Categories
Transport

Southwest Airlines Extends 2020 Flight Schedule

Southwest Airlines is positioning itself to be the preferred airline among business travelers in the fourth quarter of this year.

The airline recently released its flight schedule through the end of the year and has added new routes into its program in an effort to make air travel easier for those having to travel for their profession.

“We’re rounding out our plan for this unprecedented year with our business travelers in mind with a fourth-quarter schedule that brings them new routes across the country. We’re also offering more flights for all of our customers in places such as Denver, Las Vegas, Nashville and Phoenix,” said Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer in a recent press release.

“We anticipate business travelers will hit the road with a heightened focus on costs, so we’re pairing unmatched schedules with our value and hospitality to welcome them back, whenever they’re ready to travel.”

New routes will include nonstop service from Austin to Long Beach; Long Beach to Phoenix; Nashville to Orange County/Santa Ana; Ontario, California to Houston (Hobby); Atlanta to Louisville and more.

The airline isn’t forgetting about its leisure travelers though.

It plans to reinstate service to popular vacation destinations like Cancun, Los Cabos, Havana, Montego Bay and Nassau beginning on July 1, 2020—although this is subject to change with the fluidity of this pandemic. And with all of their flights comes the ‘Southwest Promise,’ saying safety is their number one concern.

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Travel

The Holiday Guru answers traveller queries

From renewing travel insurance to rebooking cancelled Ryanair flights: The Holiday Guru answers traveller queries

The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.

This week issues tackled include getting refunds on ferry travel, renewing travel insurance, claiming money back from Tui and rebooking cancelled Ryanair flights.

Q. Our Isle of Wight holiday park cancelled our booking (and is offering a full refund). But Red Funnel, the ferry company, will only refund 50 per cent of our sailing costs and are withholding the rest for re-booking before December 31. After this, they say they will keep the cash. Can they do this?

Sharon Lee, via email.

One reader asks how she can claim a full refund for a ferry sailing to the Isle of Wight, pictured

A. Red Funnel changed its terms and conditions this year to allow customers to re-book for travel any time until the end of 2021, although bookings must be made before the end of this year. It has adopted this system because it is a ‘lifeline service’ for key workers on the island and requires revenue to maintain operations. 

Customers who have no prospect of future travel owing to health or financial reasons, can email [email protected] to request full refunds, supplying original booking numbers and supporting information. Responses will be provided within 28 days.

Q. I always buy multi-trip annual travel insurance and my current policy expires next month. I just rearranged a golf holiday in Portugal for next April. Is there any point in renewing the policy now?

Graham Yeoman, Cairneyhill, Dunfermline.

A No. With the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advising against non-essential travel at the moment, any policy would be invalid until that changes.

Q. Do you know why Tui/First Choice has deducted £50 from my refund for a coronavirus-cancelled trip in April?

Jacqueline Smith, via email.

A. Tui, which owns the tour operator First Choice, says that £50 of your booking was made with a card that has now expired — hence being ‘unable to immediately refund this amount’. The extra money will be returned within 14 days.

Q. Earlier this year we went on a Travelsphere trip to New Zealand that had a four-day add-on to the Cook Islands. This last part was cancelled due to coronavirus and we flew back from New Zealand after an extra four days there. We are seeking a refund for this lost Cook Islands holiday but have been told to use our travel insurance. Can you help?

Terry Lavey, via email.

Another reader asks if he can claim a refund for a cancelled trip to the Cook Islands, pictured 

A. Under the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) you are due a refund within 14 days. Travelsphere says it has been inundated with such requests due to the ‘unprecedented’ times and is about to get to yours. 

The repayment is due in the next two or three weeks. You should only have been asked to use travel insurance to cover the hotel for one of the extra nights in New Zealand. Under the PTRs (section 15), three nights are free.

Q. We have been given a voucher for a cancelled Ryanair flight. If we re-book, will we have to pay more if the future flight price has risen?

Amy Singer, via email.

A No. Ryanair says that when a flight is cancelled, customers can move to another one (different date but same route) for free.

