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Las Vegas gets a bigger version of London Eye twin

by amit.uniyal 28. April 2014 11:30

Las Vegas is a city that needs no introduction. The gambling capital of the United States is a city that entices travelers from different parts of the world. Known for its fun ways and carefree environment, it is one of the favorite destinations of holidaymakers in the country. There is no dearth of casinos in the city, which play a pivotal role in attracting travelers, let us say that there is an addition to its list of interesting items.

largest observation 
wheel

The city known for its exuberant price and grand attractions is now a proud owner of The High Roller. The High Roller is a bigger version of the world-famous London Eye. It opened last month in the LINQ neighborhood of the city. Tipped as the world’s largest observation wheel, The High Roller has been garnering both eyeballs and attention in large numbers. This new attraction has added a unique flavor to the open air shopping, entertaining, and dining area in this part of the city. Everyone around seems to be smitten by the wheel’s glory and is talking about it.

While the city and the locals are happy with their new item, it has drawn stark comparisons to London Eye. The 168-meter high wheel however, beats the London Eye hands down. This giant wheel has 28 pods in all, which can accommodate 40 people in one go. The youngsters in the city are also looking upon this interesting feature as a perfect party spot. Interestingly, the management is encouraging all to come and enjoy their drinking sprees on the wheel that will certainly make it a hotspot for the young crowds in the coming times.

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Technology makes air travel easier for mobile phone users

by amit.uniyal 25. April 2014 07:42

Information Technology is working wonders for air travelers and making their travel much easier than ever before. Leading IT provider company SITA has recently upgraded its application iTravel. This has come as a boon for tech-savvy passengers traveling with mobile phones. Nearly 120 airlines as well as ground handlers are currently making use of iTravel to provide services to the passengers.

The iTravel service is proving to be a tremendous success for the airlines. It has allowed numerous carriers to implement passenger booking and check-in apps for Android as well as Apple phones.  The airlines have also implemented a web app for mobile usage on other devices with the help of this technology.

smart phone technology

The iTravel service has incorporated the latest user interfaces using the smart phone technology to its full advantage for providing better service and convenience to the passengers.  

The iTravel service provides some essential features. The interactive user interface is quite attractive for the passengers. They are being offered relevant deals according to their current location. The iTravel is helping the airlines to use geo-location and flight search while making successful use of graphical maps. Four airlines are currently making use of the latest updates provided by iTravel. The airlines have also reported that passengers are increasingly using their mobile services after the implementation of iTravel.

SITA Vice President for Passenger Solutions Allison O’Neill remarked that it is being witnessed that passengers are increasingly desirous to make use of their mobile phones during the course of their journey. Nearly 76 percent passengers are now traveling with smartphones. However, using mobile phones for booking and check-in continues to be below 5 percent. He said that iTravel will address this issue and will be user friendly as much possible.

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Experiencing Bamboo River Rafting Adventure in Jamaica

by amit.uniyal 24. April 2014 08:56

Ever had a river raft experience! If not, then head to Jamaica right away to enjoy Bamboo River Rafting adventure in Montego Bay. This is absolutely the best place in the Caribbean nation to experience river rafting of a unique kind.

Climbing aboard a 30-foot bamboo raft is an awesome feeling in itself. This is indeed a thrilling experience for those experiencing it for the first time or who are frequent river rafting enthusiasts. An experienced raft captain will be at hand for you so that you can completely relax and enjoy your river rafting experience. Your captain will cruise down the beautiful jade-green shimmering waters of River Martha Brae. Enjoy the thrills of seeing the wildlife and natural beauty surrounding you on this real Jamaican tour.

jade-green shimmering waters of River Martha Brae

The wildlife in this area is not dangerous at all. So, you needn’t worry on this count. Just relax and get pleasurable moments see the flowers and trees. The sight of exotic birds, the pecking woodpeckers, and the gurgle of the river flowing along, is music to the ears and pleasant indeed.

Bamboo River Rafting adventure is simply fascinating. The brightly colored birds on the towering trees are sheer delight to watch while meandering on River Martha Brae. The refreshing breeze exudes a romantic aura around you while you blissfully coast down the 3-mile river.

If you are boarding the bamboo raft for the first time, you shouldn’t worry. At first sight the raft might look unstable, but seeing them well-balanced would seem instantly surprising to you. You can unhesitatingly and quite easily get on and off the raft. The well-padded seats offer a comfortable cruise. If you don’t have swimming experience, you can still enjoy the adventure and enjoy the ride. As a precautionary measure, the visitors are also provided with life vests. However, you won’t need them throughout your trip.

During most parts of the year you will discover that the river is only 4 feet deep. You can just relax. However, during rainy season the depth of the river goes around to 12 feet. You can always seek the help of your raft captain, who is quite knowledgeable about the river as well as the surrounding area. You can seek information from him and enhance your own knowledge. You are sure to find Bamboo River Rafting a memorable experience.

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Hawaiian Jetstar expanding flights to-from Honolulu this year

by amit.uniyal 22. April 2014 09:51

Air travel to/from Honolulu is set to become more easy in 2014 with flight operations expanding at a fast pace. Various airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines and Jetstar have expanded their operations.

Media reports recently said that Hawaiian Airlines has decided to increase its frequencies to American Samoa this summer. The third weekly flight between Pago Pago and Honolulu will start from June 18. The flights are being started considering the growing passenger demand. The seasonal flight will operate on Wednesdays every week and will be operational for one month only until July 16.

Hawaiian flights

Presently, the service on Pago Pago-Honolulu route is operating on Mondays and Fridays. The flights between the two destinations are being operated with the help of a Boeing 767-300 aircraft with a 264-seat capacity.

Hawaiian Airlines also launched its first ever flights services to mainland China. The new flight was launched in mid April this year. The flights will operate between Honolulu and Beijing thrice weekly with the help of an Airbus A330-200 aircraft configured with 294 seats. The flights on Honolulu-Beijing route will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays every week.

Australian low-cost carrier Jetstar has also announced to launch nonstop flights between Brisbane and Honolulu starting from December 15, 2014. The airline will be operating thrice weekly flights during peak season, while twice weekly flights will be operated during off-peak season.

After the exit of inter island airline go! from Hawaii, another carrier Mokulele Airlines has decided to launch nonstop inter-island flights between Honolulu and Maui. The airline will be initially serving the two destinations in Hawaii twice daily. The airline also plans to increase the frequencies to five times daily in future.

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Efes Pilsen One Love Music Festival set to rock Istanbul in June

by amit.uniyal 21. April 2014 11:06

Music buff, get ready for a thrilling experience at the Efes Pilsen One Love Music Festival to be held in Istanbul from June 14 to June 15, 2014. The 2-day festival will be held at Parkorman in the city. This is among the best events in Istanbul, which is organized every year during June/July. The musical extravaganza sees revelers partying all day long in accompaniment to rock and dance music.

The “Efes Pilsen One Love” is being held for the past 11 years now. The festival has till date brought 1,459 artists and 72 music and dance groups to render musical performances. Some of the famous groups who have attended the festival during the past years include Nneka, Cake, Happy Mondays, Editors, Manic Street Preachers and Suede. Nearly 30,000 people participated in the festival last year. The organizers of the event are expecting a massive audience this year as well.

Music Festival to be held in Istanbul

Last year, renowned female vocalists and bands such as Selah Sue, Pulp and Kimbra stole the limelight with their amazing musical performances. Pulp, a famous British alternative rock band which came into being in 1978, mesmerized the audience with some of their top hits. All of the band’s original members were present in strength and took to the stage after a 10-year hiatus.

Kimbra, famous female singer from New Zealand, known world over for her stylish music videos as well as eclectic fashion sense; Selah Sue, a Belgian funk and soul musician; The Kaiser Chiefs, a popular rock band are just few of the many popular bands and singers to participate in this show.

Apart from Pulp, Kimbra, Selah Sue and the Kaiser Chiefs, this year an impressive line-up is expected. Some of the prominent bands likely to participate in the 2014 Efes Pilsen One Love Music Festival include Mira, Neyse, Elif Çaglar and the Replikas. Be sure to attend the music festival and enjoy the wonderful music and dance performances.

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Celebrating 4th of July in Los Angeles

by amit.uniyal 18. April 2014 10:37

Planning to visit Los Angeles during the summer? Think of visiting the city during the month of July. Though this month is quite sunny and warm here, but you’ll simply enjoy visiting during this time. The month of July is a special month for the whole of the United States. The entire country is busy celebrating the Independence Day, which falls on the 4th of July, every year. It’s a gala time in Los Angeles and the day is celebrated with great fanfare and festivity.

What it would be like when visiting in July? This question is uppermost in the minds of tourists visiting Los Angeles during this month. Before knowing all about the Independence Day celebrations, it would be helpful for you to get an insight about your July travel and how to prepare well for your summer sojourn here.

gala time in Los Angeles

When traveling during the month do remember to pack in a light jacket. This will be needed during the evening while strolling on the beaches. Lightweight pants, short-sleeved shirts and shorts will be comfortable clothes to wear during this time. The city offers plenty of entertainment and fun activities during the evening. Whether you want to attend a concert, go to theater to see a play or simply go outdoors to watch a movie – the summertime can be best enjoyed in the city. July is also the perfect month to visit some of the best beaches here.
   
July 4th is absolutely a fantastic time to be in Los Angeles. Dazzling fireworks displays can be seen all around the city. The Grand Park is illuminated with projections and pyrotechnics. Visitors throng the park to attend the 4th of July Block Party. Entertain yourself with yummy delicacies dished out by many food trucks here. A series of musical performances will keep you enthralled.

The Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena is yet another place in Los Angeles to witness one of the biggest displays of fireworks in Southern California. Apart from food and other entertainment offerings, the visitors are also entertained with live TNT motorcycle stunts.
 
The Exposition Park has been organizing the Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza for more than 11 years now. The festivities start during noontime at Christmas Tree Lane. The fireworks show starts at 9 pm. It goes on for a full one hour and is quite entertaining.

The Hollywood Bowl is also renowned for its great American extravaganza that takes place on 4th of July every year. The Los Angeles Philharmonic offers fabulous rendition of patriotic music the entire night. Spectacular fireworks display is the major highlight of the day.

The long weekend of July 4-7 also brings glad tidings for people. Los Angeles becomes a shopping destination of sort with the largest outlet Ontario Mills holding 4th of July Super Sale Weekend. Several retail chains such as Gap Outlet, Kenneth Cole Company Store, G by Guess, DKNY Company Store, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Tommy Hilfiger Company Store and Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store take part in the discounted sales. The shoppers have a gala time with many prizes waiting to be won.

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Mobile service to extend to majority airlines airports by 2016

by amit.uniyal 17. April 2014 07:43

Checking flight status updates using mobile phones is being gradually taken up by the passengers. And, this is going to pick fast in the coming years. A recent study has indicated that most of the airlines as well as airports are bracing to extend the mobile service by 2016 end. The study said that more than half of passengers traveling by air will be using their mobile phones to check the airport directions, baggage status and flight status.

The study “Smart Thinking” was conducted by SITA and released in Dublin recently at CAPA’s Airlines in Transition Summit. The study made public revealed that 90 percent of airports and 100 percent of airlines are currently making huge investments in business intelligence solutions for providing the passengers intelligent information access regarding their operations and other services.

Mobile service to extend to majority airlines

SITA is a premier IT and communications provider to the aviation industry worldwide. A global research is regularly conducted by SITA on passengers, airlines and airports. The study is considered a unique opportunity to get a fascinating insight into the entire airline industry, assess potential for growth, and identify alignment as well as misalignment.
 
The recent study is based on a global research and appropriately incorporated additional inputs by various airports worldwide and leading airlines. These included London Heathrow, London City Airport, Dublin Airport Authority, Saudi Arabian Airlines and British Airways.

The study indicated that flight status updates have already become a mainstream mobile service and will be further extending its reach within two years. The study disclosed that 79 percent of airports across the world will start providing status notifications such as walking time to gate and queues times through security. Nearly 61 percent of the airlines will begin providing baggage status updates. More than three quarters of the airports will start offering navigation assistance for way-finding through mobile apps.

The study made public by SITA aptly demonstrates and dwell at length on how the focus today is to build and solidify the base for business intelligence. The efforts are also to look ahead to use the combination of predictive analysis and business intelligence to vastly improve the ground experience of the passengers, while making optimum use of the space and infrastructure at the airports.

The study pointed out the utter helplessness of the airports and airlines in tackling untoward events such as bad weather conditions in the past. The report said that during such emergency situations the airlines and airports were left with no choice but to fine-tune the disrupted flight schedules. The use of business intelligence therefore becomes critical in the present times. The study concluded that by using the business intelligence to their advantage there will be more scope for preventive action before situations like bad weather are actually predicted. The business intelligence will play a more proactive role by successfully analyzing the past events and combining it with live data feeds from various sources and assist in predicting the future events. With the business intelligence the airline industry and passengers stand to gain immensely as the transformation from reactive to proactive and onwards to preventive will be complete.

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Airline News

Pampering business travelers becomes phenomenon with airlines

by amit.uniyal 15. April 2014 10:50

It’s becoming more of a phenomenon with airlines to pamper their business travelers more than before. This trend has brought cheers to the passengers giving them awesome experience on the ground as well as at 30,000 feet above in the air.

Spend a night on a long-haul flight and walk off the aircraft straight into the boardroom fully relaxed and refreshed. The airlines in their eagerness to keep the loyalty of their business class travelers intact have devised new ways in pampering them.

business class travelers

Spa chains started mushrooming in airport concourses a decade ago. Now on-the-go grooming has become a rage with the business executives, whether getting Christian Dior’s in-flight body lotion or spending time at manicure stations at the airports. A recent report published in 2014 said that a spa can be found at the major airports around the world these days.

A study published last year said that spas were considered among popular airport amenities in the United States. The study said that men are taking more to facials and massages than the females. Nearly 78 percent of men were getting their hair done, most of them being business travelers.

According to the study, XpresSpa is among the largest international airport spa chains in the United States. It opened its first spa at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport a decade ago. Today it has opened spas in more than 50 locations around the world, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Philadelphia, Miami and Minneapolis.

Apart from spas, many airlines are also offering other amenities to keep their first class and business class customers cheerful. Delta Air Lines is offering amenity kits to its customers traveling in BusinessElite cabins on international routes. The amenity kits consist of neroli-scented hand and body lotion by Tumi and Malin & Goetz lip moisturizer.

Amenity kits have also been introduced by Singapore Airlines for its first class and suite customers traveling on long-haul international flights. The amenity kits comprise of moisturizers of four different kinds procured from the French beauty brand Sothys.

Air France is offering special limited-edition amenity kits to its customers to celebrate its 80th anniversary. The airline is introducing amenity kits in business class during its summer 2014 schedule. The kit will be shaped like a portfolio and will have Clarins products. Even United Airlines is not lagging behind. It has also unveiled limited-edition amenity kits for its customers in business class. The kits are made of a different type of steel and will be more of souvenirs.

Cathay Pacific Airways had also last year offered amenity kits to its business class customers on long-haul international flights. The kits consisted of products from an Australian brand Jurlique. Various products such as citrus hand cream, lip balm and day cream were provided in the kits.

Among other airlines offering amenity kits to their premium customers include Qatar Airways and Airberlin. The amenity kits offered by Qatar Airways include a perfume and eau de toilette by Salvatore Ferragamo, hand cream and lip balm.

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The mystery behind three-letter airport codes

by amit.uniyal 14. April 2014 08:11

The airport codes are of three letters. And, it’s a common knowledge for almost all the air travelers. In most of the cases these airport codes easily decipher the arrival or destination cities, but sometimes these seem to be weird and difficult to attribute the cities they belong to. Decoding the destination through an airport code is often perplexing though. For travelers, particularly those who are not aware of the nitty-gritty, this seems more of a mystery. Let us understand the story behind some of these awkward and bizarre airport codes.

airport codes

For instance the airport codes for cities like Perth, Melbourne and Sydney are quite understandable. For Perth it is PER, Melbourne has MEL and Sydney has SYD. These airport codes make perfect sense and one can easily understand that the first three letters easily signify the cities that they belong to. But this naming convention is not followed with most of the cities. For example, what will you say in case of a city like Brisbane? The airport code of Brisbane is BNE, whereas it should have been BRI similar to that of Melbourne, Perth or Sydney. In fact, the airport code BRI is allocated to Bari, an Italian city.

Some of the city’s airport codes are derived after skipping few letters. And, even these make sense. Cities like Adelaide, Auckland and Hong Kong have airport codes ‘ADL’, ‘AKL’ and ‘HKG’ respectively. These airport codes closely fit to their respective cities.

But one can be surprised on seeing the airport code of Los Angeles as ‘LAX’. Most of the travelers know that LAX or Los Angeles is one and the same. But, how did the letter ‘X’ creep in the airport code of Los Angeles? There’s a story behind this and it knowing it will certainly add to your knowledge as to how the airport codes actually evolved over the years.

In earlier days when air travel was just beginning or taking shape, the airports were usually known by a two-letter code named after the weather station. So, the airport code of Los Angeles was simply LA. However, with the growth of air travel a need arose to name the airports with a proper airport code. Keeping this in view, a three-letter code was introduced to identify the airports. And, so began the story of the letter ‘X’ and the way in which it is proving to be helpful in naming the airports.

Akin to Los Angeles, even the airport code of Portland is PDX. As we move forward and come to know about other cities, one will be surprised to know that the airport code of Dubai is also DXB. However, it should have been ‘DUB’. But, this in fact belongs to Dublin and Dubai followed suit of Los Angeles and Portland by getting the ‘X’ letter in its airport code. It is not only the letter ‘X’ which has made entry. Even letter ‘Z’ has also entered the scene. The proposed Sydney West Airport being built at Badgery’s Creek in Australia has its airport code named as ‘SWZ’. So, this is the real story behind the airport codes and how they are evolving.

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Get enthralled with 100 performances at Istanbul Theatre Festival

by amit.uniyal 11. April 2014 07:38

Theatre lovers get ready for an exciting event in Istanbul in May-June this year. The 19th edition of the famous Istanbul Theatre Festival is round the corner. So, book your flights to Istanbul today and attend the festival between May 9 and June 5, 2014.

The Istanbul Theatre Festival is being held under the title “New Wave”. The festival will host 100 performances to be staged at different venues across the city. The venues include Üsküdar Tekel, Üsküdar Studio, Sisli Blackout, Salon, Sainte Pulcherie French High School, Harbiye Muhsin Ertugrul Stage, Moda Stage, Kenter Theater, ikincikat-karaköy, Haldun Taner Stage, DOT, Cevahir Stage, and Bisahne.

istanbul

This year the festival will be marking the 450th birth anniversary of Shakespeare. The renowned theater group Propeller Theater Company will be specially staging five performances based on Shakespeare’s plays such as “The Comedy of Errors”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Hamlet”. These shows will be held throughout the festival. Local theatre groups will be staging other Shakespeare plays like “Romeo and Juliet” and “King Lear” throughout the duration of the festival.

Turkey and Poland will mark 600 years of their diplomatic relations. The Istanbul Theatre Festival will also celebrate the longstanding ties between the two countries. Four exclusive performances will be held on the occasion.

The world premier of “Proust-Pamuk-Bellek”, a play produced by Opole Theater will be hosted at the festival. This play was written and produced by Emre Koyuncuoglu and Krzysztof Garbaczewski from the novels of Orhan Pamuk and Marcel Proust.

Among various other programs, the Istanbul Theatre Festival will also host performances by 35 Turkish dance and theatre companies for the first time. The important performances to be staged include “The Adventures of Latif Effendi: The First Ottoman Vampire”, “The Last Unicorn”, “Montserrat”, “The Empire Builders”, “Hamlet Machine” and many others.

The “Oyun Salonu” project, which was originally conceptualized through the joint collaboration of the Istanbul Theater Festival and the staff of Salon, will continue during this edition as well like previous years. Four theater companies will be staging the plays at Salon, to be hosted as part of “Oyun Salonu” project.

The audience at the festival can also look forward to staging of the play “An Enemy of the People” taken from Henrik Ibsen piece written by renowned German director Thomas Ostermeier.

Prof. Dikmen Gürün, who was Istanbul Theater Festival director from 1993 to 2013, will be presented with the first honorary award. The other two recipients of honorary awards this year include Edward Hall, Propeller Theater Company’s art director, and Grzegorz Jarzyna, director of a Polish theatre.

The Istanbul Theater Festival has been attracting a large number of visitors from Turkey and other countries around the world. This year as well the festival expects the participation of many visitors. The other highlights of the festival that you may look forward to include workshops, documentary screenings, films and Q&A sessions.
 
The Istanbul Theatre Festival is being organized ever since 2004 by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV). The festival is being held continuously since its inception and aims at promoting Turkey’s art and culture through educational programs and workshops.

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