• Can it beat a real wave? Getting to grips with a 40ft cruise ship surf simulator (4/26/2018) - It’s hard to think of anything that better encapsulates the spirit of Royal Caribbean than the FlowRider surfing experience. Synonymous with innovation and fun, the cruise line offers a raft of on-board activities, but none quite so iconic as its 40ft-long surf simulator. The best thing of all is that anybody can do it. “It’s super simple,” says sports manager Anthony Evans, a sports science graduate who worked at a gym in Wales before taking to the seas. “You’re given a wristband, valid for the entire cruise, then you join the queue. We show you how to ride and, most importantly, how to fall – everyone falls eventually.” Passengers can surf or body board. The FlowRider can be nerve-wracking for first-timers, Evans admits, but most people are just eager to give it a go. “From time to time we get someone who is really scared, and we spend plenty of time coaching and reassuring them – it’s so rewarding when we manage to get those guests into the waves. The sports team can practice their skills, when the facility isn’t open to guests Credit: Royal Caribbean International “Then there are the people who get hooked,” Evans continues. “The experience can be addictive, especially for thrillseekers, and it can get really competitive. There are even guests who come on board purely for the FlowRider – they bring their own boards and ride from the minute we open until the moment we close.” For anyone not enamoured by the idea of an audience as they surf, Royal Caribbean offers paid-for private lessons (the FlowRider is otherwise free of charge). “That’s how one of the top flowboarders got started – on Liberty of the Seas,” reveals Evans. “She watched for the first day or so. Then, when she worked up the will to try it, her parents booked her a lesson.” Silver surfer The FlowRider appeals to all ages, not just younger passengers. “The oldest rider I’ve ever had was an 87-year-old man, a seasoned cruiser,” says Evans. “He would come along with his walking frame, have a go on the rock-climbing wall then put on his wet suit and go body-boarding. He was really good at it.” Perhaps the most recognisable guest to grace the FlowRider during Evans’s time on board has been actor Adam Sandler, who filmed part of Jack and Jill on Allure of the Seas. “If you watch the movie closely, you’ll see a younger version of me surfing as they cut from one scene to the next. I was lucky enough to be in the right place when they needed a surfer.” When the facilities are closed to guests, members of the sports team get the opportunity to practise and improve their own skills. “Anything we learn, we pass on to others. They say a kung fu master should never give away all his tricks, but we do,” laughs Evans. “We want to provide the best experience for our guests, so we hold nothing back.”  surfing holidays There are 220 FlowRider attractions worldwide, 16 of them on Royal Caribbean ships. But the surf simulator is just one of the thrills offered by the fleet, and it’s the variety that keeps things fresh for Evans. “Where else can you teach someone to surf in the morning, then operate a wind tunnel for a skydiving simulator or supervise a rock-climbing wall in the afternoon?” he says.  There’s more to come, too. In May, Independence of the Seas will sail from Southampton fitted with Laser Tag, an Escape Room and a Trampoline Bungee Dome, all added as part of a multimillion-pound refit. “I can’t wait,” says Evans gleefully. “It’s like being a kid at Christmas – we get to play with all the new toys.”   royalcaribbean.co.uk
  • Family suing American Airlines over death of 25-year-old woman (4/26/2018) - The family of a 25-year-old woman who died after suffering a pulmonary embolism on an American Airlines flight is suing the company over her death.  (Courtesy Grier, Cox & Cranshaw, LLC / iStock) A family from South Carolina has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against American Airlines after a 25-year-old woman suffered an embolism midflight. Brittany Oswell, a nurse from the Midlands area, was flying home from Hawaii with her husband Cory on American Airlines flight A102 on April 16, 2016, when she began to feel “dizzy and disoriented” and ultimately fainted. A doctor aboard the flight spoke with Oswell after she regained consciousness and initially believed she was suffering from a panic attack, per court documents obtained by Columbia’s The State. HUSBAND OF SOUTHWEST AIRLINES VICTIM SPEAKS OUT ABOUT TRAGIC INCIDENT According to the lawsuit, a few hours later, as the plane was flying over Albuquerque, N.M., Cory took Oswell to the lavatory, where she collapsed on the floor, vomited and defecated on herself. The doctor on the flight examined Oswell again and instructed the flight crew to notify the pilot so the plane could to be diverted to the nearest airport where she could receive medical attention. The doctor then spoke with the pilot about Oswell’s symptoms, but after consulting with another doctor on the ground, the pilot decided to continue on to their destination of Dallas-Forth Worth, which was still about 90 minutes away, the lawsuit claims. In his attempt to help Oswell, the doctor discovered the medical equipment on board the plane wasn’t functioning. One blood pressure machine was broken and the other was giving an error message. At this time, Oswell stopped breathing and no longer had a pulse. The doctor attempted to use the defibrillator, but despite three attempts, no shock was administered. Flight crew and the doctor then took turns administering CPR, but Oswell never regained consciousness. The doctor on the flight examined Oswell again and instructed the flight crew to notify the pilot so the plane could to be diverted to the nearest airport where she could receive medical attention.  (Courtesy Grier, Cox & Cranshaw, LLC) Upon landing, Oswell was taken to Baylor Medical Center. Three days later, on April 18, 2016, she was declared brain dead and taken off life support. Her cause of death was listed as acute massive pulmonary embolism and cardiogenic shock, the lawsuit states. Oswell’s family is now suing American Airlines, accusing them of negligence for failing to divert the plane, among other things, which they believe resulted in her death. They are seeking damages in an amount to be determined by a jury for severe emotional distress, anxiety, grief and sorrow. FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS The attorney for Oswell’s family, Brad Cranshaw, said they are currently waiting for American Airlines to answer the suit. “It’s a tragedy. We can’t go back in time. The airline can’t give us back Cory’s wife, but we’re interested to know what the airline plans to do,” he said. A spokesperson for American Airlines released the following statement to Fox News: “We take the safety of our passengers very seriously and we are looking into the details of the complaint.” Michelle Gant is a writer and editor for Fox News Lifestyle.
  • Southwest expects ‘softness in bookings’ after fatal midair accident (4/26/2018) - Southwest Airlines has stated that last Tuesday’s fatal incident aboard Southwest Flight 1380 will likely result in a “softness in bookings” for its second quarter. “Based on current bookings and revenue trends, the Company expects second quarter 2018 [revenue per available seat mile] to decrease in the one to three percent range” compared to the same time period last year, the carrier wrote in an earnings report released Thursday. HUSBAND OF SOUTHWEST AIRLINES VICTIM SPEAKS OUT “Approximately one to two points of this estimated decrease is attributable to recent softness in bookings following the Flight 1380 accident.” The company also said its unit cost, or the “total operating expenses per available seat mile” to rise based on factors including fuel costs, increases in salaries, and estimated costs “related to the Flight 1380 accident,” among others. “It remains a somber time for the Southwest Family following the Flight 1380 accident, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Riordan family, and all of our Customers on the flight,” Southwest CEO Gary C. Kelly stated at the start of the report, adding that the company is continuing to cooperate with the National Transportation Safety Board. Southwest Flight 1380 made an emergency landing in Philadelphia when one of the engines blew, shattering a window and sending a passenger party out of the plane.  (Marty Martinez) FAMILY SUING AMERICAN AIRLINES OVER DEATH OF 25-YEAR-OLD WOMAN On April 17, Southwest Flight 1380 was en route from New York to Dallas when one of the engine’s fan blades failed due to “metal fatigue,” causing the engine to blow apart. Pieces of shrapnel shattered a window near Jennifer Riordan, who was partially sucked out of the aircraft. Riordan was pronounced dead at a Pennsylvania hospital after the plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
  • Breakfast with the gorillas – a wild night at Bristol Zoo Lodge (4/26/2018) - We were alone and surrounded by western lowland gorillas, including a 30-stone silverback. Yet they barely batted a eye as we breakfasted on egg and bacon rolls and mugs of tea. Instead, the youngest pair played an elaborate version of tag while the commanding silverback sat directly above us seemingly oblivious to our private, early-morning visit to the Gorilla House, the 180-degree, glass-fronted centrepiece of Bristol Zoo Gardens. He was the boss of this domain and he knew it. The out-of-hours escapade was part of our night at the zoo staying in a former keeper’s lodge and one which not only realigned my view of zoos (it was sobering to learn that these gorillas are critically endangered in their Cameroon homeland) but also proved a great learning adventure for our five-year-old daughter, Saskia.  It had all begun the afternoon before when the three of us arrived just ahead of closing time and were escorted to our spacious lodge in the heart of the zoo. There we were met by Ian Rodgerson, one of Bristol Zoo’s knowledgable rangers, for an early evening behind-the-scenes tour. • The best zoo hotels in the UK Guests in The Lodge at Bristol Zoo can help keepers feed the seals after hours. Away from the bustling crowds we had seen departing on our way in, there was something particularly intimate about what unfolded. Feeding sprats to the South American fur seals, including the “big daddy”, Otari, we watched transfixed as these creatures so ungainly on land glided gracefully through the water after the fish. Ian proved a mine of information as he explained how training keeps the fur seals mentally and physically fit, the tricks the keepers use to examine them and why their teeth turn black (it’s the oil in their fishy diet). There are some 430 species in the zoo (which at just 12 acres is quite small; there is larger, sister zoo nearby, the Wild Place Project). Habitat is kept as natural as possible and throughout our tour, Ian stressed how much conservation, education and research were the zoo’s raison d’être and that its activities extend to 15 countries around the world with projects from Madagascar to the Philippines. A jolting reminder of how zoos used to be came when we walked past a bear pole, which were used in bear pits, from the early days of zoo – Bristol Zoo Gardens has been operating for 182 years and is the fifth oldest in the world.  “Stand behind the yellow line,” said Ian. We were upstairs in Monkey Jungle – an area normally off-limits to the public and the ranger was telling us not to stand too close to the lion-tailed macaques, brown spider monkeys and black gibbons. Their grip is incredibly strong, he added. And if you ever wondered why monkeys can look down-in-the-mouth – it’s because their jaws slacken when they relax. Start to worry when they bare their teeth and seem to smile! • The most unusual places to stay in the UK and Channel Islands The Lodge features two bedrooms, a dining room and a bathroom with rainforest shower. Leaving the primates, we continued our evening safari as Ian pointed out a starfish in one of the water tanks explaining how it has an eye on each of its arms and why its mouth and bottom are one and the same (Saskia was predictably fascinated by this gross fact). Elsewhere we gazed at two majestic Asiatic lions (the only big cats at the zoo and again an endangered species), long-tailed lemurs, a 90-year-old giant tortoise, tiny mouse deer, warty pigs (which look like humbugs when young) and the world’s largest rodent, the capybara, which resembled a genetically modified guinea pig. Ian then escorted us back to our tastefully decorated two-bedroom lodge. Opened three years ago, it’s an impressive living space with large open-plan sitting and dining room (a sofa bed means it can sleep six), big flatscreen TV with Blu-ray player, bathroom with rainforest shower (Cole and Lewis products) and balcony overlooking the capybaras and the odd-looking tapirs. A chef arrived to prepare a sumptuous three-course dinner served by a waitress from the lodge’s small kitchen (which can only be used by the chef). When they depart the front door is locked – you can get out but if you do an alarm goes off. So no midnight rambling! There’s no denying it is expensive to stay, but it is a rare experience and the Bristol Zoological Society, which runs the zoo, is a charity. We awoke to the distant whooping of gibbons and the screechy chattering of exotic birds, and shortly after set out on a guided morning tour spying silky smooth pygmy hippos, watching African penguins slide into the water as a keeper dolled out fish and another feeding watchful meerkats en route to our breakfast with the gorillas.  • The best family-friendly hotels in England Guests are served a breakfast of egg and bacon rolls in the zoo’s Gorilla House. After a fun-filled breakfast, we walked past elegant flamingos back to the lodge to collect our luggage, it was something of a shock to see other people again. We had become rather used to being alone with the animals of Bristol Zoo. The Lodge at Bristol Zoo Gardens is open every day apart from Christmas Day. Prices range from £750 a night (Sunday to Thursday, January to March and November and December) to £1,050 on a Friday and Saturday in July and August. This includes two tours, dinner and breakfast (0117 4285 300; thelodgebristolzoo.co.uk).  the best hotels in bristol view all Paintworks Apartments Bristol, England 8 Telegraph expert rating Five elegant urban loft apartments situated in a converted paint factory in Bristol’s Creative Qu… Read expert review From £ 175 inc. tax Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The Den at Backwell Down Farleigh Backwell, Bristol, England 8 Telegraph expert rating A very grand apartment on the top floor of an Edwardian manor house, surrounded by landscaped gro… Read expert review From £ 120 inc. tax Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Hotel du Vin & Bistro Bristol City Centre Bristol, England 8 Telegraph expert rating This is one of Bristol’s […]
  • Egypt to fine its own traders £400 for harassing tourists (4/26/2018) - Tourists could be saved from over-zealous touts at Egypt’s most popular archaeological sites after the country’s government approved a new fine of to 10,000 Egyptian pounds (£406) for those caught overstepping the line. The new rule, part of the broader Antiquities Protection Law, will target those in and around tourist sites or museums such as the pyramids of Giza, selling goods or offering services in an aggressive manner. “There is no deterrent so far for those who carry out such acts that badly affects tourism,” said minister of archeology Khaled al-Anani. Camel rides are often sold to tourists at the Giza site Oscar Saleh, who offers camel rides at Giza, told the Guardian the fines were addressing a problem that wasn’t there. “Go visit the Egyptian Museum, go visit the pyramids – no one will bother you,” he said. However, the government thinks differently, with some MPs proposing heftier fines of up to 20,000 Egyptian pounds. The British Foreign Office warns visitors to “high-profile sites” that they may be “confronted aggressively for money or business, even while travelling by car or taxi. Visitors