• Do you know your Isokon from your Ernö Goldfinger? Britain's 10 best Modernist sites (11/15/2018) - Ooh, it lifts the heart, a spot of modernism: light-filled, clean lines, international, uncompromising, pure. Or does it? As the last bits of the Robin Hood Gardens Estate in Poplar fall to the wrecking ball, fans of the mid-century architects Alison and Peter Smithson are gutted – but many residents are chuffed to bits. The V&A has bought a chunk, so you’ll soon be able to judge for yourself. Meanwhile, if you love a brute of a building, or watch Poirot purely for the streamline moderne, have a look at our favourites from around the UK – and thank the lord for the Modernist Society and the Twentieth Century Society. 1. Midland Hotel, Morecambe It’s white, it’s bright and it sits on a promontory…
  • Ryanair gives passengers two weeks to comply with tighter hand luggage rules – or face £25 fee (11/15/2018) - Passengers travelling with Ryanair have until December 1 to comply with the airline’s new baggage rules or face a £25 charge. The rules were scheduled to come into force on November 1 but in the face of opposition from passengers and confusion at the gates, a leniency period was introduced. This will last until the end of the month, a Ryanair spokesperson confirmed to Telegraph Travel today. The change in the carrier’s baggage policy – the second this year – means passengers are only permitted to travel with one small bag (35cm x 20cm x 20cm) free of charge, which must be stored under the seat in front. Those who pay the priority fee (£6 per person each way) can travel with a larger bag (up to 55x40x20cm and no more than 10kg). Travellers can also choose to pay £8 to check a bag of the same size into the hold. Since its soft launch at the beginning of November thousands of passengers have been let off the £25 charge, with staff told “to take a reasonable approach while customers get used to the new rule”. At London Stansted on the November 1, passengers with baggage that should have earned them a £25 fee were told they would not have to pay this time but would next. The end of the grace period on November 30 means scores of travellers are likely to face extra charges at the gate in the run-up to Christmas. Everything you need to know about Ryanair’s new baggage rules Earlier this month Ryanair said its new policy had been a success and that fewer cabin bags had improved punctuality by 11 per cent. “We’ve received lots of positive feedback from our customers and airports across Europe… our new bag policy has reduced airport security queues and improved the boarding gate experience, with 11 per cent better punctuality, as we eliminated free gate bags and related flight delayed,” said the airline’s Kenny Jacobs. It remains to be seen how the smooth-running queues at the gate are affected by passengers who breach the rules having to pause to pay £25, while bag sizes are also likely to be scrutinised more closely. Added extra | The airlines that earn the most ancillary revenue Another problem presented by the rule change is the rise in the number of people purchasing access to the “priority” queue so that they can bring a second cabin bag for £6. On many flights “priority” boarders now make up more than half the passengers.
  • Air France passengers bound for Shanghai spent three days in Siberia (11/15/2018) - https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2018/11/15/15/airfranceb777-3001.jpg Hundreds of Air France passengers who had boarded a flight to Shanghai ended up spending three days in Siberia – under “hotel arrest” because they had no visas. Their ordeal began seven hours after flight AF116 took off from Paris Charles de Gaulle late on Saturday night, 10 November. The Boeing 777 aircraft with 282 passengers and 16 crew had just crossed from Russian airspace into Mongolia at a height of 32,000 feet. It was on course for an on-time arrival in Shanghai three hours later. Watch more But flight attendants in the crew rest area above the economy cabin reported smoke, and a smoke detector in the aft galley was activated. The captain decided to divert to the nearest major airport, Irkustk, which was about 180 miles north. The aircraft landed safely half an hour later. While Irkustk is an international airport, its only flights to foreign destinations are to former Soviet republics such as Kyrgyzstan and holiday charters to Thailand. The airport is not set up to process almost 300 new arrivals, almost all of whom were ineligible for admission to Russia because they needed visas. Air France said: “As soon as possible, customers were assisted and provided with accommodation in two hotels designated by the local authorities.” A team from the French airline’s Moscow base was dispatched to Irkutsk to help out. As is common with many “fume events” on aircraft, it was impossible swiftly to identify and fix the fault. The initial “re-routing solution” proposed by Air France involved sending a replacement Boeing 777 to Irkutsk – which itself “went technical”.  