Simon Calder's Independent Travel Podcast
June 1st - Weigh before fly
Would you tolerate standing on the scales at the airport?
At present, airlines use “assumed mass” – typically 88kg per passenger. Air New Zealand is seeking 10,000 volunteers to ensure that these averages are still accurate. Yet if airlines knew exactly how much each passenger weighs, the captain could load fuel more accurately: reducing fuel burn, and the damage to the planet. Which major airline will be first to introduce the idea?
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September 22nd - An ode to carpooling06:34Compulsory car-sharing has been officially scrapped by the prime minister. The announcement took many in transport circles by surprise, since the only place in the known world where the practice has ever been mandatory is communist Cuba; there were no proposals to adopt it in the UK. But at least a practice that is environmentally and economically advantageous is now being talked about.Speaking of economically advantageous, this podcast is free, as is my weekly newsletter. Sign up here to get it delivered every Friday.
September 21st - Out go the green taxes on travel, though did they ever exist?07:06Rishi Sunak told the public on Wednesday. “The proposal to create new taxes to discourage flying – I’ve scrapped that.” I was unaware of any government proposal to create new aviation taxes. But just in case anyone was in doubt about the government’s attitude to aviation: deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden has used the RAF Airbus A330 to fly to New York JFK. At a time when many other commercial flights were available. It takes me back to Liz Truss, when foreign secretary, taking a private plane to Australia rather than slumming it on Qantas.This podcast is free, as is my weekly newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered every Friday.
September 20th - Strikes & Shifts: The Balance of Transport Rights08:26In today's chat, I tackle the Tube and National Rail strikes. Whilst the right to strike is clear, what about the traveller's right to reliable transport? I'll discuss whether unions are treading on thin ice.This podcast is free, as is my weekly newsletter, which you can get every week. Subscribe here to have it delivered to your inbox every Friday.
September 19th - Ryanair still won't compromise07:35Ryanair are back in the news with the airline’s no-compromise attitude to online check-in. This concerns Damian Lloyd and his family, who were told their pre-printed boarding passes were not valid and that they would have to pay £165 if they wanted to fly to Gran Canaria. Ryanair says they had “unchecked” themselves the day before travel; Mr Lloyd says he has no such recollection. My thoughts ahead of a Ryanair flight …This podcast is free, as is my weekly newsletter, which I can hand-on-heart say is purely human-made. Subscribe here to have it delivered to your inbox every Friday.
September 18th - The future of travel with emerging tech07:11I’m exploring the technological future of travel with brainbox Kate Doodson, joint chief executive of Cosmic UK – a social enterprise that works with destinations on travel tech.This podcast is free, as is my weekly newsletter, which I can hand-on-heart say is purely human-made. Subscribe here to have it delivered to your inbox every Friday.
September 15th - Another air traffic control problem hits Gatwick06:57Gatwick: Another night of chaos for thousands of passengers after an air-traffic controller went sick. It was the third bout of air-traffic control disruption in 18 days. What went wrong – and could it happen again next week?This podcast is free, as is my weekly newsletter. Sign up to it here to receive every Friday.
September 14th - Abolishing peak-time rail tickets10:56Scotland is to abolish peak-time rail fares for a six-month trial.The only “walk-up” fare for immediate purchase and travel will be the cheaper off-peak ticket. Savings for rush-hour commuters will range from 20 to 48 per cent, with passengers between Edinburgh and Glasgow seeing the price almost halve, falling by £14 to £14.90. Could it happen in the rest of the UK?This podcast is free, much like my weekly newsletter. Subscribe now to have it delivered every Friday.
September 13th - World’s best-connected airports07:48At the start of 2023, I asked the aviation data analysts, Cirium, for the top 20 airports by unique destinations. This week, I asked the brainy boffins to crunch the numbers to the final three months of the year, and the results are intriguing. This podcast is free, much like my weekly newsletter. Subscribe now to have it delivered every Friday.
September 12th - First Choice is back – kind of06:11One of the most familiar names in travel over the turn of the century is back – with a very different proposition.First Choice offers flight-free travel and backpacking experiences including camping and hostels stays, in an attempt to lure younger travellers who currently are more likely to put together trips independently. This podcast is free, much like my weekly newsletter. Subscribe now to have it delivered every Friday.