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August 2008

Olympians Bring a Touch of Gold to British Airways

Posted August 28, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Ukflag Less than a week after the closing ceremony, it looks like the hoo-haa over the Beijing Olympics is just about to die down. But before we consign the participating athletes to the dusty library shelves of history and annual televisual ‘best-ofs’, let’s take a quick moment to remember those few whose sporting achievements have kept us enthralled for the past fortnight—at least during lunch breaks and Tube journeys.

And how will British Airways plan to celebrate the hard work of Team GB’s sporting greats, whose athletic antics have provided them with their best Olympics (i.e. highest medal tally) in a century? Well, what better way to honour gold medal winners than by giving them more gold, of course? Last week, BA announced that the plane carrying Team GB home will have its nose cone spray painted gold, as a salute to the Olympians. Having a gold-painted plane to carry you home is all very well and good if you’re a winner, of course, but what about those countries that didn’t do so well in the medal tally (I’m looking at you, Moldova!)? Do they at least deserve a plane spray painted in bronze to ferry them home, as if to say ‘Thank you for trying, even if you were bad at it’? Or should they be given a toothpick, a rubber-band and a bit of twine and forced to make their own plane to fly home in?

EasyJet Gets Set for Big Business in Future

Posted August 26, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Starwarsjabbathehutt_l_3 EasyJet may be a low-cost airline, but they’re certainly not about to rest on their low-priced laurels. The carrier, already the biggest tenant at Gatwick Airport, is looking to expand their metaphorical waistlines and become the Jabba the Hutt of budget airlines. (When I say Jabba the Hutt, I mean size-wise of course—not green, slobbering or evil.)

How, you may ask? Well, they’re certainly not kidnapping lithe young princesses and forcing them to do interpretive dance moves while dressed in gold bikinis. Instead, easyJet have announced plans to buy 25 more Airbus A320s to add to their fleet. 25 more Airbus A320s may not sound that much to you sceptics out there, but bear in mind that the purchases are part of a deal with Airbus for acquiring 120 new aircraft by 2012.

What with the London Olympics also coming up in that year, it makes good sense for easyJet to start expanding their fleet soon. After all, 120 new aircraft equals … a lot of seats. And a lot of potential bums on those seats.

(Photo: EW.com)

It’s a Nice Day for a White Wedding, Especially for EasyJet

Posted August 21, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Wedding_beach These days, it seems that even the weather has taken it upon itself to make a mockery of Billy Idol and his songwriting. Contrary to his braying about it being ‘a nice day for a white wedding’, most of the time these days, it’s a horrible day for a white wedding—if you hold it in Britain, that is.

Peter Staddon, a spokesman for the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA), has announced a recent increase in overseas weddings. The famously unpredictable British weather, combined with great deals offered by low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet, mean that many couples prefer to escape to exotic locations such as the Mediterranean to hold their nuptials.

What Staddon left unsaid though, was that it’s probably a lot more romantic telling your nearest and dearest you eloped to Nice or Florence to get hitched, rather than showing everyone photos of your muddy ceremony at a chapel in Slough. You’ll probably escape the inevitable ‘embarrassing speech by drunk uncle' situation this way, too.

(Photo: kanantik.com)

Mile High Bed Lets You Join the Club Without Being up in the Air

Posted August 19, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Motoart_540x337 As reported a few months back, the ever-innovative Singapore Airlines have raised the comfort levels for participants in the mile-high club by introducing double-bedded private cabins aboard some of their new A380s. Now, with competition coming from all angles, perhaps the company should go the whole hog and get some Mile High Beds.

Constructed from two DC-9 rear stabilizers and a C-130 inner flap, these beds allow people to be in a plane without being 10 000 feet in the air. Perfect for those with a fear of flying, yet who still wish to join the mile high club. That, and a copy of Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Flying Without Fear’ book, and they’re all set.

