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Travel News: Hand Luggage 100ml Liquid Rule Reintroduced At Six UK Airports

9 June: No Date Given For Ban To Be Lifted

Restrictions on carrying over 100ml of liquid per container in hand luggage have been reintroduced at six airports in the UK as of today (Sunday 9 June).

These are Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, London City, Aberdeen, Southend and Teesside, which were able to lift the ban earlier this year when they started using scanners to examine liquids while still inside baggage.

The ban, which embraces toiletries, cosmetics, pastes, creams, gels and liquid or partially liquid food, as well as drinks, was introduced in 2006 following failed terrorism attempts involving liquid explosives aboard international flights.

The 100ml containers must be placed in a clear sealable bag up to a size of 20x20cm and only one bag per person is allowed. Clear bags are available at most airports free of charge. Bags must be removed from luggage for inspection at security control.

One exception is Birmingham airport, where the scanning process is sufficiently robust to allow 100ml containers to be carried loosely in hand luggage, with no need to remove them for security checking. The airport hopes to lift the 100ml limit once it gets regulatory approval.

The Department of Transport has said the ban affecting the six airports is being reimposed temporarily to allow for scanning equipment to be upgraded. No date has been given for when the ban will be lifted.

Other airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Manchester, continue to impose the ban as they have yet to install functioning scanning devices. The government says this means most passengers will not notice any difference to their security clearance routine.

Airports were given a deadline of 1 June 2024 to install the necessary equipment but many have applied for one-year extensions while buildings are modified to accommodate the machines.

Passengers travelling this summer are urged to check before setting off to determine their airport’s policy on carrying liquids in hand luggage.

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3 June: Overseas Fees Scrapped But Account Charges Rise

Lloyds Bank is to scrap overseas spending fees for some of its current account customers this summer, writes Bethany Garner.

From 1 July, Lloyds’ Silver and Platinum current account holders can make debit card purchases and withdraw cash anywhere in the world free of charge.

The Lloyds Silver current account includes European and UK family travel insurance, breakdown cover through the AA and mobile phone insurance.

It charges a £10 monthly account charge, rising to £11.50 from 1 July.

The Platinum account bundles worldwide family travel insurance, mobile phone insurance and breakdown cover that includes at-home and national recovery. The account charges a £21 monthly charge, which rises to £22.50 from 1 July.

According to Lloyds data, demand for overseas spending is on the rise. In the first three months of 2024 alone, debit card spending on foreign currencies has reached almost half (45.7%) the total spending seen in 2023.

While the scrapping of overseas usage fees will be welcome news to customers, Lloyds is not the only bank to offer free spending abroad. Providers such as first direct, Starling, Monzo and Chase currently offer fee-free spending abroad through their free-to-use current accounts.

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ABTA, the association of travel agents and tour operators, is highlighting the importance of buying travel insurance before heading overseas, writes Brean Horne. 

It says there has been a substantial increase in the cost of medical bills abroad since 2019, with holidaymakers who need to be flown home because of serious illness or injury facing costs running into tens of thousands of pounds. 

ABTA research shows that, in 2023, an air ambulance to the UK from within the European Union averaged between £22,000 and £26,000 compared to between £13,000 and £17,000 in 2019. 

From other destinations beyond the EU, the cost of an air ambulance to the UK more than doubling to between £65,000 and £74,000 in 2023 from between £30,000 and £35,000 four years previously.

ABTA warns that holidaymakers travelling solely with a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), could leave themselves at risk. Currently, a GHIC entitles UK citizens to the same level of state medical care as locals when visiting: 

  • an EU country
  • Montenegro
  • Australia
  • Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man
  • St Helena, Tristan and Ascension. 

However, not all medical services are free (private care is not covered by a GHIC) and air ambulance/repatriation costs are not covered. Without a valid travel insurance policy, travellers are liable to pay the full costs themselves. 

