What do you hate most about eating on planes?

June 27, 2013

Airline-food-Cyprus-Airwa-007

What do you hate most about eating on planes? Is it the soggy sandwiches? The murky liquid that masquerades as coffee?

Or maybe just trying to meet the logistical challenge of eating from a crammed tray without knocking over your drink or flinging your cutlery onto the floor? In a survey in the US, the quality of food ranked surprisingly low among complaints about airline food. The YouGov survey of 1000 travelers found only seven percent buy a meal onboard when travelling on a non-catered airline, but poor-quality food was not the issue.

Limited food options ranked much higher on the complaint scale, along with the cost of what was on offer. Smaller numbers complained that the portion sizes on planes were too small or that there was a lack of healthy options. Personally, I think the worst aspect of airline food, particularly on long international journeys, is the repetition.

The same old salad with strange smoked meat in the corner, the same bread roll, cheese, crackers and chocolate mousse surrounding … oh joy… chicken and rice again.

If it’s not chicken and rice, it’s beef and rice. The food up the front is much more interesting, but less than 20 per cent of passengers are eating that – and even business class passengers get chicken and rice. Having had that rant, I do think we can be rather fussy when it comes to airline food, especially when we’re flying to the other side of the world for under $1500 return.

We love to complain about what we’re served and post dodgy pictures on social media but the logistics of serving hot food to hundreds of passengers, sometimes many hours after take-off, are considerable. And we’ve all seen passengers imbibe their plane fare in ‘free’ alcohol, just because they can.

The editor of airline review website Airreview.com, Jules Lorkin, says catering is a real headache for airlines, as it is expensive to produce, adds weight on aircraft and generates the most complaints. “If you ask passengers who don’t fly regularly how their flight was, the thing that sticks most in minds is often the inflight food,” he says.

Adding to the challenges of serving food at altitude are the complications of serving dozens of different types of meal on one flight, to cover religious beliefs, medical conditions, health fads and general fussiness. Singapore Airlines, for example, now offers more than 30 special meal options; a list that makes fascinating reading.

There are six different types of vegetarian meal – who knew vegies were so complicated? – along with meals that are low fat, low fibre, low lactose, low salt or low calorie.

If you’re anti-carbohydrates, they’ve got you covered. And if you get an ulcer from trying to work out what sort of meal you need, they can handle that too. Cathay Pacific revealed recently it is now serving more than 1.7 million special meals a year. Demand for healthier meals is the biggest factor, with low calorie, low cholesterol and low salt meals in hot demand.

Gluten intolerance is also on the rise, with gluten-free meal requests jumping more than 100 per cent in four years. It’s certainly gotten more complicated, but has there been any improvement in the fare?

In the US study, which only related to short flights, 27 per cent thought airline food had decreased in quality over the past couple of years, while 20 per cent believed it was unchanged and a positive-thinking seven per cent said it had improved. Jules Lorkin believes the most noticeable change is that quantity has been reduced in a bid for better quality.

Airlines that used to serve up full meal trays are now dishing up smaller portions, perhaps with the entrée and dessert cut back but a better hot dish.

Lorkin believes airlines have split into two camps: those that use their food as a sales tactic and those that see it as a necessary evil and constantly chip away at the costs.

“Those carriers which use inflight meals for sales certainly ramp up the celebrity chef element and promise that dining at 30,000 feet will ‘never look so good’,” he says.

“However, it is hard to believe that celebrity chefs like Luke Mangan, Heston Blumenthal or Neil Perry have seen what our meal trays actually look like down the back of the plane.”

Best of a bad lot?

It’s hard not to eat out of boredom when you’re strapped into a seat, so nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin recommends ordering a low calorie meal. Eating high-fibre foods is the most important factor in avoiding digestive ails caused by sitting still, along with staying well hydrated, she says. Bingley-Pullin, of Nutritional Edge in Sydney, tells her clients to drink two litres of water before getting on the plane and to keep drinking (water, that is) throughout the flight.

Source: smh.com.au

Brazil World Cub 2014 in danger to be cancelled ?

June 24, 2013

brazil-worldcup-2014

Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, New York, Berlin, Australia, among many places with a Brazilian population protested to give  support for what’s happening in their home country Brazil.

