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Ring in the New Year with some unusual drops around the USA

by amit.uniyal 31. December 2014 01:52

New Year is just round the corner and we all are very happy to ring in the New Year. There are numerous ways to do so, apart from the classic and the ever famous ball drop at the Times Square in New York. Let us get to know more about the other fun ways to welcome 2015 all around the USA.

Renowned as the “Mushroom Capital of the World”, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania hosts an eight foot long stainless steel mushroom drop. Called as Midnight in the Square, the event starts at 9 pm. Lowered from a height of 85 feet; this sparkling lit mushroom weighing 500 pound will touch the grounds exactly at the onset of the New Year.

New Year Celebration

Visit Duval Street, New Orleans to be a part of the famous red shoe drop. Held at the Bourbon St. Pub, a long-a familiar party spot becomes all the more happening on the New Year’s Eve. The world famous drag queen sushi elegantly rides the sparkling red shoe, which is dropped from the top of the New Orleans House as the midnight strikes.

Port Clinton, Ohio celebrates the New Year with not a plane or a bird but a FISH. A huge 20-foot long, 600 pound fish is lowered from the sky. Know as the Walleye Drop, the event is being held from the past 19 years. Apart from the drop, Wylie the Walleye and walleye-themed street vendors are few other highlights of this night.

Enjoy a New Year drop the Mexican way. Las Cruces “The City of the Crosses" in New Mexico celebrates the New Year's Eve by dropping a 15 foot lighted chile. Illuminated using nearly 400 LEDs, this will be its first ever drop.

There is something for wine lovers too. Head to Temecula Civic Center, Temecula, CA at 9 pm to be a part of the Great Temecula Grape Drop. This is a family-friendly event which will include two countdowns – one to coincide with the New York time and other with local time. Huge bunch of grapes, weighing more than 250 pounds and illuminated using nearly 4500 LEDs will descent at the reverse countdown.

Another interesting New Year drop can be witnessed at Riverfront Pavilion on Second & Busseron Streets. This is where the 7th Watermelon Drop will occur. An 18-foot, 500-pound watermelon will be dropped from the sky to mark the year 2015. Fireworks, toys and glow sticks, music and more can be enjoyed beginning 9 pm.

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Visiting Australia to get The Taste of Tasmania

by amit.uniyal 22. December 2014 06:38

A holiday in Australia can be best enjoyed during its summer months from December through February. When you are visiting this seventh continent of the world during these months, get ready to enjoy “The Taste of Tasmania”, one of the most famous food festivals here.

This food festival will be held at Hobart from 28th December 2014 till 3rd January 2015. This is one such occasion when you will savor various kinds of dishes and also enjoy the lively New Year’s Eve party.

sydney

There are several reasons for you to attend this popular food festival. Though Tasmania is a small island, but it has carved a niche for itself on the Australian gastronomy. This fabulous waterfront event attracts 300,000 visitors every year. The year 2014 is going to see even much bigger presence than previous years.

The culinary skills of the chefs from the island state of Tasmania will be on full display. An array of delicious dishes awaits you. During the past events the visitors got opportunity to enjoy different kinds of traditional food such as Tasmanian pepperberries, Bruny Island opossum made with garlic and duck fat and slow-cooked wallaby burritos. This year you can look forward to exotic seafood delicacies such as Thai mussels poached in cider, salmon sausages and ocean trout, or oysters dressed with olive oil, tarragon and Pernod, shallots.

For all those with a sweet tooth, there’s much more in store at this year’s event. You can look forward to relishing cannoli stuffed with hazelnut ricotta, milk chocolate, toasted coconut and cherries. There’s another variety available as well. This includes cannoli filled with basil, pepperberries and balsamic strawberries.

Apart from enjoying the food festival, the spectacular display of fireworks on the city’s waterfront at Hobart on New Year’s Eve is also ready to delight you endlessly. The dazzling fireworks display will start from 9.30 pm until midnight.