Q. I booked a week’s Villa Plus holiday in Zakynthos in July, paying a £2,000 deposit. We are over 70, we did not pay the final balance of £3,000 three weeks ago owing to virus fears. Villa Plus cancelled my holiday but will not return the deposit. Can we recoup losses or defer till next year?

Richard Draycott, via email.

A. Tour operators are not legally obliged to refund deposits to customers who have a ‘disinclination to travel’. Ask the company if you can switch at least some of the deposit to a 2021 booking.

If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Please send them to [email protected] — and include your contact details.

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Categories
Cruises

How to visit Rome without leaving home

While lockdown restrictions may be easing across the world, travel to our favourite city break destinations remains far out of reach. The Foreign Office is still issuing a blanket ban on all overseas travel that isn’t deemed “essential”; those up for ignoring the advice are likely to face a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon their return.

But even from afar, the Eternal City shines bright. June is the perfect time to visit, whether in person or from the comfort of your living room. Rome’s abundantly plentiful cache of history, architectural delights and art can still be plundered via the wonder of the internet, while the currently spectacular British weather means you can almost make-believe you’re there if you whack on the Dean Martin and mix yourself an Aperol spritz.

Here’s the ultimate armchair travellers’ guide to Rome.

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What to do

Sistine Chapel

The great thing about doing a virtual tour of Michelangelo’s masterpiece rather than seeing it in the flesh is that you don’t have to spend several hours traipsing the entire length of the Vatican Museum, trudging shoulder-to-shoulder with grumpy, sweating strangers like a herd of cattle, in order to reach it. Even when you finally get there, you’re squished in like sardines and encouraged to move on as swiftly as possible by sharp-eyed stewards.

In the digital world, however, you are the only visitor – you can linger, take in the detail, zoom in on different parts that you like. And you can do it all while wearing a crop top and hot pants, something that’s certainly not encouraged at the real deal.

The Colosseum

If you’ve got an hour to spare, hop onboard a virtual walking tour of the Colosseum, kindly provided by Prowalk Tours. It starts right from the Metro station for the “authentic” experience, before taking in all four levels, including the arena floor and the underground “Hypogeum”. As well as giving you the chance to admire one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, it’s sort of lovely, too, to be transported back to a world in which thousands of strangers could merrily congregate in one place with zero concerns.

The Pantheon

There are several virtual tours, but for a peaceful experience of this former Roman temple, try the “360 VR Meditation” video: it allows you to explore the structure in 360-degrees from one vantage point, while including the gentle strains of tourists’ chatter (which somehow manage to sound like the sea), and the beautiful choral music from singers positioned inside at intervals throughout the video.

Trevi Fountain

To really pretend you’re in Rome, hang out by the Trevi Fountain in real time using its live webcam. It’s heartening to see a few visitors taking in the pale blue water, but astonishing compared to what this scene would usually look like in early summer.

You may not be able to throw in a coin right now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t return for real some day.

Local flavours

One big reason for going to Rome is to indulge in its culinary delights. Nonna Nerina, an 84-year-old Italian grandmother who lives just outside of Rome, usually runs “Handmade pasta with grandma” workshops with her granddaughter as one of Airbnb’s “experiences”.

But since the start of the pandemic, she’s been offering livestreamed online classes called “Nonna Live”, where participants receive a shopping list the week before, translated notes from Nonna Nerina, and wine pairings for each dish. Classes are two hours long and cost $50 (£40).

You can also learn to make the most classic of Roman dishes, pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpeas), on a virtual cooking class from Withlocals, costing from £13.65 a class.

Or get stuck in without a screen by snapping up a recipe book, such as Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient. It’s a showcase of modern dishes influenced by tradition, with each recipe acknowledging its origins while also exploring how it transitioned to the variations found today.

In terms of drinks, although strictly speaking it may be more Venetian than Roman, a spritz goes down nice and easy at this time of year. Check out blog The Roman Foodie for recipes of several variations.

Setting the scene

Where to begin? The Eternal City has served as inspiration for countless cultural offerings. But a good jumping off point is clearly Roman Holiday: this classic film sees Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn skipping around the city on a Vespa and falling in love with one another (while you fall in love with the scenery).