More than a million demonstrators marched through Brazil’s biggest cities on Thursday, with many participants calling for fans to boycott the biggest travel & tourism event ever in Brazil – the World Cup.

CBN radio and the website of the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, both respected, mainstream media, carried reports speculating that the eight-team Football’s Confederations Cup tournament, considered a dry run for next year’s World Cup, was in danger. However, FIFA says there are no plans to cancel the tournament. The Brazilian News paper Estado said that two FIFA vehicles were attacked in Salvador, where Uruguay played Nigeria on Wednesday, and its employees had been instructed not to wear uniforms outside their hotel.

World football’s governing body FIFA has asked Brazil’s government to provide security guarantees amid fears that sweeping civil unrest could pose a threat to the Confederations Cup.

Less than a day after widespread rioting in Brazil’s biggest cities, FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke denied speculation the tournament, considered a 2014 World Cup warmup event, could be aborted.

“We have asked for security measures that we need in place for the competition to continue until the end,” Valcke told Estado de S. Paulo.

“I hope that this doesn’t last until 2014. It’s a problem that Brazil needs to resolve, not FIFA. We are the wrong target.”

The protests, which started in Sao Paulo last week over rises in transport fares, have morphed into a nationwide movement against government corruption and the cost of the biggest travel & tourism event on the globe – the World Cup.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas as protestors attempted to enter the foreign ministry in Brasilia while violent clashes were also reported in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

About 150,000 anti-government demonstrators again took to streets in several Brazilian cities Saturday and engaged police in some isolated, intense conflicts. Anger over political corruption emerged as the unifying issue for the demonstrators, who vowed to stay in the streets until concrete steps are taken to reform the political system.

Across Brazil, protesters gathered to denounce legislation, known as PEC 37, that would limit the power of federal prosecutors to investigate crimes — which many fear would hinder attempts to jail corrupt politicians.


Ethiopian Airlines Awarded Best Airline Staff Service in Africa

June 20, 2013

EAL

The 2013 World Airline Awards were announced at the Paris Air Show yesterday and  Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian), the fastest growing airline in Africa, was  awarded as the Best Airline Staff Service in Africa.

The World Airline  Awards are presented by Skytrax, the world’s largest airline and airport review  site. Awards are bestowed based on reviews from more than 180 million completed
customer surveys measuring passenger experiences on the ground and onboard.  Ethiopian’s outstanding customer service propelled the airline to the top of the  Africa category.

“This award is a testament to the hard work of  Ethiopian’s more than 7,000 employees,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of  Ethiopian. “We are proud that the training and development of our staff is being recognized and pledge that we will continue to provide the best possible travel experience to our customers.”

Ethiopian is currently implementing a  15-year strategic plan, Vision 2025, which emphasizes five-star service delivery, along with state-of-the-art technology and a modern fleet. The World Airline Award affirms that Ethiopian is on the right track.

About

Ethiopian Airlines Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the fastest growing  airline in Africa. In its almost seven decades of operation, Ethiopian has  become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success.

Ethiopian commands the lion’s share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network, operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 74 international destinations across five continents. The Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as the Boeing 787, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200LR Freighter, and Bombardier  Q-400 with double cabin. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to  own and operate these aircraft.

Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan, entitled “Vision 2025,” which will see the airline become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business centers:
Ethiopian Domestic and Regional Airline; Ethiopian International Passenger  Airline; Ethiopian Cargo; Ethiopian MRO; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian In-flight Catering Services; and Ethiopian Ground Service.

Ethiopian is a multi-award-winning airline and a member of Star Alliance since 2011, registering an average growth of 25 percent in the past seven years.


Annual list of most family-friendly beaches in US released

June 17, 2013

Beaches

PENNINGTON, N.J. – According to a recent survey from an online family travel planning guide, nearly half of all families reported that the most important factor in choosing a beach to visit with kids is the cleanliness of the beach and its waters. The second most important factor is safe waters with a lifeguard on duty, followed closely by accommodations within walking distance.

“Families want to know that the beaches they’re visiting are safe for their kids – they’re looking for clean beaches to play on, and safe waters for young swimmers,” says Lissa Poirot, executive editor of Family Vacation Critic. “At the same time, convenience also plays a big role in the decision-making process – over a third of respondents said that they look for beaches that are close to where they’re staying and have nearby facilities and entertainment options.”