using a pre-booked guide, or taking an organised tour to visit the Giza Pyramids are likely to face fewer difficulties”. The alternative bucket list: 12 world wonders you’ve never heard of In 2008, the Giza pyramids were given a £14 million makeover that included a new security fence to prevent hawkers from selling camel rides and trinkets. Before then, traders were given free rein of the area outside the Wonder of the World, prompting Egypt’s then-chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass to describe the area as a “zoo”. Many see such tourist bothering as part and parcel of visiting key visitor sites in the north African country, but the government is keen to clamp down on such negative experiences as it struggles to sustain the country’s fragile tourism industry. [embedded content] With Sharm el-Sheikh still practically off-limits to British tourists following the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 in 2015, the country’s tourist board has been promoting Hurghada and Marsa Alam. Egypt has experienced a small revival with the number of global visitors rising from 5.4 million in 2016 to 7.5 million last year. This week Thomas Cook, too, said its customers were returning to the country, despite Sharm el-Sheikh remaining out of bounds. Bookings to Egypt are up 89 per cent year on year, the tour operator said.
  • The challenge of travelling with an adopted child – and how we overcame it (4/26/2018) - It’s 9pm on a chilly Saturday in March, and my partner Flo and I are snuggled under a blanket on a sofa. An old film is on the television, we’re halfway through a bottle of red wine, and our six-year-old son Kai is snoring softly between us. The only material difference between tonight and an average evening is that we’re not at home – we’re in a hotel room at the small, ultra-family-friendly Moonfleet Manor in Dorset – but this, right now, is about as much as we had dared hope might be possible for a weekend away. In fact, it’s bliss: Kai is asleep, with zero fuss – and no pitched bedtime battles as there have been on our two previous trips as a family, one of which got so extreme we ended up changing our flights and coming home early. Moonfleet Manor, a new level of family-friendly Before our son came to live with us two and a half years ago, Flo and I were pretty keen travellers. I wouldn’t say we were unusually intrepid, but our favourite trips were more about adventure than comfort. We’ve camped in deserts, hiked up mountains in snow, paddled down rivers with food, firewood and water in the canoe between us. We’ve also stayed in some pretty special places – The Pig in Brockenhurst, the New Forest, was a favourite spot, where we celebrated anniversaries and birthdays – and we were on a long weekend in Paris when the call came through to say that the adoption panel had unanimously agreed: Kai was going to be our son. In numbers | Adoption statistics in England Any new parent knows that holidays won’t ever be the same again. For adoptive parents, travelling is a bit more complicated. Many pieces of advice and hard won wisdom were drummed into us by social workers and other adoptive parents before our child came to live with us: no, love won’t just “fix” everything; yes, kids can and do remember their very early years, they won’t simply forget; and if things at first seem to go brilliantly, it could just be a honeymoon period. Also: keep life as predictable and simple as possible at first and, if possible, avoid travel for at least a year. (That last bit was a touch disappointing, but of course we were happy to sacrifice anything to start our family.) What I don’t remember is anyone saying that sleep could be the biggest challenge we’d face. Home away from home Credit: Moonfleet Manor Disrupted sleep was one of the first signs that the honeymoon was ending. When our son first came to live with us aged three and a half, he would knock out 11 uninterrupted hours every night, and all of us loved his bath-book-bed routine. But after a few months, he began to seem fearful of his bed. He began waking up multiple times in the night, and then he started having night terrors. No chance of trying controlled crying in our household: if we didn’t respond to his worried call of “Mummy” or “Daddy” within a few seconds, worry would swiftly turn to panicked screaming, a fear that he’d been left alone in the house. He might wake for 10 minutes or more than an hour; he might wake twice or at the end of almost every 90-minute sleep cycle, a pattern we later found was common amongst other adoptive kids we met. Six months in, we hired an experienced babysitter we knew well: while we were out, she heard him wake but thought she’d see if he could settle himself; later, she said that she’d never heard a child make a sound like it. Suffice it to say we were shattered. Eventually we found a sleep professional with experience of adopted kids who didn’t preach controlled crying. She diagnosed anxiety as the root of the issue, and over the course of about three months taught us how to allay his nighttime fears. The terrors gradually faded, and we were all back to sleeping through the night. It was then – over a year in – that we booked our first family holiday, six days in a villa with a pool in Spain, with grandparents in tow. We followed all the advice we could get our hands on about travelling with an anxious child: show him pictures of where you’re going and talk about what to expect, choose self catering over hotels, take as many familiar things as you can carry (toys, books, his plates and cups, bedding), and put him to sleep in your own room. family holiday packing list Four days later, we came home early. The travelling itself had been fine – no, wonderful: watching his excitement at seeing airplanes and then actually being inside one as it took off remains one of my favourite “firsts” as a family, and he was patient and immaculately behaved even during delays. But bedtimes there were a nightmare: hour upon hour of struggle and screaming, and nothing we tried could calm him. In the end, exhausted and fractious, we changed our flights and came home, but the disruption came with us, and it was many long weeks before he would calmly fall asleep after stories. Uninterrupted nights were – and still are – entirely out of the window. Beaten but undefeated, we tried again a few months later, booking a few days at Center Parcs. No planes this time – if it went badly wrong, we could pack up the car and go home. At the time, Flo happened to meet an adoption therapist who recommended making Kai a book about our upcoming trip, not just with pictures of where we were going, but with words addressing all the irrational fears Kai might have: that while we were going away, we would definitely be coming home, exactly where he and we would be sleeping, and that he didn’t need to worry. The 75 greatest family holidays for 2018 Whether […]
  • Venice to segregate tourists and locals this weekend (4/26/2018) - https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2017/12/13/16/venice-crowds.jpgExtraordinary measures will be introduced to deal with overcrowding this May Day weekend in Venice. An ordinance has been approved by the mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, which will see residents and tourists segregated at various points from 28 May to 1 June. These are “urgent measures to ensure public safety, safety and livability in the historic city of Venice,” according to a statement issued by local authorities. The flow of tourists will be redirected from the more popular streets, with certain areas only accessible to locals and regular visitors who have a Venezia Unica card. For example, the main road that visitors usually use to get from the bus and train stations to the popular Ponte di Rialto and San Marco church, Strada Nova, will be closed to tourists. Instead, a system of diversions will direct them down back streets – they will still be able to visit the biggest attractions, but will have to make their way there via the maze of Venice’s rat runs. The move comes after an extremely busy Easter, with tourist numbers expected to swell to more than 200,000 this weekend, dwarfing the city’s resident population of 50,000. “It was like carnival last weekend,” a representative of the tourist office told The Independent. “It was just too crowded.” Tourists behaving badly in Venice However, The Independent’s head of travel, Julia Buckley, a regular visitor to Venice who holds a Venezia Unica card, said of the decision to divert tourists: “It’s a good idea in theory, but most locals or people who know Venice well don’t use those main streets anyway – they use back streets. So the idea of those being blocked by confused tourists holding maps is actually more annoying.  “I understand that they want people to see the lesser known side of Venice, but I can’t help feeling it may end up causing more chaos.” Other measures include rerouting boats full of daytrippers that usually stop at Riva degli Schiavoni in San Marco to Fondamente Nuove in Cannaregio, which is further away from the city centre. Those driving may need a parking reservation or risk being redirected away from the centre, and local police will be keeping an eye on the main car park; once full, they may limit the number of cars they allow over the bridge from the mainland. Venice is often held up as an example of overtourism (Getty) “Our goal is to inform those who want to come to the city that in the coming days there could be an extraordinary influx of people, making it difficult to visit,” said the mayor in a statement.  “All tourists know that, if they respect the city, they are welcome. At the same time, however, we have the task of safeguarding Venice, and this is why we have adopted measures based on what is permitted by current regulation.”  He added that this weekend was an opportunity to “experiment with a new tourism management system”.  Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel, lamented the overtourism which has prompted such measures.  “In my view, it’s tragic that it has come to this,” he told The Independent: “For decades tourism has been threatening Venice.  “They’ve found it impossible, or been unwilling, to confront the growth of tourists visiting from cruise ships or as Airbnb guests.  “The mentality has been one of ‘growth at all costs’, to the detriment of local people and the very soul and essence of the city.” He added that Venice has been reduced to a theme park, with Disney-style crowd control in place. “Tourism is about bringing people together, locals and visitors, and when done properly, both parties should reap the benefits. It should never be about segregation.” Visitors have been told to regularly check the city’s Facebook and Twitter pages for news of diversions and crowd control measures.
