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The HfP chat thread – Thursday 29th July

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We are running 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.

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Comments (460)

  • Grant says:

    Any car hire tips for Glasgow airport please? Arriving 7pm on a Sunday evening so options likely to be limited at that time. On site pickup is a must unfortunately as travelling alone with two young kids.

    I see Europcar are one of the few with an on site presence that are open on Sunday evenings and Nectar is showing 1,000 bonus for first rental. Anything I’m missing?

    Thanks

    • Henry says:

      Sounds like you have answered your own query

    • Mighty Hunter says:

      GLA is a bit of a nightmare at the moment, so much so that we’ve thrown in the towel and bought a runabout which we leave at M-in-Law’s, and get taxis to and from the airport. Wife was Avis GLA’s best customer, hiring 2 or 3 times a month, but prices have rocketed to around 5 times normal and completely unaffordable if it continues.
      We found a work-around with Hertz, hiring a much cheaper small van, but last time that backfired when they ran out of small vans and gave her one big enough for a couple of days of Amazon deliveries!
      If you must hire on a Sunday evening, we failed with Avis but Hertz will usually arrange an out-of-hours pick-up, for which they will charge £39.60. You will need to phone the agent, it can’t be done online. Hertz GLA phone number is 0141 889 3874, which you could try first as the Hertz agent will need to call them to make sure they can get somebody out on a Sunday night.
      Alternatively, if you’re staying locally, you could get a taxi to your accommodation and rent from Arnold Clarke the next morning – we’ve used the Bishopbriggs branch and they’re quite good and have been cheaper than the airport companies.

      • IanM says:

        Car rental prices are a global issue not restricted to GLA, and no sign of that changing unfortunately with component shortages

    • Paul says:

      Hertz are the pits at GLA and I say that as presidents circle member. Their hours of operation are shockingly bad. I had booking for 3 days at £104 booked via hertz.com/au but they shut at 3:30pm or something mad like that despite flights arriving till late evening.
      I rented with Sixt last Thursday booking 48 hours before arrival. An Audi A4 for 3 days £180 but I had booked a lucky dip for £136 and offered cash upgrade which I took. Brilliant staff, great car. Highly recommend.
      Carrental.Com is a good source and from my visit at 6:30pm on Thursday everyone in the rental centre was open except Hertz.

  • PhilM says:

    I have a reward flight with BA early on Saturday morning. I’ve been trying to call them to cancel since Monday but can’t even get into the queue on phone lines.
    I’ve tried tweeting them – any ideas how I can cancel? I worry that tomorrow morning they’ll tell me I’ve left it too late..

    • chris1922 says:

      Can you not cancel yourself in MMB ?

      • PhilM says:

        Unfortunately not, I can only seem to get a voucher online. Baby on its way in November, so I’m not convinced we’ll use the voucher before it expires in April 2023.
        Also, given that it’s a flexible fare, I shouldn’t have to accept a voucher.

        • chris1922 says:

          @PhilM. That’s a shame, I thought they had updated the online function. I got through on the phone Tuesday morning, but took me over two hours. Albeit to Avios team to add a return to previously booked outbound.

    • Anna says:

      I tweeted them last weekend to cancel our back up flights for this weekend. It took a couple of days to respond, then another couple of days to double check I didn’t want a voucher (grr, if I wanted a voucher I would have cancelled online!), but the avios were back today, so within 24 hours of the last response from BA.

      • PhilM says:

        It’s infuriating, isn’t it?! I’ve just managed to get into the phone queue on my 70th call today! I was in it yesterday for an hour though, and then they dropped my call!

        • Babyg says:

          i got through on the old “silver line” number a couple of days ago, 30 min wait.. but got through ok..

      • Anna says:

        Twitter responses seem partly automated, so put in something simple like “I want to cancel my flights”. If you mention a refund it seems to think you are asking about one you have requested previously. Then a human should come back to you and ask for further details!

