BA strikes announced
Unite has announced a further set of strikes starting on Tuesday 18th May and lasting through to the 9th of June as part of the long running dispute over cabin crew working practices and pay. Whilst the strikes are not continuous, passengers will be disrupted throughout the period and British Airways has put into place plans to accommodate as many passengers as possible. Anyone holding a ticket to travel over the period should check the BA website for the latest info at www.ba.com. We have also updated our BA strike advice.
The strike period covers off both the bank holiday on 31st May as well as the half term holiday and the run up to the World Cup.
There are some hopes that last minute actions may call the strike off. The airline is to seek a High Court hearing on Monday 17th May to have the strike declared illegal, as it claims the union did not follow the correct procedures for the ballot. Separately, the new Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has intervened and called for the both parties to hold talks to resolve the dispute, an early indication that the new Government takes transport seriously. ACAS are also due to host talks on Monday between the two sides.
Ash cloud returns to halt UK air travel
After meetings today, advice has been issued stating that it is highly likely we will see shut downs of some part of UK air space this weekend as the Icelandic volcano continues to spew debris into the atmosphere. The prevailing winds are blowing the cloud south and airports in the Northern and Western half of the UK are likely to be affected first.
All passengers travelling by air should check with their airline and departure airport before travelling from home to be aware of the latest information. They should also consult their travel insurance policies. Read our full set of advice relating to ash disruption and your rights.
Thailand travel advice
There are still issues in travelling to Thailand with further escalation in the conflict in Bangkok. There have also been reports of other disturbances around the country making it unsafe for UK travellers. Travel to Bangkok remains a strict no go under the official advice and travellers should keep a close eye on the FCO website. The problems are far from being solved and the trouble may well continue for many weeks. Read our full set of Thailand protest travel advice.
Changes to air tax?
The new Con-Lib coalition has announced a series of areas they are going to tackle from a policy perspective in coming weeks. These include revising the current system of APD (Airline Passenger Duty) which sees all passengers departing from the UK paying a minimum of £11 per person and as high as £170 for premium cabins from November 2010. The tax was introduced in 2004, however has been constantly tweaked and increased since then and the cost is paid per passenger as an addition to the airline ticket price.
The new proposals would see the tax being scrapped and one being brought in to tax the aircraft itself, placing the tax on the airline. Inevitably this will be passed on to customers in some form, either through increased fares or new add ons to the booking process, however full details are yet to be published and therefore it is currently hard to see how customers will be affected. Watch this space.
Thomas Cook going back to court
Following interjections by the lawyers representing the deceased children in the Corfu manslaughter case, the two Thomas Cook reps face a re-trial after being cleared last week. The legal team claim that evidence was not fully used in court and therefore a trial should be held again to re-hear all of the evidence. New court dates are currently being waited on.
We've seen mega liners, now hear comes the mega ferry
Stena will introduce the latest mega ferry to the UK market this weekend with the launch of the Stena Britannica on the Harwich to Hook of Holland route. The new Superferry carries over 500 vehicles and over 1300 passengers with state of the art facilities, spacious cabins and a wide range of entertainment and food options. You can even place your dog in one of the 12 kennels on board. The ship is over 240 metres long and will be joined by a sister ship the Stena Hollandica later this year. For fares and availability check out our Stenna Line ferries page.