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    Business Travel &Family Travel &Places I love &Travel Places   2008/10/27

    Driving or committing suicide, driving on the road abroad

    Driving in a foreign country can be deadly, and not because the drivers are crazy, its simply because you are not aware of the local driving norms.

    Driving is totally different from sexual behavior where in most cases everybody in the world knows what you mean :)

    Examples;

    1) When you flash your car’s headlights:

    a. In The UK it means; “Go ahead, I give you way”.

    b. In Italy: “Be careful I am coming fast and I am in no real wish for you to enter my space”.

    c. In Israel; “Be careful there is a police radar nearby…”

    2) Driving in a roundabout is always confusing, but in France its crazy, it’s a real suicide…

    I have driven in many places, and everywhere when you are in the roundabout you keep driving; i.e. you have the right to move on; main idea behind it; clear the roundabout.

    In France – be careful, the cars who want to enter the roundabout have the right to drive in; and in high speed… which means you block the roundabout as you stop in the middle.

    Paris…

    3) Hand signals; in Israel if you wave you hand in a unusual manner, closing your fingers together upwards – means please wait, give me a minute, “savlanut” i.e. patience, I need time to do what I want to do; whereas in Italy it means cursing your mother…

     Wait a Minute hand signal

    Take it easy out there, be smart not right.

    Airlines &Business Travel &Family Travel &Online booking sites   2008/10/16

    Tickets price by the Kilograms; Fat people will pay more!?

    Today airlines charge for everything; overweight luggage, extra bag, a soft drink, a blanket, extra leg room, stereo ear sets, food, preferred seats, and of course alcohol. 

    So, when I first heard about it I thought it was a onetime joke, then I dag into the issue and learned that indeed airlines plan on charging Obese passengers more for their air fare;

    In the past 20 years being a travel agent, I have experienced the very odd feeling when I have had to advise a client to buy an “Extra Seat” because they could not fit into a regular economy class seat.

    I knew the routes, the airline regulation, the aircraft seats configuration, and most importantly I knew those clients very well.
    Having said that, it was all based on the size of the chair, nothing to do with the new trend which is based on economical reasons not physical.
    Derrie Air was a marketing teaser by Philadelphia Media Holding, “demonstrate the power of our brands in generating awareness and generating traffic for our advertisers, and put a smile on people’s faces.

    Derrie Air  Price by KiloWhen I read the words: Derrie-Air; two things came up my mind:

    Sounds like the French word: Derriere; in simple English; ass / backside …  

    Sounds like Dare Air – who will be the first to dare charge according to weight.

    Nice play on words when you want to deliver a message about fat travelers.
    The one thing I have learned so far is that the airlines are looking into categorizing weight passengers based on fat people not tall people.

    A non official response from an airline spokesman is: “Height is genetic and you cannot fight it…”

    The truth of the matter is that it’s not a pleasant experience to sit by an Obese a 12 hour flight.

    Demo; Obese on an airline seat

    I wonder what will the effect on the airline’s branding and who will be the first mover…

    Airlines &Business Travel &Travel Agents - Info & Updates   2008/10/15

    Free Wireless Internet Connection at Airports – what a pain…

    I have recently returned via Paris CDG Airport, I was early and the flight was delayed, so I decided to use the spare time to check on my emails.(flight delays is in growth)
    I switched on the laptop, and I managed to see there are about 6 WIFI hot spots, having said that, the price per hour is outrageous. The price of 1 hour was 3 x more than what I pay for a month back home. I decided to give up; I rather snooze for that price…
    Having thought about it, the airport small restaurants / cafe / sandwich places should give free WIFI connectivity and we all go eat and drink there, after all, its expensive anyhow to drink a diet coke…
    For that reason I have gathered a list of FREE WIFI connections at International Worldwide Airports.
    Antigua
    V.C. Bird International Airport – departure lounge after security

    Argentina
    EZE Airport – before check-in, near arrivals gate and near gates 6-8 – Buenos Aires

    Armenia
    Zvartnots International Airport – Yerevan

    Aruba
    Aruba Airport terminal – Aruba

    Austria
    Vienna Airport – Vienna

    Australia
    Adelaide Airport – Adelaide
    Virgin Blue lounges – Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney
    Darwin Airport – Darwin

    Austria
    Vienna International Airport – Vienna

    Bahrain
    Bahrain International Airport – Departures area – Manama

    Barbados
    Grantley Adams International Airport

    Bermuda
    L.F. Wade International Airport – departure lounges – St. George

    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Sarajevo International Airport – Sarajevo

    Botswana
    Maun International Airport – edge of the Okavango Delta – designed for clients of Moremi Air Services and Kwando Safaris who use Maun airport as an operational base for their safari business

    Brazil
    Congonhas Airport – Sao Paulo

    British Isles
    Guernsey Airport – Guernsey
    Ronaldsway Airport – Isle of Man

    Bulgaria
    Sofia Airport – Sofia

    Canada
    Banff Airporter office area – Calgary
    Halifax International airport – center court area on the main level and between gates 20-15 on the departures level of the Air Terminal Building – Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Dryden Regional Airport – Dryden, Ontario
    Fredericton Airport – Fredericton, New Brunswick
    St. John’s International Airport – St. John’s, Newfoundland
    Quebec Airport – Quebec City, Quebec
    Expedia Restaurant – Air Canada Terminal – Toronto
    Vancouver International Airport – Vancouver

    Chile
    Aeropuerto de Santiago – Santiago

    China
    Airport – front of ticket counters – Changsha, Hunan

    Costa Rica
    Juan Santamaria International Airport – San Jose

    Denmark
    Aalborg Airport – Norresundby

    Dubai
    Dubai International – look for free signals – Dubai

    Ecuador
    Simon Bolivar International – Guayaquil
    Quito Airport, International Terminal – Quito

    Egypt
    Sharm El Sheik International Airport

    Estonia
    Kuressaare Airport, Roomassaare tee 1 – Kuressaare
    Tallinn Airport, Lennujaama tee 2 – Tallinn

    France
    Merignac Airport – Bordeaux

    Honduras
    San Pedro Sula Airport

    Hong Kong
    Chek Lap Kok Airport
    Hong Kong International Airport – Hong Kong

    Hungary
    Budapest Ferihegy Int’l Airport – Terminals 2A and 2B – free network is Pannongsm – Budapest

    Iceland
    Keflavik Airport -

    India
    Madurai, Tiruchi and Coimbatore airports in Tamil Nadu State
    Mumbai International Airport/Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport

    Iran
    Imam Khomeini International Airport – Tehran

    Ireland
    Shannon Airport – main cafי upstairs and also the departure lounge in front of US immigration – Shannon

    Israel
    Terminal 3 at Ben Gurion International Airport – Tel Aviv

    Japan
    Narita Int’l Airport, Terminal 2 – Narita – UPDATE NOT FREE ANYMORE
    Kansai Airport – Osaka – UPDATE NOT FREE ANYMORE
    ANA lounges – request free WEP key

    Kazakhstan
    Internation Airport – Almaty

    Kosovo
    Pristina Airport – Pristina

    Kuwait
    Kuwait International Airport – Check in areas, restaurants and shops in Arrival & Departure levels

    Luxembourg
    Luxembourg International Airport

    Island of Madeira
    Funchal Airport

    Latvia
    Riga International Airport

    Malaysia
    Kuala Lumpur Int. Airport

    Mexico
    Cancun International Airport – Cancun
    Benito Juarez International Airport – Mexico City
    Puerto Vallarta Airport – Puerto Vallarta

    New Zealand
    Auckland International Airport – report of free computers in Arrival area, not sure about Wi-Fi access – Auckland
    Wellington International Airport – Main Terminal – Wellington

