Hurricane Irene – advice for travellers.

Hurricane warnings are in place for parts of the Caribbean and the US as Hurricane Irene approaches. Hurricane Irene will pass over the north coastal areas of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas during 22 and 23 August, with strong winds and heavy rain affecting neighbouring regions.

A hurricane warning is in place for Turks and Caicos Islands. Airports are expected to close from 21:00 (local time).

Hurricane Irene is expected to reach Florida on 25 August.

Travellers can monitor the progress of storms on the US National Hurricane Center website, and advised to monitor local and international weather reports. British nationals should follow the advice of the local authorities and tour operators.

Branson’s island ravaged by hurricane Irene
The Hurricane has already hit Sir Richard Branson’s luxury Caribbean home, burning it to the ground. The Massive house on the Virgin tycoon’s £60million private island was struck by lightening on Monday morning when the whole region was battered by the storm.

Branston revealed that his family and guests all escaped unharmed. Guests included Kate Winslet, who carried Branston’s 90-year-old mother to safety.

Virgin pilots won’t strike

Holidaymakers travelling to the US and Caribbean for the summer break can breath a sign of relief – it has been revealed that Virgin Atlantic’s pilots’ will not be striking.

An offer has been secured, according to Union Balpa, and this will be put to pilots in a ballot possibly ending the strike.

Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: ‘Pilots have never wished to inconvenience the travelling public, especially those looking forward to summer holidays.

‘We have therefore lifted the threat of strike action. Virgin Atlantic pilots will proudly continue their role of flying passengers safely to their destinations.’

Virgin Atlantic said tonight: ‘We can confirm that negotiations are now concluded and Balpa will present a pay offer to its members over the coming weeks.

‘The threat of strike action has now been removed and our flying schedule remains completely unaffected.’

The strike threat has been lifted, which will leave the airline and travellers very happy. Balpa asked Richard Branson to get involved in negotiations, however he declined but did offer to speak privately to the pilots, after a high percentage voted for industrial action.

In a letter to the pilots, Sir Richard warned that unless Balpa withdrew its threat of a strike it would leave an ‘indelible scar’ on the airline and ‘impact customers’ trust in us and damage the unique and friendly culture at Virgin Atlantic.’


BA wont strike .. but talks continue over Virgin walkout

Traveling with BA this summer? You can breath a sign of relief as the two year long cabin crew dispute looks to be over.

However those travelling with Virgin have more to worry about. Virgin Atlantic pilots have so far refused to back down from the walkout and could ruin tens of thousands of family holidays this summer.

Hitting key long-haul routes, including flights to Disneyland in California and Florida, as well as the Caribbean, the Far East and Australia, strikes would be incredibly disruptive for many holiday makers.

Strike dates have not be revealed yet, but the first is expected to take place in July, with further walk outs to follow over the summer.

But there was better news for passengers today though, as BA’s union Unite balloted several thousand of its members, recommending acceptance of an agreement thrashed out between the two sides after 18 months of conflict.

The agreement includes a two-year pay deal and the return of travel concessions for thousands of staff who took part in 22 days of strikes last year, which cost BA £150million.

Sir Richard Branson’s airline said it was disappointed but was preparing ‘contingency plans’ to deal with any walk-out.

Travel industry experts condemned the strike as ‘disappointing and frustrating’.

Balpa chief Jim McAuslan said: ‘There has been no UK pilot strike for 32 years. But there comes a time when even moderate people say enough.

‘With no pay increase since 2008, a below inflation offer for 2011 and proposals for 2012 and 2013 that will be sub-inflation this is now a six-year attack on living standards which has not happened in any other UK airline.’

He added: ‘We do not want to inconvenience the public and hope that Sir Richard will use some of his undoubted flair to settle this.’

A spokesman for the airline said its pay offer was ‘industry leading’ and ‘double the national average for a UK business’.

He added: ‘We are naturally disappointed with the result of the ballot but remain committed to further talks with our pilots’ representatives to find a solution.’