Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Loch Ness Monster (Photo) Anniversary

It’s approaching April Fool’s Day, so we thought we’d post one of the great April events from 75 years ago.

On April 21, 1934, the most famous photograph of the Loch Ness Monster was published in the UK Daily Mail. The so-called “Surgeon’s Photograph” was supposedly taken by London gynecologist Robert Wilson. Sixty years later, the photo was revealed as definitively being a hoax. The photo was of a toy submarine with a sculpted “head and neck” made from plastic-wood modeling material. Rather than revealing a monster, the image showed an object estimated to be no more than three feet long.

The Surgeons Photo of the Loch Ness Monster.

Yet the legend of the “monster” began long before the photograph. Where did those stories come from? Humanity needs its myths and legends – real or imagined. The waters of Loch Ness, and the mystery and drama of the Scottish Highlands, lend themselves perfectly to a legend of a monster. Who can say what’s real and imagined, especially in the mists of time.

Scotland in the mists – any legend is possible.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Misc. Travel News

Icelandair will begin non-stop service from Seattle to Reykjavik beginning in July. Icelandair connects to about 20 European destinations, including London, Amsterdam, and Paris. Icelandair also has an interesting Premium Economy product; plus, there are no charges for layovers in Iceland.

TripAdvisor now has a booking engine that shows most added fees when searching for airfares, allowing more realistic comparison shopping. The site also has a new contest offering 1 million Continental miles.

According to SkyScanner, the number one complaint by air travelers is airlines’ hidden charges and fees. Following closely was queueing (Brit-speak for standing in lines – checkin, security, boarding) and lack of seat space.

Speaking of Iceland.... If, like us, you have an 09 international mobile phone chip (an Iceland operator), don’t rely on it in the future. Several reports indicate that 09 went bust with the Iceland economy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Details of Air France’s New Premium Economy

To update our recent article about Premium Economy, Breaking Travel News has a few more details about the new Air France product.

To be called Premium Voyageur, the cabin will feature 28 fixed-shell seats with 38-inch pitch, 19 inches wide, 4-inch leather armrests, and that will recline 123 degrees. Each seat will also have 10-inch video screens.

Meals are reportedly to be the same as in regular Economy, but passengers will receive amenity kits with noise-canceling headphones, pillows, blanket, etc. On the ground, the Premium Voyageur service will offer priority check-in, 66-pound baggage allowance, and bonus frequent-flyer miles.

The service is scheduled to begin this fall, with eventually all long-haul A340s and 777s offering the new product.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Restrictions on Cuba Travel Beginning to Ease

It’s still not an end of the travel ban to Cuba, but Congress has relaxed travel rules to Cuba for relatives of Cubans on the island.

Also, the first chip in the 47-year trade embargo has appeared, with the U.S. now allowing some food and medicine to be exported to the island.

Finally, the spending limits (previously zero) for allowed travelers has been raised to $179 per day.

As we have speculated before, it’s probably only a matter of time before all restrictions for all Americans traveling to Cuba are lifted.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What Happens When You Let PR Folks Write Consumer Copy

This is an email we just received from Hilton Hotels about their new brand, Denizen Hotels. Corporate-PR-flak-speak is highlighted in red.

"Born modern, with global appeal and a local accent

"Denizen Hotels will become a cultural epicentre at each of its destinations, cultivating community within its walls. Eclectic, social and humbly authentic, each property within the brand will be smart in design, cultural in character and sensitive in service delivery. Developed as an international intersection of business and pleasure, Denizen Hotels will redefine how guests stay and play. With innovative check-in technologies and in-room comfort controlled at the touch of a button, Denizen Hotels destinations will harness the best and brightest design and technology to provide a seamless guest experience for the modern traveler.

"Denizen Hotels and resorts will range from unique, select boutique experiences to larger destination resorts, creating a unified yet eclectic brand for the global traveller. Active development negotiations are currently underway for resorts and destinations in key cities throughout the globe; including, but not limited to Abu Dhabi, Austin, Beverly Hills (California), Buenos Aires, Cancun, Hollywood (California), Istanbul, Jerusalem, Las Vegas, London, Los Cabos, Miami, Montreal, Mumbai, New York City, Panama City and Washington D.C.

"To become a Denizen, visit"