Showing posts from July, 2009

No such thing as a free lunch on British Airways

The recession is biting the travel industry hard and as our sister online publication Off Radar recently reported "No such thing as a free lunch on the Oasis of the Seas". Now its the turn of British Airways who as of this coming Monday will eliminate all free meals sandwiches and drinks on short haul flights.

Not even a simple bottle of water will be served for free on flights less than 2.5 hours long! This is a sad reflection of the airline industry today in the west, as one of the mighty carriers that once prided itself in quality service succumbs to the age of low service. 

No longer can BA distinguish itself as a much better overall service experience than rivals EasyJet, as the meal was really the last tangible in-flight deliverable left. It would be true to say that BA's Monopoly on Terminal 5 gives it a better airport experience at Heathrow T5 at least, but the line is wafer thin between the service levels of many Budget carriers and BA right now. 

The general servi…

The top ten most expensive cities in the world! 

As a Perpetual Traveller reader no doubt you have considered to move to another city or country at some juncture in your life. Sometimes the decision of relocation is yours and other times its forced on you somewhat by your Company, circumstance or even a loved one! Some Perpetual Travellers relocate frequently and even get the 2 year itch, after all life is a journey and not a destination!

Whatever the case there are some crucial things you should know, before you turn a move into a reality. The most important issue is to appreciate whether you can maintain your current level of quality life in your newly selected home, by carefully considering the economic realities on the ground in your potential new destination in comparison with your salary or how much money you have or that will likely be generated. Many dreams have been shattered for lack of planning and wide range home economic accounting. Moreover, you must always factor in potential currency changes, worst case scenarios an…

Greetings from London Heathrow

Greetings from an overcrowded and tired Terminal 3 at London Heathrow! With all the hype and attention on Terminal 4 and 5 in recent years, the others are looking worse for wear. In particular Terminals 1 and 2 have reached the point of no return, as they cannot be patched up any more. The new Spanish operator that bought BAA are bargaining with the British Government to invest in combining Terminals 1 and 2 (completely new development) in exchange for a third Runway. The environmentalists and locals will love that!

So if you are not flying with BA (see new BA article) and you are going to the older Terminals of Heathrow, expect a crowded, low ceiling feeling and rough around the edges experience.

Grant Holmes
Perpetual Traveller

Suspected Smugglers Scuttle Semi-Submersible Drug Sub

On Monday (7/27) a coordinated effort by U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine, and the U.S. Coast Guard led to the interdiction of a self-propelled semi-submersible drug smuggling vessel in the Eastern Pacific. 
According to a statement from CBP, the crew of a P-3 Orion surveillance plane spotted the vessel and the U.S. Coast Guard was sent to intercept it. But, before the Coast Guard could seize the semi-submersible sub and its suspected cargo of drugs, its four-person crew evacuated, got in an inflatable raft and scuttled the vessel.Read moreBy Planet Data

CBP Awards Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion Maintenance Contract

Lockheed Martin has won an $821 million contract to maintain, repair, and overhaul U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) fleet of P-3 Orion surveillance planes. The contract is for a base period of one year, with nine additional one-year options.Read moreBy Planta Data

Lockheed Martin Unveils First U.S. Navy Stealth Fighter

This week Lockheed Martin rolled out the first-ever U.S. Navy stealth fighter, the F-35C Lightning II. The ceremony took place Tuesday in Fort Worth.
Lockheed describes the Navy's newest jet as "a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation strike fighter." It is expected to make its first flight later this year.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Five Airports to Split $7.7 Million in Stimulus Funds for Surveillance

"Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano [Tuesday (7/28)] announced approximately $7.7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the installation of new closed circuit television systems at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, Ronald Reagan Washington National, Spokane International, Gerald R. Ford International and Boise, Idaho airports."Read moreBy Planet Data

Suspect Arrested for Shining Laser Pointer at Police Helicopter

The FBI on Tuesday (7/28) arrested a man for allegedly shining a laser pointer at a Philadelphia police helicopter in April 2008. 
James Gautieri, of Williamsport, PA had already been charged by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office for this criminal act, but now he also faces federal charges related to the incident. Gautieri could face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years.
Read moreBy Planet Data

A Look at U.S. Border Agency's Air and Marine Operations Center

The Press-Enterprise has an interesting article about the behind-the-scenes operations of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine Operations Center at March Air Reserve Base in California. The facility monitors all air traffic over the United States, south to South America and north into Canada.Read moreBy Planet Data