    Pakistan
    Jinnah International Airport – Karachi

    Phillipines
    Manila Int. Airport – smoking area – Luzon

    Poland
    Warsaw Airport – International transit area

    Portugal
    Faial Island Airport – bar area – Horta -Azores
    Madeira Island Airport – Madeira Island

    Puerto Rico
    San Juan Int. Airport – try to connect to the ATT network – San Juan

    Qatar
    Doha International Airport

    Romania
    International Airport Traian Vuia – Timisoara

    Russia
    Sheremetyevo-2 (SVO) Airport – departure terminal, waiting hall, cafes and vip-halls – Moscow

    Singapore
    Changi Airport – near free computers

    Slovenia
    Ljubljana International Airport – at departure gates

    South Korea
    Incheon International Airport

    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lankan Airways Business Class lounge area – Columbo International Airport

    Taiwan
    Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport – Terminal 2

    Thailand
    Suvarnabhumi Airport – Bangkok

    Trinidad
    Piarco International Airport

    Turkey
    Ataturk Airport – Millenium Lounge access for several airline Club members – Istanbul
    Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport

    Tunisia
    Tunis Carthage Airport

    UK
    British Airways’ lounges at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Jersey have Free Wi-Fi.

    Ukraine
    Kyiv Boryspil International Airport – Boryspil

    United Arab Emirates
    Abu Dhabi International Airport

    Uruguay
    Carrasco Intl. Airport – Departure Area – Montevideo

    Vietnam
    Tan Son Nhat International Airport – Ho Chi Minh City

    USA
    American Airlines Admirals Club must enter a valid club card number to get access

    United Airlines 27 Red Carpet Clubs and 5 International First Class lounges is free for members

    Continental Airlines offers Free wireless high speed internet access to members in 22 Presidents Club locations in major airports around the USA

    Northwest WorldClubs Alaska Airlines Clubs Alabama

    Birmingham International Airport – Birmingham
    Huntsville Airport – Huntsville
    Madison County Executive Airport – Huntsville
    Montgomery Regional Airport (Dannelly Field) – Montgomery
    Northwest Alabama Regional Airport – Muscle Shoals

    Alaska
    Anchorage Airport – Anchorage
    Ketchikan International Airport – Ketchikan
    Valdez Municipal Arpt – Valdez

    Arizona
    Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport – Phoenix
    Tucson International Airport – Tucson
    Valle Airport – Valle
    Yuma International – Yuma

    Arkansas
    Fort Smith Regional Airport – Fort Smith
    Little Rock National Airport – Little Rock
    Texarkana Airport – Texarkana

    California
    Meadows Field, WM Thomas Terminal – Bakersfield
    Chico Municipal Airport – Chico
    Arcata/Eureka Airport – Eureka
    Hayward Airport – Hayward
    Livermore Airport – Livermore
    Long Beach Airport – Long Beach
    Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – LAX
    Modesto City-County Airport – Modesto
    Redding Municipal Airport – Redding
    BSAir at the Reedley Muni Airport – Reedley
    Sacramento International Airport – Sacramento
    Lindberg Field – San Diego
    San Diego International Airport – San Diego
    Mineta San Jose International Airport – San Jose
    Santa Maria Airport – Santa Maria
    Santa Ynez Airport – Santa Ynez

    Colorado
    Centennial Airport – Centennial
    Colorado Springs Airport – Colorado Springs
    Denver International Airport – Denver
    Eagle (Vail) Airport

    Connecticut
    Bradley International Airport – Windsor Locks

    Florida
    Daytona Beach Airport – signal availability reported in Ticketing Area – Daytona Beach
    Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport – all terminals – Ft. Lauderdale
    Southwest Florida International Airport – Ft.Myers
    Okaloosa Regional Airport – Fort Walton Beach
    Gainesville Regional Airport – Gainesville
    Jacksonville Airport – Jacksonville
    Key West International – Key West
    LaBelle Municipal Airport – LaBelle
    Melbourne International Airport – Melbourne
    Orlando International Airport – all public areas and the “Cell Phone” parking lot – Orlando
    Palm Beach International – Palm Beach
    Pensacola Int. Airport – Pensacola
    Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport – Sarasota
    Tallahassee Airport – Tallahassee
    Tampa International – main building and both satellite terminals – Tampa
    Palm Beach International Airport – West Palm Beach

    Georgia
    Augusta Regional Airport – Augusta
    Brunswick Golden Isle Airport – Brunswick
    Fulton County Airport (FTY) – Raytheon Aircraft Services Terminal

    Hawaii
    Honolulu Airport-Gate 13 – Honolulu

    Idaho
    Idaho Falls Airport – Idaho Falls
    Nez Perce County Regional Airport – Lewiston

    Illinois
    Central Illinois Regional Airport – Bloomington/Normal
    University of Illinois Willard Airport – Champaign/Urbana
    Quad City International Airport – Moline
    Peoria Regional Airport – Peoria
    Rockford Airport – Rockford
    Capital Airport – Springfield

    Indiana
    Evansville Regional Airport – Evansville
    Fort Wayne International Airport – Fort Wayne (free Cat5/RJ45 access too)
    Smith Field Airport – Fort Wayne
    Montgomery Aviation – Indianapolis Executive Airport – Zionsville

    Iowa
    CY Aviation, Boone Airport – Boone
    Eastern Iowa Regional Airport – Cedar Rapids
    Dubuque Regional Airport – Dubuque
    Sioux City Airport – business center and JetSun Aviation facility – Sioux City
    Waterloo Airport – Waterloo

    Kansas
    Hays Regional Airport – Hays
    Wichita Mid-Continent Airport – Wichita

    Kentucky
    CVG Airport – Hebron
    Bluegrass Airport – Lexington

    Louisiana
    Lafayette Regional Airport – Lafayette
    Lake Charles Airport – Lake Charles
    Louis Armstong International – New Orleans

    Maryland
    Hagerstown Municipal Airport – Hagerstown

    Michigan
    Gerald R. Ford International Airport- Grand Rapids
    Ford Airport – Kingsford/Iron Mountain
    Capital City Airport – Lansing
    Sawyer International Airport – Marquette
    Muskegon County Airport – Muskegon
    Pellston Regional Airport – Pellston
    Saginaw MBS International

    Minnesota
    Beltrami County Airport – Bemidji
    Duluth Int. Airport – Duluth
    Rochester International Airport – Rochester

    Mississippi
    Golden Triangle Regional Airport – Columbus
    Gulfport/Biloxi International Airport
    Hattiesburg-Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport – no commercial flights – Hattiesburg
    Jackson Airport – Jackson
    Tupelo Regional Airport – Tupelo

    Missouri
    Taney County Airport – Branson
    Columbia Regional Airport – Columbia
    Joplin Regional Airport – ask ticket agent for access location – Joplin
    Kansas City International Airport – Kansas City
    Springfield-Branson Airport – Springfield

    Montana
    Bozeman Gallatin Airport – Bozeman
    Great Falls International Airport – Great Falls
    Helena Regional Airport – Helena
    Missoula International Airport – Missoula

    Nevada
    Henderson Executive Airport – Henderson
    McCarran Airport – Las Vegas
    North Las Vegas Airport
    Reno-Tahoe International Airport – Reno

    New Hampshire
    Manchester, Boston Regional Airport – Manchester

    New Jersey
    Atlantic City Airport – Atlantic City

    New Mexico
    Albuquerque International Sunport/Airport – Albuquerque
    Los Alamos County Airport – Los Alamos
    Taos Municipal Airport – Taos

    New York
    Binghamton Airport – Binghamton
    Elmira-Corning Regional Airport – Elmira
    JetBlue Airways – Terminal 6 – JFK Airport – Jamaica, Queens
    Tompkins County Regional Airport – Ithaca
    Rochester Airport – Rochester
    Syracuse International – Syracuse