And despite having ‘global’ in its name, a GHIC does not cover countries beyond those listed above, making travel insurance essential. The UK has reciprocal healthcare agreements with the countries listed here, but in many instances this is limited in scope and does not cover all costs likely to be incurred.

A comprehensive travel insurance policy should cover the cost of an air ambulance and other emergency medical expenses. 

Purchasing travel cover at the time of booking a holiday helps protect against unexpected incidents that arise before going away which may lead to the trip being cancelled, such as bereavement, illness or injury. 

Graeme Buck, ABTA’s director of communications, said: “Every year we see very sad stories of uninsured people who have fallen ill or had an accident while overseas and are running up large medical bills.

“They often resort to setting up a Go Fund Me page or similar, but they will now find they need to raise substantially more money, with air ambulance and other medical costs having gone through the roof.

“It is simply not worth the risk of financial ruin, simply to save a few pounds, so always take out travel insurance at the time of booking your holiday or other travel arrangements.

In addition, travellers are urged to check that their policy covers any activities they plan on taking part in during their trip. They must also declare any pre-existing conditions at the time of taking out cover. 

Failure to do so will invalidate the travel policy, meaning the insurer won’t pay out if a claim is made. 

Jennifer Anderson, director for consular & crisis at the Foreign Office said: “Travelling without insurance can be expensive and distressing if things do go wrong when you are abroad.

“The good news is that purchasing the right travel insurance does not take long and could save you a lot of money and stress.

“I encourage anyone booking travel to make sure your travel insurance covers the places you visit, the duration of your visit and any planned activities, and do disclose any medical conditions so your cover remains valid.”

When you run a quotation comparing travel insurance policies you’ll be asked to include your destination to ensure you find the most suitable policy for your trip. If you are travelling to North America, for example, where healthcare costs are notoriously high, you will need a policy that accommodates the additional potential expenses.

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11 April: Passport Application Increase Takes Cost To £88.50

The cost of a new or renewed UK passport is rising for the second time in 14 months. From today (11 April), the price of applying for an adult passport online will increase by 7%, from £82.50 to £88.50, writes Brean Horne. 

It follows a 9% increase in February 2023, when the cost of an online adult application was £75.50. Prior to last year’s rise, passport prices had not increased for five years. 

The cost of applying for a child’s passport online is also rising, from £53.50 to £57.50. 

Passport fees are going up for travellers applying by post too. Applications will rise from £93 to £100 for adults and £64 to £69 for children. 

The new fees apply to travellers applying for or renewing their passports. Higher costs apply for those seeking a passport from abroad or who need a passport urgently. Passports are free for people born on or before 2 September 1929. 

In a statement on the increases, the Home Office said: “The new fees will help ensure that income from these applications better meets the cost of delivering passport and associated operations, reducing reliance on funding from general taxation. The government does not make any profit from the cost of passport applications.

“The fees contribute to the cost of processing passport applications, consular support overseas, including for lost or stolen passports, and the cost of processing British citizens at UK borders. The increase will also help enable the government to continue improving its services.”

Passports are usually issued within three weeks if applications are made from within the UK. Travellers are advised to apply well in advance of their trip to ensure their passport arrives on time. 

Holidaymakers heading to Europe are also urged to check their passports are valid for entry. Before September 2018, the passport office could add up to nine months from your old passport to your new one if it hadn’t expired yet. That meant some travellers were issued passports that were valid for 10 years and nine months. 

However, passports issued more than 10 years are not accepted for travel to countries in the European Union, even if the expiry date hasn’t passed. 

Travellers will also be refused entry if their passport has less than three months of validity after their departure date from an EU country. 

You can check if your passport meets the entry requirements of the countries you plan on visiting on GOV.UK.

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4 April: 100ml Rule To Remain In Force Up To June 2025

Airline passengers at major UK airports will still face a 100ml-per-item limit on individual liquids carried in hand luggage this summer after the government extended the deadline by which specialist scanners must be installed by up to a year.

