Coronavirus holidays: Get your money back even without travel insurance using this tip

Holidaymakers across the world are now faced with cancelled travel plans as the world goes into an unprecedented lockdown to try and combat the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Countless airlines have pulled flights, meanwhile, hotel and tour activities have been slashed.

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In most instances, if you took out a travel insurance policy before the World Health Organisation named the coronavirus a pandemic, your insurance provider will continue to assist with coverage.

However, many travel insurance providers have been unable to sell new policies or offer coverage for coronavirus cancellations for anyone who invested in a policy after March 11, 2020.

When it comes to flights, airlines tend to be responsible for providing a refund if they cancel a flight.

However, should a traveller decide not to fly over coronavirus concerns, their flight operator is not responsible for this refund.

Experts from online bank Monzo offer an explanation on their website: “If something you’ve booked has been cancelled by the merchant you bought it from because of coronavirus, clarify the refund policy with them directly.

“Whenever you buy something, the merchant you bought it from will have a refund policy.

“In most cases, the refund policy will say what the merchant will do if they have to cancel the booking or event and if you can get your money back.”

They continue: “If you had plans to travel to a country that the government advised not to, you’ll probably need to cancel your trip.

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“Speak to the merchants you’ve got bookings with to find out their refund policy is and see if you can get your money back.

“If they don’t refund you, talk to your travel insurance provider if you have one.

“An insurance provider will also have a policy that explains if you’re entitled to a refund.”

There are some extraordinary circumstances amid the COVID-19 outbreak, however, that may temporarily amend refund policies.

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This includes for package holidays.

Travel companies earning no revenue amid the travel ban could be sent out of business if they are forced to hand back payments for cancelled holidays.

In a bit to stop this, the European Commission updated its guidance on refunds for package holidays.

Customers are now being encouraged to accept vouchers or credit notes – as long as the holidaymaker can eventually reclaim their money.

How to get a refund without travel insurance

For those not due to embark on a package holiday, there are ways holidaymakers can seek to get their money back even without a travel insurance policy in place.

This involved a chargeback and can be instigated by the monetary merchant you paid with.

“If the merchant doesn’t refund you and you don’t have any insurance or protection, your bank can look into creating a chargeback for you,” explains Monzo’s website.

“A chargeback is where your bank disputes a transaction you made with the merchant, to try and get your money back.”

It is vital you tell the bank what you paid for, why the merchant won’t refund you and what the terms and conditions of the purchase were.

This method has also been cited by Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis in the past as a useful way to get your money back.

Though this is not legal protection, it is a process which works for Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Mr Lewis explains: “It tends to be the quickest way of getting your money back – effectively you’re disputing the transaction as you’ve paid for something you’ve not received.”

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The top 10 ‘must visit’ natural beauty spots in Europe

The year so far has been nothing but cold, wet and windy and because of this many of us have taken to scrolling holiday sites on our lunch breaks looking for somewhere more beautiful to travel to.

Luckily, you don’t have to spend a fortune flying to the Maldives or Hawaii for some of the world’s most stunning natural landscapes – you can find all of that in Europe.

Foreign exchange experts Eurochange analysed popular review site TripAdvisor’s data to find out the top 10 “must-visit” natural beauty spots in Europe so that you know exactly where to fly, drive or sail to this spring.

The research looked at the number of reviews, average review score and number of five star reviews for the European attractions listed on the site to figure out where we should be visiting.

Here are their findings…

1. Plitvice National Park, Croatia

The number one attraction for nature-lovers in Europe was in Croatia in Southeast Europe.

The Plitvice National Park is a huge 295 square kilometres of forest which is well known for its lakes and waterfalls.

The terraces on the 16 lakes give tourists an incredible view across the park and towards the limestone canyon where its waterfalls descend.

2. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

In second place comes Iceland’s Blue Lagoon.

This geothermal spa sits above Grindavik on the Rekjanes Peninsula and the large hot water lake is stunning as well as relaxing.

