Posted February 29, 2008 by Heather Gilbert
OMG, I totally can NOT believe this! My parents, who are usually beyond lame, have decided to throw me the coolest Sweet Sixteen party in Boston!
My BFFs and I are going to stay in the Presidential Suite at the Hilton, which is like, beyond fabulous and I’m sure when Paris Hilton had her Sweet Sixteen she totally stayed there too. It’s that awesome.
And as part of this package thingie they got, we totally get three hours of limo service in an ESCALADE to take me shopping with a personal shopper to pick out my outfit for my HUGE party at the Hilton!!
Maybe I can even be on My Super Sweet 16!!!! AHHHHH!!!
Posted February 28, 2008 by Zak Patten
I’ll be the first to admit it—I’m extremely anti-smoking and always have been. So I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who want to light up in their hotel rooms, rooms that I might have the misfortune of staying in someday. But according to USA Today, the Swissotel Chicago is now taking its anti-smoking measures a step further by turning its staff into bounty hunters who are financially rewarded for catching smokers in the act.
Employees who bag a live smoker are given $10 for their service. Perhaps my high school principal should have utilized this technique instead of spending his time sniffing outside the boys’ bathroom. Our hall monitors could have made more money catching puffers than they did slinging fries at Mickey D’s.
Swissotel Chicago general manager Jack Breisacher insists he doesn’t “want this to sound like a police state,” but "One person having one cigarette is really a big deal," as it costs around $500 to completely clean a room.
I’m with Breisacher. But I hope he expands the program so that guests can turn in other guests. I wonder how many smokers I’d have to nab to earn a free night at his hotel.
Posted February 27, 2008 by Carl Unger
It seems Airbus is in talks with customers who want to convert Airbus A380s into flying casinos. If the A380 doesn’t ring any bells, let me remind you that it’s the largest passenger aircraft EVER. It’s HUGE. In my opinion you’re already taking a gamble by flying aboard these whales in the first place (how on earth do these planes even get off the ground?!). So why not toss a few Benjamins on the roulette table while you’re up there?
Okay, so maybe I’m a little paranoid about traveling on a plane as big as the A380. In reality, there’s no reason to be worried. Despite its size, the A380 can take off and land on the same runways as its smaller rival, Boeing’s 747.
No reason to be worried, that is, unless you’re losing money left and right. But fear not, because the casino jets won’t likely be ready before 2012. There’s not even word yet on who wants them or where they would fly.
Now, what I want to know is whether or not these will be hotel-casinos in the air. Singapore Airlines has already debuted its private first-class cabins (no funny business!), and they would go nicely with a few slot machines and a Vegas-style floor show.
Posted February 26, 2008 by Heather Gilbert
Quick, when I say “fashion,” what do you think of? Mr. Giorgio Armani? Marc Jacobs? Icons like Grace Kelly and Katherine Hepburn? Flight attendants? Umm, what? The navy polyester-clad crew who dutifully bring us Diet Cokes and show us how to strap on oxygen masks? I don’t think so. Well, The Museum of Flight is looking to change that. Their new exhibit, Style in the Aisle: The History of Fashion in Flight, features flight attendant uniforms from the 1930s to the 1990s. And let me tell you, the goods are hot. For example, when Alaska Airlines introduced charter service to Siberia in 1970, the flight attendants were in Cossack costumes (think big furry hats). And when Hughes Airwest flew to Mexico, you were guaranteed to have a flight attendant decked out in a cheery pastel poncho (and knee-high boots, for whatever that’s worth). Not to mention that Emilio Pucci designed all the unis for Braniff. Ah the days of flying as a glamorous endeavor. If only we still had it as good!
Posted February 25, 2008 by Zak Patten
You have to hand it to them, they sure had gumption. I’m
referring to San Antonio couple Althea and James Jackson, who pleaded guilty to
wire fraud on Tuesday for stealing 5,600 tickets from Althea’s
employer Southwest Airlines.
According to the AP, the tickets Althea Jackson stole “are
normally given to inconvenienced passengers and vendors or to passengers who
assist flight crews, such as by providing medical assistance during a flight.”
I guess it wasn’t bad enough that she stole airline tickets, she took them from
air industry victims and Good Samaritans.
Perhaps an even greater irony to this sad tale is the fact
that James Jackson worked as bailiff at the Bexar County Justice Center.
I guess the law didn’t have far to go to catch up with him. Incidentally, Jackson’s co-workers at the Justice Center were among his customers, as were the couple’s family and friends.
The Jacksons are facing a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, though their
attorney predicts a much lighter sentence of about two-and-a-half years and a reduced
fine. Considering the scam was worth as much as $1.8 million, these
life-partners-in-crime might actually clear a profit.
Whatever time they end up serving, at least for a little
while, they will not be “free to move about the country.”
Posted February 22, 2008 by Carl Unger
Here at the BookingBuddy blog we
like to poke fun, generally at the expense of airlines and other aspects of the
circus-like air travel industry. So
while the idea of a round-the-world
flight on a plane fueled by canola oil seems ripe for the picking,
it’s important to first take a step back and appreciate the undeniable
significance of this undertaking.
