Monthly Archives: September 2015

Overseas Weddings Still on the Up

Destination Weddings Travel Group, a destination wedding planning company, has released its inaugural report with the latest wedding statistics and trend forecast for 2015

“With an ever-changing global environment, the destination wedding industry is continuously growing and changing,” commented Richard Calvert, president and CEO of the firm. “It’s imperative to remain aware of trends among couples seeking a unique destination wedding experience.” As the destination wedding industry increases in size and popularity, the report looks at destinations that are up-and-coming, as couples begin traveling to even more exotic locales. “Perennial favorites such as Mexico and Hawaii will continue to flourish as wedding destinations,” adds Calvert. “However, we’re excited to see the destination wedding landscape expand as new regions are embraced.”

Destination Weddings also shared the latest breakdown of the consumer base, including:

·Destination wedding budgets averaging $8,800, with local and at-home weddings topping $30,000.

The most popular month for destination weddings is currently May, with June and July following close behind.

The average length of stay for destination wedding couples is seven days, while guests stay on average for four days.

The most booked destinations include Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, with Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia and Grenada emerging as new favourites. Elsewhere, the Destination Weddings Trend Report 2015 also highlights the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and its role in the destination wedding market. Calvert explained: “As we reach a level playing field across the world, we have already seen a surge of LGBT destination weddings and the changing environment in the wedding industry will only increase as more countries open their arms to same-sex marriage.” Calvert cites up-and-coming LGBT destinations, including Curacao, Capetown, Barcelona, and Aruba.

Calvert foresees the destination wedding industry will continue to thrive in 2016, as these wedding experiences can accommodate any price point, and as couples look to the experts to help them save money and minimise the planning work on their end.

Nice wedding

Reproduced by permission from Source Article copyright ITIJ.

EU Airlines Liable for Unforeseen Technical Delays

A great victory for passengers this week, in Europe.

One of the classic ‘get out of jail free’ cards, abundantly played by the airlines, has been their ‘We’re sorry, but the flight is delayed due to unforeseen technical problems’ followed by ‘Your safety is our first concern’ and ‘blah blah blah’. To dare to complain about this is held as being tantamount to encouraging the airlines to operate unsafe planes, and that suggestion quells most questions.

But this excuse is often as specious as the weather excuse. Specifically, if the ‘unforeseen’ technical problem is indeed foreseeable, why should an airline’s unwillingness to anticipate and respond to problems that statistically are actually quite foreseeable give them an automatic excuse?

Think of it this way. Can you name a single unforeseeable problem that would prevent your car from taking you to work tomorrow? Flat battery – hardly unforeseeable. Failed starter motor – been there, done that. Electrical problem – happens all the time. Fuel pump failure – totally normal. Puncture – now you’re really struggling! My point is this – just like there is nothing that can go wrong with a car that isn’t foreseeable and which hasn’t happened to other cars, elsewhere, the same is true of planes.

Things might be uncommon, but never unforeseeable. Recognizing this, some airlines keep spare planes ‘at the ready’ at major hubs so that when a plane develops a problem, they can quickly swap it over for another plane.

The EU allows an exemption from the compensation requirements it imposes on airlines that delay their passengers in the case of extraordinary circumstances, but after a technical discussion of the nature of the failure of the parts on a plane that resulted in its passengers being delayed by 29 hours, the court decided that sabotage or terrorism would be an extraordinary circumstance, but not issues that arise during maintenance or the failure to carry out such maintenance – such failures are normal rather than extraordinary.

The court said

In the course of the activities of an air carrier, that unexpected event is inherent in the normal exercise of an air carrier’s activity, as air carriers are confronted as a matter of course with unexpected technical problems. No component of an aircraft lasts forever.

This massively reduces the validity of a former favorite airline excuse, and if you’re on any flight operated by any airline, departing from any EU airport, or on a flight from a foreign origin in to an EU airport and operated by an EU airline, this ruling would apply to you and your flight/problems.

 

Reproduced by permission from The Travel Insider.

