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Travel Log - News Archives

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Official European Ski Season Opening

I'll be glad if I can finally pull a 360
I wish that was me

By way of Gadling I just found about Snowgo, a blog dedicated to snowboarding, which points to this list of European resort opening dates (ok, the list is actually 90% made of French stations). I'm posting this if only to share my excitement in expectation of spending a week in Serre Chevalier for Christmas. I've not snowboarded for a while but five full days should be enough to improve my level past "experimented wimp." Our 4-year old daughter is also pleased and she's already warning her grandfather on the phone about the snowballs she's going to throw at him (never mind that she last saw snow when she was a toddler and never made a snowball).

Let me tell you, there's just nothing quite like the Alps in winter to get me thrilled, but on my father's side people lived around Annecy at least for the last 350 years or so, so I'm not quite objective. (But then this is really one of the most beautiful regions on Earth.) Serre Chevalier is in the Southern French Alps which have the advantage of usually having more snow early in the season than my own Haute Savoie (that said, check out La Clusaz if you have the chance).

Here's a question if you made it this far: are you interested in ski-focused travel packages from BizNetTravel (not just in Europe), and if yes can you elaborate as to what would help you put together your dream ski vacation (use the comments, email or call us).

Olivier Travers | November 10, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (8)

Can't Get Enough Boring TV? Get It In the Air

inflight entertainment
This flight sure
is fun.

In a self-serving article, CNN reports that Virgin Blue will display live TV (broadcast via satellite) on seatback screens (CNN, self-serving? Nah.) The service will cost $5 and will be rolled out to all their flights in Australia next year. If you're convinced TV is neither innovative nor entertainment and you know it, clap your hands. Bonus points if you post in the comments the name of the DJ and song I'm paraphrasing. Hint: he's a native of an island we recently mentioned in our special deal section. How's that for a convoluted way to get you to check our special deals? And yes, googling it as well as querying Allmusic or Discogs is cheating.

Meanwhile Ryanair wants to introduce in-flight gambling in Europe. All Americans are left with is raising airline fuel costs because of obesity. You have to read that last article if only to ponder how the United States got to a point where a federal agency spends tax dollars to ponder such issues. I know the dollar is worth less and less but still. Expect the American capital to move from Washington, DC to Brussels, Belgium anytime soon now. For additional non-intentional self-inflected irony, enjoy the oft-repeated phrase "obesity epidemic." Fat is not spread by infection, ok?

Olivier Travers | November 5, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (1)

Woman Leaves for Vacation, Returns to Find a Stranger Moved In

And you are?
I didn't leave the
lights on, did I?

You're supposed to come back from a vacation rested and free from stress, ready to get back to a productive schedule. Georgia resident Beverly Mitchell wasn't so lucky. She took a 2-1/2 trip to Greece only to arrive home and find that some nut had moved into her house, was wearing her clothes, had changed the utility bill to her name and redecorated the place to suit her tastes. Police say they'd never seen anything like it. CNN reports.

Rick Bruner | October 30, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (1)

Airports To Discover Electricity, Hot Water

airport crowd - MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik
The efficiency of
large organizations

According to Reuters airports are to cut queues with software. The idea is to let airports tap actual passenger numbers in order to properly staff critical areas such as security checks or baggage handling. I'll believe it when I see it, as inefficiency, not to speak of ignorance if not downright contempt for travelers, seems deeply ingrained in airport corporate culture. After all, as a passenger you are not really the airport customer and it shows.

These bland, cold, inhumane and generally-speaking unusable environments are quite telling. Or maybe I'm the only one feeling lost in a huge hospital (one that would smell slightly less bad than usual) everytime I need to take a plane. Back to Reuters article, don't hold your breath. IBM, which is creating this software in partnership with Amadeus, said their system is about to be in trial in one European airport, so there's a long way to go before it actually works and gets rolled out in enough places to make a difference. Fume on that next time you're standing in a queue for an hour to get frisked and asked to go around shoeless.

Olivier Travers | October 28, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (0)

Delta Airlines Flight Attendant Is Inappropriate

Ellen Simonetti
Come on,
wardrobe malfunction?

The BBC's science and technology reporter (no less) tells us the tale of Ellen Simonetti aka Queen of the Sky, a flight attendant grounded without pay by her employer Delta for posting "inappropriate" pictures on her weblog. Presumably her short skirt, long legs and inviting smile were too much to bear (or maybe it was cleavage shown on another picture), but said employer reportedly didn't bother to even point to which pictures weren't fit for online publication or warn her and ask her to remove the pics before suspending her.

Ms Simonetti seems quick to publicize the event and consider alternate gigs, but Delta, you really need to lighten up.

See additional thoughts from Michael Fox (an Employer's Lawyer) and Cathy's World. No, the First Amendment has nothing to do with it, and yes, Delta looks like a bunch of prude control freaks now.

Update: Queen of the Sky has been fired, puts back offending pics on her site.

Olivier Travers | October 28, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (1)

ATA Goes Chapter 11; American Airlines Discover Life Overseas

The New York Times reports that ATA is the first U.S. budget airline to seek bankruptcy, however the company will honor all tickets and maintain its usual flight schedule.

Meanwhile, USA Today explains American airlines flex international muscle because there's more money to be made there. Long flights is an area where low cost carriers are not really competing (yet?).

Olivier Travers | October 27, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (0)

Artists Formerly Known as Cat Stevens on U.S. No-Fly List

One of his most popular songs may be "Peace Train," but apparently the U.S. government isn't so sure that Yusuf Islam's intensions on airplanes may be so peaceful. Better known as Cat Stevens, the former pop star who changed his name when he converted to the Islamic religion more than 25 years ago, Islam was denied entry to the U.S. and his flight recently diverted after his name was added to a no-fly list of those suspected of terrorist ties. Details via Associated Press. We can only wonder what Bea Arthur would think.

Rick Bruner | September 23, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (2)

Iraqi Airways Flies Again

Reuters reports:

Iraq's national carrier Iraqi Airways will resume international flights on Saturday after 14 years of being grounded by war and sanctions.

The airline said it will launch scheduled flights to neighbouring Arab countries Syria and Jordan twice a week.
Among the many challenges the airline faces, it has only one plane in operating condition.

Rick Bruner | September 17, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (0)

Is That Terrorism in Your Pants, or Is the TSA Just Happy to See You?

Expect security checks at airports to get even more invasive as the Transportation Security Authority recently approved tighter guidelines. USA Today reports and Boing Boing doesn't mince words.

Rick Bruner | September 17, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (0)

Florida Pets Abandoned by the Thousands Amidst Storms; Northwest Arranges for Inter-State Adoptions


With Florida being battered by hurricane after hurricane, one community getting left out in the rain — literally — are pets. Many folks are unable or unwilling to make proper arrangements for their cats and dogs with evacuations, ruined homes and other circumstances, and as a result animal shelters are desparately overwhelmed with abandoned pets.

Don't say airlines are all about the bottom lines. In a heartwarming good-citizen gesture, Northwest Airlines is generously offering to fly dogs out of Florida at no cost. (But what about the kitties? Not sure.)

Diane Albers, president of Florida Association of Kennel Clubs, is coordinating this inter-state rescue effort. (The AKC reports getting hundreds of purebreds turned in every day along with mixed breeds.) Have a heart and adopt wet fury friend. Call Ms. Albers at the Florida AKC at 1 800 597-2987.

Rick Bruner | September 13, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (8)


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