    • Jane says:

      I had the same for a flight that left earlier this week, I went with option 2 in the end (book new flights), apologised profusely and they sorted out a move of the date for me which I couldn’t do online for some reason. The agent said that most of their calls were from people who couldn’t even get in the queue for option 1 (existing bookings) which was fine but they could only do simple stuff. only on hold for 10 mins or so at around 6pm Monday night.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      PhilM Got through this morning at 8.00am exact took less than a minute
      Number 0344 493 0747 Blue Member

  • Robert says:

    Does anyone have experience of travelling to the UK without having pre-booked day 2/8 tests arranged? Do you get asked to show proof of tests booked by the airline or security before boarding plane, or turned around at UK arrivals after landing?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You need to put the reference on the PLF and the airline may ask to see proof.

      Why wouldn’t you book it?

    • ChrisC says:

      If you can’t follow the rules then please just stay away!

    • Mr. AC says:

      Before boarding – they check if you have filled in the PLF. If you don’t have the tests booked, you won’t be able to fill it out.

      • fivebobbill says:

        Incorrect! The UK PLF will take any random number you like as a test reference, you can then print it out and/or have it emailed to yourself, there won’t be a problem at arrivals

        • ChrisC says:

          Unless you get stopped by a Border Force official and asked to show the actual booking email.

          Lying on the PLF is a crime.

          • fivebobbill says:

            Mr. AC said of the PLF “If you don’t have the tests booked, you won’t be able to fill it out”, which as I stated, is incorrect.

        • Babyg says:

          not true, i typoed my day2 booking reference number incorrectly, and the form said my test reference wasn’t valid…

          • fivebobbill says:

            I said a random number, I can only assume your “typo” included a special character. However I stand by what I said, any random reference number will do to enable you to complete the form, go over to the online form and try it for yourself

    • Sandgrounder says:

      A family of 4 in front of me in the check in queue were knocked back at KEF by easyJet, I don’t think you can complete a locator form without the references?
      PS they made the flight in the end.

      • fivebobbill says:

        … see above 👍

        • meta says:

          Airlines and border officials can and do ask to see the confirmation of test booking randomly, so I wouldn’t count on it not being spotted. You might get away with it a few times, but do it often and you will eventually be caught.

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            Yup, I was asked for it at a random spot check flying back from Malaga on Sunday. They asked for PLF, Day 2 Test and Covid Test. UK border asked for our Vaccine Certificate (Amber list arrival).

            Someone in front of me wasn’t asked at Malaga (Ryanair were rushing!) and they were also in front of me in the queue at BOH… They got to the UK border and hadn’t completed their PLF!

    • Bob says:

      thorough check in Toronto last week before a flight to LHR. Wanted to see explicit proof that a day 2 and 8 package had been purchased. Others were denied boarding for incorrect PLF / testing not booked.

      • Robert says:

        Thanks for all the advice, managed to get Day 2 test booked for £28 from one of the gov website recommended suppliers. Will add the reference to the PLF online for both passengers. First foreign travel since the whole covid restrictions started, coming from AMS on the 3rd Aug so couldn’t have timed it better in terms of quarantine rules no longer applying! Have no problem following the rules, just with those profiteering from it.

  • H says:

    Anyone know what lounge Royal Air Maroc are using for travel in J/OWE at LHR T2 if any? Thanks

    • Rob says:

      No real choice except Plaza is there? Lufthansa’s not going to let them in.

    • Lady London says:

      Lufthansa has made some lounges available to Priority Pass since recently. (And probably only till their own volume of passengers picks up again.)

      Doubtful London T2 on the list though.

  • Craig says:

    If anyone is looking to order from Virgin Wines then consider giving them a call, agent was able to knock £10 off a case and threw in 1000 points to boot.

  • Dave1985 says:

    Let’s hope that the US doesn’t only recognise vaccines they’ve approved if they reciprocate and only allow in Brits who are double jabbed without quarantine.

    AZ have said it could be the end of the year before they apply for approval in America.

    (Not say this will be the case, just hoping it’s not)

    • Louise K says:

      Indeed.

      However, Canada and Mexico also use AZ so are they going to put limitations on them?

      Hope not. I’m jabbed with AZ and my first dose was from India. Keeping everything crossed for my Hawaii wedding next spring.

