Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Tuesday 9th June

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

We have decided to run this new daily chat thread on Head for Points.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the defacto repository for random comments and questions.  It is unlikely that the news flow will be so big over the next few weeks that we will need many ‘Bits’ articles, however.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are stuck at home self-isolating, we want the HFP community to have a place to chat.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as its keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

By default, HFP shows the last page of comments under the article.  If you want to see the first page of comments and read them all from beginning to end in order, click here: https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/06/09/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-tuesday-9th-june/comment-page-1.  The page will refresh with this article but the comments will now show the first page and not the last page.

We will continue to monitor how this is working.  Let’s see how it goes.  Take care!

Comments (194)

  • Don says:

    The bailout of Austrian was announced yesterday. Most interestingly is the condition that domestic flights with a ground journey time under three hours cannot be resumed.

    I’m not aware of any other bailouts in the EU which come with such a condition?

    You’d think that the U.K., Germany would have wanted to include such a term, especially as Germany has very good transport links to various airports on direct ICE.

    I’m even more surprised that pre-Covid; the mainstream media, BBC, Sky, most newspapers were banging on about the climate emergency on a daily basis, including millions would die, and we all needed to fly yes. Extinction Rebellion had wall to wall sympathetic coverage. Now it’s like the emergency doesn’t exist anymore. Unlimited cash for airlines, with no CO2 targets (except Austrian).

    I guess the climate emergency wasn’t so important after all?

    • Erico1875 says:

      Even under normal circumstances, why would anyone put themselves through the airport hassle for such short journeys?
      By the time you add in to and from airports. security, bag dropand pickup and pre boarding time even a 1 hour flight is probably 4 hours.

      • Paul says:

        I’d love to travel by train in the UK but for me, and I suspect a lot of others, it’s a lot more expensive than flying and very slow.

        I live 20 west of Heathrow yet cannot access the airport by any method other than car (around 30 minutes). Check in 90 minutes before departure, drink in lounge, board and 90 minutes to Glasgow / Edinburgh followed by 30 minutes to final destination. Door to door is around 4 hour relatively comfortable for very little money. The same train journey would hours 3-4 hours longer and to date I have never been able to price it less than flying

        • BJ says:

          Edinburgh to London by train is typically 4h20min or 4h45min and Glasgow not that much different. There is little in it between the train and the plane. I use the train all the time now as it is so much more enjoyable. Usually book First Advance which remains a good deal despite substantial fare hikes in last three years provided you can book three months out. I’ve been able to half my costs for at least the last three years already thanks to Nectar vouchers. However, I would not like to use rail from Edinburgh to connect to a flight from LHR.

          • Simon Barlow says:

            You would need to factor the time getting to the departure station and the onward time to get to the final destiation, no?

          • BJ says:

            For me, +7 minutes tops from my home to Waverley, +30 minutes tops KGX platform to central London hotel. Ket’s call it 5h door to door if on time. Yes I can do it about an hour less by plane but not enough to make it worth the hassle for me, sitting at breakfast on the train is far more pleasant than the various lines and crowds to be negotiated going by plane.

          • Baji Nahid says:

            tell me about it, i do it all the time lol

        • Chris1922 says:

          I once managed central London to Southside Glasgow, door to door (office to my front door) in 2hr 45 mins, via LCY – GLA. Admittedly, I was so late I almost missed the flight, and my taxi was waiting for me at GLA to take me to my Southside, home, so only a 20 min ride. But proves it can be done. The fastest train is 4hr 21mins, and i would have to add extra time getting to and from the train stations, and then my house. So probably about 5 hours total.
          Can’t remember the price of the flight, but it would have been decent, otherwise I wouldn’t have booked it. Hand baggage only. The starts did align, I know from biter experience it’s not always that quick.
          And I still got a free GnT on board !

        • AJA says:

          I’m with you Paul. I live in West London within 5 minutes walk of a tube station and 25 mins from LHR by taxi but still the plane wins over the train. The train only goes from Kings Cross / St Pancras but that’s at least a 1 hour tube journey before you factor in the time on the train. I never flew LHR to LBA (not that you can anymore) but in that case I just drive as that is even quicker, not that I enjoy it but it’s more practical as i can drive directly to the destination whereas the train journey takes me to a not terribly convenient train station, likewise the airport.

      • Don says:

        Because like LHR, VIE is a hub.

    • Andrew says:

      Extinction Rebellion had wall to wall coverage…

      Now the media and some Extinction Rebellion members are celebrating the dumping of waste, that may contain toxic lead, in harbours…

      They are far less keen on the barista handling people’s dirty and Poz ridden reusuable mugs before handling their own drink.

      Can you imagine the outrage from the people of Northern Ireland, Scilly Isles, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, and many Scottish Islands if flights under 3 hours were banned in the UK?

      And, as this exclusive BBC documentary shown in Scotland at the end of 2019 shows, Greta’s parents don’t quite follow the same rules as their daughter:-

      https://twitter.com/bbcscotland/status/1212354283322200064

      • Michael C says:

        Particularly the Isle of Man (and Channel Is.), as we’re not in the UK….

