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Airport Security / Terrorism / Travel News / Airline Security / San Francisco Travel / SFO / San Francisco / Congress / Travel Politics / Politics Travel / → All Tags
This is a downer of a Friday story, but it's already getting some traction on travel sites. Plus it's going to be airport security news for the next few weeks. Plus it's probably going to affect your actual, physical airport experience. So you might as well get it on your radar now.
The short version - and you can read longer takes with details and videos here and here - is that the spring issue of Al Qaeda's lead magazine Inspire had a picture of the SFO AirTrain, which they captioned "Stand up, pack your tools of destruction, assemble your bomb, ready the detonation." You can understand why some people are talking about this.
Combining the wonderful world of Ferrari with all things theme park seems to be a great idea, as the Ferrari theme park empire is moving beyond its home over in Abu Dhabi. Park officials are getting ready for a second theme park, as it sounds like they're packing up some cars, rides, and corn dogs and heading over to Spain.
Park number two will be known as Ferrari Land—as opposed to the original, Ferrari World—and it’s going to be constructed as part of the PortAventura resort area a little more than an hour outside Barcelona.
As recently as a week ago, the consensus was that the coverage surrounding MH370 - though by turns saddening, horrifying, and infuriating - wasn't really damaging the reputation of Malaysia Airlines. The Sydney Morning Herald interviewed a bunch of analysts who went even further, saying that not only was there limited erosion right now, but that any negative impact in the future "was likely to be modest and short-lived." Things were obviously not going well, and most people expected the worst, but airline disasters are often treated far more as generic tragedies than airline-specific incompetence. That seemed to be happening here.
If that's how things end up - if MH finally emerges from this crash with its brand more or less intact - it won't be because they didn't make spectacular efforts to fuck it up. Instead, it's like the airline went out of its way to alienate people, from the victims' families to entire countries. This took some effort.
It kind of pains us to share this information with you, but we feel that it is our responsibility and duty to report on things such as this. It sounds like everyone’s favorite reality show family—The Kardashians—is getting into the travel business.
VH1 is reporting that the family is in the process of starting a travel company where trips will be based on the adventures they take, so we guess that means there will be vacations to places like Bora Bora and Greece. We may or may not know this from watching the show.
This week we welcome a new addition to the awesome Instagramers with Pure New Zealand, the folks behind promoting the natural beauty of the island nation in the South Pacific. Started only this month, they've been pretty active already with a myriad of photos, ranging from city-scapes to nature shots with a gentle sprinkling of requisite Hobbit snaps.
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IATA, the International Air Transport Association, released numbers yesterday that showed premium travel to be on the rise. Premium passenger numbers rose 6.1% in January, up from the 4.2% growth in the same month of 2013. Much of the increase is attributed to "positive business developments," especially in the Far East.
"Growth in Asian trade activity over recent months has helped support international business and premium travel," the report said. "There have been some signs of improvement in trade growth in regions like Europe, the US and Asia. This has helped support the stronger growth we are seeing in business-related premium travel over recent months."
Travel News / Airline News / IATA / Airlines / → All Tags
Higher oil prices resulting from the current crisis in Ukraine prompted the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to reduce its 2014 profit predictions from $19.7 to $18.7 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
To see that the industry will net close to $19 billion dollars may stir frustration in passengers who feel they are nickeled and dimed every step of the way, but further statistics released show just how slim the margin for error is for airlines, most notably concerning profit per passenger: Airlines made $2.05 per passenger in 2012; $4.13 in 2013; and predicts to make $5.65 in 2014.
As we talked about in our recent review of a "state of the union" type travel book, the Chinese are without question the biggest and most important market that will determine and shape the future of tourism. But having been sheltered for so long by their own government, their transition into worldly travelers has not been a smooth process by any stretch of the imagination.
As recently as last year, complaints flooded in from around the world about the behavior of Chinese tourists abroad. In an effort to curb the declining reputation of its citizens and the country as a whole, the Chinese government issued a pamphlet that laid out some guidelines for how to act in another country.
While some of the recommendations where good ones that explained cultural differences, such as not drinking soup straight from the bowl, the behavior guide ended up backfiring in a way, as the media highlighted many of the more peculiar suggestions. The Mirror, for example, opened its article with this:
Travel News / Singapore Travel / Singapore Airlines / SIN / Budget Travel / Luxury Travel / → All Tags
The Economist Intelligence Unit has just named their "most expensive cities" for 2014 and, knocking Tokyo from the top, the year's winner is Singapore. As the headlines around this ranking circulate, we feel it's important to note that this is for living in a city, and not simply traveling there. Singapore is actually one of the more affordable city destinations, and caters to all budgets.
For example, travelers can pay over $400 per night for a stay at the historic Raffles Hotel, or to splash in the famous infinity pool of the Marina Bay Sands. On the flip side, a night at one of our favorite hostels, the 5footway Inn, is only $25-$40. A room in a great boutique hotel will average $130 per night, but the big chains love to go luxe in Singapore with a $225 average.
Airfare is on par with average fares to London or Paris, even though with a trip to Singapore, you get thousands and thousands more miles for your money. Budget travelers should even keep a look-out for Singapore Airlines' occasional flight deals, like a recent one which offered US to Singapore in the airline's award-winning economy class for $999 roundtrip.
Theme Park Travel / Amusement Park Travel / Harry Potter / Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / Travel News / Orlando Travel / → All Tags
Although there's still no official opening date, the summer 2014 debut of the addition to Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park is heating up with tantalizing new previews.
First off, let's discuss the Hogwarts Express, which is simply a stationary attraction in the first version of the park. Come this summer, however, when version 2 opens, it will be a fully functioning train, connecting the wizarding and muggle worlds through a detailed recreation of London's King's Cross station. Yes, you'll need to look for Platform 9 3/4, but the most important thing to know is that riding the Hogwarts Express will require guests to have a park-to-park ticket, as the train travels from Universal Studios into the Island of Adventure.
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It’s that time of year once again, as the Spring Break season is upon us. The folks over at Travelocity are happy to share the season, as they have created a sweet little infographic showing where people are headed and how much they’re spending on airfare.
There’s been roughly a 15% increase in year-to-year domestic travel, but those heading overseas shouldn’t really see many more tourists than normal. It’s not surprising that Florida takes the top spot, with a specific focus on South Florida. Newcomers to the top ten list include a couple of aloha destinations, as both Maui and Honolulu now take in their fair share of spring breakers willing to go a bit far for their fun.
So take a minute to view the full infographic, and start dreaming about your Spring Break destination (of course after the spring breakers have left!). We’d say that the season kicks off in just over a week or so, and continues until probably around the middle of April. You've been warned.
Recent assessments from the CIA indicate that Al Qaeda-linked terrorists are creating new shoe bombs that have the ability to generate multiple casualties on airplanes. Reports of the new threats came alongside other warnings - specifically but not entirely related to the Sochi Olympics - that terrorists are seeking to hide explosives in toothpaste and cosmetic tubes. Happy middle of the week everyone!
Putting aside the crazies who say that news about terrorism is designed to scare the American sheeple into letting the United Nations inject our kids with vaccinated fluoride (or whatever) there are usually two ways that people react kinds of stories of heightened threats.