Air NZ does it yet again! A take on Winter Wonderland -Southern Hemisphere style

Air New Zealand engaged Ronan Keating to re-write Winter Wonderland so it makes sense for New Zealand summer! The song is directed by Julian Dennison who this year starred in Hunt for the Wilderpeople (and before that Paper Planes and Shopping). Dennison suggests more and more New Zealand references (some of which won’t make much sense to people outside the country). Eventually Keating storms out… There is a happy ending though and the two end up composing a “Summer Wonderland”, a Christmas song that makes sense for Kiwis. Makes you proud to be from the Southern…

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My 10 Worst Travel Experiences

Create your own visited countries map or check out the JavaScript Charts. I have been to or lived in sixty-two countries. Most of my experiences have been wonderful and magical. There are a very few that were pretty awful: Being threatened with being tortured or shot by the army in El Salvador just after the Civil War- they had not made their mind up what to do to me. Clearly, I survived. Having my bus blown up in the Middle East two stops before mine. I still reflect carefully on life as six  on the…

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My Maldives

I had a great time in the Maldives, a place of stunning waters and beautiful sands. Have you been? Aesthetics: 8/10 The Maldives are made up of 19 atolls which sit on a long underwater North -south ridge that rises up from the bottom of the Indian ocean. Covering an area roughly the state of Maine or the country of Portugal, the country’s 90,000 square kilometre area is home to 300,000 people. Each atoll consists of a ring-shaped coral reef. The largest of these atolls are approximately 30 miles North to south (50km) and 20…

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Lowest-ever Eurostar fares to Paris — NB seats not guaranteed

The Independent is reporting that Eurostar is offering its lowest-ever fare: £19 one-way from London to Lille or Paris or Brussels. The tickets are not easy to buy, however: The offer is available only for Facebook users, from snap.eurostar.com. You must book at least a week in advance You cannot choose the departure time for the train — only opting for morning or afternoon travel. Two days before travel, Eurostar will confirm the exact time of the train Bookings will open on Monday, 21 November and close eight days later. Also you may have to sit…

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An Anachronism- Getting Rid of Passports

In around the world in 80 days, Phileas Fogg of London and his French valet Jean Passepartout (his name means goes everyhwere”) circumnavigate the world in 80 days. Phileas Fogg travels by steam train and coal burning ocean ships, communicates by telegram, uses shillings and presents his passport at consular offices around the world. I have had my current passport for almost seven years. In the time I have held it, I have flown 492 times. For the international flights and any domestic flights in the USA and UK, it will be looked at between…

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Airlines of Thailand receive key safety rating upgrade

In March last year, Thai-registered airlines were placed under “special measures” by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This followed an ICAO audit that found concerns over the  Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand’s ability to manage the air operator certification process. This led to Japan,  South Korea and the USA blocking any new flights by Thai-registered airlines. Now,  Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia are expected to have air operating certificates  re-issued in Februray, 2017 by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. Five more airlines will get theirs by March. A further 17 Thai airlines will get…

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Who is the best One World airline?

It’s an interest obsession of mine to “collect” airlines flown. I am inching closer to 100 different airlines flown. Some of those carriers are no longer flying. In most cases this a tragedy (eg Pan Am, Ansett Australia, Malev) and in others, probably a good thing (Air Australia). I’ve flown airlines that belong to all of the three major airline alliances (One World, Skyteam and Star Alliance).  Truth be told, most of my flights have been with One World carriers, however. So I pricked up my ears when on Wednesday, the CEO of IAG (Iberia/British Airways) suggested…

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The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

At 11 am on 11th November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of World War One. 98 years ago, my Grandfather was in the thick of it. Turkey signed an armistice at the end of October 1918, Austria-Hungary followed on 3rd November. The German Kaiser abdicated on 9th November, 1918 and on 11th November, 1918 an armistice was signed and the war was over. Between nine and 13 million people perished in this war. Many still have no resting place. My Grandfather was injured twice in World…

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Qantas 737 Business between NZ and Australia

WLG: Wellington,  New Zealand to SYD: Sydney, Australia QF164: Scheduled Departure: 15:55 Arrival: 17:40  Distance: 5,689 km -1,387 miles Auckland to Sydney is a route rich with options. China Airlines (Skyteam), Air New  Zealand (Star),  Latam and Qantas (One World), Emirates and Virgin Australia all offer flights across the”The Ditch” (which is how Aussies and Kiwis refer to the Tasman Sea). I have flown every one of these airlines in the past few years.  However, between Wellington and Sydney, only two airlines fly and only Qantas offers Business Class seats. Booking: 8/10 Qantas booking engine is much improved. There are still a few small…

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