be stopped and glassware and crockery will be replaced with disposable crockery.

The airline will also be halting its in-flight duty-free service, removing magazines and newspapers, and is unable to cater to special meals at this time.

Other drinks, such as juice and hot beverages will continue to be served.

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On short-haul flights, British Airways has decided to stop its buy onboard service and will instead offer hot beverages and a pre-packaged snack to all passengers.

This will no longer include its mid-flight ice cream service.

The news came following the announcement by the British government that a stringent lockdown would be in place across the country, severely limiting the movement of British residents.

Speaking in Downing Street, the PM said the only valid reasons for venturing outside were to buy food, carry out essential work or for medical reasons.

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One outdoor trip for exercise each day is also allowed but there should be no more than two people together in public, except for members of the same household.

In a statement to the public Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained why these draconian measures are so vital.

“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” he said.

“Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

“That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes – shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible, one form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household, any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.”

Elsewhere in the world, other international air carriers have taken measures to increase passenger safety.

Air Canada has announced it will no longer provide any meal service for Economy Class passengers and bottled water will be the only drink option available.

Meanwhile, Business Class passengers and all passengers on long-haul flights will receive pre-packaged foods.

Water, again, will be the only beverage option.

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Travel

Coronavirus: All cruise ships to Guernsey cancelled – but are they on lockdown?

All cruise ships to Guernsey have been cancelled until the end of April at the earliest due to the latest coronavirus travel measures. The first cruise ship of the season was the Fridtjof Nansen which was meant to have arrived on March 20. However, it was cancelled earlier in the month following the advice from Guernsey’s Public Health.

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Now, nine other cruise liners that would have docked in Guernsey in April have been cancelled.

Three others have also cancelled their visits in May, with many more expected to follow suit.

The largest marina facility in the British Isles, Guernsey Harbours said in a statement: “Due to the global outbreak of Covid-19, travel restrictions imposed by the States of Guernsey require all persons arriving in the Bailiwick from anywhere else in the world to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

“These restrictions mean that all cruise ship calls are currently cancelled until 30 April at the earliest.

“Some cruise operators have suspended operations past 30 April.”

P&O Britannia, which was the largest of all the cruises set to visit on April 18 with 4,000 people, has temporarily suspended all new cruise operations.

They said in a statement: “We shall be bringing our ships and all guests who are currently sailing back to Southampton and will constantly monitor the situation over the coming weeks.

“As ever, our priority remains the health and wellbeing of our guests and crew.

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“We wholeheartedly wish you well in the coming months and hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you on board with us again as soon as the situation has improved.”

The Channel Islands include Jersey and Guernsey and are in the English Channel of the French coast of Normandy.

Although not a part of the UK, the UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands.

Jersey’s Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham said that the small island nation could follow the UK and go into lockdown but hasn’t as of yet.

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In a tweet he said: “It is time for Jersey to follow UK.”

The most recent government advice in Jersey is to keep a distance of at last two metres between people.

People arriving from the UK have also been told they must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they are ill or not.

The borders on the Isle of Man closed to non-residents yesterday at 9am.

The Manx government confirmed on Twitter that all schools on the island would be closed by the end of March 23.

The small island between The United Kingdom and Ireland has had 13 confirmed cases so far.

However, the Isle of Man has not confirmed a full lockdown like that of the United Kingdom.

Guernsey has seen a rapid increase in coronavirus cases after 20 positive tests were recorded.

Guernsey’s most senior politician Gavin St Pier, president of the Policy and Resources Committee said yesterday that an island-wide lockdown is not the answer to covid-19.

According to Guernsey Press he said: “We have already understandably seen an increase in mental health issues in the last few weeks.

“Perversely, social distancing risks substantial social isolation and all that follows in terms of increased alcohol and drug dependency, depression and anxiety resulting in more suicide, self-harming, domestic violence and divorce.

“Social isolation will damage us all and potentially create a longer term social problem to add to our more immediate public health and economic problems.”

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Travel

Coronavirus: Package holiday refund rules to be suspended – will you get your money back?

Coronavirus has ruined holidays left, right and centre for many distraught Britons. Normally, those who book package holidays are refunded within two weeks if their trip is cancelled. However, travel industry bodies are saying that in the current global crisis, the Package Travel Regulations 2018 are not fit for purpose and will lead to the end of many otherwise successful travel businesses.

