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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry went on this ultra-romantic secret holiday to Norway | Travel News | Travel

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry first met in 2016 after being introduced by friends, and, just like many men in love, the Queen’s grandson was keen to whisk Meghan away on holiday. The pair spent Christmas 2016 apart but “were in constant touch over the holidays, speaking regularly on FaceTime,” royal author Katie Nicholl wrote in her book Harry: Life, loss and Love. Then, after seeing in the New Year together, the loved-up pair headed to Norway in early 2017. “Harry took [Meghan] to Norway to see the Northern Lights,” said Nicholl. “Ever since visiting the country as part of his training on his walk to the Arctic, he had vowed to return.”

The trip was said to be top secret – and certainly seems to be a trip many couples would envy.

Nicholls quotes one of Harry’s friends: “I was with Harry when he saw the lights for the first time in 2011,” the pal said, the author claimed.

“He promised he’d come back with someone special. Harry’s friend Inge [Solheim], who is from Norway, planned a very special few days for them.

“He sorted their flights and arranged for them to spend several nights in a glass-topped luxury teepee in the middle of nowhere so they could fall asleep under the stars. He knew that keeping the trip top secret was the priority.”

The Norway holiday was also action-packed. Harry and Meghan “hired snowmobiles and went whale watching and trekking in search of polar bears,” wrote Nicholl.

It was only after the “unforgettable few days” had happened that the media realised it had taken place at all.

The now-parents-to-be travelled on a commercial airline for the trip – heading to Tromso and then onto to a lodge in the Arctic circle.

According to Nicholl: “There were rumours Harry was in Norway because one of the cabin staff on the airline tweeted that he was on board, but Inge knew how to hide the couple away and they were never found.”

The Duke of Sussex visited Norway again yesterday – but under very different circumstances.

Harry visited British servicemen and women undergoing extreme winter weather training. 

And as the Duke arrived hundreds of miles inside the freezing Arctic Circle, Prince Harry was met with candles and photos of wife Meghan inside a homemade snow cave.

British soldiers made the snow cave inside the Bardufoss air station in a gesture to protect the prince from the freezing weather currently swiping through the Scandinavian country.

In addition to the candles and pictures, the soldiers had put on classical music for the royal guest.

A soldier told Prince Harry: “It’s not normally like this here.”

The Duke of Sussex reportedly found the whole thing “very funny” according to British photographers at the scene.

Harry was only in Norway for the day and flew back to spend the last hours of Valentines Day in the UK.

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Travel & Escape

Christmas travel rules explained: From advance train tickets to travelling abroad from Tier 3 airports

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Q: Normally trains would be packed over the busy Christmas period. Do you have to get advance train tickets to ensure you have a seat? And what happens if a train is cancelled?

A: Sir Peter Hendy has been tasked with overseeing travel during the Christmas period by the Department for Transport. By analysing bookings and searches, the Chairman of Network Rail is looking at whether the current, reduced, infrastructure is prepared for a surge in passenger numbers with reduced capacity to ensure social distancing. The DfT is advising passengers to buy advance tickets to ensure they have a seat, and some operators such as LNER, are making them mandatory. 

On GWR services between London and the West, not all standard services will be reservable, but for those that are, GWR says “we’ll automatically allocate you a space if one is available or ask you to try another service if not. We always leave space on board for those with walk-up tickets, such as season tickets, or those who may have been disrupted.” 

Avanti West Coast is advising passengers to make advance reservations and has also relaxed its Christmas peak so that demand is spread over the period. It will be operating trains at 40-45 per cent capacity. 

Disruption is guaranteed on some parts of the network, with no trains operating from London Kings Cross between 25-30 December. LNER says: “Please do not travel to London on these dates. Trains either side of these dates will likely be busy.” It also advises against travelling on Christmas Eve and between 31 December and 3 January. 

GWR’s Night Riviera service between London Paddington and Penzance will pause between 24 December and 2 January. Engineering work is scheduled to take place on Northern routes either side of Christmas, too. 

If unforeseen cancellations arise, the Rail Delivery Group is offering reassurance that space is left on each service to allow for emergencies and cancellations. Agreements can be put in place with other operators, depending on the disruption, such as cross-acceptance of tickets. A spokesperson told i:  “contingency plans are in place and they will be very strong.” For example, if the last train of the day is cancelled, onward transport by other means could be arranged.

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Travel & Escape

Delta launching contact tracing program for international travel

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Delta announced Tuesday it will debut a new contact tracing program for international travelers returning to the United States.

The company said the program is in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program, slated to start December 15, will ask customers traveling to the U.S. from an “international location to voluntarily provide five pieces of data to aid contact tracing and public health follow-up efforts,” including:

  • Full Name
  • Email address
  • Address in the U.S.
  • Primary phone
  • Secondary phone

Delta said that under the new process, they will work with the CDC to streamline contact-tracing efforts by “directly and securely transmitting the five requested customer data points to the CDC via U.S. Customs and Border Protection.” Delta said this move will give the CDC access to the data fast, decreasing the time it takes to notify impacted customers. According to Delta, “by connecting with customers more quickly and providing public health follow-up, health authorities can help reduce instances of potential exposure and slow the spread of the virus.”

“Independent studies have shown that the many layers of protection Delta has already put in place are effectively minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and contact tracing adds one more important layer to our efforts to ensure safety throughout travel,” Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer said in a statement. “We want customers to feel safe when they return to travel, and this voluntary program is another way we can provide additional reassurance to customers and employees alike.”

Delta recently announced a COVID-19 testing program that allows a quarantine-free entry into Italy for the first time. The airline also remains the only airline blocking middle seats during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Delta unveils ‘quarantine-free, COVID-free’ plan to resume international travel

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International flights are currently limited at Orlando International Airport because of travel restrictions, but there is some hope on the horizon.

This week, Delta announced what it’s calling a “quarantine-free, COVID-free” plan to get people from Atlanta to Rome.

U.S. citizens who are permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons like work, health and education can take part in the innovative and experimental flight program.

Delta stated passengers will need to have a negative test result 72 hours before departure, then they will need to test negative with a rapid test at the Atlanta International Airport before takeoff, upon arriving in Rome and before returning to the U.S.

“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” Delta said in a prepared statement.

The program begins Dec. 19.

Industry experts said they’re really hoping Delta’s new plan becomes some sort of a role model, saying it could be the key to safely restarting international travel.

“As the tourism sector tries to recover, to have that additional influx of tourists from outside United States would be a welcome occurrence,” said Dr. Sean Snaith with the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Forecasting.

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