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UK And European Air Travel News Information And Advice For Travellers To From And Within Europe

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Stranded Passengers Have To Buy Plane’s Fuel To Get Home

Nov 17th 180 Passengers aboard a ‘Comtel Air’ ‘ Boeing 757 en route from Amritsar India to from Birminghan UK were asked by the plane’s cabin crew during a stopover at Vienna on November 16th to pay £23,000 towards the cost of refuelling the plane if they wanted to complete the final leg pf their journey to the Birmingham. They were also told they would have to pay the aircrafts £3,000 unpaid landing charges at Vienna airport before it would be allowed to take off. The passengers, who had alreafy been stranded Amritsar for three days iwairing for the aircraft, were stranded on board the plane for about 16 hours because the airport authorities refused to allow them to leave the plane until the outstandong landing chatges were paid.

Many passengers were escorted by airport security staff to ATM cash machines before the machines ran out of moiney. Others signed a series or personal guarantees IOU’s and 30 UK citizens were given assistance by the British Foreign and Commonwealh Office (FCO) in VIenna. . The plane finally took off for Birmingham late on Tuesday evening. Around 600 other passengersare believed to be stranded in India.

In a statement the FCO said “We have been, and remain, in touch with the relevant authorities including the airline for clarification on how British nationals due to fly in the coming days will be affected. = “Our current advice to anyone affected is to contact their tour operator, travel agent or the airline for further information and about possible alternative arrangements. We would also advise that they monitor our travel advice for India for any updates’.

Comtel Air which is based in Vienna introduced cheap flights from Birmingham International Airport to Amritsar via Vienna in October using ‘leased’ aircraft. The Austrian registered airline is outside the huriastriction of the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority. .A spokesperson for Birmingham Airport said the airline had been operating successfully to Amritsar, but it was concerned about the situation and was undertaking an investigation. .

Bhunpinder Kandra, director of passenger services for Comtel Air’s Passenger Services Director said: in a statement “I have heard what happened, it shouldn’t have happened, and I will investigate why it happened.. He also claimed that passengers woould recieve a full refund of any monies they paid during the Vienna stopover

Plane Without Landing Gear Crash Lands At Warsaw Airport

Video Courtsey of The Telegraph YouTube

November 1st A Boeing 767 owned by the Polish Airline ‘Lot’ with 230 passengers on board has made an emergency landing at Warsaw airport after its landing gear failed to open. .The olane which had taken off at Newark in the US circled Warsaw for over an hour to burn up up it’s fuel reserves before crashing landing on and sliding along the airports runway on its belly. . All the passengers on the plane where able to evacute the plane without inhury.

Prior to the landing the runway had been sprayed with special flame-retardant substances to miniise the risk of a fire breaking out from sparks as the plane slid down the runway. When theplane finally came to a halt fire crews hosed the aircraft with water and foam as a an aditiona; precaution.

Polish Presidential Plane Crash Report Blames Polish & Russian Authorities

Poland’s defence minister Minister Bogdan Klichhas has resigned after a new Polish report tput most of the blame for last year’s presidential plane crash on Polish officials and procedures. The report into Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash outside the Russian city of Smolensk on April 10th 2010 shocked Poland, killing 96 people including the country’s president Lech Kaczynsk, his wife and dozens of senior civil servants and military officials.

Thje reported cited a lack of proper cooperation amongst the crew who reacted overly slow reaction to an automatic terrain warning system that was warning warned the pilots they were flying too low.and said they had recieved insufficient training. However the new Polish report also claims Russian air traffic controllers gave incorrect landing instructions as the Tupolev 154 descended over Smolensk.and that the airports the runway was not properly illuminated.

An earlier Russian inquiry into the accident put all the full blame on the Poles, reawakening historical strains between the former Cold War allies.

Pilots Largely Responsible For 2009 Air France Atlantic Crash

A French Air Inquiry InvestigatIon into the July 2009 crash of Flight 447 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris into the south Atlantic Ocean killing 223 people has recommended additional training for all pilots. The inquiry into the Atlanticidentified found a string of unexplained pilot errors and unreliable equipment on board the plane. . The French air accident investigation agency recommends that mandatory training be given to pilot worldwide in how they should fly planes manually and cope with a high-altitude stall.

