Episode 1 Rip Off Britain


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Episode 1

The Rip Off Britain team investigate viewers' holiday problems. The lifesaving piece of kit that airlines don't always carry, and the best way to avoid mosquito bites.


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Transcript


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We asked you who has left you feeling ripped off when it comes to

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your holidays, and you came back with a catalogue

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of travel disasters.

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I was absolutely mortified. I'm upset, I'm angry and I'm frustrated.

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It's the inconvenience. It's the stress. It's upsetting.

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So, whether it's a deliberate rip off,

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a simple mistake or a catch in the small print,

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we'll find out why you're out of pocket

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and what you can do about it.

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Your stories, your money.

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This is Rip-Off Britain.

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Hello and welcome, once again, to Rip-Off Britain,

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bringing you a taste of summer from the island of Lanzarote.

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Now, we've come to look into more of the holiday

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and travel stories that you've asked us

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to investigate on your behalf,

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and today we'll be looking into situations that, in some cases,

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and this is no exaggeration to say,

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really could be a matter of life and death.

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Yes, because while most trips abroad do go smoothly

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and are hassle-free, there are, unfortunately, exceptions.

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Maybe it's because you suddenly fall ill, or you come across something

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unexpected or even dangerous when you arrive.

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Whatever the reason, some trips don't end up being the safe,

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carefree break that you'd hoped for.

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And of course, while you could never totally

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prepare for the unpredictable, as ever, being forewarned is forearmed.

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So, as we hear about some of the worse-case scenarios that can happen

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on holiday, whether you're somewhere like this,

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or much closer to home,

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we're going to have what I hope is invaluable advice to make sure

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that you are armed with all the right information to protect

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yourself before you even travel.

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Coming up:

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An extraordinary test to find the best way to keep mosquitoes

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at bay, after news of another illness that mozzies can carry.

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All my joints, my fingers, my shoulders, neck was stiff.

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I couldn't move.

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And just what's behind that post-flight lurgy?

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We separate fact from fiction with some tests

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to see why it is that we so often feel unwell

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after getting off a plane.

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I've got sort of, like, I suppose you'd call it a hay fever feeling,

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where it's bunged up in the nose and what have you.

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Now, I'm quite sure you've often heard the phrase,

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"Is there a doctor on board?" in movies and in television

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whenever there's a sudden medical emergency in the middle of a flight.

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But what happens in the rare cases where that kind of situation

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occurs in real life?

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Well, the cabin crew do have some medical training,

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but of course they don't have the expertise to deal with every

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condition, and that's when the call for a fellow passenger to

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help can be the only available course of action.

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But it turns out that there's one simple, common,

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and, indeed, relatively affordable piece of kit

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that could be a real lifeline,

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and it's one that could significantly improve

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the chances of someone who suffers a cardiac arrest in the air.

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It was three hours into a flight from Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi

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when there was a sudden announcement that brought the training

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of medical student Craig McLean into the sharpest possible focus.

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We'd had our meal and were just settling in to watch the film,

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and over the Tannoy, interrupted, and said, "If there are any

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"doctors on board, could you, please,

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"make yourself known immediately?"

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Craig told one of the cabin crew he was a medical student,

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but not fully qualified.

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And before he could say another thing,

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they rushed him towards a sick man just a few rows back.

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He was unresponsive and I got down and checked for breathing and pulse

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and, at that point, it became clear that there were neither

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and it was a cardiac arrest.

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So you just go into that emergency automatic mode.

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I started CPR on the gentleman and the stewards were very helpful.

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They said, "Look, is there anything we can do to help?"

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So the first thing I thought of was,

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"Can you bring the defibrillator, please?"

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And also another one of the stewards,

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"We've got to land the plane now.

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"We need to make an emergency landing."

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The cabin crew rushed to fetch the defibrillator, which is a portable

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device designed to deliver an electric shock to a heart

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that's not beating properly.

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They also told Craig that the emergency landing was going

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to take 45 minutes.

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And your heart just sinks to think...

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45 minutes is a really long time, you know.

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For every minute that goes by,

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his chances are going to get slimmer and slimmer.

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A Dutch nurse on the plane came over to help.

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She took over CPR, while Craig got the defibrillator ready.

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And with the very first shock from the machine,

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their patient's heart started beating regularly again.

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All you're thinking is, "What can I do to give this person

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"the best chance possible?"

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And seeing the defibrillator, seeing the equipment,

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seeing the nurse come over to lend a hand

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are all just fantastic pieces of...

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Bonus pieces that can help this gentleman survive.

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The plane made an emergency landing in Turkey

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and Craig handed the patient over to medics on the ground,

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before the flight resumed its journey.

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It was only really afterwards when he went off the plane,

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and then everybody just kind of breathed out,

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you really just realised what had happened.

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Certainly, the defibrillator gave this man the best

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shot of survival, and had we not had that,

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his chances would have been much slimmer than they were.

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Now, although Craig is medically trained, the kind of

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defibrillator used on the KLM flight is designed for anyone to use.

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DEFIBRILLATOR VOICE:

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'Apply pad to bare skin, exactly as shown in the picture.'

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Tracey Guard is a hospital matron with a background in cardiology.

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Anyone can use this machine.

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We teach young children, primary schoolchildren how to use them.

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The machine will talk to you. It tells you exactly what to do.

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MACHINE: 'Call for help now.'

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It tells you to remove the clothing. It tells you to open up the pads.

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It tells you exactly, very clearly, where to put the pads on a patient's

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chest and it talks you through exactly what procedure to do.

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It will tell you to stand clear and then a shock's delivered.

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MACHINE: 'Pull red handle to open bag.'

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Widely installed in public places since the 1990s, these simple,

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and, at £1,000, relatively cheap defibrillators,

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also known as AEDs, have undoubtedly saved numerous lives.

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'Press pad firmly.'

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So, it might surprise you that it's not standard

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practice for airlines to carry them.

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The European Aviation Safety Authority does recommend that

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they're onboard any aircraft which can take more that 30 passengers,

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and which are flying more than 60 minutes away from medical

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assistance on the ground, but it's not a legal requirement.

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Now, that's in stark contrast to America,

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where all planes must carry a defibrillator,

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but, in Europe, it's up to individual airlines to decide,

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and that's a decision which Tracey feels could be life or death.

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When you suffer a cardiac arrest,

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basically, it stops the circulation of blood going round your body.

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After four minutes of no blood getting to the brain,

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the brain's activity starts to cease, so the sooner

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that you can get a device like this to a patient, the better.

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Every minute that you waste,

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you've got a 10% less chance of bringing that patient back to life.

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With no defibrillator, the life of someone in cardiac arrest

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depends on heart massage and CPR

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until the plane can make an emergency landing.

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At the moment, if you suffer a cardiac arrest on the ground

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and you dial 999, an ambulance will probably get to you

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within ten minutes, eight to ten minutes.

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If you have a cardiac arrest on a plane

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you're at least 30 minutes, if not more,

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getting some help from emergency personnel.

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If you've got an AED on an airline your chances of survival

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are very high.

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We asked the ten UK airlines that carry the most passengers

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whether their planes have defibrillators on board.

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Now, of those, Thomson Airways and Monarch were the only airlines

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who've routinely had them for a long time.

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Thomson for more than a decade and Monarch for more than 15 years.

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Virgin and Thomas Cook also carry defibrillators

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as standard on all their planes.

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EasyJet, the UK's biggest carrier, introduced them

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throughout its fleet in 2015.

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And British Airways says they're standard on all mainline aircraft

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but not on its BA Cityflyer routes.

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But the fourth biggest carrier in the UK, Flybe,

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doesn't currently have defibrillators on its planes

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because, it says, it predominately focuses on domestic

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and short haul travel.

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Many of its flights last less than an hour,

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so in an emergency would divert to the nearest airport.

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And the same goes for the Scottish airline Loganair.

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It told us its flights are so short haul that they're never more

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than a few minutes from medical help.

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Budget airline Jet2 also only carries them on certain flights.

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But when we asked why, they didn't get back to us.

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One glaring omission in that list is one that carries more passengers

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than any British airline. That's Ryanair -

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not in the UK top ten because it's based in Ireland.

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Until recently, none of its fleet had a defibrillator on board.

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But in November 2015 Ryanair announced a big change

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to its policy by installing them right across its entire fleet.

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That came a year after 47-year-old Davina Tavener

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collapsed with heart problems on a Ryanair flight to Lanzarote.

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A surgeon who happened to be on the same flight really tried to help

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but was surprised to learn that there was no defibrillator on board.

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Sadly the surgeon was unable to revive Davina

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and she died on the plane.

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And while in this particular case, a defibrillator may not

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have been able to save her, the coroner who investigated her death

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made a point of urging aviation regulators to rethink the rules,

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and make defibrillators compulsory on all European flights.

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He said they were as necessary on shorter flights

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as they are on long haul ones, pointing out that a cardiac event

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can take just a second and can happen at any time.

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His comments made headlines, and caught the eye of David Mackinson,

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who lives in Davina's home town of Bolton.

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When David was 36, he had a defibrillator implanted

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to help correct an irregular heartbeat.

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And after hearing Davina's story, he began a campaign

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to persuade airlines to carry defibrillators on ALL flights.

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What I wanted to do was try and influence this in some way.

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I thought, well, actually, these are the sort of circumstances

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where a public response, if you can get it,

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will hopefully make a difference.

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While David is delighted that Ryanair flights

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will now always carry defibrillators, he won't rest

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until there's a change in the law to force ALL airlines to do the same.

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My strategy was actually to write to the Prime Minister, which I did,

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and also to the Civil Aviation Authority,

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because if you're not going to be able to persuade the airlines

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to do it voluntarily then my view is compulsion should take place.

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So we asked the European Aviation Safety Agency whether it DOES have

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plans to force the airlines to have defibrillators on board.

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It told us that it is now looking at this issue,

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and has asked aviation authorities across Europe to give their input.

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But it's clear that for many the question of whether or not

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every airline should carry such a useful piece of kit

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has an obvious answer.

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The earlier you can get that defibrillator to the patient,

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the greater their chance of survival.

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It's important because life is precious and, you know,

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something so simple, a small piece of equipment like this,

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which doesn't cost a lot of money, can save a life.

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It's as simple as that.

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'Preparing to shock.'

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Now, if you've ever wondered why it's you that gets bitten to shreds

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on your holiday when no-one else travelling with you does,

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well, we could just have the answer, plus the best advice

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on protecting yourself from the dreaded mozzies

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hoping to drink your blood.

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Mosquito viruses on the rise, and not just the ones you've heard of.

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We can be spoilt for choice with all the products and repellents,

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promising to scare them off.

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But after an extraordinary test you won't want to try at home,

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I warn you, we can tell you exactly which kind are the most effective.

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They're the pesky holiday guests that just won't get the message

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to buzz off.

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You can hear them coming by the familiar whining noise

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that signals they're close.

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But no matter how hard you try to get rid of them,

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they just keep coming back for more.

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Now, fortunately, these days, I don't seem to have too much

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of a problem with mosquitoes.

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I'm sorry to say that, as I've got older, or more experienced

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as I prefer to put it, they just don't seem to fancy me as much,

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but whether it's you they go for or someone else you're with

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that they like to feast on, chances are that at some point,

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when travelling abroad, you'll be worried about hearing that telltale

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little whining noise that tells you they're about.