Fellini’s 1972 film Roma gives a different, less romantic but more fascinating view of the Italian capital. A semi-autobiographical story depicting director Federico Fellini’s move from Rimini to Rome, it features a series of loosely connected scenes that take place in the 1930s and 1970s.

For the true Roman experience, Gladiator lets you experience the empire in its heyday. A particular highlight is seeing the Colosseum as it would have looked in 180AD.

(There are also two separate but equally terrible-looking romcoms called When In Rome, one of which stars the Olsen twins. It’s safe to say you can probably give both a miss.)

Neatly ticking the boxes of “holiday read” and “being set in Rome (among other places)” Eat, Pray, Love is the bestselling account of writer Elizabeth Gilbert’s attempt to rediscover herself after a messy divorce, which has since been adapted into a film with Julia Roberts. The book’s best bit is undoubtedly the “Eat” section, where the protagonist learns Italian and imbibes all manner of delicious grub while wandering around Rome.

Soundtrack wise, does it get better than Dean Martin’s An Evening in Roma? It does not, my friend. Crank it up loud and proud. If classical music is more your style, mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli hails from Rome and has a decent set of pipes on her, to put it extremely mildly.

Bring it home

If you’re looking for authentic cuisine, check out myDelibox – an Italian online delicatessen where you can order famed Italian products at fairly reasonable prices.

Roman “Concept store” myzarstore sells fashion, accessories and jewellery in its online shop, as well as skincare products. And if that’s not enough concept for you, there’s also Dana Roma; located in a small church in central Rome, it combines art and fashion with a focus on brands that are “made in Italy”. Although part of the joy is undoubtedly going in and having a nose around, you can still click through from Dana’s site to find all the Italian-made labels they’ve curated for the best in local design.

Anything else?

If the weather continues to be fine, what really gives the vibe of being in Rome is authentic Italian gelato. Until your local ice cream place is open once more, you can buy Grom gelato from Waitose in pistachio, chocolate and coffee flavours for the astronomical price of £6.99. Gulp.

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Travel

Movie-loving couple travel the world to find secret filming locations

Couple travel the world to find real-life ‘secret’ filming locations of their favourite movies and TV shows – then recreate scenes with matching costumes and poses

  • Couple Robin Lachhein and Judith Schneider match TV and movie moments with real-life filming locations
  • Pair, from Germany, use matching costumes and poses to create the images, which are posted to Instagram
  • Scenes they’ve recreated are from films and shows including Forest Gump, La La Land and Downton Abbey 

In a blockbuster homage to the world of movies and TV, a couple has travelled to all four corners of the globe to recreate their favourite scenes.

Robin Lachhein and Judith Schneider, from Germany, have matched TV and movie moments with real-life filming locations – and replicated scenes using matching character outfits and poses.

They post images of their amazing recreations to their Instagram page, Secret Famous Places, which has amassed a following of more than 20,000 people.

Among the scenes they have recreated are the Utah section of the running montage from Forest Gump, featuring Tom Hanks; the dancing scene from La La Land in Griffith Park, Los Angeles; a scene from James Bond movie Skyfall in the Scottish Highlands and a moment from Downtown Abbey, shot at Highclere Castle in Hampshire.

Judith told MailOnline Travel: ‘Six years ago, we were deciding where to go on holiday and we decided it would be fun to go to filming locations. But rather than just go to them, we decided to recreate scenes to prove it was actually the right location. We didn’t really think it would work, but we just gave it a try and it worked better than we thought!’

Grab your popcorn and scroll down to see their amazing work…

A scene from Forest Gump, starring Tom Hanks, recreated in the real-life filming location of Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border

This scene from The Lord of the Rings was recreated by the pair next to Mount Sunday in New Zealand. Judith portrays the character Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Robin is Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen)

A scene from Game of Thrones featuring Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in the real-life filming location of Playa de Itzurun near Bilbao in Northern Spain 

Recreating another scene from Game of Thrones at Playa de Itzurun. This one featured Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jorah (Iain Glen) 

Recreating a famous scene from Game of Thrones featuring Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) at the real-life filming location of Gaztelugatxe – an islet off the coast of Northern Spain 

On a trip to Los Angeles, the couple found Cathy’s Corner in Griffith Park, pictured, a real-life filming location from the movie La La Land starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone 

