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Old Friday 8th April 2011, 21:20   #1
Ian Hardy
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Lesbos 2012

Has anyone got information on the above for next year I have just read that First Choice are doing only all inclusive holidays next year.

Any info will be appreciated.

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Old Wednesday 1st June 2011, 01:24   #2
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Looks like Thompson's aren't going to Lesvos at all!
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Old Wednesday 1st June 2011, 07:38   #3
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There are regular updates regarding the situation on the Lesvos 2011 link
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Old Wednesday 1st June 2011, 15:25   #4
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Hi all, on the Lesvos 2011 thread I asked for folk to hold fire for the time being. I'm in regular contact with those working on this from the Lesvos end - they have much to lose if hat we hear about FC and Thompson pulling out of Lesvos, and they are working hard on this. I'll let you all know what is going on once we know for definite, but despite what we have heard up till now, things are in a state of flux and ay yet change. I'll post more as soon s I know myself.
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Old Thursday 16th June 2011, 17:46   #5
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OK, a wee update on the charter flight situation for 2012.

The hotels have now received official confirmation that Thomson are not flying to Lesvos in 2012. Whilst various things have been flying around since March, this is the official Lesvos-end confirmation I was waiting for before casting it in stone.

Thomas Cook are currently advertising charter flights from 5 May 2012. I'm working with various folk on Lesvos in discussions with Thomas Cook to see if we can get them to commence their flights two weeks earlier. Discussions are ongoing and I will keep you updated.

Whilst getting charter flights running from mid-April will clearly benefit those birders wanting to go to Lesvos earlier, it is critical for the local Kalloni economy that we get birders to the island from mid-April. For the area to lose two weeks of birders spend is a serious impact for those hotels, tavernas, etc open this time of year to service our needs.
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Old Wednesday 22nd June 2011, 11:58   #6
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I've just come off the phone to Thomas Cook and as of today there are flights 'scheduled' for early spring 2012. For full details see the Lesvos Birding website.
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Old Tuesday 12th July 2011, 14:01   #7
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Good news! I met with Thomas Cook this morning and they are committing to two weeks of early spring flights flying on 21 and 28 April 2012. Further details on the Lesvos Birding website.

We just need to fill them planes to ensure that they continue these early spring flights form 2013 onwards!
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Old Thursday 14th July 2011, 16:59   #8
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Thomas Cook have just given me Gatwick flight only prices and flight times for the new 2012 early spring flights. See the Lesvos Birding website for details.

They haven't forgotten about Manchester, but simply focussing on getting everything fixed for Gatwick and will add Manchester (either direct or doubling with Gatwick) if the demand is there. See get on to your local agent if you want a Manchester flight!
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Old Friday 15th July 2011, 11:53   #9
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Further to yesterday's flight only prices, Thomas Cook have given me package deal prices for three Skala Kallonis hotels. See Lesvos Birding website for details.

Unfortunately, Thomas Cook have also stated that Manchester will not feature for the early spring birder weeks flights on 21 and 28 April 2012, but will be considered for 2013. See Lesvos Birding website for details.

For those wishing to be on the island for these two weeks (21 April - 5 May) then Thomas Cook will be your only direct flight option from the UK. Other flight only options remain from various UK airports via Athens, which for northern-based birders used to using Manchester, might prove better then traveling via Gatwick.
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Old Friday 15th July 2011, 14:58   #10
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You can receive further updates about 2012 and other Lesvos birding news via Facebook (Lesvos Birding) and Twitter (@LesvosBirding) as well as the Lesvos Birding website.
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Old Friday 29th July 2011, 16:23   #11
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Thomas Cook have confirmed luggage allowance as 20kg hold and 5kg hand - details inc. over allowance costs, etc on the Lesvos Birding website.
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Old Saturday 30th July 2011, 21:19   #12
Sandra (Taylor)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Dudley View Post
Thomas Cook have confirmed luggage allowance as 20kg hold and 5kg hand - details inc. over allowance costs, etc on the Lesvos Birding website.
Does this apply with Manos (Thomas Cook), although we're flying with Monarch (5th May 2012). We've booked this week and paid extra to the travel agent as we were told our limit was 15 kg. for hold luggage & 5 kg. hand luggage. If so, I'll ask for a refund.

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Old Monday 1st August 2011, 09:55   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandra (Taylor) View Post
Does this apply with Manos (Thomas Cook), although we're flying with Monarch (5th May 2012). We've booked this week and paid extra to the travel agent as we were told our limit was 15 kg. for hold luggage & 5 kg. hand luggage. If so, I'll ask for a refund.

Sandra
Sorry Sandra. I know nothing about Manos or the Monarch flights, although the luggage allowance will be down to the flight carrier. I'm dealing only with Thomas Cook themselves about the two specific birders flights on 21 and 28 April next year.
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Old Monday 1st August 2011, 12:31   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Dudley View Post
Sorry Sandra. I know nothing about Manos or the Monarch flights, although the luggage allowance will be down to the flight carrier. I'm dealing only with Thomas Cook themselves about the two specific birders flights on 21 and 28 April next year.
Yes, I thought maybe the final say was the airline so it will be up to Monarch, even though they're taking Manos (Thomas Cook) passengers.
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Old Friday 5th August 2011, 10:30   #15
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Please don't forget, check the Lesvos Birding website for latest info on the 2012 early spring birder flights here. Some folk already experiencing some problems with the Thomas Cook shops as these packages aren't listed as normal for the shops since they are special charters run by TC HQ. So, check the website before you book!

Also, TC have added several more accommodation options which are now on the charter update on the website here.
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Old Wednesday 24th August 2011, 11:26   #16
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I have been planning a return visit to Goa for February and have found that the Monarch flights (same carrier for Lesvos) are limiting hand luggage to only 5kg for charter flights, 10kg for schedule flights. For both Goa and Lesvos the limits are just 5kg. I have spoken directly with the airline and they are not going to budge on the limit, the response I got was 'if it's over 5kg it either goes in the hold or something has to come out' (or even 'it goes not go'), they weigh the hand luggage at the check in desk and are apparently rather strict on it.

As my camera body and 500mm lens comes to 7kg on its own, lens 6kg alone, its a non starter for anyone wanting to take high end camera kit to these destinations. Simply put it's highly unlikely I would ever return to Goa or make any visit (which I was seriously considering) to Lesvos due to the limitations of Monarch.
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Old Wednesday 24th August 2011, 11:53   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Arlow View Post
I have been planning a return visit to Goa for February and have found that the Monarch flights (same carrier for Lesvos) are limiting hand luggage to only 5kg for charter flights, 10kg for schedule flights. For both Goa and Lesvos the limits are just 5kg. I have spoken directly with the airline and they are not going to budge on the limit, the response I got was 'if it's over 5kg it either goes in the hold or something has to come out' (or even 'it goes not go'), they weigh the hand luggage at the check in desk and are apparently rather strict on it.

As my camera body and 500mm lens comes to 7kg on its own, lens 6kg alone, its a non starter for anyone wanting to take high end camera kit to these destinations. Simply put it's highly unlikely I would ever return to Goa or make any visit (which I was seriously considering) to Lesvos due to the limitations of Monarch.
It's many years since our hand luggage was weighed at check-in. But wouldn't like to chance it with more than 5 kg just in case.......... We've paid extra to up our hold luggage weight to 20 kgs with Monarch in May 2012

S
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Old Wednesday 24th August 2011, 15:26   #18
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It's many years since our hand luggage was weighed at check-in. But wouldn't like to chance it with more than 5 kg just in case.......... We've paid extra to up our hold luggage weight to 20 kgs with Monarch in May 2012

S
The early spring bird flights on 21 and 28 April are currently scheduled with Monarch.

The hold allowance for these flights is 20kg per passenger with 5kg of hand luggage.

If you book via an agent you will be offered 15kg standard hold luggage plus 5kg add on.

if you book direct with Thomas Cook via the contact on my website then you will be offered 20kg straight off.

You end up paying the same price either way - its just two different ways to get to the same point!

There's nothing we can do about how strictly hand luggage is policed, but I will be leaning on TC to ensure check-in staff arent too strict!

All these details, and further updates on these flights, are on my website here.
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Old Thursday 6th October 2011, 18:57   #19
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I've finalised my day trips for spring 2012 - all dates (now covering 23 dates over four weeks 22 April - 18 May) and info on the Lesvos Birding website.

I spoke with Thomas Cook earlier in the week and they are very pleased so far with the response to the two early spring birder flights they are putting on. So thanks for your support - and if you've not yet booked, do so soon! The Lesvos economy needs us!
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Old Thursday 6th October 2011, 20:33   #20
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On the subject of hand luggage weight, I specifically asked about the ridiculously low 5kg hand luggage weight limit last spring. I did have a 20kg checked luggage limit which is more than adequate, but who wants to pack valuable optics and camera gear in the hold? Most replies said I most probably wouldn't have a problem.

However, I did have my luggage weighed at Manchester, and it was 7Kg!! Something had to come out I was told, so after a minute or two fumbling inside my bag, I removed two items. A camera lens and something else which I can't remember, probably my bins. Those two items were quickly stuffed in the large front pocket of my Paramo Torres smock, until I had walked around the corner, when they went straight back in!

I still can't get my head around how petty airline weight limits can be, but in future I would consider not taking my big scope, in favour of my travel scope, so no digi-scoping would be possible. Stuff any camera gear you're carrying into pockets before check-in and you should be OK. Lesson learned, but I'd need some pretty substantial pockets to fit a 500f4 inside, if I was ever lucky enough to own one.

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Old Monday 10th October 2011, 12:48   #21
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Good tip on using a jacket in emergencies re. lenses etc.
This was one reason why I bought a large Country Innovations Falcon jacket - it has two large external pockets, and one massive internal zip-up breast pocket. If I had needed to, I could have stuffed 2 large camera bodies and a 300f4 lens (without foot) in this and carried the folded coat under my arm!
As it happened without any emergencies, I used the large internal pocket for the 300f4, without any problems. Other pockets carried Steve's guide, iPod, camera cards, and a couple of camera manuals.
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2011, 09:04   #22
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Sh!..................

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Old Tuesday 18th October 2011, 20:33   #23
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Hi. A bit long winded but please read through. Last year we went to Lesbos with first choice out of Gatwick. Our suitcases were under the limit so the checkin girl said she would not weigh our carry on bags. My carry on was a camera bag (lowpro 300 aw) Canon 7d body 500 f4 lens Bino's and netbook for backing up images. As we got to near the auto checkin i was informed by a first choice rep to empty my bag in to my pockets because if my carry on was weighed i would not bt too much over. Then to repack once we had got airside. We had no problems going out. Coming back as we got on the plane and after i had lifted the now repacked bag into the overhead locker i was approached by a member of the cabin crew who told me he knew my carryon would be over 5kgs if weighed. He told me that ALL airlines were cracking down on carryons that are over 5kg. He said that it is an instruction by health and safety so that if a bag falls out of the overhead locker it should not do to much damage to anyone hit. He also said he could not see why anything below 5kg would not hurt and above would. His words were basically if you carry on over 5kgs you are more likely to have to repack into your suitcase or leave stuff behind He said it was well known that Lesbos gets alot of people going there to bird watch/photograph and would have big scopes/lens but he could see lots of problems coming up when people were told to put scopes/camera stuff in the hold. I told him politely that my insurers would not insure my camera stuff in the hold so would first choice promise to insure and make sure all stuff was ok. The short answer was no it is up to you to insure expensive gear. So be warned. I think enough said but i am not too sure wether we will fly anywhere 2012 because i dont want my stuff out of sight in the hold
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Old Tuesday 18th October 2011, 21:22   #24
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Hand Luggage Weight - Lesvos return flights

Re Lesvos return check in
This may have already been mentioned, however its perhaps worth revisiting.
It has been our experience that on the return flight, the last two years at Mitlinene Airport, the "check in operators" have weighed both hold and hand luggage together, to check if it totalled more than 25kg.
We were later informed by a rep, that the airports had been charged with raising more cash.
Since we were OK, this was not a problem for us.
Outgoing toiletries either used or discarded we usually come in under on the return.
I'm not saying that everyone has experienced this, but I have seen birders frantically unpacking at the airport on the return leg.
Incidentally having just returned from the Algarve, Thompsons check in weren't interested in our hand luggage on either leg.
Mine weighed about 6.5.
The Lesvos birding is there to be enjoyed in the first instance, anything else that follows from a record point of view is a privilege.
Best & good luck.
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Hi. A bit long winded but please read through. Last year we went to Lesbos with first choice out of Gatwick. Our suitcases were under the limit so the checkin girl said she would not weigh our carry on bags. My carry on was a camera bag (lowpro 300 aw) Canon 7d body 500 f4 lens Bino's and netbook for backing up images. As we got to near the auto checkin i was informed by a first choice rep to empty my bag in to my pockets because if my carry on was weighed i would not bt too much over. Then to repack once we had got airside. We had no problems going out. Coming back as we got on the plane and after i had lifted the now repacked bag into the overhead locker i was approached by a member of the cabin crew who told me he knew my carryon would be over 5kgs if weighed. He told me that ALL airlines were cracking down on carryons that are over 5kg. He said that it is an instruction by health and safety so that if a bag falls out of the overhead locker it should not do to much damage to anyone hit. He also said he could not see why anything below 5kg would not hurt and above would. His words were basically if you carry on over 5kgs you are more likely to have to repack into your suitcase or leave stuff behind He said it was well known that Lesbos gets alot of people going there to bird watch/photograph and would have big scopes/lens but he could see lots of problems coming up when people were told to put scopes/camera stuff in the hold. I told him politely that my insurers would not insure my camera stuff in the hold so would first choice promise to insure and make sure all stuff was ok. The short answer was no it is up to you to insure expensive gear. So be warned. I think enough said but i am not too sure wether we will fly anywhere 2012 because i dont want my stuff out of sight in the hold
Stan
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Old Thursday 20th October 2011, 21:46   #25
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Hi Mick. Our trip in may this year was our 4th trip there. This year was the only year that we did not have our hand luggage weighed at Mitlinene. Whilst stood in the queue we were watching the check in girls closely, if your cases were under weight they did not weigh your carryon but if your cases were just over then they weighed your carry on as well. in the three open check in lanes there were 7 people repacking. As you say enjoy Lesvos first anything else a bonus
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