Those crazy Brits...Pay to pee rears its head again..."Fat fee" for Air France?
Busy day, folks. Still hard to believe Japan Airlines had to declare bankruptcy. Yes, things are improving. But there's still a long way to go for travel to get back on its feet.
In the meantime, here are a few reasons to make a trip to Great Britain this year. I got a list of some of the goofy festivals that will take place in GB this year, and some are pretty hilarious:
- The world coal carrying championships go April 5 in the village of Gawthorpe (great name), West Yorkshire. Men carry 50kg of coal over an uphill course more than a kilometre long, while ladies carry 20kg of coal.
- The annual nettle-eating contest is June 12-13 at The Bottle Inn in Dorest, with some 30 challengers trying to choke down the most nettles. Even better than the Star cafeteria, I bet.
- The world toe wrestling championhship runs at the Bentley Brook Inn pub in Derbyshire in August.
- The world snail racing championships are July 17 in Norfolk, where 300 snails "slug it out" for the title of Fastest Snail in the World. Which is kinda like George Carlin's joke about jumbo shrimp.
- Finally, the biggest liar in the world competition goes in November at the Bridge Inn in Cumbria. Actually, it's June in Sussex. No, really, it's March at the Abbey Road studios in London and Paul McCartney will judge with the help of Heather Mills.
Elsewhere on the Euro front, I spotted something where Ryanair is said to be once again floating (sorry for the graphic visual, folks) the idea of making people pay to use the loo on some of their flights. It seemed to be simply an attention-grabbing, fake-out of the press when it came up last year, but there are reports in The Irish Times that say the airline will "press ahead with plans to charge passengers to use its aircraft's toilets."
In a Bloomberg news report today, Ryanair officials are quoted as saying they'll have to raise prices for the first time in four years; likely on April 1. April Fool's Day - how good is that?
The toilet idea, of course, is absurd. But, hey, at least Transport Canada has told us we can take a carry-on bag (not just a personal item like a purse or knapsack but a REAL carry-on bag) on board flights to the U.S., starting yesterday, apparently.
I see also where TripAdvisor says The Rudding Park Hotel in Harrogate took honours in a travellers' poll on the UK's Best Hotel. The Charterhouse Hotel in Torquay was given the honor as the UK's Best Service Hotel. But there wasn't a single hotel in London that made it into the rankings for Top 25 hotels in the UK, which I find weird.
"With the Olympics just two years away, it's worrying not to see a single London hotel in the Top 25 UK list," said Alison Copus, TripAdvisory Europe marketing vice president. "Come 2012, all eyes will be on our capital city, and London hotels are clearly going to have to raise their game to make sure they provide world-class accomodation."
I had a lovely stay at Brown's Hotel in London a year ago. But I haven't stayed in nearly enough hotels in the UK to pass judgment on the TripAdvisor list.
I do, however, find it annoying that their UK web site, www.traveladvisor.co.ukappears to have lists of the top 25 hotels in Europe and in Spain, the UK, France, Italy and other places, and in the U.S. But nothing about Canada. So much for the Commonwealth, eh?
AIR FRANCE DENIES ATTACK ON CHUBBY PASSENGERS
Got a press release from Air France today to say that, contrary to reports in the press (they didn't say which publication they meant), they have "no intention of making corpulent passengers pay for a second seat."
The press release said they are, however, making a change to their policies as of Feb. 1, "which is to refund corpulent passengers the cost of a second seat in economy" if they have purchased one, providing Economy isn't fully booked. That seems to make sense.
The company says its has been offering corpulent passengers the possibility of buying a second seat on the airplane to ensure optimal comfort and safety, and that the second seat is sold at a 25 per cent discount.
But the information from Bloomberg news is entirely different. Their report today said Air France-KLM Group is standing by its policy of asking obese passengers to pay for a second seat.
"The airline will continue to charge outsize passengers for a second seat, with a 25 per cent price reduction," Bloomberg saidk quoting a Paris-based spokesman for Air France. "The only change is that the airline will begin refunding the second seats from Feb. 1 whenever the flights aren't full.
France's Secretary of State for the Family, Nadine Morano, had said the idea of making people pay for two seats was "shocking." But an Air France spokesman said that if an "extremely corpulent passenger can't fit into one seat and they don't want to pay for a second, then they can't fly."
So, guys, who's right here?
JIM'S DEALS OF THE DAY
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TURKEY PRICES ON THE RISE?
Turkey is one of those places that seems to make everyone's "hot list" these days. With a real east-meets-west feel, a long coastline and a great culinary tradition, it's a logical spot for tourists. They also use the lira instead of the Euro, which has made it a better option economically.
But I saw a report today on travelmole.com that said a new "Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer" - a table put out by the Royal Mail in the UK - reveals Turkey has dropped 14 places to 22nd out of 30 worldwide destinations in terms of cost. That makes it more expensive than Spain, the report said.
A spokeswoman was quoted as saying that their 2010 "shopping basket of eight tourist staples indicates that Turkey is now 68 per cent more expensive than Spain."
This is for folks visiting from the UK, so some of this has to do with valuation of the pound. It might, therefore, not be wholly appropriate for Canadians. But it's still interesting.
Top destinations for Brits looking to stretch their pounds? Jamaica, Egypt and Dubain, according to the Royal Mail.