BBC – Travel – When’s the best time to book flights?

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#

When’s the best time to book flights?

    By Sean O’Neill

8 January 2013

Planning your 2013 holidays? Often the timing of when you book matters more than which agency you use.

Historically, January is the month when tour operators, both online and offline, run the greatest number of deeply discounted holiday packages, where flights are sold along with hotels. Many of these packages are for travel between now and September, though some are only for trips within the next few months.

When it comes to purchasing flights separately, though, booking far in advance isn’t always the best idea.

Many studies – mostly focusing on tickets sold by US online travel agencies – have been done on the best time to purchase flights, and sadly, the results aren’t as clear and definitive as one might hope. But the overall direction of the research does offer a few clues to help travellers take advantage of the periodic rises and falls in airfares, both for travel in the US and beyond.

Kayak.com. the metasearch website, studied more than a billion US domestic airfares available for purchase throughout 2011. The site found that the average price when tickets were booked six months before departure ($406) tended to be 9% higher than the average airfare available during that six-month period ($370), and 19% more than the average price available a mere 21 days before departure ($342).

But don’t wait too long. As any savvy traveller knows, prices tend to skyrocket for truly last-minute purchases. The study revealed that airfares sold one week before departure tended to be 30% more expensive ($445) than they were two weeks prior.

For international trips departing from the US, timing didn’t matter as much. Tickets were the cheapest 34 days before departure, but the fares averaged $977, which is merely 4% lower than the average of fare prices at any point in the six months before departure, $1,016.

The old rule of thumb – booking tickets three months ahead for the lowest prices – seems now to be out of synch with the latest research.

The time of day you book tickets may make a difference, too. An on-going study, whose preliminary results were reported in the Economic Journal in 2010 by Marc Möller at the University of Bern and Makoto Watanabe at VU University in Amsterdam, suggests that airline tickets purchased around the world tend to be less expensive when booked in the afternoon, rather than in the morning. The authors considered the savings statistically significant, but didn’t reveal the exact amounts because research has yet to conclude. (Nighttime purchases, however, appear to offer no additional savings.)

One possible explanation is that airlines assume that people who book tickets in the morning tend to be business travellers who are willing to spend more money. But no one knows the reason for sure.

The day of the week you book tickets may also make a difference. FareCompare.com. a website that has analysed a few billion fare searches since 2007. reports that Tuesday is typically the day when the most discounted fares are available for domestic US routes.

No one is certain why airlines tend to post the bulk of their fare sales at the start of the week. But some have speculated that it’s a habit held over from 15 years ago, when travel agents typically worked Monday-to-Friday schedules and airline-pricing analysts spent Mondays preparing to launch sales that appeared on Tuesdays — early enough for customers to visit the agents during the rest of the week. The pricing analysts may eventually lose this habit, though, as they adjust to the pace of always-open online travel agencies.

What’s true about timing in general may not be true for you specifically, so before booking a specific ticket, try the fare prediction tools at Bing Travel. a Microsoft-owned website that analyses millions of round-trip flight itineraries daily to determine pricing patterns. After you run a search for a US domestic or international trip (with at least one airport on the itinerary being in the US), Bing Travel makes a prediction about whether you should buy, because prices are predicted to go up later, or wait, because lower prices are expected. An independent audit of its predictions by Navigant, a consulting firm, found that the forecasts were correct approximately three out of four times.

As a downside, Bing’s price predictor only works on routes within the US or that include one US stop and are travelling to or from Canada, Europe or the Caribbean, all within a few months after purchase.

The bottom line

You have the best odds of finding the best deal on flights by making your purchase on Tuesdays in the afternoon, about three weeks in advance for domestic US tickets and a little more than a month in advance for international tickets.

Sean O’Neill is the travel tech columnist for BBC Travel





05/01/2018

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Ebola travel: South Africa bans incomers from W Africa – BBC

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Ebola travel: South Africa bans incomers from W Africa

21 August 2014

Image caption Kenya has not reported any cases of Ebola, but is a common transit point for African travellers

South Africa says non-citizens arriving from Ebola-affected areas of West Africa will not be allowed into the country, with borders closed to people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

All non-essential outgoing travel to the affected countries has been banned.

