Goop attire and courtroom poise: How Gwyneth Paltrow turned her courtroom disaster into the ultimate profile boost

Goop attire and courtroom poise: How Gwyneth Paltrow turned her courtroom disaster into the ultimate profile boost

The Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash trial was a lesson in branding. The Goop CEO has been praised for her chic, laid-back courtroom fashion, relentless determination to vindicate her public image and effortlessly memorable lines on the stand — “Well, I lost a half day of skiing” surely deserves a spot as a pop culture reference.

The very trial that threatened to harm her reputation — one that has not been exempt from its fair amount of controversies over questionable advice featuring vagina eggs and rectal ozone therapy — ultimately invigorated the Hollywood actor’s image in the court of public opinion, legal experts and publicists agree.

“I don’t think she could have masterminded a better PR moment,” crisis management PR agent Holly Braid tells The Independent. “It gave her an opportunity to be real. That bit walking out of the courtroom and whispering, ‘I wish you well,’ in his ear was just kind of brilliant.”

Besides winning the trial, Ms Paltrow also showcased what many celebrities struggle to prove: A-listers can be — or at least seem — affable, even relatable. The Oscar-winning star said she felt “very sorry” for her accuser’s health decline, complimented the opposite counsel’s choice of heels, and admitted that she suspects she is not as tall as she was in her Shakespeare in Love days because “she’s shrinking”.

“Her decision to countersue for only $1 provided a good example of how to use positive branding alongside litigation,” entertainment attorney Tre Lovell also told The Independent. “And overall, she walks away from this trial with her image more than intact. It’s actually been enhanced because of how she handled herself with poise.”

“She was authentic and she was herself. I do think it will help her brand,” Ms Braid agrees. “She has a niche target market. I think having this case televised, and when I say televised, I really mean social media … a lot of people who maybe weren’t introduced to her brand, will now know her name and look her up. And hopefully, Goop did a really good [marketing] job.”

Paltrow whispers ‘I wish you well’ to her courtroom opponent after winning the case


While Ms Paltrow’s time in Utah forced her to take a break from promoting her wide-ranging catalogue of yoni eggs and sex toys, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that a number of the pieces she wore were from her G Label by Goop line.

For day one of everyone’s newfound favourite celebrity trial, Ms Paltrow walked into the courtroom wearing a cream-coloured turtleneck sweater, which she paired with 70s aviator eyeglasses. As later pointed out by celebrity gossip extraordinaire DeuxMoi, the jumper was the Yang High-Cuff Turtleneck Sweater from the G. Label, which retails for $595 and has already taken the internet by storm.

Paltrow wore a cream-coloured turtleneck and 70s aviator glasses on her first day in court


The bone broth connoisseur showed up for day two of the trial in yet another cream sweater from the G. Label: the sold-out Bennett Belted Crewneck Cardigan ($595). Her chunky gold jewellery was courtesy of luxury jeweller Foundrae, which – you guessed it – is sold on the Goop website.

Her $250 notebook, from the British brand Smythson, and her $34 glass bottle of Mountain Valley Spring Water were a deviation from the shameless Goop self-promotion. Still, the subtle accessories played a key role in reinforcing Ms Paltrow’s brand of quiet luxury.

For the remainder of the eight-day trial, the vagina expert opted for the black Alisha V-Neck Cardigan ($595), the Camila Bow Blouse ($425), and the Rowena Wide-Leg Corduroy Pants ($425) all from G. Label by Goop.

But people following the trial will see beyond her product’s hefty pricetags, Mr Lovell believes.

“I mean, they just assume and presume that celebrities are going to live that lifestyle,” he said. “What is important is that celebrities are humble, and she just came off like a normal human being would on the stand, like a normal person.”

Just last week, the millionaire mogul was being called out for her lemon water and bone broth diet. But according to Brandis Bradley – a criminal defence attorney from Kentucky whose hot takes about the trial have gone viral on TikTok – the uproar surrounding Ms Paltrow’s paleo-like diet was partly the reason why people tuned in … to see her fall.

“She’s more relevant now than she’s ever been,” Bradley tells The Independent. “A lot of people think, ‘This is gonna hurt her,’ because they thought that she was so smug and uppity in court. I honestly think people would not have had the impression that she was so uppity and smug if that bone broth video hadn’t been viral on TikTok the week before trial.”

