Saturday, 27 August 2011

The finest food to grace the air!

On-board cuisine - you either hate it it!

Often, the arrival of food on a flight can come as welcome reprieve from the mundaneness of a long, arduous flight. But once it sits in front of you, there is usually a deep sense of annoyance at what lays before you. Luke-warm mashed potato, microwaved meats and congealed milk are often served in quaint moulded plastic dishes with mass-produced plastic cutlery that snaps whenever any pressure is exerted upon it....Mmmm, Mmmm

But, there are certain pioneers of the sky who endeavour to provide their passenger with a meal-time experience that is a welcome departure from the usual.

In first place must be Qantas who have been known to serve caviar before main meals! This is followed by a further eight courses that sample cuisines from all over the World. Of course, you must reside in 1st class to be fed such fine fayre, but it's perhaps a small price to pay for such a dining experience!

Next up is Gulf Air who provide passengers with an on-board chef who cooks up a range of culinary delights that sample many regions of the Gulf. So expect meals along the lines of honey-glazed quail and spiced Arabic lamb!

Third spot must go to Singapore Airways. Not solely for their food but also for their assortment of premium champagnes served on-board. So expect Dom Perignon or Krug as an accompaniment to your Korean eel fillet!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Dealing with long waits in the airport

Ever got to the airport far too early and thought 'What on Earth am I doing here already?'.... Yep. So have I.

I always wonder why I do it to myself - arriving at the airport so early because I have to take into account every possible eventuality that may somehow prevent me from reaching my sunny destination. The longest time I have spent loitering around an airport is 12 hours - a record that I am certainly not proud of but proved to be necessary due to the situation I was in at the time. Basically, in this case my travel mate and I arrived at Cairns airport speculatively in the hope of boarding a flight to Sydney which proved impossible. Hence a long, drawn-out wait until the next flight a whole half-a-day later.

During this nightmare of a wait my friend and I managed to amuse ourselves for a reasonable portion of it. Whether by eating our weight in fast food or by playing seemingly inane games that took on a distorted sense of higher meaning we survived (somehow) to board our flight in reasonably jovial spirits.

From that experience, I have extrapolated the five best methods of keeping one entertained whilst waiting for a flight...

1)Strike up a conversation with someone
Whoever it is, everyone has a story. Sure, in our case we tried (and failed) to chat to the prettiest things we could find but broaden your horizons by speaking to people of different nationalities and gain some insight into their World.

2)Play a game of how many
Categories include; How many moustachioed men will walk through gate number four? and how many times will this Mother clip this young boy around the ear?

3)Check out the duty free section
There is a wealth of entertainment to be had in this treasure trove. Cologne testing can take up a good couple of hours but beware of glares from the up-tight staff. Likewise, cheap sweet treats can be had for nominal amounts of cash and what better way to spend an hour than seeing how many Ferrero Rochers can be inserted into one's mouth without swallowing.

4)Explore the hidden avenues that your airport offers
You'd be surprised to find what hidden delights await you in your airport. The holy grail is a gaming arcade. Sure, their hard to come by, but once found, a couple of solid hours will fly by. Other joyous finds include Krispy Krème doughnut stalls and free internet connections.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Sad end to Superfast plane flight

A test flight for the World's fastest plane as ended in disaster after the crashing into the Pacific ocean.

The U.S military's Falcon HTV-2 was launched with promises of it being able to travel from London to Sydney in less than an hour with speeds reaching 22 times the speed of regular planes.

The plane itself is attached to a rocket before disengaging on the edge of space an re-entering the atmosphere but after a smooth start, the Californian air base lost signal after nine minutes - at which point the plane had flown for 139 seconds and had reached nearly 17,000mph!

The plane had already encountered a host of problems in testing with two test flights already being cancelled prior to this one. It's little wonder when you realise that the vehicle travels on average at 13,000mph or 20 times the speed of sound on its journey!

Hopefully this will not blemish the reputation of the hypersonic flight too much and we will see more examples of these amazing planes being tested soon.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Say NO to flight delays!

There's nothing more annoying than getting to the airport with plenty of time to spare, queueing all the way through to departures before hearing an announcement over the P.A system explaining that a flight has been delayed.....and lo-and-behold it's your flight!

It may seem that such delays are completely out of your hands... and they, are as most are caused by factors such as weather conditions, mechanical faults or airspace issues. But these delays can actually be avoided by following a particular set of rules.

1. Fly in the morning
If there were any mechanical problems with your plane, they are more likely to be fixed through the night when a plane has more chance of being grounded and worked upon compared to during the busier period during the day. Terrible weather is more likely to hit in the afternoon to so this also makes flying in the morning a prudent idea as well.

2. Check who you're flying with
There are now a number of online resources that actively allow you to look up the percentage of flights that are on time or late for a particular airline, showing you who you should be travelling with.

3. Which airport are you flying from?
Many airports are affected by the weather, and therefore delays. Choose to travel from any city that has prolonged periods of inclement weather and things may begin to go downhill. This especially true in the case of cities that are affected by fog and heavy cloud cover so you may want to avoid San Francisco on your travels!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Virgin Space flight: a step closer

With the first Virgin space flight due in just two years, a British pilot is set to fulfil a childhood dream by becoming the first person to pilot one of Virgin's Galactic aircraft.

David Mackay, 53, will be the chief pilot for Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic when it begins the first sub-orbital space flights by 2013. More than 400 passengers have already paid £125,000 for the experience of a weightless flight 100km above the earth's surface!

Mr Mackay is currently in the U.S training for the flight in one of Virgin's test aircraft named the 'WhiteKnightTwo' and is one of four pilots who are currently placing the aircraft through it's paces.

When Mr Mackay gets round to flying passengers commercially, he will pilot the Mothership to 50,000 feet before blasting of into space on the spaceship by means of a rocket motor, accelerating at 2,500mph before leaving the Earth's atmosphere. Once the ship has reached it's cruising height of 360,000ft above the Earth, passengers will able to unbuckle themselves and experience the weightlessness of outer-space!

In the meantime, we will have to make do with our Boeings and Airbusses, but hopefully someday will all be able to afford this amazing opportunity!