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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 19th December

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We have decided to run this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

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 at home, 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 it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (372)

  • Anna says:

    It’s going to be very odd not being in the highest tier for once. Meeting friends in the freezing cold for a walk in a muddy park with our flasks of coffee is going to feel like the utmost decadence!

    • Harry T says:

      For once it’s going to be positive to be a northerner during the pandemic!

      • Andrew says:

        And a midlander. I’ll enjoy shopping the Harvey Nics sale in store next week all the more!

        • Tiff says:

          Packed trains leaving London heading north this afternoon and evening. Only a matter of time before the north and midlands is in tier 4. Anyway, it’s always good to see more commenters from outside the south-east here on

          • Nick says:

            I just don’t understand those people in the pictures. They’re keen not to break the actual rules by rushing to leave immediately, but not keen enough to stop to think about the ethical part of, you know, physically carrying the virus around the country with them.

          • Lady London says:

            I have absolutely no idea why the government is now allowing religious gatherings in Tier 4. Was disallowed before

        • TGLoyalty says:

          It’ll be short lived.

        • Harry T says:

          @Andrew – enjoy! We don’t have the luxury of many good shops in the North East and of course it’s tier 3 round here.

      • BuildTheWall says:

        Enjoy the next few days as a national lockdown is expected in 2 weeks

        • Andrew says:

          Indeed. I intend to make the most of the next week or so before that happens. That will be it until March then.

  • Bill says:

    Simon Calder is tweeting the policy updates from Tui and easyjet

  • KBuffett says:

    It’s quite refreshing reading sensible discussion on moving to Tier4 on here. I can see Rob’s target ABC1 audience is probably spot on. Some of the drivel being spewed elsewhere is mind boggling.

    • Andrew says:

      Gosh I can imagine!

    • Harry T says:

      Thought all Rob’s readership were more SW1?

    • Anuj says:

      You say that and yet just a few days ago I remember seeing comments the complete opposite. And on one article there were even anti vax comments. Ignorance occurs in every demographic after all

    • John says:

      Daily Mail horrific, naturally. They’ve managed to get the head of the Police Federation in London to rubbish Boris’ statement, and say his members won’t enforce anything.

      • Josh says:

        So ‘horrific’, yet Britain’s best selling newspaper?

        • Chris Heyes says:

          do people still read newspapers ?

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Well with Boris Johnson as Prime minister it’s it the only horrific yet inexplicably well supported thing we have to live with…

        • r* says:

          If the daily mail is britains biggest selling ‘news’paper, that doesnt say much for the british population lol

        • Anuj says:

          Well you only have to go to the top story and I can guarantee you at least one of the top comments 365 days a year will be pretty racist. Says as much as you need to know about the Daily Mail

      • Anna says:

        The DM is horrified by the new rules, and equally horrified by anyone breaking them, that is it’s nature.

        • Anna says:

          *Its – I am not a Mail reader 🤣

          • Polly says:

            Times readers here, but always get a copy of Wednesday DM for the financial info. Learned a lot on those pages.

            Sometimes get the Tuesday one to catch up with my DM Medical School updates…

      • Bazza says:

        The nonsense in the Guardian always feels like they are just on a wind-up

  • Baji Nahid says:

    OTA: I found really cheap flights in NOV 2019 to NYC from Edinburgh for £126 return with KL/VS.

    Flights were for November 2020 which due to the lockdown got cancelled. I was then rebook onto 5 new flights (wasnt told about this, only went to the VS app and checked that i was given new flights each time) which again, all of them got cancelled. However, with the last rebooking, the flight was on the 17th of Dec and it was only a domestic connection from Edinburgh to London. (Booked JFK fyi not LHR as the JFK flights were cancelled). Now the OTA have not bothered to reach out to me (no surprises there), I am always reaching out to them.

    They keep asking me to take a refund or travel credit but i keep refusing and tell them to rebook me onto another flights into the next year. I know with an OTA there is always trouble. But I feel i have the upper hand here and think i should really twist their arms a bit? What can i do?

  • Andrew says:

    Just triggered the BA Blue £500 Avios offer cumulatively.

    • SteveD says:

      Can I ask, did you get notified immediately? I’ve got the BAPP offer of 1500 for £100 but offer came through while I was in process of downgrading to blue.
      £100 has cleared but no sign of the miles yet. It’s only been a day or so though.