The couple recreate a famous scene from the James Bond movie Skyfall, which features Bond played by Daniel Craig and Judi Dench as M. The real-life filming location is Glen Etive in the Scottish Highlands 

The couple recreate a scene from Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, at the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain in Grand Park, Los Angeles 

To recreate this scene featuring Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mr Big (Chris Noth) from the series finale of Sex and the City, the pair headed to the real-life filming location of Pont des Arts in Paris 

As the original Berlin metro station where The Hunger Games: Mockingjay was filmed was closed, Judith and Robin had to find a similar background to recreate this scene, featuring Jennifer Lawrence






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Inside the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art to recreate a scene from the movie No Strings Attached, starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman

The couple recreated this scene from the movie Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard, at the exact spot in Paris where the actors were filmed 

Judith poses outside the McGraw-Hill Building next to the Rockefeller Center in New York to recreate this scene featuring Anne Hathaway in the movie The Devil Wears Prada 

A scene from the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Ben Stiller, recreated by Robin in Seydisfjordur, Iceland 

This scene from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty recreates the moment the main character passes the Hótel Aldan in Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Inside the Redondo Beach Coffee Shop on the pier at Newport Beach in California and recreating a scene from hit TV show The O.C. This scene featured the characters Summer, played by Rachel Bilson, and Seth, portrayed by Adam Brody 

On a trip to New Zealand, the couple found a real-life filming location for Alien: Covenant in Milford Sound and recreated a scene from the movie

Recreating a scene from the action-adventure film 10,000 BC starring Steven Strait and Camilla Belle in Queenstown, New Zealand. The pair said this was the craziest film scene to replicate 

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge looms in the background of this shot, where Robin recreates a scene from Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd as the title character 

To replicate this Downton Abbey scene featuring Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Viscount Gillingham (Tom Cullen), the pair headed to the real-life filming location of Highclere Castle in Hampshire 

A scene from the 1963 classic film Charade at the real-life filming location next to the Pont au Double bridge in Paris, which is close to Notre Dame. In the film, this scene featured Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn 

The couple climbed to the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh to recreate a famous scene from the movie One Day, which stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess

While in Amsterdam, the couple found the exact spot to replicate a scene from the movie The Fault in Our Stars, which features Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort 

On a trip to Ireland, the pair ventured to the Wicklow Mountains to recreate this scene from the romantic comedy P.S I Love You, starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler 

Judith recreates a scene from the hit TV show Outlander, which features the actress Caitriona Balfe, in the Scottish town of Falkland in Fife 

Another scene from the TV show Outlander, with the couple standing in a street in the town of Falkland 

To recreate this scene from Outlander the couple travelled to the Devil’s Pulpit, a Scottish glen close to Stirling 

Recreating a scene from Thelma and Louise in the real-life filming location of Arches National Park in Utah. In this recreation, Judith takes the part of Louise, played by Susan Sarandon 

A scene from Star Wars movie Attack of the Clones featuring Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) at the real-life filming location of Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, Italy 

Recreating another scene featuring Anakin Skywalker from Attack of the Clones at Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como 

The pair travelled to Milan to recreate a scene from the movie The International starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, outside the city’s Central Station 

As a surprise for Judith’s birthday, Robin whisked her off to Enniskerry in Ireland where they recreated this scene from the movie Leap Year, starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode 

A scene from the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why featuring the characters Hannah and Zach recreated at the exact filming spot in San Francisco 

Recreating a scene from the nail-biting drama Homeland in the real-life filming location of Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. This scene featured the characters Carrie and Saul 

The couple ventured to Kaiserstadt Bad Ischl, Austria, to recreate this scene from the 1955 movie Sissi, about Empress Elisabeth of Austria

Recreating a scene from the Netflix show Elite – a Spanish thriller teen drama – in Collado Villalba, Madrid

A scene from the Spanish Netflix show Money Heist, which the couple recreated at the real-life filming location in the Spanish capital, Madrid 

Recreating another scene from the Netflix drama Money Heist at the real-life filming location of Torrelodones, near Madrid

Recreating a scene from German movie Keinohrhase at the filming location next to a huge lake in Potsdam, Germany 

