Q. My husband and I are complete novices at long haul, but are travelling to Perth, Australia, later in the year. The cheapest deal seems to be with British Airways, stopping at Singapore. Have we chosen wisely? Iris Saich
A. No airline – including British Airways – flies from the UK direct to Perth any more, and you will need to change planes somewhere; the BA flight connects in Singapore with a Qantas departure. Both are excellent airlines, but so too are Emirates and Singapore Airlines, which have a wider range of UK departure points. Thai, Malaysia Airlines and Cathay Pacific also offer one-stop connections from Heathrow via their respective hubs.
Given the painfully high Australian dollar, you will need to save as much as you can on the flight, so there is a lot to be said for taking the cheapest deal – but there is one more aspect to take into account. On the long haul to Australia, breaking the journey is worthwhile: partly because you can spend hours or days getting a glimpse of a fascinating city such as Hong Kong or Singapore, and partly because it augments your adjustment to a new time zone.
An excellent strategy for avoiding jet lag and building in an extra treat is to take an afternoon flight to the Far East, which arrives early in the morning. Most onward services to Australia depart in the evening, so you can spend a day exploring while your luggage is taken care of. In Singapore, you can even get a free city tour so long as you have at least five hours between arriving and departing. See bit.ly/SinFree for more details.
Q. I am due to fly to Zante next week. Assessing the reports on Greece and its economy, if I wanted to cancel would I be entitled to a full refund? Roy Haley
A. No. Only if the Foreign Office were to warn against travel to Greece – an extremely unlikely prospect – would you be able to cancel a package holiday without penalty. Judging from reports from recently returned travellers, I am confident you will not have any problems in Zante. For managing your money, though, you may want to look at this online guide: independent.co.uk/eurocash.