Something to declare: Transatlantic in style; Sydney; car rentals from airports; Eurostar compensation
Saturday 24 December 2011
Bargain of the week: Transatlantic in style
The latest BA sale runs to 24 January. The outstanding deal is from Gatwick to Kingston, Jamaica in Club World for £1,013 return – barely half the normal going rate, travelling between 15 August and 30 November.
The second tier of bargains is for World Traveller Plus (BA's premium economy) from Heathrow to US East Coast destinations: New York JFK for £654 and Washington DC for £687 return, between tomorrow and the end of March 2012.
In long-haul economy, the best deals are to South America. You fly from Heathrow to Madrid and transfer to Iberia for the transatlantic flight. Lima stands out at £499, while Caracas is also a bargain at £440. These are both available for travel any time between now and 20 June.
Destination of the week: Sydney, tomorrow
It's not too late to book a long-haul Christmas flight, with seats still available on many routes. David Whitley of the website Australianflightbargains.com, says the very cheapest tickets may be available only through agents: "Sometimes the airlines want to fill the planes at silly prices, but don't want to advertise this." One example: a business-class return to Sydney or one of many other destinations on the Taiwanese carrier China Airlines for £1,549, departing tomorrow evening, Christmas night.
Stuart Lodge of Roundtheworldflights.com (020-7704 5700) says: "For many Brits flying Down Under, the key date to be in Sydney is now New Year's Eve."
Warning of the week: Car rental from airports
Hiring a car from an airport can prove painfully expensive. That's according to the 2011 survey of the most expensive rental destinations worldwide, according to the leading UK broker, Holiday Autos.
The most expensive location is Zurich airport, where an average week costs £447. Nearby Geneva airport – the main gateway for UK skiers – is in second place at £363. Reflecting the high value of Australasian currencies, Christchurch airport in New Zealand is third at £336, with Hobart airport in the Australian state of Tasmania sixth at £304 and New Zealand's capital, Wellington, 10th at £274.
In Europe, France is most expensive: an average week's rental at Nice airport costs £310, with Bordeaux airport £265.
The only non-airport location in the top 10: Finchley in north London, at £277.
Tip of the week: Eurostar compensation
Channel crossings were disrupted last Sunday when the Tunnel was closed temporarily. But train passengers should take note of Eurostar's generous compensation policy. For delays of one to two hours, you get a free one-way journey, or a 50 per cent discount on a future return trip, or a 25 per cent refund of the affected leg. Delays of two to five hours net you a free return journey – or half your money back. For delays above five hours, you get that return journey free, plus a full cash refund. Exceptions include third-party action (vandals) and severe weather.
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