    North Carolina
    Charlotte Douglas International Airport – ask at Info Desk for access area info – Charlotte
    Asheville Regional Airport – Fletcher
    Albert J. Ellis Airport – Jacksonville
    Kinston Airport – Kinston
    New Bern Airport – New Bern
    Wilmington International Airport – Wilmington

    North Dakota
    Bismarck Municipal Airport – general aviation lounge – Bismarck
    Hector International Airport – Fargo
    Grand Forks Airport – Grand Forks

    Ohio
    Akron Airport – Akron
    Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport – Concourse C, ticketing and baggage claim areas of Terminal 3, ticketing, baggage claim and holding areas of Terminal 2
    Ohio State University Airport – Columbus
    Port Columbus International Airport – Columbus
    Dayton International Airport – Dayton
    Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport – Vienna

    Oregon
    Eugene Airport – Eugene
    Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport – Medford
    Southwest Oregon Regional Airport – North Bend
    Portland International Airport – Main Level – Portland
    Redmond Airport – Redmond

    Pennsylvania
    Lehigh Valley International Airport – Allentown
    Erie Airport – Erie
    Harrisburg International Airport – Harrisburg
    Arnold Palmer Regional Airport – Latrobe
    Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport – Mt Pocono
    Philadelphia International Airport – look for ATT WiFi – Philadelphia
    Pittsburgh Airport – Pittsburgh
    Brandywine Airport – West Chester
    Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

    North Carolina
    Charlotte-Douglas International Airport – Charlotte

    South Carolina
    Charleston Airport – Charleston
    Columbia Metropolitan Airport – Columbia
    Horry County Airport – Conway
    Florence Regional Airport – Florence
    Greenville/Spartanburg Airport
    Myrtle Beach Airport – Myrtle Beach

    South Dakota
    Rapid City Airport – Rapid City

    Tennessee
    Tri-Cities Regional Airport – Blountville
    Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport – Chattanooga
    KnoxAir at TYS – McGee-Tyson Airport and DKX – Island Home Airport – Knoxville

    Texas
    Rick Husband Inernational Airport – Amarillo
    Harrison Aviation – Arlington Municipal Airport – Arlington
    Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport – Brownsville
    Easterwood Airport – College Station
    Corpus Christi International Airport – Corpus Christi
    Admiral’s Clubs – DFW – Dallas/Ft.Worth
    Valley International Airport – Harlingen
    East Texas Regional Airport – Longview
    Lubbock International Airport – Lubbock
    McAllen-Miller International Airport – McAllen
    San Angelo Municipal Airport – San Angelo
    San Antonio International Airport – San Antonio
    Tyler Pounds Regional Airport – Tyler

    Vermont
    Burlington International Airport – South Burlington

    Virginia
    Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport – terminal area
    Leesburg Executive Airport – Leesburg
    Lynchburg Regional Airport – Lynchburg
    Newport News/Williamsburg Airport – Newport News
    Richmond Airport – Richmond
    Roanoke Airport – Roanoke

    Washington
    Bellingham International Airport – Bellingham
    Grant County Airport – Moses Lake
    Tri-Cities Airport – Pasco
    Pullman Moscow Airport- Pullman
    Walla`Walla Regional Airport – Walla Walla
    Pangborn Field Airport – Wenatchee

    West Virginia
    Yeager Airport – Charleston
    Tri-State Airport – Huntington

    Wisconsin
    Gen. Mitchell Int. Airport – Milwaukee
    KOEO FBO’s – Top Dog Aviation (Northeast Hangar Base), Ward Aviation (Northeast Hangar Base), Terminal Building (South West Side) – Osceola

    Wyoming
    Natrona County International Airport – Casper
    Cheyenne Regional Airport – Cheyenne

    If you have more info please send me and I will update the table for all of us.

    Airlines &Business Travel &Travel Agents - Info & Updates   2008/09/03

    Alitalia; Going Up or Going Down?

    Alitalia – Is it a Re-organize or a Closure?
    The future of the airline is unknown as they filed for bankruptcy protection with the Italian Court on August 28th 2008.
     

     

    There are rumors that the airline will be shut down as a government owned company and a new company will be formed probably with a new name and definitely new owners :)

    We have seen it in the past few years in Swissair becoming Swiss overnight, Sabena becoming Brussels Airways.

    In the past few days all my clients have asked to be shifted from Alitalia to other carriers.

    Can we sell Alitalia tickets – IMHO; Yes.

     Alitalia Airlines

    Airlines &Business Travel &Family Travel &Travel Agents - Info & Updates &Travel Places   2008/08/05

    Airlines safe routes

    As Israelis we always ask ourselves; is this route a safe route to fly? what happens in case of emergency landing?

    Well, I dont have the answers to what may happen in case you land on the lap of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad… though as a professional travel agent I could reccomend you which airlines are safer in respect to their routes flying via Europe to Asia.

    Please note, that my advise has nothing to do with the safety of the aircraft, nor last minute and Force Majeure cases where airlines must change their routes.

    * KLM & Air France are the ones mostly known for last minute changes of routes and they are NOT obliged to advise in advance.

    Have a safe and easy flight:

    Airline Code Japan HongKong China Philippines India Thailand Korea Singapore
    Lufthansa LH SAFE SAFE SAFE SAFE NOT SAFE NOT SAFE SAFE NOT SAFE
    Swiss LX SAFE SAFE     NOT SAFE NOT SAFE   NOT SAFE
    AirFrance AF SAFE SAFE SAFE SAFE NOT SAFE NOT SAFE SAFE NOT SAFE
    British BA SAFE SAFE SAFE   NOT SAFE NOT SAFE   NOT SAFE
    KLM KL SAFE SAFE SAFE SAFE SAFE SAFE SAFE SAFE
    Turkish TK SAFE NOT SAFE SAFE   NOT SAFE NOT SAFE SAFE NOT SAFE
    Austrian OS SAFE   SAFE   NOT SAFE NOT SAFE   NOT SAFE
    Alitalia AZ SAFE   SAFE   NOT SAFE NOT SAFE    
    ELAL LY   SAFE SAFE   SAFE SAFE    

    NOT SAFE = Above Arab Countries

    Business Travel &Family Travel &Places I love   2008/07/17

    Dangers while travelling.

    I would divide the dangers into two categories:

    The actions we do in conscious – we know what we are doing, but we either don’t care, or don’t think far into the future, nor wide angle and see the whole picture (example; those we travel with)
    The actions we take without knowing the reality of the place.
    Dangerous places; there are many official websites which advises which country and zones are not safe for visitors; and we all hear about the latest Anti Terrorist Department warnings about Sinai. However, there are countries which are listed and we as Israelis “enjoy” traveling there, examples; Colombia. (Among the other countries; Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, Nigeria, Congo, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Iran, Gaza Strip, Indonesia, Iraq, Haiti)

    Extreme sport; I was younger and foolish myself, while visiting Peru I Para Glide, which was great fun, knowing its dangerous as I was jumping off a cliff of 1800 meters after 2 day basic training – was that smart? Probably not. Scuba diving without license, nor experience; driving a motor cycle without license, white water rafting – check the equipment, the company, the insurance they have, the rescue team, the route, the weather.

    Animals – monkeys in Nepal, India – when you travel near them be safe they could be vicious, could be jumping for your food – in California bears can smell your food in the car and break into – pack your food. Don’t forget that animals such as African monkeys carry diseases such as AIDS.

    Extreme nature danger; when you are up in the Himalayas make sure you treat the nature with respect, walk slowly, drink, don’t be a hero the nature is much stronger than you think. Bolivia; “El Camino de la Muerte” (road of death) 70 km of dangerous downhill 4600 meters to 1800. Until today over 13 young Israelis died there – what for?!

    Local habits, custom and religion; respect the locals you are visiting and dress accordingly, it has a great affect on your safety. I have seen Nordic backpackers who travel with no shame in Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish countries holy places as if they came out of the shower. It sometimes lead to harassment as well; sexual & physical (Indian are known for “bat pinching” and hair pulling)

    Insurance – make sure you are covered, don’t neglect nor ignore its importance – hope you want need it; don’t regret you didn’t do it.

    Medication – what you take at home is not the same as what you buy there. The local “Chinese Doctor” is not always your home town standard of doctor.Pregnancy – think ahead to the future, some great Malaria medications will mean you should not get pregnant at least a year of cleaning your body from taking it – is it worth traveling to those countries for your honeymoon?

    Health and local hospitals – before you get into trouble find a companion whom you trust to be with you in case of need. If you get hospitalized the partner should be with you ALL the time, don’t find yourself returning home with a kidney missing.

    Drugs – not always you know that you are the smuggler… make sure you check your gear well – specially before airports and border crossing – smugglers are smart they plant drugs on you for crossing it over.

    Theft – pick pockets and drug tourists with food (Thailand busses)

    Advise; learn on the country & city you are about to visit, their customs and social conduct. Think ahead, remember you have a family at home who cares and worry about you. Don’t be shy to ask a fellow traveler about his experience, but don’t be a hero, it’s not worth it.

    Airlines &Business Travel &Family Travel &Low Cost Airlines &Online booking sites   2008/06/19

    Open Sky Revolution – new Airline; FlyOpenSkies.com

    A couple of months ago I have written about the Trans Atlantic Open Sky revolution, and here it comes; British Airways has announced to open OpenSkies new low cost airlines (www.flyopenskies.com). Not a surprise that they chose the French market to start with; (June 19th). Following the closure of 2 low cost airlines flying the Atlantic from the UK, British Airways has decided to compete with Lavion.

    Prices are not bad at all, and divided to 3 categories; Business, Premium and Economy.

    Round trip restricted fares; NYC PAR NYC: Business; $2450, Premium; $1525, Economy; $1155

    Round Trip restricted fares PAR NYC PAR; Business; €1420, Premium; €1019, Economy; €706

    A bug;

    I tried to check one way prices and the site seems to display one way but the prices are of round trips.

    Have a great flight; I like the Open Sky revolution.

    Fly Open SkiesPrices

    Airlines &Business Travel &Travel Agents - Info & Updates   2008/05/28

    The official end of the Paper Ticket – I am not sure…

    Everyone in the industry is talking about the end of the paper ticket era, is that true, will June 1st be the cut over day? Are all the airlines ready… I am not sure?!

    The International Air Transport Association (IATA) began an important countdown – 7 days to 100% e-ticketing. “In7 days the paper ticket gets put in a museum. On June 1, 2008 we will achieve 100% electronic ticketing,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
    IATA began the drive to 100% e-ticketing as part of its Simplifying the Business programme in June 2004 with the dual goals of making travel and shipping more convenient and more cost efficient. “E-ticketing is the flagship project of Simplifying the Business. While a paper ticket costs US$10 to process, e-ticketing reduces that cost to US$1. The industry will save over US$3 billion each year by offering the passenger a better service. There is no better win-win proposition,” said Bisignani.When the programme began in June 2004, only 18% of tickets issued globally were e-tickets. Today e-ticketing penetration is over 93%. “It is an incredible industry success story. When we began over 28 million paper tickets were issued each month. We have reduced that number to less than 3 million,” said Bisignani.

    Challenges remain. E-ticketing penetration in Africa is only 83% and has reached 84% in Middle East North Africa (MENA). The real concern is Russia and CIS, which is at 54% due to a late start while the government changed legislation to allow for e-tickets.

    Consumers can anticipate more convenient travel in an electronic world. 100% ET eliminates lost tickets, makes itinerary changes easy and enables a wide array of self-service options. Having said that, on a daily basis we as travel agents face issues with complicated tickets and combination of airlines where airlines are losing booking references and airlines are not honoring other carrier’s tickets.

    I look forward to the new era, its not going to be an easy period for travel agents, though it will take travel another step further which I am sure travelers will benefit.

    The “evolution” of the paper tickets; trust me; 1 week to go and nothing much has changed…

    Hand writen ticketPrinted Paper ticketBarcoded Paper Ticket

    All being used today – and we are 1 week to shut down.

    Business Travel &Travel Places   2008/04/29

    Hotel freebies; are they for our use or ours to take.

    You just checked into a luxuries hotel & spa, paying $620 a night, what does it entitle you?

    Is it simply an overnight stay; check in & check out the next day?

    Like in most hotels, and furthermore at the luxuries hotels, there are toiletries at your disposal in the bathroom, the question is; where is the borderline between reasonable use and theft?

    SleepersFreebies

    Looking at it from the philosophical point of view; “Responsible Tourism”; is it responsible to take what we do not really need and cause unnecessary extra costs?

    I just read a post on HotelChatter which I did not find amusing, and decided to share it with you:

    “I just was doing some cleaning, and just piled all my soaps/etc.. from this year (yes 2007), and thought i’d take a picture, because I thought it was funny.. I usually take the shampoos and goodies so I don’t have to stock up on travel stuff throughout the year, but I didn’t realize I had this much from this year”

    HotelChatter user collection

    I also read on Sleeping Around a post about what is ethical to take and what is theft, personally I disagree, in my humble opinion it seems too liberal.

    “Most hotels expect that you will take the soap. They plan on it. But there are other things that they expect you to take too, so except for the shower curtain, think about things that start with the letter “S.”

    Soap, Shampoo, Shower gel, Shower cap, Sewing kit, Stationery, Shoe Shine Kits, Slippers. SLIPPERS??? Yes, slippers. Many really upscale hotels put terry-cloth slippers in your room, often with elaborate embroidery with the hotel’s name or crest across the instep. It’s branding. Every time you look down, you see the name or initials of the hotel; the hope is that it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, makes you remember your wonderful time there, and makes you plan on returning. “I wish more people would take the slippers,” says David Benton, Vice President and General Manager of the tony Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, a member of the Preferred Hotels group. “We hate having to throw them away. We can’t use them again; we WANT our guests to take them.

    ” WHEN IS IT “THEFT?”  So now we know what you CAN take without fear of arrest and incarceration. What is it that you can’t legitimately spirit away from the hotel? What is considered “theft?” Almost anything else.
    No bathrobes, towels, sheets, pillows, pillowcases, bedspreads, ashtrays, glasses. No washcloths, drapes, desklamps, shower curtains, phone books, headboards or artwork. No throw pillows, bath rugs, room-service dishes, mattress pads or light fixtures. Not the glossy hardcover destination books that sit on the desk, although the weekly magazines are fine”.

    Next time you travel, take a moment; ask yourself the question, do I support eco-tourism when I travel? Am I responsible to the environment?

    Ask yourself; “What can I do to make the world a better place”.

    Personally, I try not to waste, I use only what I need.

    Airlines &Business Travel &Low Cost Airlines &Online booking sites   2008/04/28

    SouthWest Airlines homepage – What’s the effect on their sales?

    A few months have passed since SouthWest Airlines have taken the big step and changed its homepage GUI (Graphical User Interface), shifting the booking engine from the left side position which is the conventional worldwide standard, to the right side panel – the first and only airline to do so.

    The New look: SouthWest new look 2008 SouthWest Airlines new look 2008
    The Old Look: SouthWest old version homepage
    I wonder what made SouthWest Airlines lead to such action to move the booking panel, which is the “Action Item” to the right which is known to be the users visibility dark side; also known as the Z shape Eye Tracking Methodology. Moreover, I am very curious to see actual website usability results, and I will be looking forward to see other airlines, especially Low Cost Airlines, following this step, if the results are positive.