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Enjoying vacations in Argentina during winter

by amit.uniyal 19. December 2014 06:28

Argentina is big and beautiful Latin American nation where there are endless opportunities abound to enjoy your vacations during winter. There are at least two places in the country which are simply the best to visit during this season. You should surely consider visiting the beach destination of Mar del Plata as well as Salta.

Buenos Aires

Why Mar del Plata

  • It is a beach destination
  • Less frequented during winters makes it the best place for people who love less crowd
  • Cheaper vacation
  • Attractions at low fee and stay at cheaper accommodations

Things to do here:

  • Strolling on the beach here
  • Enjoy hot chocolate and churros - great favorites with the locals and tourists
  • Sing your heart out at one of the Karaoke Clubs
  • Visit Mar del Plata Aquarium and see the famous dolphin show

Why Salta:

  • For Salta Canyons
  • This picturesque city looks best during this time of the year
  • To savor full-bodied red wine and locro, tamale


Things to do:

  • Ride the Gondola to reach San Bernardo Mountain
  • Visit Museo de Arqueologia de Alta Montanaand to learn about mummies
  • Enjoy Peña entertainment and folkloric music, entertaining live shows at Balcarce Street

Still looking for more information about the city, then browse our city guide section and learn more about Argentina and things to do during winters.

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Global carriers embracing local culture to please customers

by amit.uniyal 18. December 2014 01:38

The global aviation industry has made great strides in enhancing passenger comfort and travel experience over the past decade. According to the new trend currently in vogue in the industry, international carriers are making a beeline to embrace the local culture to provide a distinct identity and enjoyable experience to the passengers.

Welcome

Etihad Airways is leading the trend by providing a local touch to its newly designed amenity kits, which it has introduced in 2014. The amenity kits have been fabulously crafted with the patterns based on designs that are traditionally used on the Bedouin tents, cushions and blankets in the UAE.

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways, said that people who are visiting Abu Dhabi would always want to take along with them a souvenir back to their home reflecting the culture of that place. The amenity kits with traditional designs are aimed at providing the customers that exclusive and local feel of having visited the UAE.

Even the Taiwanese carrier China Airlines is not to be left behind in the race. The airline’s use of the local design on its new Ray Chen’s product recently aptly reflects the growing trend. To provide the local touch in its cabins, the airline hired the services of Mr. Chen, a renowned architect in Taiwan, who created the fascinating design utilizing the swaths of Persimmon wood veneer to make them unique. The finishes, fabrications and a coherent color palette together provide an amazing local touch to the cabins. The local Taiwanese culture is also beautifully showcased in the airline’s new “Sky Lounges”, which prominently feature walk-up bar offering Taiwanese teas and coffees, along with snacks and local dried delicacies.

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Abu Dhabi – Perfect destination to catch some winter sun

by amit.uniyal 16. December 2014 05:59

If you are planning to go for a holiday then Abu Dhabi is undoubtedly the best destination to be in to catch some winter sun. Amazing desert safaris, water parks and gorgeous golden beaches makes it the most preferred vacation destination in the Middle East today.

If Abu Dhabi is the holiday destination of your choice then here are some of the things that you shouldn’t ever skip while enjoying a memorable stay.

Abu Dhabi

Stroll the epic four-mile promenade at The Corniche
Think of strolling along the entire length of the epic 4-mile promenade at The Corniche. There are many places to see and things to do here. Two things are sure to catch your fancy. The huge bus-size UAE’s national flag unfurled atop a 360 feet pole is going to amaze you. The Capital Gate building is yet another major attraction with its built-in lean of 18 degrees, remarkably much more than that of Pisa’s tower which has a slant of only 4 degrees. Also, for high-end shopping do remember to visit the newly-opened The Avenue mall at Etihad Towers.

Enjoy endless adventure at Yas Island
Yas Island is the place to be in for endless adventure. The newly-opened world’s biggest water park “Waterworld” will send your adrenaline rushing with its wide choice of fun opportunities including numerous wave machines, nerve wrecking ravines, slides and raft rides. Motorsports fans would love visiting the “Ferrari World”, the first ever theme park devoted to the fascinating racing car. Abu Dhabi's Formula 1 track is also beckoning you for a free cycle ride or run around it every Tuesday.

