Crony Chauffeur Services

Friday, 18 October 2013

Private Hire Operators Bends Regulation

It's too easy to bend the licensing regulations for a number of deceiving operators that are around.

One widely known operator that takes pride in professionalism sent some agitated and frustrated emails. This business functions very near to Stansted Airport, and when it comes to their service level they want it to reflect their costs. Furthermore, they really want their service to really be useful for any visiting business traveler or visitor.

However, some other "operator" that is behaving more like a broking service has been taking business from them during the last three years. These people register other operators from all of the primary UK airports like Gatwick, Heathrow, and Stansted. There after these guys concentrate on a very general pricing technique and the "partner" operator will either accept the booking or refuse the payment offered by the broker. Pretty much the most cost effective rate.

Once the fee is charged to the driver or operator this price normally will be £20- £30 less expensive than that operator would charge any other time. If they don't take the job, just go down the list and offer it to the next company.
                                                             [Private Hire Transfers]

I learned after I called and briefly talked to them that the only thing they ask for is a copy of your operator's license when dealing with "partners". These guys never do any type of check, never visited the "partner companies", and never asked for any driver documentation. Non-VAT register drivers is what I was told they would rather use, which is even more interesting.

Moreover, they report that customers could pay a "meet and greet" cost, which means they're met up with in the airport terminal. If people choose not to pay that in order to keep costs reduced it's possible for them to be met and picked up on the outside of the terminal, which we all know now a days is against the law at many airports.

When it comes to this company the most interesting thing about it is the fact that it's located in Somerset and nowhere close to Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick, Luton, or any other airports. Seemingly, the firm’s licensing authority (Sedgemoor District Council) is completely happy for them to function in this fashion and is actually - through the key phrases from the chap spoke to Mr Ed Halil -“very much taken care of".

This highlights once again that local licensing authorities don't have a clue when it comes to their own rules. How is it possible for operators situated in Somerset to ply for business from Stansted airport, when other authorities will not even let operators get bookings from outside their own jurisdiction?

It's very common these days to find little kingdoms where licensing officers enjoy waving around their authority and creating their own rules whenever they please. This makes it much easier for the corrupt operators to keep working unchecked, while the more respected and responsible operators have a harder time trying to work.

They try to say it's because they lack manpower, which might be the truth. As an example, take Surrey. We've got 11 area boroughs and 18 neighbouring boroughs and districts and each and every one has distinctive guidelines, rules and expenses regarding Private Hire or Hackney Carriage licensing.

Even so the school managed contracts for Surrey are monitored and operated by Surrey County Council-one department, one enormous group for the whole area. Why isn't it a good idea to do the same thing with the PHV licensing and taxi? Join your resources and just have one license given by the County. In order to get the admin done and to be out there checking drivers and operators, making it tougher for illegal drivers and operators to keep doing what they're doing, it should be just one cost and the same rules for everybody and a much larger team.

These County Licensing Departments will then be able to liaise and work together with their counterparts around the UK to help guarantee that our industry is functioning on an acceptable and fair platform for every person.

The National License won't work despite the LPHCA's efforts campaigning it, simply because far too many individuals will wish to run the thing and it'll promptly succumb to politics and infighting. However county licensing would get the job done and those county licensing departments can also communicate with one another to establish standardisation with regards to cross-border guidelines.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Free Heathrow AirPorters - Here to make your journey better

Heathrow introduces free AirPorters to Long Stay car parks‏

At Heathrow, we understand how challenging planning a holiday can be, remembering to pack all the summer essentials, plan your journey to the airport and getting from the car park to the terminal with your family and all your luggage. This Summer, to help you on your way, all Official Heathrow Long Stay car parks will have free AirPorters on the transfer shuttle buses. Plus we have family parking bays, family security lanes and family friendly restaurants offering kids eat free. Enjoy your summer holiday.

