Saturday, 29 July 2017

Quick guide to Inflight WiFI

We did some research, not easy to find info as airlines are not ready to shout about not having WiFi

I did see a Mailonline article which gave me some insight Mailonline link

AirlineInflight WiFiNotes
Air EuropaYes**Some planes being rolled out
NorwegianYes**Not on Trans-Atlantic
British AirwaysNo
Monarch AirlinesNo
Thomas Cook AirlinesNo
Thomson AirlinesNo

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Quick guide to inflight drink costs

Inflight catering is a difficult item to compare, the airlines have different offerings and also some different currencies, so I did a little exercise in comparing 3 different objects from the bar, here is a quick comparison, Air Europa came out best

AirlineCup of Coffee18.7ml bottle of wineBottle of Still water£2.50£4.50£1.80£2.65£5.31£2.65Converted at £1= €1.13£2.80£4.50£1.80£2.60£4.50£1.80
British Airways£2.30£4.50£1.80£2.30£4.86£1.85Converted at £1= €1.13£2.21£4.421.77Converted at £1= €1.13

Saturday, 22 July 2017

UK Airports with direct rail links

southampton airport.
Southampton Airport.
With airport parking costing so much, it's a good idea if you can travel by train directly

airports with direct rail links are   (someone pointed out that we had left out Birmingham, apologies there,also pointed out Bristol Temple Meads is 8 miles from Bristol Airport with a rail link bus, little too far to include in the grid)

AirportJouney TimeFrom
Southampton60 MinutesClapham Junc & London WaterlooNational Rail
London Gatwick31 MinutesLondon VictoriaNational Rail
London Heathrow 15 MinutesLondon PaddingtonNational Rail
London Stansted47 MinutesLondon Liverpool StreetNational Rail
Manchester20 MinutesManchester PiccadillyNational Rail
Glasgow International32 MinutesGlasgow CentralNational Rail
Glasgow Prestwick49 MinutesGlasgow CentralNational Rail
Edinburgh Airport30 Minutes(by Tram)
Close not quite thereBus jouney from Station to Terminal
Luton Airport49 MinsLondon Kings CrossNational Rail
Birmingham Airport13MinsBirmingham New St to Bimingham IntlNational Rail
Liverpool Airport20 MinutesLiverpool Lime StreetNational Rail

Friday, 21 July 2017

Hand Luggage a quick comparison EU No Frills

European No Frills airlines, compare the different sizes, using Air Europa  is
Hand Luggage as opposed to hold baggage.
doing free hold baggage if booked before 30/7/17 with promocode: FREEKILOS

AirlineAllowanceMax. DimensionsMax. Weight
Aie Europa1 cabin bag22 x 14 x 10 in (55 x 35 x 25 cm).10kg
Aer Lingus1 cabin bag + 1 personal itemOverall dimension 115cm10kg
British Airways1 cabin bag + 1 handbag/laptop bagcabin bag: 56cm x 45cm x 25cm handbag/laptop bag: 45cm x 36cm x 20cm23kg per bag
easyJet1 cabin bag56cm x 45cm x 25cm inc. handles/wheelsNo weight restriction
Flybe1 cabin bag + 1 small personal item55cm x 35cm x 20cm10kg
Jet21 cabin bag + 1 personal item56cm x 45cm x 25cm10kg
Monarch1 cabin bag or 2 separate pieces of hand luggage56cm x 40cm x 25cm10kg
Norwegian1 cabin bag + 1 personal item55cm x 40cm x 23cm10kg
Ryanair1 cabin bag + 1 small bagcabin bag: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm small bag: 35cm x 20cm x 20cm10kg
Thomas Cook Airlines1 cabin bag + 1 personal item55cm x 40cm x 20cm6kg
Thomson Airways1 cabin bag55 x 40 x 20cm5kg
Vueling Airlines1 cabin bag + 1 smaller bagcabin bag: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm smaller bag: 35cm x 20cm x 20cm10kg
Wizz Air1 cabin bag42cm x 32cm x 25cm10kg
Valid as at 17/7/17

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

HS2 and why is it costing 15 x the cost of TGV per mile

Artish Impression of HS2.
The governments announcement of contractors for HS2 brings the issue of Infrastructure to forefront of public debate,

(1) Why 220mph and not 180Mph (As is TGV)?
Duplex double decker TGV.
(2) Are we allowing for Duplex trains like TGV (Eg are we building in the required head space of bridges)?
(3)  Why was this railway not about extra capacity but speed, which has dogged the project from the start?
(4) Why is HS2 costing 15 times the cost of TGV? well France has more space than the crowded UK, but 15 times the cost per mile?

I think the reason and it's typical of the Civil services approach to infrastructure projects, they make false assumptions and take wrong positions and then the Politicians don't ask the relevant questions at the concept stage. many politicians don't have practical experience in the working world, doesn't show!

Its a similar situation on Airports, we spend more money and time on lawyers rather than compensating residents for the inconvenience of new infrastructure,

Governments for the last 60 years have been trying to modernise the Civil Service, but they rely on the civil service to come up with the options.  One well known ex minister I speak to said to me that "the civil servants will come up with 3 options, two are suicidal and the third one is the one they you to choose"   It's a brave politician that goes against civil servants as they are soon briefed against via other politicians.

But of course the last closed shop is the legal profession, the one that Margaret Thatcher could not unravel, reason why?  half of politicians are either Lawyers or barristers.  As Sgt Fraser said in Dads Army "we are doomed"   to make the same mistakes over and over again!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Easy way to clear US Imigration

Aer Lingus aircraft, part of IAG group.
The IAG group (Owner of British Airways, Iberia & Vueling) take over of Aer Lingus last year was a stroke of genius by Willie Walsh CEO of IAG, with the continuing political snail pace of progress finding extra Runway capacity in the UK he saw a way of expansion by flying aircraft from the UK via hubs in Eire on to the USA.

