Lets face it, most of us couldn’t care above luggage bins – except for two reasons:

  • Somewhere to chuck your bag when you get on the plane
  • Ensuring there’s enough space for your luggage when you get aboard

As more airlines consider luggage an “optional extra”, overhead luggage bins are getting more crammed – with lots of bags heading for the hold when the bins fill up.

Well, Boeing has released a new overhead luggage bin – called the “Space Bin“.

No, it’s not the next Boeing rocket – rather these are luggage bins are now available for installation aboard Boeing 737 Next Gen (-600, -700, 800, 900ER), and the upcoming Boeing 737 MAX Series.

The larger bins will hold up to six bags – compared the four bags that the current pivot bins installed currently on Boeing 737 Next Gen Aircraft.

737 Luggage Space Bins at 737 Configuration Studio
737 Space Bins at 737 Configuration Studio – Image, The Boeing Company

Boeing reckons you can squeeze six uniform sized bags measuring g 9-in x 14-in x 22-in (23 cm x 36 cm x 56 cm) in these new bins.

The bins feature a lower bin lip height – aiding in the loading of the bin. with a bigger depth to them.

The launch carrier of these new luggage bins will be Alaska Airlines – who will have the new luggage bins installed on all new deliveries from late 2015, whilst other operators will be able to retrofit them to existing Boeing 737 Next Gen Aircraft.


Want to keep up with me at GhettoIFE? Join me either by signing up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter @GhettoIFE for when there are posts to the blog!

Also remember that as well as being part of BoardingArea, we’re also part of BoardingArea.eu, delivering frequent flyer news, miles and points to European readers!

And this is all good in theory. Unfortunately, I can count the times I’ve seen overhead luggage bins loaded like that… on one finger, with people preferring to put them flat on the bottom, on their side and of course there are people like me who have rucksacks and such.

Nice idea – but teaching people to stow their luggage differently in an overhead bin could be more difficult.

Posted by Kevincm | 2 Comments

Lufthansa is modifying its services between Frankfurt and New York-JFK, with the introduction of a Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental on the route

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8i at the Lufthansa Technik hanger at Frankfurt-am-Main Airport. Image, GhettoIFE
Lufthansa Boeing 747-8i at the Lufthansa Technik hanger at Frankfurt-am-Main Airport. Image, GhettoIFE

The German flag carrier currently operates two flights a day between Frankfurt and New York, with one service being operated by an Airbus A380 and the other using a Boeing 747-400.

The A380 will continue to operate the LH400/LH401 rotation, whilst the Boeing 747-8i will operate the LH404/LH405 rotation.

The swap will be commencing on 15th July, and flights have been switched in the Lufthansa booking system.

Lufthansa sales from Frankfurt

Lufthansa sales from New York JFK

If you have existing bookings on LH404/LH405 rotation, it could be an idea to check your seats to see what’s shifted around.


Want to keep up with me at GhettoIFE? Join me either by signing up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter @GhettoIFE for when there are posts to the blog!

Also remember that as well as being part of BoardingArea, we’re also part of BoardingArea.eu, delivering frequent flyer news, miles and points to European readers!

Posted by Kevincm | 2 Comments

Trip Report – Hello Daytrip! Back to Orly Airport and the Iberia Lounge.

Pokemontripreport

In this trip report…

After a day of walking around, with my tiredness beginning to creep in, and the possibility of real fum if the SNCF strike continued to be a pain, I decided the best course of action was to head back to the airport on the RER.

Thankfully, at Notre Dame, there is an RER B station that will take me directly back to Antony station.

There was only a short wait before the train came in – made up of old carriages and refurbished ones. I made a beeline for the refurbished ones (least of all, they’re cleaned up – but more importantly, they’re fitted with CCTV and slightly more comfier seats).

The RER made its way from the central zone of Paris, and out back into the Île-de-France, eventually depositing me at Antony station.