Senegal also said it was suspending flights with Ebola-affected countries, and closing the border with Guinea.

Cameroon and the Ivory Coast earlier imposed travel bans, despite World Health Organization warnings not to.

Medium-risk

South African nationals will be allowed to re-enter the country when returning from high-risk countries, but will undergo strict screening, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Usual screening procedures are in place for those who travel between Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, which have been defined as medium-risk countries.

Image caption Nigeria stepped up its airport screening procedures after a number of Ebola cases were confirmed

South Africa has experienced two Ebola scares in recent weeks, involving passengers arriving from Liberia and Guinea, but the country has so far remained Ebola-free.

Johannesburg has one of the major transit airports, connecting southern Africa with the rest of the continent. Several airlines, including British Airways and Emirates Airlines, have stopped flights to some of the affected countries.

Meanwhile, Senegal’s interior ministry announced on Friday it was closing the land borders with Guinea “once again”.

Senegal shut its border with Guinea for the first time in March after the virus reached the capital Conakry.

In a statement, it said this extends to “air and sea borders for aircraft and ships from the Republic of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia”.

AU team

Separately, the African Union (AU) announced plans to send a special team to the four affected countries.

The six-month-long operation, involving volunteer doctors, nurses and medical personnel, will cost about $25m (£15m) and begin immediately, the AU said in a statement.

Aid workers and medical staff are most exposed to the virus, and have been most at risk of becoming infected. Two US aid workers were discharged from hospital on Tuesday, after recovering from the virus they contracted in Liberia.

The supply of the experimental drug used to treat the couple, ZMapp, has been exhausted.

As Ebola has no known cure, it is being controlled by isolating victims and those who have come into contact with them.

Liberia’s attempt to prevent the spread of the virus by imposing quarantines has led to unrest .





27/12/2017

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New US-Cuba travel and trade rules come into effect – BBC

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New US-Cuba travel and trade rules come into effect

16 January 2015

Media caption Cubans hope that with the lifting of trade restrictions they will be able to import rare commodities such as car parts, as Will Grant reports

New travel and trade rules between the US and Cuba have come into effect in the biggest policy shift between the two countries in more than 50 years.

Measures include allowing US citizens to use credit cards in Cuba and for US businesses to export some technologies.

Americans will be able to take home up to $100 (£66) in alcohol and tobacco from Cuba.

The move implements last month’s agreement to re-establish ties severed since 1961.

Although the latest moves put a large dent in the US trade embargo against Cuba’s communist government, only Congress can lift it completely.

Earlier this week, US officials said Cuba had completed the release of 53 political prisoners agreed as part of the historic deal.

Policies ‘out of date’

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the changes would “immediately enable the American people to provide more resources to empower the Cuban population to become less dependent upon the state-driven economy”.

Media caption Tomas Bilbao: “Failed policy of isolation and confrontation”

While ordinary tourism is still banned, the new regulations will allow US citizens to travel to Cuba for any of a dozen specific reasons without first obtaining a special licence from the government.

United Airlines announced on Thursday plans to begin flying to Cuba from its terminals in Houston and Newark.

US credit and debit cards can be used there and there will be no more limits on how much money US citizens can spend in Cuba each day.

About 170,000 authorised US travellers went to Cuba last year, according to the US Department of Commerce.

US firms will also find it easier to export mobile phones and software to Cuba, as well as provide internet services there.

Cuba currently has one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world – estimated at about 5% by the White House.

A change in the regulations will also allow US investments in some small businesses and agricultural operations.

‘Repression against Cubans’

The thaw in relations between the two countries was announced last month in simultaneous televised speeches by President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro.

Image caption Americans will be able to bring home small numbers of Cuban cigars after a ban of more than 50 years

Image caption Some of the 53 prisoners released by the Cuban authorities last week gathered to celebrate in Havana

Next week, US Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson will lead a delegation to Cuba to discuss migration issues.

They will be the first high-level talks since the easing of relations was announced.

President Obama used his executive powers to ease the embargo, defying hardline critics. Analysts say Congress is unlikely to agree to lift the embargo completely any time soon.

