Something to declare: Beyond the Andes; Jubilee England; air links falling off map; Franco-Spanish trains
Friday 02 March 2012
Bargain of the week: Beyond the Andes
South America's best airline? LAN, which was born in Chile but now has bases in several Latin American countries, including Peru and Ecuador. If you are aiming for Rio, Sao Paulo or Buenos Aires, the ideal way is non-stop from Heathrow by British Airways (or, for the Brazilian cities, Tam). For other destinations, particularly on the west side of the Andes, LAN is the preferred option – fly BA to Madrid and connect to your long-haul flight.
Book via Opodo.co.uk by Tuesday 6 March, and you could qualify for low fares. Star of the show is £533 return from Heathrow to Lima, for travel up to 30 June. From there, you can add a trip to Easter Island (above) – normally a painfully expensive journey – for an extra £341 return, so long as you travel by 15 May.
These fares are not available on every flight and, as the deadline nears, seats are likely to be more scarce.
Destination of the week: Jubilee England
VisitEngland has put together a concise web page with details of the leading Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London and beyond. It covers events from the Derby at Epsom on 2 June, which Her Majesty will attend, to the quincentenary of the birth of another queen of England, Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's last wife. Follow this link: bit.ly/engoy.
English Tourism Week starts next Saturday. The chair of VisitEngland, Penelope, Viscountess Cobham, talks to Simon Calder for this week's travel film (above).
Warning of the week: Air links falling off map
With fuel prices soaring, airlines are cutting routes. UK travellers to Asia are badly affected. When the summer air schedules take effect on 25 March, Qantas abandons flights from Heathrow to Bangkok and Hong Kong. Qantas passengers to Perth and Melbourne will now fly to one of the Asian hubs on BA, and connect there to the Australian airline.
China Airlines, the leading Taiwanese carrier, closes its route to Taipei at the end of the winter season. AirAsia X abandons its route from London to Kuala Lumpur on 31 March. The airline blames high fuel prices, weak demand and "exorbitant government taxes".
Two new links are bucking the trend: on Wednesday, Hong Kong Airlines starts flying a business-class-only link to Gatwick, and in June China Southern starts flying to Guangzhou in southern China from Heathrow.
Tip of the week: Franco-Spanish trains
Thomas Cook's ever-vigilant schedule sleuths report, in this month's edition of the European Rail Timetable (£14.99), that passengers hoping to travel on the Francisco Goya overnight "train hotel" between Paris and Madrid face intermittent services in the coming six weeks.
The service will be cancelled over the Easter weekend (6, 7 and 8 April) and the Ascension holiday (17, 18 and 19 May) for engineering work. Alternative day services are available.
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