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And you'll have probably stocked up on a spray or remedy

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to keep them at bay.

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I always get bitten, and the bites swell up and they go black,

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and sometimes they track up my lymphatic system

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and it's a disaster.

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I could be sitting next to someone and they won't get bit,

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and I just get bit.

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One time I went to Turkey and I must have been bitten about 80 times.

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I think your blood is attractive and you kind of have a smell somehow.

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I don't think repellents change anything.

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For most of us the worst consequence of getting bitten might be

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a nasty itch and an ugly red spot, but if you're bitten by a mosquito

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carrying disease it can be a very different story.

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And there are a lot more of those diseases than you might think.

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Sayeeda Siddiqi's family are from India.

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And so she and her husband try and take a holiday there

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as often as they can.

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It was a short holiday.

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We just decided that we will take a trip to India.

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We had some family members there and they wanted us to visit

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for a short time.

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Sayeeda's not only been to India many times, she's also a doctor,

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and is well aware of the risk of contracting diseases like malaria

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or dengue fever from mosquitoes.

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She also knows she is prone to getting bitten,

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so she made sure she packed plenty of mosquito repellent

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that she and her husband could use.

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If I don't take, I will definitely get bitten up.

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Even if you're going out on the road, walking,

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the mosquitoes bite you.

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But when Sayeeda's husband returned to work in the UK,

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a week later, he accidentally took the precious mosquito spray

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back with him, and by the time she realised,

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all the shops were shut, meaning that Sayeeda had no choice

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but to go to bed that evening without ANY protection

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from getting bitten.

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In morning time I felt all my feet were scratching, I was scratching.

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But it was only several days later,

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after she had returned to the UK,

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that Sayeeda realised her bites were more than just an itchy annoyance.

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I couldn't get up from the bed.

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All my joints, my fingers, my knees, my shoulders, neck,

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was stiff, I couldn't move them.

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I saw on my leg here a big rash.

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It turned out Sayeeda had contracted a debilitating

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viral disease called chikungunya

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which is passed on by infected mosquitoes.

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Although it's rarely fatal, it can cause fever

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and severe joint and muscle pain.

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Currently there's no cure, so Sayeeda just had to manage her

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symptoms as best she could until they disappeared.

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That gave me a bit of relief, that it was chikungunya.

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It will be all right after some time.

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It took me three and a half months to completely feel my joints free.

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It is very, very depressing.

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You may never have heard of chikungunya but cases of it

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are on the rise.

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In 2014, 295 Brits were infected by the virus,

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and that's 12 times more than the previous year.

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The disease originated in Africa, but in recent years

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it has been reported in Italy, France and Croatia.

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But, as with all mosquito-borne diseases,

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it IS preventable if you apply the correct repellent.

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Trouble is, with so many different varieties on offer, how can you

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be sure you've bought the one that gives the best protection?

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Dr James Logan from the London School Of Hygiene

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And Tropical Medicine has been getting up close

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and personal with mosquitoes for years.

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The mosquito is nature's ultimate blood-seeking machine.

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It's perfectly designed to seek us out and steal our blood

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and when it does so, it injects saliva into our skin,

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which is what causes the horrible itchy red lump that we know

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so well as a mosquito bite.

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But what it also can do is inject in something more nasty,

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a disease like dengue fever or malaria.

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So to show us how to avoid becoming a mosquito's tasty treat,

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Dr Logan has an experiment up his sleeve.

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I'm going to be testing some repellents that are commonly

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found on the market as well as some anecdotes and

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myths that people believe repel mosquitoes

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and the way I'm going to do it is by sticking my bare arm

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inside a cage full of hungry mosquitoes.

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So if the repellents work, the mosquitoes shouldn't land and bite.

0:17:370:17:41

So the guinea pig in this test is Dr Logan himself.

0:17:420:17:46

Rather him than me!

0:17:460:17:47

But before he can test the repellents,

0:17:470:17:49

he has to check that he's tasty to mosquitoes in the first place.

0:17:490:17:53

When you go on holiday there's always some people who seem to never

0:17:530:17:57

get bitten by mosquitoes,

0:17:570:17:58

and it's all to do with the way that we smell.

0:17:580:18:01

So some people smell repellent to mosquitoes.

0:18:010:18:04

Dr Logan says he frequently gets bitten when he's abroad

0:18:040:18:08

and, as he suspects, when he puts his arm in the cage,

0:18:080:18:11

the mosquitoes think lunch has arrived.

0:18:110:18:14

And what they're doing is, they're responding to the chemicals

0:18:140:18:17

given off by my skin, and also the heat and moisture

0:18:170:18:20

coming from my skin as well.

0:18:200:18:21

And you can see already, it's just been a matter of seconds,

0:18:210:18:24

but you can see mosquitoes are starting to land,

0:18:240:18:26

and we've got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven,

0:18:260:18:29

eight, nine, ten...

0:18:290:18:30

11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

0:18:300:18:32

We've got about 15 mosquitoes already just within about 10 seconds

0:18:320:18:35

landing on my arm.

0:18:350:18:36

So we've just completed the control test and there's actually 22 bites

0:18:360:18:39

on my arm, so clearly I'm attractive to mosquitoes,

0:18:390:18:43

which means I'm a good candidate to test these repellents on.

0:18:430:18:45

Oh, it makes me itch just watching!

0:18:450:18:48

Well, before testing the more conventional repellents,

0:18:480:18:51

Dr Logan's going to try three of the more unorthodox ones that

0:18:510:18:54

some people are convinced can work.

0:18:540:18:57

This is not one I'm looking forward to.

0:18:570:18:59

Marmite, garlic, and Brewer's Yeast.

0:18:590:19:03

So it's been about an hour and a half since I took the home remedies.

0:19:030:19:06

So I'll put my arm back in the cage,

0:19:060:19:07

you can see them all buzzing around there, they're really hungry still.

0:19:070:19:11

And... OK, straight away, they're in there.

0:19:110:19:14

I can see 10 already landed.

0:19:140:19:16

In fact, if anything, it looks like I'm slightly more attractive.

0:19:160:19:20

So, after about 30 seconds I had about 31 bites.

0:19:200:19:23

So its pretty clear that these anecdotes,

0:19:230:19:26

these home remedies, just do not work.

0:19:260:19:29

OK, time to test some more common, off-the-shelf repellents,

0:19:290:19:33

starting with PMD.

0:19:330:19:34

PMD, or lemon eucalyptus, is a natural repellent.

0:19:340:19:39

Is it feast or famine for the mosquitoes this time?

0:19:390:19:42

The important thing about any repellent that you put on the skin

0:19:420:19:47

is that you have even coverage.

0:19:470:19:49

So you need to put it on like a sun tan lotion.

0:19:490:19:51

Some people just spray it in the air and walk through it like a perfume,

0:19:510:19:54

that's not going to cut it. You have to cover the skin entirely

0:19:540:19:57

because the mosquito will find the bit that's not been covered.

0:19:570:20:00

OK, so I've seen a few mosquitoes just sort of hovering around

0:20:000:20:04

the hand, but they haven't actually landed.

0:20:040:20:06

One sort of touched the arm and then took off again,

0:20:060:20:08

but I haven't got any landing on my arm at all.

0:20:080:20:11

So it certainly works in this short period of time, it does work.

0:20:110:20:16

So it's a tick for PMD.

0:20:160:20:18

Next up diethyltoluamide, or DEET to you and me.

0:20:180:20:22

I'm now going to try my left arm, which has DEET on it,

0:20:220:20:26

it has 50% DEET.

0:20:260:20:27

DEET is a synthesised chemical used in many mosquito repellents designed for high-risk locations.

0:20:270:20:33

Products are clearly labelled with the levels of DEET they contain -

0:20:330:20:36

typically anything from 20% up to 50% and beyond.

0:20:360:20:40

So not only have the mosquitoes stopped landing on my arm

0:20:400:20:44

but they're resting on the side of the cage.

0:20:440:20:47

They simply are not interested whatsoever.

0:20:470:20:49

So there are absolutely no bites on my arm

0:20:490:20:52

with the DEET on my arm, and that's because it works extremely well.

0:20:520:20:56

It's the best repellent on the market.

0:20:560:20:59

With DEET and PMD having such dramatic mosquito-repelling success,

0:20:590:21:03

it's clear what you should pack if you're going to a place

0:21:030:21:06

where you risk being bitten.

0:21:060:21:08

And Sayeeda, already planning her next trip to see friends

0:21:100:21:13

and family in India,

0:21:130:21:15

will certainly never again let her mosquito spray out of her sight.

0:21:150:21:19

When you go for a holiday or any trip to places

0:21:200:21:24

where you get mosquitoes, take the spray.

0:21:240:21:28

It is the worst thing, it is very, very painful.

0:21:280:21:31

Rip-Off Britain has hit the road again, transforming this

0:21:380:21:42

shop in Nottingham into a one-stop hub for consumer advice.

0:21:420:21:47

With one team of experts...

0:21:470:21:49

Ready and able to help...

0:21:490:21:50

The pop-up shop is ready for business and it's open,

0:21:500:21:53

so come on in, everybody, yes.

0:21:530:21:55

Jill Owens was hoping that our travel expert, Simon Calder, could

0:21:570:22:01

confirm if she had a case for compensation.

0:22:010:22:04

I booked a package holiday and

0:22:040:22:06

when I actually got to the airport, I found to my surprise that

0:22:060:22:09

I didn't have any cases booked as part of my package deal.

0:22:090:22:14

-How many cases did you have?

-Two.

0:22:140:22:16

Was there anything in the booking that you did that said,

0:22:160:22:18

"You must book cases separately"?

0:22:180:22:20

-No, no. I could find nothing that said that.

-So what did you do?

0:22:200:22:25

I was told if I wanted my cases to come on holiday with me,

0:22:250:22:28

I had to pay £60 a case.

0:22:280:22:31

Over to the travel guru. Is that right?

0:22:310:22:34

Jill, as you were talking, I was going onto the website

0:22:340:22:38

and trying to book a two-week holiday in Turkey.

0:22:380:22:41

Fantastic price - £122 per person for a fortnight.

0:22:410:22:45

How do they do it?

0:22:450:22:46

Well, they do it partly by adding on extras,

0:22:460:22:49

but they make it absolutely clear that luggage isn't included.

0:22:490:22:53

Neither are transfers.

0:22:530:22:55

It's easy to get caught out by baggage charges, especially

0:22:550:22:58

when you're tailoring your own trip.

0:22:580:23:00

And though Jill's adamant that the ones she fell foul of weren't

0:23:000:23:04

at the time as clear on the website as they are now,

0:23:040:23:07

Simon says that's not going to be easy to prove.

0:23:070:23:10

Are you absolutely categorically sure that it did not say,

0:23:100:23:13

"Add luggage allowance", which is what it now says on their website?

0:23:130:23:17

Not at the time when I booked, no.

0:23:170:23:20

Has she got a case here, do you think?

0:23:200:23:23

Legally, I'm really sorry, I don't think you have, Jill.

0:23:230:23:26

Because if you go to court they'll just say, "Well,

0:23:260:23:28

"we said luggage wasn't included.

0:23:280:23:30

"The fact that you didn't read it, even if it was in small letters,

0:23:300:23:33

"is not our problem."

0:23:330:23:35

We also let Simon loose in the rest of the shopping centre,

0:23:390:23:43

where he met Ken and Margaret ahead of a trip to New York.

