United Kingdom Travel Guide
We usually turn our attention towards New Mexico when it comes to space travel and space tourism, as that’s where Virgin Galactic has been preparing and planning for the last few years. However, there’s another spot to add to your space race map; the United Kingdom have their own sky-high dreams and they're focusing them on Scotland.
Until mobile devices somehow magically charge themselves throughout your journey—you’re going to need a spot to plug in and charge up at the airport. The concourses and terminals have gotten a little bit better at adding ports and plugs, and now it seems like there’s a push overseas to add even more spots to charge up before your trip.
With that pesky new requirement regarding devices to be operational at airport security airports in London are pushing to get more options available to flyers.
Drinking Travel / Business Class Travel / Virgin Atlantic / Airlines / In-Flight Meals / In-Flight Cocktails / The Little Things / → All Tags
In the midst of the bustle of travel, it's all too easy to overlook the details. We're talking about special touches others have stressed over just so you can enjoy a unique experience, whether you know it or not. Every so often we'll highlight The Little Things like this, so now you will know.
The Little Thing: A dedication to serving Lanson Black Label champagne in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic.
You've just settled back in the leather seat, put your smartphone on "airplane mode," and flipped open the Upper Class in-flight menu. Before you can turn to the extensive list of options "from the bar" on this Virgin Atlantic flight (and yes, there is a real bar), a flight attendant sashays your way with a tray of bubbly.
It's a scene now so signature to Virgin Atlantic service, this stylish pour of Lanson Black Label Brut accompanied by a scarlet smile, but it hasn't always been that way.
The coupe-shape glass was first introduced onboard Virgin Atlantic flights with the revamp of the A330 bar in 2012, but the glass is now part of all Upper Class services regardless of aircraft type. The long, thin stem topped with a sultry bowl evokes the glamor of old Hollywood, and champagne bubbles look damned fine in it.
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The Virgin Atlantic look is sharp, iconic, sizzling; there’s no denying the head-turning appeal of a crisp white blouse tucked into a scorching red pencil skirt, topped off with red heels. But, with the celebration of the airline’s 30th Anniversary this year, it’s about that time for a snazzy refresh so as to continue “flying in the face of ordinary,” as the airline’s slogan goes. For this, Virgin Atlantic paired with UK designer and punk powerhouse Vivienne Westwood. The new uniforms were just unveiled July 1 in London, and will roll out for all Virgin Atlantic staff, from cabin crew to flight crew, and desk agents to Clubhouse hospitality.
Alas, a flash of the new uniform as it swishes down the airplane aisle isn't enough to appreciate the detail. Aside from the fact that it’s now easier to care for with a new tech “nano finish" (the earlier uniform was dry clean only) and yarn made from recycled plastic bottles, there are small secrets hidden in every dart and under each lapel, telling the story of the collaboration between England’s flag-carrying airline and one of the country's most iconic fashion influences.
Although the uniforms don’t officially take flight for the entire Virgin Atlantic fleet until September 1, keep an eye out for a preview on your next VS flight; crew have been heading to the airline’s Base near Gatwick Airport to pick up their full looks since this past weekend. Here's what to look for:
Live Music Travel / Wales Travel / How To Get Tickets To / Music Festivals / Festival Number 6 / → All Tags
If you decided to skip the Glastonbury Festival only to regret it, there is another UK music festival coming up that might be the next best thing.
Festival Number 6, taking place September 5 -7, 2014, has a musical lineup that includes Pet Shop Boys, Beck, London Calling, James Holden, Jon Hopkins and dozens more, along with comedians, artists, film premieres, pop-up raves, and gourmet treats.
Inside the Amenity Kit / Amenity Kits / Business Class Travel / Virgin Atlantic / First Class Travel / Airline Pajamas / In-Flight Comfort / → All Tags
We come across some downright awesome airline amenity kits in our travels, and the surprises of each zippered pouch can often make or break comfort on a premium flight. With this in mind, here's to our new series: Inside the Amenity Kit, wherein we unzip, unwrap, and expose the loot inside:
It's crazy to think that a passenger flying Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class could be in for more treats after experiencing the delights of the airline's airport Clubhouses, but it's true. Following a spa treatment, cocktails, and a full hot dinner (all complimentary) at the JFK Clubhouse, for example, Upper Class flyers then settle into the full-flat seats onboard and are handed an amenity kit (plus a small, appetizer snack bowl of Tyrrell's crisps).
The grey felt pouch has a looped leather-like strap and an interior lined in Virgin's signature scarlet. It's made of recycled materials, plus it's unisex, chic, and easy to reuse for purposes beyond stashing your in-flight amenities. In plainer terms, it's just right.
Don’t expect to be cuddling up with the latest in in-flight blanket technology anytime soon, but the folks over at British Airways are testing out a new wool blend in the cabin—complete with embedded electronics.
Basically it’s a mood ring but in blanket form, as the thing has tiny little LEDs inside of it that change colors to blue or red depending on someone’s feelings. Travelers wear some kind of band thing on their heads, and then their feelings and what not are transmitted to the blanket over Bluetooth. Blankets that are blue reflect cool and comfortable travelers, and those that change to a shade of crimson indicate that there might be some stress going on—or that they need a refill on their drink.
Royal Travel / London Travel / Events / Palaces / Tours / Historical Travel / Britain Travel / Summer Travel / → All Tags
A little riddle for you: What costs $35 per person, doesn't allow you to take photographs, and is gold all over? Ding ding dingthe State Rooms at London's Buckingham Palace, which opens very soon for their annual round of public tours. To be specific, the Queen's address will accept visitors from July 26 - September 28, 2014.
As we've experienced in past years, travelers to London will be clamoring to get in, not only to tread on the Queen's lush carpets and gawk at heirlooms, but to view this year's exhibition on "The Royal Childhood" and what it's like to grow up living in a palace.
Tickets for walk-ups will be rare to nonexistent, so going online for guaranteed tix is the best route. Here's how to do it:
Few things are as closely associated with James Bond as his cars: gleaming and tricked-out when introduced by Q, usually in less-than-stellar condition by the time the credits roll. For fans of the franchise, and even those just interested in how (stunt) movie scenes are created and brought to life, the London Film Museum should be on the shortlist of places to visit this year for the “Bond In Motion” exhibit, with the largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles.
Having walked by plenty of times, we recently made a spur of the moment visit, which was totally worth it.
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Paris, London, Tokyo, Sydney...a list of world capitals may make for a respectable "places visited" list, but don't consider it complete without time spent on the open ocean. To be specific, we're talking about taking a transatlantic crossing, sailing between Southampton, UK and New York, NY.
We've already done the math to discover that going by Cunard's RMS Queen Mary 2 ocean liner is half the cost of flying Business Class, but now to face the biggest decision: eastbound or westbound?
We’re suckers for a good airline or airport reality show, and that’s why we’re excited to hear about the latest offering from the good people over at the BBC. They’ve been following around their hometown—or home country—airline for quite some time, and now it looks like the very first episodes of A Very British Airline are hitting the airwaves.
The series promises to show all the ins and outs of running an airline, but it also reveals a behind the scenes look at some of the business and branding of the airline. It’s not just all runways and airplanes, as the cameras also hit the boardroom to check on operational choices and other big deal decisions.
Airline Lounges / Concorde / British Airways / London Travel / LHR / First Class Travel / → All Tags
The chances of any of us that didn’t fly Concorde back in the day to experience what it was like to fly Mach 2 on the iconic plane are slim to none. Supersonic travel shows no signs of resurgence, and even if it were coming back, we doubt the original Concorde would be part of it.
While you can see a stationery Concorde in a number of places, there is one airport plenty of travelers pass through where you can still sit in a Concorde seat, even if it is before you get on a plane and take off. We're referring to London’s Heathrow Airport or, more specifically, British Airways' appropriately named Terminal 5 flagship lounge, the Concorde Room.