Media

Hotel Threatens To Charge Guests For Negative Online Reviews

The-Castle-Hotel

In the age of the internet, it sort of blows my mind that any hotel could possibly think this is a good idea. The Castle Hotel is a small independent hotel located in Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is England’s Northernmost town.

Per TripAdvisor, the hotel is sending out emails to guests as soon as they book, warning them of an “administration charge” of £100 in the event of a negative online review. Here’s the relevant part of the email:

“The management of the Hotel will charge an Administration Fee of £100 + VAT if the circumstances arise where a response has to be made to any comment or picture posted on electronic media which is in their opinion unfair or scurrilous in nature or to which they were not given opportunity to rectify when or after the service was provided. This charge will be deducted from the Credit or Debit card provided as guarantee for the booking. The Hotel management reserve the right to amend or cancel any booking without notice.”

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Is Global Warming Causing Increased Clear Air Turbulence?

Q400 clouds

Lately it sure seems like we’ve heard a lot of media reports of flights encountering clear air turbulence, to the point that diversions are necessary due to passengers and crew being injured (always keep those seatbelts fastened when you can, folks!). I wasn’t sure whether these kinds of incidents were actually increasing in frequency, or if we’re simply hearing about them more often, given the increased popularity of social media.

Nowadays we often have videos of these incidents, so there’s more of a story when news channels cover them.

While hardly scientific, I was actually thinking a few weeks ago about how smooth most of my flights have been the past couple of years. In January I had a bumpy flight on Air New Zealand from Auckland to Queenstown (the second bumpiest flight of my life), though other than that I’ve had almost nothing but smooth flights the past couple of years, even on typically bumpy transpacific routes.

I’m not suggesting there’s a decrease in turbulence, but rather just that I found it funny that I was randomly thinking about this a few days ago.

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Did American Handle This “Black Lives Matter” Situation Correctly?

American-Black-Lives-Matter

There’s a story getting quite a bit of media attention from American Airlines’ Facebook page.

On Tuesday an American Airlines passenger posted a picture of a flight attendant wearing a “Black Lives Matter” pin.

I most definitely disagree with the person on Facebook calling this pin “disgraceful,” but objectively I think it’s fair to say that very reasonable people can strongly disagree about the effect of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Some view it as a positive driver of change, while others view it as something which has enabled high level violence, even if unintentionally. I don’t think either side is wrong.

I’m not sure if this is accurate anymore, but one Twitter user posted the following screenshot of what is (or at least used to be) American’s policy on pins:

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Air China Issues Apology Following “Safety Tips” Flub

Air-China-777

Yesterday I posted about how Air China was under fire following what was printed in one of their inflight magazines, Wings of China. In a feature about London they suggested that extra precautions are needed when “entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people.” They also suggested that “females always be accompanied by another person when traveling,” which seems like an awfully broad generalization to make.

Suffice to say most people weren’t too pleased with this “advice.” I think it goes without saying that the article didn’t represent the views of Air China as such, but rather was a combination of an out-of-touch writer combined with a bad translation.

On the plus side, Air China has very quickly responded to this situation, and has already issued a statement. They’ve apologized for what happened, ordered the removal of the magazine from all Air China aircraft, and have also demanded that the Wings of China editorial team “learn the lesson” and avoid a similar situation in the future.

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Air China’s Safety Tips: Avoid Indian, Pakistani, And Black Neighborhoods

Air-China-Warning

Air China’s inflight magazine, Wings of China, has a long feature on visiting London in the current issue, which talks all about what you should do during your visit to the city.

While the story is thousands and thousands of words long, there are a couple of sentences in particular that are drawing the most attention. Specifically, the part about safety:

“London is generally a safe place to travel, however precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people. We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females always to be accompanied by another person when travelling.”

Oops! I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the ethnic part is the worst, but suggesting that females should always be accompanied by another person when traveling isn’t exactly sound advice either.

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Is Allegiant Air Unsafe?

Allegiant-A320

Allegiant Air is a US ultra low cost carrier, which operates primarily between leisure destinations within the southern part of the US.