The Air France statement said: “Due to the impossibility of completing the repair work within a short timeframe, a second B777 was sent to Irkutsk. “At the airport, this second aircraft also experienced a technical incident making the flight from Irkutsk to Shanghai impossible to operate.” By now the passengers had endured two days in sub-zero temperatures, and were unable to stray from their hotels. A third 777 was sent from Paris, and finally took the passengers on the final three-and-a-half-hour leg to Shanghai. They arrived in the Chinese city 68 hours behind schedule. Air France said: “The company’s commercial department has contacted the customers concerned to propose suitable commercial measures.” Passengers were handed letters signed by Ben Smith, the new director general of Air France, offering a flight voucher for €800 (£700). European air passengers’ rights rules stipulate compensation for long-haul flights that are significantly delayed – unless the airline can claim “extraordinary circumstances”. Air France is likely to contend that the initial diversion was caused by “unexpected flight-safety shortcomings”, and decline compensation. But the cancellation of the second flight may trigger claims for €600 (£530) in cash. Passengers waiting in Shanghai for the original flight to return to Paris are also likely to qualify for compensation. While in Irkutsk, it appears that the flight crew were not confined to their hotels. One of the stranded travellers, Kevin Ohayoun, from the southern French city of Montpellier, tweeted: “While the passengers had their passports confiscated and were ‘sequestered’ in the hotel, the crew took the opportunity to go to a little restaurant in town.” Passengers who happened to have passports from former Soviet republics, as well as a number of Latin American nationals and citizens of Nauru, were eligible to enter Russia officially without a visa. They could enjoy the handsome facades in central Irkutsk and the precarious wooden houses in the backstreets, as well ask some impressive churches. Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds Irkutsk first developed as a trading post where silk from China was exchanged for mammoth tusks from the Arctic. In December 1825, a group of Russian aristocrats who protested against the autocratic rule of the tsar were exiled to Siberia, and some of them settled and built grand mansions in Irkutsk. Today the city is a popular stop along the Trans-Siberian Railway, giving access to Lake Baikal – the world’s deepest body of fresh water. How much hand baggage can you take on a Ryanair flight? Where should you be travelling in 2019? Can you claim compensation for a delayed flight? Travel expert Simon Calder will be answering all your questions at our upcoming event, Ask Simon Calder. Register your place today by logging into Independent Minds
  • The Big Picture photography competition: round 494 (11/15/2018) - We’ve noticed you’re adblocking. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Thank you for your support.
  • How did the first mother in space become godmother to a cruise ship? (11/15/2018) - What’s the most surreal experience you have ever had? Curiously, for Anna Fisher – one of NASA’s first six female astronauts and famously the first mother to go into space – becoming godmother to the cruise ship Viking Orion sails away with the title. Fisher is not what you may expect from a legendary, space-travelling trailblazer. She may have rocketed above the earth but her feet are firmly on the ground. “It’s so unexpected,” she told me on the ship’s maiden voyage this summer from Rome to Barcelona. Fisher never expected to travel into space either. She only ever told one person about her dream of becoming an astronaut. Her schoolfriends had no idea, but she remembers clearly that the realisation came when she was 12 years old, in year seven. Her father was in the military and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. On May 5, 1961, instead of taking part in PE that morning at school, she crowded around her friend’s crackling transistor radio listening to astronaut Alan Shepard’s first sub-orbital launch. Shepard was the first American in space. A decade later he walked on the moon. “A female astronaut wasn’t a possibility at the time,” says Fisher, “but I wanted to do it.”  