Travel
 

A tour of Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands

Melissa Shales: Flying is hard enough when you're fat. Don't make it any worse

My progress round the world isn't fast – it's stately, slightly creaky, preceded by a bosom fit for a galleon. I could sit in a corner, wring my hands and weep into a lettuce leaf and obsess about calorie-counting or I could do my best to ignore the disadvantages of being fat, 50s and arthritic and go round the world.

Passengers hit out over airport delays

Disgruntled passengers at Manchester Airport today complained of a lack of information as they tried to reach their destinations in the wake of severe weather.

Air France-KLM pulls out of Czech deal

Air France-KLM has pulled out of the bidding for state-owned Czech Airlines (CSA), blaming the economic downturn.

James Halstead: Sir Richard's baby is a lot different to her rivals

So Virgin Atlantic managed to double pre-tax profits to £68m, having carried 5.7 million passengers in the year to February and generated revenues of £2.6bn. It says so on the press release so it must be true. In contrast, last week British Airways announced a full-year pre-tax loss of £401m and Air France-KLM recorded a loss of €814m (£714m) for the year to March.

Winter wonder: Michigan's small-scale slopes provide the perfect starting point for ski novices

Glancing at the icy speedometer as we barrelled along the narrow trail, I was astonished to see it creeping towards 50mph. Just minutes earlier, struggling to get to grips with this two-man snowmobile, 20mph had seemed absurdly fast. But then everything about this trip to the alternative winter wonderland of northern Michigan had proved pretty easy to master and, for a bunch of winter novices such as the five of us, wonderfully family-friendly.

Questions of cash: 'We were stranded. Why won't Flybe refund our costs?'

Q. Last August, we went on holiday to Sark, flying to Guernsey with Flybe. Severe weather conditions caused our ferry from Sark to Guernsey to be cancelled, making us miss our return flight to Manchester. We were insured through Flybe, and we told the airline in the morning that our family of five could not fly, and that we were stranded on Sark without accommodation. Flybe's adviser was most helpful and reassured us not to worry, that our insurance would cover us since a Force 9 storm was not our fault and that, for a small administration fee, he could transfer us on to another direct flight later that evening or on the following day.

BA in talks with Qantas to create global super-airline

British Airways (BA) is in talks with Qantas, the Australian flag-carrier, about a merger that could help create one of the next generation of global super-airlines.

Air France-KLM warns on profits as air travel numbers fall

Air France-KLM, Europe's largest airline, issued a profits warning yesterday against a backdrop of figuresshowing the first monthly decline in worldwide air travel since 2003.

Questions of Cash: I want a refund for these unfair overdraft charges

Q. Credit card fraud led to me receiving a £2,000 American Express bill. AmEx told me to cancel my direct debit with my bank, Alliance & Leicester, to avoid this payment being processed. I tried to cancel using A&L's online service and thought I had done this when I entered a "cancel" instruction – but it turned out that this just cancelled the cancellation request. This led to the direct debit being processed. When I realised, I phoned A&L and it approved a new overdraft limit to avoid triggering unauthorised overdraft charges. But A&L imposed charges anyway. It says it will not consider refunding these until the court cases on unfair bank charges are settled, arguing it has a waiver from the Financial Services Authority covering all bank charges regarded by customers as unfair. But my complaint is nothing to do with charges covered by these cases. LC, Cheltenham.

Commandos grab 'terror suspects' on plane

German commandos grabbed two terrorist suspects from an airliner just before it was due to leave Cologne today.

Confessions of an air steward too shocking for ailing Alitalia

Broken toilets, missing meals in first class, partitions held together with sticky tape, uniforms with gaping holes: these are just some of the delights awaiting passengers and crew on Alitalia, according to an insider's blog written by a steward on the near-bankrupt Italian airline.

Airlines pay price for creating 'flying is cheap' image

The aviation industry is guilty of creating the impression that "flying is cheap" and will pay the price as rocketing oil prices in the coming months force no-frills carriers out of business, the joint head of the world's biggest airline has said.

The Man Who Pays His Way: Air France's new tradition - devour thy neighbour

Venice fell off the flight map from London, at least from Alitalia's point of view, a decade ago: the Italian airline was losing a fortune on flights to the city's Marco Polo airport. Alitalia also scrapped Pisa and Naples. Now, its only UK flights link Heathrow with Milan and Rome. But so precious are the slots at Britain's busiest airport that the portfolio of permissions to take off and land at Heathrow could be worth up to half a billion pounds. Which is rather more than anyone is prepared to pay for the entire Italian airline. Air France, which is the only serious bidder, values Alitalia at just €138m (£107m). This shows what a shocking state this sub-prime carrier is in.

The Man Who Pays His Way: Why international understanding can be a matter of life or death

Flying became even safer this week; or at least it should have. Thirty-one years ago, the worst accident in the history of civil aviation took place at Los Rodeos airport in northern Tenerife. A bomb attack at Las Palmas, on Gran Canaria, had caused a number of aircraft to divert to Tenerife. Among them were Boeing 747s belonging to KLM and Pan Am. Fog sharply reduced visibility. The pilot of the Dutch plane was keen to get his passengers away, but a mix-up between him, the Pan Am captain and the air-traffic controller meant that he took off while the Pan Am jet was on the runway. All the KLM passengers and crew died, along with most of those on board the American aircraft; in total, 583 perished.

Exploring the lost world of Venezuela

Drawn by tales of prehistoric beasts and hoards of gold, Ben Fogle ventures into the misty heights of Venezuela's table-top mountains – and discovers a world like no other
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk