Warning of the week: be on time
As reported in Simon Calder's column today, the Abta president was last week prevented from boarding a late-running easyJet flight. Even if you know the flight is seriously delayed, the airline still insists you reach the desk at least 40 minutes before departure: "Passengers must check in on time for the scheduled flight departure time as a delay can be resolved at any moment, and we do not wish to risk further delays for the majority of our passengers on departure by accepting last-minute passengers," the airline says.
Ryanair has a similar no-compromise policy: "Check-in desks close strictly 40 minutes before scheduled departure. We reserve the right to cancel your reservation and deny you boarding if you do not comply."
Jet2 is more generous: for UK domestic flights, it has a limit of only 30 minutes, but stresses that check-in must have been completed by that time. "As there are mandatory preparations and calculations that can only be completed after check-in has closed, we regret that it is highly unlikely that you will be permitted to travel if you arrive late."
Destination of the week: Iceland
The economy of this Atlantic island is proving as rocky and unstable as its geology; perhaps mirroring global finance, Iceland is where the North American and European tectonic plates collide. And as the currency plummets, now is an excellent time to visit this strange land.
"The fall in the krona means it's the perfect time for Brits to travel to Iceland," said Matthias Imsland, chief executive for the low-cost airline Iceland Express (01279 665 220; icelandexpress.com). Clearly a man to see an opportunity in a crisis, he has launched a city-break package to Reykjavik for £195, including flights from Stansted and two nights in a three-star hotel, available for a range of departure dates until early December.
Next Thursday the Iceland Airwaves festival begins ( icelandairwaves.com), offering the chance to enjoy local and international bands in the capital – plus cheap(-ish) beer. A typical pint has fallen from £6.50 to around £4.
Bargain of the week: Channel crossings
Despite the recent fire in the Channel Tunnel, which has cut capacity on Eurotunnel between Folkestone and Calais, an autumn fares war has broken out among the short-sea operators competing from Dover to France.
Norfolkline (0870 870 1020; norfolkline.com) is charging £29 for a car and up to five passengers one-way to Dunkirk.
P&O Ferries (08706 009 009; poferries.com) is charging £27 for a car and up to nine people to Calais, with a "buy-one-get-one-free" deal for Disney tickets. And SeaFrance (0871 222 2500; seafrance.com) has a fare of £25 for a car and up to five people.
For all of these deals, you have to travel very off-peak, and some offers have extra conditions – SeaFrance's is only for a three-day break.