Los Angeles

Air New Zealand Introduces Love at 35,000 Feet

Posted July 17, 2009 by Katie Blais

Planeheart_formatted As a single gal I'll admit, at times the dating game can be a little daunting. Those magical moments of meeting someone by accidentally grabbing the same gallon of milk at the grocery store or randomly sitting next to a handsome, rich, smart, funny, well dressed, and single stranger during your plane ride seems to only happen in movies.

Air New Zealand is hoping to change all that--well, at least the plane scenario; if you're on the prowl at the deli counter, you're still on your own. My favorite Kiwi airline is offering a match-making flight complete with special guest stars Jason Mesnick and his gal pal Molly Malaney from The Bachelor. Will there be a rose ceremony in place of the usual in-flight movie, or at the very least some tips for finding the guy or gal of your dreams, maybe right after the in-flight safety talk? I'm rooting for it.

Hopeful singles should book a round-trip flight for September 19, 2009, departing from Los Angeles (LAX) and landing in Auckland the next morning. Book by July 19 and you'll receive $200 off your ticket. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to find your soul mate in the friendly (or, in some cases, maybe even frisky) skies, you can still use your cheap flight to New Zealand to check out all it has to offer, culturally and romantically. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your match during your stay! All the better if he looks like Bret from Flight of the Conchords!

(photo: www.dailymail.uk)

Companies Put the Kibosh on Business Travel … Thanks, AIG!

Posted April 10, 2009 by Katie Blais

Kurumsal_cozumler1_formatted In a former job I traveled a lot. Sadly, it was a start-up company with a next-to-nothing travel budget, so my lavish accommodations consisted of an air mattress on the floor of my brother’s studio apartment in Brooklyn. Many companies though, with much loftier cash flows than my previous employer, are feeling the effects of the AIG fallout. Which means closer attention to the company-sanctioned high-roller lifestyles many higher-ups are accustomed to, and an easy target is travel budgets and expenses.

With millions of Americans losing their jobs and the economy in the toilet, it is just a tad annoying to hear about big-wigs taking private jets or getting thousand-dollar spa treatments during their last “company retreat” Seeing the backlash AIG has suffered, many other companies are erring on the side of caution and cutting back on travel budgets before they too are publicly scorned—sad news for said big-wigs and even sadder news for the travel industry.  U.S companies are canceling up to $1 billion worth of corporate travel during 2009 and hotels are feeling the crunch. In Las Vegas, a hot spot for conventions and corporate events, bookings are way down.  During February alone hotels in L.A. lost events that could have filled 95,000 hotel rooms, and there are only so many celebs seeking refuge in the Chateau Marmont, you know? 

Even when companies do hold events, their budgets have shrunk, which means, fewer open bars, less gourmet food and less money for the service industry—which in the past few years has been on overdrive adding amenities to attract the lucrative business traveler, building spas, hot restaurants, and bars at their properties. 

Extravagant lifestyles are slowly becoming a thing of the past across the board, so don’t be surprised if you see more suits on your next cheap flight.

Here’s hoping CEOs have brothers in Brooklyn with air mattresses! 

(Photo: tantur.com)

American Airlines Cranks Up In-flight Wi-Fi

Posted June 25, 2008 by Zak Patten

Wifiaa You ever have one of those days? You know, nothing's going right, it's raining and your umbrella won't open, your dog is sick, and your boss just dumped a pile of work on your desk? Or maybe you slipped on a wet kitchen floor—courtesy of the leak in your roof? Then, out of nowhere, a little ray of sunshine enters your life.

After a 2008 spent in the doldrums, the clouds have lifted on air travelers, if only for a brief moment. That's because American Airlines has picked today to test wireless Internet service on two flights between New York and Los Angeles. And if those tests go well, we're looking at more trials on planes from New York to L.A., San Francisco, and Miami.

Once the Wi-Fi goes live, "passengers will be able to connect free to American's Web site, Frommer's travel guides, and limited news headlines." All well and good, but what about the Holy Grail of all Internet users: unfettered access to the full capabilities of the World Wide Web? Not surprisingly, that isn't exactly free. Depending on the length of your flight, you'll be paying $9.95 to $12.95 to get fully online. No, that's not cheap. But in American's defense, it's not much more than an average airport lunch. And assuming there's enough bandwidth, the service will be incredibly useful to business travelers and armchair Web surfers alike. And the airline, like all of its peers, is in dire need of cash. You're not going to get all thrifty now, are you?

I know this announcement has brightened my day. How do you feel about it? Is there any technology you'd rather see on your next flight than wireless Internet? Share it with us by posting a comment below.

(Image: stickergirl.com, wisewifi.net)

End of Aloha and ATA Cause Record Hawaiian Searches

Posted June 6, 2008 by Kerry Sainato

We’re data geeks here at BookingBuddy. Pm7235a_spam_asap_page

No. Really.  We rank ourselves in order of Excel wizardry.

