Our News

'Rapid' pre-flight testing option being offered at Heathrow

The UK's first "rapid result" pre-departure Covid testing has been made available for passengers flying out of Heathrow from Today (20 October).

Travellers flying from the London airport to Hong Kong and Italy will have the option of paying for a test before checking in.

It costs £80 and the result is guaranteed within an hour, with the aim to help passengers travelling to countries where proof of a negative Covid test result is required on arrival.

The rapid saliva swab, available at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5 through a purpose-built facility run by Collinson and Swissport, is known as a Lamp (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) test.

It is quicker than a PCR test because the sample does not need to be sent to a laboratory. However Collinson said the Lamp test is "slightly less sensitive" than the PCR version.

Although Lamp is considered to be much better than the antigen test option. Despite this development in the UK's testing capabilities, the new facility is only for passengers flying out of Heathrow as the government has not yet given its backing to testing travellers on arrival.

Speaking at Airlines 2050 on Monday (19 October) transport secretary Grant Shapps assured the aviation sector government was looking at developing two systems – a domestic "test and release" scheme for arrivals and a wider international strategy to suit more frequent flyers in which testing would be recognised and valid across different countries.


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Portsmouth welcomes first cruise call since Covid

Portsmouth has become the first UK port to manage a cruise ship turnaround since the Covid pandemic saw sailings suspended.

SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream 1 stopped to pick up passengers on Monday (19 October) for a transatlantic voyage to the Caribbean.

The 112-guest vessel welcomed 19 passengers, following strict health protocols – including the use of coronavirus testing 72 hours before embarking and immediately before boarding, alongside "extensive cleaning and sanitation regimes".

In addition, all crew members are certified for the WHO's Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for novel coronavirus course and Covid-19 Contact tracing course from Johns Hopkins University.

SeaDream 1 had previously called at Oslo and Rotterdam en route to the UK as part of a 21-day trip to Bridgetown in Barbados. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portsmouth port said it had "implemented enhanced protocols" including a reconfigured terminal layout to maximise social distancing and was the UK's first port to install a thermal imaging camera. Operations on Monday followed the UK Chamber of Shipping's recently released cruise restart framework.

Head of operations Ian Diaper said: "It's testament to everyone's hard work that SeaDream was confident to use Portsmouth as the first UK port to manage a turnaround call since sailings were suspended.

"It was great to see a cruise ship in the port once more and pleased to see operations go to plan. We're experienced at managing passengers in a Covid secure way, with ferry sailings taking place regularly since July following strict protocols.

"This had given us insight for what's required and we're ready to help the industry recover when cruise returns to its full capacity."

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What you can and cannot do after 10pm as new curfew rules come in

Coronavirus restrictions are being tightened once again in the wake of a surge in cases – with Boris Johnson's 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants. Just what can you and can't you do after 10pm?

Here's what you need to know.

What can't you do after 10pm?

This, according to the new rules, is what you won't be able to do after 10pm:

Go to a pub, bar or restaurant – the new rules state that these must close their doors by 10pm (as opposed to being the time for last orders).

Get a takeaway in person – takeaways are also subject to the curfew, meaning that they will also be closed to customers after 10pm.

Go to a hotel bar – hotel bars and restaurants are also set to close at 10pm, although obviously guests are allowed to remain in the hotel

Go to a skating rink or bowling alley – they will be closing at 10pm too

In addition to the rules, pubs, bars and restaurants are only allowed to have table service, and the rules around face coverings have also been tightened – you'll now have to wear one inside a venue except when seated at a table to eat or drink (so you'll need it if you get up to use the toilet, for example).

What can you do after 10pm?

It's not all bad news, as there are still some things you can do after 10pm:

Go to your friends or family's house – as long as you are not in a local lockdown area where visits to other people's homes are off-limits, you can go to someone's house after the pub closes to continue socialising there (as long as there are only six of you in total as per the Rule of Six). However you should note that you can only do this in England – Scotland and Northern Ireland have banned households from mixing indoors, while six can gather in Wales as long as they are part of one extended household.

Order a delivery or get a drive-thru takeaway – while takeaways may be closed to walk-in customers they are allowed to stay open later for deliveries and drive-through orders, so you can still get a late night snack if you want it.

Go to the gym – gyms are exempt from the curfew, as they have their own Covid-secure guidelines – so your late-night workout is safe.

Go to the cinema or theatre – cinemas and theatres are exempt from closing their doors by 10pm, as long as screenings or performances begin before this time – with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirming that 'performances may run over the 10pm deadline'. However the venues must stop serving food and drink by 10pm.

The History of the Chauffeur – It's a Horse and Cart Business!

The term 'chauffeur' has been around since 1896 and it originated from the French word for 'stoker'. Stokers were employed to stoke (feed coal to) the engines of the first vehicles that used steam powered engines such as locomotives or steamships. They used coal to heat a boiler which would then create enough steam to move the working parts in the engine, and then the wheels would turn to start a steam powered vehicle on its journey. Stokers, in essence, powered the vehicle so the journey could go ahead. Although today's chauffeurs do not literally power their vehicles they still get people from A to B like stokers once did.

Chauffeurs have been around longer than steam powered engines have been though, and they began with the humble horse and cart. As the upper class moved around the country they wanted to do this in luxury and style so they employed the equivalent to a modern day chauffeur to man their means of transportation and get them around whilst they stayed warm, safe and comfortable inside the carriage. These employees were typically stable hands that doubled as the family's chauffeurs and the respectable chauffeur side of a stable hand's job would have definitely been an upgrade to mucking out the horses. Some of the richer families however could afford to employ a member of staff whose sole job was to be a chauffeur.

As the motor industry took off and technology advanced, a chauffeur's role became slightly easier than the days of the stoker who had to make sure the fire never went out. Before the modern day electrical ignition, chauffeurs used to pre heat the cylinder heads with hot tubes before every journey. This ensured the cylinder heads reached the correct temperature so the engine would fire. Naturally, this meant that a chauffeur had to be a skilled mechanic to be able to maintain the vehicle and to be able to deal with any eventuality along the journey like a breakdown, punctured tyre etc.

