Jun 21, 2016

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Expert opinion: Are hidden airline fees fair?

Expert opinion: Are hidden airline fees fair?

From charges to change your name on a booking to a fee to print out boarding passes, extra flight charges make us see red. But a crackdown might change this. In mid-June it was announced that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), who govern the UK airline industry on behalf of the UK Government, was launching an enquiry into whether the charges imposed by airlines for booking, changing details and administration fees are presented in an ‘open and clear way’. For years there has been growing customer resentment at the charges imposed by airlines with Michael O’Leary from Ryanair even challenging his passengers at one point to come up with new ways to charge for optional items on board his famous blue and yellow planes. Was the airline ever serious about charging £1 to use a toilet on board? Maybe not, but sky-high charges from airlines for items such as name changes, airport check-ins and lost boarding cards have caused enough anger to finally force action. The new Consumer Rights Act, which aims to protect us from unfair terms and conditions when we book, is being used as the guidance for the investigation. This legislation is there to protect consumers from being ripped off and to ensure that when you buy something, you really do understand what you are getting into – it’s all about transparency. Which charges will the enquiry look at? The investigation will concentrate on all costs passengers can incur over and above the ‘headline price’ of the ticket.  These include items such as: Name change fees Online or airport check-in fees Boarding pass re-issuing fees Administration fees to change a booking date or route Admin fees when refunding a booking. It’s also possible that the CAA may also look into items such as seat reservations, baggage costs and sports equipment fees, as well as on-board food and drink, although the full extent of the work is yet to be spelled out. How much can these extra charges cost? Some of the fees are eye-watering. If you need to change a name on a booking at the airport with Ryanair, for example, it will set you back a minimum of £160 while Monarch will take £50 off you for having hand luggage at the gate that is over the limit. Flybe will...

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Jun 21, 2016

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Revealed! How to do Salou with kids

Revealed! How to do Salou with kids

Salou on the Costa Dorada, 10km from Tarragona, is a brilliant destination to visit with kids, writes Catherine Cooper. The beaches are stunning, the average temperature in July is 25C and, by August, the average sea temperature is the same. Where to stay with kids There are plenty of family-friendly hotels in the town – many of which have entertainment laid on for both children and adults. One of the most popular is H10 Salauris Palace, close to the beach and bars, with a huge pool and the Daisy Club mini-club for children aged four to 12. Golden Avenida Suites  is also a good choice for families with older kids as each suite has two bedrooms – there are several pools including one for children with waterslides. There are also camping options galore with bungalows, mobile homes and traditional camping plots. For example, La Siesta  is in the heart of Salou, while Sanguli is just outside – both have pools, mini-clubs and entertainment for both adults and children. Compare hotels in Salou Where to eat with kids A lot of Salou’s restaurants are of the burger and chips variety, so if your kids like to eat familiar food, you won’t have any problems. However, there are traditional Spanish restaurants around if you look carefully, and tapas can be a good way to encourage kids to try something new without committing to an entire plate. The Little Hampton steakhouse (26 Carles Buigas; +34 977 35 43 51) is popular with families for its friendly service and great value meals from around €10 (around €7 for the children’s menu which includes a drink and ice cream). Kids will love the fabulous burgers but the steaks are the real showstopper here. The beachside Pizzeria Goretti (Paseo Jaime I; +34 977 38 02 24) also offers great tapas (from around €4 per plate) alongside pizzas and salads from around €10 . For authentic and inexpensive tapas, the Petit Bar (6 Plaça d’ Europa; +34 669 96 87 09) is one of the most popular in Salou and frequented by locals (book in advance) and offers very generously-portioned tapas. El Trasto Taberna (Autovia Salou Tarragona 6 Frente a la discoteca Flash Back; +34 977 35 12 24) is another of the more traditional tapas bars. Don’t be put off...

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Jun 13, 2016

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How to avoid the Euros completely

How to avoid the Euros completely

Red or blue. 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. City or United. Beautiful Game or over-paid men kicking a ball around – when it comes to division in sport, football cuts the world in half. Everyone has an opinion on the game. Some can’t live without it, others can’t stand the thought of watching 22 men run around for 90 minutes. If you fall into the latter category, you’ll probably want to avoid the 2016 UEFA European Championship (the Euros) completely,...

Jun 13, 2016

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Airline rules you must stick to or you’re grounded...

Airline rules you must stick to or you’re grounded

Last month easyJet announced a new rule for its passengers travelling from London Gatwick – their biggest base in Europe: fail to clear the entry barrier to the security area 30 minutes prior to your departure and you will be bumped from the flight. There are many rules that will cost you either your flight or a serious amount of cash if you don’t follow them when you fly. We round up five of the ways you could...

Jun 13, 2016

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Spectacular places around the world to watch outdoor films...

Spectacular places around the world to watch outdoor films

This summer, the Tower of London’s moat will be transformed into an open-air cinema, with blockbusters being shown on an enormous screen. Films will only be shown on three days in August, but if you can’t snap up a ticket, don’t worry, writes Tamara Hinson – just head to one of these spectacular outdoor cinemas, instead: Sail-In Cinema, Toronto, Canada There’s one thing we love more than a floating cinema, and it’s a floating screen which is free...

Jun 7, 2016

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Hand luggage tips

Hand luggage tips

When going away on a city break or a short trip, travelling with hand luggage only will not only save you time, it can also save you pounds on checking in your luggage, making your break even better value for money. However, you have to be careful not to fall foul of hand luggage size and weight restrictions. Here are the benefits of employing the hand-baggage-only technique and our top tips on how to make your journey as easy...

Jun 6, 2016

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Secret Spain: 10 unique ways to escape the tourist trail...

Secret Spain: 10 unique ways to escape the tourist trail

Just like the perfect sangria, travel in Spain is best served with a splash of variety, writes Anita Isalska. These Spanish secrets, from crowd-free beaches to gourmet getaways, are guaranteed to transform your holiday from memorable to magical. So grab your camera, some sunscreen, and leave enough suitcase space for wine bottles. Abandon yourself to the charms of these 10 lesser-known experiences in Spain: 1. Savour alternative tapas culture in Bilbao Consider yourself a tapas connoisseur? Let your...

Jun 6, 2016

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Don’t get the holiday blues! How to make a travel complaint...

Don’t get the holiday blues!  How to make a travel complaint

Investing money in holidays, whether on our big main getaway or just a weekend break recharge, is supposed to give us a wonderful care-free escape full of memorable experiences. Yet, on occasion, things do go wrong. But there are ways of dealing with unwanted situations which can rescue a holiday before it goes irrecoverably wrong. And there are ways to follow up your complaint back home in the UK. Follow these simple steps to get the right outcome for you....

Jun 6, 2016

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11 European beaches you must see before you die...

11 European beaches you must see before you die

Ah, the beach. The traditional focal point of many a holiday. Sweeping golden sands, fresh sea air and a chance to let all of life’s stresses melt away. But not all beaches were made equal. Some have been blessed with waters so clear, surroundings so dramatic, that they just aren’t like the others. It’s this kind of beach that we dream about at 8am on a rainy Monday morning: the idyllic spot of paradise where emails remain unread...

Jun 1, 2016

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Would you go on holiday without travel insurance?...

Would you go on holiday without travel insurance?

Travel insurance: it’s not the most exciting part of a holiday. In the end though, you buy a policy just to be on the safe side. Don’t you? Well, a massive 46% of Brits have taken the risk and travelled without insurance at some point, according to our latest research. And that’s not even the half of it! Men are the worst culprits, with 59% admitting they have travelled cover-free, while 40% of women have also taken the...