Alan B. Shepard Jr (centre), pictured in December, 1970, was the first American in Space Credit: NASA/JSC She retired from NASA in 2017 after a 39-year career during which she logged 192 spaceflight hours.  Her vision for retirement was “getting up in the morning, going to the gym to work out and doing a trip every two or three months”. Yet she has been on the road continuously since she was asked to be godmother of Viking Orion. While she was busy winding up three decades of work at NASA, Fisher’s friends – Vicky Thomas, Sara Favazza and Hal Mickelson – coaxed her into celebrating her retirement with a Viking river cruise. “Without my friends pushing me to take the time to get away and making all the arrangements, it probably would not have happened,” she smiles.  The Discovery crew, including Fisher, celebrating a successful mission Credit: NASA/JSC They decided to sail on Viking’s Rhine Getaway itinerary from Amsterdam to Basel in July 2017. The friends threw a retirement party for Fisher halfway through the serendipitous trip, which led to cruise director Nick Hale discovering she was on board and posting a picture on Facebook. After the cruise, there followed a phone conversation with Karine Hagen, senior vice president of Viking and daughter of founder and chairman Torstein Hagen, who asked her if she would consider becoming a ship’s godmother.  There followed a whirlwind series of events – from the first cruise on previous new ship Viking Sun to Orion’s float-out ceremony in September – as well as sessions of brainstorming for the 930-passenger ship’s name. Passengers become budding space boffins in Viking Orion’s Planetarium Credit: Viking “They wanted a space theme,” Fisher recalls. “I thought, ‘Wait a minute, Orion is a constellation, very important in navigation pointing to the North Star, and my last job at NASA was working on the Orion capsule.’” She was also considering Discovery, the name of the space shuttle that took her into space on November 8, 1984, when her daughter was nine months old.  In the end, however, they went with Orion. “The next thing I knew, I was aboard Viking Sun, and when we pulled up into Port Ancona there was this big beautiful ship called Orion,” she laughed. “It was amazing, a real experience.” Fisher’s first and only previous experience of cruising had been years before, on a Caribbean cruise with her daughters. “It was a fun thing to do as a family: they had all these programmes to entertain the girls, but I didn’t really want to be away from them, I wanted to spend time with them.” Dr Fisher kitted out at The Hubble Space Station Credit: NASA/MSFC When she was working for NASA, Fisher took leave from 1988 to 1996 to look after her daughters Kristin and Kara. Afterwards she never went back into space, focusing on training and procedures for the International Space Station instead. Ever the explorer, she is highly enthusiastic about the idea of space tourism and is deadly serious when she describes the globally cohesive effect she believes it could have. “If more people had the opportunity to go into space and see the earth from that vantage point, they may stop thinking of themselves as being from this or that country, and slowly start feeling like they’re from this planet,” she says. Yet she is quick to underline that the effects of travelling on a spacecraft are rather more dramatic than those of boarding a plane. Viking Orion at sea Credit: Lexie Boezeman Cataldo In Joy Photography “It’s not like riding a commercial aircraft; your first moments in space are not always your best,” she says, adding that many people throw up and that she wasn’t well until day three. “You’re at 3Gs for the last two minutes or so,” she says, “but then the engines shut off and ‘boof’, you’re weightless – I mean that fast, I could feel the blood rushing about.”  As the flight engineer, it was Fisher’s job to watch the engine lights in case of failure during the eight-and-a-half-minute journey from lift off to space. Ann Fisher and the other astronauts who joined discover with the mission’s mascot Credit: NASA/JSC “I didn’t not want to see one of those go red, I wanted to come back to my daughter,” she says. “If anyone tells you it’s not scary then they are lying to you,” she admits. “But you have to kind of make your peace with what’s going to happen.”