Not many people know that Eire has for long had US immigration clearance on Irish soil, so US Immigration officers work in the Eire to clear Passengers, so the flight then becomes a domestic US flight from Eire onwards.  This is partly a hangover from the days when Shannon one of the last land points in Western Europe would have many European propeller aircraft stopping there as a refuel point before the long slog over the Atlantic to Gander in Newfoundland.

So if you fly via Shannon, Dublin and now Cork you can clear US immigration and save hours in long queues.   But recently Edinburgh has gained the same privileges and Norwegian using the new B737-800 Max have started to build a network of low cost flights to the US, they did have a loss leader launch of £49 oneway, but this was massively under cost and oversubscribed.

So if you want to fly from your regional airport, look at flights via Eire and save money, reduce stress and do things a little differently, a theme I keep harking back to 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Save on Insurance? I wouldn't recommend it , but ways to mitigate the risk for free

European Health Insurance Card.
I would not recommend anyone to skimp on insurance, but with many banks and credit cards throwing in a basic insurance policy excluding comprehensive medical expenses there is a way to do it

The Reciprocal health agreements with EU countries and others allow for your medical expenses to be paid for (Or Partly paid for) by the government of the country you are visiting with an ultimate claim back to the UK Government, eg Free medical care.  It is as if you were resident in the country and you will receive the medical care that any citizen would receive, pobiously some countries care systems are not as good as the UK's but some are better!

But you have to apply for a EHIC card  Government official Link , be careful that you go to carpetbagger sites that charge you this is free, so use that link,

If you want to play it 100% safe then can I suggest getting a quote from here Insurance Link  its particularly good for under 55's, but can do 55-65yrs as well, but I would still apply for the EHIC.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Save money on Airport parking

There are many suppliers on airport parking, On-Airport, Off Airport, Valet parking and park and, I have used them for at least 20 trips and have always had good service and no problems.So I can recommend them to you.

They are offering a 12% discount for July bookings (Any departure date)   PROMOCODE: JULY12

I would recommend the valet parking as it's so much more convenient to other methods and I find it hassle free dropping my car off at the terminal entrance,  to give you an idea of parking costs for 7 nights in late july 31/7/17 for Manchester I list the prices I was receiving at date of publication, this is before the 12% discount

Off Airport     £55
Meet & Greet £65
On Airport      £70

EU No Frills Airlines you may not be aware of!

S7 backers behind the Cyprus airlines re-launch.
Vueling, part of the IAG group and sister airline to British Airways, based in Spain, but flying much

Volotea, based in Palma Majorca, they fly from Southampton to Palma and Ibiza

Helvetic based in Zurich, they fly to Shannon , but also many other EU destinations ex Zurich

Norwegian, probably well known now, but they have a sizeable fleet ex Gatwick and fly as far a field as South America, North America and Thailand as well as many European Destinations

BlueAir a Romanian  carrier who fly from Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham and Luton to Romania destinations as well as direct to Cyprus from Luton

Cobalt Airlines from Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin to Larnaca  as well as onward to Iran

Cyprus Airways relaunched by Russian airline backers (S7 airlines) using Charlie Airlines (Huge fleet), they don't currently fly to the UK, but watch this space

AirEuropa  Madrid and palma carrier flying scheduled flights via the Madrid base to destinations over Spain  Also they have a partnership with  flying flights to the Canary islands at Christmas   Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow to Tenerife and Manchester to Arrecife (Lanzarote)  

Best place to get an overview of all airlines including and is via the best search airgine for fares

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

How to save money on inflight buy-on-board Catering

Airlines are now making Buy-on-board catering a profit centre in it's own right, with the increased security arrangements (no more than 100ml of liquid) this all plays into buying water whilst on board.

But you can purchase from 100ml reusable bottles  a 3 pack costs GB £3.16 that can be filled and re-filled with different liquids Squash, Fruit Juice etc here is the link  Amazon Link

Of course if your organised enough, then make yourself a packed lunch, but also if you are on a longish flight the one thing I would take is a travel pillow particularly if your on a red eye

This can also be purchased from Amazon at £12.99  Flight Pillow Link  or there is a cheaper solid bead for £3.95 from Ebay Ebay Link .  Finally kids get bored, you can purchase colouring books from a poundshop which will keep them quiet for a while :-)    Here is an article on how to get free water air-side and where to find fountains at airports Free water
£3.95 from Ebay.

Monday, 3 July 2017

How safe (Financially) are No Frills airlines

Don't forget financial protection on your next trip.
It's not widely known that No Frills airlines do not have any financial protection,  If an airline goes bust then you loose your money unless you paid by a Credit card to a UK based merchant provider where you will be covered by the 1973 Consumer credit act if your purchase was more than £100.

You can take out insurance SAFI (Scheduled Airline Financial Insurance)  which is in-expensive or may be included in your travel insurance policy cover.

In reality the likes of EasyJet, Ryanair and others who are large publicly quoted companies won't go bust, but smaller companies some based overseas are always at risk. in recent history a British No Frills company nearly went bust and had  the CAA intervening to ensure that solutions were put in place (EG extra working capital from new investors)

In the UK Tour Operators have to have ATOL licenses which means your travel arrangements are covered by the CAA and any repayments ultimately come from the Air Travel Trust Fund which is underwritten by the British Government.