Monarch to introduce new security measures for flights from Turkey to UK

Monarch, the UK-based European regional airline, has said that it will introduce additional security measures at Antalya and Dalaman airports so that the currently restricted personal electronic devices can be allowed in the cabin on its flights from those airports to the UK.

The announcement comes as the UK government is lifting the ban on carrying electronic devices in hand luggage from some airports and on some flights from Turkey to the UK, subject to additional security measures.

‘Currently the restrictions still apply. We will inform our customers when this changes,’ the airline said in a release.

Accordingly, electronic items including laptops, iPads, tablets and e-readers will need to be switched off (not in sleep or standby mode), packed into hold luggage and checked in. These electronic items will not be allowed in the aircraft cabin with the passenger. In addition, power banks and portable power sources or spare and separate device batteries for phones, laptops, tablets and E-readers larger than 16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm are not allowed at all on the flight from Turkey, either in the cabin or hold luggage.

There will be additional searches at the gate and any items found that are not allowed in the cabin under the new security measures will be taken and placed in the hold, the airline said.

To facilitate the new restrictions, the airline will increase the paid for hold luggage allowance by three kilograms free of charge to allow for the additional weight of electrical items on inbound flights, subject to a maximum of 26 kg per bag. This will be automatically added to the baggage allowance.

The airline also recommends insurance coverage by passengers for all belongings, including electronic items, Monarch said, adding that it will not accept liability for any damage to or loss of electrical gadgets in hold luggage. Locking the luggage is also recommended, it added.

As a result of the new security measures, online check in will not be available on Monarch flights from Turkey to the UK. Check in will be at the airport only. Check in for flights from Turkey to the UK will open three hours before departure and close 60 minutes before departure.

Flights from the UK to Turkey are not subject to these restrictions – so passengers are free to travel with their electronic items to Turkey, the airline noted.

Survey confirms demise of the traveller’s cheque

Traveller’s cheques are no longer the currency of choice for travellers to pay their way while overseas, according to the results of a new study.

The survey, carried out by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, a UK-based discount voucher company, revealed that traveller’s cheques, which have been the mainstay of overseas money transactions for several decades, have seen a massive slide in popularity, to the extent that less than 9 percent of the 1,800 UK adults that took part in the survey used them while travelling during the last year. The large majority, 78 percent, said that they preferred to take cash with them on their overseas travels, while 56 percent of those questioned said that they relied on debit or credit cards, and 34 percent took prepaid cards.

However, the security benefits that originally made traveller’s cheques so popular still hold good with those that use them, with three quarters citing security as their motivation for staying with the cheques, and 13 percent stating that they were uncomfortable with carrying cash while abroad. And security would certainly appear to be an issue, as 64 percent of total respondents admitted to having lost money while travelling overseas, and of those, over 50 percent had not had insurance that covered the loss.

Traveller’s cheques also claimed another victory by apparently making holiday money last longer. While 60 percent of those that carried cash ran out of money before the end of their holiday, only 14 percent of traveller’s cheque carriers suffered the same problem.

The chairman of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, Mark Pearson, was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘It seems travellers’ cheques aren’t as popular as they once may have been – probably because of the other options now available, which seem somewhat easier, such as a prepaid card. Britons still seem to favour cash when it comes to travelling abroad, but it seems this does nothing for successful budgeting, as the majority of those taking cash with them last year ended up overspending.

‘Whatever method you choose, just make sure you’re protected against loss or theft of money. Holidays don’t come cheap, and you don’t want them to cost more than they have to.’

 

Airports under pressure to offer more amenities to travellers

Airports in the US are under pressure to offer more amenities to customers.

In the past decade, as security measures have gained more and more importance over basic traveller amenities, passengers have found it increasingly tedious to spend time at airports, especially when delayed flights require them to be there for long periods.