The airline operates a fleet of roughly 80 planes, including about 30 Airbus A319/A320 aircraft, five Boeing 757 aircraft, and about 45 MD-80 aircraft. Their MD-80s are an average of over 26 years old. Generally speaking there’s a very low correlation between the age of a plane and its safety. The key is that the plane has to be well maintained. A well maintained old plane is significantly safer than a poorly maintained new plane. A plane that’s both old and poorly maintained is a bad combination.

In May I wrote about how Allegiant’s pilots raised alarming concerns about the airline’s safety practices. For example, nearly half of Allegiant pilots said they wouldn’t feel safe having their family fly Allegiant. That’s pretty shocking.

Now, the one thing to keep in mind is that the pilots were trying to negotiate a better contract around this time, so some might argue this was a bargaining technique.

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KLM’s Hilariously Simplistic New Ad Campaign

KLM-Its-An-Airline

KLM has just unveiled their latest ad campaign, which is hilariously simplistic. The campaign’s tagline is KLM — It’s An Airline. They’ve launched a site dedicated to the campaign at itsanairline.com.

KLM has long been a quirky airline, and this ad sums that up perfectly. Yes, KLM’s new ad campaign is all about how they’re an airline. And about how they fly passengers. And about what airports are.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the first video they released, explaining how KLM is an airline:

Once you understand that concept, you might be interested to learn about what airports are:

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American’s Newest Ad Campaign — “World’s Greatest Flyers”

Worlds-Greatest-Flyers

American has just unveiled their latest global ad campaign, which comes with a new tagline — World’s Greatest Flyers. Here’s how American explains the concept behind the new campaign:

“American Airlines’ new ad campaign celebrates people from all walks of life – our customers and employees – traveling on American.

As the world’s largest airline, with the best network, youngest fleet and competitive product, we need to focus on the people and the experiences we serve them to set us apart from the competition. American’s customers and employees all impact the travel experience. We’re celebrating the ways they elevate themselves from good to great flyers.

We developed this campaign from the inside out, listening to our employees and customers to discover what sets us apart. Our goal is to be the greatest airline in the world, by being the airline employees want to work for, customers want to fly and where investors want to put their money.”

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Airline Takes Out Newspaper Ad Asking For $1.1 Billion Loan (As One Does)

Newspaper-Ad

Yesterday I posted about media reports that suggest South African Airways might be on the brink of liquidation. They’ve been in a horrible financial situation for a long time, and have gone through seven CEOs in the past four years. The airline has an inefficient fleet and route network, and has been mismanaged far beyond those challenges.

Unless the airline wants to shrink into profitability, it’s going to take a lot to turn the airline around, including quite a bit of capital.

Well, it looks like South African Airways is trying to raise that capital… by taking out newspaper ads.

The airline took out an ad in a South African newspaper today casually asking for a 16 billion Rand loan, which equates to about 1.1 billion USD:

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Your Chance To Charter A Yacht And Be On A Reality TV Show

Below-Deck-Ship

Chances are that 99.999% of us won’t be interested and/or can’t afford to do this. However, I figured I’d post about it anyway, as someone who loves reality TV, as I’m fascinated by the inner workings of it.

The Forward Cabin posted about how he was contacted by a casting producer for Bravo’s show “Below Deck Mediterranean,” and they were looking for an interesting group to charter the yacht for a few days at a discount.

For those of you not familiar, “Below Deck” is a show that follows the dramatic lives of a crew that works on a mega-yacht. The show is partly about the ridiculous requests of the guests, though mostly just about the drama going on between the crew members. So the passengers as such aren’t the focal point of the show (as they have a new “charter” in every episode), but rather help support the storyline going on with the crew.

Here’s a trailer of the first season of the show, for those of you not familiar with it:

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Easyjet Passengers Interrogated After Being Accused Of ISIL Affiliation

Easyjet

We hear our fair share of Islamophobic travel stories here in the US, like of a guy who was handcuffed at gunpoint at a hotel in Ohio for looking suspicious, or of two guys who were removed from a Southwest flight for speaking Arabic, or of four passengers who were removed from a Spirit flight because one passenger was watching a “suspicious video.”

