Something To Declare: Rail carnets; Pau; Bangkok airport; Kiev
Saturday 05 March 2011
Bargain of the week: Rail carnets
Anyone accustomed to paying full fare on rail routes such as London to Birmingham, Glasgow to Edinburgh and the West Coast Main Line should take a look at mytrainticket.co.uk/carnets.
This provides details of all the train operators' schemes that offer a small bonus to regular travellers.
"A carnet usually consists of six, 10, 12 or 50 tickets for a journey which you can use on any train and whenever you want," says the company.
Examples of savings: Chiltern Railways sells 12 return tickets to London Marylebone for the price of 10 from Birmingham and other stations; and Virgin Trains' "Take 10" promotion offers 10 tickets for the price of nine on the West Coast Main Line.
The biggest discount is on First ScotRail for packs of 10 singles – a Flexipass – on nearly 100 routes in Scotland. On the Glasgow Queen Street-Edinburgh route, the one-way fare of £12.20 is reduced to £9.62. These must be used within a month, but between the two largest cities, you can buy 50 journeys for use over a year.
Destination of the week: Pau
CityJet (0871 66 33 777; cityjet.com), the Dublin-based subsidiary of Air France, is adding the beautiful French town of Pau to its destinations from London City airport and intensifying competition with Ryanair. Starting four weeks from today – on 2 April – the flight will operate on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Because the route has not yet been officially launched, remarkably low fares are on offer: £126 return on a wide range of dates. A comparable fare on Ryanair from Stansted is £82 return, but this does not include baggage or in-flight catering.
Pau is perfectly placed for exploring the western Pyrenees, in particular the foothills towns of St-Engrâce and Cauterets.
Warning of the week: Bangkok airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport, outside the Thai capital, is experiencing very long queues for passport control, writes Fergal Burnell. The lines for arrivals are irritatingly slow, but more of a problem is posed by the interminable queue to get "airside". The authorities have pledged to deal with the problem, incentivising immigration officials with generous overtime payments. But some airlines are advising their passengers to get to the airport four hours before departure, to allow up to two hours to get through immigration.
Tip of the week: Kiev closer
Wizz Air, the leading Eastern European low-cost airline, is about to improve access from the UK to the Ukrainian capital. It is moving its Luton-Kiev flights to Zhulyany airport – practically in the centre of the capital – rather than serving the awkward, out-of-the-way Borispol airport, which lies 25 miles from town.
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