Judith recreates a scene from the Netflix sci-fi drama Sense8, starring Tuppence Middleton as Riley Blue Gunnarsdóttir, in Reykjavík, Iceland 

To recreate this scene from German romantic comedy What A Man, the pair travelled to Frankfurt to find the exact filming spot on the Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge) 

The couple ventured to Ton Sai Beach in Krabi, Southern Thailand, to recreate this scene from famous German movie Fack Ju Göhte

A scene from the German TV show Beat recreated in the real-life filming location in central Berlin 

The couple recreated this scene from German teen drama Druck on Reichenberger Strasse in Berlin. The series is available on YouTube

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Transport

Key Takeaways From JD Power Airline Satisfaction Study

It’ll be imperative that airlines continue to be transparent and win travelers’ trust to be successful in a post-pandemic world, according to the J.D. Power 2020 North America Airline Satisfaction Study released on Wednesday.

The latest research shows that North American carriers entered 2020 with some of the highest customer satisfaction scores ever recorded before being undone by the COVID-19 crisis. Nonetheless, beloved budget carrier Southwest Airlines fared the best in terms of customer satisfaction for both long-haul—earning a score of 826 on a 1,000-point scale—and short-haul (839) flights.

JetBlue was a close second for both long-haul (823) and short-haul (833). Delta Air Lines (810) finished third for long-haul service while Alaska Airlines (828) rounded out the top three for short-haul flights.

The study also found that when it comes to customer perception of value for money, the industry average is 5.68 on a 7-point scale. However, the highest-performing airline rates an average of 6.33. This trend points to airlines’ waiving of change and cancellation fees being paramount for success in the months and perhaps years ahead.

Moving forward, travelers will likely lean toward airlines that inform them of their specific cleaning/sanitization efforts (38 percent) and those which provide daily updates on the state of the pandemic in their destination (37 percent).

Airlines also stand to benefit immensely from improving staff scores and nailing the basics, according to J.D. Power’s research, which finds that passenger satisfaction scores related to courtesy and friendliness of the crew and staff knowledge have been improving consistently in recent years.

What’s more, passengers most often choose an airline because it offers a direct flight to their destination (55 percent); they had a good experience in the past (47 percent) or they are a rewards program member (42 percent).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, price is the leading reason travelers don’t select their preferred airline (40 percent).

“Airline success in the post-COVID-19 era will hinge on a combination of building consumer confidence and operational flexibility with changing schedules and routes,” said Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power, in a statement. “Airlines have a tremendous reputation for safety. That will be even more critical as passengers look to airlines for detailed and specific information about what’s being done to keep them safe.”

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Destinations

Want a Free Flight to Las Vegas? Here's How to Sign Up

In an effort to help restore the tourism and airline industry within the U.S. after COVID-19 essentially halted all travel-related operations, Las Vegas CEO Derek Stevens is offering 1,000 free flights to the city with his ‘Keep America Flying’ promotion.

Stevens, who today announced the June 4 reopening of his downtown Las Vegas properties the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, felt the need to breathe life back into Sin City and remind the rest of the country that the fun and excitement in Vegas will continue to live on.

“As we begin to reopen our doors across the city, we are proud to help reinvigorate travel to Las Vegas while supporting airlines in America impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Stevens. “We can’t wait to safely bring visitors to the city and remind them why we’ve earned the title of ‘Entertainment Capital of the World.’ And while we’d love for visitors to stop by Downtown Las Vegas, we primarily want to get people back to Las Vegas to experience the attractions and amenities that make it one of the greatest places on Earth.”

Those interested can book a seat by signing up at theD.com. All available seats will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The 1,000 free one-way flights will operate out of more than 20 major U.S. cities and airports, including Appleton, Wisc. (ATW); Austin (AUS); Atlanta (ATL); Boise, Idaho (BOI); Chicago (ORD); Cincinnati (CVG); Dallas (DFW); Denver (DIA); Detroit (DTW); Knoxville, Tenn. (TYS); Louisville (SDF); Memphis, Tenn. (MEM); Milwaukee (MKE); Minneapolis (MSP); Oklahoma City (OKC); Omaha, Neb. (OMA); Phoenix (PHX); Portland, Ore. (PDX); San Diego (SAN); San Francisco (SFO); Seattle (SEA); Sioux Falls, S.D. (FSD); South Bend, Ind. (SBN); and Tulsa, Okla. (TUL).

