Nearly a quarter of amber arrivals to the UK haven’t been following the government’s Covid-19 rules, according to new research.

Some 23 per cent of travellers either didn’t self-isolate for 10 days as required or failed to complete the prescribed set of two PCR tests on days two and eight of quarantine, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found.

The UK’s national statistical institute surveyed 848 travellers who arrived in the country between 12-17 July, only to find that 41 per cent misunderstood the rules or were unsure of them.

Meanwhile, Heathrow Airport has been crippled by “unacceptable” queues at passport control.

Heathrow said that Border Force, which manages the checkpoint at the airport, knew there would be extra demand and said they were “very disappointed” that they did not have enough staff on duty on Friday night.

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Some BA flights swerving no-fly zones such as Afghanistan are increasing flight times by a quarter

To avoid regions regarded as risky, some British Airways flights to and from south Asia are following routes that increase the distance travelled by up to a quarter.

The Independent has analysed the BA link between London Heathrow and Delhi.

The “great circle” route – the most direct path between the Indian capital and the UK – crosses northern Afghanistan and eastern Ukraine, and clips a corner of Belarus.

Since the Taliban takeover, UK airlines have not been permitted to fly over Afghanistan; eastern Ukraine is off-limits after the shooting down of MH17, when 298 lives were lost, in 2014; and after a Ryanair plane was forced to land in Minsk so a dissident on board could be arrested, British flights do not enter Belarus.

Simon Calder6 September 2021 17:59


Passengers and staff speak out after long Heathrow queues and delays at the weekend

Following reports of long delays at Heathrow’s passport control over the weekend, The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder has spoken to passengers and staff at the airport.

On Friday night, arriving passengers reported five-hour waits and passengers fainting, with some travellers stuck on planes for over an hour after arrival because there physically wasn’t room.

A student arriving from Hong Kong on British Airways said she had had to wait two hours – but praised the politeness of UK Border Force staff. “It’s not easy to be nice so early in the morning,” she said.

A British passenger coming in from the US reported a 90-minute wait, though others who arrived later in the day say that queues were not unduly long.

For British and European passengers, writes Simon Calder, the “service level agreement” that Heathrow airport has with UK border force is for almost everyone –95 per cent of passengers – to be through passport control in 25 minutes. For other nationalities, the time is 45 minutes.

Lucy Thackray6 September 2021 17:39


More than 11,000 Brits’ second homes flipped to become holiday rentals

More than 11,000 second-home owners in England have flipped their properties to become holiday lets since the start of the pandemic, to capitalise on the soaring demand for staycations.

New analysis of government figures by real estate advisers Altus Group showed that the number of holiday homes trading as businesses has jumped by more than a fifth since the pandemic hit.

The data shows that there are now 67,578 homes in England classified as holiday homes which have been flipped to become commercial premises, compared with 56,102 properties in March last year.

Restrictions on travel to other countries has resulted in a surge in demand for domestic holidays, particularly in 2021.

Almost 4,000 homes have been flipped in the South West since the start of the pandemic, amid record visitor numbers in Cornwall and Devon.

Meanwhile, the South East also saw a significant rise in the number of new holiday retreats, with a 27.2% rise, or 1,458 properties, over the period.

Transforming second properties into holiday lets helped secure additional income for owners during the pandemic but could also be beneficial for tax reasons.

Holiday homes were also entitled to grants last spring worth £552.23 million to support non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors.

Lucy Thackray6 September 2021 17:12


Trains from London to the southwest experiencing delays due to ‘high track temperature’

Trains between London and southwest England are being delayed “due to a speed restriction because of high track temperature”.

Great Western Railway services are slowing to a crawl between Hungerford and Pewsey on the main line from Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance.

Delays appear to be 10 minutes, which could jeopardise connections.

Passengers are told: “If you arrive at your destination 15 minutes or more later than planned, you can claim compensation.”

(Simon Calder)

Simon Calder6 September 2021 16:45


91% of people in Britain have fondest memories of road trips in the UK

In a survey of British drivers, 91% of respondents said their happiest memories of road trips took place in the UK – compared with just 22% who said their fondest driving holiday memories happened abroad.

The survey by car-sharing platform Zipcar UK, 64% of those surveyed said that their fondest memories were of road trips to the seaside, while 48% mentioned driving trips to visit grandparents or other relatives.

On top of this holiday nostalgia, it seems certain routes stay in the family – the brand found that four out of five parents surveyed said they take their children on the same holidays they went on when they were kids.

Lucy Thackray6 September 2021 16:10


Climate consequences of transatlantic flights ‘could cost economy £2,170’

A return flight from the UK to New York could cost the global economy more than 3,000 dollars (£2,170) in the long run, due to the effects of climate change, a new report has said.

Researchers from several top global universities said that the economic cost of climate change could be up to six times higher than previously thought.

For every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, the global economy will be 3,000 dollars worse off by the end of the century, they estimated.