Nowadays chauffeurs can enjoy taking clients on journeys in cars which are a world away from the horse and cart. Modern cars are now more and more luxurious and the attention to detail throughout is second to none. A chauffeur's car is usually an executive model and these tend to be a long wheel based version of an Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Bentley or Maybach to name just a few. The car and the service the driver provides is the difference between just a taxi driver and a chauffeur driven car.

Eat Out to Help Out is coming to an end - here are some restaurants that will still offer the discount

A number of chains and independent restaurants will continue to offer 50% off food when the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme ends.

Here are some of the restaurants that will continue the discount:

  • Applebee's Fish in Borough Market, London, will be continuing the offer on food throughout September
  • Hall and Woodhouse, which operates over 250 pubs across the south of England, will offer the discount at most of its venues until 30 September
  • The Signature Pub Group, which has venues across Scotland, will continue to offer the discount
  • Daquise, London's oldest Polish restaurant, will continue to offer the deal throughout September
  • Mamucium near Manchester Victoria station is offering 50% off throughout next month
  • Lusitania, a Portuguese and Mediterranean restaurant in Wandsworth Road, will continue to offer the discount next month
  • Lady of the Grapes wine bar in Covent Garden is offering the deal throughout September
  • The Refuge in Manchester is continuing the deal into September
  • Jose Pizarro, a Spanish restaurant chain in London, will keep the offer going in September
  • Toby Carvery is offering a 50% discount on main meals only until 9 September
  • True North Brew Co, which runs 12 venues across Yorkshire, will keep offering the discount until 30 September
  • Harvester is offering a 50% discount on main meals only until 9 September
  • Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery is offering a 50% discount on main meals only until 9 September
  • The Coconut Tree, a Sri Lankan food chain with venues across the UK, is extending the deal throughout September
  • 56 North, a bar in restaurant in Edinburgh, has decided to continue offering the discount on food into September
  • Peru Perdu, a Peruvian-inspired restaurant in Manchester, has said it will continue offering the 50% discount throughout September
  • Craft Dining Room, led by renowned chef Andrew Sheridan in Birmingham, will be offering the discount on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout September
  • SIX, a skyline bar and restaurant in Cambridge, will continue offering the discount throughout September
  • Harleys Smokehouse, a barbecue restaurant in Staffordshire, will continue offering the discount in September
  • Brindisa, a Spanish restaurant chain, will continue the offer into September
  • The Comptoir and Roka in Mayfair will continue to offer the discount
  • Gaucho, a chain of steak restaurants, is continuing the discount into September
  • The Thomas Cubitt pub and Peggy Porschen cafe in Belgravia will both extend the price-reduction into September

'Triple lock' testing will save travel

A 'triple lock' system of free Covid testing is needed to re-start tourism, a tour operator has said in an open letter.

Luxury Travel Operator Lusso proposes a pre-travel test, followed by another before return to the UK and a third days after travellers are back home. The mandatory third test would trigger a refund of testing costs and be enforced by a heavy penalty.

Lusso operations director Mark Hibbert said the UK government already had testing facilities set up that were under-used and which could be employed to screen travellers.

The cost of testing is likely to be considerable, but Hibbert said: "There's also the cost of thousands of people being made redundant because the industry is at a standstill – what's that compared with baling out an airline?"

In the letter, Lusso said it believed many overseas destinations would waive the cost of testing as a stimulus to the industry, while the UK should see the suggestion as promoting inbound tourism.

Hibbert said: "It's an open letter to start a conversation; it's been sent to Abta, a few ministers and local MPs.

"APD holidays and extended furloughs are beneficial, but I'm trying to get to grips with how we re-start travel. Increased testing has to be the way forward, but people don't seem to be talking about it apart from individual airlines."

The letter said the government "is failing to understand that without a thriving outbound tourism sector there is significant damage caused to inbound tourism".

"Other countries are getting to grips with inbound tourism, but our government does not seem to be interested," Hibbert said. He added UK operators were "sat here bleeding to death" without any revenue.

"If there is any kind of will to keep travel sustainable it needs to be sorted out. The only way the government is handling it at the moment is by saying 'just don't travel'."

Lusso said it was also concerned about FCO advice. The letter said:

"It is currently being used in a broad-brush approach and should not include knee-jerk reactions and blanket bans on areas with similar if not lower infection rates than our own. FCO advice against all but essential travel is not currently fit for purpose and should be reserved for areas of high risk.

"This needs urgent review, as huge areas of the world are restricted to travel, currently many with lower infection rates than the UK."

Credit: www.ttgmedia.com

Coronavirus: New face covering rules in force in England

Face coverings are now compulsory for customers in shops in England, after new coronavirus rules came into force within 12 hours of the government issuing guidance on the change.

Coverings are mandatory in enclosed public spaces such as supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, transport hubs, banks and takeaways. Police can hand out fines of up to £100 to those who do not comply.

According to guidance issued by the government on Thursday for England, staff in premises where face coverings are required are encouraged to take steps to "promote compliance with the law" and can refuse entry to people who do not have a valid exemption under the rules.

But the government says it was the responsibility of individuals to wear a covering.

Police will be able to "use force" to remove customers from shops if they do not wear face coverings, or to prevent them from entering, according to the College of Policing.

In Scotland, where face coverings in shops became compulsory on 10 July, one person has been fined for failing to wear one.

How not to wear a face mask

There are exemptions to the new rules for children under 11, those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.

Public Health England has warned parents not to buy coverings for babies and young children because of the risk of choking or suffocation.