        • Andrew says:

          Indeed not. You do generally rely on ferry and air links to the UK for key services though.

          Need emergency cardiac intervention? You’ll be airlifted to Liverpool.

      • ken says:

        “Can you imagine the outrage from the people of Northern Ireland, Scilly Isles, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, and many Scottish Islands if flights under 3 hours were banned in the UK? ”

        Its ground journeys of 3 hours, not flights of 3 hours.

        I’m not sure how much sense it makes environmentally to fly from say Manchester to London for a days work rather than get the train (yes, I’m fully aware of the train cost).

        You can fly from Manchester to Malaga in less than 3 hours – I don’t think there is an immediate threat to those flights.

      • Don says:

        Like the Little Britain of old, give it a few years (or even months post BLM) I strongly suspect that BBC show will never be shown again. She’s just a child etc.

        The SNP always bang on about diversity, but Scotland has some of the UK’s least diverse towns and cities in the UK. BBC Scotland is hideously white.

        • Callum says:

          I’m not sure I see your point. Are you saying that the SNP should have been importing people of different cultures to artificially boost the diversity? Or that they aren’t allowed to like diversity if you deem they don’t have enough of it?

        • Paul Pogba says:

          Good to see your proud of your racism. How long would a post saying “parts of England are hideously brown/black” last I wonder?

          • Rob says:

            He was talking about BBC Scotland, not Scotland. Happy to take his word for the fact that BBC Scotland has virtually no minorities on screen.

          • Genghis says:

            Which I’d argue leads to some ignorance, not necessarily racism.

            I come from a town in the north east which is 96% white (2011 census), a full 10 percentage points higher than national average.

            When my family met my then girlfriend, now wife, they asked where she was from. “South East London” we replied. Of course that’s not what they meant but it is ignorant.

          • BJ says:

            BBC Scotland is jam packed with minorities…they’re called Tories.

          • Bazza says:

            When my family met my then girlfriend, now wife, they asked where she was from. “South East London” we replied. Of course that’s not what they meant but it is ignorant.

            Why is that ignorant?

            You sound a little be over sensitive.

            I am white and London born and still living here and still get asked where I am from?

            Sometimes they are surprised and say I thought you might be Irish etc.

            I am not offended in anyway, I am not the sensitive type and at the end of the day its just small talk. I ask people the same all the time….I am a nosey type!

          • Rhys says:

            It’s ignorant because the next question is often ‘No, where are you REALLY from,’ despite the fact that often they are born in the UK and are as British as you or me. I can see how it is exhausting being asked this day in day out.

            There is an ‘othering’ that happens, where people assume that because you have a different skin colour you are not British, which is clearly false.

            That isn’t to say that you can’t ask about cultural traditions. I try to do so in ways that are culturally sensitive and not by asking ‘where are you from’.

          • Genghis says:

            @Rhys. Exactly. I should have made it more clear. My wife isn’t white. She’s from London, not the place where her grandparents came from.

          • Charlieface says:

            As a bit of a linguist, I always found it interesting that the white people in my area in the NW mostly speak various Slavic languages whereas the Asians and blacks speak fluent Lancastrian English.

      • Callum says:

        It’s almost as if people can care about more than one thing at once… What a crazy world!

    • Rhys says:

      Air France had very similar restrictions with its bailout. Whilst it can operate flights for connecting passengers, it is not encouraged to allow point-to-point travel where the train takes less than 2.5 hours (iirc).

      • Georg says:

        The Salzburg to Vienna route is the one to be culled immediately which I used often. Not to go to Vienna, which is only 2.5 hours on the train nowadays, but to connect onwards, like virtually all other passengers as news reports suggest. It’s perfectly doable on the train, which takes you right into Vienna airport without the need to change. Yet, I always found it very convenient to check in and go through security control at a small airport 15 min away from town rather than at a large hub airport. Then, take the short flight and relax in transfer. Also I need to factor in some time for delays, whereas on a connecting airline ticket, it is the airline’s responsibility. I‘ll miss that connection dearly.

        • davvero says:

          Nothing to stop them offering a codeshare on the train giving you protection in case of delays (and possibly miles too), security would still have to be at VIE, they could offer bag drop at the railway station if they wanted to.

          • tony says:

            for some time now, I’ve seen plane/train options turning up for travel from London to major Austrian cities. Only even on OTAs mind. Took the SZG-VIE flight a couple of times to connect on to LHR though – used to work very well on a Sunday evening.

    • Mr. AC says:

      I will never understand why governments think it’s ok to ban a form of transport. There’s a much better way – just tax it! Tax it at 100% if need be. The market will adjust and only flights that are really, really needed will remain. You can mandate the tax income to be directed to combating climate change, akin to a carbon offset multiple times over. Or you can subsidize trains… But why ban things?

      • Callum says:

        They haven’t banned it. They’ve effectively done exactly what you want them to do – created a financial incentive for Austrian not to do it.

      • memesweeper says:

        +1

        the problem is pollution… tax on the basis of emissions (including noise)… banning things always has weird corner cases and unforeseen consequences. Unbanning things becomes politically difficult. Adjusting tax rates is much easier.