Cuban-American Republican Senator Marco Rubio said Mr Obama’s policy would harm ordinary Cubans.

“This is a windfall for the Castro regime that will be used to fund its repression against Cubans,” he said in a statement.





06/12/2017

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Ebola travel: South Africa bans incomers from W Africa – BBC

#travel to africa
#

Ebola travel: South Africa bans incomers from W Africa

21 August 2014

Image caption Kenya has not reported any cases of Ebola, but is a common transit point for African travellers

South Africa says non-citizens arriving from Ebola-affected areas of West Africa will not be allowed into the country, with borders closed to people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

All non-essential outgoing travel to the affected countries has been banned.

Senegal also said it was suspending flights with Ebola-affected countries, and closing the border with Guinea.

Cameroon and the Ivory Coast earlier imposed travel bans, despite World Health Organization warnings not to.

Medium-risk

South African nationals will be allowed to re-enter the country when returning from high-risk countries, but will undergo strict screening, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Usual screening procedures are in place for those who travel between Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, which have been defined as medium-risk countries.

Image caption Nigeria stepped up its airport screening procedures after a number of Ebola cases were confirmed

South Africa has experienced two Ebola scares in recent weeks, involving passengers arriving from Liberia and Guinea, but the country has so far remained Ebola-free.

Johannesburg has one of the major transit airports, connecting southern Africa with the rest of the continent. Several airlines, including British Airways and Emirates Airlines, have stopped flights to some of the affected countries.

Meanwhile, Senegal’s interior ministry announced on Friday it was closing the land borders with Guinea “once again”.

Senegal shut its border with Guinea for the first time in March after the virus reached the capital Conakry.

In a statement, it said this extends to “air and sea borders for aircraft and ships from the Republic of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia”.

AU team

Separately, the African Union (AU) announced plans to send a special team to the four affected countries.

The six-month-long operation, involving volunteer doctors, nurses and medical personnel, will cost about $25m (£15m) and begin immediately, the AU said in a statement.

Aid workers and medical staff are most exposed to the virus, and have been most at risk of becoming infected. Two US aid workers were discharged from hospital on Tuesday, after recovering from the virus they contracted in Liberia.

The supply of the experimental drug used to treat the couple, ZMapp, has been exhausted.

As Ebola has no known cure, it is being controlled by isolating victims and those who have come into contact with them.

Liberia’s attempt to prevent the spread of the virus by imposing quarantines has led to unrest .





06/09/2017

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Scammers target leading online travel agent – BBC News #sa #travel

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#

Scammers target leading online travel agent Booking.com

By Bob Howard Reporter, Money Box

7 November 2014

Online travel agent Booking.com has admitted that it has had to compensate customers whose personal details have been stolen.

Guests booking hotel rooms have unwittingly handed over money to criminals.

By accessing Booking.com reservations, the crooks have been able to obtain contact details to send customers demands for prepayment.

Booking.com is one of the biggest online travel agents. The Netherlands-based firm boasts on its website that every day customers book 700,000 room nights in more than 200 countries.

Bogus emails

They had everything like the reservation number, names of guests and the logos looked accurate Claire Coldwell, Booking.com customer

Claire Coldwell from West Yorkshire used Booking.com to book hotel rooms for her and her colleagues who were attending a trade fair in London.

She expected to pay at the end of her stay, but then she received emails and calls that said something different: “I got an email supposedly from Booking.com saying that, because of the unusually high demand for those dates, the Hilton had taken the decision to ask for prepayment in full for the whole week.”

That would have meant Claire paying £3,000 in advance.

Claire then got an email supposedly from the Hilton requesting the same thing: “They had everything like the reservation number, names of guests and the logos looked accurate.”

Claire was suspicious, not least because the email referred to an airport transfer and her group were going to London by train.

So she phoned Booking.com and was told to ignore the emails because the company never asked for payment up front.

Fraud alert

If you are asked to make a payment which differs to your policy via bank transfer or other means, please do not make a payment Booking.com

It then sent an email to Claire that confirmed this had been an attempt to steal her money by criminals: “We have been informed that scammers are targeting some customers in an attempt to gather data. If you are asked to make a payment which differs to your policy via bank transfer or other means, please do not make a payment.”

Whoever we spoke to were not aware of the situation Ramesh Siram. General manager, Shoreditch Inn

But some customers have been targeted in an identical way since at least August, and have paid up.

Jane from Niagara Falls in Canada used Booking.com to reserve a room for a four-day stay in London.

She too received an email purporting to be from Booking.com but she had no reason to believe it was anything other than genuine: “It looked very authentic. I fell for it. We paid approximately 1,500 Canadian dollars, around £700 sterling.”

She complained to Booking.com and it refunded her.

Peter Kornelisse, chief security officer at Booking.com, said the firm was on top of the problem: “We estimate around 10,000 people are affected. We are protecting our customers, hotels and Booking.com continuously. We have a battle against organised crime. We’ve made technical improvements in several areas. “

Booking.com said that once it noticed that a guest was affected by phishing activities, it immediately notified that individual guest.

It said its dedicated security teams were also working to contact and support accommodation partners who may have been affected by this situation.

But Ramesh Siram, the general manager of the Shoreditch Inn in London, felt Booking.com was slow to appreciate the scale of the problem: “We tried to contact them many times and all of the customer service agents, whoever we spoke to, were not aware of the situation. That’s not really great or helpful for us. We needed to profoundly apologise to them, even though it’s not our mistake.”

Eventually, he said the hotel received an email from Booking.com warning about the attacks and asking it to be vigilant.

The British Hospitality Association, which represents the hotel industry, confirmed to Money Box this week that it knew of eight hotels where customers had had similar problems.

And Booking.com has told us customers from the UK, US, France, Italy, the UAE and Portugal had all been affected.

Those that have lost money have had it refunded.

Security issues

When told of this problem, Rik Ferguson from internet security firm Trend Micro, decided to test the Booking.com system.

They should be taking the utmost care in protecting the access to this information Rik Ferguson, Vice-president of security research, Trend Micro

By registering as a fictitious hotel, he found you could access the system with a log-in and password.

He says if these log-in details were obtained, customer security would be compromised: “With a site like Booking.com, the fact that they deal with millions of people’s personal and financial information means they should be taking the utmost care in protecting the access to this information. If it’s just a simple user name and password, that’s not the utmost care.”

Booking.com has insisted it is not the victim of a data breach but that criminals are obtaining customer details by sending messages to hotels to acquire guest details.

Peter Kornelisse said Booking.com was doing its best to warn customers but the fraud threat was constantly evolving: “We do inform customers to a certain extent. We can warn today about a specific scenario that takes place and the next moment we have a different scenario. We contacted all the guests who are affected by the phishing attacks and we took the burden of our guests.”

Hilton and other hotels Money Box has spoken to have strongly denied the frauds are the result of a breach of their systems or websites.

A Hilton Worldwide spokesperson said: “Our initial investigation has found this incident is not the result of a breach of Hilton systems or websites. We have asked Booking.com to ensure their investigation is thorough and appropriate action is taken. Guests who have received suspicious emails should contact their booking provider immediately and not respond to these emails.”

Since the fraud, Booking.com has made changes so data can only be accessed from a computer linked to the hotel’s server.

Its teams have also worked to “take down” dozens of phishing sites, as well as working with some banks to freeze the money mule bank accounts.

Money Box is broadcast on Saturdays at 12:00 BST on BBC Radio 4 and repeated on Sundays at 21:00 BST. You can listen again via the BBC iPlayer or by downloading Money Box podcast .

Have you been affected by the bookingsecurity breach? Let us know your views





21/07/2017

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Scammers target leading online travel agent – BBC News #travel #lodge

#online travel agents
#

Scammers target leading online travel agent Booking.com

By Bob Howard Reporter, Money Box

7 November 2014

Online travel agent Booking.com has admitted that it has had to compensate customers whose personal details have been stolen.

Guests booking hotel rooms have unwittingly handed over money to criminals.

By accessing Booking.com reservations, the crooks have been able to obtain contact details to send customers demands for prepayment.

