NEWS: FCDO changes for Maldives & more countries, Heathrow delays drop-off charge, Bali opening to UK?

Maldives

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FCDO changes for Maldives & more

Although the Maldives came off the red list at the last review the FCDO had maintained its red list status meaning that for most people, they still would not travel as they could not get travel insurance.

The good news is that as of today the FCDO has removed the warning against all but essential travel for the Maldives as well as Sri Lanka and Egypt. 

From next Monday 4 October the new travel rules come into effect meaning that you will no longer require a test to come home either,  with day 2 tests expected to be reduced to lateral flow tests by the end of October. 

You can find the latest Maldives hotel offers here and entry requirements and more hotel offers here. 

 

Heathrow delays unpopular drop off charge

Heathrow recently announced that it would introduce a £5 drop-off charge for dropping passengers at the terminal which it claims is to save the environment. Obviously, this is utter nonsense and just a way to get back some of the money it lost. Early morning flights are not served by public transport leaving no alternative than to pay the fee or drop off at the long-term parking where there is a free bus to the terminal (not sure that option saves the environment any more than dropping someone off!). 

If you read the comments on their Facebook announcement you can see that the charge is universally unpopular with passengers. My view is that if they really wanted to help passengers they would have better rail connections. From where I live I would have to take a bus, a train and a coach to get to Heathrow currently. Who has time for that? Plus if it was an early flight there probably would be no service!

Yesterday Heathrow announced that they will delay the introduction until 1 November.  Drivers will be charged a £5 flat-fee per visit to the terminal drop-off zones. Heathrow say it has introduced this charge to “enable the airport to continue to invest in surface access projects to help reduce road congestion.” And that “The charge will bring Heathrow in line with all other major UK airports that already have similar schemes in place.” To be fair this is true and some airport charge even more such as Standsted that charge a ridiculous £7. 

The Terminal Drop-Off Charge will be managed through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems – similar to those used for the London Congestion Charge and Dart Charge – and will apply to all vehicles using Heathrow’s terminal drop-off facilities. Blue Badge holders will be eligible for a 100% discount. Passengers will have the option to pay the £5 charge in advance, or by midnight the day after making the drop-off. Payments can only be made by card, either online or by an automated telephone service.

Heathrow Director of Surface Access, Tony Caccavone, said: “COVID-19 has devastated the aviation industry and our recovery remains stunted by on-going travel restrictions. With passenger numbers still over 70% down on pre-pandemic figures, this charge, first proposed last year, will help us protect the business financially, whilst preventing a car-led recovery and ensuring we remain on course for our long-term goals of providing sustainable and affordable transport options as passenger demand returns.”

Chair of independent Heathrow Area Transport Forum and Former London Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross said: “The pandemic continues to have a significant impact on Heathrow and this charge will help to prevent a car-led recovery and contribute towards new sustainable transport initiatives. Measures to encourage passengers into public transport are key to the airport’s long-term sustainability as it seeks to ‘build back better’. I look forward to working with Heathrow on these future initiatives as the airport recovers from the devastating impact of COVID-19. “

More information on the charge can be found here – www.heathrow.com/dropoff   

 

Bali opening to UK?

Bali

Last week I wrote about how Indonesia was looking to follow Thailand and Vietnam in opening prime tourist islands as a pilot scheme. The island in question included Bali and Bintan. At the time the authorities said that they would be looking for low risk “trusted” countries to create corridors with, but it was not known which countries were in the running. 

According to local paper The Bali Sun, the list if countries being considered is Germany, Russia, The United States, and United Kingdom. I’m not quite sure of the logic of these since the UK and USA have pretty high rates of Covid.

Bali’s Vice Governor, confirmed that the provincial government has begun its preparation for international visitors to , including choosing several countries that will be welcomed to visit the island once the border reopens in the near future.

“We have selected multiple countries such as Russia, America, Germany and England to start implementing the travel bubble program based on their length of stay in Bali. And visitors from those countries usually spend around 2 weeks on the island.” Cok Ace said on Monday. 

Bali is expected to open next month, but as usual I’d take it with a pinch of salt until we see it officially confirmed.

HT: GSTP

 

6 Comments on "NEWS: FCDO changes for Maldives & more countries, Heathrow delays drop-off charge, Bali opening to UK?"

  1. Airport drop off charges. Their comments that it is for eco purposes is just ridiculous, they must think people are stupid. That is now virtually every airport on the UK that charges a drop off or pick up fee, just plain greed, or should that be ‘plane’ greed.
    I am sure someone will correct me, but I am currently in an EU country, and I don’t know of any which charge a drop off fee. Oh, and there are no food or fuel shortages here, no surprise as some of us guessed what would happen after Brexit.

    • this is not a political axe grinding site. Brexit has nothing to do with the media causing panic buying of petrol. The HGV driver crisis has been an issue for over 20 years, well before the conservatives were in power. Lets all just stick to flight information please.

  2. The article on Heathrow drop off charges does not make it clear if they apply to cars using the meet and greet service.

    Do the charges apply to such “drop offs”?

    • All the companies I use for meet and greet use the short term car park most of the time and I believe have to pay for that already. If there are some currently using the actual drop off zone, then they will either have to pay or use the short term car park. It could well get passed on to customers if they weren’t using the car park before.

  3. “According to local paper The Bali Sun, the list if countries being considered is Germany, Russia, The United States, and United Kingdom. I’m not quite sure of the logic of these since the UK and USA have pretty high rates of Covid”

    The answer is money. These countries have enough high spending tourists to make this trail financially viable.

  4. Let’s not forget that you can always drop people off or get dropped off at the long stay car park for free – this is more of a convenience charge.

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