Old and new
Old and new

Rush to get off
Le Rush to get off

Classic French Train
Classqiue.

Trains

From there is was back towards the OrlyVAL, where there was a short wait for the next train. Another ticket validation, and it was off onto the automated train back to the Orly Airport complex.

Arrving at Orly West

At Orly West

With that done, I headed back into the Orly West Airport complex to play “hunt the lounge” (combined with hunt the toilet). For British Airways passengers – this is an annoyance as the lounge is over in Hall 1 (where BA/OpenSkies depart from Hall3).

But still, I was early for my flight, so I headed up to the lounge.

Orly Iberia Lounge access
Lounge for…

So off we go up to the Salon VIP

Orly Iberia Lounge

The doorway

First black mark as I enter – no member of staff to greet. That was the best part of 15 minutes to wait before a lounge attendant could be interested in returning. For a lounge that’s co-branded by Melia Hotels and Resorts.. it’s a bit poor.

Orly Iberia Lounge
Lounge

Orly Iberia Lounge
Magazines

Orly Iberia Lounge
Seating

Whilst drink was pretty free-flowing (be it soft drinks or alcoholic), food was a bit lacking with prepared bagels and pasta.

Orly Iberia Lounge

Orly Iberia Lounge
Not the greatest selection…

Power charging points were an issue in this lounge as well – with so few around.

In addition, I was tired so I dosed off – waking up occasionally to check on the flight, which was delayed inbound from Heathrow.

Of course, this wasn’t announced in the lounge – rather annoying where I had to check every 5 minutes to see if when boarding was to commence.

Eventually, the plane was announced for boarding – with a rush to be made as I was still land side (along with a majority of the lounge following me).

Overall: Apart from the food and drink, the indifferent attitude of the lounge staff wasn’t welcome made it feel like some of the US Lounges I’ve been in. Put it like this: I wouldn’t spend more time than needed in that lounge than needed, nor would I go out of my way to visit it.

Heading to Hall 3 in a hurry, it was a quick step over to the departure area.

Orly Departure area
Walking over

Orly Nespresso store
A Nespresso store too…

Orly Departure area
Approaching the non-Schengen check in area

Orly Departure area
Closing in…

Orly Departure area
Hall 3 – or where BA depart from

Passport control was handled with the usual French attention to detail (i.e. a quick glance at the photo ID page), with me filtering into the priority security queue for clearance.

A few minutes doing the usual security things, and I was cleared to head to the gate.

BA A320 at Orly Airport
My plane at the gate

With the majority of plane loaded, there was no wait to board. My boarding pass was scanned, and I headed down the jet way for the delayed flight home.

Next: BA337 Paris Orly to London Heathrow


Want to keep up with me at GhettoIFE? Join me either by signing up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter @GhettoIFE for when there are posts to the blog!

Also remember that as well as being part of BoardingArea, we’re also part of BoardingArea.eu, delivering frequent flyer news, miles and points to European readers!

Posted by Kevincm | One Comment

Trip Report – Hello Daytrip! A Day of Avoiding Scams and Scammers
Or… A Day touring Paris.

Pokemontripreport

In this trip report…

A day of avoiding scammers in Paris.

I foolishly decided to take in some of the sights of Paris (rather than catching the 15:55 flight back… looking back now, that would had been acceptable…), so off I went to do the sights. Because I’m a tourist.

And at nearly all the popular sights, it was scammer central.

If you’ve read my post “I life Paris… But…“, you’ll sort of know what’s coming next.

Here’s where I got attempted to be scammed!

The Arc De Triomphe/Champs Elysees
Scam Attempts: 1

With this one, it was one of the oldest classic tricks of Paris (one which a lot of tourists fall for), it was the ring found on the floor scam, with the ring being offered to you, in exchange for some money for food. You’ll end up with a valueless ring, and if you accuse them of a scam, a pile of abuse.

