Something To Declare: Free sightseeing for transit passengers in Istanbul; Beirut plus; the Puffin Bus
Saturday 11 June 2011
Destination of the week: Free sightseeing for transit passengers in Istanbul
If you arrive in Istanbul as a transit passenger and are facing a wait between international flights of at least six hours, between 9am and 6pm, then take advantage of Turkish Airlines' offer of a free tour of its hub city. The "Touristanbul" scheme offers a bus ride from the airport to the city centre, an English-speaking guide, free admission to museums and even a free lunch. No need to book ahead: just sign up at the Turkish Airlines Hotel Desk upon arrival. See Istanbulinhours.com for more details.
Some British passengers face long connections that fall outside the 9am-6pm window. Yet, they could still be in line for a bonus: business-class passengers with an eight-hour wait, and economy travellers with a 10-hour-plus wait, are entitled to free hotel accommodation. On a Bangkok-Manchester journey, for example, there can be a 14-hour overnight stay – which gives plenty of time for you to explore the city before returning to the hotel for the night.
Warning of the week: Stormy skies
An above-normal hurricane season this year in the Atlantic: that is the prediction from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Centre, which warns of "a 70 per cent chance of 12 to 18 named storms, which includes six to 10 hurricanes" between now and the end of November.
The US State Department recommends anyone travelling to a storm-prone region should have "a kit in a waterproof container that includes a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, and some vital documents (especially passport and other ID). Emergency shelters often provide only basic resources and may have limited medical and food supplies."
Bargain of the week: Beirut plus
Fares to the Lebanese capital are sky-high for the summer: in the absence of any no-frills competition, BMI and Middle East Airlines are charging £650-plus, even in June. But if you have time to change planes en route, you can get a free stopover that adds an extra dimension to your trip. Through Expedia.co.uk, you could travel from Heathrow next Saturday for £398 via Frankfurt on Lufthansa, and get almost 12 hours in the German city. Coming home, you can enjoy nine hours of daytime in Switzerland's largest city, Zurich. More exotically, £437 return buys you a trip via Riga on Air Baltic from Gatwick, giving you a morning in the Latvian capital on the way home. The cheapest deal on Expedia is £371 from Stansted using Pegasus Airlines via Istanbul.
Tip of the week: The Puffin Bus
One of Britain's most appealing bus routes – the "Puffin Bus" along the Pembrokeshire coast – has just adopted its summer schedule (0871 200 2233; pembrokeshiregreenways.co.uk). Three buses a day shuttle between St David's and Milford Haven, giving access to the coast path, beaches and the boat for Skomer at Martin's Haven.
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