Something to declare: Darwin; flight 'phishing' scam; Japanese trains; Seychelles

 

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The Independent Travel

Destination of the week: Darwin

The capital of Northern Territory is the gateway to some of Australia's most alluring locations, including Kakadu National Park, Katherine Gorge and the waters of Beagle Gulf.

Darwin used to be easy to reach: British Airways flew there direct from Heathrow. Later Qantas offered a one-stop service via Singapore, but then assigned the route to its budget offshoot, Jetstar, making for a less comfortable flight.

SilkAir, the short-haul, full-service operation from Singapore Airlines, is about to compete on the route. From 26 March – roughly the end of the wet season in the "Top End" and the start of the main tourist season – SilkAir will fly four times a week from Singapore at 7.30pm, with connections from the late-night flight from London.

Warning of the week: Flight 'phishing' scam

American Airlines is warning of a fraudulent email that purports to represent a booking for an AA flight to New York's JFK Airport. It shows details of a flight and ends "Please download and print out your ticket". Do not "click on any links, open any attachments, call phone numbers listed, or follow any instructions in these fraudulent emails", warns AA.

If you inadvertently clicked on any of the links in the email, and happen to have a mileage account with American Airlines, the carrier urges you to change your password immediately.

Bargain of the week: Japanese trains

From New Year's Day, travellers to Japan have an even lower-priced rail option. For decades, the Japan Rail Pass (japanrailpass.net) has provided access to the nation's excellent network of trains.

The full pass costs £157 for a week of rail travel anywhere in the country. But, if you intend to stay within the Kanto region – which covers Mount Fuji and the "Five Lakes", Nikko and "onsen" (hot spring) towns – then the new 8,000 yen (£66) Kanto Rail Pass may be all you need. It gives unlimited travel on JR trains (even bullet trains) and a range of other rail services for three consecutive days. No need to book in advance: you can buy it on arrival at Narita or Haneda airports – and it will cover the journey from the airport.

For a map and more details go to: bit.ly/kantopass.

Tip of the week: Seychelles sells slots

Air Seychelles lost an average of €12 per passenger in the latest available financial results. As a result, the carrier is abandoning most of its long-range routes, including its twice-weekly Heathrow flights. They will be axed next month, with some "tactical" cancellations expected before then. One option is to fly to Paris and travel on Air Seychelles from there, but many of those flights in the next two months have been axed.

Air Seychelles is likely to become a regional carrier to South Africa, Sri Lanka and India, leaving Gulf airlines to provide intercontinental access to the islands.

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