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Ash-stranded 2,000 kilometres from home – Tuesday update

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* 1600 euros the quoted fare for taxi from Barcelona to Perpignan

* Train from Perpignan cancelled, but we blag our way on to Paris-bound service

* Chaos in Calais

Original post: “We’ve gone on holiday by mistake!”

That quote from “Withnail and I” has been rattling around my brain for the last few days as I’ve looked for a way to complete the 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles) or so from the small town I’ve been staying in south of Valencia, Spain, and my home in London.

I’ve spent most of the last 72 hours on the internet, searching in vain for reasonably priced car hire, bus, train and ferry tickets.

After giving up on our original flight from Alicante, and the replacement one from Valencia due to leave tonight, we took the train up to Barcelona and a friend is giving us a lift up over the border to Perpignan, France. From there it’ll either be a train, if the strike that prevented us buying through-tickets in Spain allows, or a hire car up to Calais, and a ferry on Wednesday morning.

We’re lucky. I was based in Spain for a long time and I know the train routes and travel websites inside out. We have friends and family to stay with and I can do at least some of my work remotely.

Will the grope lobby thwart better air safety?

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UK Home Secretary Alan Johnson said that London’s Heathrow would get body scanners this month to step up safety. Amsterdam’s airport operator made a similar announcement on Monday and others in Europe could follow.

That will go down like a lead balloon with the European Parliament, whose grope-fond members last year thwarted efforts to push ahead with more thorough passenger screening.

BA horror show should quell talk of “green shoots”

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Willie Walsh likes to tell it as it is.

Recent weeks have seen smatterings of good economic news. Sectors that took the full weight of the recession last year said they were staggering to their feet now spring is here.

Retail: John Lewis had its best week of the year so far from 2nd-9th May.

Leisure: Pubs group Greene King said things have ‘generally improved’ since the start of the year.

Smashing up BAA – an improvement for passengers?

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baa.jpgWhen the government established the British Airports Authority in 1965, its aim was to make airports more flexible and profitable. Profitable they may have been but flexibility is not something that Britain’s larger airports are renowned for.

The list of complaints about BAA is a long one, both from airlines and passengers. Airlines says the charges levied are excessive. Travellers say airport terminals are overcrowded, delays are all too frequent and increased bureaucracy has prevailed since the tightening of baggage restrictions in August 2006.

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