    The only other airline which I found to have moved the action item; booking engine, from the left side panel is the Indian Low Cost Airline SpiceJet;

    Spice Jet Airlines

    Had I had to analyze the results only according to blog reports, I would say the change has done only good to SouthWest Airlines, though; blog comments can be adjusted and thus biased if needed. I have read the comments on the SouthWest Airlines blog, where consumers love the new look, and find it much easier to navigate.

    It could just be that SouthWest Airlines have decided to dedicate the hot spot to strengthen their brand name and logo.

    Other Airlines website to compare look & feel; left side booking panel.

    Tiger AirwaysGermanWings AirlinesAir ArabiaWizz AirVueling AirlinesJet StarJet Blue AirlinesAir Asia

    Airlines &Business Travel &Low Cost Airlines &Online booking sites   2008/04/27

    Eos Airlines – All business class airline, Closed down active today.

    Eos Airlines
    I am sad to announce, yet again, of another airline which has closed down.

    Eos, a 48 seats all business class airline, flew from London to New York, is the second all business class airline to close down operations in less than 4 months.
    What have they being doing wrong? What should SilverJet do in order not to drop down like its ex-competitors?

    Unfortunately, quality does not win it all.

    screenshot_159.jpg

    Business Travel &Travel Agents - Info & Updates &Travel Places   2008/04/25

    Fraud attacks on Travel Agents.

    Lately, travel agents have been receiving more and more fraud emails requesting business class and first class tickets on specific routes; starting in; Nigeria – Lagos.

    The process is as follows; the so called Nigerian Travel Agent requests assistance to book his VIP clients flights and hotels. Once the travel agency (outside Nigeria) books it all, he is given a stolen credit card which is not yet reported to the authorities.

    Thus, the agent who is being conned is not yet aware of the fact that has just lost a few thousands of Dollars.

    The Nigerians who have given a fake UK address including a non existing UK mobile number, a free web based email are long gone.

    The Nigerians, in order to conceal their tracks, and perfect their crime, they manage to change names on the air tickets through contacts they have at the local airline branch. They then resell the ticket to anyone who is willing to pay them in cash.

    Not until that long ago, travel agents had a way to protect themselves from such actions; they used the given credit card as a means to pay the airline directly. Rather than what is accustomed; client pay agent, agent pays airline. Now days, due to fraud levels, the airlines hold the agents accountable for any fraud done by the travelers.

    Beware – work with who you know and trust.

    Airlines &Business Travel &Travel Agents - Info & Updates   2008/04/24

    Airline Lounges Worldwide – followup on the previous post.

    I have received many responses on my previous blog post, therefore, I have decided to put some time and collecting info on the airlines lounges and their websites.

    I am sure the list is incomplete, therefore, if you care and have more info and details please send me an email and I will be happy to update the data.

    Airline Name Lounge Name Locations
    Aer Lingus Gold Circle & Premier Lounge Dublin, Cork, Shannon, London-Heathrow, Boston
    Aegean Airlines Eleftherios Venizelos  
    AeroMexico Salon Premier Cancún, Ciudad Juárez, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, León, Mérida, Mexico City, Monterrey, Tijuana
    Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Montréal, Ottawa, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Quebec City, Regina, St. Johns, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, Winnipeg
    Air Canada Arrivals Lounge London-Heathrow
    Air France Air France Lounges Paris Charles De Gaulle, Paris Orly, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Berlin- Tegel, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Lisbon, London – heathrow, Manchester, Milan – Malpensa, Munich, Rome, Stuttgart, Zurich, Douala, Dubai, Johannesburg, Lagos, Chicago – O’hare, Houston, Montreal – Trudeau, New York JFK, Rio De Janeiro, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Washington DC Dulles International Airport, Bangkok, Hong-Kong, Noumea, Tokyo-Narita, Cayenne, Fort de France, Pointe a Pitre, Reunion
    Air France Sky Team Lounge Europe Amsterdam, Athens, Brussels, Catania, Frankfurt, London – Gatwick, London – Heathrow, Milan – Linate, Milan – Malpensa, Munich, Naples, Palermo, Prague, Rome, Turin, Venice,
    Air France Sky Team Lounges Africa Dubai , Johannesburg,
    Air France Sky Team Club Americas Acapulco, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cancun, Chicago – O’hare, Chihuahua, Cincinnati, Ciudad Juarez, Cleveland, Dallas Ft Worth, Denver, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Guadalajara, Honolulu, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Merida, Mexico, Milwaukee, Mineapolis St Paul, Monterrey, Nashville, New Orleans, New York – JFK, LaGuardia, NewArk, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh Durham, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan Puerto Rico, Santiago Du Chili, Seattle Tacoma, Tampa, Toronto, Washington Dulles, Washington National, West Palm Beach
    Air France SkyTeam Lounges Asia Pacific Bangkok, Cheju, Fukuoka, GwangJu, Hong-Kong, manila, Nagoya, Osaka – Kansai, Pusan, Seoul – Gimpo, Seoul – Incheon, Taego, Tokyo – Narita.
    Air France Arrivals Lounge Paris – Charles – De Gaulle
    Air India Maharaja Lounge Chennai, London-Heathrow, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York
    Air New Zealand Koru Club Auckland, Brisbane, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Honolulu, Invercargill, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Nadi, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Queenstown, Rarotonga, Sydney, Wellington
    Alaska Airlines Board Room Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Vancouver
    American Airlines Admirals Club Atlanta, Austin, Bogotá, Boston, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Frankfurt, Honolulu, Kansas City, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Nashville, Newark, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Orange County, Panama City, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, Rio de Janeiro, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Juan, Santiago, Santo Domingo, São Paulo-Guarulhos, St. Louis, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-Dulles, Washington-Reagan
    American Airlines Flagship Lounge Chicago, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, New York-JFK
    American Airlines Arrivals Lounge London-Heathrow
    Asian OZ Club Lounge Seoul-Incheon, Seoul-Gimpo
    Avianca VIP Lounge Bogotá, Cali, Caracas, Barranquilla, Buenos Aires, Guayaquil, New York-JFK, Madrid, Medellin, Quito
    British Airways Executive Club Lounge Abuja, Bermuda, Dallas/Fort Worth, Dhaka, Houston-Intercontinental, Kingston, Lagos, Lusaka, Milan-Linate, Nairobi, Philadelphia, Phoneix, Rome-Fiumicino, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Stuttgart, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, Vienna, Warsaw
    British Airways Chesapeake Club Lounge Baltimore
    British Airways Galleries First London Heathrow Terminal 5
    British Airways Galleries Club London Heathrow Terminal 5
    British Airways Galleries Arrivals London Heathrow Terminal 5
     