Saadiyat Island for art and culture buffs
For those interested in art and culture, the Saadiyat Island is the place to visit. This new cultural district is just a 10-minute taxi ride from the city center. Some of the world’s greatest art is showcased here. The opulent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque with the world’s largest chandelier and carpet is also a must-visit for every tourist.

Visit the solar-powered Masdar City
The biggest surprise in store for you in Abu Dhabi is the fully solar- and wind-powered Masdar City. This pioneering zero-carbon area doesn’t allow the entry of cars and other carbon emitting vehicles. This place is surely worth a visit.

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US Airways moves operations to Terminal 6 at LAX

by amit.uniyal 15. December 2014 07:53

US Airways has now shifted its flights operations to Terminal 6 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The airline was until now operating out of Terminal 3.

All flights being currently operated by American Airlines’ merger partner US Airways have discontinued their operations from Terminal 3 and shifted entirely to Terminal 6. This includes operations related to customer service, baggage, check in, ticketing and gates.

US Airways

US Airways check-in and ticket counters will now be situated on the second level, while flight operations will be conducted out of four gates, including Gate No. 60, Gate No. 61, Gate No. 62 and Gate No. 63.

American Airlines flights will however continue its operations at Terminal 4. The connecting flights from here will be able to be accessed by the passengers through a service shuttle or an underground connector. The shuttle service will also be for the Remote Terminal for American Eagle-operated flights.

American Airlines has this year begun operating new nonstop flights to Tampa International Airport from LAX. The airline has also announced that it will start conducting a second daily flight to London Heathrow from Los Angeles airport starting from March 2015.

Apart from these destinations, the airline has started offering nonstop flights to San Antonio, British Columbia, Vancouver, Alberta and Edmonton from Los Angeles.

The airline is presently operating three lounges at Los Angeles airport, including a newly-opened Admirals Club located at the American Eagle terminal. The airline’s premium customers are eligible for dedicated check-in with Flagship Check-In Service as well as TSA PreCheck and Five-Star Service. The airline also offers its premium customers a complimentary luxury airport transfer to their connecting gate.

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Airline News

Emirates planning to offer free Wi-Fi on its international routes

by amit.uniyal 12. December 2014 07:48

Emirates Airline is planning to offer free Wi-Fi on all its flight services on international routes. The increasing uptake of the service and its growing popularity with international travelers has prompted the airline to give this a serious consideration.

Apart from Emirates, other international carriers such as Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways are already offering Wi-Fi to their restive customers for a fee. The speed may however be slow on international flights flying over the oceans as they use a satellite connection to transmit data.

Emirates

The customers booking flights on Emirates Airline are being currently provided 10MBs of data free of cost on most of its Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 aircrafts. The data offered is perceived to be sufficient for checking emails and other social media accounts. However, those who want more the airline provides additional 600MBs for a nominal cost of US$1 only.

According to a study in October this year, an average of 3500 passengers traveling on the Dubai-based carrier made use of the in-flight Wi-Fi service per day. An average of 28MB of data was used by each passenger, with the highest number of 153 customers using the service on a single flight on an Airbus A380 aircraft.

Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, said that the airline is already making an investment of US$20 million every year to install and operate the in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity systems.

Clark hoped that in future the in-flight Wi-Fi service is ultimately going to become free just like other similar services such as in-flight entertainment and onboard refreshments that a standard customer usually expects.

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Air France introducing new Economy Flex fare for business class

by amit.uniyal 11. December 2014 07:34

Air France has announced that it will be introducing a new “Economy Flex” fare for business class customers traveling on medium-haul flights. The tickets will be for sale from January 2015. The flights with the new fares will start operating in April. The tickets will be transferable in same booking class and refunds will be allowed without any extra charges.