0:23:430:23:47

Have you sorted out your holiday money yet?

0:23:470:23:49

-No.

-Who would you go to? Would you go to banks,

0:23:490:23:52

-Post Office, travel agents...

-Post Office is worth going to.

0:23:520:23:55

Travel agents are getting more and more competitive.

0:23:550:23:57

Banks I've found aren't very good at all,

0:23:570:23:59

but I compare all of that with what a provider will charge you for

0:23:590:24:04

going online and they will even send it by courier around to your house.

0:24:040:24:08

-What about taking sterling to America, and changing it?

-No!

0:24:080:24:10

They're simply not used to foreign currency.

0:24:100:24:13

There are a few people who will change a £20 note,

0:24:130:24:15

and you'd think, "Oh, I'll probably get about 30 bucks for that."

0:24:150:24:18

Ha-ha, you'll get about 20.

0:24:180:24:20

-Don't even think about changing your money out there.

-OK.

0:24:200:24:23

Get it all sorted out here. Very wise.

0:24:230:24:26

Every year, more than three billion people across the globe

0:24:300:24:33

take to the skies for business or pleasure.

0:24:330:24:36

But when we land, many of us may feel a bit rundown or tired,

0:24:360:24:39

or think we're coming down with a cold.

0:24:390:24:41

With all those people crammed into a metal tube for hours on end,

0:24:410:24:45

you can see why some people suspect that coughs and sneezes

0:24:450:24:48

spread faster around an aircraft cabin.

0:24:480:24:50

But what about all that recycled air, what's that doing to our lungs?

0:24:500:24:54

So what's the truth?

0:24:540:24:56

Well, it turns out that the real reasons you might feel groggy

0:24:560:24:59

when you come back down to earth may not be the ones you think.

0:24:590:25:02

# Bah bah bah... #

0:25:020:25:04

These four singers are well used to jetting off to

0:25:040:25:06

the bright lights of America.

0:25:060:25:08

They're members of the Sheffield-based

0:25:080:25:11

Hallmark of Harmony barbershop choir.

0:25:110:25:13

And they've taken their distinctive sound to dozens of competitions

0:25:130:25:16

both at home and in the birthplace of barbershop, America,

0:25:160:25:20

competing in cities such as New Orleans, Miami and San Francisco.

0:25:200:25:24

Like many of us, they've noticed that those long flights

0:25:240:25:27

often leave them feeling distinctly under the weather,

0:25:270:25:30

and worried that they might not always be performing perfectly.

0:25:300:25:33

Most people would expect to catch something or other

0:25:350:25:38

on an aeroplane flight, yeah.

0:25:380:25:40

They think there's a simple reason why.

0:25:400:25:43

It seems natural to me, out of 300 people, it's sort of almost

0:25:430:25:47

inconceivable to think that not one of them hasn't got a cold.

0:25:470:25:51

They walk the aisle to t'toilet,

0:25:510:25:52

-coughing and spluttering all the way.

-Exactly.

0:25:520:25:54

-Bugs everywhere.

-Yeah.

0:25:540:25:56

In June, the quartet and the rest of the 70-strong choir

0:25:590:26:03

is off on an extra-special flight.

0:26:030:26:06

They're heading for Pittsburgh in the USA to represent

0:26:060:26:08

Great Britain at the International Barbershop Choir Championships.

0:26:080:26:13

The flight will take over nine hours,

0:26:130:26:15

and the choir don't want the combination of jet lag

0:26:150:26:18

and post-plane lurgy to hamper their chances in the competition,

0:26:180:26:22

so they've agreed to undergo a series of tests

0:26:220:26:24

to discover the truth about why we so often feel

0:26:240:26:27

under the weather after getting off a flight.

0:26:270:26:30

-You all ready?

-Nearly.

-Yes.

-Everyone got everything that they need?

0:26:310:26:34

We've brought them to an environmental chamber,

0:26:360:26:39

which will recreate the atmosphere inside an aeroplane

0:26:390:26:41

and we're going to leave them here for four hours,

0:26:410:26:45

the equivalent of a flight to the Canary Islands.

0:26:450:26:48

Throughout the fake flight,

0:26:480:26:49

sport and exercise officer Rob Skaife will keep an eye on

0:26:490:26:53

how the conditions affect the singers' health,

0:26:530:26:56

and how their voices fare.

0:26:560:26:57

The lab doesn't look much like a real cabin,

0:26:590:27:01

so we've thrown in a few authentic touches to make their flight

0:27:010:27:05

to nowhere just, well, fly by.

0:27:050:27:09

Good morning, gentlemen, can I see your boarding cards? Come this way.

0:27:090:27:14

Good morning.

0:27:150:27:16

Rob has lowered the humidity to simulate that of a real plane.

0:27:160:27:20

It even sounds as if they're at 30,000 feet.

0:27:200:27:23

So, are our guinea pigs starting to show the first signs of cabin fever?

0:27:230:27:27

The idea with today is to try and simulate a four-hour flight,

0:27:340:27:36

to measure the changes in the body that occur during that period.

0:27:360:27:40

We might expect to see some change in the saliva production rate,

0:27:400:27:44

particularly over the long period, four hours,

0:27:440:27:46

we might expect to see that drop.

0:27:460:27:48

We're also monitoring other factors

0:27:480:27:49

such as heart rate and blood pressure.

0:27:490:27:51

There are a few things the chaps and anyone else travelling on

0:27:510:27:55

a plane can expect to experience, like mild dehydration and dizziness.

0:27:550:27:59

But there's one thing the quartet are especially keen to find out,

0:28:040:28:08

and that's whether cabin air really is

0:28:080:28:11

a breeding ground for passengers' germs.

0:28:110:28:13

Of course, this particular flight has no other passengers to pass on

0:28:130:28:16

any nasty bugs, so they should disembark this time feeling tiptop.