The black volcanic lava field and milky white water make for a naturally instagrammable environment – and you can make use of the free clay masks to improve your skin.

If you can afford it, then you should stay at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon – a stunning spa hotel with access to a private section of the lagoon as well as a Northern Lights watch, sunrise yoga and great food.

If not, just visit for the day, but nip over to the Old Bryggjan Grindavik Cafe at the nearby harbour for the best Lobster Bisque in Iceland.

3. The Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands

The Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse are the biggest flower gardens in the world and help to promote the Dutch flower industry.

The huge arrays of colourful blooms are stunning to see and are sure to cheer up anybody who is trying to leave behind the winter blues.

Wandering around the gardens will make you feel as though you’ve just stepped into a rainbow.

if you’re looking for somewhere to eat nearby, try Het Tussenstation Lisse – they serve an excellent continental breakfast and tasty cakes for the weary traveller.

4. Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland

A lesser known attraction, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, near Kraków in Poland came in fourth.

Since Neolithic times salt has been produced here due to upwelling brine, from the 13th century until 2007 table salt was mined there.

Due to its long history, the mine is full of labyrinthine passageways ad shafts, an underground lake, for chapels, statues carved by both miners and artists and several chandeliers.

The stunning attraction is a mix between raw, natural beauty and creative human intervention.

Gorgeous.

5. Mount Etna, Sicily

This active volcano sits on the east coast of Sicily, in the city of Catania.

It is the most active volcano in Europe and the oldest recorded active volcano in the world.

The juxtaposition between sitting on an Italian beach looking up at the volcano and then driving up into snow is a magnificent experience.

While the air temperature in December at the top of the volcano can dip below 0 degrees, the earth at the top of the volcano will feel hot to the touch.

Sometimes sections of the summit are off-limits as they send out jets of lava – earth-shakingly cool.

6. Lake Geneva, Switzerland

Lake Geneva in Switzerland actually shares it’s banks with France.

As one of the largest lakes in Western Europe, its size is sometimes unexpected – but, on a sunny day the water of Lake Geneva is an eery pale blue surrounded by snow-capped mountains, wildflowers and ancient castles.

Lac Léman as it is also known, was well-known as a place which inspired the poetry of Lord Byron and its beauty leaves little question as to why.

7. Etretat Cliffs, France

The Etretat Cliffs in France are chalk cliffs which feature three beautiful natural arches and a pointed formation – the Needle – which rises 70 metres up from the sea.

The blue water, white cliffs and lush green tips of the cliffs can be seen from the beaches and are a naturally stunning sight.

We would recommend a picnic of French bread, cheeses, preserves and pate on the beach, or some local seafood if you can find it.

8. Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Putting Iceland in the top 10 twice for natural beauty hotspots is Jökulsárlón – a large glacial lagoon next to the Vatnajökull National Park in Southeastern Iceland.

The lagoon is covered in blue-white frozen glaciers and small icebergs which give it the nickname “diamond beach”.

Wrap up warm for this one an hold your breath that you'll see the Aurora Borealis on your drive home.

9. The Matterhorn, Switzerland

A second mention for Switzerland is attributed to one of its most-famous peaks which also straddles Italy.

The Matterhorn is a mountain in the alps, well-known because of its incredibly high summit of 4478 metres and its distinct shape.

The near symmetrical appearance of this pyramidical peak lends it a spectral beauty as it looms above the surrounding glaciers, though on a sunny day when the sky is blue it's far more cheerful looking.

Interestingly, the first ascent of the mountain in 1865 ended in tragedy when four of the seven climbers fell to their deaths meaning that you'd be right to worry about climbing it.

The peak is credited with ending the golden age of alpinism because of the incident, so make sure you don't try to climb it without proper training and instruction.

Over 500 climbers are thought to have died climbing The Matterhorn and its most dangerous face was only successfully scaled in 1962.

10. Vintgar Gorge, Serbia

Vintgar Gorge, also known as the Bled Gorge, is a huge valley in Serbia.