Masks will not be mandatory in indoor venues that have other safety measures in place, including:

  • Eat-in restaurants
  • Pubs
  • Hairdressers and salons
  • Gyms and leisure centres
  • Cinemas, concert halls and theatres
  • Visitor attractions such as museums
  • Libraries

Coronavirus: UK quarantine rules end for travellers from dozens of countries

Quarantine rules end today for people travelling to the UK from more than 70 countries and British Overseas Territories. People will no longer have to isolate for 14 days but they will still have to provide an address where they are staying.

The rules cover people arriving by air, sea or train, and also include UK nationals.But now travellers arriving into England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 58 countries and 14 British Overseas Territories deemed low risk are exempted.The full list is featured below and includes many popular European holiday destinations such as France, Croatia and Spain.

Countries not on the list include the US, Canada, Portugal, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.

The changes come into force in Wales and England today, with Northern Ireland's first minister saying the switch would also hopefully take effect there on Friday.

The countries now exempted from quarantine measures are:

Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda
Aruba
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Barbados
Belgium
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
Croatia
Curaçao
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominica
Faroe Islands
Fiji
Finland
France
French Polynesia
Germany
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macau
Malta
Mauritius
Monaco
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Norway
Poland
Reunion
San Marino
Seychelles
South Korea
Spain
St Barthelemy
St Kitts and Nevis
St Lucia
St Pierre and Miquelon
Switzerland
Taiwan
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey
Vatican City
Vietnam

WHAT BETTER WAY TO SPEND A SUMMER’S EVENING THAN A CONCERT AT SOMERSET HOUSE

From the 6th July to 16th July spoil yourself to an unforgettable evening of music and magic whilst enjoying these live alfresco concerts in the shadow of the iconic Somerset House. International musical celebrities will be performing under the stars, each with their unique genre, making this the most incredible event in London this season. From the soothing tones of Norah Jones to the upbeat reggae of Damian Marley this summer series of concerts will surely have something for everyone!

If you need to book one of London's most trusted and reliable taxi services to get to or from Somerset House, look no further than REAL Transfers. Click here to book your London car transfer

VISIT FRIEZE SCULPTURE 2017 IN REGENT’S PARK

What better way to spend a day than wandering around a beautiful garden, absorbing the form and structure of unique artistry – both contemporary and modern - all set in the heart of one of London's most iconic landmarks. From the 5th of July to the 8th October Regent's Park English garden is the venue for this splendid outdoor exhibition of sculptures by internationally acclaimed artists and is the forerunner to art fairs due to open in October.

If you fancy a glass or two of champagne or Pimms, don't want the hassle of public transport or the stress of trying to find a car parking space. Let REAL drop you off or pick you up – book you luxury car today.

GATWICK PLANS FOR FUTURE EXPANSION

Despite the Sir Howard Davies report recommending that building a new runway at Heathrow rather than Gatwick will improve the UK's airport capacity, Gatwick, the UK's second-largest airport has announced aggressive expansion plans. The £2.5 billion investment programme announced by Gatwick heaps further pressure onto Heathrow with the Government finally expected to make its choice by the summer.

REAL is one of London's leading airport taxi specialists and though we offer a large variety of transfers from London to UK destinations, our Gatwick taxi service and Gatwick executive car service are two of our most popular. To reserve your London to Gatwick taxi or luxury car today go online and complete your booking by filling in your transfer details on the easy to use online form. If you would prefer to speak to someone in person you can call us on +44 (0) 208 240 4456 and one of our friendly and professional operators will be able to assist.

SKI LIFT AND REAL JOIN UP TOGETHER

REAL are hugely excited to announce that they will be working with Ski-Lifts to provide their clients with UK based London Airport taxis.

Ski-Lifts specialise in the provision of airport transfers to ski resorts throughout Europe and North America. They have been operating since 2003 and have just been recognised by the World Ski Awards as the World's Best Ski Transfer Operator. You can book a range of transfers, from economy to luxury, to over 200 ski resorts, from more than 20 different airports and train stations.

Ozcan Ahmet, REAL's Director, said "As both companies ethos' are closely aligned this is a fantastic opportunity for REAL and Ski-Lifts to work closely together to provide their customers the complete car transfer package. We are confident that REAL commitment to excellence, quality and customer service will mean that all their London Airport car transfer needs will be taken care of".

GATWICK OR HEATHROW – THE DEBATE CONTINUES

With the debate still raging on whether it will be Gatwick or Heathrow that will be granted permission to build a new runway both airports had their busiest March yet.

Heathrow handled 5.95 million passengers in March, a 3.4% increase on March 2014, while Gatwick's numbers rose 9.2% to 2.95 million.

The History of the Chauffeur – It's a Horse and Cart Business!

The term 'chauffeur' has been around since 1896 and it originated from the French word for 'stoker'. Stokers were employed to stoke (feed coal to) the engines of the first vehicles that used steam powered engines such as locomotives or steamships. They used coal to heat a boiler which would then create enough steam to move the working parts in the engine, and then the wheels would turn to start a steam powered vehicle on its journey. Stokers, in essence, powered the vehicle so the journey could go ahead. Although today's chauffeurs do not literally power their vehicles they still get people from A to B like stokers once did.

Chauffeurs have been around longer than steam powered engines have been though, and they began with the humble horse and cart. As the upper class moved around the country they wanted to do this in luxury and style so they employed the equivalent to a modern day chauffeur to man their means of transportation and get them around whilst they stayed warm, safe and comfortable inside the carriage. These employees were typically stable hands that doubled as the family's chauffeurs and the respectable chauffeur side of a stable hand's job would have definitely been an upgrade to mucking out the horses. Some of the richer families however could afford to employ a member of staff whose sole job was to be a chauffeur.

As the motor industry took off and technology advanced, a chauffeur's role became slightly easier than the days of the stoker who had to make sure the fire never went out. Before the modern day electrical ignition, chauffeurs used to pre heat the cylinder heads with hot tubes before every journey. This ensured the cylinder heads reached the correct temperature so the engine would fire. Naturally, this meant that a chauffeur had to be a skilled mechanic to be able to maintain the vehicle and to be able to deal with any eventuality along the journey like a breakdown, punctured tyre etc.

