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June 2008

Less Is Definitely More for World's Fourth-Best Airline, Palmair

Posted June 26, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Palmair_2 Airlines spend millions these days competing to be the biggest, newest, fastest and boldest, but it appears that most of their efforts have been for nought. After all, what’s the point of trying to impress people when you end up losing out to a carrier practically no one has ever heard of?

Palmair (yes, I can see the blank looks appearing on your faces) has just been voted the fourth-best airline in the world. The award—given by consumer magazine Which? means that Palmair has come out ahead of big names such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

And what has given little Palmair the edge over other bigger, richer competitors? Well, it could be the fact that they only fly one plane (a 34-year-old plane at that!) Or maybe it’s because they only carry about 60 000 passengers a year. All in all, it sounds like a pretty exclusive way to fly.


EasyJet 'eco' engines now 25 percent cleaner

Posted June 24, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Aireasyjet2_2 These days, it’s all about cleanliness. Well, the cleanliness of your vehicle, at least. And now that being green is the new black, even the airlines are scrubbing up.

And low-cost carrier easyJet are aiming to be greenest in the game. Having teamed up with CFM International, they will be fitting the techie-sounding CFM56-5B Tech Insertion engines onto all new Airbus A319 planes. This engine will supposedly reduce NOx (mono-nitrogen oxides) emissions by up to 25 percent and also significantly lower CO2 emissions as well as fuel consumption.

By installing these ‘Green CFM56’  engines and therefore reducing the amount of brown filth spewing out the back of their planes, perhaps easyJet might also be able to persuade those customers currently worried about their carbon footprint to fly with them?

Also, fingers crossed that once easyJet start to lower emissions and fuel consumption, they’ll be able to pass those 25 percent savings down the line to us in the form of even lower ticket prices!

(Photo: easyJet)

Virgin Atlantic Publishes 'Flying Without Fear' Book

Posted June 19, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Virginflyingwithoutfear_3 Most airlines would think those people who dread the idea of flying are a lost customer base, and abandon them to their train-, ship-, car-, bus-, and donkey-cart-based travel options. But the ever-entrepreneurial Sir Richard Branson doesn’t head those airlines.

In their ongoing quest to reach every potential customer niche, Virgin Atlantic has recently created a Flying Without Fear course.  It’s targeted at those of us who think it’s crazy to strap ourselves into a 20-tonne piece of metal that launches itself thousands of feet into the air. At £199 a pop, the course is almost as good as having an actual, paying customer on one of their flights.

Conveniently, by curing them of their phobia, Virgin will also create a whole bunch of potential customers. Perhaps they will choose to fly with Virgin in future? Out of gratitude for the altruistic service provided, of course. And just in case they have a relapse while on holiday? Well, not to worry, Virgin have published a book version—also called Flying Without Fear—that attempts to ease their anxieties while doubling as worthy holiday reading material.


Ryanair Allows In-Flight Mobile Use, No Telephone Boxes Planned

Posted June 17, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Ryanair2 What’s more annoying than always dropping your toast butter-side-down, then have it collecting hair and fluff off the ground, thus rendering it inedible? Well, how about that person on the bus (you know there’s always one) who has their mobile surgically grafted on the side of their head, constantly yammering on in a grating voice about extremely inconsequential matters? (Really, who cares if Auntie Helen’s geraniums are flowering two weeks later this year?)

Well, at least that yammering idiot has been confined to ground-based modes of transport. Until now, that is. Ryanair has just announced it will be trialling the use of mobile phones on about 20 of its planes this summer. And while this may strike some as bad news, if you try and look at it in a positive way, it’ll be like watching a soap opera on the in-flight entertainment system. Except without the images. And without any hair-pulling or face-slapping. And it’ll be the same voice grating on for several seemingly interminable hours.

Alright, so, maybe not much like a soap opera at all. If Ryanair started trialling the use of BB guns on planes, then we’d be talking.


Singapore Airlines Innovates by Getting Rid of Class Distinctions

Posted June 12, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Those go-getters at Singapore Airlines—never ones to lag behind when it comes to being the first in something—have gone and launched an all-business-class service for the lucky passengers flying from Singapore to New York.


All very well and good, I guess, but what about the sense of exclusivity and entitlement that comes with being a business-class passenger? I always thought part of the fun of getting a seat up front was that you got to sneer at all the plebs you’ve left behind you, all cramped up like cattle, eating dried-up in-flight food and drinking plonk from a box.

So when you board a flight that’s all business class, it's essentially as ‘special’ as getting a cheapo Ryanair seat. After all, everyone on the plane gets the same standard of service, and won't get to feel superior to the huddled masses in steerage.  Now where’s the fun in that?

(Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Naomi Campbell Not a 'Model' Citizen at Heathrow

Posted June 10, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Naomicampbellweb Supermodel Naomi Campbell—previously (in)famous for falling off her vertiginous heels at a Vivienne Westwood fashion show and throwing a telephone at an assistant—has got herself into another little spot of bother again.

This time, the clotheshorse has been charged with five offences after assaulting two of Her Majesty’s finest at Heathrow in April. Naughty Naomi wasn’t pleased when British Airways staff told her one of her bags could not be loaded onto the Los Angeles-bound flight, and ended up becoming abusive towards them. The sorry incident ended with her being handcuffed and held in custody for eight hours, perhaps to avoid any possibilities of telephones being thrown about.

If the stroppy supermodel is convicted, she could face a prison term or (most likely) be fined up to £5000, which would surely be peanuts to someone who never used to get out of bed for less than £10 000 a day.

Perhaps BA should have thought things through before attempting to separate a model from her clothes. After all, it wouldn’t do to be seen in the same outfit for more than two hours at a stretch.

Heathrow: Where T-shirts Are 'More Than Meets the Eye'

Posted June 5, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Transformer_2 Transformers are supposed to be ‘robots in disguise’ but it appears that they haven’t been disguised enough, at least not for the eagle-eyed security crew at Heathrow, who stopped Brad Jayakody from boarding his flight.

His problem? His T-shirt. Or rather, the drawing on his T-shirt, which was a depiction of Optimus Prime—heroic leader of the Autobots—whose right arm just happens to be a gun.

Perhaps they were worried that Jayakody would try to use the two-dimensional image as a real gun and attempt to hijack the Dusseldorf-bound British Airways flight. And then fly the plane to Cybertron, home planet of the Autobots.

Or maybe they believed the 30-year-old was actually Megatron—leader of the Decepticons and eternal nemesis of the Autobots—cleverly disguised in the form of an IT consultant?

This incident could open up a possible new sideline for BA—developing passenger planes that can be transformed into weapons to help defend us whenever Earth comes under attack. From the Decepticons.


Flying Foreigners' Forced Fingerprints

Posted June 3, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Fingerprints_2 Non-domestic passengers arriving at New York’s JFK International Airport will now face tougher biometric checks from officials, including providing customs officials with a full set of 10 fingerprints.

I wonder if this counts as discrimination against those with less than a full set of 10 fingers, such as the old lady down at my bus stop, who only has eight fingers? And what about those that have more than 10 fingers? Do they get to enter, or are they barred as well?

Does this mean that animated characters will also be denied entry into the US of A? As any well-educated child knows, any cartoon character worth his or her salt has a maximum of four fingers on one hand. If The Simpsons—possibly America’s favourite animated family—were British, it is very possible they would be unable to get in, seeing as they only have a total of eight fingers each.

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Snarky Since 2008.