With those factors in mind, Family Vacation Critic has named the 10 Best Beaches for Families. The beaches were chosen by the site’s editors, based on the features most important to families — cleanliness, safe waters, and nearby restrooms, restaurants and entertainment.

Family Vacation Critic’s 2013 list of the 10 Best Beaches for Families includes:

Beach Haven – Beach Haven, NJ

Bethany Beach – Bethany Beach, DE

Coquina Beach – Nags Head, NC

Coronado Central Beach – Coronado, CA

Fort De Soto Park – St. Petersburg, FL

Poipu Beach Park – Koloa, HI

Sand Harbor Beach – Incline Village, NV

Siesta Beach – Siesta Key, FL

Skaket Beach – Orleans, MA. For all your travel need  please visit http://www.admastravel.com

 


Lufthansa firms up order for 100 A320 Family aircraft

June 17, 2013

Lufthansa-a320-200

LE BOURGET, France – The Lufthansa Group has firmed up a previous Supervisory Board decision from March this year and signed for 100 A320 Family aircraft (35 A320neo, 35 A321neo and 30 A320ceo with Sharklets) at the Paris International Airshow in Le Bourget, France.

The Lufthansa Group has been operating the A320 Family since October 1989. They were the launching customer for the A321 and belonged to the first operators of the A319 and A320. The new order confirms Lufthansa’s leading position as the largest Airbus airline customer and operator in Europe, increasing its order for the A320 type to 299. Over 150 of these aircraft have already been delivered.

“These modern and fuel-efficient aircraft will meet the future growth and fleet renewal needs of the Lufthansa Group airlines. By purchasing these aircraft, we will be able in the long term to offer customers a comfortable and modern product in the highly competitive environment. In addition, these aircraft are contributing significantly to reduce noise and emissions wherever we fly our aircraft to”, said Nico Buchholz, Executive Vice President, Lufthansa Group Fleet Management.

“Lufthansa is a loyal customer, and has been operating our aircraft for almost 40 years. We are extremely pleased to receive this repeat order and thank our prestigious customer for their continuing strong commitment to our eco-efficient products. The A320 Family represents the highest level of operational performance while also offering Lufthansa passengers superior level of comfort and services,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.


Ethiopia ignores war threat from Egypt in order to ratify Nile Treaty

June 14, 2013

ethiopia nile

By Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome

 

The longstanding row over the use of the Nile waters, for which the dictates of the 1929 and 1959 treaties between Britain and Egypt were shoved down the throats of the Nile basin countries on independence, resulted last year in the required number of members of the Nile Basin Initiative to sign on to a new negotiated treaty to make it legally binding, inspite of Egypt and Khartoum Sudan refusing to accept the majority verdict. Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia signed the new treaty while new member South Sudan indicated they too would add their signature, possibly ahead or alongside the meeting next week when the 21st Council of Ministers session will take place in Juba.

In recent weeks did Egypt sound the war drums in an attempt to intimidate Ethiopia not to ratify the new treaty and halt their plans for the construction of a new hydro electric power plant on the Blue Nile, aptly named the Great Renaissance Dam, to which the regime in Cairo vehemently objected. A grand blunder by a national TV station in Egypt then showed live scenes from discussions in parliament in Cairo, where the majority of members advocated strongly for military action against Ethiopia, leaving the Morsi regime in a bind as their intent and purpose became exposed for the world to see.

The 6.000 MW project, which is thought to have the capacity to not only transform Ethiopia’s economy but also provide electricity to neighbours South Sudan, Sudan (Khartoum) and even to Kenya, is a do or die project for Ethiopia and work on temporarily diverting the Nile at the site where the dam is due to be constructed has started last week. Egypt’s Morsi left ‘all options open’ following the publicity debacle his regime suffered when members of his party were outspoken about blowing up the dam to ‘save our water’, with the result that the riparian states upstream have moved closer together to resist such aggression and extortion.

Ethiopa has now formally ratified the new Nile Treaty and the other water producing countries like Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi have equally left no doubt, that while they respect the right of Egypt to water from the Nile, it will be the framework of the new treaty and not, as Egypt and Khartoum continue to insist, the old agreements of 1929 and 1959 which will henceforth govern the use of the Nile waters and the waters of upstream lakes and contributory rivers.