Bad News if Your Flight is ‘Interrupted’

Longer-in-the-tooth fliers (which means most of us) will remember the good old days of flying when we had two comforting safety mechanisms in the event of anything interfering with the flights we were booked to travel on, causing us to not be able to get to our destination in more or less the time frame we were anticipating, on the airline we had booked with.

The first of these was a hangover from the days of airline regulation – the so called ‘Rule 240’, which obliged airlines to transfer passengers to other airlines if the other airline could get the passengers to their destination more quickly than alternate arrangements on the original airline would do. In its simplest form, the airline with the problem would simply handwrite ‘Rule 240’ on your ticket (remember the old paper tickets with red carbon copies?) with a Sharpie marker, and tell you which airline had the best alternate flights to take. The other airline would accept your ticket without comment or complaint.

The second of these is another blast from the past, another memory of the ‘good old days’. A decade or two back, most flights operated at little more than 50% loads, so if a flight was cancelled, there was enough excess capacity to quickly soak up the passengers from the cancelled flight and get them on to their destination.

But since deregulation, the airlines have slowly been removing their now self-imposed obligations to offer a Rule 240 type replacement and it is almost non-existent now. You’ll still find stupid lists of ‘travel tips’ telling you that merely uttering the words ‘Rule 240’ will cause miraculous events to occur at any airline podium, anywhere in the world, but the chances are that these days your invocation of Rule 240 will either bring a puzzled look from a recent hire who has no idea what you’re talking about, or a smirk from a longer serving employee who marvels at your cluelessness.

You certainly should know what your airline is willing to do, as per its conditions of carriage, and you certainly should try and sweet-talk your way into getting not just the bare minimum but some of the additional discretionary extras that gate agents can dish out if they choose to, but if you smugly say ‘Rule 240 says you must ….’ then you’ll be very disappointed.

The other big change is that most airlines are now flying with 80% and higher loads. So instead of the passengers off a cancelled flight being able to all fit on the next flight out, it could take four or five subsequent flights and increasingly ‘imaginative’ routings to get you from where you are to where you want to be, just because, no matter what the rules might say, there simply aren’t any spare seats available.

The airlines have however continued to extend reciprocal agreements on the basis of ‘what goes round, comes round’; so that if an airline has a problem with a flight, they can pass their people over to another airline, often with no money changing hands at all, or otherwise, a pre-determined and discounted payment being made from one airline to the other. This helps all the airlines, because they end up with fewer operational problems and easier solutions by being able to access spare seats not just on their flights but on their competitors flights, too. Imagine if you’re flying from a city on Airline A and it only operates two flights a day – if they don’t/won’t/can’t put you on Airline B or C, you might end up spending two or three days waiting until Airline A next has an available seat for you.

But if an airline feels it is being taken advantage of by one of its ‘competitors’, the situation becomes more precarious. Because, remember, it isn’t anything to do with the airlines fraternally joining together to help ensure the best possible flight experience for the maximum possible number of travelers, in the belief that good travel experiences in general encourages all passengers to fly more, on all airlines. Oh, no. Instead, the airlines would much rather ‘punish’ passengers for flying on an alternate airline, and if that means that, in turn, some of their own passengers will also be punished by the loss of reciprocity with another airline, so be it – perhaps that is acceptable collateral damage.

An example of that played out this week, when American and Delta stopped playing nice, and both have stormed off to their respective corners, after cancelling the reciprocity agreement between them.

That’s not to say that you might not still be able to get one of the two airlines to endorse your ticket over to the other, but it does mean that it will be a bigger favor to ask, and the lower your ticket originally cost, and the less status you have with the airline, the less likely you are to get your ticket switched over. So, for many of us, there’ll be nothing we can do about it except get comfortable at the airport, and pick out a three or four seat row of seats to sleep overnight on if necessary.

Reproduced by permission from http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/2015/09/weekly-roundup-friday-11-september-2015.html.

3D Animation of 5 Most Common Heart Conditions

A cardiac compromise is a blanket term that refers to many kinds of problems with the heart. Just as there are many problems, there are a wide variety of signs and symptoms associated with these heart problems. Let us take a look at five of the most common heart conditions in simple, understandable 3D animation. Big thanks to Kushalkumar Jain for uploading this educational and informative video on youtube.