Queensland travel agent warns of staff shortages as quarantine-free travel opens


A veteran Queensland travel agent is warning of a looming “supply crunch” as agents struggle to meet the demand from the high number of people planning an overseas holiday.

From 1am today, quarantine-free international travel into Queensland for fully vaccinated people resumed.

Travellers will not have to quarantine, provided they are fully vaccinated and have a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test (RAT) result within 24 hours of entering the country.

The principal of Main Beach Travel on the Gold Coast, Mike Dwyer, said one in three travel agencies had closed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.

“We’re already struggling to service existing demand which is really just the tip of the iceberg.”

The industry veteran said people who wanted to travel overseas needed to start thinking about it sooner rather than later. 

“About half of our incoming calls are from travellers who are stranded overseas needing help to reorganise their flights home,” Mr Dwyer said.  

Great haired man wearing a white shirt and black jacket.
Mike Dwyer is concerned there’s a looming shortage of agents to service overseas travellers.(Supplied: Mike Dwyer)

“I am really concerned about our industry and the lack of travel agencies and the lack of support for the industry.

“As the demand ramps up, we are going to hit a supply crunch, because there’s not enough agents to help people make their plans.” 

Mr Dwyer opened his business in 2000 and said his focus is on servicing outbound travellers.

“Aussies have always been great travellers and many people have had their plans cancelled over the last two years.

“There’s lots of people with family in Europe who they haven’t seen for two years.”

The travel business owner said quarantine-free travel would now give more people the confidence to book a holiday.

a closed travel agency displays closed signs on its doors
Mr Dwyer says one in three agencies closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

“One of the biggest impediments for travelling overseas has been the fear of coming home and quarantining for two weeks,” he said.

“Removing that restriction makes it a lot better for people wanting to get overseas.

“I think people have lost faith in the consistency of the rules so there will be a lot of nervousness still.”

Logistical challenges

Mr Dwyer said COVID-related challenges meant more people were choosing to book through a travel agent rather than handle the bookings themselves.

“Every country has its own set of rules and regulations.

“On top of that, the airlines have specific requirements about being tested either 24 or 48 hours before a flight.”

Passangers wearing face masks exit an airport tunnel
Chris Mills says it could take months for airlines to restore international connections. (AAP: James Ross)

Inbound travel 

When it comes to inbound travel, the chief executive of Queensland Airports, Chris Mills, said he was expecting a trickle, and not a flood, of international travellers to arrive in tourist destinations including the Gold Coast.

“What we’re expecting [is] from February onwards; we’re working with the airlines to get them back on restoring connections with countries that are in pretty good shape.”

Mr Mills said countries including New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and South Korea would be prioritised.  



Source link

Spread the love

Men’s Basketball Heads To Rhode Island Wednesday


Saint Joseph’s (7-6, 1-1 A-10) at Rhode Island (9-4, 0-1 A-10)
Wednesday, January 12 | 7:00 p.m. | Ryan Center
ESPN+ |
Listen Live | Live Stats

GAMEDAY LINKS
Saint Joseph’s: Roster | Schedule | Stats
Rhode Island: Roster | Schedule | Stats

THE TIP-OFF

• Saint Joseph’s returns to the road as the Hawks travel to Rhode Island on Wednesday for the first of two meetings this season with the Rams.

• The Hawks and Rhode Island cap the regular season with an afternoon matchup at Hagan Arena on March 5.

• The last time out, the Hawks fell to Davidson, as the Wildcats pulled away for an 88-73 decision last Wednesday.

Dahmir Bishop is coming off a 17-point performance versus Davidson.

• Bishop finished three points shy of his career-high (20 points) as he went 6-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-6 from distance, to go with six rebounds.

Jack Forrest went 5-of-7 from the floor, and 3-of-4 from three-point range, for a season-high 13 points against Davidson.

Jordan Hall added 16 points, six assists and four rebounds last Wednesday.

• Hall currently ranks third in the A-10, and ninth nationally, in assists per game (6.5).

• Saint Joseph’s 32 bench points against the Wildcats were a season-high.

• St. Joe’s was scheduled to play at George Mason this past Saturday, but the game was postponed due to health and safety protocols affecting the Patriots.

