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
Advertisements

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.


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

 


Top Five Secrets to Savvy Travel

June 1, 2013

 

TravelingFamilyCartoon

*Fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday.

Traveling on off-peak days – and at  off-peak times – means lower fares, a less crowded cabin, and a greater  chance of snagging those elusive mileage-award seats. Taking two days off  for a long weekend?   Instead of a Thursday –Sunday or Friday – Monday trip, save money by flying on a Saturday and returning on a Tuesday.

*Hop Between Cities at Midday. 
When you’re traveling through Europe or Asia and need to get from
one city to another, consider scheduling transportation for the middle of
the day.   If you leave at dawn, you miss the sunrise – ideal for photography and observing locals – and reach your destination at midday, when temperatures are highest and the light is at its worst for photos, and is too early to check into your hotel.   You may also have to fight rush-hour commuters and miss a breakfast that is included in your rate.

*Visit Islands During Shoulder Season.

Peak-season rates on islands often   reflect nearby countries’ vacation schedules rather than the best time to  visit.   In low season, many businesses shut down.   Shoulder  season – when crowds are thinner but the weather is still good – is the  solution.

*Sign Up For E-Mail Notifications.
The best airfare and hotel sales are largely unannounced.   Airlines and hotel  companies target specific subsets of travelers – loyalty program members, holders of certain credit cards, people who’ve registered on their Web sites – and alert them by e-mail.  To keep your in-box from being bombarded, get a dedicated e-mail address for such alerts and check it when you’re ready to start planning your next trip.

*Get the Best Room for Your Dollar.

At luxury properties, rates vary substantially  according to occupancy.   A room could be $350 one week because there’s a big group, and $250 the next because nobody’s coming.  For top-end hotels that have on-site reservations desks, call and ask the manager when, during your travel window, the hotel will be emptiest and thus have the lowest rates.   Then ask something like, “If I come on that date, would there be a chance of an upgrade to ocean view?”

 


Rwanda’s Festival of the Gorillas becomes annual tourist destination

May 23, 2013

Gorillas
By Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Correspondent, Africa

(eTN) – When the Rwanda Development Board’s (RDB) Tourism and Conservation Department holds their annual Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony on Saturday, June 22, at Kinigi, outside Volcano National Park, exactly a dozen newborn gorilla babies will be named this year. One of them was only born two days ago to the joy of the park staff and the conservation and tourism fraternity at large. It was Muganga of the Isabukuru group who has given birth to a baby of yet to be determined sex.

Namers selected by RDB to perform the actual naming during the high-profile ceremony are normally given a choice of two names, at times three, proposed by the rangers and wardens looking after the gorilla groups, and reflect often the circumstances of the birth, make reference to the location, or reflect the mood of the group at the time.

Kwita Izina has, over the years, developed into a week-long celebration, during which conferences and workshops dedicated to conservation take place, community projects benefiting the people living around the Volcano National Park are handed over or launched, and where sporting and society events are used to mark Rwanda’s unwavering commitment to looking after the gentle giants of the Virunga mountains.

Travelers from around the world are now regularly planning visits to Rwanda to coincide with the annual Festival of the Gorillas which is unique in the range countries where mountain gorillas are found. Visit http://www.rwandatourism.com for more information about the country’s tourism attractions, how to get there, and how best to travel across the “Land of a Thousand Hills.”


LUX Ile de La Reunion takes Leading Island Hotel award at WTA

May 15, 2013

ADDIS LAX Hotel

LUX Ile de La Reunion won the Leading Island Hotel award tonight at the World Travel Awards (WTA) being held in the Maldives. The award was accepted at the WTA Indian Ocean gala dinner this evening.

Located on the lush volcanic island of Reunion, LUX Ile de La Reunion presents a glistening beach by day and the shimmering Saint-Gilles lagoon by night. Gardens scattered with charming Creole villas, coconut palms, and filao trees provide the perfect setting for this unique beach hotel in Reunion, with exclusive views of the coral-sheltered lagoon at L’Hermitage. The only 5-star hotel on Reunion Island, this stunning property balances a unique fusion of Creole energy and colonial elegance.

The hotel offers tennis and volleyball courts in the gardens, a spacious swimming pool, yoga in the gardens, and private in-room spa treatments. Fresh, locally-sourced seafood is on offer at the beach resort’s various restaurants and bars.

On the island of Reunion, the World Heritage sites of the Pitons, Cirques, and Ramparts, showcase the island’s rugged beauty, dramatic volcanic peaks, and tumbling waterfalls.

For more information about LUX Ile de la Reunion, visit: http://www.luxresorts.com/en/reunion-island/lux-ile-de-la-reunion/welcom…


Traveling with the lions

May 10, 2013

lion-feeding

Zambia is fully engaged in the rehabilitation and subsequent release of lions back into the wild. This is not just an opportunity for the country to lend a hand to Mother Nature by helping to preserve these majestic animals, it is also a tourism opportunity for visitors to have an up-close and personal experience with the lions.

Lion Encounter operates stage one of the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust’s four stage Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program. The first stage of the program involves the young lions being taken out into the Bush, allowing them to build confidence in their natural habitat and practice their hunting techniques before being released into stage two of the program.

Joining the lions walks, participants are actively assisting in the pre-release training for the cubs as well as giving funding for ALERT to develop all stages of the release program, implement conservation and research programs to protect Africa’s precious habitat and wildlife, and engage in a variety of community development and empowerment schemes for those living in and around wildlife conservation areas.

For Lion Encounter Zambia, guests are collected from their lodges and comfortably transported a short distance to the Boma – a hospitality suite overlooking the Zambezi River within the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park – where a friendly hospitality team is waiting to greet participants with a welcome soft-drink or teas and coffees for the early risers, after which they are shown to their seats.

Guests enjoy a short film to give them information on the lion release program, and the film explains why it is necessary to facilitate such a project. It also shows guests some behind the scenes footage regarding ALERT’s others efforts, which benefit communities bordering conservation areas run by the ALERT Communities Trust (ACT) and its other wildlife conservation and research programs through the Conservation Centre for Wild Africa (CCWA).

All participants of the walk then receive the all-important dos and don’ts in a safety talk delivered by their guide. Guests are then ready to meet the lions who are already waiting for them in the Bush.

During the walk itself, guests will be accompanied by experienced guides, handlers, and scouts that ensure rigorous safety procedures are upheld, allowing guests to enjoy watching the lions play, hunt, and enjoy their natural habitat. At times, the lions may rest, allowing guests for some close encounters and opportunities to get a photo with the lions. Guests’ experiences will be enhanced by hearing about the lion as a species as well as receiving the latest updates on the progress of the release program.

For more information, visit the Zambia Tourism Board website: www.zambiatourism.com .


%d bloggers like this: