Better than the real thing?

In the Mall of the Emirates in the desert city of Dubai, there’s a snow ski slope. On Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ships, there are “FlowRider” wave machines that simulate surfing in the ocean.

Surfing on a ship. (royalcaribbean.com)

There are ice rinks all over the place, in towns and cities where the temperature never drops below freezing point, and there are water parks in places that rarely experience rainfall. China is building a theme park devoted, in part, to the English writer Shakespeare and the Spanish novelist Cervantes.

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Fancy your own cruise ship?

I recently wrote about the list price of the Airbus fleet. So, it seems only fair that I also write about the cost of cruise ships, in case you are thinking of buying one.

Oasis of the Seas (http://www.royalcaribbean.com)

Now, buying a ship is a bit different to buying a plane — they have to be custom built, you can’t get them off the rack, as it were. But you are still going to have to have fairly deep pockets.

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What does a basic airfare buy?

There’s no doubt that budget airlines have shaken up the airline industry. With their cheap fares, they have allowed many people to have their first experience of flying.

(aa.com)

But it’s also the case that no-frills flight isn’t for everybody. After all, budget carriers often have minimise onboard comforts, and put a price on extras, such as onboard food and drinks, and luggage space. And they sometimes use smaller, out-of-the-way airports, increasing travelling time.

So, why would the full-service carriers want to emulate them?

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Getting tough on air ragers

I’m pleased to report that a judge  in the United Kingdom has taken a tough stance over misbehaviour onboard an aircraft.

(jet2.com)

According to The Telegraph, a man who took control of the intercom on a Jet2 flight as it was about to land in Tenerife and shouted “What does it take to get a —-ing drink in this place?” has been jailed for seven months.

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Who’s doing the tourism?

We often hear the word “tourist” being used disparagingly, but the fact is that more and more of us fit that description.

According to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation, demand for international tourism remained robust in 2016 despite challenges.

The latest  UNWTO World Tourism Barometer says that about 46 million more tourists (overnight visitors) travelled internationally last year compared to 2015.

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Fantastic plastic blanket

Airlines and the environment have an uneasy relationship. Despite economies and advances in fuel technologies, there are fewer bigger polluters than jet airplanes.

(emirates.com)

It sometimes rings a little hollow when airlines boast about their environmental credentials, so it’s nice to hear any news of a “green” initiative.

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Airline reserves seats for women

Air India has responded to reports of sexual harassment in the air by introducing women’s-only seats.

(airindia.com)

The airline made the decision after reports of two separate groping incidents in the past month, and it’s difficult to argue against. But it raises a serious issue.

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Tourist court is a win-win

Nobody wins when a tourist gets arrested in a foreign place for doing something they didn’t even know was illegal.

Abu Dhabi

Of course, ignorance of the law is no excuse anywhere, but some places have a reputation for making things excessively difficult for people — often naive young people — who break the law.

So, it’s good to see that one popular destination is doing something about it.

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Fancy your own Airbus?

Want to own an airline? Well you may be disappointed, but not surprised, to discover that Airbus has increased the price of its fleet from January 1 this year.

(airbus.com)

According to manufacturer’s website, after an adjustment, the entry level model, the A318, is now US$75.9 million.

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When will flights be faster?

Ever since commercial air travel became a reality, we have been teased by the promise of faster and faster flight times.

(http://imaginactive.org/)

In the 1970s, it became a reality with supersonic flight on Concorde. But only two airlines ever offered the service, it wasn’t commercially viable and, after a big accident, it was discontinued.

So in a world where we expect everything to be better, what is next?

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The Greatest Show is over

The Greatest Show on Earth will soon be no more. The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which has been touring the United States for more than 100 years, will soon fold up its big top for the last time.

(ringling.com)

Many will feel a tinge of nostalgia at this news; others will say it’s about time.

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Which airlines fly on time?

As frequent flyers know too well, very few flights ever leave on time. There’s always a reason (or at least, an excuse) of course. And a late departure doesn’t necessarily mean a late arrival — although it often does.

(iberia.com)

But for everyone except the most casual travellers, there are appointments and connections that have to be met, so on-time performance is important.

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Powerful passports revealed

All ttavellers know that not all passport are equal. Some people have free access to foreign countries via via-on-arrival agreements, while others have to go to a lot of trouble and expense to organise visas in advance.

(passportindex.org)

Every year, Arton Capital releases its Passport Index, which ranks the useful of national passport on the basis of the number of countries they can get you into. This year’s figures has just been released, and you may be surprised which documents are the most powerful.

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Phones on a plane!

Some of us get nervous if we’re not connected to our mobile devices. Others dream of an escape to a place where there are no phones and no internet.

The phone has come a long way since 1926. (Wikipedia)

If you’re in the latter category, you know that 30,000 feet above the ground is no longer one of those places. And it’s going to get worse.

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