Q After Singapore-New York re-established itself as the world’s longest air route, you wrote that London-Sydney nonstops would not start until 2022. Would they not be possible sooner? Kieran F A There is no technological reason why London and Sydney could not be connected right now. The distance between them is 10,561 miles – roughly 1,000 miles further than the the record-breaking link between Singapore and New York. The aircraft used for that trip is the A350-900 ULR (for “ultra-long-range”). Boeing’s aircraft with the longest reach is the 777-200LR (“long range”), which Qatar Airways uses for its 9,000-mile-plus link from Doha to Auckland. Flying beyond 10,000 miles and making London-Sydney into a single leap would be a straightforward task for either plane. The range can be extended simply by leaving the cargo holds empty except for passenger luggage. That might sound extreme. But carrying freight aboard ultra-long-haul flights makes … [Read more...] about Travel Question: Why can’t we fly to Sydney nonstop?
Questions about a deal to allow travellers to stay on public land in Nuneaton remain unanswered. Attempts have been made to find out more details about how and why travellers were told they could remain on a car park near to the boys club off Avenue Road at the end of last month. Cllr Barry Longden, cabinet member responsible for illegal encampments, claimed travellers had town hall bosses they would cause gridlock on the roads if they weren't allowed to stay. Faced with allowing the group to remain or seeing the town gridlocked, a deal was struck allowing the car park at the Boys' Club to remain occupied – but this agreement was then broken. Cllr Kris Wilson, leader of the Conservative group, posed a serious of questions to the council leader, Cllr Julie Jackson, about how the decision was made and what involvement she had it in. During an extraordinary full council meeting he asked: * At what point did the travellers contact this authority to set out their demands to stay? … [Read more...] about Nuneaton travellers: Questions unanswered on camp decision
Q We want to fly from Manchester to Rome in early December. When is the best time to book? I have been told to book as early as possible, to book four weeks ahead and two weeks ahead. Rosemary W A Airlines monitor sales and adjust prices constantly. They seek to fill each departure with as many passengers as they can, at the highest possible price. They are also watching competitors’ fares. But on this particular route in winter, Ryanair is in a strong position. It is the only airline that flies between Manchester and the Italian capital, with a single flight out of Manchester at 6.40am to Rome’s Ciampino Airport, returning at 10.45am. I have checked alternative airports – Liverpool, Leeds Bradford and Birmingham – and found no other direct flights. Therefore Ryanair should be able to apply the preferred pricing model. The fare gradually increases right up until departure, often with a bit of a surge at the end to take advantage of people who suddenly … [Read more...] about Travel Question: When should I book December flights?
Q I love my holidays but I wonder in what way Brexit will alter travel – by which I mean airport processes, customs, passports and costs? I spoke to a travel agent and they think there is nothing to worry about, and a frequent traveller acquaintance agrees. Yet I see occasional remarks within Facebook conversations saying “we’d best get a holiday in before Brexit”. I’m concerned. Is it unfounded? Joanna S A Almost 30 months after the referendum in which the UK voted to leave the European Union, anyone who says that there is no need to fret about post-Brexit travel is, frankly, deluded. I have closely followed everything that has been said on both sides – the EU and the UK – and can say that we have a few certainties, some very strong likelihoods and many unknowns. We know that every current British passport, and all those issued up to the day the UK leaves, will remain valid as British travel documents until their expiry date. Travel to … [Read more...] about Travel Question: How will Brexit affect travel?
Q We are flying from Heathrow to Sydney in November. When would be the best time to apply for and upgrade to premium economy? Michael H A Premium economy offers more legroom than economy class (typically an extra seven inches) and more elbow room, often with extra touches such as separate check-in and pre-flight champagne. So first calculate how much it is worth to you. For a journey of around 24 hours, I would pay an extra £200 for premium economy – though I imagine the airline will be planning on something closer to £500. See if you get offered anything particularly tempting between now and then, otherwise wait until the airport. Very often there will be an “on-the-day” offer which is a lot less than the amount you would pay in advance. Bear in mind that flying from a UK airport in anything other than basic economy doubles your liability for Air Passenger Duty (APD), so you would be paying an extra £78 to the chancellor for the … [Read more...] about Travel Question: When’s best to apply for upgrade?