    British Airways

    Terraces Lounge Abderdeen, Amsterdam, Athens, Atlanta, Berlin-Tegel, Boston, Brussels, Budapest, Cape Town, Chicago-O’Hare, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Denver, Dubai, Durban, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Geneva, Glasgow, Hamburg, Harare, Istanbul-Atatürk, Jersey, Johannesburg, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester, Miami, Milan-Malpensa, Mumbai, New Castle, New York-JFK, Newark, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Tokyo-Narita, Washington-Dulles
    British Airways Arrivals Lounge London-Heathrow, London-Gatwick
    Brussels Airways SN Lounge Luanda, Vienna, Douala – Le Wouri, Zagreb, Prague, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lyon, Toulouse, Banjul, Berlin Tempelhof, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Conakry – Salon Nimba, Budapest, Chennai, Delhi, Tel Aviv, Bologna, Florence, Milan – Malpensa, Rome, Turin, Venice, Abidjan, Nairobi, Monrovia, Casablanca, Oslo, Warsaw, Lisbon, Porto, Kigali, Dakar, Freetown, Ljubljana, Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Seville, Gothenburg, Basle, Geneva, Zurich, Entebbe, Birmingham, Bristol, London – Gatwick, London – heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle, Southampton, Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Saint Louis, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle.
    Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific Business & First Class Lounges Bahrain, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Penang, Seoul-Incheon, Singapore, Taipei-Taiwan Taoyuan, Tokyo-Narita, Vancouver
    Cathay Pacific The Pier Hong Kong
    Cathay Pacific The Wing  
    China Airlines Dynasty Lounge Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Fukuoka, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Kaoshiung, Kuala Lumpur, Okinawa, San Francisco, Singapore, Taipei-Taiwan Taoyuan, Tokyo-Narita
    Continental Airlines Presidents Club Atlanta, Austin, Chicago-O’Hare, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Guam, Honolulu, Houston-Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York-LaGuardia, Newark, Panama City, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle/Tacoma, Washington-Reagan
    Copa Airlines Presidents Club Panama City
    Delta Airlines Crown Room Atlanta, Boston, Chicago-O’Hare, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Frankfurt, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, Jacksonville, Kansas City, London-Gatwick, Los Angeles, Miami, Munich, Nashville, New Orleans, Newark, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Santiago, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa, Washington-Reagan, West Palm Beach
    Delta Airlines Arrivals Lounge London – Gatwick
    ELAL Israel Airlines King David Lounge London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Tel Aviv
    Israel – Tel Aviv Ben- Gurion other Airlines Dan Lounge Tel Aviv for all other Airlines.

     

    Ben Gurion Tel Aviv , Israel
    Emirates Emirates Lounge

     

    Emirates Good Morning London

    Auckland, Bangkok-Suvarnbahumi, Brisbane, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, Melbourne, Munich, New York-JFK, Perth, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Singapore, Sydney
    Eva Air Evergreen Lounge Bangkok, San Francisco, Taipei,
    Finnair Finnair Lounge Helsinki, Stockholm – Arlanda
    Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, Lihue, Los Angeles, Pago
    Korean Air KAL Lounge Chicago, Honolulu, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, New York, Osaka Kansai, Seoul Incheon, Tokyo Narita
    Jet Airways Jet Lounge Agartala, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Delhi, Mumbai, Brussels, London, Singapore, New York JFK, New York NewArk.
    Lufthansa Senator Lounge Athens, Atlanta, Berlin-Tegel, Boston, Bremen, Cologne-Bonn, Detroit, Dresden, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Houston, Leipzig, London-Heathrow, Milan-Malpensa, Mumbai, Munich, New York-JFK, Newark, Nürnberg, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Stuttgart, Zurich
    Lufthansa Business Lounge Athens, Bangkok, Berlin-Tegel, Boston, Bremen, Cologne-Bonn, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Houston, Leipzig, London-Heathrow, Milan-Malpensa, Munich, New York-JFK, Nürnberg, Stuttgart
      First Class Lounge Frankfurt (First Class Terminal and First Class Lounge), Munich
    Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Narita, New York, Penang, Singapore, Sydney
    Mexicana Airlines Salon Ejecutivo Buenos Aires, Cancún, Chicago-O’Hare, Guadalajara, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Monterrey, Portland, San Antonio, Tijuana, Toronto, Vancouver
    Middle East Airlines The Cedar Lounge Beirut
    Midwest Airlines Best Care Club Milwaukee
    Northwest Airlines Worldclubs Boston, Chicago-O’Hare, Detroit (4), Honolulu, Los Angeles, Manila, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul (2), Newark, New York-LaGuardia, Portland (OR), San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Seoul-Incheon, Tokyo-Narita, Washington-Dulles, Washington-Reagan
    Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Lounge Cebu (Mactan), Davao, General Santos, Iloilo, Los Angeles, Manila, San Francisco, Bacolod,
    Qantas Airlines Qantas Club Adelaide, Alice Springs, Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Broome, Cairns, Canberra, Christchurch, Darwin, Gold Coast, Hobart, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Launceston, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Mackay, Melbourne (Tullamarine), Perth, Rockhampton, Singapore, Sydney, Townsville, Wellington
    Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Business Lounge Brussels, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Helsinki, London-Heathrow, Newark, Oslo, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Seattle, Stockholm
    Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Scandinavian Lounge (First Class &Star Alliance Gold) Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm
    Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Adelaide, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Osaka Kansai, Penang, Perth, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo-Narita
    South African Airways Baobab Lounge Cape Town, Johannesburg, London
    South African Airways Cycad Premium Lounge Cape Town, Johannesburg, London
    TAP Portugal Top Executive Funchal, Lisbon, Oporto
    Thai International Airways Royal Orchid Lounge Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi), Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Dhaka, Hat Yai, Hong Kong, Kathmandu, Khon Kaen, Khula Lumpur, Manila, Osaka Kansai, Phittsanulok, Phuket, Singapore, Surat Thani, Taipei, Ubon Ratchathani, Yangon
    United Airlines Red Carpet Club Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Bangkok, Boston, Buenos Aires, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Honolulu, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Mexico City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Orange County, Orlando, Osaka, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland OR, San Diego, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seattle/Tacoma, Sydney, Tokyo-Narita, Washington-Dulles, Washington-Reagan
    US Airways US Airways Club Baltimore/Washington, Boston, Buffalo, Charlotte, Greensboro, Hartford/Springfield, Las Vegas, London-Gatwick, Los Angeles, New York-LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Tampa, Washington-Reagan
    Virgin Atlantic Airways Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Hong Kong, Johannesburg, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, Newark, New York-JFK, San Francisco, Tokyo, Washington-Dulles
    Virgin Blue The Lounge Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney

    Sites that I found useful:

    1) http://www.flyerguide.net/

    2) http://www.loungeguide.net/wiki/u/Main_Page

    3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airport_lounge#Access_to_lounges

    Airlines &Business Travel   2008/04/23

    Wasting time at airports in annoying, how to access Airport Lounges.

    Post 9/11 security rules have tightened and toughened and we are requested to get earlier to the airport. We are requested to take longer connections flights, physical security checks take longer, emigration queues are extremely long and include photographic procedures, finger prints, eye recognition, which means we arrive earlier to the airport not to take the risk of losing the flight.

    We find ourselves wandering around the airports; some search for WIFI connection to work or Twitter, or a café to relax for a few minutes.

    Most of us fly coach / economy class thus, are not entitled to business class lounge, which would have eased the pain of waiting.

    Airports charge outrageous prices for a cup of coffee, moreover, have you tried the WIFI in Paris Charles De Gaul? You need a mortgage after 2 hours J

    I have calculated that using one of the 2 options to enter lounges cover the costs of the coffee and the Internet. Moreover, I get to the airport on time relaxed as I know I have where to pass the time reading, eating, working and sometimes even snoozing for good half hour.

    Priority Pass covers over 500 worldwide lounges, with various payment plans which can fit individuals who travel a few times a year or those who travel frequently.

    Basic plan: Annual fee $99 + each entry is $27 + guest $27

    Basic + plan: Annual $249 + 10 free entries then $27 each + guest $27 each entry

    Prestige plan; Annual $399 all entries are free + guest $27 per entry.

    Although $399 seems a lot of money, its great value for those who travel short distances more than 8 times a year, for example; in Europe, internal USA, or internal Asia.

    Each trip is minimum a round trip, which means two entries $27 x2, after 7 round trips, not alone multi leg trips you cover the expense.

    I have mentioned short trips because on long haul travelers receive more miles, and once they fly transatlantic for more than 5 times the status of their airline club membership will grant them free lounge anyways.