0:28:160:28:21

But midway through their flight,

0:28:210:28:23

they've already noticed some definite changes.

0:28:230:28:26

After the in-flight meal, a few magazines and a little sing-song,

0:28:540:28:58

it's time to disembark from the fake flight.

0:28:580:29:01

-Thank you, sir.

-Thank you.

-Thank you. Thank you.

0:29:020:29:05

Thank you, take care.

0:29:050:29:07

Although Rob's tests reveal the singers' heart rates

0:29:070:29:10

and blood pressure have hardly changed,

0:29:100:29:12

they're all feeling a little groggy,

0:29:120:29:14

and despite taking on extra fluids, are all rather thirsty.

0:29:140:29:18

So the big test is, what has all this meant for their voices?

0:29:180:29:21

# Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away

0:29:210:29:26

# Up and away

0:29:260:29:29

# If you can... #

0:29:290:29:30

I've got sort of like, I suppose you call it a hay fever feeling, really,

0:29:300:29:34

where it's bunged up in the nose and what have you,

0:29:340:29:36

and I think I've lost about, probably about a note and a half,

0:29:360:29:41

on the range, on the bottom end of the register.

0:29:410:29:44

I felt I wasn't, I was struggling to try and keep the pitch,

0:29:440:29:48

and keep the flow of air going,

0:29:480:29:50

which you need to do for good singing.

0:29:500:29:53

And I was definitely struggling.

0:29:530:29:55

I'm quite thirsty, and I'm just waiting for a good cup of tea.

0:29:550:29:59

Well, the effect of four hours in the chamber on our quartet

0:30:060:30:09

mirror what many of us feel like when we get off a plane.

0:30:090:30:13

But while we might typically think that means we're ill,

0:30:130:30:15

in fact, most of the time, we're perfectly healthy.

0:30:150:30:19

The common thing is to say, "Oh, I've just been flying,

0:30:190:30:22

"I always get a bad cold as soon as I land,

0:30:220:30:24

"or a few days later, I feel I've got a bad cold.

0:30:240:30:27

"I always catch that on the aeroplane."

0:30:270:30:28

Dr Martin Hudson is a specialist in aviation ailments.

0:30:280:30:33

It turns out there's a pretty simple explanation for why we feel ill

0:30:330:30:37

on or after a flight,

0:30:370:30:39

but surprisingly, it's nothing to do with germs from other passengers

0:30:390:30:42

being recycled round the cabin.

0:30:420:30:44

The air coming in is extremely pure.

0:30:460:30:48

There's nothing in that air of any danger at all.

0:30:480:30:53

There's no bacteria, there's no smoke or any of that because

0:30:530:30:57

there isn't at that attitude, it's beautifully pure, clean air.

0:30:570:31:00

The air comes in and circulates in a circular fashion around the seats.

0:31:000:31:05

It does not go in a longitudinal way,

0:31:050:31:08

doesn't go from the flight deck back to the back of the aircraft

0:31:080:31:11

and back up again, so it's going round, like this.

0:31:110:31:13

So if you've got somebody with an infection, say,

0:31:130:31:18

five or six rows in front of you, a bad cough or a bad cold,

0:31:180:31:21

you're not going to get any of the bacteria from them because

0:31:210:31:24

those bacteria are never, ever going to reach you.

0:31:240:31:27

The real cause of that groggy feeling IS the air in the cabin,

0:31:270:31:31

but it's not because the air isn't clean, it's because it's too dry.

0:31:310:31:35

The air that's coming in

0:31:370:31:38

is probably around about 10% at the most humidity,

0:31:380:31:42

whereas normally, we're breathing air at 60, 70,

0:31:420:31:45

80% humidity.

0:31:450:31:47

The main effect of low humidity on the human body is the fact that

0:31:470:31:50

your nose dries up. Your mucous glands stop producing mucus.

0:31:500:31:54

And also, you get dehydrated.

0:31:540:31:55

Then when you land and you get into a normal humidity again,

0:31:550:31:59

your mucous glands start producing a lot of mucus

0:31:590:32:02

and you overproduce and that's why people think they're getting a cold.

0:32:020:32:05

But it's not a cold, it's a physiological, normal response

0:32:050:32:08

to a dry atmosphere which you've had for the previous few hours

0:32:080:32:11

while you've been in the aircraft.

0:32:110:32:13

That post-flight fug is temporary,

0:32:130:32:17

and shouldn't last more than a day or so after you've landed.

0:32:170:32:20

But there are some things you can do to minimise the effects.

0:32:200:32:24

Lots of sleep before you go.

0:32:240:32:25

Fill your sleep tank,

0:32:250:32:27

a bit like a car, filling up with petrol before you go on holiday.

0:32:270:32:30

Fill up the sleep tank with plenty of sleep before you go,

0:32:300:32:33

and then you'll be much better when you get to your destination.

0:32:330:32:36

Don't drink alcohol at the airport or certainly very, very little.

0:32:360:32:40

Drink a lot of water, particularly on the flight.

0:32:400:32:43

Keep mobile and walk round the aircraft

0:32:430:32:45

when you're allowed to do so.

0:32:450:32:47

If you do all that, I think you're going to have a great holiday.

0:32:470:32:50

On top of all that, there's another tip that our singers will be

0:32:500:32:54

taking on board ahead of their US competition.

0:32:540:32:57

Arrive a couple of days early to help their bodies

0:32:570:33:00

and their voices properly recover.

0:33:000:33:02

There's no doubt that we'll take extra precaution and go back

0:33:020:33:06

and advise the rest of the group that we need to do this,

0:33:060:33:09

-so water is the order of the day.

-Absolutely, yes.

0:33:090:33:12

-That's the secret. Drink plenty of it.

-Water, and plenty of it.