Three Inmates Escape by Helicopter in Belgium

Last Thursday (7/23) three inmates of a prison in Bruges, Belgium escaped via helicopter. An accomplice hijacked the aircraft and forced the pilot to land in the prison yard where the prisoners got on board. The chopper was later found abandoned.
The fugitives are Mohammed Johry, Abdel Had Kahjary Mulloul and Ashraf Sekkaki, who is considered one of Belgium's most dangerous criminals. Interpol issued an international alert (84.36 PDF) to its member nations shortly after the daring escape.
Read moreBy Planet Data

TSA Names New Security Chief for Houston-Area Airport

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) last week named Rob Parrish as the new Federal Security Director (FSD) for William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) in Houston.Read moreBy Planet data

Two Airports Using New Ground Safety Systems

Last week two major airports officially announced they were using new ground collision avoidance systems. Both Newark Liberty International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport now have Airport Surface Detection Equipment-Model X (ASDE-X) systems deployed and functioning.Read moreBy Planet Data

Southwest Flight Makes Emergency Landing

A Southwest Airlines Flight 693 from Hartford, CT to Orlando, FL was forced to make an emergency landing this morning at MacArthur Airport in Long Island, NY. There are reports there was smoke in the cabin. The flight landed safely with 131 passengers and five crew onboard.Read moreBy Planet Data

Joint U.S./ Mexico Operation Nabs $150 Million in Cocaine

Last Sunday (7/19) agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Office of Air and Marine assisted Mexican authorities in the seizure of a go-fast vessel carrying some 16,500 pounds of cocaine. CBP estimates the Pacific Ocean catch is worth about $150 million.Read moreBy Planet Data

17 Dead in Iranian Plane Crash

A Russian-made airliner landing at Iran's Mashhad Airport on Friday (7/24) veered off the runway while landing and crashed into a wall. At least 17 people onboard were killed. Photos show the front end of the Aria Airlines' jet completely crushed past the front landing gear.Read moreBy Planet Data

What makes Munich Airport popular?

Hot summer 09 greetings from a mild Munich Airport, a facility that is reported to be one of Europe's best. So what makes this airport so popular?
Is it the bright shiny granite looking floors or the Germanic organisation? The long efficient Schindler walkways maybe or the rather unique retail area that includes a SPA, Sex Shop and high street type boutiques in the mix? Perhaps its the presence of window to window light filled glass, featuring glass fronted shops, a cluster of Camel sponsored glass Smoking cubicles (highly frequented and no Flu masks in here) and glass backed Cafes.
Or even my favourite the Viennese Sausages with bread for 4.90 euro and the Napcab a little safe sanctuary of privacy. The Napcab is in essence a cubicle in the middle of gate H32 with a bed, screen, table, Internet connection, atmospheric lighting and of course a glass door! It costs 10 euro per hour from 10pm - 6am, then 15 euro outside these times (minimum consumption 30 euro). It is a neat little …

Top 10 Sizzling Events in August!

As we approach the summer wind of August and the barometer starts to peak in the northern hemisphere, the cultural events and festivals are poised to go into over-drive across Europe in particular. 

Edinburgh wins the crown of most events for the month of August and our compliments go to the proactive organisers that have managed to attract such a plethora of entertainment for the locals and visitors alike to enjoy.

So here goes for the Top selection of Sharon's Sizzling Summer Perpetual Traveller Events for August...

Cultural August Pano Platres, Cyprus 1st - 31st August 2009

August is a classic time of celebrations and festivals throughout the island of Cyprus and the concept of 'Cultural August' is a series of events, guided tours, exhibitions and entertainment that has been designed to take place throughout the month in the spectacular wine-producing region of the Troodos Mountains, where one can escape the heat of the coast! 

Further information:

When the holidaymaker is away the thieves will play!

As we enter the traditional peak holiday season throughout Europe and people leave their work en-mass for the popular beach resorts across the Mediterranean and beyond, the thieves come out in force to prey on the innocents possessions, with no-one there to protect them.

This year we expect the trend of burglaries to notably rise across Europe, especially in peak season and under the climate of a deep recession. Imagine coming home to discover that your front or back door has been kicked in or side window smashed open and your first view upon return is to see what is left of your possessions scattered across the floor of your house or apartment.

Counting the cost of possessions is only part of the nightmare that will follow, as dealing with the insurers if any, will always be a challenge as they desperately seek loopholes not to pay you. The emotional cost and feeling of insecurity will likely set in also, causing potentially months of torment.
To ensure that this is not your reali…

Airports are becoming scary places!

