AIRLINES British Airways (tel 02 548 03 36), Aer Lingus (tel 02 548 98 48) and American Airlines (tel 02 508 77 11) all have their main offices at rue du Trône 98. Air UK (tel 02 717 20 70), Cathay Pacific (tel 02 712 64 48), KLM (tel 02 717 20 70), Sabena (tel 02 723 23 23) and Tap Air (tel 02 720 02 23) have their main offices at Zaventem airport. The main Iberia office is on avenue Louise 54 (tel 02 548 94 90), as is United Airlines at no. 350 (tel 02 646 55 88); British Midland is at avenue des Pléiades 1200 (tel 02 771 77 66).
AIRPORT INFORMATION For general information at Zaventem call 02 753 21 11 (24hr). For specific enquiries ring 02 753 39 13 or 723 31 11 (7am-10pm).
BANKS AND EXCHANGE Banks are generally open Mon-Fri 9am-4pm, with a one-hour lunch break between noon and 2pm. A few banks are open Saturday mornings. Most banks have a bureau de change, and cash travellers' cheques and Eurocheques. The ATMs at both General Bank and BBL are notorious for running out of money on Saturday night or Sunday morning. Bureau de change offices are widespread, the most central one being the 24-hour Crédit Général Automatic Exchange at Grand-Place 7. However, expect to be charged a flat fee, or lose money on a low exchange rate.
CAR RENTAL Major operators have branches at both Zaventem airport and Gare du Midi train station. Europcar (Gare du Midi tel 02 522 95 73, Zaventem tel 02 721 05 92); Avis (Gare du Midi tel 02 513 69 69, Zaventem tel 02 720 09 44); and Hertz (Gare du Midi tel 02 524 31 00, Zaventem tel 02 720 60 44). Both Europcar (tel 02 640 94 00) and Avis (tel 02 524 31 00) have branches in Ixelles, as does Budget (tel 02 646 51 30).
CREDIT CARD COMPANIES American Express is based on boulevard du Souverain 100 (tel 02 676 21 11 or 24-hour tel 02 676 23 23). If you lose your card (Bankcontact, Eurocard, Visa, Mastercard, or Mr Cash) ring 070 34 43 44. For Diners Club, call 02 206 79 00.
DISABILITIES, TRAVELLERS WITH Brussels is not easy for the disabled traveller, although the new trams with a low-level platform have improved disabled access, and Braille information panels have been introduced in some métro stations. If you live in Brussels the STIB runs a special low-cost (?1.25), door-to-door mini-bus service within the greater Brussels area - call 02 515 23 65. Accommodation-wise, many of the larger hotels have full disabled access, although smaller and cheaper ones often don't.
ELECTRICITY 220 volts AC. Most European appliances should work, providing you have a standard two-pin plug adapter. North Americans will need this plus a transformer.
EMBASSIES Australia, rue Guimard 6 (tel 02 286 05 00); Canada, avenue de Tervuren 2 (tel 02 741 06 11); Germany, avenue de Tervuren 190 (tel 02 774 19 11); Great Britain, rue d'Arlon 85 (tel 02 287 62 11); India, chaussée de Vleurgat 217 (tel 02 640 91 40); Ireland, rue Froissart 89-93 (tel 02 230 53 37); Japan, avenue des Arts 58 (tel 02 511 23 07); New Zealand, boulevard du Régent 47-48 (tel 02 512 10 40); South Africa, rue de la Loi 26 (tel 02 285 44 00); USA, boulevard du Régent 25-27 (tel 02 508 21 11).
EMERGENCIES Dial 101 for the police, and tel 100 for the ambulance or fire service. Doctors can be reached 24 hours a day at tel 02 479 18 18.
HEALTH Residents of European Union countries are entitled to free medical treatment and prescribed medicines under the EU Reciprocal Medical Treatment arrangement provided you have a completed E111 form (available from post offices in Britain and Social Security offices elsewhere).
HOSPITALS The main ones are: Brugmann Hospital, Campus Brugmann, place van Gehuchten (tel 02 477 21 11); Érasme Hospital, route de Lennik 808 (tel 02 526 34 02); Saint-Luc Hospital, avenue Hippocrate 10 (tel 02 764 11 11 or 764 16 12) and St Pierre Hospital, rue Haute 322 (tel 02 535 31 11).
INTERNET ACCESS The Sports Bar, avenue de la Toison d'Or 4, Ixelles (next to MO Porte de Namur) has more than twenty terminals with internet access. Emailing is free, as long as you buy a drink.
LEFT LUGGAGE Major train stations have luggage offices (daily 6am-midnight). Most train stations also have coin-operated lockers.
LOST PROPERTY For property lost on aircraft ring 02 723 60 11; if lost at the airport contact tel 02 753 68 20. The lost property office for the métro, trams and buses is at avenue de la Toison d'Or 15 (tel 02 515 23 94).
NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES The three main French-language dailies are Le Soir, La Libre Belgique and La Dernière Heure ; the main Flemish ones are De Standard and De Morgen . The only English-language publication is The Bulletin . Most English papers are on sale here on the day of publication, though at about double the normal cover price.
PHARMACIES Most pharmacies are open from 8.30am to 6.30pm. There is a rota-system for pharmacies on call at night, Sundays and bank holidays. A list is displayed in the window of all chemists.
POLICE There are two basic types of police: the Gendarmerie Nationale, and the police. The former, who wear blue uniforms with red stripes on their trousers, patrol the motorways and deal with major crime; the latter, in their dark blue uniforms, cover everything else. The central police station is at rue Marché au Charbon 30 (tel 02 517 96 11).
POST OFFICES Most post offices are open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, although the post office at avenue Fosny 48a next door to Gare du Midi is open 24 hours a day, and the central post office on the first floor of Centre Monnaie (place de la Monnaie) is also open on Saturdays.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS The main holidays when shops and banks will be closed are: Jan 1 (New Year's Day); Easter Monday; May 1 (Labour Day); May 21 (Ascension Day); June 1 (Whitsuntide); July 11 (Flemish Community Day); July 21; Aug 15 (Assumption); Sept 27 (French Community Day); Nov 1 (All Saints' Day); Nov 11 (Armistice 1918); Dec 25 (Christmas Day).
TELEPHONES Local calls cost a minimum of ?0.20, but to make an international call you'll need to put in a minimum of ?1.20. Many phones accept prepaid cards which can be bought from newsagents, post offices and railway stations for ?5 and ?10. To make an international call 00, wait for the continous tone, and then dial the country code followed by the area code - omitting the initial zero - and then the number. For directory enquiries in English dial 1405. To ring Brussels from abroad dial 00 322, and then the telephone number.
TRAVEL AGENCIES Acotra World Travel Agency (Mon-Fri 8.30am-6pm) at rue du Marché-aux-Herbes 110 (tel 02 512 86 07) is one of the bigger travel agencies, and specializes in discount train, ferry and plane tickets. Nouvelles Frontières (tel 02 513 68 15), on chaussée d'Ixelles, just opposite place Fernand Cocq, is also good for cheap flights.
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