Nowadays chauffeurs can enjoy taking clients on journeys in cars which are a world away from the horse and cart. Modern cars are now more and more luxurious and the attention to detail throughout is second to none. A chauffeur's car is usually an executive model and these tend to be a long wheel based version of an Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Bentley or Maybach to name just a few. The car and the service the driver provides is the difference between just a taxi driver and a chauffeur driven car.

The weirdest and funniest taxi stories revealed

Whether they're putting their foot down to get you to work on time or working the late shift to get you home safe from a night out, London's taxi drivers are a much-loved and much-needed part of everyday life. But just how much do we really know about our four-wheeled heroes?

To help shine a light on the day-to-day lives of UK cabbies, Swinton Insurance asked 46 drivers, based everywhere from Edinburgh to London, a series of questions about their careers. From their first year driving to a whopping 36 years on the job, you can be sure that they had plenty of stories to tell.

We've picked out the weirdest and most wonderful stories to help give you an idea what a day driving the British public from A to B is really like. So, if you're curious about what your taxi driver has in their lunch box or want to know the strange requests they get when on a daily basis, then read on to find out…

What does your daily work routine look like?

While most of us are settled into the usual 9-to-5 workday, this isn't the case for our cabbies. We found that most of our case studies worked the night shift, which mainly consists of the early AM. No surprise then that coffee breaks were mentioned on a lot of occasions.

One Glasgow taxi driver had this to say, "My usual workday is 6pm—6am… so if I'm not driving a customer I'm usually drinking coffee."

A huge factor that can make a difference to a driver's routine is whether or not you own your own cab, as a couple of our case studies do. This gives you a lot more freedom to pick the hours you work, as a Paisley case study said ,"I own my cab so I only work the busy hours and then go home."

What's the longest journey you've ever had in one single customer trip?

For those of us who are used to catching a taxi to the airport, or from the city centre to our homes, it can be hard to imagine travelling cross country in a cab. However, it turns out that this is more common than you think. In fact, four of our case studies have had the gruelling task of making the 220-mile journey from Glasgow to Liverpool. One dedicated driver even quoted their longest fare as 980 miles…

What do you tend to eat whilst on shift?

Getting something to eat while on the road is no easy task, but to stay awake and alert (especially in the early hours,) it's a vital one. When your job requires you to spend constant hours sitting down, it comes as no surprise that you might want to put some thought into your diet. As an Edinburgh cabbie put it: "Sitting down all night isn't the best for your health, so I try to keep my diet as healthy as possible. I tend to have water and fruit in the car during a shift to keep me going."

That doesn't mean that there isn't time for the odd treat though. One case study from Bromsgrove answered: "Usually a quick sandwich and the odd jaffa cake, but we do have kebab Tuesday in our office!"

What's the weirdest customer request you've ever had?

Working with the public day in, day out is as unpredictable as you'd imagine it to be. Sometimes a trip isn't as simple as picking someone up and dropping them off at work. While you may expect a dinner invite here and there, as a couple of our case studies experienced, some customers went even further. When asked the question, one Glasgow driver responded: "I've had lots of strange experiences! The weirdest one has to be the time I was invited to a wedding after only speaking to the customer for about 3 minutes." Surprisingly, this isn't the most intimate request that was reported. One driver recalls: "A client once asked if I could put their shoes and socks on for them…"

It would seem many clients also consider themselves to be part-time DJs. A driver with 7 years on the job quotes his strangest request as: "Being asked to play 'Titanic' whilst driving a customer home from a night out."

What's the most memorable moment of your taxi career so far?

Such strange requests make for pretty memorable shifts, so picking a standout moment can be quite a struggle. When asked to choose just one, the answers ranged from the dangerous to the heart-warming.

This moment from a Livingston-based driver is enough to leave anyone shaken: "I used to work for a private hire prior to getting my black cab license. One of my customers at the time requested to go to an address with warehouses and then got a knife out and demanded me to hand over all my money made. it shook me but made me determined to get my black cab license to ensure my safety."

Many responses highlighted the fact that cabbies can take on unforeseen roles. This can often be the role of an ambulance driver, as three drivers found when taking pregnant women to hospital to give birth — with one Sunderland respondent actually helping the lady give birth to twins. Or, it can be the role of a relationship expert, as a Glasgow driver found when helping a man pick out a ring for his soon-to-be fiancée.

The job is always worth it though when certain clients show their gratitude. One Cheltenham driver recalls, "I once helped a woman out who didn't have the fare for the journey at the time. She ended up looking for me and 8 weeks later found me and wanted to pay."

In some cases, you can even make a friend for life as this Bromsgrove cabbie found out: "I left one private hire company to work for another. One of my regulars gave me a big hug and thanked me for the time I took to talk to her and her husband. He'd recently had a stroke and I'd always taken the time to listen to both of them whenever I picked them up. I still speak to both of them now."

Have you ever picked up a celebrity? If so, who?

One perk of being such a widely used service is that sometimes your cab-seat can end up being star-studded. Plenty of our case studies have driven a celebrity or two in their time. From the two Scottish drivers who have shared their cab with comedian Billy Connolly, to the Newcastle based driver who has given a ride to the Geordie Shore cast, the celebrity sightings are plenty.

It also seems the wizards of the world have to put down their broomsticks from time to time, as one Edinburgh cabbie reported giving a lift to author JK Rowling, while another has shared a seat with Harry Potter himself — Daniel Radcliffe!

Do you feel there is a sense of community in the taxi industry? If so, how?

While we've learned that clients can be unpredictable, we also wanted to know more about the relationship between cab drivers and their community and, for the most part, responses were positive.

A theme that recurred throughout our case studies was that the community isn't as strong as it used to be. One touching response from a Norwich based driver, who has been in the industry for 34-years said, "There's not as much of a sense of community now, but I'll never forget the 100 taxis that turned up to follow my dad's hearse to the chapel. This is something we always used to do when a fellow driver passed away. We still do it today, but smaller numbers turn up now.