Well, unsurprisingly being Islamophobic while traveling isn’t exclusively an American issue, as a story has emerged of three British siblings being removed from an Easyjet flight from London Stansted to Naples last week after being accused of having ISIL affiliations. There’s an Al Jazeera story about the incident, though perhaps it’s much more interesting to read what one of the siblings wrote on Facebook about the incident. Here’s her version of what happened:

“So the story begins at 5am on a typically chilly, windy summer’s morning in London. My younger brother, sister and I are boarding a plane on our way to a much needed weekend getaway in Europe. We’ve passed the ‘random checks’ at the airport, got through the ‘seat mixup’ at the Gate, and have just eased ourselves into our seats, when a stone-faced air hostess approaches us, and with one gnarly finger, beckons for us to follow her.

My brother, thinking she means for only me to follow, and assuming it’s in regards to our seating, immediately asks if he may go, to which she sharply responds, ‘you’re all to follow me’. With no further information, leaving us absolutely clueless as to what’s going on, we get up awkwardly, follow her down the cabin towards the cockpit, and then bizarrely make a sharp left at the exit where she leads us off the aircraft onto the steel pull down steps.”

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Do The New Delta One Suites Make You Upset?

Delta-One-Suite

A couple of days ago Delta announced that they’d be introducing suites with doors on their Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 aircraft over the coming years. This is a very nice innovation on Delta’s part, and makes them the first airline in the world to introduce an all suite business class product.

It looks like Delta managed to create this new seating option in a very efficient configuration, since it essentially looks like a modified and more private version of the Vantage XL staggered business class seat, similar to what SAS has in business class. In other words, the footprint per seat might not even be bigger, but rather they’ve just added a privacy partition.

Naturally I was curious when I read the following headline on inc.com: “This Bold, New Move by Delta Air Lines Has Already Gotten People Really Upset”

Okay, what are “people” really upset about? Did they screw something up about the product, are they angry that Delta is advertising these when they’ll only be rolled out on select planes, or what?

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Here’s Why Emirates Flies “Visibly Inferior” Planes To India

Emirates-777-Economy

Last Wednesday an Emirates 777 crash landed in Dubai. Fortunately all passengers evacuated safely, though tragically one firefighter died during the rescue efforts.

Once video footage of the evacuation surfaced, I posted about the number of passengers who decided to take their carry-on bags with them.

A lot of people online tried to justify what the passengers were doing, explaining that life in the Gulf for Indian workers can be very tough. Trust me, I understand that, and I get all the reasons that someone would want to take bags with them when they’re being evacuated. It makes perfect sense to me, and it’s a natural instinct not to want to part ways with your belongings.

However, it doesn’t change the fact that over the years several planes have exploded during evacuations, killing dozens and dozens of people. By slowing down the evacuation process, you’re quite literally putting other peoples’ lives at risk, and that’s something you don’t have the right to do no matter what the circumstances are.

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Rumor: Emirates Airline To Buy A Controlling Stake In Qatar Airways

Qatar-Airways-A380-First-Class-113

Wow, now here’s a fascinating rumor I hadn’t heard before. Finance blog Zero Hedge suggests that Emirates Airline is planning on buying a controlling stake in Qatar Airways:

“Sources close to the Emirates have said, in confidential meetings, that Emirates Airlines has been in talks to take a controlling stake in Qatar Airways to better compete against Etihad as the industry seeks to improve scale in the midst of a restrictive M&A policy within the region.

Qatar Airways has been increasing the company’s stakes in various names (agreed to acquire 49% stake in Italy’s Meridiana, has 10% stake in LATAM, and recently upped the IAG stake to 20%) and Emirates Airlines will soon announce their move to acquire a controlling stake in Qatar Airways.”

Let me once again emphasize that this is a rumor, and that I haven’t heard this anywhere else yet. I’m sharing it because I think it’s an interesting topic to discuss, regardless of whether or not this comes to fruition.

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