Uzbekistan Airways to weigh passengers before boarding

Uzbekistan Airways passengers will be directed to a “special weighing machine” at the departure gate, to determine each person’s average weight with their hand baggage. The airline said that individual passengers’ weights would not be disclosed, and “full confidentiality of results is guaranteed”, with the weighing machine only categorising passengers by sex and into adult and child groups. “According to the rules of International Air Transport Association, airlines are obliged to carry out the regular procedures of preflight control passengers weighing with hand baggage to observe requirements for ensuring flight…

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Nepal safe to visit, report claims

Four months after an earthquake destroyed major heritage sites in Nepal, attractions and Everest climbing trails have been declared safe to visit, a report claims. After a period of rebuilding and uncertainty, tour companies are resuming trips to the country after an assessment of Everest concluded that there was “minimal damage” to the majority of accommodation and trails. April’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake caused major destruction to hotels, landmarks and attractions such as the city’s 61m-high Bhimsen Tower, which collapsed, and the country’s most important Hindu shrine Pashupatinat, which was also…

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14 ways you’re being ripped off at the airport

1. Getting there (on an Express service) If you’re in a hurry to get to a London airport, expect to pay through the nose. With single fares from Paddington priced at £21.50 in economy class, the Heathrow Express is, pound-for-pound, Britain’s most expensive, above-ground, rail journey, clocking in at nearly £1.50 per mile. A return journey costs £35 – slightly cheaper, but still more than £1 for each of the 15 miles travelled. The Gatwick Express from London Victoria is almost as costly, particularly given that First Capital Connect and…

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Indian tourist visas: e-visa scheme extended to British travellers

From August 15, Britons will be one of 113 nationalities who will be able to apply for India’s “e-Tourist visa”, making the process of obtaining correct entry documents cheaper and quicker. UK passport holders will be able to apply and pay for an online visa using the Indian government’s tourist visa website, removing the need to book an appointment at the outsourced visa processing agency, or make a laborious postal application. The cost will be reduced from the current fee of £89.44 to $60 (£39), and rather than book an…

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VAT revolt as thousands refuse to show boarding passes to airport shops

A mini-revolution is taking place at airports across the country after retailers were forced to admit that customers are not actually required to show their boarding passes at the till and that those who do are merely helping companies claim back VAT. Thousands of air passengers who had up until now been under the impression that producing their boarding pass was a legal requirement have been outraged to find out that this is not the case. Airport retailers such as WHSmiths and Boots have admitted that fliers are entitled to…

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Bandar Mahshahr in Iran experiences ‘second hottest temperature ever’

A city in Iran has experienced what is believed to be history’s second highest temperature ever as a blistering heatwave lingered over the Middle East. The air in Bandar Mahshahr in the Persian Gulf recorded a sweltering “heat index” of 74°C (165°F) last Friday. A heat index is a measure of how hot it “feels” to the body – it uses humidity and air temperature to calculate the apparent temperature experienced by the body. • 10 hottest and coldest places in the world A biy in Baghdad cools off during…

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easyJet puts an end to guaranteed cabin baggage policy

easyJet has removed its two-tier cabin baggage policy meaning that passengers could now face the inconvenience of having their carry-on luggage placed in the hold. Up until recently the low-cost carrier guaranteed that passengers with cabin luggage measuring 50 x 40 x 20cm or less would be able to keep their bags with them throughout their flight. Customers were able to bring a bag up to a maximum of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, but those with larger bags risked having their luggage taken away and put in the hold…

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Bloodhound yacht charter: Learn how to sail like racing royalty

It was the moment the Royal racing yacht Bloodhound, past winner of the elite Fastnet Challenge Cup, met her match. We were flying up the Lynn of Morvern off the west coast of Scotland, her mainsail filling in a stiff breeze, when half a dozen “competitors” turned up. At first they were off our stern, then they were streaking effortlessly past us to cavort in our bow wave. • The Royal Family’s favourite hotels Cruising past misty mountains and sea lochs in a classic wooden sailing boat, in the company…

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The real reason airport shops want to see your boarding pass

Airport retailers have been accused of misleading travellers by claiming millions in VAT refunds without passing on the savings to passengers. The vast majority of airport shops in the UK request that passengers hand over their boarding passes to be scanned at the checkout – a practice that few realise is used to help stores claim back VAT of 20 per cent on goods sold to passengers flying outside the EU. And research by the Independent has revealed that – while retailers suggest goods are tax free – these savings…

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Flight grounded after both pilots fail alcohol test

An AirBaltic flight carrying 109 holidaymakers was grounded on Saturday after four of the five crew members failed alcohol tests. According to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, police were tipped off prior to departure by a passenger who suspected the crew had been drinking. Police carried out checks and discovered both the captain and first officer, as well as two of the three flight attendants, were over the drink-fly limit. AirBaltic, Latvia’s flag carrier, serves 60 destinations including London and Aberdeen  Photo: ALAMY The four were taken into custody, while the…

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