The research was conducted by experts from Cambridge University, University College London and Imperial College London, as well as international partners from Switzerland, Germany, the US and Austria.

Most past estimates have assumed that fires, floods, droughts and other impacts of climate change do not affect economic growth, the authors said.

There is “mounting evidence to the contrary”, they added.

The consequences of climate change on future growth cut about 37% from global gross domestic product (GDP) this century, the researchers said. This is more than twice the drop seen in the Great Depression.

“Climate change makes detrimental events like the recent heatwave in North America and the floods in Europe much more likely,” said Dr Chris Brierley from University College London.

“If we stop assuming that economies recover from such events within months, the costs of warming look much higher than usually stated.

“We still need a better understanding of how climate alters economic growth, but even in the presence of small long-term effects, cutting emissions becomes much more urgent.”

The economic impact will depend on how much countries do to fight climate change by reducing emissions, said Jarmo Kikstra at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Imperial College London.

Dr James Rising, at the University of Delaware and London School of Economics and Political Science, said: “The more we know about the risks of climate change, the more urgent action becomes.

“Every year we have seen more natural disasters linked to climate change, and the situation is going to keep growing worse until we can achieve global net-zero emissions.

“One of the big steps forward in this work is to start capturing the risks of natural disasters, or climate variability, in cost estimates rather than just average changes in temperature.

“While climate variability does not change the long-term best estimate of climate change impacts by all that much, it increases the range of risks, and those events can have long-lasting effects.”

Travel Desk6 September 2021 15:10


Emirates cabin crew member said she was subjected to random weight checks

A woman who worked as cabin crew for Emirates for a decade has said she was frequently weighed, and put on a weight management programme by the airline identified after being identified as “too heavy” at around 10 stone.

Duygu Karaman has told the Mirror that she quit her job with the airline in 2019 after the “strict” and “upsetting” weight monitoring by the airline.

After a member of staff complained that she was “too heavy”, Karaman claims that she was asked to lose weight, and then monitored for a year to check that she had kept the weight off.

“They should definitely drop this,” says Karaman of the airline’s weight policy. “My two or three kilo extra weight didn’t prevent me from doing my job.”

Lucy Thackray6 September 2021 14:00


Junior pilots at BA’s new low-cost subsidiary will be paid less than easyJet’s

Industry insiders are reported to have disclosed to the paper that junior BA ­captains at the new operation will be paid under £100,000 a year – less than the £108,000 starting salary paid to pilots at easyJet.

The pay cuts are part of the carrier’s wider strategy to recover from the travel shutdown and low passenger numbers caused by the global pandemic.

BA spokespeople are eager to emphasise that the transformed Gatwick operation will not be a “no frills” service, saying that customers will “continue to benefit from the same full standard of service”, and that the lower pilot salaries will be for new hires, rather than cuts to existing pilots’ salaries.

Lucy Thackray6 September 2021 12:39


Join travel expert Simon Calder for an exclusive free virtual event

The travel traffic light system remains as complex and confusing as ever, with the rules changing every few weeks for those wishing to go abroad, as well as those hoping to travel into the UK. There’s no escaping the bleak fact that the pandemic has decimated the travel industry over the past year and a half – but what does the future hold?

During The Independent’s next virtual travel event, renowned travel expert Simon Calder is hosting a panel discussion on what comes next – and whether the future is as bright as we’ve all been hoping for.

Click below to sign up for our free virtual event on Wednesday 8 September from 6.30-7.30pm:

Helen Coffey6 September 2021 12:06


Ryanair ends negotiations with US manufacturer of Max 10 aircraft

Ryanair, which for decades has been a “Boeing 737”-only airline, has said that negotiations with the US manufacturer for new, larger 737 Max 10 aircraft have ended because “the pricing gap between the partners could not be closed”.

Europe’s biggest budget airline has just placed its first Max aircraft into service in Dublin and London Stansted – with a total of 210 on order. They comprise a unique version of the Max, known as the 737-8200, with 197 seats on board rather than the normal 189.

Boeing and Ryanair have been in talks over a forward order for the Max 10, which can seat up to 230 people.

The airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary said: “We are disappointed we couldn’t reach agreement with Boeing on a MAX10 order. However, Boeing have a more optimistic outlook on aircraft pricing than we do, and we have a disciplined track record of not paying high prices for aircraft.

“We have a more than sufficient order pipeline to allow us to grow strongly over the next 5 years with a Boeing 737 fleet, which will rise to over 600 aircraft and will enable Ryanair to capitalise on the extraordinary growth opportunities that are emerging all over Europe as the Continent recovers from the Covid pandemic.”

The trigger for Ryanair’s current domination of low-cost aviation in Europe followed 9/11. With airlines shrinking and closing down, demand for new planes was negligible – until, in January 2002, Michael O’Leary ordered 100 new 737s with options on 50 more at unprecedented low prices.

A Ryanair aircraft at Stansted

(Simon Calder)

Simon Calder6 September 2021 11:40

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