Booking.com is one of the biggest online travel agents. The Netherlands-based firm boasts on its website that every day customers book 700,000 room nights in more than 200 countries.

Bogus emails

They had everything like the reservation number, names of guests and the logos looked accurate Claire Coldwell, Booking.com customer

Claire Coldwell from West Yorkshire used Booking.com to book hotel rooms for her and her colleagues who were attending a trade fair in London.

She expected to pay at the end of her stay, but then she received emails and calls that said something different: “I got an email supposedly from Booking.com saying that, because of the unusually high demand for those dates, the Hilton had taken the decision to ask for prepayment in full for the whole week.”

That would have meant Claire paying £3,000 in advance.

Claire then got an email supposedly from the Hilton requesting the same thing: “They had everything like the reservation number, names of guests and the logos looked accurate.”

Claire was suspicious, not least because the email referred to an airport transfer and her group were going to London by train.

So she phoned Booking.com and was told to ignore the emails because the company never asked for payment up front.

Fraud alert

If you are asked to make a payment which differs to your policy via bank transfer or other means, please do not make a payment Booking.com

It then sent an email to Claire that confirmed this had been an attempt to steal her money by criminals: “We have been informed that scammers are targeting some customers in an attempt to gather data. If you are asked to make a payment which differs to your policy via bank transfer or other means, please do not make a payment.”

Whoever we spoke to were not aware of the situation Ramesh Siram. General manager, Shoreditch Inn

But some customers have been targeted in an identical way since at least August, and have paid up.

Jane from Niagara Falls in Canada used Booking.com to reserve a room for a four-day stay in London.

She too received an email purporting to be from Booking.com but she had no reason to believe it was anything other than genuine: “It looked very authentic. I fell for it. We paid approximately 1,500 Canadian dollars, around £700 sterling.”

She complained to Booking.com and it refunded her.

Peter Kornelisse, chief security officer at Booking.com, said the firm was on top of the problem: “We estimate around 10,000 people are affected. We are protecting our customers, hotels and Booking.com continuously. We have a battle against organised crime. We’ve made technical improvements in several areas. “

Booking.com said that once it noticed that a guest was affected by phishing activities, it immediately notified that individual guest.

It said its dedicated security teams were also working to contact and support accommodation partners who may have been affected by this situation.

But Ramesh Siram, the general manager of the Shoreditch Inn in London, felt Booking.com was slow to appreciate the scale of the problem: “We tried to contact them many times and all of the customer service agents, whoever we spoke to, were not aware of the situation. That’s not really great or helpful for us. We needed to profoundly apologise to them, even though it’s not our mistake.”

Eventually, he said the hotel received an email from Booking.com warning about the attacks and asking it to be vigilant.

The British Hospitality Association, which represents the hotel industry, confirmed to Money Box this week that it knew of eight hotels where customers had had similar problems.

And Booking.com has told us customers from the UK, US, France, Italy, the UAE and Portugal had all been affected.

Those that have lost money have had it refunded.

Security issues

When told of this problem, Rik Ferguson from internet security firm Trend Micro, decided to test the Booking.com system.

They should be taking the utmost care in protecting the access to this information Rik Ferguson, Vice-president of security research, Trend Micro

By registering as a fictitious hotel, he found you could access the system with a log-in and password.

He says if these log-in details were obtained, customer security would be compromised: “With a site like Booking.com, the fact that they deal with millions of people’s personal and financial information means they should be taking the utmost care in protecting the access to this information. If it’s just a simple user name and password, that’s not the utmost care.”

Booking.com has insisted it is not the victim of a data breach but that criminals are obtaining customer details by sending messages to hotels to acquire guest details.

Peter Kornelisse said Booking.com was doing its best to warn customers but the fraud threat was constantly evolving: “We do inform customers to a certain extent. We can warn today about a specific scenario that takes place and the next moment we have a different scenario. We contacted all the guests who are affected by the phishing attacks and we took the burden of our guests.”

Hilton and other hotels Money Box has spoken to have strongly denied the frauds are the result of a breach of their systems or websites.