  • Erico1875 says:

    One worldwide emergency at a time please.

  • Nick_C says:

    Restrictions on short Air France domestic flights previously reported here.

    • BJ says:

      Any route that offers TGV connections IIRC. I think they allow flights for connections only though, but not for domestic point to point.

  • Michael C says:

    Thailand talking of opening up to foreign tourists in “third or possibly fourth quarter” and “prioritising those coming from Covid-free areas”.

    Wouldn’t bank on a Phuket Xmas, sadly.

    • BJ says:

      Thanks Michael, we are booked for Xmas/NY as usual. They have a habit if changing policies on a weekly basis but it now seems clear they are playing this ultra cautious. A bit surprising given how dependent on tourism they are , and they allowed visitors from everywhere long after there were already problems in China, Japan, SK and HK. We usually head right down to Songkhla a day or two after arrival so even if we can get in, any quarantine requirements will really throw a spanner in the works. I read that they have thousands of quarantine rooms lined up already and plan even more so let’s see.

      • Michael C says:

        Really hope you make it, BJ – I reckon so.
        Just been looking at Songkhla flgihts myself, too – can’t wait!

        • BJ says:

          @Michael, if you go there and have not already been to Phatthalung Province then I highly recommend you explore it. Along with Songkhla, these are my two favourite provinces in Thailand. Some of the few remaining areas to experience the real country unaffected my mass tourism. You do get the Malaysian party and shopping scene in Hat Yai but that’s about it.

    • Nick_C says:

      Sounds like Thailand is being really sensible.

      Anybody who really loves Thailand would not think of travelling there from the UK while the virus is still out of contol here.

      Sitting in a metal tube for 12 hours with 300 other people sounds like a good way to seed new cases and kill more Thai people in due course.

      • Rhys says:

        Not sure I would consider an R value of less than 1 to be ‘out of control’!

        • fivebobbill says:

          Depends where you go I guess, the “R” value will have been well above 1 in Pattaya for donkeys years. Last time I was in Walking Street, Covid 19 was probably the only thing you couldn’t catch… 😳

      • BJ says:

        6 months away so hopefully situation will have improved a lot. If it hasn’t we will not be going.

      • Darren says:

        I love Thailand and have no travel plans atm, but their testing regime has been very low which will skew the figures. Maybe their control measures have been good but without testing who knows.

    • AJA says:

      I think we can say Phuket to a Thai Xmas. 🙂

  • Phil C says:

    Has anyone managed to get hold of and get a refund from Eurowings for a cancelled flight?
    I haven’t got through on the phone and they don’t reply to emails. They have just moved me to a different flight to a different airport.

    • ankomonkey says:

      Yes. I e-mailed first and never received a reply. I called 3 times, each time being told my call would be answered in “less than 20 minutes”. First 2 calls I gave up after 1 hour on hold. 3rd time I got through to someone after 40 minutes. No nonsense or argument – he processed the refund and it came through about 3 weeks later. I was still getting messages about an alternative flight they’d moved me on to long after the refund call, which was worrying, but all okay in the end. Keep trying!

      • Phil c says:

        Thanks good to know. Done 3x 1hour + on hold so far.

        • Amar says:

          Have you used the WeQ4U app? I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s saved me hours waiting – especially during COVID on the phone to virgin flying club to get my flying club miles the hell outta there!

  • JP_MCO says:

    Hi Rob,
    The Virgin Atlantic Seatspy widget isn’t working properly. A search invokes the following message: “An unexpected error has occurred. The administrator has been notified. Sorry for the inconvenience!”

    • Rob says:

      Thanks, we’ll chase.

    • Rhys says:

      It appears to be working for me! What are you searching and I can relay it back to them?

      • JP_MCO says:

        Thanks – it was an issue first thing in the morning but seemed to have resolved itself later in the day. Thanks for checking.

  • Anna says:

    Just called BA on the 0800 number to get refunds for various cancelled bits and bobs and got through pretty much straight away. Unfortunately they won’t refund one inbound leg on a separate booking as it hasn’t been officially cancelled yet so will need to do it all again at that point!

    • Mervyn Miller says:

      Hi Anna You said BA would not refund an inbound leg as it has not yet been cancelled but if they cancel any outbound or other leg then you are entitled to a full refund of all sums paid for the entire itinerary if it was booked on a single booking reference (PNR)

      • Catalan says:

        @ Mervyn. Anna does mention it was on a separate booking on a flight that has yet to be cancelled.

      • ChrisC says:

        She said it was a separate booking so no refund until it’s been cancelled.

        • Anna says:

          Yes, so presumably I could cancel but would lose £35 pp at this time. We had 2 travelling on a BA holiday booking and 2 on RFS.

          • ChrisC says:

            Yes so best wait for them to cancel so you don’t have to pay the £35.

          • Optimus Prime says:

            That happened to our LHR-CFU flights also booked on 2 different PNR’s: inbound cancelled before outbound. We were lucky and outbound ended up cancelled. Hopefully yours will be too.

  • BJ says:

    A few readers have commented on difficulties getting refunds for cottages and other types of holiday rentals. This in the news today, so might be worth going back to them and requesting refunds again.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52972590