      • Andrew says:

        I spent £100 on food on my BAPP in M&S today and got the email once the transaction went through the till.

      • Anna says:

        It’s taken a couple of weeks for my 1500 miles to track on BAPP.

  • Anna says:

    Presumably there is going to be another massive movement of students in the new year?!

    • Harry T says:

      I think they need to consider asking students to stay at their parental homes, especially as students travelling back from the SE to Northern universities could seed this new strain. Where I live, all the teaching is online anyway, except for medicine and dentistry. Probably best to ask the students to stay with Mum and Dad until numbers are down and more people are vaccinated.

      • SteveD says:

        Whatever decision is made on this, expect it to be last-minute.

      • Nick says:

        Students will be delighted to do that… if the universities (and student housing companies) stop charging them rent while they do. Students feel aggrieved to be paying mega£ for something they can’t make use of.
        Same reason the universities won’t stop them coming back… all they see is the £ signs. For this to change, something had to give (most likely Rishi’s magic money tree again).

        • Harry T says:

          The private landlords will be charging them rent too… tough year for the Uni students.

      • Polly says:

        Exactly. They can catch up with their missed out student experience from year 2 onwards. Safer for them to be at home, in a secure we hope! Environment with family. So many of them say they are isolated and feeling low at uni anyway. Might as well be at home.
        One example of us in Elmbridge being added to Tier 3 a while back appears to have stemmed from the movement of students back for their reading week to Surrey. We just couldn’t understand the numbers going up. And Richmond similar. Seemed like their positive results was reflecting where they lived not at their student address. More example of statistics to suit.

      • Alan says:

        Looking at the pictures of people piling on to trains out of London tonight, I think that boat has already sailed.

  • Cat says:

    Hi all, I wanted to write this here for all to see, rather than it being buried in the comments on page 4, where it will only be seen by the unpleasant characters that are making deeply unpleasant digs at me, and are probably hovering there waiting for me to react.
    My brother died a few years ago, as a few regular, old-timers on this site know. My family have a really tough time at Xmas (as do many), and we’ve known for a while that this year was going to be especially tough, as we made the decision a few weeks ago not to see my parents (who obviously have an even tougher time than we do), as my job makes me a risk to them. That was a heartbreaking decision to make, but we consoled ourselves by making them mince pies, Xmas puddings, cards etc, and couriering them to the other end of the country (after sanitising everything like crazy obvs), while planning a lovely Xmas with my sister and her kids, and thinking of ways in which we could surprise my parents on Xmas day.
    I was especially looking forward to seeing my sister and her kids, as my nieces are the closest thing to children of my own that I’ll ever have (again, as many of the people on HfP already know), after 6 awful rounds of IVF, and 3 even more awful miscarriages. I dote on them, and have been counting down the days, hours and minutes until I see them again, as I’ve seen them once in the last 2 months. I’ve been planning mince pies, brandy and oats for the reindeer, trails of breadcrumbs and tinkling bells as the sleigh flies away, and I’m devastated that none of this can happen now.
    I came here to lament, as many have over the last few months, when family members and loved ones have become seriously ill, and died, when plans to see loved ones have been cancelled, and when hopes have been dashed. I came hoping for understanding and sympathy (which I got from one or two lovely people), but the last few comments have been snide remarks, telling me “For goodness sake, calm down” (we women love that), calling me a serial complainer, an armchair expert (I work in a school, I get to comment on the spread of this virus in schools, & I’m a dab hand with mathematical modelling), & making underhand, directed comments that “some people” only come here to comment when angry.
    No, I’ve been avoiding this website, and only dipping back in periodically because what used to be a lovely travel site has become such an unpleasant place where people seem to get off on being horrible to each other for no reason.

    • Cat says:

      I was devastated by the Tier 4 announcement today, as many, many people were, all for their own personal reasons. This should be a place we can come to talk about travel plans and restrictions and how they affect us personally, without fear of snide, wholly unnecessary, malicious, bullying comments. This used to be a lovely, supportive, friendly site, where people would help each other out, just to be kind and helpful, and for many of us, it still is that, but we are subjected to this unpleasantness because of newcomers who, for whatever reason, have chosen this website as their trolling spot of choice.
      I just wanted to put this here to draw attention to this issue, because I’m not the only one who’s had to suffer unpleasant, underhand comments like this. You don’t know what’s going on in the lives of others, maybe try to remember that before you comment.
      My best wishes to everyone else whose Xmas plans, weddings and family get-togethers have been cancelled due to this awful virus. I hope you manage to cobble something together out of the rubble.