Now, a US airport, BWI Thurgood Marshall International, and Airmall USA, its developer of retail, food and beverage operations, are trying to offer better amenities to customers with a range of services at the airport. The airport now has spas and an airline club to entertain travellers who are forced to spend time there with little else to entertain them. The airport has also launched free wireless Internet connectivity, known as BWI-WiFi, to cater to the needs of customers that prefer to go online and find their own source of entertainment.

A spokesperson for the airport said that its primary aim was to offer a variety of services, especially if customers have a long time to wait.

BWI is not the only airport in the US that is adopting new measures to keep customers entertained. In Oregon, Portland Airport offers kiosks that passengers can use to download movies and videos. Similarly, Miami International Airport offers pet relief areas with grass and a fire hydrant. San Francisco International Airport even has a yoga room that allows customers to unwind and ease their tensions.

Airport officials said that customers were seeking more from airports, especially as their travel routines have become more constrained. As the time spent travelling has increased for many executives, they expect airports to provide more services and leisure facilities.

BWI’s Concourse D features the Airspace Lounge. Passengers pay USD17.50 to access its power outlets, onsite computers, meals and bar. The spa Be Relax has locations on concourses A and D. Travellers can receive massages, manicures and pedicures, as well as skin care treatments.

 

One in four have ‘smuggled’ liquids through airport security

A survey by flight comparison site Skyscanner has revealed that 28 per cent of travellers have attempted to carry liquids past airport security checkpoints, both accidently and deliberately.

 

This is despite the longstanding ban of passengers carrying liquid containers bigger than 100 millilitres.

 

A thousand people were surveyed as part of the poll, where only four per cent of those questioned admitted to purposely placing liquids in their hand luggage breaking the rules. However 42 per cent believe that the current legislation is too severe.

 

Of those surveyed, eighteen per cent complained that airports have an inconsistent approach when it comes to enforcing the regulations.

 

These harsher laws came into force in August 2006, following a terrorist plot where liquid explosives were smuggled aboard in hand luggage in attempt to blow up at least 10 transatlantic flights.

 

This introduced an immediate ban on carrying liquids onto aircrafts, since then the ban has been subsequently relaxed allowing passengers to carry liquids in containers no larger than 100ml, and five years on the rules remain largely in force.

 

European Union transport commissioner Siim Kallas confirmed the ban will be lifted in April 2013. This comes after trialling new advanced X-ray scanners that can identify liquid explosives.

 

Kallas told The Guardian: “Some airports are questioning the rationality of lifting the ban because life is easier as it is. Politically, that is unacceptable. I would like airports to make (the) necessary investments so we can lift the ban as agreed for transfer passengers”.

 

He added, “If some countries lift the band and some do not, it will be disastrous”.

 

By Charlotte Greenhalgh

Queuing times slashed at Gatwick Airport

Queuing times are set to be cut thanks to Gatwick’s advanced new security zone as part of a £1.2bn investment into the airport.

 

The £45m security areas have promised passengers speedier passage through the airport, cutting process times to just under five minutes.

 

Nineteen new security lanes have been opened allowing 5,000 passengers to pass per hour to the departure lounge.

 

Passengers with reduced mobility and families with young children will have two dedicated lanes, and passengers travelling first class or business will have two ‘premium’ lanes.

 

Before passing through security passengers will be able to understand what they can and can’t take through with the use of large screens, which display five different languages. Another handy feature are the screens that inform passengers on the actual queuing times of each lane, a great stress reliever.

 

Passengers will be able to benefit from the new security area, by swiping their boarding card or smartphone displaying their boarding card at the security access gate.

 

Located in the South Terminal, Transport Minister Thersea Villers opened the new zone, underlining the importance of low-stress but high-security checkpoints.

 

She stated: “For many people, going through airport security can be their least favourite part of flying. The government is committed to reforming the way these necessary checks are regulated, enabling airports to come up with more passenger-friendly processes while maintaining the same high levels of security”.

 

This latest piece of technology aims to help improve passengers experience when flying from Gatwick airport.

 

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh