Updates: Passport Office strike, Priority Pass cafe access in Berlin, Qatar insurance requirements
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News in brief:
Passport Office staff to launch a five week strike
The Public & Commercial Services Union has announced that over 1,000 Passport Office workers will launch a five week strike.
The action will start on 3rd April and run to 5th May.
Around 25% of Passport Office staff will be involved, with substantial delays in passport processing times predicted.
Workers at Passport Offices in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough and Southport will join the strike. The Belfast office is still going through the process of balloting members.
It has been timed to hit the peak of applications as passengers submit in advance of Summer holiday plans.
The dispute is over an imposed 2% pay rise which the union believes is not acceptable.
Priority Pass lounge access in Berlin update
Yesterday we reviewed the Tempelhof lounge at Berlin Brandenburg airport. This is the lounge used by British Airways, and can also be accessed by DragonPass cardholders. It cannot be accessed with Priority Pass.
Priority Pass cardholders can use the Moevenpick Cafe in the terminal, where you can claim €23 of free food and drink.
As many HfP readers will know, Priority Pass cards issued by American Express are NOT allowed to use restaurant partners. The only exception is The Grain Store at London Gatwick.
It seems that there are actually TWO global exceptions to the ‘no restaurant credit for Amex-issued Priority Pass cards’. The Moevenpick Cafe at Brandenburg is the second exception.
You can confirm this by looking at the American Express Lounge Collection website. If you search for Berlin, the Moevenpick Cafe shows up as one you can access.
An update on the compulsory insurance requirement for Qatar
As we covered yesterday, the rules for requiring compulsory health insurance to enter Qatar have been loosened. It is no longer necessary to buy insurance from a company based in Qatar which is registered with the Ministry of Public Health – the list had been extended more widely, although we couldn’t actually find the list!
It turns out the list is here. The additional ‘valid’ policies are all from Middle East insurers which doesn’t help.
However …. visitqatar.com is now saying that compulsory insurance from a Qatari based company is only required if you are staying in the country for over 30 days. This obviously means that anyone on a stopover or short visit is exempt.
This doesn’t make a lot of sense because when you buy your insurance policy you have to pick a duration in order to calculate the price. One of the options is ’30 days’. If you don’t need coverage unless you are staying in Qatar for 31+ days, why do they sell a policy for stays of up to 30 days? The Ministry of Public Health website does not seem to mention the 30 day cut-off rule that visitqatar.com highlights.