British Airways Billboards Interact With Their Planes

ba

British Airways has created what they call a first in the British advertising industry with a new digital billboard that aims to give drivers a bad case of wanderlust.

Debuted on a billboard along a busy road in Chiswick, a suburb that lies between London and Heathrow airport, the interactive ad directs drivers’ gaze skyward as a child points to an overhead plane and the screen shows its flight information. “Look, it’s flight BA475 from Barcelona,” it may read.

According to marketing website The Drum, the ad uses surveillance technology that tracks the aircraft to provide live flight information.

The strategy by ad agency Ogilvy 12th Floor is an attempt to remind customers “how magical flying can be” by using the waddling image of a small child, says The Drum.

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Say Goodbye To The World’s Longest Flight

flight

The world’s longest nonstop commercial flight ended without fanfare Monday after Singapore Airlines (SIA) flew its last nearly 19-hour service from New York.

Flight SQ 21 landed early Monday in Changi Airport, bringing an end to a nine-year run. A direct service to Los Angeles has also been cancelled as part of a fleet renewal.

Analysts said the rise in fuel prices since 2004, when the 15,335-kilometre (9,529-mile)service was launched to cater to business travellers, made it economically unsustainable.

The cancellation of the service was first announced a year ago. Five Airbus A340-500s used by SIA for the service to New York — through neighbouring Newark — are being swapped for Airbus A380 superjumbos, a larger but more fuel-efficient model that is not designed for such distances.

The 100-seat, all business-class service to New York was pricey but passengers flew in comfort and saved hours of travel time by not having to make stopovers. A Singapore travel agency said the last list price for the New York direct service was Sg$14,000 ($11,180).

Ultra long-range routes have proven to be uneconomical, making it unlikely there will be a return of flights over 17 hours, which can only be flown by the niche A340-500 or (Boeing) 777-200LR.

Three routes now share the distinction of being the longest in terms of duration — Dubai-Houston, Dubai-Los Angeles and Johannesburg-Atlanta — at 16 hours and 20 minutes.

In terms of distance, a Qantas flight from Sydney to Dallas will be the longest, but tailwinds enable it to be completed in 15 hours and 20 minutes.

Airbus A340-500

Louis Vuitton’s Red Square Trunk To Be Removed

louis vuitton

Louis Vuitton thought a two-story designer suitcase plonked in the middle of Red Square was a way to celebrate its more than century-old ties to Russia. Turns out not so much

The massive trunk measures 100 feet long and 30 feet high. It’s actually a pavilion set up, in front of Lenin’s Mausoleum to host an exhibition of the company’s luggage for the next six weeks.

But despite their apparently insatiable appetite for luxury brands, Muscovites saw the structure as a tacky. That message appears to have finally gotten the Kremlin’s ear.

Russian officials today reportedly announced they would have the massive structure removed, citing complaints from residents as well has building code violations.

A spokesman for the GUM shopping center, which takes up one side of Red Square and is home to LV and other ultra-high end shops, also said it would ask the company to remove the suitcase.

The trunk was not only considered an eyesore, but also an impediment to the upcoming New Year’s celebrations. Muscovites usually gather in the square for fireworks and drinking at midnight and were not happy about the prospects of sharing the space with a massive suitcase.

Superfast Broadband Goes Live In Rural Cambridgeshire

broadband

The switch on marks the start of Connecting Cambridgeshire’s roll out of fibre broadband in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The first fibre-enabled cabinet to go live was in the rural village of Grafham, near Huntingdon.

The roadside cabinet is one of ten new cabinets around the county being connected to the fibre network that should high-speed broadband benefit residents and businesses in the community.

Other new cabinets going live today include ones in Buckden, Cambridge (Coleridge and Queen Edith’s), Offord D’Arcy, St Ives, Somersham and Whittlesey – extending the existing fibre coverage delivered under BT’s commercial plans. Connecting Cambridgeshire, the organisation tasks with overseeing the project, said the new boxes would be the first of many to follow over the next two years.

On Connecting Cambridgeshre’s Twitter feed, the organisation said that parts of Diddington and Offord Cluny would go live today.

More than 1500 homes and businesses linked to these cabinets will be able to receive faster broadband speeds of 24Mbps and higher before Christmas by upgrading to superfast broadband with their chosen service provider.

Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Councillor Martin Curtis, will cut the ribbon on the new Grafham cabinet on behalf of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme .

“Our Connecting Cambridgeshire superfast broadband programme has had fantastic support from all over Cambridgeshire and Peterborough,” said Curtis. “We know many people have been eagerly anticipating the first phase of the roll-out since the signing of the contract with BT in March. I am delighted that we have achieved our promise to see our investment start delivering fibre broadband for homes and businesses before the end of this year.”

Bill Murphy, Managing Director of Next Generation Access for BT, said: “It is a fantastic achievement that people in Cambridgeshire are already seeing the benefits of this programme. This investment in fibre broadband will boost the local economy and help to create or protect local jobs both in communities like Grafham and across the whole of Cambridgeshire. It will be of enormous benefit to local businesses which can use the faster speeds to improve their competitiveness both within the UK and abroad.”

The switch on comes after a deal with done between Cambridgeshire County Council and BT to enable 98 per cent of premises across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to access superfast broadband.

Lanvin Outfits Arsenal

arsenal

Currently sitting at the top of the English Premier League, Arsenal has been given an added boost ahead of the game this Saturday against Southampton with a stylish new club suit designed by Lanvin.

Created by Lanvin Homme designer Lucas Ossendrijver, the midnight blue suits feature a small gold Arsenal crest on the lapel and are worn with white poplin shirts and a solid red tie. Accessories include black Lanvin derby shoes, a matching belt, and Arsenal-engraved cufflinks.

“We are delighted to welcome Lanvin to the Club as our official tailor,” said Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s sales and marketing director.

“The fashion house has a remarkable history and proud heritage, and is an institution in its field having opened in 1889, only three years after Arsenal played its first match. The suits are a classic design, and will give players and staff a unified and stylish appearance”.

Earlier this month Italian brand Versace unveiled smart off-field designs for Spanish giants Real Madrid. And the football and fashion tie-ins are a popular trend: Arsenal’s domestic rivals Manchester United have their tailoring provided by Paul Smith, while back in Italy it’s Dolce & Gabbana who outfit AC Milan.

Is The Green Light For Wireless Internet On Planes Worth Celebrating?

inflight wifi

One of life’s major travel irritations is about to disappear. No longer will flight attendants order you to turn off your tablet, smartphone or iPod when the airliner in which you’re flying is lining up to land.

This follows near-simultaneous decisions by US and European aviation authorities to legalise the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) from gate to gate. Nervous travellers should be able to listen to soothing music as the plane touches down, while the hard-pressed businessman can use every spare second to finish his powerpoint presentation. Planespotters will be able to snap away through the window as the aircraft taxies in.

The new rules will also allow use of the internet and text messages on wi-fi-equipped airliners. And it has raised fears that a new menace will be unleashed – the business wonk bellowing “I’m on the plane!” down his phone. At the moment, it looks like you’ll be able to use pretty much every function of your smartphone – except voice.

App-driven US inflight w-ifi supplier Gogo is planning a Text & Talk service – but will focus on text (© Gogo)

Gogo

App-driven US inflight wi-fi supplier Gogo is planning a Text & Talk service – but will focus on text

Lots more talking?

But Gogo, a US company that supplies in-flight wi-fi to many US airlines including American, Delta, United and US Airways, is touting an app-based system called, ominously, Text & Talk, which it plans to introduce next year.

Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s chief marketing officer, said: “While we see this as more of a text messaging product for commercial airlines in the US, the phone functionality is something that some international air carriers and our business aviation customers are asking for.” Basically, the phone function is pitched at private jet users, and the airlines are unlikely to adopt the “Talk” part of Text & Talk… for now at least.

The European Commission has announced that airlines will be able to offer their passengers internet access via 3G and 4G connections, which will be active above an altitude of 3,000m – so no access until you’re airborne, and no access on final approach.

Airlines such as Norwegian pictured here already have onboard wi-fi facilities (© Norwegian)

Norwegian

Airlines such as Norwegian pictured here already have onboard wi-fi facilities

The Commission’s announcement follows a decision by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to allow the use of personal electronics such as smartphones, tablets and e-readers during all phases of a flight. But bulky devices such as laptops will still need to be stowed during take-off, landing and taxiing, EASA said, as they could slow down evacuations in an emergency.