Investigators noted tht a junior pilot was left to deal cope with a tropical storm whilst his vastly more experienced captain on a break. Pierre-Cedric Bonin, 32, had clocked up 2,900 flying hours. Another pilot i37-year-old David Robert, with 6,500 hours flying eperience took over the controls one minute before the aircraft plunged into the sea. . The planes captain , Mr Marc Dubois, 58, had 11,000 hours behind him. Mr Dubois took more than a minute to respond to calls for help from David Robert,

The inquiry also found that though the Airspeed sensors on the A330 Airbus had malfunctioned the problem was resolvable but cited that the two juinor pilots in the flight deck were not able to deal with the high-altitude stall that occured..

New Poland – Ukraine Service As LOT Expansion Develops

The Polish Airline ;LOT has announced it will fly three flights Warsaw to Donetsk in the eastern Ukraine rom June 3. Donetsk is the country’s fourth-largest city in the country with a population of 1.6 million. The new route is part of LOTS strategy to expand in Eastern Europe and this service it anticipates will be be popular with transit passengers using Warswaw as a hun for onward journeys to other European destinations and the US.

BMI To Refurbish Short-Haul Flights

BMI (British Midland International) is to revamp its nine A319 and five A320 aircraft which make up it’s shorthaul fleet this summer. The project will include new carpets, new lighter seats, new curtains, new lighting and bul heads. The airline’s CEO, Wolfgang Prock-Schauersaid: “We are committed to improving our customers’ experience and continue to ensure that bmi is in a position to deliver a truly competitive product in the marketplace and improve the fleets performance. ”

European Low Fares Airlines Continue To Grow

The European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) is delighted to announce a 6.1% year-on-year increase in passenger numbers for 2010, in what was a very challenging year for the airline industry. .John Hanlon.Secretary General of ELFAA said “These strong figures further demonstrate that ELFAA low fare airlines are well on track to become the dominant force in in travel at a time when other airlines (a reference to nation flag carriers) are again falling back on Government handouts in the face of declining passenger numbers.

How To Beat Budget Airline Charges

Article by Sally Darby @ money.co.uk

With so-called ‘budget’ airlines clawing money back with a huge and seemingly unavoidable list of additional charges, we look at whether there is any way to get around paying these airline add-ons.

Of course it would be nice if the price of a flight ticket really did represent the actual cost of flying from A to B, but unfortunately this isn’t the way of the world (not yet, anyway).

This is particularly the case with budget airlines who need to recuperate the cost of selling such low-cost fares somehow.  More often than not your ticket is likely to be accompanied by a whole host of additional charges and fees that will ultimately bump up the price of your flight – making that £1 deal seem not so much of a bargain after all.

While some of these charges are largely unavoidable there are certainly ways around many of them – read on for our top tips.

Skirt Around The Booking Fee

Many flight tickets nowadays, particularly when booked online, will come with an obligatory booking fee (apparently to cover processing, administration costs and the like). This tends to be around £5 per person per flight so the costs quickly mount up, but there are ways to get around paying it at all if you pay with the right card.

The vast majority of ‘budget’ airlines won’t charge a booking fee to those who book with a Visa Electron debit card. So it’s well worth looking into getting either a Visa Electron prepaid card or a basic bank account that comes with a Visa Electron debit card so that you can book without the added cost.

Forego The Aadd-ons!

Rather sneakily, some budget airlines will automatically apply additional charges to your flight by default unless you specifically make sure to de-select the option.For example, some will automatically apply ‘priority boarding’ to your ticket costing you extra unless you make sure to un-tick the relevant box when booking.

Similarly if you pre-book a particular seat number with some airlines this will cost you extra, so it really isn’t worth doing unless you are particularly fussy about where in the cabin you’ll be seated – not to mention, the fact that pre-booked seats can even be over-ridden upon boarding by other passengers if the cabin is very busy.

Requesting a seat with extra leg room will too incur a separate charge so remember to decline this option when offered it if you are happy with a regular seat.

Most buget airlines will also charge you for checking luggage into the hold so only do this if you need to.  Instead, check the hand luggage restrictions and try to fit everything you’re taking into a bag you can take on the plane; this is likely to be more possible for short breaks than two week holidays unless you’re an expert in capsule packing.

