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Heston Blumenthal Vs. Inflight Meals

Posted February 17, 2011 by BookingBuddy

British-Airways_web Ever wondered why inflight food hardly ever tastes good? Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal attempts to answer that question while trying to satisfy the tastebuds of 100 000 airline passengers. He will be doing all that and more, in the tiny confines of a plane’s galley. This will all be part of his Heston’s Mission Impossible programme, to be shown on Channel 4.


Blumenthal will be collaborating with BA crew members Jackie Simister and Simon Curley in order to come up with a meal that will taste just as good at 35 000 feet in the air as it does on the ground. They will be working with Steve Walpole, BA’s develop chef to develop that meal, which will then be judged by a tasting panel.


Changing the bad reputation of airline food may seem like an impossible mission, but Blumenthal is no stranger to challenges. If anything, the award-winning chef of the Fat Duck Restaurant in Bray seems jump at them. He recently gave the menu at Little Chef a make-over, and will also attempt to do the same for NHS meals in the Heston’s Mission Impossible series. If his menu for BA proves successful, then BA passengers will be able to enjoy his creations as part of their inflight meals. Anyone ready for snail porridge, followed by bacon-and-egg ice cream?


Adults Only?

Posted February 10, 2011 by BookingBuddy

Girl-crying-on-plane Sick of the child behind you kicking the back of your seat all through your eight hour flight? Well, you may not have to put up with that scenario for much longer, if certain campaigners get their way. 1000 business travellers at the recent Business Travel and Meetings Show were asked what they found most annoying about air travel.


Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they were irritated by children on planes. Some felt that airlines should provide adult-only flights, or introduce child-free sections similar to the Quiet Carriages on some trains.


This view was supported by travel journalist Dave Richardson, who said ‘I definitely think introducing an adults-only cabin or service is a good idea and it would work well on high-frequency routes so that families could be accommodated on other services. On long-haul routes I might look to more innovative airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, Emirates or Etihad to consider taking this on board. Many airlines will continue to operate the B747 far into the future, so making the upper deck adults-only should not represent a huge logistical problem, and most airlines also have business class seats downstairs on 747s.”


However, not all travel experts agree with this view, with some deeming the idea ‘unethical’. Paul Charles, the former director of Virgin Atlantic, commented that ‘It would be a bad decision by an airline to ban children. Once you did, would you start banning other types of travellers?’

What are your thoughts on this? Are you happy to put up with kids near you, or would you prefer to fly in a child-free environment?


Stressed Out? Head To Gatwick To Unwind

Posted January 20, 2011 by BookingBuddy

Gatwick-north It’s no surprise that many of us find travelling a highly stressful experience. All those security checks and scans, never-ending queues and other passengers – it’s enough to make you give up and just stay home instead! However, at least one airport is trying to improve the experience for their passengers.


The airport will be opening a 10000 square feet lounge at its North Terminal this summer, just in time for the holiday crowds. The lounge will include a spa, a mini-cinema, games areas and even a business centre. Passengers will have to pay a £20 entry fee to make use of the lounge. They will also have access to complimentary goodies suck as snacks, magazines and WIFI. Those will like to arrive at their destination looking their best will probably want to go for a manicure or even a haircut.


‘At Gatwick, we want our passengers to feel as if their holiday starts right here at the airport,’ said Robin Longden, the airport’s chief commercial officer. Sounds good to me! I may even forgo my overseas holiday and just spend a couple of days at Gatwick this summer.



Oh, How The Tray Tables Have Turned!

Posted November 17, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Branson Sir Richard Branson may think he has what it takes to run an airline, but can he do it in high heels and a form-fitting red suit? This may just be the Virgin Atlantic head honcho’s new uniform when he shows up for his shift as AirAsia’s newest recruit.


Branson, who also owns the Virgin Racing team, had recently bet AirAsia’s boss Tony Fernandes (owner of the Lotus F1 team) that the loser would have to be a stewardess on the other’s airline. The Lotus team was placed ahead of Virgin Racing, leaving Branson on the losing end.


Seats on a special AirAsia Kuala Lumpur to London flight will be auctioned off soon, with the proceeds going to charity. The charity will be chosen by Branson. Fernandes is said to have presented Branson with AirAsia’s fire-engine red uniform a few days ago.


If you fancy watching Branson totter down the aisle pushing a trolley loaded with snacks and drinks, then you may want to consider bidding for a seat on the flight. Just don’t be surprised if Branson offers you some ‘Coffee, tea or me?’



‘The Sky Is No Longer The Limit’

Posted October 21, 2010 by BookingBuddy

If you ever harboured any childhood dreams to be an astronaut, but failed to qualify for NASA, then it may be time you started saving your pennies. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has just gone one step closer to making space tourism a reality.

Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spacecraft Enterprise reached a significant milestone yesterday, as it was announced that the Enterprise had successfully completed its first manned flight. The spacecraft was released from its WhiteKnightTwo mothership 14 kilometres above the Mojave Desert, and was piloted by Pete Siebold.

‘Now the sky is no longer the limit, and we will begin the process of pushing beyond the final frontier of space itself over the next year’ Branson was quoted as saying after the successful test. And with 370 customers already signed up, it’s no wonder Branson is eager to push ahead with Virgin Galactic’s spaceflight programme. Tickets for the space adventure certainly don’t come cheap, at US$200 000 a pop, with a deposit of at least US$20 000 required to help secure your seat. Perhaps it’s time to start looking under the sofa for spare change?