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Travel companies earning no revenue during this difficult time could be sent out of business if they are forced to hand back payments for cancelled holidays.

As a result, rules of package holiday refunds are being suspended.

On Friday, the European Commission updated its guidance on refunds for package holidays.

The European Commission is now encouraging customers to accept vouchers or credit notes – as long as the holidaymaker can eventually reclaim their money.

This guarantee must be backed by insolvency protection, with the above vouchers turned into IOUs backed by the state, reported The Independent.

This comes as transport secretary, Grant Shapps, promises to protect Britain’s travel industry.

Shapps is expected to agree to firms issuing credit notes which will enable the jet-setter to rebook a holiday within two years.

Holidaymakers who do not redeem the voucher will be able to claim the sum in cash.

If, before this is possible, the travel company goes bust, the government-backed Atol scheme will provide financial protection.

Travel trade association ABTA praised the development.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA, said on Friday: “ABTA has been in urgent talks with Government ministers and officials throughout the week, as well as working with European trade associations at a European government level, to progress the asks that we set out in our letter to the Prime Minister on Monday.

“Today, the European Commission updated its guidance on the Package Travel Directive (PTD) in relation to customer claims refunds.

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“It encourages customers to accept credit notes, as long as the customer is allowed to ask for a full refund, eventually, if he or she does not make use of the credit note towards a new booking.

“Crucially the Commission states that the credit note should be covered by appropriate insolvency protection.

“This is an extremely positive step and shows that the Commission recognises the strains being placed on tour operators due to Coronavirus.

“The Package Travel Directive is the legal framework on which the UK Package Travel Regulations are based, and we now need the UK Government to follow the European Commission’s lead and confirm a similar approach.

“This new guidance will give customers the essential assurance that they will either get a holiday or their money back, as well as providing a much needed helping hand to travel companies through these difficult and unprecedented times.”

However, until the rules definitively change, entitlement to a cash refund remains in place.

The news is likely to upset holidaymakers who were initially guaranteed a full refund if their holiday was axed.

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Travel

Flights: Why can I fly to the USA from the UK?

Flights have been seriously disrupted and most countries have issued travel advisories and outright bans to restrict the spread of coronavirus. Due to the measures implemented around the world, the airline industry has lost roughly £755bn ($880bn). So why can you still fly to the USA from the UK?

Donald Trump banned all travel from the UK to the US earlier this month.

Previously the US President had issued a travel ban from the Schengen area of the European Union, but later extended it to include the UK.

This move prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to advise against all but essential travel to the US.

The travel restrictions came into effect at 3.59pm GMT on March 17.

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Currently, the USA has the third-highest number of cases around the globe, with 26,892 confirmed cases.

Of these cases, 348 people have died, while 178 people have recovered, leaving 26,366 active cases, 1,612 of which are in a serious or critical condition.

The UK meanwhile has the 10th highest number of cases.

In total, there are 5,018 reported cases in the UK, of which 233 have died and 93 have recovered.

This means there are 4,692 active cases of which 20 are in a serious or critical condition.

The travel ban saw thousands of flights across the Atlantic cancelled, with several airlines affected.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice reads: “The US authorities announced on 14 March that travel restrictions imposed previously on Schengen zone countries would now be extended to the UK (and Ireland).

“From 23:59 Eastern Daylight Time on 16 March (03:59 GMT 17 March) it will not be possible for many British nationals to enter the USA.

“We therefore advise against all but essential travel to the US, due to the travel restrictions.”

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However, some travellers are still permitted access to the USA from the UK.

President Trump has suspended most flights from Europe to the USA for the next 30 days.

No one who has been in the UK in the last 14 days will be permitted into the USA.

But this ban does not apply to US citizens.

US citizens who have been in the UK in the last two weeks will still be allowed to travel to the USA.

However, they must use one of 13 airports, including:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia.

What will happen once you arrive?

When travellers arrive they will proceed to standard customs processing.

They will then continue to enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities.

Passengers will then be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices.

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Travel

Coronavirus flights: ‘No time to lose’ warns expert as Britons panic about getting home

Coronavirus has led to flights being cancelled left, right and centre and countries closing down their borders. This has left many Britons stuck abroad and unsure of how to get home. Travel expert Simon Calder shared his travel advice on BBC’s The Travel Show today for what he described as “the worst emergency that’s ever happened in travel.”