EASA will issue formal guidance on in-flight use of devices and the use of mobile broadband connections by the end of November. This is expected to be broadly similar to new policies adopted across the Atlantic, and will allow devices to be used at all times in ‘flight-safe mode’.
All change in the air

Last month the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) announced: “Airlines can safely expand passenger use of PEDs during all phases of flight, and the FAA is immediately providing the airlines with implementation guidance. Due to differences among fleets and operations, the implementation will vary among airlines, but the agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.”

If there’s no in-plane wi-fi, devices must remain in ‘flight-safe mode’ under the new FAA rules, so you won’t be able to use them for voice communications or data transmission through mobile networks. However, short-range, device-to-device communication, through Bluetooth for example, will be allowed.

Tablets, smartphones and other devices will be usable from gate to gate, not just at cruising altitude (© American Airlines)

American Airlines

Tablets, smartphones and other devices will be usable from gate to gate, not just at cruising altitude

So why the change? After all, for many years airlines have steadfastly insisted that there has been a risk of PEDs interfering with the aircraft’s systems. Is this now no longer the case, or have the airlines been telling porkies? Worse, have commercial pressures been brought to bear on legislators that could compromise safety?

Safe and secure?

Really, the tide of opinion has simply turned. The evidence that PEDs can endanger flights has always been rather sketchy. Most of it is anecdotal, dating from 10 years ago or more, when mobile phone use started to become commonplace. At the same time, digital systems started to become the norm in airliners. Airliners such as the Airbus A320, with glass cockpits and fly-by-wire systems, started to replace older types, such as the Boeing 727 and 737-200, and the McDonnell Douglas MD-80, with their analogue instruments and mechanical control linkages.

There were reports of instruments giving false readings, which the flight crew believed may have been caused by the use of mobile phones or other devices such as portable CD players. But attempts to replicate these instrument malfunctions in flight tests proved inconclusive. Boeing even bought actual customers’ laptops that it believed had interfered with systems, but could not get the problem to repeat under tests. A more likely explanation was simply teething troubles for the aircrafts’ new systems – bugs that were soon ironed out over many thousands of hours in service.

Is in-flight connectivity going to cause passenger tensions? (© AP Images)

Is all this new in-flight connectivity going to cause passenger tensions?

A different wavelength?

In any case, mobile phones use different frequencies to aircraft communications systems. There is evidence to suggest phones do generate levels of radio frequency (RF) interference, and in extreme circumstances this can cause levels of background noise, making communications between pilot and control tower difficult. But weather conditions can have a similar effect – it’s something pilots are used to.

In the past, authorities have tended to err on the side of caution. In 2006, the US non-profit Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics tested the effects of mobile phones, wi-fi and portable electronic devices on planes for the FAA. It concluded that there was insufficient information to support changing the policies that prevented the use of PEDs. In other words, there was no evidence that these devices could interfere with a plane’s systems, and there was no evidence that they couldn’t.

But the fact remains no airliner has ever crashed as a result of the use of PEDs. And in recent years there has been a growing sentiment among the travelling public that the airlines’ demands to turn off PEDs has no factual basis, especially as the over-arching PED rules encompass non-communicating electronic devices that did not exist at the time the original restrictions were introduced in the 1990s, such as e-readers or iPods.

Devices such as tablets and e-readers weren’t around when the now-scrapped restrictions were introduced (© Getty)

Devices such as tablets and e-readers weren’t around when the now-scrapped restrictions were introduced

Customer always right?

At the same time, the rise in popularity of tablets and smartphones means the public has become addicted to its PEDs – for some business travellers, the ability to get a wi-fi connection at 30,000ft is as important as getting a wi-fi connection in a hotel.

Airlines know they have to offer wi-fi – and the customer is prepared to pay for it. And it seems this pressure has tipped the balance at the administrators on both sides of the Atlantic to relax the rules. And using in-plane wi-fi rather than direct air-to-ground communications solves much of the problem – the aircraft’s crew already communicate with the ground – now the passengers’ data is integrated into the aircraft systems too.

Staying safe?