Airfrance

Under this new fare, the customers will be able to take an earlier flight than the scheduled one, on the same day and without paying any additional charges. Other benefits that come along with this new fare include earning Flying Blue miles, get priority access to the airline’s fast-track Skypriority services and seat allocation at the front in the economy cabin.

A spokesperson of the airline also indicated that its medium-haul business class offering will also be upgraded. The new revamp will see the premium customers being offered breakfast in the morning comprising of pastries, bread, fruit juice, tea and coffee. During other times of the day the passengers will be served a cold meal or a snack.

According to the airline, the service to be offered on longer flights will be similar to those being provided to passengers on long-haul flights. The passengers will be served liqueur, gourmet coffee, wine, hot meals, crusty bread, warm pastries and a welcome drink.

The service in economy class will also be upgraded. The airline will be offering a hot meal on longer flights, while a choice of savory or sweet items and larger croissants, or gourmet sandwiches will be served on medium-haul flights.

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Free amenities by U.S. domestic carriers – A Brief Overview

by amit.uniyal 10. December 2014 04:15

Over the past few years the commercial aviation industry in the United States has undergone significant changes, particularly on the domestic front. There were times when the cost of certain "a-la-carte" services were included in the airline ticket and sometimes it also seemed that the airlines were charging a fee for almost everything, especially the low-cost carriers.

Amenities

But in the present competitive times when there is a mad scramble among the airlines to attract customers in a big way, things have been changing rather fast. Whether you travel frequently or once a week or once a year, are you aware that there are still some free amenities being offered on domestic flights.

Here are some of the free amenities offerings by leading U.S. carriers on domestic routes. These carriers include American Airlines, Virgin America, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines.

As part of its in-flight entertainment, American Airlines is offering drop-down TV screens from the ceiling broadcasting a movie. The new aircrafts deployed on select routes are offering in-seat personal entertainment with some free programming.

The in-flight entertainment currently offered by Virgin America is undoubtedly the best being offered on U.S. domestic routes today. This exclusive in-flight entertainment system is called “Red”. It is provided to all passengers offering free satellite TV, video games and music.

The passengers on most domestic flights are not provided blankets. However, Delta Air Lines still continues to offer blankets to its  customers booking flights on domestic routes. These are also being provided by the airline’s regional partner airlines. Delta Air Lines also provides a wide choice of peanuts, pretzels or cookies to the domestic flyers. Free snacks are also provided on shorter flights as well.

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Virgin Australia introduces Pre-Christmas Festive Favorites

by amit.uniyal 9. December 2014 02:21

Virgin Australia is ready to delight its customers with pre-Christmas offerings. The airline is sprinkling Christmas joy in flights and domestic airport lounges with traditional delicacies of the season.

The travelers coming to the airport lounges of the airline will get to savor Christmas puddings with spices, vine fruits, stout and brandy flavors.

Virgin Australia

The Sydney lounge of the airline started serving the puddings designed by Luke Mangan on December 5. The pudding will be served on the lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane on December 10 and December 19 respectively. The airline will serve mince pies on domestic business class cabins and short-haul international flights between December 17 and December 25. The Economy class passengers will also savor mince pies on triangle routes (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney) on Christmas. On December 25, the airline will serve Christmas lunch with all the trimmings in Business class aboard international and domestic flights.

The Group Executive of Virgin Australia, Danielle Keighery expressed delight and said that thousands of domestic and international passengers fly on the airline during Christmas and New Year and the airline is pleased to offer special Christmas food options during these busy times.

Chef Luke Mangan also commented in a statement that the festive season is an opportunity for the airline to delight customers with unique Christmas treats and recipes while they travel. He also added that he is very happy to work with Virgin Australia to offer pop up treats for the customers.

The airline also recently launched a new menu in Business class created by the Chef including coral trout fillet with coconut broth and spanner crab, king prawns with mango and floating islands dessert with a smack of berries, figs and crème anglaise. The carrier has also launched 'The Pantry' which offers premium snacks free of cost for the duration of the flight. The service is available on flights up to 6 hours and 30 minutes.

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