    The UK based company Lounge Pass has a single purchase plan for 128 lounges around the world, though mostly based in the UK and only 20-25 worldwide international airports. Prices are according to airports, with UK small airports at around 10 GBP (~$25 USD).

    Their international airports such as Heathrow, Los Angeles, Singapore, San Francisco, Zurich, Washington, New York, Toronto, Honk Kong, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam, are at average of 20 GBP (~$40).

    Credit card companies offer their prestige card holders with lounge access. Some lounges will deduct points per entry; some will honor it for no extra fee.

    Airlines &Business Travel &Online booking sites   2008/04/22

    Frequent Flyer Clubs & Loyalty Membership.

    Who doesn’t want to get points for his travel? We all do, and the more the merrier.

    Most of us don’t even know the rules and regulations of the various clubs. We are not aware of the differences between the clubs, their partners, nonetheless, the differences within each group there are airlines rules which can favor one to another. For example; from London to New York you can fly American Airlines and British Airways, while both airlines partner in the same club; One World. You may not receive points if you have a BA club number and fly an American Airline flight on the same route British Airways operates too – internal competition on same routes.

    The rule of thumb is quite simple; avoid duplicate memberships for the same partners; focus and channel all partner points into a single club membership. And remember, although most memberships are free you cannot mesh and combine points from a vertical club into a single free ticket.

    Therefore, focusing on a group and centralizing most of your travel into a specific group where you will benefit with free travel, lounge access, preferred seating, and upgrade vouchers.

    The 3 leading groups in the world will cover you worldwide and will take you anywhere.

    One World; Airlines, British Airways, American Airlines, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, JAL, Iberia, Malev, LAN, Royal Jordanian, Malev, Finnair.

    One World

    Star Alliance; United Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Austrian Airlines, Thai Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Swiss, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, BMI, LOT Polish Airways, Singapore Airlines, South Africn Airways, Spanair, Shanghai Airlines, TAP Portugal, US Airways.

    Star Alliance

    SkyTeam; Continental Airlines, Air France, Alitalia, KLM, Delta Airlines, Korean Air, Aeroflot, Aeromexico, China Southers, Czech Airlines, Copa, Kenya Airways, Air Europe.

    Sky Team 

    If you live in Israel or travel frequently to Tel Aviv you must have a membership with ELAL.

    ELAL has an airline partner; American Airlines, which as you may see is listed in the One World group. Which means if you fly with American Airlines you can choose whether to earn the points with ELAL or with One World (one or the other, not bothL).

    How do you decide? I would say it all depends on your travel mix.

    Having been in the business for over 17 years I could tell you that ELAL is an airline that gives its club members the most.

    Low Cost Airlines in general do not give perks. Though, in the past couple of years I have noticed that even they have some loyalty membership. Example; the famous SouthWest Airlines have its Rapid Rewards. Even EasyJet has its loyalty membership for a fee though.

    As I briefly stated, loyalty clubs have their own rules regarding earning and redeeming points, taking into account your country of residence in relation to your “travel mix”, example; if you register to British Airways as a US location based flying from USA to Europe and back, you will get different miles per flight than as you were registered as a Londoner, flying the same flight. Being an Air France member living outside France gives you more than someone living in France. It’s simple; the airlines are trying to convince you to fly from point A to Z via their home country; example; travelers who fly from Tel Aviv via Paris to Tokyo are worth more to than those who flew Paris to Tokyo, since the airlines managed to steal a potential traveler from flying other airlines such as ELAL, Lufthansa or British Airways who are not in their alliance.

    I could say that choosing the specific inside the group of alliance; i.e. Continental vs. Air France, should be a decision based on the major airline which you will fly with, but I suggest you look into the details, learn the benefits of each airline and if needed find a friend who lives elsewhere and willing to receive the airline’s junk mail :) you may receive double miles easily.

    Airlines &Business Travel &Family Travel &Travel Places   2008/04/16

    “Please change my Seat – I hate middle seats”

    The last thing you want to find out at the airport check in, (besides realizing that you forgot your passport at home…) is that you are seated in a middle seat on a 12 hours long haul “Red Eye” flight.

    The cheaper airfares are the more people fly. The low cost airline revolution and the Open Sky competition led to airlines pushing in more seats into their “coach” / economy class cabins, furthermore, airlines turning their entire aircraft to a single class cabin. Especially that we see giant jumbo aircrafts such as the 600 passenger carrier the Airbus A380.

    Firstly, let’s face it, someone has to fill in the middle seat, but if you travel on your own, for business do your out most that you are well seated. And l strongly advise you do it prior to arriving the check in desk at the airport.

    When you get the itinerary, or the electronic ticket, all you see is seat number + a letter; example; 45B.

    Once the number is known all you think about is:

    Is this a window seat?
    Aisle?
    Please make it an exit row… Noooooooooo please don’t let it be a middle seat…
    Where is the seat located?
    Is it near the toilet?
    The Galley?
    The far back?
    The kitchen?
    Over the wing?
    Near an infant seat?
    Can I see the movie?
    Worse; it’s a non reclining seat.

    I personally like to check myself where I sit, after all, why turn a 4 hour flight to a nightmare that feels like a 12 hours. And for that I log into one of the 3 websites:

    http://www.seatexpert.com/

    www.seatguru.com

    http://www.seatmaestro.com/

    Now that I know where I am seated, I am left with 2 hopes:
    1) My alternative seat request is still available.
    2) The airline want make a last minute aircraft change (very common with airlines such as ELAL with relatively small number of aircrafts which can be replaced under certain circumstances).

    Web-check in is available 24 hours before departure; another way to improve your seat selection.

    SeatGuru

    Airlines &Business Travel   2008/04/16

    It will probably happen to you too: “Lost Luggage”

    In the past 10 years the travel industry has improved tremendously, having said that, lost luggage at airports is a matter which costs airlines and insurance companies a great deal and yet this issue to be tackled appropriately.

    “Last year 30 million bags were lost, costing the airlines $2.5bn, based on 2 billion passengers. (SITA Baggage Report 2006)

    A couple of weeks ago British Airways has opened Terminal 5 and had an operation fiasco, they have lost over 28,000 suitcases in less than 48 hours.

    Having said that, the disaster is indeed at large scale, though, nearly 200,000 UK passengers a month have had their luggage lost or misplaced at airports over the last two years (reported by InsureandGo). Thus, it is only twice the normal level.

    BA Terminal 5

    Allow me to enlighten you with the basics:

    1) How does the tracking back office system operates (don’t expect too much L)

    2) What is “Lost for Ever”

    3) Travelers’ rights facing the airline (don’t expect too much L)

    4) Legal action

    Tracking:

    When you find out at the airport that your luggage has not arrived, you file a complaint at the ground handling company. The member of staff uses your luggage tag (which was given to you at time of check in) in addition to your physical description of your suitcase. The information is manually logged into the system.”BagMessage” & “WorldTracer”enables airport baggage systems to exchange standard baggage messages with an unlimited number of airline Departure Control Systems (DCS). This global message distribution system channels thousands of airline messages per hour between multiple airline DCSs and airport baggage handling.

    In simple words; a report of lost has to meet a report for found – otherwise no match.

    Airport Lost & Found counter

    Every 38th passenger losses his luggage; 20% of those turn to “Lost For Ever”, which means on average every 190th passenger will never see his luggage ever again.

    Common sense says, if it was not stolen it should be somewhere, thus, track-able, and how difficult can that be?!

    Indeed, though the airport regulations are to keep lost luggage for 3 months, during this period the systems try to match a lost & found.

    During this period, the Customs together with the airlines’ Rep opens and checks the buggage to find relative info to correlate owner.