Still, this scam seems to be in decline in my trip (only once, so I was pleasantly surprised with that)

Eiffel Tower
Scam Attempts: I honestly lost count – I swear I was hitting double digits over 30 minutes.
Scam Types: 3

Walking from Bir-Hakeim station to The Eiffel Tower, it was a case of “dodge the scammer:.


Photoblog.com picture of the day – 23rd June 2014


But first, there’s a nice market to go through first… and not overly a scam

First up were the “Speak English women” who would ask you to sign a petition of some sort (normally on a cardboard back). The women operate in groups who are seeking to relieve you of anything loose on your possession. Advice: PLOUGH THROUGH. As these petitions are in French – unless you have a good understanding of the language you may not know what you’re signing with these . In addition for signing petitions, they may ask for a donation too.

All the fun and local colour…

The scam operates along the walkway from the Metro station to the tower itself (and on the lawn at the tower)

Then we have the three card monte/shell game players. Whilst it looks easy money… don’t. You won’t win against these scammers as these games work on slight of hand. Not fun.


And if you want to go up the Eiffel Tower, go early – the queues can be astonishing.

Meanwhile, on the law of the Eiffel tower, we come to our next scam: The friendship bracelet scam. The crux of this scam is that friendly people come to you and put a friendship bracelet round your wrist for “nothing”.

Then they demand the euros by the bucketload of you, getting rather agitated if you don’t give them to you. In addition, some these people can be further aggressive by not releasing you from the bracelet until you’ve visited a cash machine and emptied your account for them.

Finally, whilst not a scam, there is something you should be aware of  - and that’s those with lots of Eiffel Towers on a ring to sell.

Whilst some sell at a reasonable price, others don’t. In addition, at the first sign of the Gendarmerie appearing, they tend to run away. FAST.

That should give you a hint to possibly avoid them.

Gare Du Nord: 1
Scam attempts: 2

I wandered by Gare du Nord. Mainly because I like looking at trains, but also to get a bit of cooler air.

And to use the toilets there.

After taking pictures of pretty trains (what you define as pretty and what I define as pretty are two different things), I headed downstairs to head to Gare Du Lyon (which turned into an impossibility due to the strike), to be accosted by a speak English (this time a beggar), and shortly after a petition signer.

Advice: Non Merci/Pardon, and pull through.

Notre Dame
Scam attempts: 1

Once again, it’s the women with the petitions asking if you speak English. Again plough through (although to be honest, this location was low on them… they were still probably at the Eiffel Tower and would flock here on Sunday)


Love locks get everywhere..

However, get onto the holy grounds themselves and the scammers are gone. Just the long queue to get into Notre Dame.

I chose to sit back in the shade and enough the French afternoon, with a cool breeze. Heck. I’m lazy sometimes.


A bird on the head…

For those who enjoy life going by, this isn’t the worst place in the world to do it – not by a long shot (especially if you’d been up for 13 hours by that point!)


They probably helped a bit though…

Some hints

Learning basic French is a good idea (the words Non Merci go a long way), but ignoring where possible is a good idea. Keep your wits about you, as well as your wallet and personal belongings.

And if you really want to avoid scammers, don’t look like a tourist, or go to parts of Paris which are slightly off the tourist map (I encountered none at Challet).

And the advice goes is the same for any city – If it looks too good to be true- then it probably is, or it doesn’t feel right, trust your instinct and walk away.

You can find some more advice on WikiVoyage and WikiTravel as well as on TripAdvisor and… well… anywhere. A quick search for Paris Scams on Google makes for unhappy reading…

Next: Back to Orly Airport, Iberia Lounge

 

Posted by Kevincm | 3 Comments

It seems that there are issues with some of the latest Airbus A380s to enter service with Qatar Airways delaying entry into service dates of their new superjumbo aircraft.

