SIR – Due to a late change of plans, I was forced into booking a last-minute ticket from London to Barcelona for April 9. On entering my requirements into the BA app, I was greeted with a fare of £659 for any of the five flights from Heathrow to Barcelona.
British Airways has a monopoly on this route and anybody who has to book last minute is often faced with prices of this order. Surely BA should have a limit on what it can charge.
I eventually flew from Gatwick to Barcelona with Vueling for £130. Vueling is part of BA’s parent company, IAG, and operates the service vacated by BA at Gatwick. So Spanish airline crew are operating flights that were once staffed by British crew.
SIR – The chaotic scenes at Manchester Airport are bad (report, April 8). This is an airport that has been unable to manage passenger numbers for years.
Long before the pandemic, I have stood in queues to get through security checks, while staff paced up and down the line calling for people on specific flights so they could be fast-tracked through security to catch their planes.
It appears that the only aim of the airport is to squeeze every last penny out of the travelling public. There are high charges when relatives drop passengers off and the number of shops in the terminals means there is limited space in which passengers can sit to wait for their flight.
Covid has simply made a bad situation even worse.
Carol A Forshaw
Sticky end for XR
SIR – Extinction Rebellion protesters recently blocked the entrances of Lloyd’s of London and glued themselves to the Business Department in Whitehall (report, April 14). The police, you report, “handled the activists gently” to avoid them damaging their skin. Why?
These people are not going to suffer for their annoying actions unless the police leave them glued to doors and floors. If the police are not going to arrest them, they should ignore them until they are desperate enough to beg for help. It’s almost as if the police are on the protesters’ side.
SIR – My 80-year-old next-door neighbour fell and was unable to get up unaided from his stone kitchen floor.
His wife, who was unable to help him, phoned 999 for an ambulance and was advised of a 13-hour wait. She came to me for help, so I rang 999 and an unsmiling ambulance crew arrived within 20 minutes.
As a retired GP I was able to provide information necessary to expedite the recovery of this gravely injured man.
The current algorithm-driven telephone triage system seems to be insensitive to the actual and immediate needs of the patient.
Dr Richard Bell
Kinsbourne Green, Hertfordshire
Parish pumped dry
SIR – I have just been re-elected to a rural parish council unopposed, and there are still three vacancies to be co-opted.
This uncontested election scenario is occurring all across the country because the cost of parish elections, if no other elections are taking place that day, is more than £600 – a sum that small parishes cannot afford.
This means they ensure that the number of candidates does not exceed the elected seats. Only about 12 per cent of parish councils in this area appear to be having to hold a contested election. Something is very wrong. Some parishes have only one candidate and there is a widespread feeling that parish councils have become irrelevant.
Certainly district and parish councils have been so emasculated by Whitehall as to be toothless – and planning laws are a total mess.
Power must be returned to local authorities, and small rural parishes need to be freed from the bureaucratic stranglehold of Whitehall procedure.
As things stand, the closer geographically that the electorate gets to its elected representatives, the less likely people are to vote.
A sudden bout of verse
SIR – Towards the end of a river cruise in France, I tested positive for Covid, so faced seven days’ isolation in a Bordeaux hotel.
I had no symptoms of Covid and experienced no after-effects. However, for the first time in my 72 years, I woke up one morning with the urge to write pandemic poetry. Have any other readers experienced this? Is there a cure? And can anyone think of a word that rhymes with JVT?
SIR – Our milkman of 30 years says that he has never had as many trips and falls in driveways as in the winter just past.
Electric cars are charged with cables laid across driveways that are hard to see in the dark mornings.
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