“But, you know, she came out of this trial a winner. And whether we acknowledge it or not, everybody loves a winner.”

Perhaps “uppity and smug” is a brand in itself. If Ms Paltrow’s ski trial is to teach us anything about her, it’s that money talks for some but her wealth definitely whispers. And therein lies the question: why do we want our celebrities to be relatable so badly? Why can’t their brands all be like Ms Paltrow’s – completely intact from the effects of controversy and richly unattainable? If there’s more than a buck to be made off the ski crash trial, we can expect Goop to release an “I wish you well” candle pretty soon.

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Review: Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East

Review: Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East

Mimaru is a local apartment-style hotel chain in Japan that specializes in catering to families and friends travelling together. In fact, the hotel name, Mimaru, derives from the Japanese words “minna” and “tomaru”, which means “everyone to stay”.

The chain features clean and spacious accommodations that can accommodate families of all sizes. There are properties in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, and all are conveniently located within walking distance of subway stations.

In 2021, they also opened several all-suite properties in Tokyo and Kyoto that offer two or more bedroom apartments. Some properties have special rooms, like Pokémon- or ninja-themed rooms. 

We recently stayed at the Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East location, a highly rated property built in 2019, and found it met all our needs and those of the other five families travelling with us.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Booking

The hotel offers a variety of accommodation options. Between the six families in our group who each had two or three children, we got to sample a few different apartment styles.

Usually when booking a hotel room in Japan, we’re limited to one or two options because not many rooms can accommodate families of four or more; however, this isn’t the case with Mimaru. The chain offers a myriad of eight options that can accommodate a total of up to eight guests. 

I made my booking through using the Rakuten shopping portal to earn some extra cash back. I like Rewards and use it to book any hotels that don’t have their own loyalty program. 

(Unfortunately, it looks like Rewards will be seriously devalued at some point in 2023, so be sure to make use of it in its current format while you still can).

We booked a Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment, only because I thought having a Japanese-themed room with a tatami mat to sleep on would be neat for the kids to experience. It’s one of the larger but more expensive options, and can accommodate a family of up to eight.

When we booked back in July 2022, it was $325 (CAD) per night plus taxes. It’s worth noting that current rates are over $500 (CAD) per night plus taxes.

Some of my friends booked slightly smaller and cheaper rooms, like the Loft Bed Theatre Apartment, for $275 (CAD) before taxes. This room is now over $350 (CAD) a night plus taxes.

Another family booked the Pokémon-themed room for $400 (CAD) before taxes, but now is currently over $450 (CAD) plus taxes per night.

I paid for my booking with my HSBC World Elite Mastercard and redeemed my HSBC Rewards points to offset the cost of the booking. I cashed my points out for travel credits at a rate 200 HSBC Rewards = $1.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Location

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East is located in the district of Ginza, in the Chuo ward of Tokyo. Ginza is famous for its shopping, dining, and entertainment.

It’s conveniently just a seven-minute walk from Kyobashi Station on the Ginza Line. From here, you can catch a 20-minute subway ride to Shibuya Station.

For local eats, you can walk 15 minutes to the Tsukiji Outer Market, which has a variety of fresh seafood options and local eats including Kitsuneya, a famous beef stew place.


Within a 15-minute walk, you’ll also find popular Japanese department stores including Uniqlo, Loft, Itoya, and Muji. The Pokémon store is also close by for the kids.

Directly across from the hotel is a small grocery market where you can purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, and other items to cook your own meals at your apartment.

Within a five-minute walk you can also find a Ministop, 7-Eleven, or Lawson convenience store.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Check-in

The apartment hotel is a smaller building nestled in a quieter neighborhood. The main entrance is off a small side street.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Exterior
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Exterior

Check-in starts at 3pm. We arrived at 4:30pm, and our room was ready with our luggage already in the room. We had shipped our luggage from our previous hotel in Osaka the day prior.

The lobby is a small space with a seating area in the corner and a small check-in desk. 

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Entrance
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Lobby lounge

The desk is usually manned by two staff from 7am–10pm daily, with one who is fully fluent in English. We found the staff to be very courteous.

All of the hotel’s details and facilities were explained to us with the help of a smart screen on the check-in counter, which displayed all the information visually in English.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Check-in desk
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Check-in screen

Amenities such as toothbrushes, sleeping gowns, slippers, other toiletry items, coffee, and tea are available at a self-service station in the lobby, between the check-in desk and the elevator. There are even slippers and toothbrushes for kids.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Lobby amenities
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Lobby amenities
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Lobby amenities

You can help yourself to the amenities as you wish, with the exception of facial products by Sekkisei, which must be requested from the front desk.

The building has nine floors, eight of which house accommodations, with several rooms on each floor. Key cards are required to enter the building between 10pm and 7am, and are required at all times to enter the elevator.

Check-out is at 11am, but you can pay an extra ¥5,000 ($50 CAD) for a late check-out of 1pm. 

After checking in, we picked up our amenities and headed to the elevator and up to our room.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Elevator

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment

As mentioned earlier, all rooms can accommodate up to six or eight guests in total and are non-smoking. The apartment sizes range from 409 to over 670 square feet.

Let’s start with a detailed review of my apartment, and then I’ll give a brief overview of the other rooms booked by our friends, as the amenities in all the rooms are similar.

Our apartment was Room 205, and the last room down a short outdoor corridor out of the elevator.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Hallway

Upon opening the door, the room appeared a bit dark for the middle of the afternoon. There were two sets of larger windows in the room, but being on the second floor, we weren’t getting much sunlight coming through.

Rather than having drapes and curtains, the windows feature sliding shojis. They’re effective in maintaining privacy while allowing some sunlight through.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment dining area & shojis

The room was decorated in darker colours, which also added to the darkness of the room, with dark blue and grey walls, brown carpeting, and black wooden furnishings.  

At the room entrance is a key card switch that controls the electricity in the room. It doesn’t have to be your actual keycard to turn on the switch – any similar sized and shaped card will do. Fortunately, the lighting adequately brightened up the room.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment overview

To the left of the entrance is a closet rack with plenty of hangers and also an extra-large umbrella, which was big enough to cover a couple of adults or an adult and two children.

If you require more umbrellas for a rainy day, smaller ones are available to use right by the hotel’s main entrance. 

To the right of the entrance is a small kitchenette, with a microwave, stovetop, oven, sink, and full-size refrigerator with a freezer. On the countertop was a kettle and a toaster oven.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment kitchenette

In the cupboards and drawers were cutlery, plates, bowls, cups, mugs, a ladle, scissors, corkscrew, cutting board, and various pots and pans. Paper towels, dish soap and a sponge, and saran wrap were also provided. 

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment kitchenette amenities

Some specialty cookware, games, and other gadgets are available to borrow from a large shelf in the lobby. Some of these items included a coffee maker, French press, wine glasses, a rice cooker, a waffle maker, Jenga, and a pack of cards, among other things. 

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment additional room amenities

There were two twin beds, a twin bunk bed, and two twin futons to accommodate up to six adults and two children aged six and under. The beds were quite comfortable with thick comforters.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment twin beds
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment bunk beds

The headboard for the two twin beds had a built-in panel between them that features USB ports, outlets, and switches to control lighting on the headboard. The wooden side panelling of the upper and lower bunk beds had a similar panel, but no outlet. 

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment panel

The twin futons with extra bedding were in a closet, and came with instructions on the closet door on how to set them up on the tatami mats. The tatami mats came set up with a small coffee table and seating pads around it. 

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment extra bedding
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment extra bedding instructions
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment coffee table on tatami mats

In addition to this seating arrangement, there was a long table with banquette seating and stools around it, that could easily seat eight people to share a take-out or home-cooked meal.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment dining area

On one end of the table was a hutch with a large flat-screen TV and a smartphone that can be used to make local calls or to contact the front desk. 

One thing I appreciated were the rounded corners on all the furniture, a great safety feature for those with young children. The only furniture with a square corner was the kitchenette counter, which had a corner protector placed on it. 

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment corner protector

The bathroom has a vanity with double sinks that was separated from the wet room by a frosted glass door. The vanity has several cups, a hair dryer, and was well supplied with towels.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment bathroom double vanity

A wet room is a Japanese-style bathroom in which the shower and tub are in the same room, so the entire room gets wet. Both the tub and shower area featured non-slip flooring, and a switch on the wall by the bathtub allowed for lighting adjustments.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment wet room

Mimaru uses its own branded toiletries that are supplied in large multi-use bottles.

The toilet isn’t located in the main bathroom area, but rather in a separate room. Here, you’ll find a tiny sink and smart toilet with a heated seat, amongst other functions.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment toilet room
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Premium Deluxe Japanese Apartment toilet controls

The only thing I found lacking in the room was dedicated space to put our luggage and adequate drawer space to unpack our luggage. We ended up laying out our open luggage on the floor and tatami mats.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Pokémon Room

Much to the envy of my kids, my friend had booked the Pokémon Room for his family. It could accommodate up to four adults and two children aged six and under.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Pokémon Room entrance

The room came with two twin beds placed together, a twin bunk bed, and two cushioned kitchen benches that could be converted into smaller beds if needed.

Like our apartment, this one also had a dining set and a kitchenette. The toilet was placed in the bathroom in this room.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Pokémon Room overview
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Pokémon Room dining area
Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Pokémon Room bunk beds 

The décor was of a lighter and brighter tone, with grey carpeting and light oak-coloured furniture, and Pokémon motifs all around. The biggest feature was a large Snorlax on the bed.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Pokémon Room bed with Snorlax

At check-in, guests staying in this room are also presented with a small Pokémon novelty bag containing a Pikachu sticker, a Snorlax luggage tag, and a Pokémon shopping bag.

Not all properties have the Pokémon-themed rooms, so be sure to check check the website to see which Mimaru properties do.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Loft Bed Theatre Apartment

A couple of my friends booked this cute apartment. Once again, like the Pokémon room, the décor was lighter and brighter, which I actually appreciated more so than our darker décor.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Loft Bed Theatre Apartment beds

This particular room could also accommodate up to four adults and two children aged six and under, with a total of four twin beds and two cushioned kitchen benches. There’s also a small desk in addition to the dining set and kitchenette. 

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Loft Bed Theatre Apartment overview

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Other Facilities

There’s no restaurant at this property, however, restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores are close by. For the most part, we opted to go out to cafés and the market for breakfast, but also enjoyed a couple of take-out meals on a couple of late nights out.

There is a vending machine for cold and hot drinks, located in the laundry room.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Laundry room & vending machine

The on-site laundry facility was a big bonus for my family. We were more than a week into our trip when we arrived in Tokyo, so we had a bit of laundry to do. Inside, there are three washing machines and three dryers.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Washing machines & dryers

Washing costs ¥400 ($4 CAD) per load, which includes detergent that is automatically dispensed when you start the machine. The cost to dry is time-dependent, and charged at ¥100 ($1 CAD) for every 30 minutes.

We found it required usually two or three 30-minute cycles to dry the clothes. There is a change machine in the room, too, in case you don’t have the right coins.

If you want to save some money, you can partly dry clothes in your own apartment which has a hanging drying rack, but this will take much longer. 

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – In-room drying rack

There is a large washroom on the main floor beside the laundry room, which is convenient for kids who need that one last bathroom break before heading out. 

Housekeeping services vary depending on your length of stay. Everyday, trash is collected, towels are swapped out, and toilet paper is refilled. On the fourth and seventh days, they’ll also make the beds and vacuum the room.

If you’d like a full clean, which includes cleaning the bathroom and toilet, you can request this at the front desk.

Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East – Room cleaning request screen


Mimaru Tokyo Ginza East is a great accommodation option for families and friends travelling in Japan. It doesn’t have all the services and amenities you may find at a full-service hotel, but it has all you need for a safe, comfortable, and kid-friendly stay, and a variety of apartment types to choose from. 

The Tokyo Ginza East location is ideally situated to hop on the subway, do some shopping, or visit the Tsukiji Outer Market for some local and fresh eats. We also appreciated its close proximity to grocery and convenience stores, and having an onsite laundry facility.

