UK strike slows down ports and airports

UK airports and ports are experiencing delays as many customs and immigration officials are on a one-day strike.

The UK Border Agency is one of several UK public sector unions on strike over plans to change pensions, a move they say will have employees working longer, paying more into the system, and getting less out of it when they retire.

Some Border Agency workers started early, at 6pm yesterday, and most airports and ports are reporting some delays. These delays aren’t as bad as were expected, however, because qualified managers have stepped in to fulfill the absent workers’ duties and not all workers are on strike. Still, if you’re flying into the UK today, don’t expect to be relaxing in your hotel an hour after you land.

Passengers leaving the UK will not be affected because they don’t go through customs. Airport security workers are not on strike.

Other government facilities such as schools, courts, and offices are also closed or giving limited service.

[Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Belfast airport now charging for smoking

Belfast International Airport has introduced a new charge. After deciding to charge people £1 ($1.64) to drop off passengers and £1 for a clear plastic bag to put liquids in, now passengers are going to be charged £1 to use the smoking areas.

Airport officials defend the charges saying it costs them extra to maintain separate smoking areas, which are used only by a minority of the passengers.

Smokers will have to insert a pound coin into a coin slot to open the doors to the smoking area. Do you think this is fair? Take the poll below or sound off in the comments section!

[Photo courtesy Piotrus via Wikimedia Commons]


Paris Airports Help Passengers Groove

A service at Paris area airports will have people dancing in the terminals. Literally.

As a special summer promotion provided by Aeroports de Paris, dance classes will be offered to passengers before they hop, or samba, onto their flight. Call it France‘s version of the reality hit So You Think You Can Dance. Styles include tango, salsa, modern jazz, and mambo. There is even instruction in hip hop and rock and roll.

You are imagining a teacher wearing a leotard and leg-warmers prancing around Charles De Gaulle critiquing each step that students take, aren’t you? It’s not quite like that. Passengers are given a set of headphones on which instructions and music are played. They are pretty much on their own after that. The classes run for about 15 minutes and are only offered during weekend daytime hours.

According to airport authorities, over 4,000 people have used the service since it began at the end of June. No word yet on whether these ground-breakers participated willingly or not.

Are in-terminal dance classes the wave of the future? Or is it simply a ploy to get people talking about something besides how high oil prices are making air travel so damned expensive?