Flying to Europe? Consider flying an European Airline.

Airplane

European Union has enforced a regulation that flights that are delayed by more than 4 hours is subject to compensation up to €600!

What are the conditions of the claim?
The fault is with the airlines. This includes technical delays (ground staff are waiting for a new part), lack of crew, or the previous flight was delayed. For situations like weather, strikes by air traffic control you will not be able to claim but instead claim from your travel insurance.

The delay has to be three hours or more to be able to claim. This based on when your flight lands at it’s final destination. The compensation is done per passenger so for families this is more beneficial than you may think.

What is the compensation?

Flight Distance Delay
(Upon Arrival)
Compensation
London to Amsterdam
(Up to 1,500km)
> 3 hours €250
London to Istanbul
(1,500km-3,500 km)
> 3 hours €400
London to Kuala Lumpur
( > 3500 km)
3-4 hours €300
London to Kuala Lumpur
( > 3500 km)
> 4 hours €600

Why fly with an European Airline?
Here’s the important information. If you flew Malaysia Airlines to London (or any European city), then you would not be covered for delays on the outbound journey. If you flew Lufthansa or Air France you would be covered in the event of a delay.

On the return journey you are covered no matter which airline you fly. So if you are flying to Europe it may be worthwhile considering an European airline over and Asian airline and it’s also important that the delay is the airlines fault.

Codeshares have no relevance when it comes to claiming under this regulation, you can only claim for flights to the European Union if the operating airline is home base in the European Union. So for example a KLM codeshare on a Malaysia Airlines operated flight from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam would not fall under this regulation.

Travel Insurance
Another option is to sign-up for travel insurance, which would cover you for flight delays, baggage loss, injury and many other things. Personally I think everyone should have travel insurance when they travel. Airlines and hotels are commercial entities and they may not be as forthcoming as you might think with the help they provide when you have a situation – this is especially the case for budget airlines! I will not recommend a specific travel insurance product as it varies from person to person based on their needs.

Conclusion
So next time when you are booking a flight to the European Union, bear this in mind.  As a minimum I really recommend that you purchase a travel insurance, especially if you are a regular traveller.

Keukenhof, the Greatest Flower Show on Earth!

Keukenhof

Keukenhof is one of my favourite places on earth. Keukenhof means Kitchen Garden in Dutch and its the world’s most famous flower garden. The park opens annually from the last week of March to middle of May. The best time to visit the park is mid-April where millions of Tulips will be in full bloom.

Getting There

Getting to Keukenhof is easy. From Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, purchase a combiticket from the Tourist Information Office (also known as the “VVV”) which includes a return bus ticket and entrance fees to the park. The buses leave every 15 minutes outside the arrivals-level entrance at the airport.

The Keukenhof is a “must-see” for flower and nature lovers. The next time you plan a trip to Europe, make sure it’s during Spring and make a stop in Amsterdam to see one of the greatest flower show on earth!

Goods & Service Tax (GST) impact on the travel industry

GST Malaysia

If you have been planning to go for a holiday, travel now to avoid paying GST! 

With the implementation of Goods & Service Tax (GST) in April 2015, cost of travel will increase as any travel on or after 01 April 2015 is subject to GST irrespective of when the booking was made.

This simply means, even if you make a booking with full payment today but travel 01 April 2015 onwards, the travel arrangement that you have purchase is subject to GST as the consumption of your travel arrangement is on or after 01 April 2015.

As of now, based on tax consultants interpretation of the GST laws, GST will be standard rated (6%) for all domestic travel (i.e. travel within Malaysia) – flights, hotel, entrance fees, tour packages…etc, except public transportation (example, bus tickets). For international travel, GST is zero rated for flight tickets, overseas hotels, overseas tour packages…etc. However service fees, travel insurance are standard rated (6%).

Your travel agent might absorb the charge or they may send you a “Tax Invoice” on 01 April 2015 to collect the GST from you. It’s best to check when you are making any travel arrangements for travel 01 April 2015 onwards.

Alternatively, the best thing to do is to go for a holiday and complete your travel before 01 April 2015 to avoid paying the GST.

JW Marriott Khao Lak, a perfect holiday destination.

JW Marriott Khao Lak
Towel elephants welcoming you to JW Marriott Khao Lak

JW Marriott Khao Lak is one of my all time favourite resorts. The resort is located just over one hour from Phuket International airport. To get to the resort from Phuket airport, you can book a car in advance with Thanabodee Boss Krongyut. He provides fast, efficient service and uses clean, comfortable Toyota cars. A car for 2 persons will cost approx THB1200 one-way.

On arrival at JW Marriott Khao Lak, we were greeted by the friendly concierge who took our luggage and showed us to the lobby. At the lobby, we received one of the best welcome. check-in was done while seated at the lobby and accompanied with a welcome drink and a cold towel. The check in staff went through our reservations with us and escorted us to our room. In the room, she told us about the many property features and offered to answer any questions that we had. I travel a lot and never received such a warm welcome or escort to my room before. These are the small touches that makes me fall in love with JW Marriott Khao Lak.

Pool Access Room

The pool access rooms located on the ground floor are highly recommended as it offers the convenience of practically opening your room balcony door and jumping into the pool. For families with young kids, pool access rooms with balcony railing is available.

Family Pool Access Rooms
Family Pool Access Rooms with glass balcony railing

The swimming pool at JW Marriott Khao Lak is simply AMAZING! They were not kidding when they say it’s the longest swimming pool in South East Asia. They have a quiet and clean beach, by why go when you have this amazing pool!

Breakfast with a view
Breakfast with a view

The breakfast offers a wide selection – a smoothie/fresh juice bar, an omelet station, fresh fruit, fresh bread and of course Asian dishes.

Quan Spa
Quan Spa

The Quan Spa was PERFECT. Bookings for the spa must be made fast as it’s always fully booked.

There are a few restaurants and massage huts located on the right of the beach. The Blue Mist is recommended by the JW Marriott staff and serves good authentic Thai food.

Dinner by the sea at Blue Mist

On our last day, we didn’t want to leave. This is a very special place and hopefully it will be for you as well.