The wooden walkway attached to the walls of the gorge allows you to stroll along and view the glittering blue-green water which flows within the gorge.

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The water is made up of the Radovna River and the waterfalls and white water create a beautiful vision which will help you shrug off the cold winter months.

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Real ID rollout postponed coronavirus

President Trump on Monday said he will extend the Real ID
deadline due to the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis and the need for social
distance. 

The deadline had been Oct. 1 for domestic airline passengers
to secure a Real ID driver’s license for use as identification at the airport. No
new implementation date has been set.

“We’re postponing the deadline for compliance with Real ID
requirements,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House. “At a
time when we’re asking Americans to maintain social distance, we do not want to
require people to go to their local DMV. We will be announcing the new deadline
very soon.”

The U.S. Travel Association, which has long warned that the
Oct. 1 deadline would leave many Americans unable to fly, applauded the delay
in implementation. 

U.S. Travel CEO Roger Dow said, “The already difficult task
of bringing the country closer to Real ID compliance is now clearly impossible
due to the coronavirus crisis.” 

Dow added, “We’ve asked the Department of Homeland Security
that the delay of the Real ID enforcement deadline remain in place until the
current economic environment improves and DHS can certify that access to air
travel will not be negatively impacted after Real ID enforcement begins.”

Real ID driver’s licenses must meet security standards laid
out in the Real ID Act of 2005. More data is required for the issuance of Real IDs, and compliant
IDs are to have security features intended to prevent tampering or
counterfeiting.

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British passports: What to do if you need a new passport during coronavirus travel ban

This week Boris Johnson announced a huge lockdown on the UK which permitted people to only travel if “essential”. The stringent new measures urged people to remain indoors and only venture out to buy food, carry out “essential” work or for a medical reason. However, covid-19 has not only impacted Britons’ daily lives but their holiday plans too.

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The latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FC) in response to the coronavirus pandemic is advising British nationals against all but essential international travel.

The latest advice reads: “Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

“If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available.

“Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”

Many Britons are now scrambling to re-book their summer holiday flights as some airlines still refuse to accept cancellations.

But as holidays are now delayed, some people’s passports are set to expire leaving many wondering whether they can still apply for a British passport.

Well, the answer is yes, British citizens can still buy a passport despite the ongoing coronavirus.

A spokesman from the Home Office said that flight cancellations and the latest travel advice from the FCO does not impact on people applying for a passport.

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He added: “But there might be delays in processing.”

The government website says that it costs £75.50 to renew or replace a passport if you apply online or £85 if you fill out a paper form.

It should take three weeks but it may take longer.

If you need a passport urgently then you need to book an appointment at the passport office and pay online.

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However, British nationals abroad who need to apply for a passport won’t be able to apply for one if the country’s visa application centre (VAC) is closed.

But an emergency travel document or an “emergency passport” can be purchased if need be.

These can be bought if you’re abroad, need to travel and cannot get a passport in time.

Those who have never had a British passport and are abroad cannot apply for an emergency one.

There have so far been 440,386 cases of coronavirus worldwide with 112,036 of those recovering.

Globally, just under 20,000 people have died since the outbreak began back in December.

The UK has 8,227 cases and 433 deaths.

Italy is still the world’s epicentre, having had the most deaths and catching up to China with its total number of cases.

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Ryanair update: All commercial flights cancelled until June – when can Britons travel?

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has announced that the budget airline will be cutting all commercial flights until at least June. Following the decision to ground all flight from March 24, the Irish-based carrier announced the move would last for the duration of April and May.

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The news came following the decision by the British government to enforce a stringent lockdown across the UK, imploring the nation to stay at home unless absolutely vital.

Though may airlines continue to operate “rescue flights” to bring Britons home, Ryanair is just the latest in a series of British carriers to put a halt to their usual service.

In a statement, Mr O’Leary explained: “Over the past few days, the spread of the Covid-19 Virus has transformed the lives of people all over Europe and the World.

“Across Europe, Governments have imposed unprecedented restrictions on citizen movement, starting with flight bans which have closed Europe’s skies to all but a tiny number of repatriation/rescue flights.

