Currency rates hit new low at airport bureaux de change

Posted on by CCKeith in Uncategorized Comments Off on Currency rates hit new low at airport bureaux de change

Travellers buying their currencies at UK airports are being offered as little as 86 euro cents to the pound.

Foreign exchange broker FairFx, which carried out a survey for the BBC, said this rate, from Moneycorp at Southampton airport, was the worst at any airport bureau de change.

The average euro rate across 16 big UK airports was higher, at 95 euro cents to the pound.

Ten months ago the average at these outlets stood at 99 euro cents. James Hickman, chief commercial officer at FairFX, said the fact that airport rates are so low – much worse even than at High Street banks – shows that the bureaux de change firms are taking advantage.

“In reality they are ripping off the customer, who is effectively captive as they have nowhere else to buy their money at an airport,” he said.

“At most airports and terminals individual companies have a monopoly.

“They should be regulated as there is simply no justification for charging someone 14% [the average margin between the tourist and money market rates] to change their pounds to euros,” he added. That margin is as high as 26% at Moneycorp’s Southampton airport outlet.

Pauline Maguire, Moneycorp’s retail director, said: “The reason for our higher airport rates is the significant cost associated with operating there – from ground rent and additional security, to the cost of staffing the bureaux for customers on early and late flights.”

“An easy and more cost-effective way for customers to buy travel money is to pre-order online and collect at the airport,” she said.

The best euro rate for tourists detected in the airport survey was 1.05 euros, from Travelex at Newcastle airport.

Wide variation

The average tourist rate for the pound against the US dollar is also very low.

Currently the average is $1.12 to the pound at UK airports, ranging from $1.05 at ICE at Norwich airport to $1.15 from Travelex at Heathrow Terminal 3.

Koko Sarkari, chief executive of ICE, which runs bureaux de change at Belfast, Birmingham, Heathrow and Luton airports, dismissed the idea his firm was exploiting a captive market.

“We work hard to keep our prices fair and competitive around the world,” he said.

“However, due to differences in distribution, costs of operation, regional competition and other factors such as ongoing volatility in the market, as we are experiencing now, online prices may not be the same as our ICE branch prices and prices may also vary between branches because of these factors.”

‘Brexit uncertainty’

One reason for the poor rates on offer to tourists is the continued decline of the pound on the foreign exchange markets, in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote.

The pound’s money market rate – the one at which banks buy and sell to each other – has dropped from $1.31 to $1.29 in the past 12 months.

Against the euro it has dropped much more in that time, from 1.18 euro to 1.08 euro.

Continuing Brexit uncertainty is feeding into sterling weakness, said Simon Derrick, a managing director at BNY Mellon.

Traders are looking to see what will happen over the next two months, with the attempted incorporation of EU law into UK legislation through the Great Repeal Bill, and EU negotiator Michel Barnier reporting back to the European Parliament on Brexit talks.

Sterling also hasn’t done that well in August after the Bank of England monetary policy committee voted to keep rates on hold – investors see no prospect of a rates rise any time soon, he said.

However, there are two sides to the story. The euro is also getting stronger because “the eurozone economy is really starting to show some signs of life,” he said.

Eurozone consumer confidence seems to be picking up, and investors think the ECB will start to tighten monetary policy as inflationary pressures build.


The worst airline for delays – and what you’re owed if your trip is affected

Posted on by CCKeith in Uncategorized Comments Off on The worst airline for delays – and what you’re owed if your trip is affected

Heathrow-Airport

Flights get delayed all the time – but not all airlines are happy about paying up afterwards. These are the worst (and best) airlines when it comes to disrupted travel. Every day at this time of year, the UK’s airports help to ferry hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers all around the world. And, while we all hope for a smooth start and end to our time away, sadly some peoples’ plans do get hit by late flights. In fact, recent research by consumer group Which? found that almost a quarter of flights out of UK airports are delayed by 15 minutes or more. But what happens if you are lumbered with a late flight? And who is going to sort you out most effectively if the worst happens?

That’s why I thought I’d go through your rights when your plane is delayed, and work out which airlines deal with their delays most effectively…

When can you claim?

There are 3 basic rules as to whether you’re entitled to compensation for a delays:

  1. The flight must be delayed by more than three hours, and the delay has to be compared to the time the flight is meant to arrive and not the time that it takes off (oh, and ‘arrival’ counts as the point at which the cabin crew open the doors… not when the plane touches down)
  2. The flight must take off from the UK or European Union. If it’s a long-haul flight into the UK/EU, it must be via a UK or European airline and the flight must be longer than 3,500km
  3. The issue must be ‘within the control of the airline’ (so bad weather or air-traffic control disputes are going to leave you without any compensation)

What you can claim for also has some fixed guidelines:

  • If the flight is less than 1,500km and the flight is more than three hours late, then you can claim €250
  • If the flight is between 1,500 and 3,000Km and the flight is more than three hours late, then you can claim €400
  • If the flight is more than 3,000km and leaving the EU, or is an EU airline flying into the UK and is between three and four hours late, then you could get back €300. (If it is more than four hours late, then you could expect up to €600.

 

But just because your flight delay should mean compensation, it doesn’t mean the airline will just hand it over.

Dealing with delays

Using unique insights from the tens of thousands of airline customers who raise their flight delay complaints via resolver.co.uk every month, I’ve looked at which airlines you’re most likely to complain about, and which will sort your issues out most effectively if you do…

The most commonly complained about airlines                                                                                                                   

  1. Ryanair
  2. British Airways
  3. Thomson Airways
  4. easyJet
  5. Thomas Cook Airlines
  6. Flybe
  7. Jet2
  8. Norwegian Air
  9. Vueling Airlines
  10.  Monarch

Of course, a lot of complaints, doesn’t mean a lot of unhappy people – so here are the satisfaction rankings (out of 10, where 10 is satisfied and 1 is very unsatisfied) too:

The best airlines at dealing with your delays

  1. Monarch 7
  2. British Airways 7
  3. Virgin Atlantic 7
  4. Thomson Airways 7
  5. Flybe 7
  6. KLM Royal Dutch 7
  7. Emirates 6
  8. Jet2 6
  9. Qatar Airways 6
  10. Air France 6

The worst airlines at dealing with your delays

  1. Vueling Airlines 4
  2. Turkish Airlines 4
  3. Norwegian Air 4
  4. Etihad Airways 5
  5. Wizz Air 5
  6. Lufthansa 5
  7. easyJet 5
  8. Ryanair 5
  9. American Airlines 5
  10. Delta Airlines 5

 


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