Travel Alerts

ESTA Application

U.S Customs and Border Protection have advised that changes in ESTA application processing,  results in real time approvals no longer being available.

International travellers using the Electronic System for authorisation for travel to the United States should apply as soon as possible but not less than 72 hours before their international flight is scheduled to depart. Failing to do so may result in denied boarding.

Those not eligible to use the visa wavier program will need to process a visa before travel.

For more information https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta

London Gatwick Airport Closure

Gatwick Airport remains closed this morning following reports of drones flying near the airport. We are checking the impact on any of our travellers, and will contact those affected.

Eurostar Cancellations – December 2018

There have been a number of cancellations to Eurostar services in December and over the Christmas/New Year period. The cancelled trains include:

16 December –   9112, 9145
21 December –   9021
22 December –   9013, 9060, 9129, 9136
23 December –   9021, 9030
28 December –   9021
29 December –   9013, 9060, 9129, 9136
01 January     –   9021, 9030, 9112, 9133, 9136

Customers can apply for a full refund or free exchange within 60 days.
We will contact our travellers affected by these cancellations.

Potential Strikes Air New Zealand & Virgin Atlantic – December 2018

Air New Zealand engineers have scheduled strike action on 21 December which would result in flight cancellations. Negotiations are taking place to try and avert this.

Meanwhile some Virgin Atlantic pilots have proposed strike action from 22 December until Christmas Day in a dispute over benefits. Virgin Atlantic has said that it does not expect disruption to its schedule. We will monitor this.

US Northeast Flight Disruptions – 16 November

The major storm hitting the US Northeast continues to cause travel disruption with flight cancellations and delays throughout the day. Most airlines have commercial policies in place to assist travellers to amend their travel plans and we are monitoring the situation.

Changes to Istanbul Airport

From 1st January 2019 flights including British Airways, will operate from the new International Airport in Istanbul located in Arnavutkoy, approximately 35km from the city. The old Ataturk Airport will close for scheduled services from 31st December 2018 and in readiness for this the Turkish authorities are restricting flights on 30th and 31st December, resulting in some cancellations. British Airways have cancelled the following:

29 Dec – BA680  | 30 Dec – BA676, BA675, BA677 | 31 Dec – BA676, BA680, BA677 | 01 Jan – BA675

There are commercial policies in place for customers and we will contact any affected travellers.

China Visa Applicants Must Provide Fingerprints from November 12, 2018

China Visa Applicants Must Provide Fingerprints
Beginning on Monday, November 12th, all Chinese visa applicants in the UK will need to provide fingerprints in person at a Visa Application Service Centre in London, Manchester, or Edinburgh.

We are here to help. We know our customers seek fast, compliant, and convenient visa processing. Together with our via partners, CIBT, we are pleased to offer a bespoke service that offers customized processing and peace of mind to fulfill this new requirement. Through their strong relationship with the China Visa Application Service Centre, CIBT is pleased to offer dedicated and personalized appointments. This enhanced offering will deliver strong value to travellers allowing them to conveniently and quickly obtain a visa to China. 
 
How Will It Work?
Starting November 12th, applicants for China visas should visit this website to obtain the most up to date instructions and forms. After completing the forms and gathering the required documents, the traveller should submit them to our office. Upon receipt, CIBT will contact the traveller to book an appointment for a fingerprint submission at a Visa Application Centre in London, Manchester, or Edinburgh. At the Visa Application Centre, a CIBT team member will meet the traveller and guide them through the process. Because all our appointments are pre-scheduled travellers will be in and out as quickly as possible. Once fingerprints are provided, the application is complete and will be submitted to the consulate for review. Once the visa is issued, CIBT will deliver it as we have before.

CIBT’s China visa service includes use of standard appointment times which are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. We also have expedited appointment times for those travellers in a hurry. The processing time for Chinese visas are unchanged once the fingerprints have been collected.

Strike Action on London Underground Lines

Strike action is expected on the Central and Waterloo & City lines of London Underground network tomorrow, 7 November. If this goes ahead as planned, there will be very limited or no service throughout the day, with normal services resuming on Thursday 8 November.

A separate strike on the Piccadilly line, originally planned for Wednesday 7 November and Thursday 8 November, has been suspended.

Roads will be busier than usual and disruptions are expected throughout London during the strike.

Potential disruption at Gatwick in November and December

Gatwick Airport workers who aid passengers and disabled travellers will take part in three 48-hour strikes for a total of six days starting at 05:00 a.m. (local time) each on 20 November, 26 November, and 21 December. Flights could be affected. If the strike proceeds as scheduled and is followed by enough workers, air traffic disruptions are to be expected. Before and after official strike hours, disruptions are also possible due to organisational reasons.

Passenger Data Security Breach at Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific have release a statement, announcing a data security event affecting passenger data.

We are working with Cathay to see if any of our travellers are affected booking via a TMC, however initial findings suggest that this data breach is limited to .com direct bookings on the Cathay Pacific website.

Official Cathay Pacific Announcement (dated 25 October 2018):

We are writing to inform you about the data security event affecting passenger data due to unauthorized access to some of Cathay Pacific’s information systems containing passenger data. On behalf of the airline, we would like to apologize for any concern that this may cause to our valued customers.

The safety and security of our passengers remains our top priority, and as such, we would like to reassure everyone that upon discovery the company took immediate action to investigate and contain the event. The IT systems affected are totally separate from its flight operations systems, and hence there is no impact to flight safety.

In an abundance of caution, we have taken the decision to notify everyone we believe may have been affected, using multiple communication channels and providing them with information on steps they can take to protect themselves. We have no evidence that any personal information has been misused.

Cathay Pacific has notified the Hong Kong Police and is notifying the relevant authorities, and we encourage anyone who believes they may be affected to contact Cathay Pacific in the following ways:

If the above channels are unable to resolve the questions you may have, we encourage you to reach out to your Account Manager for further assistance.

If you’re concerned about the affect that any current trending travel alert may have on your travel plans, please contact your Giles Travel account manager or use the contact form below.

 

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