  • The best cruises for stargazers (11/15/2018) - Don’t know your Ursa Major from your Ursa Minor? A cruise can be a fantastic way to learn more about the solar system (while also visiting some amazing destinations) – whether you’re an astronomy novice or a constellation expert. Plus, observing the night sky is much easier when you’re on a cruise ship – out at sea, far away from artificial light. The best bit? A number of cruise lines are now offering dedicated astronomy sailings, too. The Canary Islands Stargazers who head to the Canary Islands have the trade winds breezes (and the temperature inversion they generate) to thank for the spectacular night skies – the prevent clouds from forming. The presence of three official Starlight Reserves on the islands ensures the clarity of the night sky remains protected by laws relating to light, atmospheric and radio wave pollution, as well as flight patterns. The best views are from the water, where’s there’s even less light pollution. On Royal Caribbean’s 14-night Canaries Adventure the two nights you’ll spend sailing from Cádiz to the Canary Islands will be a fantastic opportunity for some constellation spotting. Stop-offs include Tenerife’s Teide National Park, a designated Starlight destination. A 14-night Canaries Adventure cruise with Royal Caribbean sails from Southampton. From £1,399pp, departing June 29, 2019 (0844 493 4005; royalcaribbean.co.uk). The terrain of Teide National Park adds drama to the clear night skies Credit: iStock Africa Lake Kariba, on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, is the world’s largest manmade lake and one of Africa’s best stargazing destinations, thanks to the lack of light pollution. A cruise on Lake Kariba is one of many highlights of CroisiEurope’s Southern Africa: Travel to the Ends of the Earth cruise, which has plenty for landlubbers too, including a safari in the wonderfully remote Matusadona National Park. Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro cruise includes stop-offs in Namibia, home to Africa’s First International Dark Sky Reserve. Namibia is also one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries, which means minimal light pollution. The views of the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds are particularly spectacular. A nine-day Southern Africa: Travel to the Ends of the Earth cruise with CroisiEurope begins in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 8, 2019. From £4,469pp (0208 328 1281; croisieurope.co.uk). A 14-night Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro cruise with Regent includes two days in Namibia. From £5,239pp, departing January 6, 2019 (02380 682 280; rssc.com). There are dramatic skies above Lake Kariba Credit: iStock Antarctica The cold, dry air above Antarctica is so still that the light from distant stars is disrupted far less than anywhere else on the planet. It’s also far away from urban light, heat and smog. Mundy Adventures’ 20-day solar eclipse cruise gives you plenty of time for star-spotting. The highlight is the opportunity to witness the total solar eclipse on December 4, 2021. You’ll watch it from a remote spot in the Scotia Sea, as part of a voyage, which includes visits to the Falkland Islands. National Geographic Expeditions’ Journey to Antarctica cruises are another option – opt for the one that departs December 9 or 19, 2019 and you’ll be joined by photographer and film maker Nick Cobbing, who’ll help you perfect your photos of the night sky. The 20-day Polar Solar Eclipse cruise with Mundy Adventures (operated by Oceanwide Expeditions) sails from Ushuaia, Argentina. From £16,735pp, departing November 25, 2021 (020 7399 7630; mundyadventures.co.uk). A 14-day Journey to Antarctica cruise with National Geographic Expeditions will be joined by Nick Cobbing. From £12, 640, departing December 19, 2019 (nationalgeographic.com/expeditions). The world’s best stargazing locations The Atlantic It doesn’t get more remote than the middle of the Atlantic, thousands of miles from artificial light. If you’re planning on combining a transatlantic crossing with some stargazing, heed these tips: areas forward of the bridge will usually be the darkest spots (although modern ships are less likely to have public areas here); avoid areas near brightly-lit stairwells; think about wind direction – you don’t want smoke from the stacks clouding your view. One of the best opportunities for some transatlantic stargazing is on Cunard’s Queen Mary (QM2). You can head to the on board planetarium to brush up on your knowledge of the solar system and sign up for lessons in celestial navigation. A seven-night westbound transatlantic crossing on the QM2 with Cunard sails from Southampton. From £1,065pp, departing April 14, 2019 (0344 338 8650; cunard.co.uk). Hurtigruten offers a replacement voyage