Tweeting Takes To The Skies

Posted October 7, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Twitter It looks like we may never escape from them after all. Twitter has been taken to new heights these days (quite literally), and addicts can get their latest tweet-fix even while in the air.


Finnish carrier Finnair has just announced the launch of its own Twitter page. This will be an addition to Finnair’s Facebook page and blog, so you can keep up with every bit of activity the airline gets up to. Finnair is just the latest in a long line of technologically savvy carriers that have jumped on to the Twitter bandwagon. Other airlines that have followed suit include British Airways, Air Asia, Air France and EasyJet.


It may seem like airlines are merely riding the Twitter wave in a bid to score some ‘hip’ points and attract customers. However, it makes sense for airlines to utilise these social networking tools, especially during urgent situations such as the Eyjafjallajokull eruptions. In such cases, airlines would be able to use their Twitter and Facebook sites to notify their passengers about new developments. These sites are also useful as marketing tools, to let potential passengers find out about upcoming deals and discounts. 



Next Flight – Standing Room Only?

Posted September 16, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Skyriderseats Travelling cattle class can get pretty excruciating, even on the best days, but at least you’re not in sardine class yet. However, it looks like the days of airline passengers squeezing together as if they were on a crowded bus could soon become a reality.


The Italian design company Aviointeriors has just unveiled its new ‘Skyrider’ seat at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas conference. Shaped like a saddle, the seat requires passengers to perch at an angle and puts most of their weight on their legs.  The ‘Skyrider’ allows a passenger only 23 inches of legroom, compared to 30 inches on an average economy seat. The company has optimistically compared it to a ride on horseback.


Dominique Menoud, the company’s director general, has tried to reassure potential passengers by reminding us that ‘Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle.’ The new design could be a hit with budget airlines, which will be able to cram more passengers into their planes, by replacing their current seats with these new ones.


I think I’ll just wait for Santa Claus to bring me that pony I asked for. 



'Let The Computer Fly It'

Posted September 9, 2010 by BookingBuddy

FO9_Ryanair_pilot Ever watch those action movies where a flight gets hijacked and a plucky flight attendant, with the help of a martial-arts trained paasenger (I’m looking at you, Wesley Snipes), inevitably ends up saving the day? Well, if Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary gets his way, then that could be a lot closer to reality than you may expect.

The controversial O’Leary has recently been quoted as saying that he wants to ‘take out the second pilot,’ as he feels that computers are doing most of the work keeping an aircraft aloft these days. The co-pilot would be then be replaced with a trained flight attendant, who would be required to leap into action and land the plane should an emergency arise.

However, others have criticised his proposal, with some calling the idea ‘unwise’ and ‘unsafe’. A spokesman for the British Airline Pilots’ Association has also suggested that O’Leary’s suggestion is ‘just a bid for publicity’. There’s no word yet on whether Wesley Snipes plans to leap into action to save the day should O’Leary’s plan go through.



Bright Spark Sets Off Security Alarm With Pocket Full of Fireworks

Posted August 18, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Fireworks  You may not be able to bring a bottle of water or a nail-clipper with you on your flight, but it seems you may just be able to get away with some fireworks.

Despite being known for their strict measures, it seems customs and security staff at two US airports somehow allowed Paul Jones board his flights with 200 fireworks in his pocket. The security faux pas was only discovered when Jones arrived at Heathrow airport.

The Briton was attending Independence Day celebrations in Kansas and decided to take the leftover fireworks home to Manchester with him. He claims he did not realise the threat to security he posed by tucking them into his pocket and carrying them onboard his flight. Security staff missed spotting the fireworks even though he had to remove them from his pocket and place them in trays before stepping through the airports’ metal detectors.

The fireworks were finally discovered when security staff at Heathrow Airport requested permission to look through Jones’s suitcase. Jones was allowed to leave with the fireworks, as well as a lighter that was in his pocket, when he explained how they came to be in his possession. 


Down The Chute – And Into The News

Posted August 12, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Slide1It sounds like a scene from a movie – an irate flight attendant, angered by a passenger’s rudeness, leaves his job by sliding down a plane’s emergency chute. Those of you who have had to deal with rude, abusive customers may have dreamt of reacting in a similar manner.


But that’s exactly what happened on Monday, when Steven Slater, a JetBlue flight attendant grew increasingly frustrated when a passenger ignored his repeated requests not to open the overhead lockers until the plane they were on had come to a complete stop. The final straw came when the passenger’s bag hit Slater in the face, and who berated him instead of giving him an apology.


The flight attendant then used the plane’s public address system to announce his anger, and grabbed a can of beer from the galley before dramatically deploying the emergency chute, sliding down it and walking to his parked car.


Slater was subsequently arrested and charged, but has since turned into something of a folk hero. There are Facebook fan pages and websites set up for him, and avid fans can even buy t-shirts with slogans such as ‘I Slide For Slater’.


While many are currently celebrating the flight attendant’s daring stunt, Slater also has his detractors, who criticise him for the way he handled the situation. Whose side are you on? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 


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