Once registered, guests can choose from several airline options that include Allegiant, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Sun Country Airlines.

Participants must be at least 21 years of age and are responsible for their return flight home and hotel accommodations. If cancellation or rescheduling is needed, participants will also be responsible for any fees.

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Destinations

Miami Beach to Reopen Hotels and Beaches June 1

With summer just around the corner, many cities within the U.S. are hoping to reopen for tourists sooner rather than later.

Among them—Miami Beach. On Friday, city commissioners agreed to begin reopening hotels and beaches beginning June 1, reported the Associated Press.

Florida began phase one of their reopening mid-May, with barbershops, hair salons and retail shops allowing customers back in. The state erred on the cautious side in regards to restaurants, not allowing their reopening until two days after Memorial Day.

Officials agreed to delay the reopening until after the long holiday weekend in the hopes of avoiding the large crowds it usually brings.

“We have to exercise some measure of caution because there is a natural tension between crowds and physical distancing,” Miami Beach Mayor Gelber said. “How do you manage that in a pandemic? The answer is carefully. We know that Memorial Day is a traditional time for everybody to go to the beach and if we saw hundreds of thousands of people on our beaches, it would be a disaster.”

Many other beaches up and down the state’s coast will likely soon follow suit. May 26 saw the reopening of Broward County beaches, and the Florida Keys have announced their reopening beginning June 1.

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Travel

Japan rejects reports that it will pay half of visitors’ travel costs

The official Japan Tourism Agency has dismissed rumours that the government in Tokyo is contemplating paying half of overseas visitors’ travel costs.

Reports worldwide had claimed that Japan aimed to attract tourists from abroad by paying for half their air fares and living costs.

The story was that, to tackle an almost complete close down of international tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic, visits to Japan would be encouraged by subsidised flights and accommodation.

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But in a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, the Japan Tourism Agency refuted “reports by some news outlets that the Japanese government is considering a campaign to help foreign tourists visiting Japan by offering support for half of their travel expenses”.

The organisation said: “The ‘Go to Travel Campaign’ under consideration by the Japanese government is to stimulate domestic travel demand within Japan after the Covid-19 pandemic and only cover a portion of domestic travel expenses.”

A spokesperson for the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) in London said: “The Go to Travel campaign run by Japanese government and Japan Tourism Authority (JTA) is a non-JNTO campaign focused on revitalising the domestic tourism market.

“With the state of emergency lifted and new cases currently on the decline, Japan will be balancing safety and hygiene with getting people within Japan back to enjoying what their beautiful country has to offer.

“Currently, this means initiatives such as this will be aimed at people living in Japan only, and not overseas visitors. Support will be offered to cover a proportion of domestic travel expenses.”

The campaign to encourage domestic tourism is likely to be launched in late July or early August, the period when Tokyo was planning to host the 2020 Olympics.

Tourism accounts for seven per cent of the Japanese economy.

The finance ministry in the capital has proposed travel vouchers for a maximum of 20,000 yen (£150) per person.

Domestic transport, including the bullet-train network, is operating normally.

Since 3 April, entry to Japan has been denied to any non-Japanese nationals who has been to the UK in the last 14 days, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The normal visa-exemption agreement for UK visitors to Japan is currently suspended, and no tourist visas are being issued.

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Travel

Flights: Passengers ‘can’t change seats’ on planes amid stringent new airline rules

Airlines have had to implement new safety and sanitation measures to make customers feel more comfortable taking flights. Face masks, cleaning procedures and limited human contact are just some of the ways in which airlines are trying to give their customers peace of mind. And now, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that changing seats on a flight may be a thing of the past.

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  • British Airways: BA offers customers ‘generous’ Avios points refund

Economy-class passengers on flights that are not full were always able to move from assigned seats once take off had occurred and seatbelt lights had been switched off.

But now anyone trying to move seats could be issued a stern warning from cabin crew.