The Pokémon room was also a huge hit for the kids. 

I would have no hesitation staying at this property again, or another Mimaru property when we visit Japan again.

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Aeroplan Extends No-Expiry Policy Through September 2024

Aeroplan Extends No-Expiry Policy Through September 2024

Today, Aeroplan has announced an extension to its pandemic-related pause on points expiration. Let’s take a look at the details.

Aeroplan’s No-Expiry Policy Through September 2024

In an effort to keep members engaged, many loyalty programs put a pause on their regular expiration policies as travellers changed their earning and redeeming habits during the pandemic. 

Aeroplan was no exception to this, and for the past three years, points that would have otherwise expired have remained valid indefinitely. 

This means that its regular policy, where you’d have to do some sort of earning or redeeming activity within a rolling 18-month period, has been put on hold. Account holders didn’t have to do any sort of earning or redeeming to keep their points active.

Aeroplan has now announced that this non-expiry policy will be extended through September 30, 2024. Before that date, any Aeroplan points which should have expired will not expire. 

Aeroplan’s Regular Expiration Policy

As of September 30, 2024, the regular expiration policy resumes.

The policy is quite simple: if there has not been any eligible earning or redeeming activity in an account for 18 months, your points will expire.

To keep track of your account’s expiration date, simply log-in to your Aeroplan account, click on “My Aeroplan”, and then head over to the “Activity” tab. Your account’s expiration date, if any, will be listed on this page.

How to Prevent Aeroplan Points from Expiring

Fortunately, keeping your account active with earning or redeeming activity is quite asy.

There are a host of ways to prevent your account from expiring through earning, including:

You can also get qualifying Aeroplan activity through a number of redemption options, including:

  • Making a flight booking using your Aeroplan points
  • Transferring your points to another Aeroplan member (at a cost)
  • Donating your points to a charity through Aeroplan
  • Redeeming your points for a car rental, hotel, or merchandise
  • Buying Wi-Fi on board a flight with Air Canada using your Aeroplan points
  • Using your points to bid for an upgrade

Furthermore, if you belong to a Family Sharing group and someone in the group makes a redemption, it counts as a qualifying activity for all members in the group. As long as someone in your Family Sharing group makes a booking every 18 months, everybody’s accounts will remain active.

If you have Aeroplan Elite Status, or if you are less than 18 years old, your Aeroplan points will not expire under any circumstances.

Perhaps the easiest way to keep your Aeroplan points active is to simply hold any of the Aeroplan co-branded credit cards. As long as you hold one of these credit cards, your points won’t expire.

Note that you must be the primary cardholder to be exempted from points expiration. Any supplementary cardholders will not benefit from this policy in their individual accounts.

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Up to 90,000 Aeroplan points

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$599 annual fee

115,000 Aeroplan points $1,278
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55,000 Aeroplan points $1,114
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50,000 Aeroplan points $1,071
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How Does Aeroplan’s Expiry Policy Compare?

Most of the world’s loyalty programs also operate on a similar expiration policy to Aeroplan’s. Among the major programs we frequently discuss, the expiration policies are as follows:

  • Alaska Mileage Plan: Miles will be deactivated after 24 months of inactivity, and can be reactivated at no cost within one year of their expiration.

  • British Airways Avios: Miles will expire after 36 months of inactivity.

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: Miles will expire after 18 months of inactivity.

  • Marriott Bonvoy: Points will expire after 24 months of inactivity.

  • Hilton Honors: Points will expire after 12 months of inactivity.

  • WestJet Rewards: WestJet Dollars will not expire.

Meanwhile, bank rewards or transferrable rewards (like Amex MR, RBC Avion, CIBC Aventura, or Scene+) are generally kept alive as long as you continue to hold the associated credit card, or apply for a different credit card within the same family to keep the points alive before cancelling your current one.


Aeroplan has announced the extension of its non-expiry policy through September 30, 2024. As of that date, the regular expiration policy resumes, in which points will expire if there has been no activity on the account for a rolling 18-month period.

The extension comes as good news to Aeroplan members with fairly inactive accounts; however, it’s quite easy to prevent your points from expiring in the first place through one of the many simple ways to generate activity on your account – or better yet, by regularly earning and redeeming Aeroplan points for travel.

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Here’s when European airports and trains are set to strike this spring

Here’s when European airports and trains are set to strike this spring

Editors note: This page will be updated as new information emerges.

We’ve all been looking forward to 2023 — the year travel returns.

However, following a range of issues from post-pandemic staff shortages to flight caps within Europe, strikes remain one hurdle that still seems to loom large over the travel industry.

This is because as the cost of living soars, workers across Europe are demanding pay rises in line with growing inflation. As a result, there’s currently a wave of workplace disputes across the travel industry, which could mean we’re set for a bumpy few months of strikes, delays and cancellations.

Here’s a rundown of when and where.

Heathrow Airport strikes

London’s Heathrow Airport. STOCKINASIA/GETTY IMAGES

When: March 31 to April 9

Starting Friday, March 31, some 3,000 employees working at Terminal 5 in London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) — including security guards, engineers and firefighters — plan to stage walkouts in a long-running dispute with Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited over pay.

As a result, British Airways, the terminal’s primary occupant, has been forced to cancel some 300 flights — around 32 scheduled flights per day.

Heathrow’s website informs passengers that, while the airport will remain open on strike days, “the strikes may affect the journeys of some passengers planning to travel during this period.”

It recommends checking your flight status with your airline for the latest information, adding: “On strike days, passengers will only be allowed to travel through security with two items of hand baggage. Handbags and laptop bags count as a piece of hand baggage. Your allowances for checked-in luggage remain as advertised by your airline.”

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In a statement, British Airways apologized for the “small number of adjustments” to its schedule:

“We’ve apologized to customers whose travel plans have been affected and have offered them a range of options, including rebooking onto a new flight with us or another airline or requesting a full refund.”

To cope with the impending strike action, Heathrow said it would deploy 1,000 additional staff — alongside its management team — to assist passengers over the Easter break in the terminals.

United Kingdom Border Force strikes


When: April 28

On April 28, Border Force staff at airports across Britain will walk out in the latest in a chain of strike action by around 130,000 civil service workers. If the last strike on March 15 is anything to go by, up to 2,000 flights could be affected.

While working to minimize disruption, the U.K. government has warned that anyone traveling on April 28 and early the next day should prepare for longer wait times at customs.

The strike action comes after members from 186 different employers from across the civil service were balloted earlier in March, the Public and Commercial Services Union said.

“Our members are not backing down in this dispute,” said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka. “We know our strikes have already caused serious disruption. The new strikes and another national day of action will pile the pressure on a government that refuses to listen.”

Ground staff strikes in Spain

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-300 taking off from El Prat Airport in Barcelona, Spain. SHUTTERSTOCK

When: March 13-14, 16, 20-21, 23, 27-28, 30; and April 3-4, 6, 10-11, 13.

Ground staff working for Swissport International Ltd. at 17 airports in Spain are in the thick of a coordinated strike action taking place every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday until April 13.

The affected airports include:

  • Adolfo Suarez Madrid–Barajas Airport.
  • Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat A (MAD)irport (BCN).
  • Reus Airport (REU).
  • Alicante–Elche Miguel Hernández Airport (ALC).
  • Valencia Airport (VLC).
  • Región de Murcia International Airport (RMU).
  • Malaga–Costa del Sol Airport (AGP).
  • Almeria Airport (LEI).
  • Salamanca Airport (SLM).
  • Valladolid Airport (VLL).
  • Burgos Airport (RGS).
  • Logrono–Agoncillo Airport (RJL).
  • Zaragoza Airport (ZAZ).
  • Huesca-Pirineos Airport (HSK).
  • Cesar Manrique-Lanzarote Airport (ACE).
  • Gran Canaria Airport (LPA).
  • Tenerife Sur Airports (TFS).

Leading low-cost airlines from the U.K. — EasyJet, Jet2 and Ryanair — are not involved in the strike action. However, Vueling and other carriers could be affected.

“A comprehensive contingency plan is in place to limit disruptions to our airline customers and passengers traveling via Spanish airports,” said a Swissport spokesperson. “We remain fully committed to reaching an agreement with union representatives and our staff that will be acceptable to our colleagues while also preserving the stability and health of the company and offering attractive jobs in the Spanish aviation sector.”