THE MATCHUP
Series vs. Rhode Island: Saint Joseph’s leads 56-34
First Meeting: 12/1/51, Saint Joseph’s, 66-61
Last Meeting: 1/3/21, Rhode Island, 85-77 OT
Coach Lange All-Time vs. Rhode Island: 0-3

SAINT JOSEPH’S VERSUS RHODE ISLAND

• Wednesday marks the 91st meeting between Saint Joseph’s and Rhode Island, with the Hawks holding a 56-34 edge in the all-time series.

• Last year, the Hawks and Rams met in an overtime thriller in which Rhode Island prevailed, 85-77.

Taylor Funk finished with 29 points and Cameron Brown had a season-high 21 points at Rhode Island a season ago.

• The Hawks enter Wednesday with a 23-20 record versus the Rams in Rhode Island.

• Saint Joseph’s 56 victories over Rhode Island rank third-most against any opponent, trailing only La Salle (72) and Temple (70) .

HAWKS ADD GREER III

Saint Joseph’s head coach Billy Lange announced on Monday that Lynn Greer III has enrolled on Hawk Hill for the spring 2022 semester. A four-year starter at Roman Catholic High School, Greer III returns to Philadelphia after transferring to Saint Joseph’s from Dayton. While with the Flyers, the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 2.7 points, 1.4 rebounds and 9.0 minutes per game over 10 contests.  A three-time First Team All-Catholic honoree, Greer III led the Cahillites to two Catholic League titles and a PIAA Class 4A championship. Averaging 5.0 assists per game for his career, he finished eighth all-time in scoring at Roman with 1,392 career points. The son of Temple’s second all-time leading scorer and Big 5 Hall of Famer Lynn Greer, Jr., and grandson of Virginia State Hall of Famer Lynn Greer, Sr., Greer III spent a post-graduate year at nationally-ranked IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, before attending Dayton.

NEXT UP

The Hawks return home to host La Salle on Monday, January 17 as part of a Martin Luther King Day doubleheader with the St. Joe’s women’s basketball team. The Hawks’ women’s team take on the Explorers at noon, while the Saint Joseph’s men’s squad and La Salle tip at 4 p.m., with both games nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.

Follow the Saint Joseph’s men’s basketball team on Instagram and Twitter and like the Hawks on Facebook.





Source link

Spread the love

What should I do if my flight has been canceled or delayed?


(CNN) — It has been a tough slog for some air travelers here at the winter holidays rush — and it may not be over soon.

Citing the spike in Omicron variant cases and in some cases bad weather, airlines have been canceling and delaying thousands of flights since December 23.

While most flights are still proceeding, what if you’re one of the unlucky passengers? Here are some tips to help travelers navigate the system when flights are delayed or canceled:

Avoid getting trapped at the airport

As bad as it is to find out your flight has been delayed for a long time, or worse, canceled, it’s better to find out from the comfort of home or a hotel room and make new arrangements from there.

“Check your flight status before you go the airport. Most of these notifications are not happening at the last minute,” said Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. “Save yourself the drive to the airport.”
Keyes told CNN Travel in an interview on Monday that you should sign up for airlines’ free text alerts on the status of flights when you buy your ticket. You should also download your carrier’s app.

You can also put your airline and flight number directly into a Google search bar to retrieve the status that way. That’s also handy for friends or family who are on standby to pick you up.

Keyes also suggested checking the website FlightAware to track larger flight trends across country.

If you’re at the airport already

A flight information display system shows departure times at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday, December 27.

A flight information display system shows departure times at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday, December 27.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Sometimes, the delays and cancellations happen after you’ve arrived at the airport. Once the bad news has been delivered, what should you do?

Keyes said to head fast as you can to the airline agents’ desk — and get ready to multitask while you’re in line.

Fast is a key word here. “It’s going to make a difference who arrives first. It’s first-come, first-serve. Positioning yourself close to the desk can pay off,” Keyes said.

Then call up your carrier while you’re waiting. Depending on your spot in line, it might be faster to get through to a call center. “Whatever happens first, great,” he said.

Calls to US domestic numbers might have really long waits. Keyes suggested trying an international call center for your carrier instead.

“Most US-based travelers aren’t thinking to call the Canadian help line for Delta. You might get through to an agent much quicker. They can all handle your reservations just the same.”

You can also use a self-serve kiosk, American Airlines says. “Scan your boarding pass or enter your record locator to see your updated trip details. From there you can also switch your flight and print your new boarding passes.”

Attitude and research matter

Passengers wait in line to check in for their flights at the Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, on Monday, December 27.

Passengers wait in line to check in for their flights at the Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, on Monday, December 27.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Whether you’re dealing with an agent in person or over the phone, how you approach things can make a big difference. That starts with attitude.

“Honey attracts more flies than vinegar,” Keyes said. “Look at this from the airline agents’ perspective. They’ve been dealing with irate customers really since the pandemic began. The agent is the one who has the most ability to help you.

“Asking nicely and sympathetically is far more likely to get what you want than being a jerk about it.”

He had another tip when it’s your turn to talk to an agent about making new arrangements: “Come prepared to offer your own options already. Doing your own research is absolutely helpful.”

Your agent can expedite things if you’ve already looked up new routes and possible suggestions while you’ve been waiting. Be ready to explain what you want.

If you’ve booked through Expedia or another third-party site, you’ll have to deal through them when there’s a cancellation.

If price is the same, Keyes suggested you book directly with the airline. In case something goes wrong, “it makes it much more complicated with multiple sets of policies” when you booked via a third party.

US PIRG, a consumer advocacy group, suggests you avoid layovers when booking if possible. The more times you stop, the more chances for something to go wrong.

The group also backs up the advice from Keyes to be nice and polite to agents but also says consumers should be persistent in trying to get the situation resolved satisfactorily.

Trapped for the night

A woman and child wait for their flight alongside another traveler at Miami International Airport on Monday, December 27.

A woman and child wait for their flight alongside another traveler at Miami International Airport on Monday, December 27.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

What do you do if it looks like you’re not going to be able to fly out until the next day and you’re not in your home city?

“Ask the airline to put you up in a hotel or give you a hotel voucher. They might do it; they might not. It’s not required by law,” Keyes said.

They’re less likely to do it if it’s weather related, he said, than if the problem is a mechanical issue with the plane or staffing issues.

Get to know policies. For instance, Delta Air Lines says it will provide a hotel voucher in some circumstances if travel is interrupted for more than four hours after the scheduled departure time when the delay is between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Whatever you do, at least ask, Keyes said. A voucher for hotels and even ground transport and meals aren’t likely to just be offered.

You should also look up your credit card information. Keyes said your card might have passenger protections, including free hotel rooms if you’re stranded and perhaps even cover your food and taxi to the hotel. Look up what do you need to do to get reimbursed.

If your flight is delayed instead of outright canceled, you might want to weigh whether to wait at the airport. Depending your personal circumstances, hunkering down there for five or six hours might be easier than going to and from a hotel. Also, Keyes said, check whether there is a hotel within the airport.

The Points Guy advises trying to get into an airport lounge if you can, where you can recharge your phone and rest more easily.

Cancel your trip and fly later

“If you are scheduled to fly in the next week and worried about Omicron, airlines are offering free changes to your flight,” Keyes said. “If you’d like to switch your travel dates, you can change without penalty.”

He also noted that if the new travel dates are cheaper, you can get a travel credit. (Conversely, you’ll pay more if the flight is more expensive.)

“By switching a flight from the holidays to February, you’re less likely to encounter this Omicron situation. You might save yourself a couple of hundred of bucks.”

Refund entitlements for your flight

The US Department of Transportation says you are entitled to a refund of your ticket cost because of a cancellation or “significant delay” and you choose not to travel.

This is the policy regardless of the reason the airlines cancels or delays the flight. However, what “significant delay” remains open to interpretation.

According to the DOT website, “it has not specifically defined what constitutes a ‘significant delay.’ Whether you are entitled to a refund depends on many factors — including the length of the delay, the length of the flight, and your particular circumstances. DOT determines whether you are entitled to a refund following a significant delay on a case-by-case basis.”

CNN’s Gregory Wallace, Jordan Valinsky, Chris Liakos and Sonnet Swire contributed to this report.



Source link

Spread the love

Anthony Albanese: Scott Morrison is slammed over his sunscreen and mask wearing comparison


The Prime Minister’s comments comparing mask wearing to sunscreen have been labelled ‘absurd’ by his opponents.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has criticised the Prime Minister for his “absurd” comments comparing Covid-19 to the sun.

Ahead of Wednesday’s emergency national cabinet meeting to discuss the mounting threat of Omicron, Scott Morrison was quizzed about whether the health advice suggested reintroducing a mask mandate, particularly in NSW where case numbers are ballooning.

Mr Morrison said Australians didn’t need to be told what to do, likening mask-wearing to sun safety.

“In the same way as we go into the summer season, people will be slapping on the hat and slapping on the sunscreen,” he said.

“There’s no rule or requirement to do that, but it is strongly recommended health advice. It’s in the same category.”

Mr Albanese said it was out of line to make such a comparison.

“This sunscreen analogy … is a rather absurd one, because if I don’t choose to wear sunscreen it doesn’t mean you get sunburnt (just me), whereas with protections against Covid – what we do is protect ourselves but we are also protecting people we come into contact with,” he told the Today Show.

“It is quite extraordinary the fact that we had an emergency national cabinet called yesterday, but all the decisions (were) kicked down the road.”

On Wednesday, NSW, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia all recorded their largest ever daily case numbers.

Pressure is mounting on testing centres across the country as close contacts and symptomatic Australians rush to get tested before Christmas, but also clogging up the sites are people wanting to travel interstate.

Those wishing to travel to Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their arrival, which is in-part causing massive queues and delays in receiving results.

Mr Morrison said on Wednesday health experts could advise states and territories to do away with the testing requirement for interstate arrivals.

Mr Albanese said Mr Morrison should take responsibility for the problem, rather than shift the blame on states.

“This is a classic example of Scott Morrison trying to blame someone else and defer and issue to say, ‘look over there’,” he said.

“I had a few days off (in Queensland), and guess what? People are getting on with their lives. They are checking in with QR codes, they are wearing masks … they are getting on with life.

“One of the ways that they have done that is because Annastacia Palaszczuk has protected Queenslanders. She deserves praise.”

Mr Albanese rebuked claims the long testing queues were being caused by those travel requirements, instead blaming Mr Morrison.

“Overwhelmingly, people are waiting in queues because the governments haven’t prepared. The federal government shut down a w hole lot of the testing areas,” he said.

“The government … have known that this period was coming for months now, and the preparation simply hasn’t been put in place.

“We need to make sure that there are more testing sites available, and more vaccination sites available as well.”

Read related topics:Anthony AlbaneseScott Morrison



Source link

Spread the love

Cunane powers No. 2 NC State women past Saint Mary’s 101-73


North Carolina State center Elissa Cunane (33) reacts following a basket against Saint Mary's during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

North Carolina State center Elissa Cunane (33) reacts following a basket against Saint Mary’s during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

AP

N.C. State coach Wes Moore keeps thinking about last March, when starter Kayla Jones’ knee injury kept her out of the Wolfpack’s Sweet 16 defeat. It’s impacted the way he substitutes, and he’s trying to get his reserves more playing time this season.

“In the NCAA Tournament, I thought it was a real blow to us,” Moore said. “So, this year, even though we’ve played a really, really good schedule, we’ve had opportunities to play some of the young players. Hopefully it’s going to pay off down the stretch.”

Second-ranked 2 N.C. State got 52 points from its bench Sunday and won its 10th straight game, beating Saint Mary’s 101-73.

Elissa Cunane led the Wolfpack (10-1) with 15 points and nine rebounds. The senior center, who scored her 1,500th career point, had nine points during an early 18-0 run that put the Wolfpack in control.

“It’s pretty cool,” Cunane said of the milestone. “I just give it all to my teammates, because they’re the ones that have to give me the ball. I appreciate them doing what they do for me.”

Jones added 13 points, while Jakia Brown-Turner had 11 points and six rebounds for N.C. State. Off the bench, freshman Aziaha James tallied 11 points, five rebounds and two steals.

Jade Kirisome led the Gaels (5-4) with 17 points. Ali Bamberger had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Saint Mary’s tied it at 7 on a 3-pointer from Makena Mastora in the first quarter. The Wolfpack then broke away with their big run.

N.C. State grew its lead to as much as 30 points, and Saint Mary’s was unable to trim the deficit to single digits over the final three quarters.

BIG PICTURE

Saint Mary’s: The Gaels outscored N.C. State 22-21 in the third quarter, but the early deficit they dug themselves into proved too deep. Saint Mary’s shot just 53.8% on free throws and turned the ball over 16 times.

“You can’t give the ball to the No. 2 team in the nation that shoots the ball that effectively. They’re just so efficient on offense,” Gaels coach Paul Thomas said. “We just did not get enough stops to counter that. We just couldn’t find a rhythm defensively. … Our kids know we did not play the way we are capable of playing.”

N.C. State: In these blowout victories over mid-majors, Moore has been able to get valuable minutes for his non-starters. Six players off the bench played double-digit minutes for the Wolfpack, including freshman guard Jessica Timmons, who scored a season-high nine points. The experience that N.C. State’s reserves are getting now could be valuable in the postseason.

“Hopefully, that’s getting them prepared for ACC play as well,” Moore said. “It’s tough because of the extra-year super seniors – it affected Aziaha’s and Jessica Timmons’ roles as freshmen. But they’ve handled it well. They’re going to make an impact and a difference right now, but they’re also the future.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

With No. 3 UConn losing to Georgia Tech, and No. 4 Stanford not posting any impressive wins this past week, N.C. State should hold on to its No. 2 spot, just behind unbeaten South Carolina.

UP NEXT

Saint Mary’s: The Gaels travel to Conway, South Carolina, to face undefeated Coastal Carolina on Wednesday.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack host their fourth ranked opponent this season, playing No. 21 Georgia on Thursday.

TIP-INS

The win was Moore’s 200th as N.C. State’s head coach. … It was the sixth time this season that N.C. State has scored more than 80 points. The Wolfpack are second nationally in field goals made this season.

___

More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Poll: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll





Source link

Spread the love

Seton Hall vs. Ohio State, Fort Myers Tip-Off: How to watch, odds


The Seton Hall University Pirates travel to play in the Fort Myers Tip-Off Classic versus the Ohio State Buckeyes. This battle of Big East and Big Ten powerhouses comes on the heels of the Gavitt Games. Seton Hall comes into the game 3-0 after surprising the Michigan Wolverines in Crisler Arena last Tuesday. The Buckeyes check into this game at 3-1 and hope to bounce back following a loss at Xavier. This early-season test gives both teams an opportunity to add a quality win to their resume.

How to watch Seton Hall vs. Ohio State

Time: 6:00 ET
TV: FS1
Watch Online: Fox Sports Live

Betting Odds

(via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Spread: Seton Hall -2.5 | Ohio State +2.5
Total: 137.5
Moneyline: Seton Hall -135 | Ohio State +115

Seton Hall will look to build on their hot start to the season. Coach Kevin Willard has utilized his team’s deep roster of experienced players to make a splash on the national scene.”We’re going to be one of the best teams in the country and we are one of the best teams in the country because we can play 10 guys,” Willard said.

The Pirates team defense has been relentless as they have held their opponents to 31.4% from the field and 13.3% from three-point range. Seton Hall’s offense has been balanced, led by Jared Rhoden, Myles Cale, and Bryce Aiken. Transfers Jamir Harris, Alexis Yetna, and Kadary Richmond also have transitioned into the Pirates rotation as Kevin Willard tinkers with the lineup to maximize his deep talent.

Ohio State returns from a 21-10 season last year that ended with disappointment in their NCAA Tournament Loss to Oral Roberts. Their loss at Xavier was their first true road game since March 8, 2020. The Buckeyes are led by EJ Liddell and Kyle Young that will look to impose their will on the Seton Hall frontcourt.

Additional Facts– Ohio State leads the all-time series 3-2. Ohio State assistant coach Tony Skinn is a former Seton Hall Coach. The other side of the bracket in the Fort Myer Tip-Off is the University of Florida vs California out of the Pac-12. Winners will match up on Wednesday evening.



Source link

Spread the love