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9 journey questions answered by skilled Simon Calder

From the standard passport, vaccination and flight cancellation queries to how one can journey with a kilt, readers had a wide-range of questions for The Independent’s journey correspondent, Simon Calder, on Thursday.

Simon reported a barely sluggish begin to his weekly ‘Ask Me Anything’ because of ready to board a late-running bus from Montreal to Quebec City in Canada, adopted by an onboard laptop computer ban and dodgy WiFi.

However, due to a pleasant driver turning a blind eye to the laptop computer so long as the sound was off and Simon tethering to “a dodgy old mobile” with “internet about as good as it was in Goa in 1992”, he was in a position to reply questions.

Here are 9 reader questions answered by Simon.

Is my passport nonetheless legitimate?

Q: My British passport is legitimate till April 2023 however it will likely be 10 years outdated in September 2022. I’m because of fly to Canada from Dublin this month and I’m involved concerning the validity. Conflicting recommendation on-line and I don’t wish to lose my vacation and time is operating out for a renewal.

A: Always good to start out with an easy query and reply. Thank you. Your passport is legitimate for journey to and from Canada (and Ireland) as much as and together with its expiry date in April 2023. Hope you may have an important journey.

What flight cancellation compensation am I entitled to?

Q: My daughter and associate have been because of fly again from Bordeaux to Gatwick with BA after a household vacation on 17 June. BA cancelled it with lower than 24 hours discover (no particular purpose given). They managed to get flights with easyJet for about £200 per particular person additional, arriving again at Gatwick on the seventeenth as deliberate. However, BA has refused their declare for compensation, stating that the cancellation was “because BA2787 on 17 June 2022 was cancelled due to industrial action throughout France”.

I’m retired with a little bit time on my fingers and did some analysis. I searched broadly on-line however might discover no point out of any industrial motion on 17 June. I then used the FlightAware web site (a free account means that you can search historic flights). The solely one of many 11 flights to and from the UK and the ROI to Bordeaux that didn’t fly was the BA one. Seven of these flights flew inside just a few hours of BA2787. I then searched additional afield in case there was an airspace difficulty. All flights from London to Paris, Marseille and Nantes (15 in all) flew as regular. I additionally requested BA to supply transient particulars of the commercial motion.

BA rejected my daughter’s additional e mail yesterday inside just a few hours of receipt, claiming industrial motion. They gave no additional clarification, nor did they clarify how their flight was the one one of many 26 checked that was cancelled.

Shocking behaviour from what was once a revered airline. We intend to pursue additional.

A: A few facets right here. First, can I verify that British Airways has paid again the price of the easyJet flights? Next, you have been fairly proper to ask British Airways to display the explanations for cancelling the flight. Under European air passengers’ rights guidelines, it should present affordable proof to again up its rejection of the claims. Unless it could actually achieve this, the presumption is that your daughter and associate are entitled to €250 every in money compensation – as effectively, after all, as a refund of the price of the easyJet flights they have been obliged to purchase.

Carry on kilt?

Q: I’m touring to a marriage this summer time and I’m taking a kilt with me. I wouldn’t wish to lose it, so I’m attempting to verify I take it as hand baggage. It’s cumbersome, however I can match it in a cabin trolley case. I’m on a multi-leg journey and I’ve connecting flights with each BA and Swiss. With flights being so busy, I’m involved that they’ll take the trolley case off me on the gate to go within the maintain sooner or later. With connecting flights, is that riskier than simply checking it in correctly firstly?

A: No! Keep the cabin baggage religion as you retain the Scots custom alive! As beforehand written, this summer time greater than any earlier than it’s sensible to not test something in – particularly if in case you have a connecting flight. Many instances go astray at hubs. If the case is taken off you, it is going to occur on the gate – the place you may be 99.9 per cent sure it will likely be loaded straight onto the aircraft and seem on the luggage carousel on the different finish. Enjoy the marriage.

Is it secure to ebook Skyscanner’s cheaper flights?