A Hilton Worldwide spokesperson said: “Our initial investigation has found this incident is not the result of a breach of Hilton systems or websites. We have asked Booking.com to ensure their investigation is thorough and appropriate action is taken. Guests who have received suspicious emails should contact their booking provider immediately and not respond to these emails.”

Since the fraud, Booking.com has made changes so data can only be accessed from a computer linked to the hotel’s server.

Its teams have also worked to “take down” dozens of phishing sites, as well as working with some banks to freeze the money mule bank accounts.

Money Box is broadcast on Saturdays at 12:00 BST on BBC Radio 4 and repeated on Sundays at 21:00 BST. You can listen again via the BBC iPlayer or by downloading Money Box podcast .

Have you been affected by the bookingsecurity breach? Let us know your views





27/05/2017

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Ebola travel: South Africa bans incomers from W Africa – BBC

#travel to africa
#

Ebola travel: South Africa bans incomers from W Africa

21 August 2014

Image caption Kenya has not reported any cases of Ebola, but is a common transit point for African travellers

South Africa says non-citizens arriving from Ebola-affected areas of West Africa will not be allowed into the country, with borders closed to people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

All non-essential outgoing travel to the affected countries has been banned.

Senegal also said it was suspending flights with Ebola-affected countries, and closing the border with Guinea.

Cameroon and the Ivory Coast earlier imposed travel bans, despite World Health Organization warnings not to.

Medium-risk

South African nationals will be allowed to re-enter the country when returning from high-risk countries, but will undergo strict screening, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Usual screening procedures are in place for those who travel between Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, which have been defined as medium-risk countries.

Image caption Nigeria stepped up its airport screening procedures after a number of Ebola cases were confirmed

South Africa has experienced two Ebola scares in recent weeks, involving passengers arriving from Liberia and Guinea, but the country has so far remained Ebola-free.

Johannesburg has one of the major transit airports, connecting southern Africa with the rest of the continent. Several airlines, including British Airways and Emirates Airlines, have stopped flights to some of the affected countries.

Meanwhile, Senegal’s interior ministry announced on Friday it was closing the land borders with Guinea “once again”.

Senegal shut its border with Guinea for the first time in March after the virus reached the capital Conakry.

In a statement, it said this extends to “air and sea borders for aircraft and ships from the Republic of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia”.

AU team

Separately, the African Union (AU) announced plans to send a special team to the four affected countries.

The six-month-long operation, involving volunteer doctors, nurses and medical personnel, will cost about $25m (£15m) and begin immediately, the AU said in a statement.

Aid workers and medical staff are most exposed to the virus, and have been most at risk of becoming infected. Two US aid workers were discharged from hospital on Tuesday, after recovering from the virus they contracted in Liberia.

The supply of the experimental drug used to treat the couple, ZMapp, has been exhausted.

As Ebola has no known cure, it is being controlled by isolating victims and those who have come into contact with them.

Liberia’s attempt to prevent the spread of the virus by imposing quarantines has led to unrest .





27/04/2017

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Egypt plane crash: Airlines cancel more Sharm el-Sheikh flights – BBC

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Egypt plane crash: Airlines cancel more Sharm el-Sheikh flights

24 November 2015

Media caption British Airways and Easyjet have suspended flights to Sharm-el-Sheikh as Theo Leggett reports

Two airlines have cancelled all flights between Sharm el-Sheikh and the UK until January following the suspected bombing of a Russian passenger jet.

British Airways flights are cancelled up to and including 14 January and Easyjet services to the Egyptian resort are suspended until at least 6 January.

Easyjet said the move was made to provide some certainty to passengers travelling over the Christmas period.

BA said the decision was made following discussions with the UK government.

Monarch, Thomson and Thomas Cook have cancelled flights until dates in December.

Flights were halted after the UK government said the plane crash in the Sinai desert, which killed 224 people on 31 October, may have been caused by a bomb.

Image copyright AFP Image caption British tourists flew home on special flights from Sharm el-Sheikh

Easyjet said customers on affected flights could go to another destination, receive a full refund or get a flight voucher for future travel.

The airline said it was keeping flights, which are scheduled to operate from 16 January, “under review”.

