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October 2008

Don’t Pay an Arm and a Leg for Extra Legroom With BA

Posted October 30, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Airbritishairwys777 Ever been about to check in, and then decided, at the very last minute, that you want to live the high life and get a seat upgrade? It used to be that you had to be famous or own a company before the airline deigned to allow you that sort of privilege.

But recently, British Airways came up with a better idea—you’re able to spend your hard earned cash and splurge on an upgrade, even right up to the very last minute. Unless you’re Heather Mills, this sounds like a pretty decent idea.

The service was first offered at Gatwick Airport last year, and has proved so popular that BA is also introducing it to Heathrow Airport. Passengers will have the choice of paying extra during check-in to move their seats to the Club Europe business-class cabin or the World Traveller Plus premium-economy cabins.

And just in case you think it’s going to end up costing you an arm and a leg (which you probably would have lost when someone sat on top of you in economy class anyway), fear not, the service only costs £100 for European flights and £180 for flights further ashore. When you think about it, it’s not a lot of dosh to shell out to avoid a sweaty neighbour sitting on your lap during a long-haul journey.

(Photo: British Airways)

Changi Airport Offers Tommy Lee New Job Opportunity

Posted October 28, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Rock_drummer Have you ever wondered what job options are open to celebrities who aren’t getting too much exposure in Hello magazine these days? Well, they usually pop back up on reality TV. Sometimes they learn to dance, sometimes they go into rehab, and sometimes, they try to become cabin crew on an airplane. But what happens when even reality TV rejects them?

Well, I guess some of them get hired for ‘meet-and-greet’ duties at airports.  Singapore’s Changi Airport—perhaps in an effort to wrestle the title of world’s best airport back from the clutches of Hong Kong’s international airport—has hired celebrities to welcome passengers to Singapore.

And when I say celebrities, I don’t mean any old local superstar. No, Changi has spared no expense, and gone out of their way to hire international celebrities, of the calibre of ... Tommy Lee. Of Motley Crue fame, previously. But more likely to be remembered these days as the ex Mr Pamela Anderson, and co-star of that video (come on, do I need to explain? As if you haven’t seen it ... ). Whether weary passengers stumbling off a long-haul Singapore Airlines flight want to shake hands and have their photographs taken with a pierced, tattooed, rock star waving devil horns in your face is another matter.

However, if the idea of being greeted by a heavy metal drummer doesn’t necessarily appeal to you, you can always choose to be serenaded by the soft rock powerhouse Air Supply. Or even have the Backstreet Boys (who must surely be men by now) celebrate your arrival by performing a synchronised dance move.

Nice to know there’s now somewhere for aging musicians to retire to besides the bargain bin of your local music store.

(Photo: Al Schultz Talent)

Credit Crunch Doesn’t Affect Fairy-Tale Characters

Posted October 23, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Espritholidays_2The economic downturn might be affecting most businesses these days, including the airline industry, but some businesses seem to be almost recession-proof. I’m guessing plumbing might be one of these, but I’m thinking of another, less prosaic line of work. Such as being a fairy-tale or mythical character. Look at it this way—if you exist in a different dimension, then our boring problems over here don’t affect you.

Take Santa Claus. Christmas is still a couple of months away, but holiday bookings to his home in Lapland are said to be going strong. After all, old St. Nick is the defining figure in most people’s childhood Christmases, and when life is tough, sometimes all you want is to go back to a happier time. A time when phrases like ‘credit crunch’ and ‘economic crisis’ didn’t exist, and presents seemed to magically appear overnight.

Esprit Holidays aims to take you back to those times, by organising trips to Lapland. They even go the extra mile by arranging meetings with none other than Santa himself! Not only that, but you get to go on a reindeer sleigh ride. All the while keeping yourself warm by wearing the thermals provided by the company.

Perhaps other companies should take a leaf out of Esprit’s book by organising trips to locations connected with other fairy-tale characters. The obvious ones such as Santa Claus are always going to be popular, but what about ones that venture off the beaten track? Surely there’s a niche market out there for trips to the Tooth Fairy’s castle? Where would the Tooth Fairy hide though – behind a secret doorway in a dentist’s surgery, perhaps?

(Image: Esprit Holidays)

Jetsleeper Much Cheaper Than Business-Class Seat

Posted October 21, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Jetsleeper Surprise, surprise! Even judges on reality TV shows can get it wrong too! Turns out being on television doesn’t save you from hanging your head in shame, red-faced about having made a mistake. And what is this ‘it’ that those TV personages have got so wrong this time?

Well, economy-class travellers, say a big ‘Hello!’ to the Jetsleeper? The what? No, the Jetsleeper isn’t some new overnight airline service, it’s a pillow! Alright, maybe it’s slightly more than a pillow. The Jetsleeper works by being a self-expanding pillow with two straps. You hook one over the top of your seat and the second one over the armrest, thereby sparing yourself the pain of a stiff neck after a long-haul journey.

The Jetsleeper’s inventor, Tim Williams, had previously gone on ‘hit BBC2 series’ Dragon’s Den in an attempt to secure funding for his invention. However, the show’s panel of multi-millionaires—including Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis and Duncan Bannatyne—rejected the proposal.

Williams’ invention has come at just the right time. Now that U.S.-based carrier JetBlue has decided to charge for pillows on their flights, who’s to say that their European counterparts won’t follow suit? The Jetsleeper also ensures a more comfortable flight for travellers who can’t or won’t pay for an upgrade to business class. At around £20 per pillow, it’s certainly a lot cheaper than paying for a Club World seat on a British Airways flight, and much more affordable than having a private cabin on Singapore Airlines.