“We apologise sincerely for these disruptions which were necessary, and unavoidable, to help EU Governments limit the spread of Covid-19 to protect our citizens.”

Though the airline will continue to operate essential flights “for the movement of vital medicines, personal protective equipment, and if necessary, emergency food supplies” as well as those dedicated to bringing people home, the carrier will no longer be jetting Britons off on holidays.

Mr O’Leary explained that there is a protocol in place to help protect passengers who are faced with cancellations.

He said: “Any passenger whose flight has been cancelled as a result of these Government shutdowns, will over the next week or two, receive an email outlining their options.

“At the same time as we are dealing with unprecedented numbers of flight bans, we have had to reduce office staff by 50 percent for social distancing reasons and we ask customers to be patient and bear with us; you will receive email communications in due course.

“Please do not call our phone lines as the reduced staffing will be unable to accommodate anything but the most urgent of cases, which over the coming days, will be rescue flights.”

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When can Britons fly again?

Little is known for sure about how long the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown measures will last.

Countries around the world have varying levels of national and border lockdowns in place.

In the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggests that the initial stringent measures will last for three weeks, though this could be lengthened if evidence does not show it to be working.

Mr Johnson said the measures will be “under constant review” and will be considered for relaxation in three weeks if the evidence allows.

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  • Holidays: Britons continue to book holidays despite lockdown

Meanwhile, the FCO is urging Britons to avoid all but essential travel outside the UK for a period of 30 days.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: ““The FCO will always take into consideration the safety of British nationals so with immediate effect I’ve taken the decision to advise British Nationals against non-essential travel globally for a period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review.

“I should emphasise this decision is being taken based on the domestic measures being introduced into the UK alongside the border and a range of other restrictions which are being taken by countries right around the world.

“The speed and the range of these measures across other countries is unprecedented some of those decisions are being made without notice.”

The Ryanair CEO has assured Britons that they will fly again.

“At this time, no one knows how long this Covid shutdown will last,” said Mr O’Leary.

“The experience in China suggests a 3-month period for the spread of the virus to be contained and reduced. We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend upon Government advice, and we will in all cases comply with these instructions.

While the immediate future is uncertain, it is important to remember that, like all pandemics, this crisis will pass.

“Our Governments and health agencies are taking unprecedented action, but they require our support, so by working together we can all help to eliminate Covid-19 and allow our lives to return to normality. In Ryanair, Buzz, Lauda, and Malta Air, we will do everything we can to keep our aircraft, our crews, and our engineering teams operational so that when Europe defeats this Covid-19 pandemic, we are ready to return to flying, to allow Europe’s citizens to go back to work, to visit friends/family, and to rebuild Europe’s tourism industry, upon which so many millions of jobs and families depend. Rest assured that we and the 18,000 aviation professionals in the Ryanair Group of Airlines will do everything we can to support our Governments, our people, and our customers during these unprecedented times.”

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How to get flight refunds and cancel your tickets after the Tokyo Olympics is postponed

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Many who have booked travels to Japan just for the event this summer may well be wondering what their options are and whether they can cancel.

These are the key travel questions and answers.

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Please note that where “Olympics” or “Games” is mentioned, the same advice applies equally to the Paralympics.

What is happening to the Olympic and Paralympic Games?

The second Tokyo Olympics was due to start on 24 July and end on 9 August 2020. The Paralympics were scheduled for 25 August to 6 September 2020.

But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced: “The IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

“It was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

I have booked a package through a sports specialist operator that includes event tickets. What are my rights?

Many people have booked through Team GB Live, which is “Team GB’s official travel company” and “the only Authorised Ticket Reseller for Tokyo 2020 in Great Britain”.

All of its packages appear to be Olympics-specific, which means you are now entitled to a full refund of the trip within 14 days of the postponement being made – which I calculate takes us to 7 April 2020.