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Calder explained that the priority here is simply getting back to the UK, no matter the cost.

“It’s such an unusual situation, it’s more of a case of fly first, ask questions later,” said the travel guru.

He pointed out that many airlines are ignoring passenger rights rules, saying the situation is out of their control.

In short, get that flight and get home.

“Tf you know that the government of the country you’re in is banning international flights in two days time just get online and get a flight,” urged Calder.

“In extremis go to the airport and see what you can find.”

However, for those panicked about never getting back, Calder added: “Most people will be able to get out.”

If you are stranded, Calder continued “assume you won’t get any help from your airline, travel insurance company or embassy.”

“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.”

The problem with embassies, Calder elaborated, is that “they are simply not cut out for the situation of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of nationals, all being in the same situation of having to leave the country at top speed.

“The systems we have in place were never designed for the worst emergency that’s ever happened in travel.”

As for travel insurance, “Travel insurers are in unchartered territory,” said Calder, adding “their finances are under tremendous pressure.”

If your insurer is not paying out, despite the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advising against all but essential travel, and you have a valid claim, you can go to a financial ombudsman service.

However, “the insurance industry won’t be in a hurry to pay people out,” Calder cautioned, “this is going to cost billions.”

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Travel

Spain orders all hotels & tourist accommodation to close in the next 7 days in new ruling

The Ministry of Health, Spain, published the regulation late yesterday in an extraordinary Official State Gazette notice within the framework of the declaration of the State of Emergency declared on March 14th due to the impact of COVID-19. The new rule will affect all hotels and similar accommodation, tourist accommodation and other short-stay accommodation, camping sites, caravan parks and other similar establishments, located anywhere in the national territory. One report says 12.559 will be affected.

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The Executive says the closure of all these types of establishments should happen from the moment in which each of them “does not have clients to attend to and, in any case, within a maximum period of seven calendar days” from March 19th.

“Exceptionally, the provision of surveillance, security and maintenance services in these establishments is allowed,” states the rule.

Guests who were in long-stay accommodation establishments before the State of Emergency was declared will be able to stay provided they have their own infrastructure in their own living spaces.

These establishments will not be able to admit new clients until further orders.

“The concentration of people in tourist accommodation, which must share certain common spaces, implies an increased risk of contagion, which is why, given the situation of restriction in the mobility of people, it is necessary, to guarantee the containment of the pandemic, to proceed to suspend the opening of these establishments to the public, ” said the department.

The Autonomous Communities will be in charge of taking the necessary measures to comply with this new provision, which joins the closure of establishments not considered of primary necessity such as cafes, bars, cinemas, clubs or concert halls, among many others.

Some regions of Spain, including Benidorm, the Costa Blanca and Valencia, have already imposed self-regulation and more than 300 hotels will complete their closure by this weekend.

The hotel association for the region, Hosbec had criticised the Spanish Government for not including hotel cloures in the original State of Emergency, saying keeping hotels open was “clearly incompatible” with the present climate.

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The Madrid region is also seeing a wave of hotel closures, being one of the worst hit areas of Spain with 6,777 cases and 498 deaths.

Numerous hotels have been offered as make-shift hospitals.

Other closures in Spain have come at the initiative of the hotel chains themselves.

The spread of coronavirus has badly affected the tourism industry around the world, with flights, trains, and hotels all cancelling, reducing services and closing.

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Eurostar trains have slashed their planned timetable for the upcoming weeks following a lack of demand from passengers amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

The rail operator, which connects London St Pancras with France, Brussels and Amsterdam, is running just 10 trains on Friday. It would usually be operating 56.

The reduced timetable will continue for the coming weeks and customers are advised to check with the company website for further updates.

However, there are still trains running to all destinations and the usual terms and conditions apply.

A statement from Mike Cooper, CEO of Eurostar, was posted to the company website. He said: “On behalf of everyone at Eurostar, thank you for your understanding at a difficult time. The situation is changing by the hour, and both you – our customers – and our teams are facing unprecedented challenges.

“We’re working hard to maintain an essential service, keeping in mind that so many individuals, families and businesses are relying on us.