if you don’t see the Northern Lights on your cruise The Arctic Some of the night sky’s most exciting phenomenons are best admired from inside the Arctic Circle. In winter, icy temperatures and near-constant darkness create the perfect conditions, although certain constellations can be seen year round. These so-called circumpolar constellations include the North Star. Seasonal constellations visible from the Arctic Circle include Cancer, or the crab, best viewed in early spring, and Pegasus and Andromeda in autumn. To gain a deeper understanding of Arctic astronomy, book a place on Hurtigruten’s Astronomy Voyage, during which you’ll visit the Northern Lights Planetarium in Tromsø and cross into the Arctic Circle. A 12-day Astronomy Voyage with Hurtigruten sails from Bergen, Norway. From £1,610pp, departing November 20, 2019 (02031 316 309; hurtigruten.co.uk). You could enjoy the skies in the Dark Sky Reserve areas of Milford Sound Credit: iStock Australasia The southern sky has three of the brightest stars (Sirius, Canopus, and Alpha Centauri) and fantastic stargazing opportunities, including breathtaking views of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds – galaxies too far south to see from the northern hemisphere. Visit New Zealand – or the waters around it – and you can stare directly up into the Milky Way. Princess Cruises’ 20-day Australian Outback tour includes a 14-day cruise and a six-day land tour. On the latter, you’ll visit Ayers Rock to admire the beauty of Australia’s star-filled southern skies.  Short on time? Consider Royal Caribbean’s New Zealand cruise, which visits New Zealand’s Milford Sound, a fjord in the South Island […]
  • Malta's out, Dubai's in – how Britain's favourite holiday destinations have changed in the last 20 years (11/15/2018) - It’s easy to take for granted just how affordable travel has become. We can fly to Europe for as little as £10 (so long as you’re willing to pack light), or to New York for less than £150, but back in the 1950s a one-way ticket across the Atlantic with TWA could cost in excess of £5,000 in today’s money. Even as recently as the early 1980s airfares from London to New York were three or four times more expensive than they currently are, making regular holidays a luxury for the few. This fact is illustrated by ONS data. Since 1961, the International Passenger Survey has collected information about those leaving and entering the UK to produce a snapshot of how many Britons are travelling abroad each…
  • Flybe: everything you need to know about the ailing airline (11/15/2018) - https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2018/06/13/23/flybe.jpg Seven thousand pounds an hour: that, I calculate, is the money Flybe is expecting to lose between now and April. Europe’s biggest regional airline has put itself up for sale, and is talking to possible buyers as it struggles to limit its losses. Flybe also says it’s also reviewing other “strategic options” to turn around its fortunes. The chief executive, Christine Ourmières-Widener, said: “There has been a recent softening in growth in the short-haul market, as well as continued headwinds from higher fuel and currency costs. “We are responding to this by reviewing every aspect of our business.” For staff at the Exeter-based airline, these are difficult and very stressful times. But what about the implications for passengers, present and future? Many travellers have contacted The Independent about Flybe, and these are the key questions. Read more What has gone wrong for Flybe? How long have you got? There have been some serious management blunders over the years. In September 2017, Flybe decided to take on the Scottish airline, Loganair, on key links to the Northern and Western Isles. By the time Flybe threw in the towel in February 2018, both airlines had lost millions. Before that, a failed IT systems upgrade cost Flybe millions more. The carrier is also suffering from Brexit uncertainty, which is damaging consumer and business confidence and weakening the pound. Flybe earns revenue mainly in sterling. Flybe, though, has two fundamental problems. First, it is competing for passengers with Europe’s two budget giants, easyJet and Ryanair. Once Flybe has built up a link to a sizeable scale, then a bigger airline with lower costs moves in and takes all the market.  So routes which should be a natural for a regional airline like Flybe, such as Glasgow or Edinburgh to Bristol, have now been taken over by easyJet.  