Travel: Something to Declare

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Trouble spots: how travel companies deal with passenger rage

Any Time Off customer whose behaviour is (in our opinion or that of any other person in authority) causing excessive distress, damage, danger or annoyance to anyone or anyone's property will (without notice or compensation) have their Time Off holiday arrangements cancelled and Time Off's responsibility for the "customer" ceases immediately. Full cancellation charges will apply. Many hotels still respect good manners - try not to show any frustration in public, as in nearly all cases of dissatisfaction a quiet word with the person in charge will see the problem on its way to being solved. Be patient - a friendly, non-confrontational approach often goes a long way.

Time Off city selection brochure, 1999

If a passenger is upset, try to understand the psychology - they need reassurance, patience and a friendly face. They need someone to listen to their problem and, more importantly, to take action to resolve the problem. That is the only way to effectively calm people. It would be nice to stop an abusive, shouting passenger, and to explain to them that you understand their problem. You know they are afraid of flying and that if they were to stop shouting you could make some progress with their problem. But in reality, this cannot be done. Just be nice to people. The result for you will be less stress, better job satisfaction and the thought that you made someone happy, and that you created a positive impression of Dubai international airport.

`Dubai Airport Cares' magazine

A yellow-card system has been introduced by British Airways to deal with the problem of air rage. From now on, if passengers become disruptive or smoke, they will be handed a letter warning them that if they persist in their behaviour, they will be liable for the cost of diverting the plane and their ticket will be invalidated for the return or onward journey.

`High Life', BA's inflight magazine

Bargain of the week

Cut-price Europe. As soon as the New Year travel peak is over, airlines face a slump in bookings. So expect some excellent deals in the first week of January from no-frills operators easyJet, Go and Ryanair. In a pre-emptive strike, KLM UK (0990 074 074) is offering some absurdly good deals from its Stansted base to UK and European cities - with the added bonuses of inflight meals and the option of booking through any travel agent.

Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle are each available for just pounds 50 return, including all taxes. Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Milan and Rome come in at pounds 70 return. You must book by midnight on 31 December, and travel by the end of February. At least two people must travel together to qualify.

True or false?

The travel bargain of the decade is dead? A bit of both. For five years, The Independent has urged readers to take advantage of the airpass deal that gives the freedom of Canada for a week for less than pounds 200. Canadian Regional Airlines is terminating the deal from Friday. But a cut-price airpass on Horizon Air still allows unlimited travel in western Canada, as well as in the US as far south as Los Angeles and east to the Rockies; book through AirPass Sales (01737 555300). A one-week pass costs pounds 139.

Another excellent way of jetting across or around North America is on Southwest (the world's safest airline). The company sells a "Freedom Air" ticket for specified flights. These must be bought in the UK, and even though the fares rise for 1999, they are usually much lower than buying in the US. The country is divided along a line through Houston and Kansas City; journeys to the east or west cost pounds 69 (and allow a free connection if necessary), while a coast-to-coast trip costs pounds 99. Book on 01293 596677. A free bonus: tokens exchangeable on board will get you four beers.