It added: “The safety and security of our customers will continue to be our top priorities in any decisions we may make.”

Easyjet said on its website. “We are sorry for the inconvenience this will obviously cause, but we hope that being clear with all our customers at this point helps you to manage your plans with more certainty.

“The situation is beyond our control and passenger safety will always be our number one priority.”

Other dates flights have been cancelled until are:

    Monarch – 19 December Thomson – 9 December Thomas Cook – 10 December

Security measures

George McGregor from London, who had been due to fly to Sharm el-Sheikh told the BBC it was “excellent news” – but Easyjet should have cancelled the flights sooner.

“We were due to fly out on 23 December for Christmas and New Year. Total outlay, £1,444,” he said.

“Until today we could not get our money back to fund an alternative holiday, and faced a charge of £180 if we wanted to change flights.”

Image copyright AP Image caption The arrivals hall at Sharm el-Sheikh airport has been empty of tourists

Ian Harrison, also from London, said he was first told he would only receive an exchange of flights but Easyjet has since offered him a refund.

“It was pretty hard to get alternative accommodation that close to Christmas, or alternative flights, so not much of an offer.

“I’ve pretty much cancelled my holiday.”

‘Value judgement’

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said decisions over the use of Sharm el-Sheikh airport were made by the UK authorities rather than airlines.

It said flights would only resume when the authorities were satisfied security was strong enough.

ABTA spokesman Sean Tipton said: “The airlines are setting dates to give people a bit of certainty on where they stand.

“The decision is not theirs about when the airport will be available again to use and there will be a degree of inconsistency in their policies because it is a value judgement.”

The Foreign Office, which advises against all but essential air travel to or from Sharm el-Sheikh. says there are currently no UK airlines operating flights to the resort.

Regular flights between the UK and Sharm el-Sheikh were were suspended on 4 November.

Special security measures for flights returning to the UK, such as transporting hold baggage on separate planes, were put in place up to 17 November.

Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for bringing down the Airbus 321, operated by Russian airline Metrojet.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:





07/04/2017

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Ai Weiwei: Foreign travel ban disappointing – BBC News #jordan #travel

#ai travel
#

Ai Weiwei: Foreign travel ban ‘disappointing’

22 June 2012

Media caption Ai Wei Wei said police follow him everywhere, his phone is tapped and there are 15 cameras in front of his house

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei says that he would like to travel abroad but Chinese authorities are continuing to curtail his freedom despite his bail ending.

Mr Ai told the BBC he had been told he could not leave China – which was very “disappointing”.

He also spoke of constant surveillance in the year since his release from detention.

He was detained last year and then fined for tax evasion, actions he says are politically motivated.

He is challenging the $2.4m (£1.59m) fine but was prevented from attending a court hearing earlier this week.

‘Strings attached’

His bail ended a year after his 22 June 2011 release from custody, but Mr Ai said he was still subject to restrictions.

“My feelings are very mixed,” he said. “They told me I cannot leave the nation. I asked them for how long and they said: ‘We cannot answer you’. It seems very disappointing.”

The artist said he would like to go to both the UK and the US later in the year for work, but did not know whether it would be possible.

“It comes as a surprise they will not let me travel, because you cannot give somebody freedom and say there are strings attached,” he said.

He said that for the past year he had been living under restrictions which he described as “sometimes very strong”, including not being allowed to talk to foreign press or post on Twitter.

You see them following you everywhere Ai Weiwei

“Of course, I have violated many of them because it is impossible for me not to reveal some truth,” he said.

“I have been followed, even in the park. You see people hiding behind the bushes, you see they are recording, video tape,” he said.

“You see them following you everywhere, two cars, three cars, every day for past 300-something days. Then of course they tap your phone, they check your e-mail, they do whatever is possible to violate your privacy.”

The artist said he is now being investigated for alleged crimes including putting pornography on the internet – believed to stem from a portrait showing him seated, surrounded by four naked women.

The artist, an outspoken critic of the government, was detained for almost three months without charge last year. After he was released, he was accused of tax evasion and the fine imposed.

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12/02/2017

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