Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 25.07.2012

In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel

Security probe launched as boy, 11, sneaks onto Rome jet without ticket or passport

The Telegraph

Eleven-year-old boy manages to board a flight on his own from Manchester to Rome without a passport, ticket or boarding pass. Several staff from airline Jet2 have been suspended as he returned home last night.

Airport officials have launched an urgent investigation after an 11-year-old boy took a flight to Rome on his own from Manchester Airport without a passport or boarding pass.

Liam Corcoran passed through security without being checked, before making his way on to the flight yesterday.

Staff have been suspended over the incident, in which Liam evaded five security checks to board the flight.

An investigation has been launched and the incident has prompted concerns from the highest levels of government.

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “This extremely serious matter is now being urgently investigated by officials from the airport and airline. It is clear that documentation has not been checked correctly at security and the boarding gate.

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Down and dirty on the Wadden Sea

Toronto Sun

Visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site doesn’t usually involve removing your shoes and walking in mud, unless you happen to be at the Wadden Sea. Walking barefoot on the tidal flats and exploring a marine world that is otherwise hidden, is the thing to do. This is, afterall, the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world, and much of it is largely undisturbed.

The portion of the Wadden Sea which borders the Netherlands and Germany was put on the heritage list in 2009, and is home to 10,000 species of plants and animals ranging from diatoms (unicellular, microscopic algae that live in the water and on the mudflats) to seals. Of these, many are rare or endangered. Covering an area of almost 10,000 sq.-km along a coastal strip about 400 km long, my recent visit centred on one particularly diverse and rich portion in Cuxhaven.


At the UNESCO Wadden Sea world heritage site visitor centre, marine biologist Heike Niemann, holds up a map of the region and tells us about some of the species found there, such as the oyster-catcher, which breeds in dunes and salt meadows.

“The area is so rich, that animals don’t have to look for food,” Niemann says. “It’s like one large restaurant. It’s all there, they just take it.”

After storing our shoes in lockers, and donning light jackets on this windy day, we walk barefoot toward the sea, stopping at the all-important tidal chart at the entrance to a gorgeous long and wide sandy beach (reason alone to visit). You don’t want to get caught too far out when the tide begins rolling in, otherwise you’ll be forced to climb up the nearest lifesaving tower and wait to be rescued.

Walking on the cool, sometimes rippled, tidal flats feels a bit like a reflexology treatment for the feet. And the nutrients in the sea floor, Niemann assures me, offer some additional spa-like benefits too.

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London 2012: last-ditch high court bid to halt Heathrow strike

The Guardian

Home secretary, Theresa May, describes threat of action by staff and civil servants at UK Border Agency as ‘opportunistic’.

Home Office ministers are to seek a last minute high court injunction to block a 24-hour strike by UK Border Agency staff and civil servants hitting Heathrow airport on the eve of the Olympics.

The Home Office will on Wednesday ask the high court to ban the strike, which is due to take place on Thursday, on the grounds there was a “procedural error” in the ballot conducted by the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS).

“We want the PCS leadership to call off this irresponsible strike and we continue to ask members not to walk out at a time when the eyes of the world are on the UK,” said a Home Office spokesman.

The move follows a letter to the union by the home secretary, Theresa May, describing the planned walkout as “opportunist and wholly unjustified”.

The union said its preference was for ministers to sit down and talk to them but added: “It is our intention to robustly defend any legal challenge … there are serious issues at the heart of this dispute.”

The union has called for a programme of industrial action across the Home Office and its agencies running into the autumn, in a dispute over redundancies, 8,500 job cuts and a two-year pay freeze.

The 24-hour industrial action could disrupt immigration and customs services at Heathrow but is likely to have a limited impact on passport control at the airports, as the Immigration Services Union, which represents some UK Border Force staff, is not taking part. Speaking before the Home Office announcement, the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said the government had plans in place to ensure any strike would not cause mass disruption. “The vast majority of immigration officers would not want to be associated with a strike on their busiest day,” he said.

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Can the ‘cyber butler’ make hotel stays more enjoyable?

Have you ever been disappointed by the service at your hotel?

Well now Australian hotel guests can skip the normal modes of hotel service and customise everything from what food and drinks are waiting for them in their rooms, to what time they want to be woken up, all via their mobile phones.

It’s made possible by using the Stamford Hotel’s new iGuest app, which was designed based on feedback from hotel visitors with the ultimate goal of saving travellers’ time.

Guests will be able to complete a variety of functions via their phones including listening to voice messages, tracking their bill and setting the do not disturb option.

Other benefits include instant access to flight arrival and departure times, contact numbers for airlines and embassies as well as details for attractions, transportation and local restaurants.

The iGuest app is available for free download from the Apple App store of the hotel’s website.

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