Simon Calder, The Independent

Simon Calder

The Independent

United Kingdom

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  • The Independent
  • The Evening Standard
  • Condé Nast Traveller

Recent articles by Simon:

Thumbs down: Does coronavirus mean hitchhiking has reached the end of the road?

A road tradition that has endured for more than a century has been killed off by coronavirus – that is the conclusion of two out of three people who responded to an online survey. In a Twitter poll conducted for The Independent, with more than 1,000 self-selecting respondents, 68 per cent said that the worldwide pandemic would put an end to thumbing. The figure was exactly the → Read More

Quarantine: Airlines lobby ministers to exempt 45 ‘air bridge’ countries

As travellers head for the UK ahead of the imposition of quarantine, Britain’s airlines have sent ministers a list of the 45 nations that they want to be exempt. Downing Street and the Home Office are insisting that the plan for arrivals to self-isolate for two weeks must start on 8 June, despite many assertions that it is “too much, too late”. British Airways has invited → Read More

More than 2 million British travellers able to avoid 14-day quarantine after travelling abroad

One week before the UK’s first blanket quarantine is imposed, The Independent can reveal that at least 2 million people will qualify for exemption because of their jobs. → Read More

British holidaymakers want to visit Spain, Greece and Italy – but most will wait until next summer

Spain, Greece and Italy top the holiday wish-list for British travellers – but most will wait until next summer for a foreign getaway. As battles rage within government over the UK’s quarantine plans, Britain’s biggest travel firm says demand is strong for Mediterranean destinations. Tui says the holidaymakers it polled revealed Spain, Greece and Italy are the top three → Read More

Will we be able to get coronavirus insurance for holidays?

Q You mention your “five tests” that must be passed before any of us can go abroad. But surely you’ve missed out number six: how can we even consider travelling abroad when no insurance company will provide cover for Covid-19? Shaney T A Allow me briefly to restate the five tests that must be passed before any of us can travel overseas for fun. 1 Has lockdown been eased enough → Read More

In the air tonight: Air Canada offers rock-star comfort – and social distancing – with ‘Covid class’

The Rolling Stones got satisfaction from Air Canada’s special Airbus A319. Like them and Phil Collins, you can try the plane in the air tonight. With passengers nervous about commercial aviation in the age of coronavirus, the Canadian airline is deploying special A319 aircraft fitted with only 58 seats on commuter air routes The “Jetz” fleet carriers barely one-third of the → Read More

Coronavirus: Majority of readers say they will push back holidays to 2021

A large majority of Independent readers sampled in a travel poll say they do not plan to go abroad this summer – but will return in equal or greater numbers in 2021. At an online event called the Future of Travel, hosted by The Independent, participants were asked: “Will you feel confident about travelling abroad this summer?” Of more than 150 subscribers, only 28 per cent → Read More

Test, trace and stay put: the possible pitfalls of the coronavirus tracking system for travellers

Under the NHS test and trace programme, the rules are clear. Anyone developing symptoms of Covid-19 (high temperature; a new, continuous cough; loss or change to the sense of smell or taste) must immediately self-isolate with other members of their household and order a test to find out if they have coronavirus. → Read More

Tales of the river bed: A strange Saturday night on the banks of the Thames

You, I imagine, have had some weird Saturday nights recently. But last weekend was off the surreality scale for me. Over these 10 strange weeks, as our horizons have reduced, we have taken to looking at the world in close up. For decades I have been a stranger to the side streets of SE1. Yet after the past couple of months of daily exercise, I reckon I could plausibly handle a → Read More

Britain’s biggest travel firm cancels hundreds of thousands of holidays as quarantine deadline approaches

Britain’s biggest holiday company is to tell hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers that their trips have been cancelled. Tui had previously axed departures up to 11 June. But the firm has now called off all holidays until 1 July at the earliest. The move mirrors the decision of Tui’s biggest rival, Jet2 Holidays. → Read More

Matt Hancock says ‘no foreign holiday this year’ as MPs call for quarantine plan to be scrapped

Matt Hancock has doubled down on his assertion that summer is essentially cancelled this year by announcing he will not travel abroad. The health secretary told the BBC’s Today programme: “I was already going to not leave the UK this summer, I’d already made that decision. “But I think you know everybody is doing their level best to try to get the country back on her feet.” → Read More

Travel leaders demand 14-day quarantine scheme is scrapped

As Boris Johnson appeared to concede that travel quarantine would be a “three-week wonder” travel businesses have demanded that the scheme should be scrapped before it even begins. Leaders of high-profile companies call the plan for 14 days of self-isolation “poorly thought-out, wholly detrimental to industry recovery and more or less unworkable”. → Read More

British Airways cancels all flights from Leeds Bradford airport

British Airways has cancelled all its flights from Leeds Bradford airport to London Heathrow. The airline is dropping a number of routes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which will see its network shrink. A spokesperson for BA said: “We are sorry to suspend our flights to Leeds Bradford after many years. “We regularly evaluate our routes based on where our customers → Read More

How to avoid rental car pitfalls

Car rental is a ferociously competitive industry. I have just Googled “cheap car rental Palma airport” and have been offered a vehicle for just 27p per day through Do You Spain. Not bad for unlimited use of an asset that is worth £10,000 to explore the beautiful Island of Mallorca. → Read More

Japan won’t pay half of foreign tourists’ costs

The official Japan Tourism Agency has dismissed rumours that the government in Tokyo is contemplating paying half of overseas visitors’ travel costs. Reports worldwide had claimed that Japan aimed to attract tourists from abroad by paying for half their air fares and living costs. The story was that, to tackle an almost complete close down of international tourism due to the → Read More

Tui customers remain angry over lack of coronavirus refunds

Six days after the boss of Britain’s biggest holiday company admitted blunders over refunds, disappointed customers are continuing to complain about delays getting their money back. Tui has had to cancel more package trips than any other firm because of the coronavirus pandemic. → Read More

Coronavirus: British Airways offers passengers chance to switch flights for free to avoid UK quarantine

Finding fans of quarantine in the real world – as opposed to Planet Aviation – is easy. The government and the Labour Party are both in favour of 14 days of mandatory self-isolation for all travellers arriving in the UK. The Home Office has calculated that 8 June 2020 is the optimum date for quarantine to be imposed, though it is fair to say that one or two people say the → Read More

Coronavirus: Airline passengers trying to switch seats will be told to stay put

As the coronavirus pandemic transforms passenger aviation, the cheap-seats shuffle is no more. Traditionally, some economy-class passengers on flights that are not full will move from their assigned seats before or shortly after take-off. But anyone hoping to take advantage of extra space is likely to be scolded by cabin crew and told to go back to their assigned place. → Read More

UK quarantine: Boris Johnson didn’t know the rules. But we do

The home secretary, Priti Patel, has announced that, from 8 June, almost all arrivals at UK airports, ferry ports and international rail terminals will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. → Read More

Quarantine: Macron ally hits out at new UK policy amid coronavirus pandemic

A senior member of France’s ruling party, En Marche!, has criticised Boris Johnson’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic and, in particular, the UK’s new quarantine policy. From 8 June, almost all arrivals at British airports, ferry ports and international rail terminals will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. → Read More