Q: I’m taking a look at reserving flights with Latam Airlines from Santiago in Chile to Easter Island, for subsequent March. I dwell within the UK. On the UK web site, the worth is coming in at round £2,189, which is way past my funds. Skyscanner nonetheless has directed me to the Chilean web site, the place the identical flights are coming in at £566. Is it secure to ebook by way of the Chilean web site? Is it usually higher to ebook by way of the web site of the nation you can be travelling in?

A: Marvellous to listen to that you will Easter Island – considered one of my favorite locations on the planet (and, as I come from Crawley, that’s saying one thing).

Besides the astonishing stone heads, this speck of Chilean territory is a fraction of magnificence and humanity hundreds of miles from wherever (Easter Island, not Crawley).

Getting there’s a problem, although. My robust suggestion is that you simply ebook the entire sequence of flights by an skilled comparable to Journey Latin America. They will be capable to discover one of the best offers and you may journey with the reassurance that, if something goes awry, you may have somebody in your facet – something I wrote in 2010.

When can I ebook Avanti tickets?

Q: Any concept when Avanti may need tickets obtainable for reserving to Edinburgh for 19 August?

A: After 4 days of nationwide strikes on the railways, and a practice drivers’ stoppage as effectively, a sample is now rising of practice operators’ behaviour on and round strike days.

As chances are you’ll know, the RMT union has referred to as industrial motion for 40,000 members working for Network Rail and lots of practice operators, together with Avanti West Coast, on Thursday 18 and Saturday 20 August. The union, understandably, needs to wreck as many journey plans as potential, and so the thought is to disrupt operations on 19 August with out members really dropping a day’s pay.

Having mentioned that, Avanti West Coast can be operating some trains on all three days. However, schedules is not going to be printed for an additional week or so. All you are able to do is assume that it is possible for you to to journey on the London-Preston-Carlisle-Edinburgh route on 19 August, although in all probability not earlier than round 8 or 9am and probably not on the final practice.

See what Avanti West Coast is providing tomorrow (Friday 5 August): you may be pretty certain one thing comparable will run two weeks later.

Importantly, although, don’t count on Advance tickets to be on supply. The practice operators are eager to discourage as many potential passengers as potential, and so solely the standard vary of “walk-up” tickets will apply.

Are my 2021 vaccinations nonetheless legitimate?

Q: Thailand state being absolutely vaccinated is an entry requirement. So are my 2021 vaccines nonetheless legitimate or not?

A: Thailand has, frankly, been everywhere when it comes to its response to the coronavirus pandemic and maintaining its tourism business going.

The present rule is proof of jab-or-test, and (as with the US and lots of different nations) the one time stipulation is that it’s essential to have accomplished an preliminary course not less than 14 days earlier. So sure, your 2021 jabs are tremendous.

Can I exploit my European Health Insurance Card in Spain?

Q: Will I be capable to use my Ehic card in Spain? It is legitimate till December 2022.

A: Yes. Once it expires you may get a UK Global Health Insurance Card (Ghic) which, regardless of the identify, is somewhat much less international than the European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) was once earlier than Brexit.

Are there lengthy delays at Europoort?

Q: Before Covid we used to take mini cruises to Amsterdam, by way of Europoort, from Hull. We are considering of going once more this autumn and winter (we like to go to Amsterdam and do some pre-Christmas purchasing, typically staying an additional night time when the sunshine competition is on).

Do you already know if there are lengthy delays at passport test once we get to Europoort?

A: No, however in my expertise the Dutch passport officers are taking some curiosity in imposing the “third country national” guidelines the UK requested to develop into topic to, together with tickets residence, monetary assets and the forfeited proper to take a cheese sandwich into the Netherlands.

At the top of the AMA, Simon mentioned: “Thanks very much for some excellent questions, and during that 80 minutes I have travelled 60 miles to Grantham, Quebec. Enjoy your evening.”

Check again quickly for an additional ‘Ask Me Anything’ with Simon. You can join Simon Calder’s journey week publication by placing your e mail within the field on the prime of this text or via our newsletters page.

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