Space and weight constraints, however, probably prevent Singapore Airlines or any of their competitors from installing these babies in their aircraft, though. Unless the carrier decides to get rid of all those other seats back in cattle—oops, I meant economy—class, potential members of the mile high club will still have to risk getting their feet stuck in the toilet while getting their, erm, highs. That, or buy one of these beds for their own homes.

(Photo: MotoArt)

Ryanair Aims to Diversify ... by Buying an Airport

Posted August 14, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Airportbusyterminaldef What else is there to do when you’re already the biggest fish in a small, crowded pond? Why, take it over and name it after yourself—thus ensuring lead-fish status for a long, long time—of course!

Low-cost carrier Ryanair, already the biggest tenant in little ol' Stansted Airport (only one terminal!), is rumoured to be interested in purchasing the airport. Stansted is currently owned by BAA, which owns the other airports in the Southeast.

Reactions to the rumour have been mixed, with many viewing it as a joke. However, with Ryanair already generating most of their revenue from various affiliated businesses such as car rental, holiday insurance, hotel bookings and even online gambling, who’s to say that Michael O’Leary, the airline's chief exec, isn’t being well and truly serious?

Airports are, after all, a business, and it seems highly plausible that an aggressive company like Ryanair could be considering getting their fingers into the airport pie. (Mmm, airport pie.) Airports are expensive things to maintain though, so let’s just hope that Ryanair keep passing their low-cost prices on to us should the deal go through.

(Photo: PhotoDisc)

Emirates' In-Flight Mobile Services Available, But Nobody Cares

Posted August 12, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Mobilephoneairplane A few months back, we at BookingBuddy.com were predicting widespread violence as mobile phones started becoming operational on more and more airplanes. (OK, maybe ‘widespread violence’ is exaggerating things a little bit, but it sounds more exciting.)

Perhaps thankfully, however, irate passengers don’t  yet seem to be running around bashing each other up for yammering on and on. In fact, Patrick Brannelly, Emirates’ vice president of passenger communications and visual services, tells ABTN.co.uk that, ‘the nightmare scenarios of everyone jabbering away just aren’t happening’.

In fact, most passengers don’t seem to have even taken much notice of the additional mobile and SMS services that are being provided. According to Brannelly, only between 40 to 60 percent of passengers have turned their phones on since the service became available.  In fact, most people seem to be using the service to send text messages rather than make calls lasting for hours, in an effort to be considerate towards others in the same cabin.

Great news for in-flight tranquility, but a little disappointing for anyone who had hoped to view something a little more ‘live’ and exciting than the usual in-flight movies.

(Photo: FlightAndRoom Blog)

Keep Yourself Clean With Emirates' Shower-Spas

Posted August 5, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Emiratesshowerspas Going on a long-haul flight usually means being covered in a layer of filth for hours on end, with only a measly trickle of usable water coming from the tap in that isolation cell they laughably call a ‘toilet’, right? Well, at least, it used to. Until Emirates got into the game, that is.

Ever ready to please their passengers, Emirates have not only redesigned their cabin crew’s uniforms in delicious dessert-ready colours, but have gone even further. You think Singapore Airlines and their double-bedded suites are impressive? Well, that was like, so three months ago. 

Beginning in August, when Emirates takes delivery of their new fleet of A380s, flying long distance will be a much comfier and, dare I say, cleaner, experience. In fact, passengers might like it so much they might not want to leave the plane.

And the reason for this? Emirates have released pictures revealing that the interior of their A380s will have shower-spas for first-class passengers. That’s right, not only showers, but shower-spas. It’s enough to make me want to pay through the nose to sit in the front of a tin can that hovers 30 000 feet in the air for 24 hours.

One nagging question lurks in the back of my mind though—transportation of water is always a problem in aircraft, so how do they plan on bringing enough water to keep first-class passengers satisfied, while not doing away with any other necessities for passengers in the back of the plane?

(Photo: Emirates.com)

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