"A factor that seems to be dividing the community is the separation between black cabs and private hires. As one driver of ten years put it: "I think there are two different taxi communities, one made up of black cabs and one of Uber drivers. Saying this, there is mutual respect for everyone. It's a tough job sometimes, so we'll all sympathise with one another.

"Of course, your experience can depend on where it is you're based. Our Bromstage respondent quoted: "Oh yes, where I work most drivers know each other by sight and exchange banter with each other on a daily basis!"

What's the highlight of your job?

With all its ups and downs — and plenty of challenges — it's important for cabbies to remember what it is they love about their job and why they stick with it. Nearly every driver we spoke to cited meeting interesting people every day and being their own boss as their top perks. As one Edinburgh driver summarized, they enjoy the freedom of "Being able to work for myself and have lots of interaction with the public."

This freedom allows for incredible benefits when it comes to family, a driver of 4 years quoted their highlight as: "Being able to be there for all the plays and football practices of my two kids because of my flexibility."

Credit www.londonlovesbusiness.com


Italian Student Stranded in Spain Finds Hero in Cab Driver Who Drove Her 900 Miles Home for Free

A young Italian student trapped in Spain during the novel coronavirus outbreaks was recently driven 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) home for free by a young Spanish cab driver.

22-year-old Giada Collalto had been living in the Spanish city of Bilbao as part of a European language studies course when—unfortunately for her and thousands of others—the COVID-19 outbreaks left her quarantined without hope of getting home. After a series of remarkable misfortunes, it was a stroke of luck in the opposite direction that got her safely back to her family in Venice.

After word of the outbreak in Italy reached Ms. Collalto in Bilbao, she decided to wait and see what would happen. But in mid-March the semester was prematurely ended, and lectures began to be broadcast online.

Studying abroad doesn't make much sense if you are stuck in your apartment staring at a computer screen, and with the possibility of COVID-19 being the next historic influenza, Collalto became determined to return home.

She managed to purchase a plane ticket from Madrid to Paris to Rome, then to Venice on April 8. However, the Italian government had already implemented the harshest quarantine measures, including a 200-meter restriction of travel around one's house even in rural areas, and a flight attendant informed her she was not permitted to travel home.

Aside from being stranded in a foreign country, she was now stranded in a foreign city: Madrid.

"I was desperate and angry, my parents were worried but couldn't do anything to help me. I called the embassy and they told to me to send an email. All hotels in Madrid were closed, with no public transport to go back to Bilbao," she said.

A friend of hers from Bilbao contacted a taxi driver, a 22 year-old man named Kepa Amantegi.

"He immediately said he was available to come to pick me up and he drove nine hours from Bilbao to Madrid and back," Kepa said.

However, when she returned, she was informed that her apartment was no longer available, whereupon Kepa invited her to spend the night.

"His parents and his two sisters welcomed me as a member of the family, I will never forget their kindness," Collalto recalled.

The next morning she and her new friend Kepa pondered if it were possible to simply drive the 1,500 km back to Venice.

"We called the local authorities and, as incredible as it may seem, we got all the necessary authorizations. I was allowed since I was traveling back home and he, as a taxi driver, was allowed because of his work," she explained, adding that he asked nothing in return for the 3,000 kilometer round trip.

"I insisted on paying him but he said, 'I don't want to get advantage of you, I see you are in a difficult situation, don't worry about the cost'," Kepa said.

Kepa stayed overnight at Collalto's parent's house in Montebello, returning home the following day with a towering tote bag of treats from the region—grappa, wine, and chocolate

"It's something I will never forget, I was a complete stranger to this young man," she said, also telling CNN, "I think this pandemic can bring out the best in people."

Credit: www.goodnewsnetwork.org

What you can and can't do after 4 July 2020 (Super Saturday)?

With COVID-19 still around, the UK are getting ready for restrictions being lifted as well as change to the social distancing rule which will help to boost the economy

For people in the most vulnerable category shielding must continue.

  • Q: Does easing restrictions apply to 70 year olds and over?
  • A: Yes. However, the advice for those aged 70 and over continues to be that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household. If they do go out, they should be careful to maintain distance from others. They and everyone should continue to comply with any general social distancing restrictions.

Social distancing changing from 2m to 1m plus and what can be done to help reduce the risk of catching the virus?

  • Wear a mask in busy areas
  • Wash or sanitise hands frequently
  • Don't stand or talk face-to-face
  • Limit times you spend in shops and businesses.

From 4th July 2020 you can:

  • Meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household - you can meet with different households at different times.

Following businesses are allowed to open:

  • Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
  • Places of worship
  • Libraries
  • Community Centres
  • Restaurants, cafes, workplace canteens, bars, pubs that are self-contained and can be accessed from the outside
  • Hair salons and barbers, including mobile businesses
  • Cinemas
  • Theaters and concert halls
  • Funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities
  • Outdoor gyms and playgrounds
  • Museums and galleries
  • Bingo halls
  • Outdoor skating rinks
  • Amusement arcades and other entertainment centres
  • Model villages
  • Social clubs
  • Indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction
  • Indoor and outdoor areas of visitor attractions including, gardens, heritage sites, film studios and landmarks
  • You will also be able to stay overnight away from the place where you are living.
  • Weddings and civil partnerships will be allowed to take place. You should only invite close friends and family, up to a maximum of 30 people.
  • Places of worship can open for services and group prayers

What can't open from July 4, 2020?

The following businesses remain closed still:

  • Casinos
  • Nightclubs
  • Bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks
  • Indoor play areas including soft-play
  • Spas
  • Nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons
  • Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours
  • Indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities
  • Swimming pools and water parks
  • Exhibition or conference centres - where they are to be used for Exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for that venue.

