All about Star Alliance on their 20th Anniversary

Chances are you have seen The Star Alliance symbol on aeroplanes, airline check-in counters, airport lounges or Boarding Passes. Started by just five airlines 20 years old this week, it is the biggest of the six major airline groupings across the world. – The Six Major Airline Alliances These groupings of airlines share sales office, ground support and lounges, code share flights and jointly market their products. The benefit for us, is that the Alliance allows customers to get similar reciprocal benefits across the airline members. By size the alliances are: Star Alliance has 27 member…

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Finnish Moomin themed Kids Hospital

Continuing the theme of my recent reviews of Finnair and Finnish capital Helsinki, comes today’s story which caught my attention. Finns are very proud of their Moomins, friendly trolls who live in the MoominValley. Moomins are happy go lucky warm hearted creatures who embrace adventures with gusto. They also face potentially ruinous situations with a positiveness and open ness that can be inspiring. Which is one reason why it makes sense for the new Children’s Hospital in Helsinki to adopt a Moomin theme. The New Children’s Hospital will have eight floors above ground, a basement, and…

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Cathay Pacific Business Short Hop: Bangkok to Singapore

There is a massive amount of choice between Bangkok and Singapore with at least eleven airlines competing for passengers. I the midst of the clamour, the Cathay pacific option provides a nice calming option. The timing is really nice with an 11:50am departure giving one time to check out of the hotel at a civilised time and get to the airport after morning peak. Arrival into Singapore at 3:20pm gets you to your hotel just before the evening rush in Singapore, allows a check in and shower and then a chance to go for a walk,…

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Testing the Best Booking Engines for International Travel

Two weeks ago, Frommers announced the results of testing airfare booking sites. Frommer’s tested sites on last-minute flights which left within 72 hours) and APEX fares which are booked six weeks out. They used major routeings such as New York to Los Angeles and secondary ones such as Philadelphia to Rome. They also had some interesting routeings such as Denver to Delhi and London to Barcelona. Their weighted scoring system included negative points for finding the worst fares on each leg. The final ranking of ten sites roughly correlated with my experiences. Over the last six to twelve months,…

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I ride that Famous Train through a market (And how You can do it)

Have you see pictures or videos of that train which goes through a market in an Asian country?. As the train moves through the market, the market stands are moved out of its way.  Here is the market being set up again after the train has passed through: From the moment, I first saw such a video, I became obsessed with getting to that market. Finally, I have done it! Location and Orientation The market is a genuine working market located in Thailand in a town called Mae Klong which is just 70km (40 miles) from…

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Watching the Destruction of Pompei

What is it with my fascination with disasters?  For example, I watch Air Crash Investigations the night before going on a long flight! Many of us have been to contemporary Italy and seen the remains of Pompe. I just discovered this time lapse video of 21st August 79, the day Vesuvius erupted and wiped out the town. It is a very clever and gripping re-creation. Have you experienced a volcanic eruption?

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Etihad Business Cairo to Bangkok summed up in one word: Inconsistent

Today’s review of Etihad’s ride from Cairo to Bangkok through their hub in Abu Dhabi is a perfect example of how I find Etihad’s product can be so inconsistent. When their service is good, it is excellent. When it is bad, it is average! Booking: 10/10 There are a vast array of airlines and flight options from Cairo to Bangkok. Cairo is a very cheap hub in the Middle East for originating flights. In fact, it was cheaper for me to fly from Dubai to Cairo and then fly onto Bangkok back through the UAE than…

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Be Careful with Your Hands – When your innocent Hand Gestures might be Rude (NB Rude Images)

We use our hands all the time to point, wave and express our feelings. It has been a source of amusement that what is okay in some cultures can be an offensive gesture in another. The first time I went to Disneyworld, one of my friends excitedly told me about the way Disney employees are trained to point. They are not allowed to point with one finger. One reason is that it is easier for kids to see when you pointing with two fingers and another is that in some cultures pointing with one finger…

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Qantas Gold for Life- After 20 years

A minor monumental moment happened this week for me, when Qantas shifted me from Lifetime Silver to Lifetime Gold in recognition of the 385 flights and 562,430 miles flown with them since I joined the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme 20 years ago in 1997. (Plus the few hundred thousand miles on partner carriers such as American, British and Cathay Pacific). Lifetime Gold is the equivalent of One World Sapphire. I am pretty excited by being a Gold member for life. It means that while I am alive and Qantas is in business  and they do not change the rules (important…

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Europe’s LCC Wizz is 14 -plans to keep on Wizzing!

I have been fascinated with Wizzair for over a decade. They have been aiming for dominance of European skies from their Hungarian base.  Celebrating their 14th birthday this month, they now operate 80 aircraft from 19 bases in ten countries across Central and Eastern Europe flying to a massive 140 cities in 50 countries. They have now flown 100 million people. For most of its history, Wizzair reportedly lost money. So much so that in  2009, they were voted by Bookmaker Paddy Power as the next airline likely to go bust. Interesting that both airlines Wizz were…

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