Archive for September, 2007

Passport Required !

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Travel Passport Requirements tighten up on September 30 when you can no longer use your *application* in lieu of a Passport for travel in Western Hemisphere. This passport application exception was instituted earlier this year due to the huge passport application backlog that was created when the US decided to require passports for travel to Canada and Mexico. In the past US citizens could visit Mexico and Canada without any paperwork.

For all details check the USA Passport website

To avoid potential delays and problems it is advisable to have a current passport even if you are not currently planning any international trips but might possibly travel internationally over the next few years.

Nepal Airline maintenance problem fixed by goat sacrifice (updated)

Friday, September 28th, 2007

No, the following Reuters story about goat sacrifices to fix an airliner is NOT a joke.

Nepal Airlines, which has two Boeing aircraft, has had to suspend some services in recent weeks due the problem.

The goats were sacrificed in front of the troublesome aircraft Sunday at Nepal’s only international airport in Kathmandu in accordance with Hindu traditions, an official said.

“The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights,” said Raju K.C., a senior airline official, without explaining what the problem had been.

Local media last week blamed the company’s woes on an electrical fault. The carrier runs international flights to five cities in Asia.

It is common in Nepal to sacrifice animals like goats and buffaloes to appease different Hindu deities.


Another fascinating story where modern technology connects with ancient traditions.   These stories take many forms as globalization integrates, for example, Pakistani tribesmen with Silicon Valley‘s high tech companies.

Another example from Lancaster, PA this summer where we learned that many Amish now have cell phones because they are forbidden from land lines but (until recently) there had been no ruling by the elders on cellular phones.

Thanks to Rick Segal, VC extraordinaire, for the sacrificial tip over at his excellent blog, “The Post Money Value”.

Source of Story: Reuters!

Leaving Las Vegas, Arriving Las Vegas McCarran Airport

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Las Vegas is one of the world’s top travel destinations and top travel cities. This is especially remarkable given that almost all of the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino action happens in two areas – the Las Vegas Strip and the smaller but still active Downtown Las Vegas area around Fremont Street.

A quick orientation to your transportation options from McCarran to your hotel are as follows:

* Las Vegas Limosines. Classy but the most expensive option. Expect to pay $50+ for your trip to the strip.

* Some hotels offer free shuttle service. This is a great option if available so ask your hotel about it.

* For two or more people Taxis generally will offer the best balance of price and convenience because they are much faster than the shuttle service. Expect to pay $10-15 for a ride to the strip.

* The Las Vegas Strip Shuttle service leaves regularly from just outside the baggage pickup area (Limos are here as well). This is your most cost effective option at about $5 for a ride to the strip. Unfortunately if your hotel is not close to “first” on the driver’s list of hotels, which is not necessarily consistent with their place on the strip, you may be waiting up to an hour to get there. Shuttles do tend to be very clean and comfortable.

The Las Vegas Strip is the four mile stretch along Las Vegas Boulevard that is home to many of the world’s largest hotels such as the MGM Grand near the south end of the strip and the Stratosphere at the north end. In between are dozens of enormous Hotel Casino resort properties such as the Wynn, The Venetian, The Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, The Mirage, TI (formerly “Treasure Island”), Bally’s, Harrah’s, Luxor, and several more. The Las Vegas Strip will soon be home to one of the world’s most upscale residential developments now under construction.

ATA Fare Sale for NYC and D.C. flights

Friday, September 28th, 2007

ATA has some great fares to and from New York La Guardia (LGA) as well as flights to and from Washington D.C. Reagan International (DCA). Check out the ATA website for more details.

I think ATA is one of the carriers you may need to check separately in case the consolidator has not listed them or you have entered days on which they don’t fly, when a small adjustment to your plans could save a lot of money on the airline tickets.

China Civil Aviation Report

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Want some insight into Civil Aviation in China? Try the China Civil Aviation report website/ magazine. They have offices in Beijing and California and area a key English language source for information about what’s up with Chinese Aviation.

As we’ve noted before, the China air travel market is growing at a breathtaking pace both in terms of travelers and air traffic as well as aircraft and pilots. Add this to the overall business boom in Asia and it’s clear that this region may become the “happening place” for Airports and Air Travel. QuickAid predicts that enplanements in China will exceed those in the USA within 5 years.

YAPTA cheap fare search using "wisdom of crowds"

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Yapta is trying to be “Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant”, using the collective wisdom of thousands of other Yapta subscribers to find cheap fares. I have not used the service yet but it’s a neat idea in that it could harvest information from a large number of travelers and then work to “optimize” their experiences based on all the extra info. Unfortunately many such efforts can get bogged down when it comes to monetizing the enterprise. For example if Yapta knows that your best travel day would be Tuesday with a Saturday layover but the Yapta advertisers want them to book more Friday departures there can be a subtle shift in focus. This is even happening at Google where the shading on advertising is slowly diminishing, blurring the distinction between “organic” and ad results.

But good luck Yapta! If you provide unbiased air travel info from a broad sample of air travelers you could be on your way to success.

City from year 2100? No, it’s the Beijing Airport.

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Architecture helps define our sense of place and time. Big scale architecture does this in a dramatic way and the Beijing Airport is a great example of this. Beijing Airport Code is PEK for Peking, China, reflecting the former name of China’s greatest city. Now Beijing, this city was and remains China’s greatest city in size, prominence, and international recognition.

Travel Quiz at CNN

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

CNN has a good business traveler quiz to test your city by city knowlege of the world. How may pubs in London? Is Seoul Korea bigger than Mexico City? What percentage of England’s pubs are in London?

Be a Brit Different Campaign launches

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Virgin Atlantic’s got a neat new ad campaign to encourage travel to England. Check out the “Be a Brit Different” campaign here. Interesting that they “start” in Canterbury, which really is a cool place where the Anglican Church used to rule and still has a stunning Cathedral “Canterbury”. England is such a neat place for Americans to visit because it’s the birthplace of so much of our history, culture, religion, food, and language. Go UK!

Here are a bunch of London and England pictures from my 2003 trip over at Flickr.

Phuket Airport in Thailand closed after crash

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

A major crash at Phuket Airport in Thailand has closed the airport. Early reports show 88 people dead.
More information here at the Thai news site