Remember, if you do forgo hold luggage you’ll need to make sure you comply with the hand luggage liquid limits and find out how many pieces of hand luggage you’re able to take on.  It’s often the case that you can only carry on a single piece of luggage, so handbags and laptop cases will need to be squished in your bag too.

Check Flight Terms Rigorously

Before you even contemplate leaving for the airport, in fact before you even start packing, it’s vital to check the flight terms and conditions on the website of the budget airline you’re flying with.

These will include crucial points that may not have even crossed your mind, such as the liquid limit you are allowed to carry on board with you and the specific luggage dimensions your hold baggage and hand luggage will need to comply with.

Disobey these limits, and the penalties can be severe – you may find you’re charged extra, some of your items have to be discarded, or you may even be offloaded from the flight altogether without a refund.

As well as checking these maximum limits you should also check things such as:

  • whether you need to check-in before you get to the airport
  • whether you need to book in any luggage before you get to the airport
  • whether a boarding card needs to be printed off and presented upon boarding
  • whether any other specific details such as your passport number and its expiry date need to be entered on booking
  • whether you are able to pool your luggage allowance with your travel companions

Again, failing to comply with these sometimes unreasonably strict regulations will mean an additional and often steep charge.

Take Advantage Of Sales

One of the good things about budget airlines is that they frequently hold ‘sales’ on their tickets, dropping them temporarily to rock-bottom prices such as £5 or even 99p. When these come along it is worth taking advantage of them if they fit in with your travel plans as combining an extra-low fare with the tips above will ensure you get the best value flight possible.

However, it is always a good idea to go for the sales that include taxes and charges in their ticket prices otherwise you’ll find yourself unavoidably paying extra from the word go.

Planning your travel as much in advance as possible is also a good idea, as it means you can book your cheap flight well ahead of time and be ready for the flight sales when they do come

Editorial Note. This article was originally published on money.co.uk a very informative consumer orientated UK site covering a broad range of subjects which pulls few punches.

Cargo Bombs : Is It Safe To Travel By Air?

The recent discovery of explosives concealed in airline cargo poses the obvious question is it safe for passengers to travel by air ? The answer to that question is obviously not clear cut as it depends on who the carrier is and the country they are travelling from. Bearing in mind the that one of the devices discovered was transported on two passenger planes by Qatar Airlines in the Middle East many of us are entitled to be sceptical travelling with airlines based within in the region. This is not a criticism Qatar or any other line because they are not directly responsible for the scanning processes prior to the cargo being boarded. If you were travelling with Qatar from a European airport you would have little to worry about.

Within the EU The responsibly for the vetting of cargo is vested in the departure airport according to the directive EU 300. Standards under this legislation apply across the European Union and some members states such as Britain and Germany exceed the requirements of EU 300 by adding even more stringent security checks. The legislation does empower the airport to delegate the vetting and screening approved companies such as UPS or Fedex in that country. These regulations require that any cargo in transit on an outbound flight is scanned before it is despatched to the aircraft irrespective of any previous checks made on it.

An approved company has to have scanning equipment equivalent to the specification of the the equipment being used by the authorities at the departure airport. Approved companies would be at a great commercial disadvantage if they did not comply with regulations as without that status their operation would become logistically more difficult slower and more expensive. However who ever undertakes the scanning its effectiveness is dependent on the capability of the technology being used. The East Midlands Airport incident has highlighted that identifying cleverly concealed substances particularly PETN (a component of semtex) is not straight forward. Some analysts believe that the device found at East Midlands Airport was only found as the security services were operating on intelligence and new what they were looking for.

At present there is no doubt that that there is a risk of a cargo hold on a passenger plain containing an explosive device. Statically 60% of all air freight been sent abroad from the UK is transported in passenger planes. Over 50% of this freight leaves from London Heathrow. On a worldwide basis 15% of air freight is moved on passenger planes. However as this cargo in Europe, the UK and US is routinely scanned and the technology is constantly being improved the risks of travelling by air need to be rationalised.