Based on recent research we conducted into family travel, we understand parents can feel overwhelmed at the idea of travelling with children. So to help families have an even smoother journey, we've introduced free dedicated AirPorters on board each of our Long Stay car park shuttle buses to help with luggage and provide terminal information. Book Long Stay car parking now from £5.99 a day*.
Family car parking bays
Long and short stay car parks at all our terminals have extra-wide 
car parking bays especially for families. You'll find these bays 
clearly marked, well signposted, and located close to the bus stops 
and customer service offices within each car park. 

Play areas and lounges
You'll find plenty to keep the children amused pre-flight in our free
Stay & Play areas. Located in all terminals, these facilities feature
separate baby and junior zones, soft play areas and lots more to keep
your children entertained. Stay & Play is suitable for children aged
0 - 15 years. 

Family friendly restaurants
During the Summer holidays, Kids get to eat free at Heathrow when
dining with adults. 

Heathrow Rewards
Throughout the Summer, Heathrow Rewards members can enjoy double 
points on all transactions including pre-booked Official Heathrow Car
Parking and pre-booked Heathrow Express train tickets. Book your car 
parking today***.
Heathrow Taxis Transfer Service

Terms and conditions at Heathrow Airport Limited

Monday, 18 February 2013

Why Pay Mile High Club Travel £5K?

There's nothing glamorous about paying £5K to join the Mile High club

Woman and man flirting on an aeroplane (© Rex Features)

Once upon a time, air travel was pretty glam. Who hasn’t watched Airplane! and thought that even though the journey was disastrous, they quite liked the look of the  huge seats, smart crockery, steak Dianes and luxurious vibe?

Back in the day, we unwashed masses would read about moguls and movie stars jetting off in order to have exotic adventures. Sometimes, the adventures would start before landing. For some young men and women, joining the Mile High club (becoming one of a small group of people who had been physically intimate with a partner in an aeroplane bathroom) was one of the most risque and sophisticated things you could do.

No amount of yoga can prepare you for sex in an aeroplane toilet.

In many ways, we’re lucky that we now all live in an age of taking air travel for granted. Obviously, there are environmental concerns, but it does mean that almost anyone who wants to can explore the world around them, no matter what their income.

But cheap air travel is not glamorous air travel, and as airlines squeeze more and more passengers on their planes, the champagne cocktails and steak Diane have been abandoned like forgotten luggage on a carousel.
As for the Mile High Club - well, no yoga class can prepare you adequately for arranging your limbs in those tiny bathrooms.

However, experience company is looking to change all that. It’s offering the amorously inclined a Mile High Package, which lets you get your leg over while you’re up in the air.

People who book the experience get to travel in a private plane for £4,999, with additional charges for extras like champagne. Even if it doesn’t entail queuing for the loo in economy, I don’t think there can be anything less sexy or romantic than hooking up with your partner whilst airborne. And if my boyfriend sprung the better part of five grand for this “luxury travel experience”, I’d probably dump them.

Why spend money on something you can do comfortably in a hotel room?
Air travel is only exciting when there’s a great destination at the end of it. And, unless you have a particular yen to make love in the presence of a pilot, or get especially excited about turbulence, it seems crazy to spend an enormous amount of money to do something that could be undertaken more comfortably in a smart hotel room.

Also, people boast about being in the Mile High Club for two reasons. Either that they’re daring risk takers who delight in breaking the rules, or their relationships are powered by lust so intense that they just can’t wait until they’re through passport control.

The only thing that makes the experience anything like glamorous, old school airline travel is the hefty price tag. If you’re thinking of spending thousands of pounds on a lavish romantic gesture, the Mile High Experience won’t get you any brownie points. You’ll remember it forever, but for all the wrong reasons. Splash your cash on the holiday of a lifetime instead.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Airline Compensation: Your Rights

A Ryanair plane (PA) 

A new EU ruling may have opened the way to claiming compensation for delayed flights.

No-frills airline Ryanair broke EU law when it refused compensation to a passenger stranded by the 2010 volcanic ash cloud, according to a court ruling yesterday, while a district judge has also ruled that travel group Thomas Cook should have compensated a couple whose plane was delayed.