Information source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do-after-4-july

ONE IN FIVE UK ADULTS HAVE NEVER BEEN ON A PLANE

A recent study conducted by the search engine Kayak has identified that a fifth of adults in Britain have never flown. The study also revealed that nearly one in ten of us have never been abroad. The top reasons for not travelling overseas included being too expensive and complicated. The study also divulged that the most popular destination is to go on safari.

This year if you are going on holiday and are flying from one of London's airports then REAL would be delighted to get you there on time and in style. Therefore, whether it is your first or thousandth trip book your London airport car transfer with us today.

'Rapid' pre-flight testing option being offered at Heathrow

The UK's first "rapid result" pre-departure Covid testing has been made available for passengers flying out of Heathrow from Today (20 October).

Travellers flying from the London airport to Hong Kong and Italy will have the option of paying for a test before checking in.

It costs £80 and the result is guaranteed within an hour, with the aim to help passengers travelling to countries where proof of a negative Covid test result is required on arrival.

The rapid saliva swab, available at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5 through a purpose-built facility run by Collinson and Swissport, is known as a Lamp (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) test.

It is quicker than a PCR test because the sample does not need to be sent to a laboratory. However Collinson said the Lamp test is "slightly less sensitive" than the PCR version.

Although Lamp is considered to be much better than the antigen test option. Despite this development in the UK's testing capabilities, the new facility is only for passengers flying out of Heathrow as the government has not yet given its backing to testing travellers on arrival.

Speaking at Airlines 2050 on Monday (19 October) transport secretary Grant Shapps assured the aviation sector government was looking at developing two systems – a domestic "test and release" scheme for arrivals and a wider international strategy to suit more frequent flyers in which testing would be recognised and valid across different countries.


Credit www.ttgmedia.com


Portsmouth welcomes first cruise call since Covid

Portsmouth has become the first UK port to manage a cruise ship turnaround since the Covid pandemic saw sailings suspended.

SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream 1 stopped to pick up passengers on Monday (19 October) for a transatlantic voyage to the Caribbean.

The 112-guest vessel welcomed 19 passengers, following strict health protocols – including the use of coronavirus testing 72 hours before embarking and immediately before boarding, alongside "extensive cleaning and sanitation regimes".

In addition, all crew members are certified for the WHO's Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for novel coronavirus course and Covid-19 Contact tracing course from Johns Hopkins University.

SeaDream 1 had previously called at Oslo and Rotterdam en route to the UK as part of a 21-day trip to Bridgetown in Barbados. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portsmouth port said it had "implemented enhanced protocols" including a reconfigured terminal layout to maximise social distancing and was the UK's first port to install a thermal imaging camera. Operations on Monday followed the UK Chamber of Shipping's recently released cruise restart framework.

Head of operations Ian Diaper said: "It's testament to everyone's hard work that SeaDream was confident to use Portsmouth as the first UK port to manage a turnaround call since sailings were suspended.

"It was great to see a cruise ship in the port once more and pleased to see operations go to plan. We're experienced at managing passengers in a Covid secure way, with ferry sailings taking place regularly since July following strict protocols.

"This had given us insight for what's required and we're ready to help the industry recover when cruise returns to its full capacity."

Credit:www.ttgmedia.com

What you can and cannot do after 10pm as new curfew rules come in

Coronavirus restrictions are being tightened once again in the wake of a surge in cases – with Boris Johnson's 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants. Just what can you and can't you do after 10pm?

Here's what you need to know.

What can't you do after 10pm?

This, according to the new rules, is what you won't be able to do after 10pm:

Go to a pub, bar or restaurant – the new rules state that these must close their doors by 10pm (as opposed to being the time for last orders).

Get a takeaway in person – takeaways are also subject to the curfew, meaning that they will also be closed to customers after 10pm.

Go to a hotel bar – hotel bars and restaurants are also set to close at 10pm, although obviously guests are allowed to remain in the hotel

Go to a skating rink or bowling alley – they will be closing at 10pm too

In addition to the rules, pubs, bars and restaurants are only allowed to have table service, and the rules around face coverings have also been tightened – you'll now have to wear one inside a venue except when seated at a table to eat or drink (so you'll need it if you get up to use the toilet, for example).

What can you do after 10pm?

It's not all bad news, as there are still some things you can do after 10pm:

Go to your friends or family's house – as long as you are not in a local lockdown area where visits to other people's homes are off-limits, you can go to someone's house after the pub closes to continue socialising there (as long as there are only six of you in total as per the Rule of Six). However you should note that you can only do this in England – Scotland and Northern Ireland have banned households from mixing indoors, while six can gather in Wales as long as they are part of one extended household.

Order a delivery or get a drive-thru takeaway – while takeaways may be closed to walk-in customers they are allowed to stay open later for deliveries and drive-through orders, so you can still get a late night snack if you want it.

Go to the gym – gyms are exempt from the curfew, as they have their own Covid-secure guidelines – so your late-night workout is safe.

Go to the cinema or theatre – cinemas and theatres are exempt from closing their doors by 10pm, as long as screenings or performances begin before this time – with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirming that 'performances may run over the 10pm deadline'. However the venues must stop serving food and drink by 10pm.

Eat Out to Help Out is coming to an end - here are some restaurants that will still offer the discount

A number of chains and independent restaurants will continue to offer 50% off food when the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme ends.