(Photo: Jetsleeper)

Ryanair Employees Hit by Credit Crunch (Not the Chocolate Variety)

Posted October 16, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Creditcrunch In these uncertain economic times, most people probably aren’t expecting much of a bonus this Christmas. And for up to 400 Ryanair employees, they’ll be getting the reverse of a bonus at the end of this year.

While Ryanair’s chief Michael O’Leary may be confident that his company will be one of only five other carriers that will survive the economic crisis, some of his workers may not be feeling so triumphant at the moment. O’Leary’s unfortunate troop of 400 pilots and cabin crew will be made to take a week of unpaid ‘holiday’ this year as Ryanair cuts back on services to and from Stansted. Don’t even mention the word ‘bonus’ to them, as they stand to lose about £1000 during this week off.

Perhaps Ryanair could try to cheer them up by giving them packets of Credit Crunch chocolates from Selfridges. The Valrhona chocolate-coated honeycomb pieces are being marketed by the fancy-pants retailer as an affordable luxury for these tough times. While Ryanair employees may not be able to afford blingy presents for their loved ones this Christmas, at least they can afford to stuff them with expensive chocolates.

Turn Trash Into Treasure, and Travel

Posted October 14, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Trash In these uncertain economic times, we have more on our minds than where to go for our next holiday. In fact, some of us can’t even afford to pay for our next holiday. On top of all that, now that opposition to global warming seems to be the new religion, we get all worried about harming the earth when we do get to go on holiday.

Well, perhaps more of us could try taking a leaf out of John and Ann Till’s book. The couple picked up about 60 000 items of recyclable litter in three months, in order to earn enough points for their honeymoon. The enterprising couple managed to clean up the streets of Petersfield, Hampshire, while paying for their trip at the same time.

The items they collected (mainly cans, bottles and plastic containers) were brought into a Tesco branch to be converted into club card points which were eventually turned into air miles. The Tills collected so many air miles that they were able to travel business class for their British Airways flight back home – which is more than can be said for Heather Mills these days.

(Photo: PyramidMDT)

Heather Mills Not Special Enough for British Airways

Posted October 9, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Milkbottle_4 Poor old Heather Mills. The past couple of years haven’t been too good to her, have they? Nobody seems to like her much—at least that’s what The Sun would like everyone to believe. All that talk about drinking rats’ milk probably hasn’t helped her image much either.

And last week, even British Airways went sour on her. The world’s most infamous one-legged model tried to request a free upgrade for her transatlantic flight, but was turned down by airline staff. Perhaps they were just ardent fans of her ex-husband Sir Paul McCartney? She was due to fly to New York to appear at a charity vegan barbeque.

The BA check-in staff told her she would have to pay the £1,700 surcharge for the privilege of upgrading to their Club World cabin, but Lady Mucca refused to stump up the cash. One wonders why she decided not to pay up for the comforts of business class, though. The former Beatle’s ex-wife was awarded nearly £25 million as part of her divorce settlement from Sir Paul, so it’s not like she was strapped for money. Perhaps someone had told her they didn't serve rats’ milk in the Club World cabins.

Leave Winter Behind and Escape to Atlantis

Posted October 8, 2008 by BookingBuddy

These last two weeks, the wind and rain have made the long sunny days of summer seem but a distant memory. The days are getting shorter, our skirts are getting longer and our tans are getting paler. The general outlook seems to be bleak.

So, what’s the best way to counter the overwhelming sense of apathy and recapture those fleeting days of summer? Well, you could splurge on a three-month supply of home tanning products, but that usually results in you resembling a tangerine. Or, you could simply make your way to Atlantis! No, not the mythical city that was lost underwater thousands of years ago, but a resort based on the legend.  And where else would you find such a resort, but on a man-made island in Dubai?

Atlantisthepalm Atlantis, The Palm, is being billed as the largest water-themed resort in the parched Middle East. Situated on the Palm Jumeirah, a palm-tree-shaped island features a huge water playground with seven slides (including two shark-filled lagoons for those who want to feel like they’ve been held captive by a Bond villain), a dolphin conservation centre and an open-air marine habitat.

So, if the onset of another grey winter is getting you down, why not try swimming with sharks and dolphins to make the folks in the office jealous? You could even top it all off by flying to Dubai and back on Singapore Airlines or Emirates and trying out their double-bedded cabins or shower-spas.

(Photo: Atlantis, The Palm)

Check-in Super-Fast Like A Superstar With Virgin

Posted October 2, 2008 by BookingBuddy

Airportcheckin Does this sound familiar to you—waking up bleary-eyed at 3 a.m., then attempting to get to some forsaken airport to check in for your flight at least two hours before it takes off? (And the airport doesn’t even have the decency to try and be in the world’s top 15 best airports—unless you fly through Manchester Airport.) Many alarm clocks have been destroyed by irate fists in this manner.

Well, good news is on the way for those travelling Upper Class with Virgin Atlantic—you get to sleep in a little bit longer! The airline has cut down the check-in times at Heathrow Airport to a paltry 40 minutes—barely time enough for you to show your passport, dump your bags, and run all the way to the boarding gate. Thinking of grabbing a box of Ferrero Rochers at the duty-free shop? Banish the thought, chocoholics, you might miss your flight!

On the other hand, if you’re not the running sort, you can even drive your limousines (because how else will you be getting to the airport?) all the way up a ramp to a special arrival area.

All this must be good news for alarm clocks, as they need no longer cower under the threat of getting smashed during a 3 a.m. wake-up call. Alarm clock manufacturers might have to start looking at other job options though.

(Photo: Houston Airport System)

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Snarky Since 2008.