UK rail strike

When: March 16, 18, 30 and April 1

On March 22, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers suspended its planned strike at Network Rail for the above dates after reaching a pay deal with the operator.

Although it offered some respite from the onslaught of action that’s hit the rail network over the past year, the strike will still go ahead for RMT members working at 14 other train companies.

They are:

  • Chiltern Railways.
  • CrossCountry Trains.
  • Greater Anglia.
  • London North Eastern Railway (LNER).
  • East Midlands Railway.
  • c2c.
  • Great Western Railway (GWR).
  • Northern Trains.
  • Southeastern.
  • South Western Railway.
  • TransPennine Express.
  • Avanti West Coast.
  • West Midlands Trains.
  • Govia Thameslink Railway (including Gatwick Express).

So, while the walkout may not shut down Britain’s entire train system as seen during previous strikes, large swathes of the network may grind to a halt on strike days.

“We will continue our campaign for a negotiated settlement on all aspects of the railway dispute,” said Mick Lynch, general secretary for RMT.

German airport strikes

When: Ongoing

German airport workers have already unleashed a wave of walkouts this year, causing havoc to timetables and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

The most recent walkouts on March 26 and 27 caused hundreds of flight cancellations at eight major airports across the country, including Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Munich International Airport (MUC) and Hamburg Airport (HAM). The German Airports Association said the strike “went beyond any imaginable and justifiable measure,” estimating about 380,000 air travelers could be affected.

Lufthansa grounded all of its flights during the strikes until the following day, which could happen again should there be further strike action. In a statement at the time, the airline advised travelers not to go to the airport unless they have a confirmed booking for a flight.

Related: Everything you need to know about travel disruption in Germany

“A labor struggle that has no impact is toothless,” said Frank Werneke, chairman of Ver.di, a German trade union, in an interview with the country’s public TV station, Phoenix.

He acknowledged it would inflict pain on many commuters and vacationers, “but better one day of strain with the prospect of reaching a wage agreement than weeks of industrial action.”

As negotiations trundle on in that dispute, no new strike dates have been set. However, it remains a space to watch for anyone planning a trip to Germany in 2023.

French air traffic control strikes


When: Ongoing

These strikes could potentially affect more travelers than any other this year. That’s because air traffic control strikes don’t only affect planes landing in or departing in the country where they’re happening but planes using its airspace as well.

In particular, around 65% of EasyJet flights use France’s airspace to reach their final destination, meaning any of those could be disrupted if French air traffic controllers strike.

Recent walkouts reportedly led to 30% of flights being canceled across the country when French American Tower Corporation workers walked out March 6–9, affecting tens of thousands of passengers.

Related: The best credit cards that offer trip cancellation and interruption insurance

While no dates are set for the summer as of yet, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said in January that the French ATC strikes risked “shutting everybody down” if the dispute over pay and recruitment levels bleeds into summer.

His comments came as Europe’s air traffic manager, Eurocontrol, warned of potentially “huge challenges” to the commercial aviation network this summer. Citing “a backdrop of supply chain issues, possible industrial action, airspace unavailability, sector bottlenecks, rising demand and system changes.”

It said 2023 is “set to be the most challenging year of the last decade. Keeping summer delays down will be an immense task.”

Bottom line

The one thing worth remembering when it comes to strikes is that nothing is certain. It’s possible that unions and employers will reach a deal.

However, the economic crisis is making things difficult for everyone — from workers struggling through the deepening cost of living crisis to travel companies desperate to appease shareholders after a ravaging pandemic. As we gear up for an even busier year than last, those pressures on either side of the fence seem unlikely to evaporate any time soon.

The chances of more strikes this year are high across the travel sector, which could result in thousands of cancellations and lengthy delays.

Keep an eye on these dates, and plan accordingly.

Related: You are entitled to a refund for your canceled flight — even if the airline says you aren’t

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Quick Points: World of Hyatt members don’t pay any fees or taxes on award stays

Quick Points: World of Hyatt members don’t pay any fees or taxes on award stays

World of Hyatt is one of our favorite hotel loyalty programs here at TPG.

