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Entries during 2016-05

Planning a Scenic Rail Trip Around the U.K.

Q. This isn’t an “air” question unless you include the fact that we’ll be flying to London, but I hope you can help. We’d like to take several of the more famous U.K. “branch line” trains when we visit London. We’ve checked out websites but we’re still confused, so maybe you can map it out for us. We want to take the Settle to Carlisle train, the Glasgow to Maillaig run, the Inverness to Kyle line, and we want to get to Scotland on the Caledonian Sleeper overnight express, returning to London at the end of the trip. In what order should we organize this trip so that we get all the trains most efficiently?

A. I’ve actually done some of these trains and they are indeed spectacular. Start by taking the Caledonian Sleeper from London Euston Station to Inverness (a recent offer online for a couple occupying a double berth was priced at 38 pounds). From Inverness take the train to the Kyle of Lochalsh. From there, take a ferry to Skye, just because it’s so pretty and the heather will be in bloom. Overnight. From Skye, take a bus or ferry to Mallaig for the famous Highland Line via Ft. William and onward to Glasgow. Overnight. Then onto the Glasgow to Carlisle train (about an hour and 20 minutes on a fast service) and then hop on the scenic Carlisle to Settle train, and onward back to London from there.

You'll find more on U.K. rail trips here.

Multiple Schedule Changes

Q. We booked a Delta flight online, traveling from Phoenix to Amsterdam, well in advance. Twice now we have received notices of changes to the flight schedule. I've never experienced this before. Can airlines do this freely?

These changes can make big difference if you had an important meeting planned. What are they allowed to change without any obligations for compensation? We now have an over 8 hour layover in Atlanta. Is the airline obligated to provide anything due to the length of the layover?

A. Unfortunately, the airlines are free to do this without regulation or compensation. Their only obligation is to give you a full refund of your airfare if you ask for it. I have long thought that there needs to be some government regulation about "in-advance" schedule changes.

It is possible that your original flights are operating without a change but that for whatever reason Delta put you on different flights, so I would call Delta and ask if that's the case.

As for your long layover in Atlanta, no, unfortunately Delta is not required to provide meals or any other services. But at least you won't miss your connecting flights and have plenty of time to clear security, if that's any silver lining.

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