Planes, trains and automobiles! We’ve got it all in this week’s news roundup.

Traveling around the UK over a bank holiday weekend can lead to major delays on public transportation, warns Pam Kent of the IHT Globespotters Blog. In a recent post (inspired by tomorrow’s holiday), she notes,

Network Rail, the government body that looks after the rail network, tries to schedule engineering work on weekends, particularly those with a public holiday tagged on. That may be a plus for business travellers and commuters. But if you want to get away on a public holiday weekend, beware!: . . . [this weekend] major road and rail disruptions are expected, including the complete closure of the main railway line north out of London, between Euston and Birmingham. There are alternative routes to destinations on this stretch but they are not as direct. 20 per cent of the network will be undergoing improvement – in many cases replacement bus services are laid on for the stretches that are closed – but these lengthen the journey time considerably.

It’s always a good idea to find the transportation authority websites of your destinations before you travel and note (or bookmark) the section on delays, construction and strike warnings.

Greyhound has announced a new service in the vein of other low-cost bus services called NeOn, connecting Toronto and New York twice daily. A limited number of seats on each 10-hour ride (ugh!) are available for the low, low price of $1. The good news: like BoltBus, the buses are equipped with WiFi and each seat has its own outlet to power laptops and portable DVD players. Even more good news: in celebration of its launch, all seats from May 29 through June 1 will sell for just $1.

If you’re planning to book, here’s the salient pricing info: maximum round-trip (refundable) fare is $165 (excepting holiday periods, when the maximum fare rises to $192). 1-day advance purchase will net you $150, 2-day $120, 3-day $90, 4-day $50, 5-day $30, 6-day $2 round trip. However, discounted fares are strictly limited, with no more than 5 seats each (searching shows max. 3 at $2 and $30 and max. 4 at $50 and $90) at the lowest four levels. It pays to book these tickets early! $1 tickets are now available for itineraries till September; check the booking website directly for more details.

Thanks to This Just In for the tip!

Finally, unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard the news that American Airlines will begin charging passengers for all checked luggage. This follows the announcement in February of $25 fees for the second piece of checked luggage, a move which quickly became standard across U.S. legacy carriers. Price for the first piece of checked baggage on all American flights after 15 June is $15. Interestingly, there’s still no mention of the change on the airline’s luggage FAQs. While this is standard fare among low-cost carriers in Europe (a checked bag on RyanAir currently costs the equivalent of $21, including the necessary airport check-in fee), the public is likely to react negatively to perceived nickel-and-diming by major (read: expensive) airlines. Here’s hoping the rest of the industry doesn’t follow suit this time . . . In the meanwhile, keep honing your carry-on packing skills, just in case.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rob in Madrid 05.25.08 at 9:19 pm

I run into a lot of Americans and two things shock them when they move to Europe. One how expensive everything is (usually dollars to Euros straight across) and secondly how ridiculously cheap flights are here.

Ever heard of a flight from NY to CA for a buck?

I don’t know why but flying around Europe is super cheap.

2 Rob in Madrid 05.25.08 at 9:37 pm

As well I’ve got a good RyanAir customer service story. Recently I booked a flight Madrid – East Midlands, web check-in but after reading your warnings about Ryanair Online Check-in I decided since I’m not EU (have residency permit but not a passport) so I booked another ticket, same flight. (first ticket 19€ second ticket 27€.

Anyways my plans changed and I decided not to go. Tickets aren’t refundable so I figured I’d try and recover the airport check-in fee afterwards.

Well a few days before my flight I got a call from Ryanair customer service, in ENGLISH of all things you have no idea how hard it is to find Spanish who will speak English over the phone, telling me I had double booked a flight and so they were going to cancel the second ticket and refund the money!


Can’t complain.

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