Should I be worried about industrial unrest taking off at Aer Lingus?
Q I have booked an Aer LIngus flight to New York and am worried about a strike. Help!
A Don't worry. There are three separate points of conflict between Aer Lingus and different unions and any of them could lead to a strike threat with a named date.
The threat is more likely than any action.
A rolling stoppage of two hours on a specific day is the preferred tactic, as it impacts on the airline without too many consequences.
The big stoppages of the past are unlikely. Some readers will remember the 1977 stoppage that impacted on GDP by about 3-4pc.
But in the Internet age unions prefer to name a date and threaten action that affects forward bookings, then engage in talks where everything is solved in the early morning of the day of the strike. It usually is.
Q I bought a house in Northern Cyprus several years ago. Are there plans for a direct flight soon?
A Northern Cyprus is not recognised by any government other than Turkey so flights generally transit through Turkey. This will remain the case until a resolution to the 1974 partition is found.
Interestingly Westminster is more lax on the direct flights issue than Merrion Street so we had "direct" flights form Belfast at one stage in the early noughties, much to the horror of the embassy of Cyprus.
For general tourists, the Northern Cyprus stamp can be an issue.
If visiting Northern Cyprus it is advisable to request that officials stamp a blank piece of paper instead of your passport. When entering Northern Cyprus from the south, you will be allowed a free day pass, but your passport will not be stamped.
If you have a stamp in your passport from Northern Cyprus you will still be allowed to enter the Republic of Cyprus, but customs officials will delete your stamp upon arrival. This will not prevent you from visiting Greece.
Q I am planning to move to Australia. Is there a good guide to moving furniture etc internationally without incurring huge costs?
A There are several specialist movers who ship your goods and chattels there.
As for advice on the Internet, there is little independent advice, as opposed to sites that try to sell you their services.
Gateway Singapore uploaded an excellent guide to moving abroad and getting things safely there.
The url is complicated:
Q I fell in love with Madeira and return to the island at least once a year, but cannot see any flights for next summer. Should I wait and see?
A Bed news. Madeira, pictured, will be inaccessible next year, at least on a direct route, after being served with a weekly charter since 1998, and separate scheduled services from Aer Lingus and from SATA over the past three years. Things may change, but your best route for now is through Lisbon from Ireland.
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