More flight delays and cancellations on Wednesday
Extinction Rebellion protests trigger fuel crisis at Birmingham airport
How to avoid Easter travel chaos
Greek authorities have confirmed that domestic Covid passports will be scrapped and mask rules relaxed in time for the peak summer holiday season.
Minister of Health Thanos Plevris said that the requirement to show a Covid pass to enter bars, restaurants and other public venues would be withdrawn on May 1. From June 1, mask rules will be relaxed in most venues, with exceptions – likely to include healthcare settings – to be outlined at a later date.
He added that the removal of international entry requirements – currently Britons must show proof of either vaccination (including a booster if their second dose was administered more than 270 days before), recent recovery from Covid, or a negative test to visit Greece – are also under consideration.
Britons planning to visit Greece this summer will welcome the news. Many Telegraph Travel readers have expressed a reluctance to visit countries with strict Covid rules.
Scroll down for the latest updates.
Lunchtime read: The 10 commandments you must obey when ordering coffee in Italy
1. Milk in the morning
Thou shalt only drink cappuccino, caffé latte, latte macchiato or any milky form of coffee in the morning, and never after a meal. Italians cringe at the thought of all that hot milk hitting a full stomach. An American friend of mine who has lived in Rome for many years continues, knowingly, to break this rule. But she has learnt, at least, to apologise to the barman.
2. Keep in simple
Thou shalt not muck around with coffee. Requesting a mint frappuccino in Italy is like asking for a single malt whisky and lemonade with a swizzle stick in a Glasgow pub. There are but one or two regional exceptions to this rule that have met with the blessing of the general coffee synod. In Naples, thou mayst order un caffè alla nocciola – a frothy espresso with hazelnut cream. In Milan thou can impress the locals by asking for un marocchino, a sort of upside-down cappuccino, served in a small glass which is first sprinkled with cocoa powder, then hit with a blob of frothed milk, then spiked with a shot of espresso.
3. Never say ‘espresso’
Which reminds me, thou shalt not use the word espresso. This a technical term in Italian, not an everyday one. As espresso is the default setting and single the default dose, a single espresso is simply known as un caffè. And for pity’s sake, don’t say ‘expresso’ either.
The 20 best family holidays abroad for 2022
All this freedom, all this choice – it’s almost too much. The possibilities are limitless. Once again, all that colour and vitality, all those unfamiliar flavours and mind-expanding cultures. Empty red deserts and the deep blue sea; the fragrance of the far-flung; the untethered remoteness of islands. The heat and dust and remarkable wildlife encounters of Africa. North America, that drama queen of a continent, beckons with its supersized and diverse landscapes; Italy, our eternal amore, proves that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
Flybe relaunches with inaugural flight from Birmingham to Belfast
More routes are set to launch in the coming weeks, with services from Birmingham to Glasgow commencing tomorrow. The regional carrier, which is under new ownership after collapsing in March 2020, will eventually expand to a timetable of some 530 domestic and international flights each week.
Flybe Chief executive, Dave Pflieger, said: “Today is a big day for everyone at Flybe.
“After a year of incredibly hard work, we are thrilled to have our fast, quiet and fuel/CO2 efficient Dash 8-400 (Q400) aircraft back in the sky connecting customers to two of the UK’s premier regional cities.
“Over the coming weeks and months our flight schedule will further ramp up as we take delivery of additional aircraft and serve other new destinations from Birmingham including Amsterdam, Avignon, Brest, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.”
Why moving house could mean you are denied boarding on your next flight
We have to fill in far fewer forms to go on holiday today than we did six months ago, after countries have relaxed their Covid testing requirements and dropped passenger locator forms. But there is one enduring loophole that could throw your next holiday into disarray. I should know, because I almost fell foul of it myself just last week.
It was the day before my partner and I were due to travel to Almeria, in the south of Spain, and we were doing our final checks. I asked her when she received her booster shot – a question in the (since dropped) passenger locator form for Spain, which I was filling out for both of us. But when she loaded up her Covid Pass on the NHS app, it had been deactivated.