  • Hundreds of flights potentially cancelled as Air France staff call for four-day strike (4/26/2018) - https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2018/04/26/14/airfrancejet.jpg The spring of discontent among transport workers in France appears to be gathering pace.  The latest two-day Air France strike ended on Tuesday, but three pilot unions have announced another four days of strike action in early May. They will walk out on 3 and 4 May, then 7 and 8 May — affecting the end of one working week, and the start of the next. The unions said in a joint statement that they intended “to keep up the pressure for our wage demands”. It is expected that cabin crew and ground staff will join the stoppage in furtherance of a claim for 6 per cent pay rise. Employees say their wages have lost ground due to an effective pay freeze since 2011, while the French carrier is making handsome profits. Air France has offered 2 per cent. As the unions revealed their next move, the airline launched a staff consultation about its proposals to settle the bitter pay dispute. After the strike call, an Air France spokesperson said: “By making this decision to launch additional strikes, bringing the total number of days of strike action to 15, they are choosing to put the company’s economic situation even more at risk and further increase the risk of deeply damaging our customers’ trust and loyalty. “As from 10am today until Friday 4 May 2018 at 6pm, Air France staff can vote on the proposed pay agreement and make their voices heard to end the conflict.” During the past 11 days of strikes, an average of one-third of daily services have been cancelled, costing Air France over €250m (£220m). Around 40,000 passengers have had their planned flights cancelled on previous stoppage days. Three out of the four strike days — 3, 4 and 8 May — coincide with planned strikes by French railway workers. Staff at SNCF are taking action on two days out of every five until the end of June in a dispute about employment conditions.
  • Thomas Cook broke passenger's wheelchair midflight and refused to replace it (4/26/2018) - https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2018/04/26/15/beckygaunt-chair.jpgA disabled woman has branded Thomas Cook “beyond belief” after she was left for over three months without a wheelchair when hers was broken on a flight. Becky Gaunt, 25, from Yorkshire, returned from a two-week holiday in Cuba on 19 December 2017. She left her wheelchair at the check-in desk in Holguin, as requested by airport staff, transferring to an airport wheelchair to take her to the plane. On arrival at Manchester after her overnight flight, however, she noticed that the wheelchair had been broken. “I knew straightaway – the wheels were quite scuffed, and as soon as I sat in it, it caught my hand,” she told The Independent. “You could see that there was quite a bit of damage… The frame was bent.” Airlines are obliged to complete Property Irregularity Reports (PIRs) for any luggage or items damaged in transit, but when she tried to report it, Gaunt – a part-time wheelchair user who has fibromyalgia – was told by ground staff to “go back to your dealer and claim through your insurance”.  A specialist engineer at Yorkshire Care Equipment who inspected the chair reported that the entire frame had buckled, and it was beyond repair.  According to EU law, airlines are obliged to “repair or replace” damaged items. The chair was custom built with a value of £2,525, but Gaunt had bought it secondhand for £500. Since the chair was registered through her home insurance, claiming for damage would increase her premium. Gaunt returned from holiday to find her chair was unusable (Becky Gaunt) When Gaunt approached Thomas Cook, they put her in touch with their luggage loss adjustors, who sent her a cheque for £500 – a refund of what she had paid, but nowhere near what it would cost to replace. After weeks of back and forth, the airline’s customer service department stopped answering her emails. She contacted Reduced Mobility Rights – which advocates for passengers with disabilities – but their emails also went unanswered. Thomas Cook later told The Independent that they had never seen the emails, as Gaunt’s file had already been closed. “I feel frustrated that it’s acceptable for someone to take my legs away from me,” Gaunt – who has been largely housebound since a hip operation in January – told The Independent. “[Thomas Cook have] made a mistake and are not willing to rectify it. “It has left me not being able to get around and making everyday life so much more harder than