      Rob, Anika, Rhys, Sinead – please leave this here. I’d rather this issue was addressed than left to fester, and if this post helps, so be it.

    • Tocsin says:

      The trouble is, Cat, you came over as attacking people also – politicians are people, believe it or not!

      I’m really sorry that you have had so many troubles, and you have my heartfelt best wishes. Let’s all hope for a better 2021!

      • Andrew says:

        Indeed. All the best to you and your family for a better 2021. And I’m sorry if my polite discussion about the difficult balance the government has to judge caused you any additional upset – I certainly didn’t and wouldn’t attack anyone in the way you describe above. We’ve all had a terrible year, and we have all been affected in different ways – the latest Christmas announcement doesn’t affect my plans this time, but my partner lives in the Middle East and I’ve not seen him since February. Let’s all show some more kindness and recognise that everyone is dealing with a lot at the moment but that we are all entitled to opinions about how it’s being handled and that we don’t all have to agree. And we STILL don’t know what Rob’s doing with his Virgin points!

        • Cat says:

          I’m sorry Andrew, that must be rubbish for you both. I hope you’re in a position to see each other soon.
          Bring on that vaccine.

      • RussellH says:

        Politicians are (usually 🙂 ) people, but they do very deliberately put themselves in the firing line by taking decisions that significantly affect other people’s lives. It follows that they have to expect others to object in the strongest possible terms about both their opinions and their actions, especially when the objectors clearly have a far better understanding than the politicians.

        • Cat says:

          Agreed, they chose their positions of power, and the criticism that comes with it if they do their jobs badly.
          Thanks RussellH.

      • Polly says:

        It’s more like expressing total frustration at the obvious ineptitude of our current crop of decision making politicians. Gov have seen this creeping up for days. Boris was asked several days ago by Keir to reconsider the Xmas bubbles. Now when many have paid out for train, flight tkts etc they suddenly cannot stay overnight on the 25th with possibly no transportation home. So def bad planning. And yes, many countries have done it better.
        However, maybe we can all calm down a bit now a decision has been made, even if it’s probably too late to reduce R numbers quickly enough. The vaccine can’t come quickly enough.

        Like Cat, millions of people have had plans suddenly interrupted. Our daughters wedding can’t now happen in Islington on Tuesday, so that’s a bummer. All of us very upset.
        We all greatly respect Cat’s contribution to the forum. I know her and understand just how much this time with her sister and niece mean to her. Her substitute kiddies. It’s been a tough year for us all.

        We all love to travel, and indeed this forum is aimed at us travel loving community. Can we please think before we post, from now on.
        We need to get back to what we do best on here. Talk about, and hope to travel again soon.
        Just reading the helpful comments from the paste few months, there really could not be a more helpful bunch of people out there. So many jumping in to guide people through the CEDR, MCOL process etc. Patiently repeating instructions day after day, yes you Lady London.
        Looking forward to a better 2021 on hfp.

        Hope we all get some good out of the holiday time, and can look forward to getting vaccinated in the new year.

        • Cat says:

          Thanks for this Polly, I miss just talking about travel here, hearing where people are in the world, giving people ideas to help plan their future travels and hearing about how it went when they come back. I hope we can get back to that, and soon.
          Lady London has been a rock through this, and has helped so many people, she is a bit of a legend.
          As are you Polly, X

          • Polly says:

            Tnx Cat, new morning new day, hope we all got some decent sleep last night.
            Loved all your travel tips advice about Cambodia and Nam last year. Nov 19 our month there. Indeed sat in that garden under that huge tree and just watched the world go by in that beautiful temple. Name?? Seems like a great distant memory now. Quiet place, away from the hoards of pic snapping Chinese tourists.
            My inbox today had a beautiful CN traveller article on Misty Nam this morning. Indeed, felt very nostalgic reading it. But very uplifting.