The other curse is Air Passenger Duty, which damages Flybe more than any other airline because it is levied on both legs of a domestic round trip. A far higher proportion of Flybe travellers are on such journeys. On an Aberdeen-Southampton flight costing £64 return, two-fifths goes straight to the chancellor in tax. That doesn’t leave much for aircraft leases, fuel and crew. And on routes such as Manchester-Glasgow, even with fares as low as £37, rail tickets are cheaper. So who might be in the market for an airline like Flybe? IAG, the holding company of British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia, is acquisitive. Even though BA got rid of all its regional flights, ironically to Flybe, in 2006, it may regard Flybe’s portfolio of airport slots at airports such as Heathrow, London City and perhaps Edinburgh as attractive, as well as the opportunity to feed hubs, notably Dublin. Stobart Aviation, which runs its own little airline in Flybe colours, may be a buyer at the right price. It has a lot to lose if Flybe were to close down, because it relies on the airline’s booking system. It is very unlikely, though not impossible, that either easyJet or Ryanair is looking at Flybe as a way of acquiring a busy route network (and removing a competitor), with plans to stem losses by integrating Flybe into its wider operations.  There could be a European suitor, though uncertainty about airline ownership rules after Brexit makes it unlikely. But whoever buys it will need to pump in many tens of millions of pounds to prop up the airline. If a sale goes through – what will it mean for travellers? Initially there will be no changes – Flybe stresses that operations continue as normal. You will still be able to fly to and from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast City, Manchester, East Midlands, Birmingham, Bristol, Southampton and Exeter, as well as many other UK destinations. The chief executive, Christine Ourmières-Widener, said: “We remain confident in the vital role that Flybe plays in UK connectivity.” The network of Channel Islands and near-Continent destinations will also continue.  But airports such as Cardiff and Norwich, which are heavily dependent on Flybe but are outside its central core, must be concerned. They have intense competition from nearby airports, Bristol and Stansted respectively. Longer term, some links to London City and Heathrow might be at risk because of the value of slots; within three years Flybe is likely to be able to dispose of some slot holdings at Heathrow awarded to it for competitive reasons. But I imagine any buyer will be keen to preserve the profitable core of north-south routes. Glasgow to Exeter in 90 minutes is always going to be attractive to anyone in a hurry to reach Devon – the rail journey takes eight hours. I have a Flybe booking for next summer. Is it safe? I would be surprised if every Flybe flight that is currently on sale for the summer of 2019 actually takes off. I think it unlikely that the airline will cease to exist – the fact that several potential suitors are talking indicates it has value – but the current route network is an odd shape. The central core of routes is likely to endure, because it is an efficient and coherent network. The Channel Islands services should mostly also look the same. But a route such as Doncaster-Sheffield to Alicante, operating three days a week, looks an outlier.  That wouldn’t stop me booking a ticket, as using a credit card ensures there will be no financial loss. But using flights from those airports I would be cautious about committing to other travel purchases, such as car rental or accommodation, until nearer the time. Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds If no buyer is found – can Flybe survive? The airline says finding a buyer is only one of its options; cutting costs and continuing to shrink the fleet, and creative ways of generating cash are also on the menu. The airline stresses there’s no threat to flights that have already been bought, though not everyone in the airline industry agrees. Ironically in its half-year […]
  • Shanghai's newest luxury hotel – built into the side of a quarry (11/15/2018) - We’ve noticed you’re adblocking. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Thank you for your support.
  • ‘Overtourism’ shortlisted as Word of the Year following Telegraph Travel recommendation (11/15/2018) - The Oxford Dictionary has named ‘overtourism’ as one of its 2018 Words of the Year, following an ongoing campaign from the Telegraph Travel for the word to be recognised in its annual list. Oxford’s Word of the Year selection includes words or expressions that have “attracted a great deal of interest over the last 12 months”. The top spot this year goes to ‘toxic’, while the shortlist includes words such as ‘orbiting’, ‘gaslighting’, ‘techlash’ and ‘gammon’ alongside ‘overtourism’. Earlier this year, Telegraph Travel wrote an open letter to Oxford and Collins dictionaries explaining why ‘overtourism’ should be their 2018 Word of the Year. The term is used to describe the negative effects of tourism,…

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