Interesting were opinions emerging from conservation circles in Kenya, who have been hugely critical of Ethiopia’s plans for the Gibe III dam, which is bound to very likely cause irreparable damage to the Lake Turkana ecosystem: ‘We have no issues at all with the new Renaissance dam in Ethiopia. Perhaps our support for that dam can persuade Addis to review the issues we presented about Gibe III and the impact that has on Lake Turkana. We support Ethiopia’s right to build the new Renaissance dam and their right to decide on how to use their share of Nile waters. With 6.000 MW it will provide enough power for Ethiopia, South Sudan and even for us here in Kenya to purchase from Ethiopia. Our cooperation on the LAPSSET project too should signal to Addis that quid pro quo has its advantages so why not give back on the issue of Gibe III’ said a regular source in Nairobi, who in the past was often making comments when touching on the Gibe III project and its impact on the Lake Turkana ecosystem.

There are strong indications that alongside the meeting in Juba next week, the upstream riparian states will also confer over the threats made against Ethiopia and discuss contingencies and countermeasures, should Egypt continue to show open hostility against fellow member Ethiopia. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni also waded into the debate when he commented on the topic while speaking about the budget reading in Kampala. He was quoted in local media to have said: ‘I have seen statements in the media coming out of the government of Egypt about the commendable work of Ethiopia. What Ethiopia is doing is what governments in Africa should do.

The new government of Egypt should not repeat the mistakes of previous governments, the biggest threat to the Nile is not building hydropower dams, the biggest threat is the continued under development of countries in the tropics. No African wants to hurt Egypt, however, Egypt cannot continue to hurt black Africa’ coming out clearly on the side of Ethiopia and setting the stage for a partisan meeting of the Nile Basin Initiative ministers next week in Juba. Perhaps time for the regime in Cairo to sit back and reflect on how they are now perceived among the African upstream riparian states as a war mongering radical country, and to devise ways and means to cooperate instead of confront, to work with the African countries and not against them and how to formulate new partnerships instead of trampling the rights of African countries into the desert dust. Watch this space.


Ethiopian Airlines CEO Elected to IATA Board of Governors

June 13, 2013

EAL pilots

Tewolde-Gebremariam EAL CEO

Tewolde-Gebremariam EAL CEO

Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, is pleased to announce that its CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, has been elected to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Board of Governors.

IATA is a trade association for the world’s airlines. Its 240 airline members comprise 84 percent of the world’s total air traffic and its Board of Governors consists of top executives from 31 airlines from around the world. Mr. Gebremariam will join Presidents, Chairmen and CEOs of some of the world’s largest airlines, further placing Ethiopian Airlines at the forefront of the airline industry.
“I am delighted to join my distinguished colleagues on the IATA Board of Directors,” said Gebremariam. This appointment is recognition of not only Gebremariam, but also of Ethiopian Airlines. With more than 7,000 staff members, one of the industry’s most up-to-date fleets, and service to 72 international destinations, Ethiopian is quickly becoming Africa’s premier carrier.
About Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, made its maiden international flight to Cairo in1946 and now provides dependable services to 72 international destinations spanning four continents.
Ethiopian Airlines is proud to be a Star Alliance member. The Star Alliance network is the leading global airline network offering customers convenient worldwide reach and a smoother travel experience. The Star Alliance network offers more than 21,555 daily flights to 1,356 airports in 193 countries.
Ethiopian is a multi-award winner for its commitment and contributions toward the development and growth of the African aviation industry and in recognition of its distinguished long-haul operations enhanced by the introduction of new routes and products. Recently, Ethiopian won the “Airline Reliability Performance Award” from Bombardier Aerospace; “African Airline of the Year Award” from Air Transport Quarterly Magazine; “Transformation Award 2012” from Planet Africa Network; and the “International Diamond Prize for Excellence in Quality” from the European Society for Quality Research (ESQR). Also Captain Desta Zeru, Vice President of Flight Operations for Ethiopian, won an “Africa Legend of Travel” award from African Travel Quarterly (ATQ) magazine and Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam won “African CEO of the Year” from the African CEO Forum as well as “African Business Leader of the Year” from the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).
With its acquisition of and firm orders for several new modern fleet, the airline is well positioned to pursue aggressively the implementation of its 2025 strategic plan to become the leading aviation group in Africa. for more info contact www.admastravel.com

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