The sports travel firm may offer you an alternative trip – typically a guarantee that you can get exactly the same deal for whenever the Games are rearranged – but it is your choice whether to accept this or take a refund (in cash, not vouchers).

I have booked what amounts to a city-break in Tokyo, which includes flights and accommodation during the Olympics but not event tickets. Can I get a refund?

Legally, if the travel provider can still offer the trip, then it is free to impose its normal terms and conditions – which are likely to mean you lose some or all of your money.

Many would-be participants in the Tokyo Marathon earlier this month were in this position.

There are four main options open to you. 

But I recommend either of the first two options.

I have booked flights and accommodation separately. My rights?

Much the same advice applies as for a package, though it is made more complicated by having two separate bookings, with organisations possibly having separate policies.

Option 1 above is still my recommendation – and if (say) the hotel allows free cancellation but the airline does not, then you could plan a great two-week trip around Japan.

Top: Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Bottom: Charles Bridge, Prague

Grand Mosque, Mecca

2/20 Grand Mosque, Mecca

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

3/20 Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Nabi Younes market, Mosul

4/20 Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

5/20 Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

Charles Bridge, Prague

6/20 Charles Bridge, Prague

Taj Mahal hotel, India

7/20 Taj Mahal hotel, India

Dubai Mall, UAE

8/20 Dubai Mall, UAE

Beirut March, Lebanon

9/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Gateway of India, Mumbai

10/20 Gateway of India, Mumbai

Cairo University, Egypt

11/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Amman Citadel, Jordan

12/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

13/20 Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Beirut March, Lebanon

14/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Cairo, Egypt

15/20 Cairo, Egypt

Cairo University, Egypt

16/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Victoria Memorial, India

17/20 Victoria Memorial, India

Amman Citadel, Jordan

18/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Amman Citadel, Jordan

19/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Sidon, Lebanon

20/20 Sidon, Lebanon

1/20

Top: Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Bottom: Charles Bridge, Prague

Grand Mosque, Mecca

2/20 Grand Mosque, Mecca

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

3/20 Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Nabi Younes market, Mosul

4/20 Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

5/20 Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

Charles Bridge, Prague

6/20 Charles Bridge, Prague

Taj Mahal hotel, India

7/20 Taj Mahal hotel, India

Dubai Mall, UAE

8/20 Dubai Mall, UAE

Beirut March, Lebanon

9/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Gateway of India, Mumbai

10/20 Gateway of India, Mumbai

Cairo University, Egypt

11/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Amman Citadel, Jordan

12/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

13/20 Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Beirut March, Lebanon

14/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Cairo, Egypt

15/20 Cairo, Egypt

Cairo University, Egypt

16/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Victoria Memorial, India

17/20 Victoria Memorial, India

Amman Citadel, Jordan

18/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Amman Citadel, Jordan

19/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Sidon, Lebanon

20/20 Sidon, Lebanon

What about extra costs, eg airport parking and hotels in the UK, and additional trips booked separately in Japan?

All you can do is ask the providers nicely and hope they will at least offer the chance to rebook.

I really want to go to the Olympics whenever they are rescheduled. What is your advice on the best deal?

Whenever new dates are announced, I confidently predict there will be a huge surge in bookings for flights, accommodation and packages, with resulting prices far higher than normal for whatever season it happens to be (for which my less-confident prediction is May/June 2021).

Do not get caught up in this wave of demand. Instead, wait until around six weeks before the Opening Ceremony and check out air fares for trips that arrive just after the start and leave either just before the end or a week or two beyond it.

While you will not get a ticket for the Men’s 100m final, you are sure to have great experience and can enjoy events such as the Women’s and Men’s marathons – and quite possibly pick up tickets for other events. I have tracked the patterns of prices and availability from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney onwards and on every occasion (except the 2008 Games in Beijing, which had complicated visa requirements), the late booker has always been able to find a great deal.