Historically Al Qaeda have chosen to target planes serving a US destination. They are more likely to target a plane en route to New York from Frankfurt than the other way round as for them there is more prestige in attacking the US than any other country. However as the movement of cargo is logistically ‘fluid’ it would be impossible for a terrorist to target a specific flight. Even if he was able to determine a time for the device to explode it might be not be in a transit depot rather than the air at time. This is why the greater threat is posed by people such as the shoe bomber or underpants bomber.

If you accept that that Al Qaeda’s primary objective is to attack targets of an American flavour flying from Liverpool to Helsinki or Manchester to Prague does not fit the bill neither does flying from Madrid to Amsterdam. If your still worried avoid flying with American based airlines, national carriers such as British Airways who often major carriers of cargo. Book your ticket with an airline that does not move cargo such as easyJet or Ryanair

Avoiding national carriers might seem a bit harsh if your are a supporter of one but these are there airlines that often carry traditional post and small packages and on a world wide basis only 5% of these items are subject to scanning.

Is it safe to travel by air ? Obviously there are some risks but they depend on where you are travelling from where you are going and who you are going with. Terrorism will not win right?

Most People Are Not Easily Deterred From Flying

Cheap flight comparison site Skyscanner has revealed after interviewing 300 patrons of the site that 31% would not book a flight to a destination where a medical epidemic had prevailed within the last 12 months.. However those put of by an incident in the last three months such a f a terrorist attack would only be 21%, with civil unrest a close third at 21% citing a terrorist attack, 20%, civil unrest and 17%, a natural disaster.

European Airlines Seek Changes To Compensation Regulations

The Association of European Airlines, representing Europe’s many of europes carriers, has welcomed the statement of EU Commissioner Kallas at the Transport Council this week to investigate the financial consequences of the nine-day disruption caused by the Icelandic volcano by the end of June, which should also provide clarity about the uniform treatment of airlines and their customers. The Transport Ministers met in a special session to discuss the report of the European Commission’s High Level Task Force on the impact of the closure of most of European airspace. They noted the Task Force findings and propose a medium-term review of procedures. However, the outcome provided little encouragement for airlines, whose business was closed down for a week, and passengers, who were stranded throughout Europe and across the world.

AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus said : “The Task Force report, presented by Commission Vice-President Kallas, contains a wealth of worthwhile proposals. The Commission correctly identified shortcomings in the European decision-making process. As a consequence of the disproportionate closure of air space, passengers must have assurances that their costs will be covered. Airlines should be granted non-discriminatory and fair compensation for the damage they incurred. And those concerned must improve the procedures.” AEA welcomed the consensus amongst the EU Ministers to expedite the implementation of the Single European Sky programme to rationalise European airspace, and in doing so put in place a more effective crisis-management framework. And in the broader context, their commitment to develop an aviation policy ‘platform’ addresses the uncoordinated nature of European aviation regulation.

Mr Schulte-Strathausess added ”However the Transport Ministers failed to address the economic impact of the airspace closures and no directions were given on improvements to the current procedures. “An opportunity has been missed to provide Europe with the guidance and leadership we all require in determining how to compensate for the damage incurred. Lessons must be learned from the grounding of European aviation, and in future we must maintain our high levels of safety without giving rise to a breakdown of our infrastructure. Only then will Europe’s economy remain internationally competitive”.

New X Ray Scanner Will See Whats Under Through Your Clothes

Related Item: Scanners May Break Human Rights & UK Child Pornography Laws

The failed terrorist attack on the Detroit airliner is likely to increase the sales of controversial X-ray scanner which allows security staff to see through a persons clothes. These machines were not available at the airports used by the Detroit bomber. The all over body scanner which effectively ‘undresses those its scans ‘will reveal breast enlargements, body piercings, hip replacements and any items concealed in the clothes, attached or moulded to the to the body. The scanner will replace the need for ‘pat down’ body searches which some people are not comfortable with. The scans will be viewed by a security officer in a enclosed area from which he will be able to physically see the person passing through the scanner

The scanners which are known as ‘image technology’ cost around £80,000 each are manufactured by Rapiscan Systems who thought to be manufacturing up to 2,000 machines for the US Transport Security Agency who are responsible for security at American airports. In the UK the equipment is currently on trial at Terminal 2 Manchester Airport. Similar trial are underway in Europe. The machine has certified as safe by the National Radiological Protection Board who say that the 20,000 scans have radiation level equivalent to a single dental X-ray.

