Something To Declare: Olympic London; Buenos Aires; Baggage fees
Where to go, how to save, what to avoid
Saturday 23 August 2008
Destination of the week: Olympic London
With the Beijing Games almost over, attention switches to London – venue for the 2012 Olympics. For the next four weeks you can look back a century, at the 1908 London Games. A fascinating exhibition at Fulham Palace Museum (020-7736 8140; www.fulhampalace.org) in west London focuses on "The Great White City". The Olympics of 1908 comprised just one dimension of the Franco-British Exhibition of that year, which attracted eight million visitors in six months.
"As well as the more serious exhibits promoting industry and the arts, visitors could enjoy rides such as the 'Flip Flap' which lifted people in viewing carriages to a height of 200ft," says Miranda Poliakoff, the curator.
The museum opens only late morning and early afternoon from Saturday to Tuesday, though not bank holiday Monday; free entry.
At the Museum in Docklands (0870 444 3855; www.museumindocklands.org.uk), which is also free and keeps longer hours, events this coming week will look at objects found in excavations at 2012 Olympic sites.
Bargain of the week: BA to BA
British Airways' latest crop of World Offers has plenty to tempt the traveller who is able to fly off-peak. Despite the sharp rise in the price of oil, the airline is offering low long-haul fares this winter, if you avoid the Christmas and New Year holidays.
South America, which is traditionally expensive to reach, has some particularly good deals. To Buenos Aires, which has daily flights from 26 October, the fare is £629 return. Rio, which gets non-stop flights from Heathrow this winter, is even better at £449.
Further north, BA is introducing a thrice-weekly link from Gatwick to St Lucia in competition with Virgin Atlantic, for £469. Flights to Hong Kong are the same price. Short haul, the one-way bargain fares are Gatwick to Faro, Palma or Venice for £45, and Heathrow-Athens for £75.
To get these fares, you must book before 23 September at www.ba.com, but as always the widest range of departure dates is available to those who buy early.
Warning of the week: Baggage fees
The habit of charging extra fees for checked-in bags is spreading. For its Australian domestic flights, Virgin Blue is introducing an A$8 (£3.75) fee for a 23kg bag if booked in advance, or A$20 (£9.25) at the airport. But Paul Charles of Virgin Atlantic says it will not spread right across the Virgin empire:
"We will not be charging for checked-in baggage. Long-haul is very different operationally to a short-haul service like Virgin Blue."
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