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Steve Sammut Rocky Mountaineer

One of the travel trends that has gained steam in recent years is the concept of “slow travel.” And one way travelers can slow down and see where they’re going is from the comfort of a luxury train, such as those run by Canada-based Rocky Mountaineer, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Before travel was virtually halted by Covid-19 earlier this month, senior editor Jeri Clausing talked with Steve Sammut, president and CEO of Rocky Mountaineer, about his company’s product and how it has evolved.

Q: The company is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Tell me a little bit about how it began and where you are today.

A: Peter Armstrong founded the business 30 years ago. As he would tell you, it’s very different today. He had those old, single-level rail cars built in the 1950s. They carried 7,000 guests the first year. Now we do over 100,000 guests a year and have carried close to 2.5 million travelers.

Q: You have been with Rocky Mountaineer for several years. What kind of trends and changes have you seen during your tenure?

A: I’ve been here about seven and a half years. What I have seen in my time here is just a huge growth in interest in terms of traveling with us. We are out there, building brand awareness and working with different partners.

I think there is a trend toward people looking for these kinds of experiences, where they can really get in an area and learn more about it, a slow experience, not rushed.

You can basically fly between [Alberta and British Columbia] in an hour and a half. On the train, we do it in three days, sometimes five. This is really just a nice way to see so many different things. Whether it’s the beauty of the landscape or the wildlife, there are so many things to see.

Q: How many trains do you operate?

A: As we are growing interest, we’ve actually been working with different suppliers to add new cars to our fleet. In the past six years, we have basically doubled.

Our signature cars are bilevel and glass-domed, with seats on the second floor, where our hosts serve drinks and snacks and tell stories. Downstairs is where we serve meals.

We had 16 of those and have added 10 more. We have also increased the size of our Silver Leaf Service. They also all have domed windows, but they are all on one level.

Q: So you don’t have sleeper cars on your trains.

A:  No. We’re not a sleeper train. We have three different routes. One is called “First Passage to the West.” It starts in Vancouver. You’re on the train for the day, listening to the guide, getting meals and service. Then you overnight in Kamloops, [British Columbia], at a hotel. The next day, you get back on the train for another great day of storytelling on the way to Banff.

The second route starts or ends in Banff or Lake Louise, [Alberta]. After the first day, you overnight in Kamloops and end in Jasper in Alberta. That’s called Journey Through the Clouds. The third route, [Rainforest to Goldrush], starts or ends in Vancouver. You spend the night in Vancouver, then Quesnel, [British Columbia] and on to Jasper. You can also combine these.

This system of itineraries with overnights in hotels has worked very well for us.

Q: Where do most of your guests come from?

A:  About 93% come from four different geographic markets. No. 1 is the U.S. Right behind that is Australia. Then it’s the U.K. and Canada. Those four markets make up the vast majority. But we get people from most countries.

We also have opened our first sales office in China, and we have a separate rail car with Mandarin service. But we really just started on that.

Q: What about age groups? What is your key demographic?

A: We get all ages. But it really does appeal a lot to the baby boomers, the way it is done, the level of service. They really appreciate the care, the fine food, the storytelling.

Q: Do you offer any themed journeys, say for adventure or culinary?

A: What we have done is worked with partners to create packages around our train trips. Because when people are on the train, the focus is on the
storytelling and the scenery.

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VIDEO: Take a trip on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway

The St. Kitts Tourism Authority has launched an hour-long slow video of the country’s iconic Scenic Railway, to help Brits to de-stress while on their commute to work.

The idea came following consumer research by the tourism authority that revealed Brits waste on average 202 minutes a week waiting in queues, being subject to train delays, waiting for public transport or walking behind slow people.

More than one third said they get frustrated trying to get to the office quickly, and everyone around them is slowing them down.

To help Brits understand the St. Kitts way of kicking back and relaxing, often described as Limin’, the tourism authority has shared an hour-long slow video of the country’s Scenic Railway.

They hope that the relaxing footage – showing the island’s historic sugar cane plantations, unspoilt coast lines and famous Mount Liamuiga, alongside the calming sounds of native animals – will help Brits escape to the island through the power of video.