Perhaps the airlines played the wrong card in the past. Rather than trying to make passengers fearful that their phone could cause the plane to plummet from the sky, there is a perfectly sensible reason why you shouldn’t use some PEDs during crucial parts of the flight, such as landing or take-off, where most accidents happen.

A passenger wearing headphones, immersed in a movie, may not hear safety instructions if there’s an emergency. Of course, the airlines don’t want to spook the passengers into thinking something may go wrong. But common sense should dictate that you remove those ear buds at least when the plane is taking off or landing. Being aware of what’s going on might save your life.

Secrets Of A Traveler On A Budget

travel

We all know that traveling abroad costs a lot of money but you can get the most out of your travel budget by spending some time early on to research your destination.

Key findings from Visa’s 2013 Global Travel Intentions Survey found travelers from around the world spent $2,390 on their last trip. According to the same survey, this spend is expected to grow by 5 per cent to $2,501 for their next trip abroad.

Having reached the destination, travelers mainly spend their budget on retail dining and tourism activities (Now you may not know this but making the most of the benefits offered by your debit card can help you spend within your means.

So read on for tips on getting the most for your money and keeping within your means.

Before you go

Keeping an eye on group buying sites such as Lonely Planet, Cleartrip or others both in your home town and destination city will help you save money on tourist attractions, dining out and travel packages.

When you’re shopping for the best deals online or in-store, debit cards are increasingly becoming accepted everywhere that you can use your credit card so take advantage of this. By using a debit card you are drawing funds directly from your current account – you can buy now and pay now – so there is no need to worry about paying a bill later on or incurring interest charges.

Another way to cut down on expenses is rethinking peak travel dates or book several months in advance before the booking frenzy kicks off.

While you’re there go local

When you’re abroad, making the most of experiencing local culture and living like a local is not only a fantastic experience but will also help to keep a lid on expenses. Choose hotels that are easily accessible with public transportation and avoid cabs which can be more expensive. Before you take off familiarize yourself with the transportation routes to key sights you want to visit.

Try local restaurants while you are traveling. It’ll help you save money and get you sampling local cuisine. Try to avoid eating at obvious tourist traps as cuisine will always cost a premium at these locations and if you don’t have enough cash on hand, you can always use your debit card to withdraw from international ATMs.

Staying in budget

Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, an accommodation option are full-service apartments which are a good alternative for extended visits.

Amongst the older demographic, homeowners are swapping residences as another alternative. Sites like http://www.homeexchange.com and http://www.homeaway.com are becoming increasingly popular as it is an entirely different experience to a hotel – you get a local feel and even the possibility of making some new lifelong friends. Work/study hard, play harder

Gap years, international co-op placements, studying abroad and volunteer opportunities with IGOs/ NGOs are also growing increasingly popular with young people who are keen to explore the world. Sometimes there is a cost associated with participating in various programs but you get to really immerse yourself in a foreign culture.

To get the most out of your trip abroad think specifically when you want to travel, where you want to visit and how much you need to budget for the trip. Whatever option you plan to take, remember that your debit card will allow you to withdraw from overseas ATMs so you can feel safe in the knowledge that you don’t have to carry large sums of cash around with you.

Whatever you choose to do on your adventure, your debit card is one tool to keep you in budget by spending only what you have. And remember, bargain hunt, stay savvy and enjoy your travels!

Smile! It Is A Sunnah

smile

A group of young Saudi men have launched a smile campaign, saying that it is a revival of a tradition by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Carrying placards that said “Smile! It is a sunnah”, the young men used the Corniche in the Red Sea city of Jeddah to promote better feelings and greater uplifting energy among people.

Sunnah in Islam refers to the normative way of life for Muslims based on the words and deeds of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The campaign was warmly welcomed by Saudis and residents in the city who responded by encouraging the activists, local news site Sabq reported.

The campaign was launched following the move by young men in the Saudi capital Riyadh and in the Eastern Province city of Dhahran to offer free hugs and kisses.

The young men who carried placards offering the hugs and kisses were arrested for indulging in offensive behaviour.

Social networks users hailed the smile campaign, but criticised the hugs and kisses moves, saying that they were “alien to the Saudi traditions” and “reflected an odd attitude forcibly imported from abroad, but with no room for it in Saudi society.”