When Did Stansted, Luton Gatwick or Even Heathrow Get A London Postcode?

If you jumped on a train that said it was going to London, but it was actually bound for Oxford, you’d be pretty annoyed. And rightly so.  So how come they can get away with it when it comes to airports?

Travel search site has investigated the world of ambiguous airports, where the airport is actually nowhere near the city it claims to serve.

Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and director commented: “It’s easy to get caught out by flying to an airport that is miles away from where you want to be, especially if you’re not familiar with your destination, and that low price flight could easily be offset by the cost of a bus or taxi fare. Double check the airport location before your book, especially when flying on low-cost airlines.”

Some of the worst offenders:
  1. Munich West (Memmingen) – 70 miles (112km) from central Munich
  2. Oslo (Torp) – 68 miles (110km) from central Oslo
  3. Frankfurt (Hahn) – 68 miles (110km) from central Frankfurt.
  4. London (Oxford) – 60 miles (97km) from central London
  5. Stockholm  (Skavsta) – 59 miles (95km) from central  Stockholm
  6. Barcelona (Girona) – 58 miles (94km) from central  Barcelona
  7. Barcelona (Reus) – 58 miles (94km) from central Barcelona
  8. Paris (Beauvais ) – 55miles (88km) from central Paris
  9. Dusseldorf (Weeze) – 50 miles (80 km) from central Dusseldorf
  10. London (Stansted) – 40 miles (km)  from central London
  11. Tokyo (Narita) – 37 miles (60km) from central Tokyo
  12. Verona (Brescia) – 33 miles (53km) from central Verona
  13. Glasgow (Prestwick) – 32 miles (51km) from central Glasgow
  14. London (Luton) – 32 miles (51km) from central London
  15. Milan (Bergamo) – 31 miles (50km) from central Milan

UK Skyscanner 120 x 60

Euromost Airports Principal Information

Airport Flight Arrivals & Flight Departures Board: Euromost offers direct live & updated flight arrivals and flight departures information boards from the major airports in Central, Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. This information includes details on internal national flights from each airport and information on European & International short haul and long haul flights from these East European airports and cities.

Airport Website: In addition to the arrival and departures board links links there is at the top of each airport guide a link to the airport website. This can be used for general information on the respective airport including: access by road, public transport – serving rail bus and coach services, airport location, airport parking and airport hotels, airport shopping, duty free, facilities and services, airline and tour operators, Please note all plus all relevant airport telephone numbers can be found by through the Airport Home page link

Airport Code: The airport id (identification) code is given as many airlines and companies use this on their itinary and booking forms as well as for identifying receipted baggage.Airport Facilities: In each city airport guide we have noted the important facts about the airports facilities. Where a service is known to be especially good we will say so. Conversely where there are issues of concern such as the attitude of Ljubljana airport to blind people and those with special needs we will highlight them.

Airport Telephone Number: We have also published the main airport telephone number for visitors wanting information that is not available or unclear on the website. In an emergency this number would be your first option.

Local Airport Guide & Travel From The Airport: Each city guide is supported by a guide to its local airport with details of the airlines that fly there with the emphasis on low cost airlines offering cheap flights to the city. This local airport information includes links to the airport website, including the live flight arrivals and flight departures pages boards. We have detailed how to travel from the airport to the centre of the city on public transport. the distance and average journey time this involves. This information should be read by visitors flying to the airport as public transport connection to the city centre may be non existend, sparse or difficult. see Tirana. Equally some airlines will offer flights which suggest that another city is close by. For example Bratislava in Slovenia for Vienna. This is a 50 klm jouney with no direct transport available unless you are on a Ryanair flight. A potential nightmare in the late evening or during bad weather.It also has iInformation on services not to use ie the taxis at St Petersburg.

United Kingdom City & Local Airports Information
Departures, Arrivals & Websites Parking Hotels

The UK Airport flight information includes direct links to the current flight arrivals and flight departures for each airport and the airport home page. It also includes airport parking offers & airport hotel deals from compaNies & news from the airport. Link

 

 

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