Qatar Airways Airbus A380 in flight - Image Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways Airbus A380 in flight – Image Qatar Airways

For Qatar Airways, this is the 2nd change of launch dates of A380 operations within three days, with the Doha to Heathrow service remaining operated by an Airbus A340-600 through September, with the A380 due to commence operations from the 1st October 2014.

The Paris service is suffering delays into service as well, with that service suffering delays which could delay operations into October.

Qatar Airways are delaying entry into service of these aircraft due to interior issues with the cabin of the plane, which require remedial work to complete.

It seems the work is taking its time with a lot of changes to when the plane will enter revenue earning service.

When exactly… is anyone’s guess. We’ll know when the plane makes its first revenue flight.

However, it does add uncertainty for the flyer who wants to experience the latest products in the air with an airline. Not confidence shattering, but enough to make you think twice…


Want to keep up with me at GhettoIFE? Join me either by signing up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter @GhettoIFE for when there are posts to the blog!

Also remember that as well as being part of BoardingArea, we’re also part of BoardingArea.eu, delivering frequent flyer news, miles and points to European readers!

Posted by Kevincm | No Comments

It’s Sunday again, so it must be time for some more airplane art.

This week, it’s an Air France Airbus A319 sunning itself at Paris Orly Airport as it awaits its next duty.

Airplane Art - Air France Airbus A319 at Orly, Image GhettoIFE 2014

The image is clickable if you want to see a larger version – and yes you can keep them for your desktops!

More airplane art next week!


Want to keep up with me at GhettoIFE? Join me either by signing up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter @GhettoIFE for when there are posts to the blog!

Also remember that as well as being part of BoardingArea, we’re also part of BoardingArea.eu, delivering frequent flyer news, miles and points to European readers!

Posted by Kevincm | No Comments

In London, there are many ways to get around, be it on the underground, the train, taxis and of course, buses. Well, there is be one less method of paying to use London buses – and that’s with cash.

London Buses passing Piccadilly Circus - Image, GhettoIFE
London Buses passing Piccadilly Circus – Image, GhettoIFE

From 6th July 2014, London Buses only accept the following forms of payment:

  • Oyster Card
  • Contact-less Payment Card powered by Visa WavePay or MasterCard PayPass (UK Issued only)
  • PrePaid Tickets (such as day passes)
  • Concessionary Passes

Transport for London says that only 1% of fares collected are by cash, compared to 25% in 2000. The majority of transactions are completed by Oyster, pre-paid tickets, a contactless payment card or via a concessionary pass. They also argue that the removal of cash will allow boarding times to be decreased.

A fare drop will be placed into effect, with the cash bus fare abolished, with the reduced Oyster/Contactless payment charge of £1.45 a journey.

To assist those who forget to load enough cash, Oyster Card will have a “One More Journey” feature if you’re below the £1.45 cost of a bus fare. You will need to top up your Oyster Card afterwards though.

So, with the bus ticket going away – it’s the joy of contactless cards of one sort or another.  Just hope you don’t lose all your credit/debit cards along with your Oyster Card… otherwise, you could find getting around a bit tougher from 6th July 2014.

More details from Transport for London


Want to keep up with me at GhettoIFE? Join me either by signing up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter @GhettoIFE for when there are posts to the blog!

Also remember that as well as being part of BoardingArea, we’re also part of BoardingArea.eu, delivering frequent flyer news, miles and points to European readers!

Posted by Kevincm | One Comment

A lot of us are wedded to our phones or other devices that love to consume power.

I know I am sadly.

GhettoIFE on a phone
Try getting one of these out of my hands (be it the iPhone or the Sony thing I use as a modem)

When we use our devices for mapping, networking, catching up with the world , geolocation, train times (or in the case of trains in Paris – actually operating), especially with some screen brightness and a slightly ageing battery, the phone doesn’t even last half a day.

So we need power on the road.

Power banks have been around for some time (I remember the plug-in ones you could get for the bottom of your iPhone 3G), and things have evolved since then, with all shapes and sizes out there.