Here are some of the restaurants that will continue the discount:

  • Applebee's Fish in Borough Market, London, will be continuing the offer on food throughout September
  • Hall and Woodhouse, which operates over 250 pubs across the south of England, will offer the discount at most of its venues until 30 September
  • The Signature Pub Group, which has venues across Scotland, will continue to offer the discount
  • Daquise, London's oldest Polish restaurant, will continue to offer the deal throughout September
  • Mamucium near Manchester Victoria station is offering 50% off throughout next month
  • Lusitania, a Portuguese and Mediterranean restaurant in Wandsworth Road, will continue to offer the discount next month
  • Lady of the Grapes wine bar in Covent Garden is offering the deal throughout September
  • The Refuge in Manchester is continuing the deal into September
  • Jose Pizarro, a Spanish restaurant chain in London, will keep the offer going in September
  • Toby Carvery is offering a 50% discount on main meals only until 9 September
  • True North Brew Co, which runs 12 venues across Yorkshire, will keep offering the discount until 30 September
  • Harvester is offering a 50% discount on main meals only until 9 September
  • Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery is offering a 50% discount on main meals only until 9 September
  • The Coconut Tree, a Sri Lankan food chain with venues across the UK, is extending the deal throughout September
  • 56 North, a bar in restaurant in Edinburgh, has decided to continue offering the discount on food into September
  • Peru Perdu, a Peruvian-inspired restaurant in Manchester, has said it will continue offering the 50% discount throughout September
  • Craft Dining Room, led by renowned chef Andrew Sheridan in Birmingham, will be offering the discount on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout September
  • SIX, a skyline bar and restaurant in Cambridge, will continue offering the discount throughout September
  • Harleys Smokehouse, a barbecue restaurant in Staffordshire, will continue offering the discount in September
  • Brindisa, a Spanish restaurant chain, will continue the offer into September
  • The Comptoir and Roka in Mayfair will continue to offer the discount
  • Gaucho, a chain of steak restaurants, is continuing the discount into September
  • The Thomas Cubitt pub and Peggy Porschen cafe in Belgravia will both extend the price-reduction into September

The Mental Health Wellness Checklist

Here is what we would recommend for keeping positive mental health and all round wellness. Everyone has their own tips that help them and we are just sharing what we know to have helped us and our drivers and others we interact with.

What does positive and good mental health mean? It means taking care of your mind and body so you can live life to the full and at your absolute best.

All too many of us in every society suffer with depression or anxiety disorders including OCD and PTSD, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, eating disorders, drug/alcohol addiction- the list goes on. And even more so in the new world we find ourselves today with COVID19.

Illness is a part of being human, whether it is in our genes or created by our environment - or both. 1 in 4 of us are estimated to struggle with mental health difficulties and in truth the number is most likely higher. Medication and psychotherapy has become a regular part of daily life for many, even if not openly talked about due to stigma.

Here is what we would recommend for keeping positive mental health and all round wellness.

1) Support Network - having someone to talk to. Whether its one friend, a family member or an extended support network on or offline, talking to those you love and who care for you is vital. If you need further support there are charities like the Samaritans - who are always on hand to listen on their helpline. Mind charity are also an amazing support and resource and check out Rethink Mental Illness. All promote a non stigmatised view of mental illness and a listening ear.

If you are lucky to have a good, stable support network- utilise it. Your friends and/or family are so important at promoting happiness and keeping you well, if they in turn are a calming, stable influence.

Don't suffer in silence - Tell someone you trust how bad you are feeling. Share your thoughts.

2) Waking up earlier - Try and get up an hour earlier in the morning to kick-start your day. While easier if you are not suffering with severe depression, this has so many positive effects on your day and can promote a healthier attitude to your day if practiced regularly .

3) Get washed and dressed in the morning (even if you don't feel like it when depressed). It can alter your mood for a little while and prepare you for the day, keeping you focused so that you can get through the day.

4) Set 3 small achievable goals in your day. This can be anything from going for a walk, cooking a meal, calling a friend to securing that business deal. Remember the goals must feel achievable to you.

5) Exercise. I am not a big fan of exercise - but even moving around a little can change your mindset. Build it up slowly and if you prefer to exercise at home rather than at a gym - do so. Exercise promotes serotonin 'the natural 'happy chemical' in the brain and has a variety of health benefits.

6) Eating and resting well. Diet plays a big part in your mood. If you haven't eaten you will often feel lower or more anxious. Equally, sleep- at least 6-8 hours, is extremely important in healing your mind and soul.

7) Gratitude - Write 3 things each day that you are thankful and grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal can be extremely rewarding.

These may seem like very simple recommendations but if practiced regularly, they can go along way to helping your keep and promote a positive mindset.

Keep it REAL.

AT LAST THE SNOW HAS STARTED TO FALL – SO GRAB YOUR SKI’S

It has been a long time coming but to the relief of many ski enthusiasts at last the snow has started to blanket the many Ski resorts across Europe. After an unprecedented early season 'snow' drought forecasters are expecting up to 2 metres of the "white stuff" to fall across the mountains of France, Austria and Switzerland. As levels were 30-40cm lower than average this wave of fresh snow is great news for the coming ski season and means improved ski conditions till the end of the season.

Jetting off to Morzine, Val d'Isere, Chamonix or another ski resort? Then let REAL get you to the airport safely and in comfort with all your ski equipment and luggage. With a large range of 8 seater vehicles we can accommodate all of you and your group's requirements. Book your luxury car service to Heathrow, Gatwick, London City or Stansted and get 20% off all luxury car transfers.

PRIVATE LUXURY CAR SERVICE FROM LONDON TO WINDSOR CASTLE

Not only is it the Queen's favourite home, Windsor Castle, the royal residence in Berkshire, has also recently topped a UK poll as the most popular British Castle.

To see why Windsor Castle is the most popular British Castle book one of REAL's private luxury cars from London to Windsor Castle. REAL offers 16 memorable excursions meaning visiting one of the UK's top tourist attractions in your very own private, luxury vehicle has never been easier. However, if there is a specific excursion you require and it isn't on our list we would be more than happy to work with you to prepare the perfect itinerary.

REAL is currently offering £50 off all luxury car excursions. To take advantage of this great offer please call the REAL team on +44 (0) 208 240 4456 quoting REALEXC016.

A ‘REAL’ OFFER - £50 OFF REAL’S PRIVATE CAR EXCURSIONS

The sun is trying to come out, sunglasses have been taken out of the drawer and dusted off and the school holidays are fast approaching - so what better way to celebrate the start of summer by visiting one of the UK's best tourist attractions in a beautiful luxury car.