it should be.” When The Independent contacted Thomas Cook, the airline agreed to replace the wheelchair. A spokesperson said: ““We have said sorry to Miss Gaunt following this incident which is clearly unacceptable. We are replacing the wheelchair and have offered additional compensation for the inconvenience.” This isn’t the first time Thomas Cook has come under fire for its treatment of passengers with disabilities. In 2014, Janice Campbell was awarded £7,500 when she was forced to wait in an airport queue instead of staff finding her a seat or wheelchair. Judges said that staff had failed to act with “common humanity” and ruled that her treatment amounted to discrimination. Gaunt told The Independent after Thomas Cook had paid her claim that she still had yet to receive an answer about what had happened to her chair in the first place. “It leaves me with a fear of flying, as no protocol has changed,” she said. “If I do decide to travel I’ll have to take the risk that my chair – which is effectively my legs – will be taken from me again for several weeks if not months. “It is beyond belief that someone can take your legs away and not be compelled to replace them.”
  • Entire Jubilee line suspended after power failure causes travel chaos just before rush hour (4/26/2018) - https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2017/12/09/13/jubilee-line.jpg The entire Jubilee line on the London Underground has been suspended due to a power outage. The power failure caused trains to stop running just before 10am on Thursday 26 April, and they were still not running at the time of writing five hours later. TfL are working to resolve the problem but could not confirm when the line would be operational again. “We’re hoping it will be sooner rather than later, but we don’t have a specific time frame I’m afraid,” a Tfl spokesperson told The Independent. “We apologise for the disruption caused by the power failure on the Jubilee line this morning. “Our engineers are working to resolve this issue and to restore a normal service as quickly as possible.” According to the TfL website, London buses, London Overground, Thameslink, DLR, C2C and Southeastern services will be accepting valid London Underground tickets via any reasonable routes in the meantime. When you have to jump on the slow but beautiful #thamesclipper route because the #jubilee line is utterly broken. #whataview #london pic.twitter.com/FKQE7H2Vm9 — Mark Corbett (@mwcorbett) April 26, 2018 Some passengers were stuck on trains for hours when the power failed. Khayala Eylazova‏ tweeted: “Stuck in the train for 1.30h in the tunnel this morning, standing on my heels, the worse experience I had London Underground even no single water [sic] when we came out finally underground as entire Jubilee line shut down due to power failure.” However, some Londoners looked on the positive side, using it as an opportunity to try new ways of getting around the city. Jubilee Line suspended = Emirates cable car for free ft. great London views and #antonygormley pic.twitter.com/eWRc0j2eum — Joe Gibbons #FBPE (@j_m_gibbons) April 26, 2018 “When you have to jump on the slow but beautiful thamesclipper route because the jubilee line is utterly broken. #whataview #london,” wrote Mark Corbett on Twitter.  Joe Gibbons added: “Jubilee Line suspended = Emirates cable car for free ft. great London views and Antony Gormley”. TfL has warned that that Canary Wharf will be entry only and Heron Quays will be exit only from 4.30pm due to the Jubilee Line suspension. It tweeted: “Please note, these stations are expected to be busier than usual so please use another route if you can.” 

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Having acknowledged of the Information document, pursuant to art. 23 of Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 as well as art. 58 of Italian Legislative Decree no. 206/2005 (Consumer Code), fully informed of my rights, I give my specific consent to the processing of my personal data for the purposes of sending advertising material, direct sale, market surveys, contests prize, surveys, sending of advertising material and business communications by mail, attached bill, e-mail, fax or phone.

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Having acknowledged of the Information document, pursuant to art. 23 of Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 as well as art. 58 of Italian Legislative Decree no. 206/2005 (Consumer Code), I give my specific consent to the communication of my personal data to third-parties specified in paragraph 5 of the Privacy Information.