0:33:120:33:16

# It's good for you

0:33:160:33:18

# Come fly with me, let's take off in the blue

0:33:180:33:23

# Off in the blue! #

0:33:230:33:26

Our travel expert Simon Calder is sharing his top tips

0:33:290:33:33

on favourite destinations across the globe.

0:33:330:33:36

This time, it's the Mexican resort of Cancun.

0:33:360:33:40

Now an established package-holiday choice,

0:33:420:33:44

this strip of sand off the north-east tip of Mexico has become the most

0:33:440:33:49

popular destination in Latin America for British holiday-makers, thanks

0:33:490:33:53

to its pristine beaches and plentiful sunshine. But what perils await?

0:33:530:33:59

Cancun is a close approximation to paradise,

0:33:590:34:03

but it's also a playground for criminal gangs.

0:34:030:34:06

There's a nasty form of mugging called express kidnapping

0:34:060:34:11

where a group of villains, armed or otherwise, will threaten you

0:34:110:34:15

and take you to a cashpoint.

0:34:150:34:17

Only when you've emptied your bank account

0:34:170:34:20

and paid your self-service ransom will they let you go.

0:34:200:34:23

As anywhere, don't put yourself at risk, don't wander down side streets

0:34:250:34:30

and if you're feeling threatened,

0:34:300:34:32

then flag down a taxi or find a crowd.

0:34:320:34:36

But don't let scams like this put you off venturing

0:34:360:34:39

outside your resort and getting a true taste of Mexico, for free.

0:34:390:34:43

Even if you're staying in all-inclusive bliss

0:34:460:34:49

on the hotel strip,

0:34:490:34:50

it's worth getting the quick, cheap bus over to the mainland

0:34:500:34:54

and tracking down the Parque De Las Palapas.

0:34:540:34:58

It's where all the locals congregate for free fun,

0:34:580:35:02

including a central stage with free performances most weekends.

0:35:020:35:07

It's as close as you'll get to autentico Mexican life

0:35:070:35:10

in this corner of the nation.

0:35:100:35:12

But as you jet off home, make sure that you don't get stung by red tape.

0:35:130:35:19

Lots of Latin American countries have annoying departure taxes,

0:35:190:35:23

and Mexico is one of the most extreme at 900 pesos -

0:35:230:35:27

nearly £50.

0:35:270:35:29

And while some airlines and tour operators include it

0:35:290:35:32

in the price of your ticket, not all of them do.

0:35:320:35:35

Find out if you're going to have to pay extra so you're

0:35:350:35:38

not scrabbling around for pesos while they're calling your flight.

0:35:380:35:42

Now, you can tell by all the blue flag

0:35:470:35:50

beaches around the British coast that the water washing

0:35:500:35:52

onto our beaches is cleaner than it's been for a long time.

0:35:520:35:56

But it seems that's still not clean enough.

0:35:560:35:59

Or at least not according to new rules on water quality from the EU.

0:35:590:36:03

Many of the UK beaches currently considered fit for bathing

0:36:030:36:07

will suddenly be rated as unsuitable for swimmers,

0:36:070:36:10

and while you might think, "What's not to like about cleaner water?"

0:36:100:36:13

the news has caused huge waves in some of those coastal communities

0:36:130:36:17

who, not unreasonably, fear the impact of visitors being told

0:36:170:36:21

that going for a dip isn't really a good idea.

0:36:210:36:23

Long before the package holiday abroad was born,

0:36:250:36:28

Britain's coast was THE place to travel to get away from it all.

0:36:280:36:32

And whilst the fashion in swimwear has changed, so too has the quality

0:36:320:36:36

of the water we swim in.

0:36:360:36:38

The English coast is the cleanest since records began, with 99.5% of

0:36:420:36:47

swimming spots passing water quality tests, compared to just 65% in 1988.

0:36:470:36:53

And the water on Porth beach in Cornwall is a major

0:36:530:36:56

draw for visitors of all ages, many of whom come back year after year.

0:36:560:37:01

We've been coming here 20 years and we always end up on this beach.

0:37:020:37:06

It's not too deep for the kids.

0:37:070:37:09

You can get away with a bit of body boarding, bit of surfing.

0:37:090:37:13

We come here every year and I've never had an issue with the sea

0:37:130:37:15

and it not being very clean.

0:37:150:37:17

We've been coming here for 25, 26 years,

0:37:190:37:22

and, yeah, it's a lovely beach, it's nice and clean.

0:37:220:37:25

If there are lots of people on the beach, it's good news

0:37:270:37:29

for the businesses in the area.

0:37:290:37:32

If the sands are busy, so are they.

0:37:320:37:34

Kathryn Wason runs the Mermaid pub located on the seafront at Porth.

0:37:340:37:39

The main draw for anyone to come down this area is the beach, and

0:37:390:37:43

we get most of our customers from the beach

0:37:430:37:46

during our busy summer period.

0:37:460:37:47

But locals like Kathryn fear that there could be storms ahead

0:37:470:37:51

because the waters around Porth beach and on all others

0:37:510:37:54

around the UK now have to meet new EU cleanliness standards

0:37:540:37:57

that are twice as tough to reach, and those that don't will have to

0:37:570:38:02

display signs stating that bathing is not advised.

0:38:020:38:05

Another place where the waters are being tested

0:38:050:38:08

is around Southend On Sea in Essex.

0:38:080:38:10

Matt Higginson works for the Environment Agency.

0:38:110:38:13

He's part of a team testing the pollution levels

0:38:130:38:17

at over 417 beaches right across the UK.

0:38:170:38:20

The revised Bathing Water Directive came fully into force in 2015.

0:38:200:38:25

This makes the bathing quality water standards

0:38:250:38:27

twice as stringent as the previous directive.