      • GeorgeJ says:

        Louise,
        The Mexicans can travel to the US, the land borders are closed (but lots of exemptions) the air and sea crossings never have been that is why EU,UK and Indian based travellers use it as bridge into the US.
        Like you I am going to the US in the spring and dont expect this to be an issue.

    • IanM says:

      Better to let some people in and get the US-UK corridor established. Can’t see them letting AZN in if it’s not approved by FDA

    • Harry T says:

      If AZ vaccinated travellers need the vaccine to be FDA approved to enter, then I can’t see them being allowed in any time soon. There’s no reason for the FDA to even licence/approve AZ, as they have innumerable doses of three superior vaccines available in the states.

      • ChrisC says:

        That’s not how approval works.

        Each drug is assessed on it’s own merits and a decision made on those individual merits.

        That there are other approved vaccines available isn’t a consideration.

        • meta says:

          US officials stated on many occasions that when they do eventually open up it won’t be based on vaccination. Of course things change, so it remains to be seen. However, I suspect testing to enter US even for fully vaccinated will remain in place for a long time.

          • Dave1985 says:

            Possibly but we require US citizens entering the U.K. to be double jabbed and countries quite often recipe when it comes to these things. Hopefully we’ll be allowed in at some point this year. It doesn’t seem fair that there’ll be fat/loud Americans knocking around in the U.K. from next month but we can’t go to America.

          • Dave1985 says:

            “ US officials stated on many occasions that when they do eventually open up it won’t be based on vaccination”

            Governments have said a lot of things over the last 18 months….

        • Harry T says:

          Yes but there’s no incentive for AZ to put together an application as there’s no market for the drug – the US has vaccinated everyone who wants a jab and they have no need for more supply.

          • GeorgeJ says:

            Exactly it would be good money after bad especially as they have UK, EU and WHO approval, and they are producing it at zero margin. Much simpler to just use US manufacturing capacity to supply Mexico and others.
            I am booked for the US next spring and expect my AZ jab to be a non issue.

          • Dave1985 says:

            They are putting together an application though regardless of incentive.

          • ChrisC says:

            It’s not just the USA that the FDA approves medicines for. Many smaller countries basically take FDA approval and use it and if AZ wants to market to those countries then they need FDA approval.

            And again just because the US don’t need more vaccine supply is not a reason for the FDA not to approve AZ or for AZ not to apply for approval.

  • Tony1 says:

    Hi quick question

    Any guess how busy Stansted will be for arrivals at 4pm on a Sat in August ? and is it cheaper to get the walk up day 2 test there ? If not what’s the cheapest one I can get ( not staying in UK for more than 2 days so not worried if it does not turn up – double jaged anyway ) Thanks

    • Rob says:

      It’s not cheaper, but it is easier.

      • Tony1 says:

        Thanks. Do I have to book, or just turn up. How do I put this on the Passenger Form ?

        Sorry – stressed – unwilling to travel – taking disabled person back to UK on FR – will be using all duty free allowance to calm myself down lol Staying a few days then returning to Spain ( resident ) – I presume I can travel on my card and not passport ( don’t want a stamp – just in case of future problems )

        • Lady London says:

          I am pretty sure you need passport now since the UK left the EU – not just identity card

          • Rui N. says:

            EU nationals can still visit the UK with ID cards until the end of September (or something like that). If they live in the UK they can use their ID cards to enter the country until 2024 or 25.

          • Tony1 says:

            Thanks – it was the re-entry to Spain I was going to use the card.
            Just found out that Spanish airport does not have a lounge !

  • nick says:

    Have BA Avios flight leaving Sat lunchtime.
    Need to cancel just 1 of the 4 passengers.

    Can’t get thru to BA on the phone. Any tips to get thru to an agent? I’m BA Blue

    • Pete M says:

      Twitter or the chat function within your client area.

    • ChrisC says:

      You really need to persist with the phone. There is no special number or access for blue.

      You could try the live chat.

      • nick says:

        Where is the live chat feature? Is it in the BA Manage my Booking area?

        • Rob says:

          You need to go off the UK website (try Ireland) and it should pop up, apparently.

          • ChrisC says:

            It pops up on the UK web site.

            Go down to the bottom of the page and click on ‘communicate with us’ and it pops up.

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