Elite status in the program can provide unlimited complimentary room upgrades, free breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and even free annual nights.

We value each Hyatt point at an impressive 1.7 cents in our monthly valuations, which is amongst the highest of any hotel points. In addition to many other sweet spots, you can book award nights from just 3,500 points for a Category 1 off-peak property — far fewer points than you will need for the cheapest Hilton Honors and Marriott properties.

You might think these valuable Hyatt points are hard to come by unless you are doing a lot of paid stays at Hyatt properties worldwide. But don’t fear — Hyatt is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards where they transfer at a generous 1:1 rate.

And when you use points (or free night awards) for stays, you can avoid one of the most frustrating added costs in the travel industry.

Save on fees and taxes


If you’re a regular traveler, you’ve probably been hit with a daily resort or destination fee for a hotel stay that required you to pay extra for items you might not want or need, like a discount on beauty treatments at the hotel spa, or items you had assumed were included in the room rate, like internet.

If so, World of Hyatt has you covered.

There are no resort fees, destination fees or other fees, taxes or surcharges on World of Hyatt redemptions.

I recently booked a four-night stay at the new Grayson Hotel in New York at a cost of 17,000 Hyatt points per night as a Category 5 on off-peak dates. As a lowly Discoverist status member, I was upgraded (within the same category I had booked) to a room with an excellent view of the nearby Empire State Building.

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Best of all, my four-night award stay had no cash charges, saving me the $30 per night destination fee, plus taxes.

Related: Meet the Grayson Hotel, a new Hyatt sweet spot in New York City

Topping off your World of Hyatt points balance

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt remains very lucrative. Here’s a look at some of the current Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card offers:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening; $95 annual fee.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening; $550 annual fee.
  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening; $95 annual fee.

You might also consider purchasing Hyatt points, which occasionally comes with a bonus or discount.

Related: The most award-friendly hotel program: Everything you need to know about World of Hyatt

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Port of Dover declares critical incident as high levels of traffic cause delays

Port of Dover declares critical incident as high levels of traffic cause delays

The Port of Dover has declared a critical incident as high levels of traffic caused coach passengers to experience lengthy delays.

It comes as operators P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways also reported delays to ferry and coach services, citing bad weather and hold-ups at French border controls as partly responsible for waits and queues.

P&O Ferries announced on Twitter just before 9pm that it was providing refreshments to coach passengers waiting at the cruise terminal and working on getting food and drink to passengers waiting in the buffer zone at the entrance to the port.

The port said high volumes of coach traffic were due to the Easter holidays.

A spokesperson said: “The Port of Dover can confirm that a critical incident is under way as the port is currently experiencing high volumes of coach traffic due to the Easter holidays.

“Our present high volumes, combined with extended processing at border controls, has resulted in lengthy delays for coach passengers.

“The port, ferry operators and other partners are working hard to resolve the current issue.”

The port added: “We apologise for the inconvenience these delays may have caused to passenger journeys and thank all port users for their patience at this time.”

DFDS Seaways and P&O Ferries also announced delays in their services.

The former said bad weather was partly responsible for queues.

A spokesperson for the operator said: “The queues at Dover today have been as a result of bad weather causing delays to sailings, combined with high volumes of traffic, and particularly coach groups.

“DFDS is working to keep passengers up to date via its website and social media channels, and is transporting passengers on the next available sailing once they have checked in.

“It has also been working with coach operators to speed up the check in process for coach passengers.”

Both DFDS and P&O have been publishing updates on Twitter.

P&O Ferries Updates tweeted at 7.40pm that the delay for coaches was due to “the time it is taking to process each vehicle at French border controls”.

“We apologise for the wait times and have put on an extra sailing this evening to help clear the backlog,” the operator added.

The company posted at multiple points on Friday: “We know it’s really busy today and we want you to know that we are doing all we can to get all customers on their way as quickly as possible.

“We know this isn’t the ideal start to your trip but our teams are ready to welcome you onboard once checked in.”

DFDS UK Updates tweeted at 7.07pm, that services to France were running with delays of “up to 2 hours due to the winds in the channel”.

On Friday morning, at 11.18am, the company tweeted that coach traffic was “very busy” with “120 minutes wait” at border controls.

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