Something to declare: Andorra; Amsterdam; terminal confusion; new flights to the Channel Islands
Saturday 01 October 2011
Destination of the week: Andorra
The road journey from Toulouse airport in France to this Pyrenean co-principality involves a long, tough drive, often exacerbated by adverse winter weather. Neilson (0844 879 8155; neilson.co.uk) believes it will make life easier for skiers and snowboarders with a season of Sunday flights to the new airport serving the western Catalan city of Lleida (in Spanish, Lerida).
Thomas Cook Airlines will fly to the airport from Gatwick, Belfast and Manchester between 8 January and 8 April 2012. Bristol and Birmingham will also be served, by Flybe.
The transfer time to the Andorran resorts of Arinsal, Pas de la Casa and Soldeu will be three hours or less. The flights will also offer easier access to Spain's leading resort, Baqueira-Beret.
Warning of the week: Amsterdam
"Newly arrived and heavily laden passengers are a particular target for thieves," warns the Foreign Office in its strident new advice for visitors to the Dutch capital. Thieves often operate in gangs, particularly on trains between Schiphol airport and Central Station, and on the trams.
"While one thief distracts you (often by asking for directions or by banging on your window) another picks your pocket or steals your bag."
Don't relax when you eat out: "Keep your valuables safely with you at all times and do not leave them unattended or hanging on the back of a chair."
Fake police (in plain clothes) are also a problem: "One man usually addresses people to find out if they are tourists." If they are, two other men emerge with fake police identities and pretend to be investigating counterfeit money and false credit cards. In the usual scam, you are asked to hand over money and credit cards for verification. "After the 'inspection', the fake policemen return all the money and cards, or at least that is how it seems. Victims find later on that part of the money and/or credit cards are gone."
How to deal with it? Fake policemen never wear a uniform, says the Foreign Office, and also "like to show shiny police badges". Real Dutch police officers do not carry such badges.
Tip of the week: Terminal confusion
When the winter airline schedules start at the end of the month, British Airways will once again shuffle some European flights between its two terminals at Heathrow – 3 and 5. Until now, services to Barcelona and Madrid have been co-located in Terminal 3 with those of BA's partner, Iberia. BA's flights to the two biggest Spanish cities will move to Terminal 5. To make room for them, services to four eastern European capitals are shifting east to Terminal 3: Bucharest, Budapest, Prague and Warsaw. Flights to Larnaca in Cyprus also switch to Terminal 3.
Bargain of the week: New flights to the Channel Islands
One month today, the Guernsey-based airline, Blue Islands (08456 20 21 22; blueislands.com), launches flights from Bournemouth to Jersey and Guernsey. Fares start at £59, and the airline is keen to emphasise that it makes no charges for payment by debit or credit card, nor for checked-in baggage. The airline will even allow free ticketing amendments, including name changes.
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