Airports are becoming scary places these days with travellers wearing face masks due to Swine Flu concerns, the fear of liquids remains with security personnel that are sure to make you feel away from home and it seems the most friendly face in an airport in 2009 is that of a self check-in screen! 
The realities of Swine Flu are covered in our special Perpetual Traveller feature A Peak Season Swine FLU FREE holiday. It seems to be quietly and rapidly spreading under radar of mass media. It dawned on me that the situation must be getting serious as personnel from 3 different airports I visited this week in Europe thrust a H1N1 warning leaflet in mind hand. Our above mentioned PT article gives you the updated facts, details how to protect yourself during this peak travel summer season and answers your FAQ's.

What happened to Duty Free?

Seasonal summer greetings from the Marco Polo Airport of Venice, where a new first floor extension was recently opened in the Departure area, but its nothing to get excited about as its boils down to a little extra floor space, a couple of VIP Lounges, a Cafe and some over-priced commonly branded shops. Did you ever wonder what happened to the great Duty Free experience and deals of the past? In Europe anyhow Duty Free was destroyed by the VAT taking EU. Airports all of the world seem to be more expensive than the high street today though. International airports maybe Duty Free, but they are certainly not profit free, nor are they free from extraordinary high rents from Airport Operators, which natural impacts on consumer prices. Moreover, leading luxury brands these days are focussed on positioning, marketing and hyping up products that are more often than not made in China or somewhere else in Asia even if the brand is essentially European or American.

A Peak Season Swine FLU FREE holiday

As we enter the traditional peak summer season and following our last PT article on the Swine Flu critical alert pandemic on the 9th May 2009, from what we understand its clear that the highly reported Flu is rapidly spreading at an alarmingly fast rate and this reality is poised to clash with summer tourism in the popular holiday haunts of the masses.Yet, it seems that the mass media is bored with the topic, as Swine Flu gains pace before our eyes and much of the population across our planet remains apathetic to the risks involved. 
The greatest fear is whether Swine Flu migrates or evolves into a more resistant and potentially deadly strain. Its a perfectly plausible scenario and we maybe sleep walking into a harsh reality this summer.

This PT article is designed to give you the updated facts and advice what to do to protect yourself when travelling.  


Britain has the third highest number of confirmed cases of the virus in the world, just behind Mexico (where the …

Serbian Airline Reopens Route to Croatian Resort City

Serbia's national airline, Jat Airways, has resumed flying directly from Belgrade to the Adriatic Sea city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Jat cancelled this route in 1991 during Croatia's war for independence from the Yugoslavia.Read more
By Planet Data

Serbian Airline Reopens Route to Croatian Resort City

Serbia's national airline, Jat Airways, has resumed flying directly from Belgrade to the Adriatic Sea city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Jat cancelled this route in 1991 during Croatia's war for independence from the Yugoslavia.Read more
By Planet Data

Suicide Bomber Targets Kandahar Airport

A suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden van detonated his payload at the main gate of Kandahar airport in Afghanistan Monday (7/6). At least 2 people died and more than a dozen were injured.Read more
By Planet Data

Ousted Honduran President Denied Entry

Deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was supposed to return to his nation's capital Tegucigalpa on Sunday, but opposition authorities blocked the airport runway so his plane could not land. Clashes between demonstrators and soldiers guarding the airport left at least one Zelaya supporter dead reports Voice of America.Read more
By Planet Data

Downed Helo Possibly Over-Loaded

DAWN, a Pakistani newspaper is reporting the recent crash of a Russian-made military transport helicopter may have been caused by overloading. Their inquiry revealed that the aircraft was rated to carry 32 people and when it crashed there were 41 security personnel onboard. Unfortunately all onboard were killed. The investigation continues. Read more
By Planet Data

Signal Detected From Yemenia Jet Crash

Comoran and French investigators say they have detected a signal from the flight recorder of the Yemenia Airbus 310 that recently crashed into the Indian Ocean. There has been no estimate as to when the flight recorder might be recovered. Read more
By Planet Data

N. Korea Launches Seven Short-Range Missiles

In defiance of UN resolutions, North Korea fired seven short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan yesterday. The launch is another instance in a series of "provocative acts". And with seven missiles launched this time, the North may be trying to send a warning about the potential capability of overwhelming missile defense systems.Raed moreBy Planet Data