These two rulings are expected to trigger a wave of claims from other passengers, so what are your rights when your plane is delayed or flight cancelled, and how can you claim. The following answers may help.

What is significant about the rulings against Ryanair and Thomas Cook?
The two rulings concerned flight delays, which the airline operators claimed were outside their control. The Ryanair flight was grounded because of a volcanic ash cloud, while in the Thomas Cook case, the flight was delayed because of technical difficulties.

This is important because EU law allows passengers to claim between £200 and £480 compensation for delays over three hours in EU countries or on EU airlines. However, airlines have traditionally had a get out clause they only had to pay cash if the delay turned out to be the airline's fault.

In the Thomas Cook case, the airline had claimed the technical difficulty with the plane was not the fault of the airline. However At Stoke-on-Trent County Court on Monday, District Judge Peter Rank disagreed and awarded a couple €800 (£687).

Ryanair had claimed that the ash cloud that had grounded thousands of flights between April 15 and 22 should be treated as an extraordinary event, and so it did not have to pay for passenger care when they were stranded. However, the EU court overturned Ryanair's appeal and said that customers needed compensation for access to essential services in the event of issues such as the ash cloud.

But my flights have been delayed lots of times. Why have I never been offered compensation?
The airlines don't tend to hand out compensation on a plate, so if you want it you have to ask.

It all sounds very complicated. How can I tell whether an airline will compensate me?
If your flight has been delayed for more than three hours, you may be entitled to the compensation. However, if it came from a non-EU country on a non-EU airline, you will not be able to claim under EU rules.

How much could I get?
Compensation for flight delay is between £200 and £480, depending on how delayed your flight is and how far you are travelling.

What difference do the two rulings above make to all this? Airlines have been very good at claiming that delays are not their fault and not giving compensation. The rulings above make it more difficult for them to do so. In addition, passengers who are stranded somewhere due to adverse weather conditions are be entitled to money for food and accommodation.

Would I get a refund on my ticket price as well as compensation?
Potentially. If your flight is delayed by five hours or more and you decide not to travel, and the flight departed from an EU airport, regardless of what airline you were flying with, you could get your ticket cost back too. If you are on an EU airline and landed at an EU airport, you are also likely to be eligible for a refund. Even if you aren't on the plane, oddly, you could get the compensation and the refund. However, if you decide to have a refund you lose your right to passenger care.

If only I had known sooner I would have claimed for delays before. Can I still do it? Yes, as long as your flight was after February 17 2005, you can still reclaim.

How do I do it?
Contact the airline in the first instance. There is no standard timescale for replying to a letter of complaint. There is also no ombudsman. If you are unhappy with the airline's response you can complain to the Civil Aviation Authority, or the European Consumer Centre / or the regulator in the country from which the aircraft departed.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

UK airlines 'expect delivery as normal'

Boeing 787 Dreamliner (PA) 

UK carriers due to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are confident deliveries will go ahead despite its grounding.

Boeing Dreamliner grounded: UK airlines 'expect delivery as normal of 787'

BA, Virgin and Thomson Airways all said they expect to take delivery of the Dreamliners later this year as planned.

 UK airlines due to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner said today they were confident their deliveries would not be affected by the grounding of the state-of-the-art plane.

European aviation regulators followed America today in ordering the grounding of Boeing's new Dreamliner due to safety concerns.

But BA, Virgin and Thomson Airways all said they expect to take delivery of the Dreamliners later this year as planned.

Thomson will be the first British airliner to fly the Dreamliner when the first of its eight-plane fleet leaves for Cancun, Mexico, on May 1.                        London Gatwick Taxis

Already years late into service due to production difficulties, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has run into a series of in-air problems in recent days.

The latest incident, an emergency landing after battery problems, prompted America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to order US carriers to stop flying Dreamliners.

Today, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it was endorsing the FAA directive grounding the Dreamliner until the risk of fires is resolved.

The EASA order is for all European carriers flying the 787, which at the moment only applies to Polish airline LOT.

UK carrier Thomson Airways is set to be the first British airline to fly the Dreamliner.

