It was photographed and the images forwarded to the Qatari immigration department for them to decide whether I should be allowed to board or not. Because, they explained, my passport was damaged. My passport is certainly scruffy, but not the UK Government’s definition of a damaged one.
Come 30 March, everything changes when it comes to travel, whether or not the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal. While much is uncertain, it is clear that in a no-deal scenario UK passport holders will need a minimum of six months left on their travel documents in order to visit much of Europe. To clarify matters, the government has launched a new tool to help British travellers find out if their passport will be valid after 29 March, the day the UK officially leaves the EU.
China plans to drastically cut the number of climbers allowed to take on Mount Everest in 2019 and limit the climbing season to spring, according to state media. The total number of climbers attempting to reach the summit from the north side will be capped at 300 this year, a third fewer than normal, as the country begins a large-scale clean-up of the world’s highest peak. Rubbish collected will include plastic bags, oxygen tanks, tents and cooking equipment, plus the bodies of climbers who died while more than 8,000m up the mountain.
More has emerged about the causes and consequences of the 16-hour grounding in northern Canada of a United Airlines flight from New York to Hong Kong. As The Independent revealed, Saturday’s United flight 179 was part-way into its journey across the Arctic when the flight crew decided to divert to Goose Bay, Labrador because of a medical emergency. The outside temperature was as low as –45C with wind chill, according to a warning from Environment Canada.
The man who jumped from the world’s biggest cruise ship has revealed he landed in shark-infested waters.
Commuters who use one of Tokyo’s most crowded subway lines outside morning peak hours are being rewarded with free noodles.
Hundreds of UK travel agents and tour operators could go out of business within three years, according to research commissioned by Radio 4’s consumer programme, You and Yours. The BBC programme asked the insolvency firm Opus Restructuring to analyse Company Watch data on the finances of almost 4,000 travel firms. The researchers calculated that one in three of the 2,584 travel agents analysed and 29 per cent of the 1,325 tour operators are in danger of folding within three years.
At the moment when 250 passengers and 15 crew aboard United Airlines flight 179 from New York should have been sound asleep in Hong Kong, they were beginning their 15th hour on board the plane stuck on the ground at a military airfield in the northern region of Labrador in sub-Arctic Canada. The Boeing 777 had taken off on schedule on Saturday afternoon from Newark for the 8,052-mile flight across the Arctic to Hong Kong. Initially the crew decided to return to Newark.
The number of travellers using public transport to get to key London airports has fallen between 2012 and 2016, according to a new report. The data, from transport consumer group London TravelWatch, shows that more people now either drive or get a taxi to catch a flight from Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton airports. The report, Way to go: Improving public transport access to London’s airports, shows that the share of passengers using public transport to get to Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton airports has fallen from 41 per cent, 44 per cent and 33 per cent respectively in 2012 to 39.1 per cent, 43.6 per cent and 31.4 per cent respectively four years later.
In case you haven’t noticed, it is a fairly horrible time to be a budget airline. The final discovery as I trawled through the details of the deal: Virgin Atlantic has been a “bona-fide potential offeror” for Flybe for a couple of months.
Special snow-busting trains will be deployed across the UK in a bid to minimise disruption for travellers during the cold weather. Arctic temperatures are set to sweep the country this weekend, which usually means widespread transport chaos. Network Rail will operate a winter fleet, complete with trains fitted with snowploughs able to clear eight inches of snow, as well as hot air blowers, steam jets, brushes, scrapers and anti-freeze to clear snow and ice from the train tracks.
The most important festival in the Chinese cultural calendar means that in mainland China alone, a mind-boggling three billion trips are made in the planet’s largest annual human migration. Here are eight (a lucky number seen everywhere at New Year) places to experience and celebrate the arrival of the year of the pig in true local style. There are few better places to welcome in Chinese New Year than Hong Kong.
You may not know Louisville, Kentucky. Two years after his death, the heavyweight boxer and humanitarian is to be celebrated through the name of the local Louisville Muhammad Ali International airport. Almost every US airport seems to be named after someone, though usually a local worthy like the 1930s New York police chief Fiorello La Guardia rather than a global statesman like John F Kennedy.
A passenger jumped from the 11th floor of the world’s largest cruise ship in an attempt to go viral on Instagram. American Nick Naydev, 27, jumped 30 metres from the 1,120-foot-long Royal Caribbean ship while friends filmed the stunt. The Symphony of the Seas ship was docked in Nassau, Bahamas, at the time.
Europe’s biggest budget airline has warned investors that its profits will be around €100m (£88m) lower than expected for the financial year that ends in March 2019. Ryanair operates a “price passive/load factor active” strategy, which means it will cut fares to whatever level is necessary to fill its planes – currently at a load factor of around 95 per cent. It has been selling seats from the UK for as little as £9.99, which means it takes an instant loss as it is required to pay £13 in air passenger duty.
Skellig Michael would need to cut visitor numbers by a third to meet Unesco recommendations, according to new figures. The monastic island 12km off the west coast of the Republic of Ireland attracted 16,792 tourists in 2018 – 5,692 more than the 11,000 advised by the world heritage organisation. Unesco has listed Skellig Michael as a World Heritage Site since 1996, but the heritage arm of the United Nations has strict stipulations if destinations want to hang onto their status.
A passenger flying from Russia from Bangkok had to be restrained with tape and belts when he refused to stop drinking. The man, flying on S7 flight 582 to the Russian city of Novosibirsk, had to be restrained by fellow passengers when the cabin crew were unable to subdue the 26-year-old. Later in the flight, a cabin crew member noticed him drinking alcohol and asked him to stop, the airline said.
Most passengers say that the worst part of the airport experience is the security checkpoint, in which travellers are temporarily transformed from valued customers to suspected international terrorists. The technology for “walk-through security scanning” developed by Cardiff University is derived from astronomy detection. In an airport context, hidden cameras using one-millimetre wavelength technology are installed to examine passengers from a range of angles.
Millions of British motorists have been warned that they will need a “Green Card” to drive in the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) today said that holidaymakers and businesses would need to organise the extra insurance documentation a month before taking their vehicle into Europe, if the UK crashes out of the EU on 29 March without a deal. The trade body also advised that drivers crossing from Northern Ireland into the Republic of Ireland would be required to carry this Green Card.
A Ryanair flight received a different kind of inflight entertainment when a passenger decided to serenade his fellow travellers. James Hazlett, a professional event singer from Drumkeerin in Ireland, stood up and sang a soulful, three-minute long rendition of John Legend’s "All Of Me" over the tannoy during the flight to Paris-Beauvais airport. “Stepping out of the comfort zone up in the sky for 2019 – Uzi my new flight attendant bestie didn’t think I’d go through with it,” Hazlett wrote in a Facebook post to accompany the video.
Wizz Air is urging its British customers to check whether their passports will still be valid for European travel after 29 March, when the UK leaves the EU. “We want you to have a smooth journey, so please check if your UK passport is still valid for Europe after 29 March 2019. Users need to input information such as date of travel, date of birth, destination and passport expiry date.