British Airways’ interactive billboards
Nov 27th, 2013 by elisa

We’ve all wondered where a plane flying overhead might be going, what exotic location and the sort of people going there. Now those questions can be answered, at least the destination part anyway, on the new BA interactive billboards.

British Airways’ global creative technology agency, Ogilvy 12th Floor, developed the billboards for the latest ‘magic of flying campaign’ to be shown in Chiswick in west London and in London’s Piccadilly.

Aircraft flying overhead are tracked and the billboard display is interrupted as the plane flies overhead with a picture of a child pointing at it, accompanied by its flight number and departure destination. For example, it may read “It’s the BA0234 from Los Angeles,” and be followed by some other relevant information about the route or an offer.

BA head of UK and Ireland sales Richard Tams said: “Sometimes we forget how magical flying can be. The first time anyone gets on a plane is an unforgettable experience and we want to remind our customers of that feeling.

“We’ve all had conversations with friends and family wondering where the planes are going and dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination and this clever technology taps in to that and reminds people how accessible the world can be.”



Plans for European “seamless door-to-door travel experience”
Jul 11th, 2013 by elisa

A model for an information and booking system to incorporate train, plane and bus travel across Europe is being developed by an Amadeus-led consortium.

The European Commission set up aims to enable residents and visitors to “enjoy a seamless door-to-door travel experience” to streamline searching, booking and buying tickets for travel across Europe.

The All Ways Travelling consortium consists of Amadeus, Dutch and Belgian joint venture BeNe Rail, airline association IATA, technology firm Thales, rail company UNIFE and Zeppelin University. It is part of the EC’s Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area initiative which aims to increase employment within the sector and reduce carbon emissions.

Siim Kallas, vice president of the European Commission in charge of transport, said: “We need to develop European multimodal journey planners in Europe. To make the best use of all existing transport modes and infrastructure, we need to ensure the availability, accessibility and exchange of all relevant information, such as schedules, capacity and paths.”

The first stage will require the privately-funded Zeppelin university to carry out an in-depth study of multimodality, to be completed before the end of 2013. Once validated by the EC, the consortium will trial business models, operations and specific technologies for the Proof of Concept stage.

Thomas Drexler, global head of Amadeus Rail and Ground Transportation, said: “In addition to the breadth of knowledge and experience within the consortium itself, we have created an advisory board consisting of 10 representatives of the major players in the industry to ensure that the approach to multimodal travel is truly beneficial for the travel industry as a whole.”

Cabin weight-saver
Nov 9th, 2010 by jason

Astonishingly, nine out of every ten Brits holidaying in Spain this year will have got there on a no-frills airline like easyjet or Ryanair. The percentage for most other European destinations isn’t far behind. And with the budget airlines’ charge for checking in a suitcase ever rising, an increasing number of holidaymakers are taking just what will fit into a cabin bag with maximum dimensions of 55x40x20cm. Ryanair also imposes a 10kg weight limit whereas easyJet allows any weight ‘within reason’.

Ryanair has been especially tough on slightly oversize bags, sometimes creating lengthy departure gate queues as passengers with a cabin bag bulging beyond the max argue with staff then desperately extract enough to slim the bag.

If no-one has yet coined the phrase cabin bag anxiety, it’s time they did. But what the extortionate bag check-in charges do mean is that it’s worth investing in a cabin bag that makes the most of what you’re allowed. Luggage specialist Antler has come up a bag specifically designed for that purpose. It claims the Duolite is the lightest, most durable case it has ever produced. Combining a hybrid ABS and nylon material with a frameless construction, the Duolite is super lightweight, with the cabin case weighing in at just 2.1kg. With dimensions of 55x35x20, it meets most airlines’ cabin bag size limits (but always check before flying).

A weight of 2.1kg probably doesn’t mean much to most people, but we’ve been trying one out and the first thing everyone says is, “Isn’t it light?” The second is that  it nevertheless feels well made and strong in a high-tech sort of way, and the third is that it wheels along very easily. So although it has a recommended retail price of £89 (the lowest discounted price we saw online was £84), that could be a worthwhile investment. Our only reservation is that its width of 35cm is actually 5cm, or a couple of inches, less than most airlines allow, so you aren’t quite maximising the allowance. Having said that, the structure of the case intrudes very little into the internal space, which can also be expanded slightly by undoing a zip-fastened gusset extension to give a depth of 23cm if the airline isn’t being too strict. The bag has one zipped external pocket, and comes complete with a TSA padlock (which can be opened by security staff without having to break into the case).

For those trips where a cabin bag just isn’t enough, Antler does two matching suitcases of similar construction. The medium case (67x44x30/33cm) weighs 2.5kg, with a rrp of £105 and the large (74x49x33/36cm) weighs 2.9kg with a rrp of £109. With excess baggage charges of up to £40 per kilo, the two kilos or so saved compared with a typical case could almost pay for these cases, which all come with a 10-year warranty. Further details and stockists at

More travel companies to fail?
Oct 25th, 2010 by jason

The collapse of Greece and Turkey holiday specialist Goldtrail in July won’t be the last this year, say travel industry experts.

Nick Harris of law firm Simpson Millar, which specialises in travel compensation claims, says companies in difficulty will often survive during the summer when business is good.

It is usually in the autumn when travel firms go bust. The timing of the Goldtrail failure is concerning but I doubt it will be the only travel business to face closure in 2010.

There is concern about the growing number of holidays created by ‘dynamic packaging’, where agents or operators put together what looks like a package holiday by buying the different elements – mainly flights and accommodation – separately. Some such providers are not accredited by ATOL, ABTA or the CAA, leaving travellers with no or limited protection if the company goes bust.

My advice to travellers is to avoid dynamic packaging where possible, said Mr Harris, or make sure that providers are accredited and have a solid reputation.

What this means for anyone booking a villa holiday is that it’s best either to buy a complete package from a villa specialist, with ATOL or ABTA accreditation, or else to book the flight and villa separately yourself, ensuring the flight provider is covered by ATOL accreditation.

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