Racquel Brown, chief executive of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, said: “To help Brits overcome the daily stresses and strains of commuting to work, we have launched a mesmerising slow video of our iconic Scenic Railway, the last railway in the West Indies.

“Those watching can sink into tantalising views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, see the sumptuous green scenery roll past and hear the relaxing sounds of the native birdlife on the island.”

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BA passengers face even longer wait times as airline closes call centre due to coronavirus

British Airways customers trying to get in touch with the airline to cancel flights or find a way home amid the coronavirus pandemic may have a longer wait to make contact after the company announced its Delhi call centre was shutting.

The Indian government closed down the office as part of its response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

BA informed the travel trade of the closure on Sunday night.

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The British flag carrier said customers may experience longer than usual call waiting times until contingency plans have been put in place.

Customers are being asked to only telephone the airline if they are due to fly within the next 72 hours.

It comes as Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline, announced it was unlikely to be operating any commercial flights from today until June.

Flight bans across Europe have now closed the continent’s skies to all but a handful of rescue flights, and Ryanair has stated that, based on the length of China’s lockdown, most travel is likely to be suspended for three months.

“We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend upon Government advice, and we will in all cases comply with these instructions,” said the airline’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, in a statement.

Passengers whose Ryanair flights have been cancelled due to new travel restrictions will receive an email outlining their options over the next two weeks.

The airline has requested that customers be patient and refrain from calling, as it has reduced office staff by 50 per cent to comply with social distancing rules.

Fewer staff means they will be unable to accommodate anything but the most urgent of cases, which over the coming days will be rescue flights, according to the statement.

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American Cruise Lines Travel Advisor Assurance Plan

WHY IT RATES: American Cruise Lines is protecting travel advisor commissions on bookings impacted by the coronavirus. —Codie Liermann, Associate Editor

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American Cruise Lines has unveiled its full Travel Advisor Assurance Plan following the Line’s voluntary decision to suspend cruise operations through April 30, 2020. The new plan contains some of the most guest- and agent-friendly policies in the river cruise industry.

Most significantly, the plan includes assurance from American that it will protect Travel Advisor commissions for bookings impacted by COVID-19.

Earlier this month, American proactively rolled out flexible new options for guests and has now bundled them into one simple Travel Advisor Assurance Plan for agents.

Cruise with Comfort: This new option offers flexibility to guests for all new and existing bookings on cruises departing through August 31, 2020. Guests that opt for this offer have the ability to cancel for any reason up to 24-hours prior to the start of their Cruise Package and to receive Cruise Vouchers equal to 100 percent of the amounts paid.

Suspended Cruise Options: Guests booked on any cruises that have been suspended by American will have the option to receive a full money-back refund or Cruise Vouchers equal to 125 percent of all amounts paid for their Cruise Package. American has been contacting guests and travel advisors directly about their options for cruises suspended due to COVID-19.

Commissions: Advisor commissions that could be affected by either Cruise with Comfort or suspended operations will be 100 percent commission protected for Cruise Vouchers issued. Commissions will be paid based on the original sailing date for any payments made toward commissionable items.

“Our travel advisor partners have appreciated our commission policy in particular, because it compensates them sooner than later for their efforts,” said Susan Shultz, VP of Trade Relations. “Plus, Cruise with Comfort has helped advisors sell, because it allows guests the ability to cancel their cruise up to 24-hours before the cruise begins.”

“Over the past year, we have worked consistently to offer the most competitive travel advisor programs in the industry,” said Charles B. Robertson, President and CEO of American. “These changes have been very well received because they give guests the confidence to book travel, and they give advisors prompt compensation for their efforts. They reinforce our strength as a company, our commitment to our guests, and our gratitude to our travel advisor partners.”

For more information and details on American Cruise Lines’ Advisor Assurance Plan, Cruise with Comfort option, or the most recent information on suspended cruises, please contact American Cruise Lines at 800-894-8570, visit our website or click additional direct links below.

Cruise with Comfort

Current Sailings Update

SOURCE: American Cruise Lines press release.

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