“There is a problem connecting to your GP surgery,” it read. The pass was nowhere to be seen.
The only way to reactivate the pass digitally was to send some photographic ID, which she promptly did, and then a message came through saying that the NHS app was checking the information, and that approval would come through within 24 hours or at busier times, longer.
New Zealand welcomes Australian visitors as border restrictions ease
Friends and families were pictured reuniting at Auckland airport after the first flight landed with those eagerly waiting in arrivals holding up signs stating “Hello & Kia Ora & G’day & Welcome”.
“This is the first step in welcoming international visitors back to our shores and we couldn’t be more excited for both New Zealand and Air New Zealand,” said Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty in a statement.
British tourists are set to be able to visit from May 1.
Holidaymakers urged to renew passports now or face missing summer holidays
The passport office has said it expects applications for renewals to rise dramatically ahead of the summer holidays, with travellers potentially waiting for 10 weeks for new documents – double the standard waiting time.
Passport director general, Abi Tierney, said: “Many people are leaving applying for a passport too late.”
“Summer holidays are fast approaching so if you need a new passport we urge you to apply now,” she added.
When will America ditch its Covid rules?
Tetra images RF
Some industry experts believe that demand for US holidays remains relatively low due to its insistence of persevering with strict testing rules. Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “I’m seeing destinations which continue to keep Covid testing measures in place lose traveller market share to other destinations.
“The US is not benefiting from the rebound in travel as much as other countries because of the continuing testing rules for entry. It’s now time to remove these excessive and costly rules and live with Covid as most other countries are. It would do wonders for bookings for the US.”
Which countries have scrapped masks?
Telegraph Travel counts at least 13 countries that have scrapped mask mandates, indoors and out.
Turkey (in most settings)
US (some states, eg. Florida)
Lessons must be learnt from Easter ‘travel shambles’, says Which?
Which? Travel editor Rory Boland has called for “lessons to be learnt from the travel shambles during the Easter holidays.”
Mr Boland said:
With many in the industry predicting a busy summer, the Government must work with airlines and airports to ensure they have the resources and capacity to handle increased passenger numbers, as there can be no excuse for a repeat of these failings.
Airlines wouldn’t be ignoring the law and their passengers’ rights if the aviation regulator had some teeth.
The Department for Transport can support consumers by equipping the Civil Aviation Authority with direct fining powers. It should also drop its plans to change compensation rules for UK flights which are an important deterrent against passengers being treated unfairly.
Could Greece’s Covid rules return in September?
Despite its lingering rules, Greece has experienced a significantly higher Covid case rate than the UK since the start of the year.
More flights axed as Easter travel chaos continues
So far at least 17 British Airways flights from Heathrow have been axed, including services to Paris, Rome and Amsterdam. EasyJet has scrapped a host of flights from Gatwick, while nearly all of its departures on Wednesday morning were delayed. Its CEO Johan Lundgren blamed Covid absences and problems clearing new crew to start work.
The ongoing chaos comes after one airport recruitment expert warned that staffing issues could continue to wreak havoc for at least a year.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Kully Sandhu, the managing director of Aviation Recruitment Network Limited, said: “My personal opinion, it is going to take at least the next 12 months for the industry vacancy-wise to settle down.”
More than 1,000 flights have been cancelled since the start of the Easter holidays and many of those managing to travel continue to face long queues at the UK’s major airports.
Every country in Europe will feel more expensive this summer – except one
According to the latest Holiday Money Report from the Post Office, published in March, the Turkish resort offers the lowest prices out of the 36 popular destinations that it surveyed. Its comparative shopping basket cost a total of £26.13, compared with, for example, £44.39 in the Algarve, £56.44 in Cyprus and £59.56 on the Costa del Sol. Head for Nice or Puglia, and you would have to pay about four times more than in Marmaris. It would likely be the same with a domestic break in the UK too (although it wasn’t included in the survey).
Extinction Rebellion protests trigger fuel crisis at Birmingham airport
Protests at the Kingsbury oil depot, where 29 people were arrested over the weekend, have led to jet fuel deliveries being held up in recent days.