Air travel, as most people are aware,
is a major source of air pollution. I
haven’t the time nor the mental capacity to figure out just how much greenhouse
gas is emitted by the average cross-country flight, but I can tell you it’s a
lot. Any steps, and I repeat any steps that can be taken to mitigate pollution from air
travel is a good thing. A single grease
plane doesn’t hold a candle to the grandiosity of Richard Branson’s $25
million challenge, but a grease plane is, on a smaller scale, a
potentially workable solution. Hey, if
Pearl Jam can tour on biodiesel, who’s to say short-range flights can’t also
run on the stuff?
Now back to the sarcasm. Can someone say Flyalator?
Posted February 22, 2008 by Zak Patten
If there’s one thing I hate about air travel, it’s figuring
out how to pack my violin. OK, I’m just fiddling around. I’m not a musician.
But if I were, I’d be as peeved as any of the folks over at Violinist.com.
According to Kristian Rahbek Knudsen (who’s going to doubt
someone with such a great name?), Ryanair
wouldn’t let him board with his violin case in hand, instead requiring that he
purchase an additional seat for his instrument at a cost of €300 ($436
as of this morning). Knudsen says he bought his own seat for just
€100. In the carrier’s defense, if Knudsen has an antique Stradivarius, he might not want to cram
it in the overhead bin with the next passenger’s dirty vacation laundry.
But it does seem that Ryanair really has it in for violins.
Maybe the airline’s CEO is holding a grudge because his parents forced him to
take lessons for years and his playing still screeched like fingernails across
I’m just surprised Knudsen wasn’t able to “pull some
strings” so that the flight attendants would look the other way. Maybe he just
doesn’t have enough pluck.
(Photo: Boeing Photo)
Posted February 22, 2008 by Zak Patten
With the phenomenon of Second Life and other virtual worlds now
mainstream, it was only a matter of time before an airline created an online avatar
of its own.
Enter Jenn, Alaska Airlines' virtual assistant, the
first of her kind (species?) to "live" on a U.S. airline's website. I checked
in with Jenn to see if she was, you know, cool. I feared she might be stiff and
robotic (not to mention criminally unhelpful) like my electric company's
virtual phone assistant.
The big difference between the two of them is that Jenn's
the only "person" you'll find on Alaska's website, while Electric
Company Lady is a gatekeeper for the live humans who might actually be helpful
to people like me. Given this reality, I'll take Jenn any day. She may not be
animated, but her face is pleasant enough, if immobile. And she seems like she
genuinely wants to help. I typed in several sample questions and she instantly
typed back responses, and followed up by reading them to me in her always perky
Oh, and Jenn always maintains her professional demeanor,
even when you throw her a curveball like, "Where do you live?" Her
reply: "Right now, it appears I live with you…but don't worry, I won't
overstay my welcome! How can I help you?"
I'm not sure she's ready to mix it up with the residents of
Second Life, but if Jenn represents the future of airline customer service,
we're in good hands.
Posted February 22, 2008 by Zak Patten
flagship carrier, British Airways, has been named a top-tier partner for London's 2012 summer Olympics. Which makes me
wonder, will the airline's involvement go beyond providing transportation and
getting good PR in return?
I hope so. Because the possibilities are tantalizing. For
starters, commercial aircraft are perfect venues for several events,
particularly those of the track-and-field variety. I'm thinking the 100-meter
dash would work well on a BA 747, which has those two long aisles
on either side of the middle seats. One world-class sprinter could line up at
the back of each aisle and at the sound of the gun (which would have to pass
through security, wouldn't it?), they'd race from the worst coach seat by the
lavatory to the best flat-bed first-class accommodations—in under 10
seconds. Of course, all of the seats would be filled with Olympic spectators,
cheering on the runners as they breezed by.
I'm thinking certain jumping events are well suited to
British Airways' fleet. And while the long jump is a good fit for onboard
entertainment, the high jump brings up overhead space limitations and the pole
vault is simply out of the question. But I have to draw the line at anything
involving heavy or sharp objects being thrown, such as a javelin, shot put, or
discus. With fans literally in the field of play, the liability issues are too
numerous to mention.
I know we're already straying a bit from standard Olympic
fare, but since we're being theoretical, perhaps we could "think outside
the plane"? It's all well and good to have weightlifters at the games, but
British Airways could sponsor a real test of strength by asking athletes to
compete in a plane pull. After all, this guy did it to get into the Guinness
World Records, and he doesn't even look that big.
Interested in London? Check out:
Heathrow Delay Information
When to visit London
Travel to London
(Photo: William Jewell College)
Posted February 22, 2008 by Heather Gilbert
Well, it looks as if my packing crisis has been
solved. I was recently sent an email
from my friends at the American Association for Nude Recreation
espousing the virtues of a nude vacation, or as they’ve cleverly coined, a “nakation.” The nakation, they claim, “makes good fiscal
sense” now that airlines are charging extra for checked bags. Yes … I’m
listening. Tempting, for sure. But the thing of it is, everyone is
n-u-d-e. Now don’t get me wrong, I heart
the idea of setting off on a nakation with just a small carry-on (after all,
what can you possibly need to pack?) and checking nothing but my inhibitions,
but in reality, I’m just not sure this is anything I could actually muster the
courage to do. But if you’ve got a
nakation in your future, more power to you. And more sunscreen.
(Photo courtesy of aanr.com)