So, when I needed to report on popular routes for the year, I saw a strange anomaly: Searches for flights between Los Angeles and Honolulu doubled from March to April. In fact, LAX to HNL was our number-one-searched route for April and beat January, February, and March’s top-ranked route (Detroit to Las Vegas) by 18 percent!

Of course, being an analysis nerd, I thought, “Look at that variance! Something must be wrong with that number!” But then my brain kicked in to gear. I remembered that April saw the end of ATA and Aloha Airlines; both carriers specializing in flights from the West Coast to Hawaii. I guess people were frantically looking for other ways to get to the Big Island and eat their weights in Spam.

Now, if I could just figure out why so many people from the Motor City (DTW) want to visit Sin City (LAS) every month, I’d feel like a real sleuth.

(Image: spam.com)

Spitting Supermodel Naomi Campbell Banned by British Airways

Posted April 9, 2008 by Zak Patten


The Wall Street Journal recently suggested that airlines actively seek celebrity passengers because they bring the carriers cachet that ordinary schmoes like you and me are dazzled by. So for an international superstar to be banned by an airline, he or she would have to do something pretty bad.

Enter Naomi Campbell. The 38-year old supermodel (who may be demoted to simply "model" after her latest escapade) was arrested at London's Heathrow airport, where she was due to catch a British Airways flight to Los Angeles. When BA employees were unable to locate a missing bag of Miss Campell's, she allegedly "flew into a rage" and wound up spitting at one of the police officers who were trying to detain her. I guess if you're going to be spat at by someone, you could do worse than a supermodel, but saliva is saliva and laws are laws, so Campbell got dragged off by the cops.

Perhaps one isolated "babe behaving badly" incident might have been overlooked by British Airways, but the leggy Campbell has a history of violence:

  • Throwing a telephone at an assistant
  • Beating an assistant with a BlackBerry.
  • Assault on an Italian actress.
  • Another instance of battering an employee with a cell phone.

I'd say British Airways should be relieved to get out of the transporting-Naomi-Campbell business with no actual bloodshed.

(Photo: Virgin Media)

High-speed Train Would Whisk Travelers between False Realities

Posted March 18, 2008 by Carl Unger

Maglevweb Scientists have long theorized that black holes may actually defy the space-time continuum by linking parallel dimensions with one another.  One might even say that black holes are like high-speed train lines through space-time.

A fair number of us non-scientists have likewise long believed that Las Vegas and Disneyland are alternate dimensions, so it makes sense that a high-speed train line would one day link the two.  In fact, there are now two separate plans for quick transport between these false realities.  On one hand, we have a futuristic, extremely expensive (and therefore the obvious choice) MagLev train.  On the other hand, there’s a far less exciting, more economical (read: bor-ing) DesertXPress train.  Come on, a super-fast train that travels 300 miles per hour and runs on magnets?  And it would cost $12 billion?  Survey says: yes.

However, the real challenge of traveling through the fabric of space-time or between alternate realities concerns the folks on board.  Those of you who've seen this season of Lost know well that time/dimension traveling is not pretty.  If you haven’t been watching, I’ll sum up: You get a wicked nosebleed and die.

So how will train operators keep passengers’ brains from exploding?  How will they maintain the false reality that’s sold at either end of the line?

Maybe they’ll replace windows with flat-panel TVs and display weird landscapes passing by (“Hey, we’re under the sea—oh look, now we’re on Mars!”).  Maybe passengers will sleep in little pods so they don’t even realize they're traveling.  Maybe they'll just have an open bar, who knows?

Whatever you do, make sure you have a constant, okay?

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Beverly Hills Hotel bans Brit-Brit but can't lure Brangelina

Posted March 17, 2008 by Zak Patten

Britgelina You'd assume the Beverly Hills Hotel, with its location and price tag (our sister site TripAdvisor lists an average nightly price of $662) would be a good place for celebrity-spotting. And you'd be right, unless you were looking to see Britney Spears, Brad Pitt, or Angelina Jolie.

Yes, the BHH is now instructing its staff to ask the Lucky singer to keep on driving the next time she's on a bender and needs a place to crash, at least according to Entertainmentwise. While the exclusive property surely appreciates the media coverage paparazzi-magnet Britney provides, it realizes other guests may want to enjoy their stays sans the tantrums, meltdowns, and assorted disasters that trail the former Mrs. Federline wherever she goes. Unfortunately, according to a hotel source, Britney still won't stay away from the place.

In a separate situation, Digital Spy reports Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have decided to take a detour around the Beverly Hills Hotel themselves. "Brangelina" are skipping out on a charity event they were scheduled to co-host with Pitt-ex Jennifer Aniston, apparently out of respect to the former Friends star.

Good old Hollywood. Britney isn't welcome but won't stop going while Pitt and Jolie have been invited, but won't show up.

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