The REAL team loves the summer and would therefore like to offer all our customers £50 off one of our memorable excursions. Whether it is a car tour around London, a trip to Stonehenge or a visit to Leeds Castle, with 16 memorable excursions to choose from visiting one of the UK's top tourist attractions in your very own private, luxury vehicle has never been easier. Alternatively if you want to organise a bespoke tour of your own just let us know, and we will work with you to prepare the perfect itinerary.

To receive £50 off your luxury car excursion call the REAL team on +44 (0) 208 240 4456 quoting REALEXC016.

REAL TEAMS UP WITH THE CASUAL DINING GROUP TO LAUNCH HEATHROW RESTAURANT DISCOUNT CODES

REAL, one of London's premier taxi and luxury car transfer companies, is extremely pleased to announce they have teamed up with The Casual Dining Group, operator of some of the UK's favourite restaurant brands, to launch some great dining discounts at their Heathrow restaurants.

Get ready for some delicious food at Heathrow and receive 10% off Strada (Terminal 3), Oriel (Terminal 3), Café Rouge (Terminal 4) & Huxleys (Terminal 5) or 15% off at La Salle (Terminal 2) - with a choice of French, British & Italian food, there's something to suit everyone! To receive the discount off your bill all you need to do is present a copy of your REAL booking confirmation.

REAL is succeeding by doing it better through quality service and focusing on our customers' needs and working with great companies, such as The Casual Dining Group, to offer our passengers the ultimate transfer experience. To book your London to Heathrow taxi or luxury car, book online or call 0208 240 4456 and speak to one of REAL team.

THE BEST LONDON & SURREY LUXURY WEDDING CARS

A recent survey has revealed that the number of women getting married has fallen to a record low. Just 2.5% of women and just over 2.1% of men in England and Wales tied the knot in 2013. Data from the Office for National Statistics has shown that it is the lowest since records began in 1991 – with 240,000 marriages, a drop of 8.6 per cent in 2013.

However, even though the overall number of weddings have decreased REAL are delighted to announce that they have seen considerable growth in their luxury wedding car services in London and Surrey. Everyone at REAL is committed to ensuring we take the stress out of booking a London luxury wedding car service. All our luxury wedding car services include:

  • A highly professional, experienced and friendly driver who is absolutely focused on ensuring your day goes perfectly
  • A choice of vehicle from our luxury fleet
  • A luxury vehicle decorated with a choice of suitable ribbons to fit your wedding theme
  • A totally flexible service to fit around your special day. This includes the ability to choose different vehicles for your guests
  • Total confidence that you will arrive at your destination on time (though, as the bride you have the prerogative to turn up fashionably late!), and in style
  • Attention to detail and outstanding customer service

Whether it is a car for the bride and groom, the best man, bridesmaids, family or friends call us today on +44 (0)208 240 4456 and let us take care of all your wedding car service needs.

Real. Rates
 Real. transferreal. plusReal. extra
W1 - Marble Arch / Piccadilly / Mayfair
London City Airport
£55
£72
£95
W1 - Marble Arch / Piccadilly / Mayfair
Gatwick Airport - South
£73
£90
£113
W1 - Marble Arch / Piccadilly / Mayfair
Oxford
£135
£152
£175
W1 - Marble Arch / Piccadilly / Mayfair
Southampton Cruise Terminal
£188
£205
£228
W1 - Marble Arch / Piccadilly / Mayfair
Heathrow Airport T3
£50
£67
£90

what you should know

As part of our commitment to simple, clear and transparent pricing for all REAL transfers the price booked is fixed and therefore no additional charges will be levied during periods of peak activity. For Airport and Train Terminal collections we will provide 30 minutes of free waiting time although additional waiting time beyond this period may be chargeable.

 Real. transferreal. plusReal. extra
Gatwick Airport - South
London City Airport
£90
£107
£130
Gatwick Airport - South
SW1 - Victoria
£80
£97
£120
Gatwick Airport - South
Heathrow Airport T3
£79
£96
£119
Gatwick Airport - South
W1 - Marble Arch / Piccadilly / Mayfair
£80
£97
£120

what you should know

As part of our commitment to simple, clear and transparent pricing for all REAL transfers the price booked is fixed and therefore no additional charges will be levied during periods of peak activity. For Airport and Train Terminal collections we will provide 30 minutes of free waiting time although additional waiting time beyond this period may be chargeable.

 Real. transferreal. plusReal. extra
Heathrow Airport T3
W1 - Marble Arch / Piccadilly / Mayfair
£57
£74
£97
Heathrow Airport T3
London City Airport
£80
£97
£120
Heathrow Airport T3
Gatwick Airport - South
£79
£96
£119
Heathrow Airport T3
Southampton Cruise Terminal
£148
£165
£188
Heathrow Airport T3
SW1 - Victoria
£55
£72
£95

what you should know

As part of our commitment to simple, clear and transparent pricing for all REAL transfers the price booked is fixed and therefore no additional charges will be levied during periods of peak activity. For Airport and Train Terminal collections we will provide 30 minutes of free waiting time although additional waiting time beyond this period may be chargeable.

 Real. transferreal. plusReal. extra
Gatwick Airport - South
London City Airport
£90
£107
£130
Heathrow Airport T3
London City Airport
£80
£97
£120
W1 - Marble Arch / Piccadilly / Mayfair
Gatwick Airport - South
£73
£90
£113
Heathrow Airport T3
Gatwick Airport - South
£79
£96
£119
W1 - Marble Arch / Piccadilly / Mayfair
Heathrow Airport T3
£50
£67
£90

what you should know

As part of our commitment to simple, clear and transparent pricing for all REAL transfers the price booked is fixed and therefore no additional charges will be levied during periods of peak activity. For Airport and Train Terminal collections we will provide 30 minutes of free waiting time although additional waiting time beyond this period may be chargeable.