Print that ticket


You might think a print-out of your airline ticket is a waste of paper but here’s a cautionary tale. One of our Airbnb guests was leaving for Australia from Germany on an Emirates flight when the computerised check-in system went down. Chaos, but people with paper tickets were able to board without too much fuss while those whose bookings were captured on their phone were much more difficult. Those without either had a long wait. 

Scilly Isles

Just been writing a story on secret Britain – a few off-the-beaten-track treasures that don’t get the attention they deserve, and it’s brought back memories of a trip I made a few years back to the Scilly Isles. Scattered across the sea off the toe of the Cornish coast, this archipelago of 140 granite islands is an England of another time, where nobody locks their front door, where you can leave the keys in the ignition and every inhalation feels like you’ve just snorted air freshener. It’s also warmish, at least by British standards. Each island has its own character. Bryher is scoured by gale-stoked waves that sweep in full-throttle from the Atlantic, turning Hell Bay into a frothing cauldron. St Agnes and neighbouring Gugh are haunting and wild, made mysterious by sea fogs and studded with wind-sculpted granite outcrops. St Agnes has some of the Scillies’ finest beaches while St Martin’s is the pretty one, a crescent with a spine of high ground that descends across tufted fields to gently sloping beaches. The islands are a natural ark, lying on a major migration route for birds flying from northern Europe and the Arctic to Africa. More than 400 bird species have been spotted in the Scillies, including some that are seen nowhere else in Britain. 

All in the Genes

Did you know…if you have a predictive genetic test to determine whether you’re at risk of certain medical conditions by reason of your genes, it could affect your travel insurance policy as well as your life insurance policy? Reason is if such a test finds enhanced risk factors you must disclose this to your insurer. Failure to do so could affect your claim for compensation if you should fall ill or suffer from a condition that has been identified in your genetic test, and subsequently make a claim against your travel insurer. Your insurer would then have a legal basis for refusing your claim in the Insurance Contracts Act, which points out that when you apply for insurance, your obligation to disclose “every matter known to the applicant, or could reasonably be expected to be known, that is relevant to the insurer’s decision.” It’s not a reason to avoid having a genetic test since such a test could lead you to make changes to your life that would give you a better health outcome. 

A Haul too Long

Boeing is currently developing its ultra long-range 777-8X, scheduled to enter service in 2018 with a range of 17,600km. Melbourne to London is 16,900kms while Sydney-London is slightly further. That’s probably a shade too far for even the marathon running Boeing allowing for a comfortable safety margin, but Boeing and Airbus have shown themselves willing to re-engineer their aircraft in response to airline demands for longer range. For both Qantas and British Airways an airliner that could fly non-stop between London and east coast Australia would be a game changer.  Cutting out one stop along the way would deliver lower costs for the airline, and the possibility of cheaper prices for flyers. In a few years from now you could hop on a plane in Sydney or Melbourne at 10pm and hop off in London at 9:30 the next morning, although personally, they have to anaesthetise me before I’d even think of getting on a 20-hour flight. 

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