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Few Cancellations, Expect Delays

Media Release 11 August 2006

Travel Retailer Expecting Few Cancellations, Advises Customers to Repack Bags and Expect Delays

One of New Zealand’s largest travel retailers is expecting very few cancellations in the wake of the foiled London-based airline bomb plot, but plenty of disruption for New Zealand travellers.

Flight Centre general manager Rick Hamilton said the travel company had no cancellations resulting from last year’s bombing in the London underground, and predicted this event would have a similarly limited effect.

“New Zealanders have such a strong connection with the UK and have proved themselves to be extremely resilient travellers, so we don’t see any sort of panic setting in.”

By mid morning this was supported by the fact that the retailer’s customers hadn’t cancelled any bookings. Flight Centre staff were in the process of contacting affected travellers to discuss their options.

Mr Hamilton said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had updated its travel advisory on its site, but it remained at “Some Risk”, which recommends people can still travel if exercising caution.

Mr Hamilton said New Zealand travellers could still expect lengthy delays, particularly if flying transatlantic, but reminded the travelling public that the new packing requirements would also be a requirement for flightsto New Zealand via Asia from the UK.

“We’ve been in touch with our airlines partners, and have received a list of acceptable items to carry on the plane. It’s quite restrictive, so it pays to be well aware of what is and isn’t allowed, to prevent getting held up.

“As yet even books and magazines aren’t included on the list of carry on items allowed, but were hoping this may be relaxed in the weeks following the introduction of the new rules.”

Mr Hamilton said anyone travelling to the UK in the next week should contact the airline they are flying on to find out if there are any delays.

“We are also advising our clients to get to the airport an hour earlier than they would have previously, and leaving more time for connections.”

Here is what will be allowed to be carried onboard planes, according to the UK Department for Transport:
Passengers may take through the airport security search point, in a single (ideally transparent) plastic carrier bag, only the following items. Nothing may be carried in pockets:

- pocket size wallets and pocket size purses plus contents (for example money, credit cards, identity cards etc (not handbags)

- travel documents essential for the journey (for example passports and travel tickets)

- prescription medicines and medical items sufficient and essential for the flight (eg diabetic kit), except in liquid form unless verified as authentic

- spectacles and sunglasses, without cases

- contact lens holders, without bottles of solution

- for those travelling with an infant: baby food, milk (the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the accompanying passenger) and sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight (nappies, wipes, creams and nappy disposal bags)

- female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight, if unboxed (eg tampons, pads, towels and wipes)

- tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs

- keys (but no electrical key fobs)

- All passengers must be hand searched, and their footwear and all the items they are carrying must be x-ray screened

Pushchairs and walking aids must be x-ray screened, and only airport-provided wheelchairs may pass through the screening point.

In addition to the above, all passengers boarding flights to the USA and all the items they are carrying, including those acquired after the central screening point, must be subjected to secondary search at the boarding gate. Any liquids discovered must be removed from the passenger.

Flight Centre customers should contact their local agent if they have any concerns at all, Mr Hamilton said.


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