    After 3 months the luggage is terminated in one of the 2 ways;

    1) In some countries – un traceable bags with its content are shredded (crunched to zillion pieces L)

    2) Contents are divided – some are sold in an auction and second hand cloths are given to the needy.

    3) Yes there is a 3… as rumors say that in some countries the “Lost For Ever” is sold by weight, un-opened to the highest bidder (can you imagine when they open it afterwards: dirty underwear or a top of the range laptop…:)

    Travelers’ rights:

    In accordance to both; Warsaw Convention1929 & Hague Protocol 1955, travelers are entitled to compensation from the airline:

    Lost luggage; first aid – first 24 hours expenses $50 / Premium classes $100. Most of the airline will also give a first aid toiletry bag to their premium class travelers.

    After 24 hours; 50% of the value of the purchased goods with a Max of $200 and depending on the airline ticket price / class.

    However, “Lost For Ever” luggage receives a ridiculous amount of: $USD 20-22 per KG with a Max of $USD 400, no matter what you had inside it.

    Legal Actions:

    I hear it all the time: “I will take them to court”.

    Don’t bother, it doesn’t help, the court cannot exceed the law of maximum $400.

    What’s the alternative? Travel Insurance coverage!

    Personally, I think that protocols written in 1929 and 1955 must be amended, and the sooner the better.

    The main reasons for lost luggage are:

    1) Aircraft limitations (weight, storage space, fuel capacity etc)

    2) Technical dispatch (airport process, from check in through security to aircraft and back to conveyer)

    3) Short connections

    4) Security.

    Advise:

    1) Travel light

    2) Issue travel insurance – it’s worth it

    3) Take longer connections between flights

    4) Don’t check in your luggage “all the way” – see it between flights, make sure it arrived the mid-destination and check it in again.

    5) Pack a day pack with your essentials for the first destination.

    Lost & Found Dep at airportsWill you ever find it?

    Airlines &Business Travel &Online booking sites &Travel Agents - Info & Updates   2008/04/10

    ELAL Airlines Up Grade to Business/First class new procedures

    ELAL Israel Airlines have decided to change its “goodies” policy – the use of frequent flyer points for upgrade to premium classes Business & First.

    Just last week, ELAL has switched a GDS – Global Distribution System, or what is also known as a CRS – Computer Reservation System – system used to store, retrieve information and conduct transactions related to air travel.

    The previous system, Carmel was owned by ELAL and the features were tailor made specifically for its needs. Now that they have shifted to Amadeus they have taken the opportunity to deteriorate the benefits of their club members use of points. A non-official quote by a highly ranked employee commented; “It was easy to hide behind the mask of; it’s a new booking system with no technical abilities to perform upgrades like we used to, moreover, we are only aligning our policies to other leading airlines such as: Continental Airlines, Lufthansa, United Airlines & Air Canada.”

    ELAL Frequent traveler will be affected, travel agents will have to work harder, but at the end of the day; “users will get used to it, and we will make more money on each ticket sold…”

    Example; an upgradable round trip ticket from Tel Aviv to New York costs:

    Ticket (S class) $2544 + Add 700 points each direction (1point = $1) = 3944

    Whereas, on the same class of booking (D class) the cheapest business class round trip costs: $4900. (For those who don’t know; S class is coach, D is business class)

    That’s a $1000 profit per ticket – so why not?

    Business Travel &Low Cost Airlines   2008/04/04

    Air Asia is perceived as a worldwide leading company.

    AirAsia has been recognized as one of the World’s most innovative companies by “Fast Company Magazine“.

    Air Asia being the first and only making it the only South East Asian brand, moreover, the only airline to have made it on the “Fast 50″ list. The list consists branded companies such as; Nike, Google, Disney, Facebook, IBM, GE & BMW.

    A few months back I have attended a seminar where Tony Fernandes has spoken about the innovation and out of the box thinking philosophy of his company. Mr Fernandes has highlighted the importance of such philosophy which leads their strategy. This has brought the young company to a steady expansion, growth and profitability, which is driven by customer loyalty and retention.

    Lookout for Mr. Fernandes new venture; Air Asia has introduced AirAsiaX (FAX) the Asian Low Cost Long Haul Carrier. Their young appointed CEO Mr. Azran Osman has announced that by late 2008 FAX will fly from Asia to Europe for as low as 17 GBP a direction – I am looking forward to that.

    Air Asia

    Airlines &Business Travel &Low Cost Airlines   2008/04/03

    Airlines no longer operating and others open up

    It has been a tough week for the US & Hawaiian Low Cost Airlines Industry. 2 major airlines; ATA who has been 35 years in the air, and Aloha Airlines 62 years flying; have stopped their services.

    While the American Continent has not seen much growth and prosperity in the Low Cost Airline business, Europe & Asia are still growing.Fast growth is also seen in Middle East; with Etiad (Abu Dhabi) advising on opening their new LCC (low Cost Carrier) and Brazil, with GOL Airlines leading the local industry, will enjoy new competition from Jet Blue founder, David Neeleman, who is planning to start flying

    Having studied the market thoroughly and been involved in the Low Cost Airlines first booking engine (www.skylow.com) I believe that an airline needs to be born as a low cost airline, rather than transform its self to one. It is in its DNA, it’s all about the culture, the way its run, operate and perceived. Therefore, we will be seeing more low cost airlines emerging, and more conventional airlines and charter companies who try to “convert” to a low cost closing down under chapter 11.

    ATAAirlinesAloha AirlinesFuture Brazilian LCC

    Business Travel &Low Cost Airlines &Online booking sites   2008/03/31

    Transatlantic flights Europe to USA Open Sky competition – It’s about time!!!

    Effective Sunday 30th March 2008 for the first time European Airlines will be allowed to fly from any point in Europe to any point in the USA without any restriction, i.e. European Airlines will be able to fly from anywhere, thus, not only from their home town , no limit on the number of times per day, at any given price!!!

    Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Transports. “This agreement is the most ambitious air services deal ever negotiated. The two biggest aviation markets, encompassing 60% of world traffic”

    I believe that we will shortly see airlines such as EasyJet, Ryanair, Air Berlin, Condor, Thomson Fly, Clickair, SkyExpress, and many others fly for crazy low prices, as low as $0.01 a direction + taxes.

    Which will enhance the use of Low Cost Airlines Booking Engines who engage with lowest internet travel fares, such as Skylow.com

    There are over 50 million passengers a year flying across the Atlantic, which means there is plenty of room for quality, low fare, low cost competition.

    This will open up new destinations; I personally believe that destination such as Orlando, Dallas, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose and mostly Seattle will see more direct traffic.

    The effect of the US Dollar has a great impact on the Europeans travelling to the US, enjoying high return on their local currency; the Euro.

    Having said that, this matter will enhance issues such as; Airport congestion (example; the fiasco of British Airways Terminal 5), the environment, secondary airports and most of all the security. On the other hand, it is estimated that approximately 100,000 new jobs will open up on each side of the Atlantic.

    Business Travel &Travel Places   2008/01/04

    New regulation; Batteries on flights !

    Passengers will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning January 1st 2008 once new federal safety rules take effect.
    The new regulation, designed to reduce the risk of lithium battery fires, will continue to allow lithium batteries in checked baggage if they are installed in electronic devices, or in carry-on baggage if stored in plastic bags.

    Common consumer electronics such as travel cameras, cell phones, and most laptop computers are still allowed in carry-on and checked luggage.
    However, the rule limits individuals to bringing only two extended-life spare rechargeable lithium batteries, such as laptop and professional audio/video/camera equipment lithium batteries in carry-on baggage.
    Lithium batteries are considered hazardous materials because they can overheat and ignite in certain conditions.

    My personal solution idea;
    TAKE ZIPPLOCKED BAGS WITH YOU !!!

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