Unpacking Travel: Issue 13

3rd February, 2014

Each week we look at recent news, blogs, tips and trends from the travel world.
In this issue of Unpacking Travel: easyJet launches mobile booking, Eurostar extends network, film fever hits Berlin, and creepy cruises.

Easy on, easyJet

2013 was the safest year for flying since 1945, apparently, and easyJet is on a roll. Fresh from being named the best short-haul airline at the Business Travel awards in London – easyJet has launched mobile booking at Belfast airport. Passengers flying from Belfast International will be able to download their boarding pass via the airline’s app, and scan it to access their flight.

In the long-haul airspace, India has lifted its ban on airbus superjumbo jets. European airlines that may benefit from the change include Lufthansa and British Airways.

Thousands of passengers were affected by air-traffic controller strikes across Europe last week, which forced airlines to cancel flights. Controllers are unhappy about EU plans for “a single European sky”, which would lead to staffing cuts.

Eurostar extends to 6 German cities

Eurostar has extended its service to include Aachen, Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. Passengers will be able to purchase one ticket that will connect the Eurostar with the high speed ICE Deutsche Bahn system. According to Nick Mercer, Commercial Director for Eurostar:

“With over 6 million passengers currently travelling by air between London and Germany each year, we see huge potential to encourage more travellers to make the switch from air to high-speed rail.”

The free, and the almost free

Who doesn’t like free (and very cheap) things? Here’s the 10 best free museums in Europe. Once you’ve worked up an appetite there, head along to a pay-what-you-want restaurant. Perfect if you’re travelling on a tight budget.

Film Fever

The 64th Berlinale opens this week, marking the first major European film festival this year. For 10 days, Berlin will be buzzing with thousands of industry professionals, guests, and film devotees, in town to see both the all-stars and the upstarts. Here’s a nice guide for how to get tickets.

If you’re not in Berlin, but you are in London, and looking for something a little different, head along to one of these independent cinemas. Or, next Valentine’s weekend, catch a show at Vauxhall Village’s Tunnel of Love Cinema (yes, you did read that name correctly), set beneath a railway arch.

Street art in Portugal

We like things that make you stop in the street when you’re travelling – like the street art in Portugal photographed here by Aggy, of travel blog DreamExploreWander.

Creepy Cruises

Cruise ships hit the headlines in dramatic fashion recently, the most dramatic headline perhaps was from the Mirror:

“We must stay vigilant”: Ghost ship adrift for a year and crewed by CANNIBAL rats ‘heading for Britain’

The ‘ghost ship’ referred to: the Lyubov Orlova, previously an Arctic cruise ship that was sold due to unpaid debts, then cast adrift in the Atlantic by Canada in February 2013. The story resurfaced with speculation that if the ship were afloat, it could well be rat-infested. In fact, there’s a high chance the ship sank a long time ago.

You wouldn’t want to be on the Lyubov Orlova, but you wouldn’t want to be on the Explorer of the Seas either – a holiday cruise that turned sour for nearly 700 of its 3,000 passengers due to a suspected norovirus outbreak. Not surprisingly, the cruise was cut short.

Animals – in all sorts of places

A man tried to board a train with a pony in Wales, a woman left an alligator at Chicago Airport, and Bristol Airport’s Bristol Bear finally found its real owner – 100 years later.

Watch this space

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