            Just be the best batsh*t aunty you can be, you love it, and believe me your sister appreciates it. Know l did when my sisters took my kids over for a bit…it’s a great feeling… and once we can start travelling again, hfp will regain what it’s best for, travel chat.

      • Cat says:

        Tocsin – politicians choose to run for office. They choose to be in a position to make decisions that are actually life or death for millions of people. With that position comes criticism if you make bad choices, and so it should.
        You might not think that our current crop of politicians made bad choices, fair enough, you’re entitled to your opinion, but that doesn’t mean either of us need to go out of their way to repeatedly insult the other one, in several places, in several different threads. It’s wholly unnecessary.

      • Cat says:

        Thanks though, I hope your 2021 is better too.

    • Nick_C says:

      Sorry Cat, but unless some posts have been deleted, I think you’re over reacting. Post about contentious issues, and people are likely to disagree with you. You said on page 4 that you are angry. Perhaps that is clouding your judgement.

      Maybe read those comments again tomorrow when (dare I say) you have calmed down – which is what one should when one is angry, regardless of gender.

      • RussellH says:

        Sorry Nick, but I have just gone back and read Cat’s posts on page 4 and I just see someone talking common sense.

      • Richard says:

        I have been reading this site religiously since around March now, and I love how helpful and constructive the comments are.

        I also didn’t see anything malicious in any of those comments (unless of course some were deleted). This is all extremely emotive for everyone at the moment it would seem. Going off tangent, but me and my fiancee had our wedding cancelled the night before this year, including the honeymoon. Oh, and now I have to self isolate having come into contact with someone who had covid.

        Sometimes you just have to laugh.

        • Cat says:

          Th night before the wedding, how awful, I’m sorry Richard, that sucks.
          Have you managed to keep the deposits for a future date?
          I had to self isolate recently too – all part of the fun of my job.
          See below for an example of the maliciousness – I talk openly about my difficulty conceiving, and my multiple miscarriages and this guy chooses to write one sentence about how cold I must get (on the moral high ground), but instead of saying chilly, crisp, bracing, freezing, wintry, icy, glacial or merely cool, he chose to use the word frigid.
          When was the last time you heard that word used to describe anything (or anyone) other than by a misogynist to describe a woman they see as sexually unavailable?
          The only way to stop a bully is to call them out on it.

      • Cat says:

        Nick_C, see the comment below. If that isn’t a gendered, rather hateful insult, I don’t know what is. Especially when viewed in conjunction with my openly admitting that I’ve been unable to have children.
        I imagine I’ll think the same when I’ve calmed down.

        • Anna says:

          Cat, I was reading your comments yesterday but didn’t want to post a reply which might come across as insensitive. A very dear friend of mine whom I’ve know since we were children also went through multiple rounds of ivf before her git of a partner left her for someone who could have kids. Then 2 years ago at 48 she adopted a toddler who was in desperate need of a loving home and has transformed this child’s life. Not saying this is for everyone but just that you never know what life is going to bring you!

          • Cat says:

            That’s a lengthy conversation Anna – I would love to do that, but it’s just not what my OH wants. I have no intention of trying to push adopted children on him, or vice versa (my aunt pushed my uncle into adopting for similar reasons many decades ago, and that’s where the lengthy story lies – it doesn’t end well at all).
            I think for me, the answer is to be the batsh!t crazy, overly enthusiastic aunt (hence my reaction to the news today).
            Thanks for your reply Anna, it wasn’t in any way insensitive (unlike the very deliberately worded comment below), I do appreciate your thoughtful response, X

          • Lady London says:

            known more than one wife who went through 3 rounds of IVF (definitely not pleasant) before hubby would deign to do a sperm test (considerably less invasive).

            And guess where the problem was found to be.

          • Cat says:

            @LL we tested that quite early on (it did take some convincing though), but the little swimmers were fine.
            The first 3 rounds nothing happened, then my consultant noticed an autoimmune issue I have, that I wrote on the initial paperwork (if only he had read it properly at the start…), so they decided I was possibly rejecting the embryos, and gave me steroids (they were extra fun, on top of all the hormones). The next 3 rounds worked, to a point,then I turned 40, and we decided to call it a day, for our own sanity.

    • Jack says:

      Don’t feel bad, there are people on here who should be suffering from vertigo given how high up they are on their moral high ground.

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