0:38:270:38:31

Matt and his colleagues take 20 water samples between May

0:38:310:38:34

and September, testing for e-coli and other intestinal bacteria.

0:38:340:38:38

The actual bathing water sample test is relatively straightforward.

0:38:390:38:43

It's taken at a range of tidal states,

0:38:430:38:45

a clean bottle is placed into the water at a 30cm depth,

0:38:450:38:49

this is then taken back to the vans, refrigerated, sent off to

0:38:490:38:52

our laboratories for analysis, and the data is then sent back to us.

0:38:520:38:55

There are many sources of pollution.

0:38:550:38:57

It could come from farming, from water company assets, or from

0:38:570:39:01

misconnections from people's plumbing in domestic properties.

0:39:010:39:04

-We're all OK?

-Yes.

-We're all good?

0:39:040:39:06

But 42 beaches across the UK have been put on an At Risk list

0:39:090:39:14

because it's feared they'll fail these newer EU tests.

0:39:140:39:17

In Devon, Teignmouth Town beach is one of those.

0:39:170:39:21

And Helen Scott from the local tourist board is worried that

0:39:210:39:25

if any town like hers doesn't meet the targets, they'll struggle

0:39:250:39:28

to stay popular with tourists.

0:39:280:39:31

The new regulations have made it very difficult that despite the waters

0:39:310:39:35

being cleaner than they ever have been before it's very difficult, if

0:39:350:39:38

not impossible, for them to meet those new levels

0:39:380:39:40

that they've been set.

0:39:400:39:42

And back on Porth beach, the visitors we spoke to said that

0:39:420:39:45

if a sign were suddenly to go up advising against going

0:39:450:39:48

in the water, it WOULD leave them a little unnerved.

0:39:480:39:51

If there's signs up, warning people away from the beach,

0:39:510:39:56

that's what people come here for, you know, really.

0:39:560:39:58

That would put us off.

0:39:580:40:00

It would put me off,

0:40:000:40:01

it certainly would put me off coming to the beach.

0:40:010:40:03

If it's got a sign on it saying "Don't swim," then, obviously,

0:40:030:40:07

you wouldn't really use it, would you?

0:40:070:40:09

If I saw a sign advising me not to go in I would probably still go in

0:40:090:40:13

but I'd always wear a wet suit,

0:40:130:40:16

and try not to swallow it.

0:40:160:40:17

The testing is now complete -

0:40:200:40:22

and the results have been published online.

0:40:220:40:24

And all three of the beaches we visited

0:40:240:40:26

in Porth, Teignmouth Town, and Southend were deemed

0:40:260:40:29

sufficiently clean, so there is no need to advise bathers to stay away.

0:40:290:40:33

Indeed, most other places on the list met the new standards,

0:40:330:40:37

with just 11 beaches that didn't.

0:40:370:40:40

That's also good news for those who like a paddle at the British

0:40:400:40:43

seaside and for the towns whose fortunes rely on it.

0:40:430:40:47

And, for the teams who conducted the tests, it's a relief to find

0:40:470:40:50

such positive results.

0:40:500:40:52

With the improvements to bathing waters we hope we can improve the

0:40:520:40:55

economy with attracting people into the bathing waters around England.

0:40:550:40:59

If you've got a story you'd like us to investigate, you can

0:41:060:41:09

get in touch with us via our Facebook page - BBC Rip Off Britain,

0:41:090:41:14

our website - bbc.co.uk/ripoffbritain,

0:41:140:41:18

or e-mail:

0:41:180:41:19

Or if you'd rather send us a letter then our address is:

0:41:240:41:27

Well, of course, the whole point of a holiday

0:41:360:41:38

right from the planning stage is to make you feel good, and really relax,

0:41:380:41:42

so you don't want to spend too long thinking about all the things

0:41:420:41:46

that might go wrong.

0:41:460:41:48

Clearly, though, there are some quick basic checks and preparations

0:41:480:41:51

that you can do make sure your trip goes to plan, and then if it doesn't

0:41:510:41:55

that you know the first steps on what to do next.

0:41:550:41:58

Equally important is having the confidence that whoever you're

0:41:580:42:01

travelling with has really got your interests at heart.

0:42:010:42:04

Which is why I was so particularly taken in the story

0:42:040:42:07

about the safety equipment that not all aircraft carry.

0:42:070:42:10

Surely it's a no-brainer that something so easily available,

0:42:100:42:13

and for the big companies, so easily affordable,

0:42:130:42:16

should be on board every single flight.

0:42:160:42:18

And if the fact it isn't on every flight is something that's left you

0:42:180:42:21

scratching your head and wondering why, I have to say the story

0:42:210:42:24

that really had me scratching all over today

0:42:240:42:26

was that report on mosquitoes.

0:42:260:42:28

And I don't envy what that doctor went through one bit in the name of science,

0:42:280:42:32

but at least we do now all know which type of mozzie spray

0:42:320:42:35

is the best one to buy.

0:42:350:42:36

I'm afraid that's all we have time for today,

0:42:360:42:38

but we will be back investigating more of your stories very soon.

0:42:380:42:41

-Until then, from all of the team, bye-bye.

-Goodbye.

-Bye-bye.

0:42:410:42:44

Angela Rippon, Gloria Hunniford and Julia Somerville return with a new series of investigations into viewers' holiday problems, with invaluable advice on how to avoid being caught out the same way. Among the stories in this programme, the lifesaving piece of kit that airlines don't always carry, and after a new threat from mosquitoes is exposed, a test reveals the best way to ensure you don't get bitten. Plus why you won't necessarily be able to change your plans if there's an unexpected disaster in the destination you're heading to, the seaside businesses worried about tough new rules on cleanliness at British beaches, and travel expert Simon Calder has advice on visiting the increasingly popular Mexican resort of Cancun.