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May 2008

Singapore Wired for iPods, Not for Babies

Posted May 29, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Singaporeairlines Singapore Airlines has added another ‘first’ to its list—this time by letting business-class customers on flights between Singapore and New York plug their iPods into the in-flight entertainment system, thus allowing them to watch their own choice of movies or listen to their own music.

However, given that an iPod is itself already a personal entertainment system (in-flight or not), this service seems a tad unnecessary. If any airline re-design teams are reading this, these are what I would really like to be added onto my flight instead:

  1. Cry-rooms for babies: Back in the days when I was a law-abiding, God-fearing citizen, I used to go to church with my parents. In these churches, there was a certain room set apart for parents with young babies, so they could listen to the sermons without the cries of their little dears disturbing anyone else’s worship. While babies are supposedly cute and cuddly, they also make quite a racket, and it’s not always the most welcome thing when you’re sitting in a metal container 10 000 feet in the air, especially if you’re going to be listening to that noise for the next 18 hours.
  2. Decent pillows: And I mean properly sized ones, not the four-inch squares of padded cotton we get on most flights. I want big, lush downy pillows to sink into for my long-haul trip, not a tiny wad of stuffing that leaves my neck at a semi-permanent 90-degree angle if I so much as attempt to lay my head on it.
  3. No more James Blunt on the in-flight entertainment system. Keep him on your own iPod, please.

(Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Is Ryanair the World's Most Generous Airline?

Posted May 27, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Ryanair2 With one hand, they giveth, and with the other, they grabbeth from under your nose.

Is Ryanair perhaps the most generous airline around? All right, unlike Flybe, they don’t actually pay us to fly, but customers might be able to fly with Ryanair for "free" in future. Provided they pay for other services provided, such as Ryanair's various sidelines—online gambling, car rental, insurance and hotel bookings.

The company’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, recently announced the launch of a website for holiday lettings, allowing owners to advertise their properties and keep up to date with bookings. 

What this means for us customers is that as long as we keep paying this airline for all the extras, we will eventually get to fly with them for free. So, thank you, Ryanair ... I guess?

Virgin Atlantic's New Ad Campaign Led by ... Wildebeest

Posted May 23, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Wildebeestfun Think of Kenya and what springs to mind? Groups of majestic Maasai warriors clad in ceremonial garb? Glimpses of zebras and rhinos while on safari in a Land Rover?  Or perhaps groups of elephants poised elegantly against a magnificent orange-red sunset?

Well, it seems that for the creative minds at Virgin Atlantic, the first image that sprang—or maybe rampaged—into their minds when someone mentioned Kenya was ... the annual migration of wildebeest. This will form the centrepiece of Virgin’s expensive new advertising campaign, due to be plastered all over London’s Tube stations in the near future. The £250 000 ad blitz is aimed at attracting customers back into the African nation after the recent election crisis.

Presumably, Virgin’s vision is that customers will be inspired to stampede toward its planes like feral wildebeest after viewing the ads.  What next? Perhaps a can of sardines to represent the packed conditions on some carriers’ economy class? Or maybe a picture of cows in a shed to represent (duh!) cattle class?

(Photo: outdoorphoto.co.za)

A New Kind of E-Ticket ... That You Wear

Posted May 21, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Yankoticketonwristsmaller Someone, somewhere, must have decided that the plain old plane ticket just wasn’t ... fancy enough. So they got in touch with the tech-geeks at Yanko Design, and presto!

On one side, you get your regular guy paper aeroplane ticket. But on top of that, you get a strip of ultra-high tech, Star Trek looking semi-transparent electronic paper, which you rip off and attach to your wrist using magnets. That fancy piece of technology then starts counting down to the time that your flight is supposed to take off.

But hang on, I thought there was already a gadget to help us count down the minutes till our plane leaves? And I’m told that they call it a ... hang on a minute, what was that word again ... a ... that’s it, a clock! And they even come in miniaturised versions that fit on your wrist these days, known as watches.  We look at them, look at the time we’re supposed to get on the plane, do some basic subtraction, get our duty-free shopping done, then make a mad dash to the boarding gate in time to get on the plane.

Yankoticketsmallest What we’re getting with the electronic paper attachment is basically a see-through watch with the timer on.

Anyway, where do we even get electronic paper from? Do they grow it on electronic trees in electronic rainforests? Does that mean that in a couple of centuries, we have to start saving the electronic rainforests as well as the normal rainforests?

And tell me, what exactly are we supposed to do with our strips of electronic paper once the timer runs out and our flight takes off? Do we simply trash it, thus adding to the growing mountain of non-biodegradable products we already pollute our poor teeming oceans with? I’m hoping that once the timer stops, a sexy robot voice tells me that ‘This device will self-destruct in 3 ... 2 ... 1!’ and disappears from my wrist in a blinding flash of light and tiny puff of smoke, leaving only scorch marks.

(Photos: Yanko Design)

Heathrow Clubhouse Named Virgin's Best

Posted May 12, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Vaclubhouse Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse lounge at Terminal 3 in Heathrow has just been named the airline's best clubhouse in an award chosen by Virgin customers. This makes it the third time in as many years that this spiffy lounge has been awarded the prize.

Having not ever been privileged enough to go through Virgin's ‘Upper Class Wing’ which magically grants you access to the lounge, one can only imagine what wonders exist within that sanctified realm.

Sure, there’s the usual complimentary food and drinks, but what about unusual food and drinks?

Here are the three I would wish for my fantasy clubhouse:

Hot chocolate, ground from cocoa beans possibly handpicked by 16 year old Brazilian virgins, flaked with 24 carat gold leaves (the drink, not the virgins). Oh, and did I mention that I want it served in a diamond-encrusted goblet with a generous slice of the $1.65 million diamond fruitcake, encrusted with 223 gems? Or, for a something light, a bagel with white truffle cream cheese, Riesling jelly infused with goji berries, and of course, gold leaf.

I might never want to leave the airport!

(Image: Virgin Atlantic)

Is Kanye West's New Travel Site Blingtastic?

Posted May 9, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Kanye_stageweb_2 Now, I ain’t saying he’s a Gold Digger, but he probably ain’t much of a tour leader either. Still, you can’t blame a man for trying.

Not content with simply recording music, producing albums, collaborating on songs with other musicians, and being single-handedly responsible for popularising those strange sunglasses with plastic strips and no lenses, our favourite College Dropout Mr Kanye West has only gone ahead and started his own online travel company.

Kanye Travel Ventures, besides letting you deal with mundane holiday stuff such as booking your air ticket or hotel room, also allows the diehard fan to ‘Buy Kanye concert tickets with your travel’!
Dreams of a site offering exclusive travel deals to exotic destinations brimming with blingtastic hip-hop moguls fizzed out slightly when I actually clicked on the page though. Turns out to be your standard-issue online travel website, sort of like lastminute.com, but with a picture of our man Kanye looking all 80s luminous at the top instead.

Still, for those wanting to support their idol, after buying their tickets from him, they can click on his online merch store and get their holiday wear off it too. Now I finally know where to get those weird platiscky sunglasses he wears all the time. Perfect for my holiday snaps!

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