Airport executives said that flights were “largely unaffected” as airlines were asked to land with extra fuel. Meanwhile, supplies were sourced from other depots instead.
Nevertheless, aviation bosses held crisis talks with government officials late last week amid fears that reserves could dry up across other airports across the UK.
“Just Stop Oil” demonstrations at fuel depots have already sparked fears of shortages on petrol forecourts.
Downing Street has condemned protestors for employing “guerilla tactics” such as chaining themselves to pipework. Labour has called for nationwide injunctions to allow deliveries to be made without disruption.
Is the worst of the Easter airport chaos over?
P&O Dover-Calais sailings restart doubtful before Easter
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said inspectors had found a “number of deficiencies” in The Spirit of Britain ship.
An MCA spokesperson said: “We have advised P&O to invite us back once they have addressed the issues. We do not know yet when this will be.”
EasyJet boss blames new crew security checks and Covid for cancellations and delays
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said the airline is waiting for the Department for Transport (DfT) to give permission for around 100 new members of staff to start work.
EasyJet has cancelled hundreds of flights in recent days, mainly on routes serving Gatwick Airport.
Mr Lundgren explained this is primarily due to high levels of covid-related staff absences but also blamed the time it is taking for the Government to vet new recruits.
He said: “There’s this delay of the clearance from the DfT (Department for Transport) for people to get their IDs.
“There’s a backlog there and we’re waiting currently for about 100 cabin crew to get their IDs.
“There’s a three-week delay on that. That has had an impact. If that would have been on time, we would have seen less cancellations.”
This demonstrates that the rise in coronavirus infections has “impacted basically the whole of the UK,“he added.
Which countries have scrapped all Covid travel restrictions?
These countries are following in the UK’s footsteps, with no travel restrictions of any kind – regardless of vaccination status. Just don’t forget your passport.
Transport Secretary warns of weekend of disruption
Grant Shapps has warned of travel disruption over Easter weekend, especially in Dover, and expressed “concern” over the operators’ staff shortages.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Transport Secretary said:
I think certainly this weekend will be extremely busy on our roads, potentially at our ports – of course, particularly at Dover, where P&O disgracefully sacked all of their staff and then attempted to run ships which wouldn’t have been safe with the replacement below minimum wage staff they tried to hire quickly – and we know that none of their ships are running at the moment.
So I do expect there to be disruption, with no thanks to P&O there.
I am very concerned that the operators – I’m talking about the airlines, the airports, the ports – do ensure that they get back to strength and quickly.
They lost a lot of people during the pandemic. We have been warning them for a long time that they would need to gear up again and I’m very keen to make sure that they do everything possible to manage what I realised will be – and always is in fact, the Easter weekend – a very busy weekend on our transport system.
British Airways tries to poach cabin crew with £1,000 ‘welcome bonus’
With airlines struggling to fill staff vacancies, the flag carrier has raised the stakes by advertising for cabin crew “with attestation and hold a current Heathrow or Stansted airside ID”.
The job description states: “For candidates who are successfully offered a role through this campaign, we’re offering a welcome bonus of £1,000 – paid in two instalments – £500 after your first three months, £500 after six months in role.”
Sources at rivals claimed this was an attempt by BA to poach their staff.
Majority of EasyJet flights from Gatwick delayed this morning
However, most have faced delays. Of the 27 EasyJet flights scheduled between 0600 and 0700, for example, just five left on time. The longest delay was faced by passengers on the 0615 departure to Zurich, which didn’t take off until 0735.
Full list of BA cancellations from Heathrow on Wednesday
Heathrow-Milan Linate 0715
Priti Patel was warned about Easter travel chaos a month ago
Airline chiefs told the Home Secretary in March that a lack of Border Force workers could spark massive passenger queues at terminals across Britain.
Airlines UK, the trade body for the likes of British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair, said last month in a leaked letter to Ms Patel that urgent action was needed to prevent mayhem as summer schedules began in April. The letter suggested that Border Force – which is responsible for immigration and customs checks – had also raised concerns internally.
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #travel #tours – original source here