Even though there is likely to be extra space on board flights, passengers are assigned to their own place.

IATA has introduced the mandatory measures for when aviation restarts.

Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security, said confirmed the new changes.

He said: “Once you are in your seat, you can’t change any more.”

Seating records and passenger tracing mean that they will be able to trace passengers more easily, especially after they leave the plane.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said: “The prompt availability of passenger locator data is extremely important for the success and effectiveness of contact tracing operations in order for public health authorities to identify and notify people who were sitting in close proximity to an infected case and to give them advice accordingly.”

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IATA has also supported the wearing of face coverings for passengers and crew members while on board planes.

However, they do not support social distancing by leaving middle seats on planes empty.

They also said that evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on planes is relatively low.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO said passenger safety is key when people start flying again.

He said: “The safety of passengers and crew is paramount.

“The aviation industry is working with governments to re-start flying when this can be done safely.

“Evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on board aircraft is low. And we will take measures—such as the wearing of face coverings by passengers and masks by crew—to add extra layers of protection.

“We must arrive at a solution that gives passengers the confidence to fly and keeps the cost of flying affordable.

“One without the other will have no lasting benefit.”

Ryanair recently announced new safety measures for its flights which they hope will start from July 1.

Some of the procedures include checking in online, wearing a mask at all times, checking temperatures before flying and planes being cleaned regularly.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has previously criticised the Government for it’s implementation of a 14-day quarantine period for anyone flying into the UK from abroad.

The measures will be put in place from June 8 but will exclude those flying from Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

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Travel

British Airways is offering passengers the chance to switch flights for free to avoid UK quarantine

Finding fans of quarantine in the real world – as opposed to Planet Aviation – is easy. The government and the Labour Party are both in favour of 14 days of mandatory self-isolation for all travellers arriving in the UK.

The Home Office has calculated that 8 June 2020 is the optimum date for quarantine to be imposed, though it is fair to say that one or two people say the measure is about three months too late.

As the home secretary’s announcement has had the predictable effect of squashing forward flight bookings and plunging airlines into ever-deeper financial trouble, you will not be surprised that the aviation industry is opposed to new quarantine policies – especially for countries such as the UK, where thankfully Covid-19 is in decline.

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“It’s a major deterrent to air travel,” said Alexandre de Juniac, director general of the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

“Required systematic quarantine is not necessary.”

Since the UK has a vast and (previously) vibrant aviation industry, the economic damage will ripple beyond Britain. But as the government has presumably calculated, the impact will mainly be to weaken airlines including British Airways, easyJet, Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic.

“We will be guided by the science and the health of the public and the country will always come first, which is why we are implementing these restrictions at the border now,” said Priti Patel.

Oddly for a policy so important that it is worth wrecking an industry for, the UK’s quarantine has two huge loopholes.

One, which I do not condone, is the so-called Dublin dodge, involving briefly setting foot on Irish soil (or rather Dublin’s airport floor). But the other appears to be morally acceptable: arriving by midnight on 7 June. If the government did not want to travellers to sneak under the wire, surely it would have imposed quarantine with no notice.

As it is, British Airways is offering passengers a very generous “quarantine-avoidance waiver”.

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Airports empty as Coronavirus affects aviation industry






















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Airports empty as Coronavirus affects aviation industry

Anyone who flew from the UK on a return ticket, and is currently abroad with a return date of 8-28 June, can return early and circumvent the need to self-isolate for two weeks.

The choice of dates is highly significant. I imagine BA knows something I don’t, but I have already highlighted 29 June as the date when this ludicrous policy will come to an ignominious end.

It is the Monday earmarked for a “review” of quarantine. I predict that even though it is medically way too early to evaluate the effects of the self-isolation policy, it will in any event be declared to be a great success.

We all hope that infection and death rates continue to fall, and no doubt the government will partly credit its quarantine policy and say, roughly, thanks to our brilliance you are now able to go on holiday.

What’s left of the British aviation industry will pick itself up, dust itself down and do its very best to continue delivering outstandingly safe and good-value air travel. But I will continue to challenge what I regard as a thoroughly reckless and ineffectual policy.

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