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Call Gulf “Arabian” instead of “Persian” Could Ground Planes

February 23, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,News,Travel Tips | 0 comments

persian arabian gulf ground planes

There is great sensitivity in the Middle East on what to call the body of water between Iran and the Arabian penninsula – and now it’s affecting airlines that fly in and out of Iran.

As might be expected, the Saudis favor the term “Arabian Gulf”, but Iran insists on “Persian Gulf” and has warned airlines that if they don’t used that term on their flight monitors, they will be banned from Iranian airspace. Do it again and the government may ground your planes.

Don’t think it could happen? The Washington Post suggests otherwise, noting that a Greek flight attendant with a private Iranian airline used or allowed the term “Arabian Gulf” to be used on a monitor over the weekend – and has since been expelled from the country.

Latest Strike Action: Air Traffic Controllers in France

February 23, 2010 | Posted in: Europe,News | 0 comments

strike air traffic controllers france

Now underway is a five day strike by French air traffic controllers, which is already severely disrupting short- and medium-haul flights at Orly and Charles de Gaulle.

However, we are told that Air France is supposed to be continuing all intercontinental flights. To be on the safe side, though – keep checking their website – and if in doubt, call.

This strike is supposed to be over by week’s end. Next up: British Airways cabin crews – but no date for their expected strike is yet available (please don’t surprise us).

Apple Bans Sexy Apps

February 23, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick,News | 0 comments

apple bans sexy apps

UPDATE: Apple seems to be changing its tune, and may allow the sale of “sexy” apps under a new “Explicit” category – stay tuned…

There are many travel apps out there, so I felt I could post about this on a travel-related blog in good conscience.

It seems Apple, that 900 million pound gorilla, has tightened restrictions on “sexy or suggestive apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch” – so says CNN.

Apparently, they were getting customer complaints from women who “found the content getting too degrading and objectionable” – and some parents were concerned about their children seeing it.

I just hope a certain little gnome continues to dress in the tasteful and conservative manner for which he is well known…

New Elvis Sighting at Airport? No, Just Hackers w/Fake Passport

February 23, 2010 | Posted in: Europe,Travel Tips | 0 comments

elvis airport hackers fake passport

Sorry fans, but the King did not leave rock ‘n’ roll heaven for a visit to Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport – it was just a couple of so-called “ethical hackers” who were testing security.

And security failed. Or at least it did back in the fall of 2008 when hackers Adam Laurie and Jeroen Van Beek conducted their experiment (and why they’re talking about it now isn’t clear and the CNN article doesn’t say).

Be that as it may, they doctored a biometric passport – complete with Mr. Presley’s picture – to show “how easy it is to fool a passport scanner with a fraudulent biometric chip” – and I guess it also shows you can sometimes go through security without anyone saying, “Hey, wait a minute, you’re not Elvis!”

Read more about how they did it, here. So, is security foolproof? No, and it never will be. But that doesn’t mean you don’t keep trying. Those of you with suspicious minds are free to sound off below…

Lufthansa Strike Over, For Now. Up Next – British Airways

February 22, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,Europe,News | 2 comments

KEY WORDS

UPDATE: As we knew would happen, British Airways cabin crew members today voted to okay a strike, but no date has been set.

EARLIER: The Associated Press is reporting that the Lufthansa pilots strike is over, and they will be heading back to the cockpits.

The news came after a two hour long court hearing; now the union officials say they will resume negotiations.

Again, no further action for now. Or at least, no further action until March 9 – so says the union.

Cheap Flights to New York, Plus Save by Sharing a Taxi

February 22, 2010 | Posted in: Deals,Travel Tips | 0 comments

cheap flights new york share cab

Such a deal: fly to New York for cheap, then when you’re in the city, you can share a cab. Or, do New Yorkers think that’s really such a great idea?

Whether they do or they don’t, three-preset routes in Manhattan now offer cab sharing, says the New York Times, for 3 to 4 people per taxi. These routes only operate during the morning rush hour, and all take you along Park Ave. and wind up at Grand Central (but you can get off wherever you want). Cost: a flat rate of $3 to $4 per rider.

And getting to New York is nice, too. Take a look at these flights I just found, for roundtrip travel in March:

March – say, that reminds me – St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner…

Lufthansa Strike: Note to United, US Airways, Continental Fliers

February 22, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,News,United,US Airways | 0 comments

lufthansa strike united us airways continental fliers

You already know that 4,000 Lufthansa pilots walked off the job overnight, but did you know at least 800 flights have been canceled today, and including “many long-haul flights to the U.S.” affecting cities like New York and Denver?

Reminder: Lufthansa is a member of the Star Alliance – as is, Continental, United and US Airways. According to CNN, partner airlines were preparing for the strike – and a spokeswoman for Continental Airlines told CNN on Sunday that the airline will offer passengers refunds or rebook their travel if they are affected (note they said “if”).

My advice: Do not assume your flight is canceled – or that it is still on. Contact your airline and find out.

The pilots say they want a raise, but even more important to them is job security. Meantime, they are sending Lufthansa a powerful message – the strike is estimated to be costing the airline in the neighborhood of $33 million a day. The walkout is expected to end late Thursday.

Most Annoying Passengers: Kids, Dogs, Fat Folks, or Stinkers?

February 22, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,Passengers,Southwest | 12 comments

annoying passengers kids dogs fat stink

Oh, do I get letters (well, comments, actually).

I’m talking about any and every time I post about annoying passengers. Now, it’s hard to top the woman who went on a drunken rampage that ended up with her drinking from a liquid soap dispenser, but believe me, stories about “screaming kids” are right up there.

And pets! I hear a lot about in-cabin dogs and cats, and none of it is complimentary – especially from those who suffer from allergies.

There were tons of comments about the flame war touched off by Hollywood’s Kevin “Too Fat to Fly” Smith, after he was forced off a Southwest plane. But interest in that paled in comparison to the guy who was dumped from his flight because he smelled so bad.

Is there a solution? There has to be – there are too many of us who fit in one category or another (well, I don’t think there are too many “stinkers” around, but I could be wrong).

So tell me, what’s #1 on your “worst passenger” list? And while airlines have some policies regarding these passengers, they don’t seem to work so well. Can you come up with something better? I’m all ears…

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