Airports including Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester were due to have the new security checks in place by 1 June 2024.

The current rules state that liquids, pastes and gels must be carried in 100ml containers placed in a sealable, transparent plastic bag, with a total limit of one litre and a maximum one bag per person.

It is not the first time the deadline has been extended. The technology was supposed to be rolled out by December 2022, but this was pushed back to June 2024 in recognition of the challenges faced by the industry in the wake of the pandemic.

The new scanners, now due to be in place by June 2025, can detect prohibited items with greater accuracy than the current technology used at airport security. It should mean passengers will no longer have to take liquid items out of their hand luggage to be scanned, making the process simpler and saving time during security screening. 

In addition, air passengers will no longer be restricted to limits of 100ml on liquids. 

Commenting on the delay, the Department for Transport (DfT) said: “Due to issues such as the global supply chain’s continued recovery from the pandemic, some airports have been unable to upgrade their security checkpoints before the 1 June 2024 deadline announced at the end of 2022. Extensions have been given on a case-by-case basis.

“We recognise that installing the new security equipment at busy airports has been a logistical challenge, with some airports having to undertake significant construction work to allow the new, extremely heavy equipment to be fitted. In some cases, airports have been required to construct entirely new screening halls.”

But the DfT has said financial penalties will be imposed on those airports which fail to meet their new deadline for installation. 

Luke Petherbridge, director of public affairs at ABTA, the trade body for travel agents and tour operators, said: “The most important thing for travellers will be having clarity on what they need to do when going through airport security so they can have a hassle-free experience.

“Given that many UK airports won’t have fully implemented the new scanners and security processes by the summer, our best advice for travellers is to stick to the current hand luggage rules around carrying 100ml liquids and removing electronics such as laptops.  

“It’s also important to remember that even if your UK departure airport has the new security scanners in place, your return airport might not, so you need to prepare for that scenario.”

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2 January: Minimum Charge Rises 20% To £6 For 10 Minutes

Gatwick Airport is increasing its minimum drop-off charge by 20% from 5 January, when it will increase from £5 to £6.

The minimum charge covers the first 10 minutes and must be paid by midnight the day after the visit. After 10 minutes there is a charge of £1 per minute up to a maximum of 20 minutes (30 minutes in total costing £25, rising to £26 on 5 January). 

Anyone staying longer than this is liable for a £100 penalty charge notice reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

When challenged on X (formerly Twitter) about the scale of the increase, Gatwick Airport responded by tweeting: “We believe that increasing the charge will help reduce congestion, allow us to reinvest in sustainable transport, and encourage more passengers and staff to use public transport to reach the airport.”

Heathrow Airport’s drop-off charge is £5 but there is no time limit in place. Manchester Airport charges £5 for five minutes and £6 for 10 minutes, but staying over 10 minutes is not permitted, with an ‘overstay’ charge of £25 levied after this point.

Glasgow Airport charges for pickups and drop-offs at the rate of £5 for 15 minutes, £10 for 20 minutes, £15 for 30 minutes and £45 for 60 minutes.

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21 November: Europe Flights On Offer At Tempting Prices

According to our research, people looking to travel home or visit friends this Christmas will find that flying to their destination could be up to five times cheaper than getting the train.

Among the key findings from our travel study are:

  • catching a train from Bristol to Edinburgh over Christmas is five times more expensive than flying – £214 compared to £43
  • a flight from London to Aberdeen is £84 cheaper and 5.5 hours quicker than rail (£205)
  • flying from Newquay to London ahead of the festive period costs £89 return, whereas a train will cost £125 and take six times longer
  • a flight from Manchester to Paris (£51) is more than half the price of a flight from Manchester to London (£110) 
  • you can fly from Glasgow to Geneva cheaper than from Glasgow to London this Christmas. 
  • flying to Tenerife over Christmas from a range of UK airports is cheaper than travelling across the UK.