“We’re closely following advice from governments and health authorities in our destination countries. I’d like to personally reassure you that your health and wellbeing is our main priority.”

He continued: “We’ve also reduced our timetable over the coming weeks due to lower demand and will be in touch with anybody who is affected. We know this is a worrying time for everyone.”

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Cabin crew secrets: Packing this unlikely item could boost your inflight experience

Cabin crew have the all-important job of making sure plane passengers are safe for the duration of flights. It can often seem like a glamorous job but the reality is that it can often be a gruelling role. Flight attendants work anti-social hours and are frequently on their feet as they care for demanding passengers – all the while smiling and looking amenable.

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Consequently, it’s hardly surprising that cabin crew love it when passengers surprise them.

By bringing flight attendants small gifts you can brighten up their day.

What’s more, it might even put you in their good books for any perks.

There’s one unlikely present they really appreciate being given.

Travellers shared their own experiences with American travel website The Points Guy.

They revealed that cabin crew love to be given Starbucks gift cards.

This is because they can be cashed in at the famous coffee shops at most airports.

Furthermore, a caffeine fix can be just what they crave for morning flights or during a layover.

“Starbucks gift cards, lotion or room spray is what a flight attendant friend told me,” one jet-setter said.

“They appreciate it all. Starbucks cards are simple (to use) in most domestic airports, and you can get a bunch at Sam’s Club for a discount.

“I also do bags of Costco-sized Lindor truffles to give the flight crew. Never hurts to be nice.”

Another said: “I always have Starbucks gift cards with me, and I give them away when I receive outstanding service.”

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A third added: “I have a stack of Starbucks gift cards in my wallet for FAs. I’ve also brought individually wrapped chocolates for the crew.”

It isn’t just Starbucks cards and chocolates that flight attendants appreciate, though.

Something as simple as an old magazine can also brighten their day.“If you give us flight attendants your magazines, we will love you,” one cabin crew member admitted.

“Unless some airline has a policy that I’ve never heard of, they will gratefully accept them.

“Some might read them, some might offer them to other passengers, some might say no thanks. But you will always be highly regarded.”

Passengers should note that flight attendants are usually not allowed to accept cash tips from passengers.

Corey Cadwell, spokesperson for Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) told USA Today: “Passengers should not tip flight attendants because flight attendants should not accept tips.

“As professionals, as first responders, just like police and firefighters, a flight attendant’s first mission is to maintain the safety and security of passengers in the cabin.

“There are other ways that are much more beneficial when it comes to thanking them.”

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Travel

Martin Lewis: Will travel insurance pay out amid coronavirus holiday crisis? Expert advice

Coronavirus has affected the travel plans of a plethora of Britons. Flights have been cancelled and numerous countries have gone into lockdown. Consequently, holidays have taken a real battering – and many people are unsure of what’s coming next.

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Martin Lewis, 47, today advised the nation in his ITV programme The Martin Lewis Money Show.

One question worrying people is whether they should cancel holidays and whether travel insurance will pay out.

One woman called into the TV show to ask Martin about a holiday she had booked.

She explained she and her husband had booked to go to Dubai on May 30.

They had already paid a deposit of £250 but still had to pay the balance of £2,200 – and it’s due tomorrow.

The caller – who said she had travel insurance – wanted to know whether she should pay the full balance given the precarious situation.

Martin explained: “The trigger for paying out on travel insurance is when the FCO advises against travelling.”

The current FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) advise is very strict indeed.

The FCO explains online: “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide.

“This advice takes effect immediately and applies initially for a period of 30 days.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions.

“All countries may restrict travel without notice.” 

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So, Martin summarised: “Travel insurance will pay out but only until the 16th April.”

So what about holidays that are due to take place after this date?

“I strongly suspect it will be extended beyond that point but we don’t know exactly when it will be extended to,” said Martin.

He clarified that if the woman pays the money and the FCO advice isn’t extended and she chooses not to go they she will lose her money.

“If you are disinclined to travel you don’t get a payout,” he said.

“Talk to your travel insurance company and see what they say and see what the prediction would be,” the Money Saving Expert advised.

“You have to balance up what’s more important to you. Are you actually going to go?” Martin asked

“If you’re not going to go even if they don’t extend the advice I would take the hit and lose the money,” he said.

However, Martin added: “If you are going to go, then pay it.”

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