It is due to take delivery of the first of eight 787s this spring, with the first flights due to leave on May 1 for Cancun in Mexico and Florida.

British Airways is due to take delivery of the first of 24 Dreamliners in May, while Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to start taking the first of 16 Dreamliners in summer 2014.

Thomson Airways said today: "Boeing has reassured us they will do everything possible to assist the FAA in their investigation, and will be taking every step to assure passengers and Thomson of the 787's safety and get the planes back into service.

"We will await the outcome of the FAA investigation into the 787 Dreamliner. At this time we are still working to our original delivery dates."

Virgin said: "We are still expecting to take delivery of 16 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from summer next year. Until then we are working with Boeing to understand all of the technical issues around the aircraft.

"We have every confidence that Boeing and the relevant authorities will ensure sufficient oversight is maintained and that corrective action will be taken if problems are identified."

BA said: "The safety and security of our customers will always be at the heart of our operation and all our business decisions.

"We remain committed to taking delivery of our first Boeing 787 later this year. We are confident that any safety concerns will be fully addressed by Boeing and the FAA as part of their recently announced review into the aircraft."

Seattle-based Boeing said: "The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes is our highest priority.

"Boeing is committed to supporting the FAA and finding answers as quickly as possible. The company is working around the clock with its customers and the various regulatory and investigative authorities. We will make available the entire resources of the company to assist."

It went on: "We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity. We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the travelling public of the 787's safety and to return the airplanes to service.

"Boeing deeply regrets the impact that recent events have had on the operating schedules of our customers and the inconvenience to them and their passengers.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Boeing Dreamliner catches fire on runway

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Catches Fire In Boston

Scene of the incident

An electrical fire onboard a Boeing 787 aircraft has prompted further concerns for the Dreamliner's delayed introduction.

The Japan Air Lines jet filled with smoke after arriving at Boston, following a non-stop flight from Tokyo.

The fire chief Logan airport said a a fault occurred in the battery pack for the plane's auxiliary power unit, which runs the jet's electrical systems when it's not getting power from its engines.
Fire crews using infrared equipment found flames in a small compartment in the plane's belly and had the fire out in about 20 minutes, he said.
Massachusetts Port Authority's fire chief Bob Donahue said there was a flare-up later when a rechargeable battery exploded.

"Something caused this battery pack to overheat, ignite," Mr Donahue said, adding it was too soon to know the cause.

About 15 minutes after all 173 passengers and 11 crew members had disembarked a mechanic spotted light smoke in the cockpit and cabin.
"When we arrived, it was a heavy smoke, and that was in three minutes, so this was advancing," Mr Donahue said.

The model was originally planned for launch in 2009 but production has been beset with technical problems. It was first delivered in late 2011.

In November 2010, a test flight had to make an emergency landing after an in-flight electrical fire - delaying flight tests for several weeks while Boeing investigated.

Last month, a United Airlines 787 flying from Texas to New Jersey, diverted to New Orleans because of an electrical problem with a power distribution panel.

The head of Qatar Airways recently criticised Boeing after its delivery-delayed planes were grounded because of the electrical faults.

All the planes were grounded for at least five days and came as the US aviation watchdog discovered fuel line assembly errors.

It said that the faults could result in fire risk from leaks dripping on hot engine parts or causing the aircraft to run out of fuel.

The latest Dreamliner incident raises concerns for British Airways (BA), which has ordered 24 Dreamliners from Boeing.

BA is still expecting its first 787 in May, with a further three due for delivery before the end of 2013. Virgin Atlantic has 16 Dreamliners on order and told Sky News it still expects its debut delivery in 2014.
Thomson Airways has also placed orders for the hi-tech long-haul Boeing plane, which has been marketed as being more comfortable and environmentally friendly than other aircraft.

A spokeswoman for Thomson told Sky News: "Having checked with Boeing we have no reason to believe the delivery of our first 787 Dreamliner will be delayed.

"Our first Thomson Dreamliner is still on track to be delivered early this year. Boeing has reassured us that they are taking action to rectify the issues highlighted to them."