In addition to the discrepancies in the cost of travel by air and train within the UK, the study shows that it’s also significantly cheaper to travel to a number of other European countries than it is to travel across the UK over Christmas. 

With flights from Manchester to Paris costing only £51, it’s currently cheaper than travelling from Manchester to London for the festive period, with a train costing £33 more and a flight costing over double that at £110. This equates to £0.24 per mile to travel from Manchester to Paris whereas going from Manchester to London is £0.73 per mile.

If you fancy a Swiss Christmas this year, a flight from Glasgow to Geneva is only £47, which is £12 cheaper than a flight from Glasgow to London. A a train from Glasgow to London is more than three times the cost, at £148. 

Getting a train across the country for Christmas this year is looking pricey, with journeys like  Exeter to Edinburgh costing a staggering £245 and Bristol to Aberdeen totalling £261.

If you fancy a bit of winter sun instead, you can catch a flight from both Manchester and London airports to Tenerife for cheaper than this, as well as from Birmingham and Newcastle for a few pounds more. 

Return flights to Tenerife over the festive period
From To Cost
Manchester Tenerife £235.00
London Tenerife £259.00
Birmingham Tenerife £270.00
Newcastle Tenerife £272.00
Source: *Sky scanner Flights from 22/12/2023 – 29/12/2023 – Forbes Advisor Travel study 

Travelling significant distances from Wales is looking particularly expensive: a return flight from Cardiff to Edinburgh would be £256 and a train would be £218 during this time. However, just over the border in Bristol, this flight to Edinburgh would be only £43 return. 

While you can’t fly across Wales, a train from Cardiff in South Wales, to Bangor in North Wales costs £105 for an off-peak return. 

Meanwhile, you can travel to a number of other European Countries over Christmas for £100 or less, for a return. 

Return flights to Europe over Christmas for £100 or less
From To Price
Bristol Geneva £41.00
Glasgow Geneva £47.00
Manchester Paris £51.00
Liverpool Geneva £53.00
Manchester Amsterdam £56.00
Bristol Amsterdam £58.00
Edinburgh Geneva £63.00
Birmingham Geneva £67.00
Liverpool Amsterdam £69.00
Liverpool Milan £69.00
London Geneva £69.00
Glasgow Paris £71.00
Manchester Milan £71.00
Liverpool Barcelona £73.00
London Amsterdam £77.00
Bristol Barcelona £87.00
Edinburgh Paris £88.00
Birmingham Amsterdam £100.00
Source: *Sky Scanner Flights from 22/12/2023 – 29/12/2023 – Forbes Advisor Travel study

Travel experts suggest that anyone intending to travel over Christmas and New Year should be firming up their plans now and buying their tickets, because availability on popular routes will soon disappear.

For those who have always caught the train, this might also be an opportunity to explore the possibility of flying, especially as the money and time saved relative to making the journey by train could be used towards the cost of cabs to travel from the airport to the final destination.

Those with fewer personal commitments could also consider a spontaneous trip to Europe given that the cost of the flights will probably cost less than inter-city travel within the UK.

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5 September: Government Plans To Improve Shopping Online

Airlines and rail companies could soon be held to account over hidden fees, as part of a government clampdown around transparency when shopping online, writes Candiece Cyrus.

Government research published yesterday (Monday) found that 72% of the transportation and communication sectors employ ‘drip pricing’ – where ‘extra’ but necessary fees for products and services are added at the online checkout, increasing the initial cost. 

When buying a plane ticket, this could include selecting a seat, speedy boarding or opting for a meal, for example.

The Department of Business and Trade has now launched a six-week consultation to identify where drip-pricing is most harmful to consumers across various sectors including entertainment, hospitality, communication and transport – a practice which costs UK customers a collective £1.6 billion online each year.

A further two other consultations will seek to stop…

Read More:Travel News: Hand Luggage 100ml Liquid Rule Reintroduced At Six UK Airports