Things have moved on a fair bit since then, thanks to most manufactures standardising on USB and microUSB, as well as better lithium battery chemistries.

I use two of them… One by PNY (which I needed as I required more power at a wedding) and one which was a no-name special off eBay.

photo 1
PNY Fancy Power Bank – 2600mAh rated – via PCWorld

photo 2
The no-name eBay special – 10,00mAh (a bucketful of links and ideas via eBay)

Charging them up is as simple as plugging them into a USB port, and letting the bank charge up

There are a few things you need to bear in mind however when you select one of these – depending on what you’re needing:

  • Whilst these are rated at a certain rate, some of the energy is converted into heat, and thus you don’t get the full battery rating.
  • A larger power-bank maybe preferred to charge a device multiple times (or charge multiple devices), however there is a weight penalty to consider – for those on tighter luggage allowances, this could be important .
  • If you’re using one to charge a tablet, you’ll need to consider the output as well as the input – look for 2.1mAh output.
  • Ensure that there is overcharging protection and the usual safety devices are with the device (it is pretty standard, but still – its good to check)
  • If you’re out and about during the day, and charging on the go, consider some really well made USB cables. Flat MicroUSB cables are rather nice (and reasonably well made in regular use) Normally there’s a bundled cable with your power bank. For Apple devices, I’d personally avoid the “Official” Apple cable as the rubber on the cable tends to disintegrate after extensive use (and watching one smoulder is not what I’d call a fun experience). There are better made cables out there.

These are great things to have on the go, and if you are doing heavy exploring (using the GPS on your phone), taking lots of photos and video, if you want to use the backlight on your screen at full brightness all day, or if you’re spending the day connected to the Internet when travelling around.

And a travellers must have? Well put it like this: the small power bank is in my bag most of the time. The larger power bank is used on long days out…

… or if I need to keep things well charged for a wedding…


Want to keep up with me at GhettoIFE? Join me either by signing up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter @GhettoIFE for when there are posts to the blog!

Also remember that as well as being part of BoardingArea, we’re also part of BoardingArea.eu, delivering frequent flyer news, miles and points to European readers!

Posted by Kevincm | One Comment

It’s Saturday again, so it must be time to stow your luggage in the overhead locker, ensure your tray table is put away and your seat is in the upright position as we go to the weeks safety video.

This week, its Hainan Airlines, who have come up with some classic Chinese Opera along with

Whilst the opera is slightly distracting – it is actually very different compared to a lot of safety videos out there – the aim being to get attention and communicate what to do in an emergency.

Another safety video next week!

 


Want to keep up with me at GhettoIFE? Join me either by signing up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter @GhettoIFE for when there are posts to the blog!

Also remember that as well as being part of BoardingArea, we’re also part of BoardingArea.eu, delivering frequent flyer news, miles and points to European readers!

Posted by Kevincm | No Comments

Trip Report – Hello Daytrip! A Tier Point run to the Paris Pokemon Centre
BA332 London Heathrow to Paris Orly in Club Europe

Pokemontripreport

In this trip report…

The Pictures:

Arriving at an airbridge, it was a simple walk from the plane to the arrivals area and French Immigration.

French Immigration was its usual self – take passport, compare, hand back. With no luggage, it was straight out of the luggage belt and over to the ORLYVal for the ride back to Antony station.

Trollies, Trollies everywhere…

Passing the Laduree…

But first the fine for the day – a stonking €22.85 for a day transit card. When looking at the individual fares between Paris Orly and Chalet De Halles – which would be €11.25 each way, it becomes reasonable… but still darn expensive for an all-day rover type ticket.

Heading over to the VAL, I ensured my wallet was out of sight (those who wonder why, see what happened last time), and over to the RER station. Through the barriers out into Suburban Paris, it was time to play “when’s the next train”.

Whilst it was 7 minutes away, there was another fly in the ointment (but not for me), with RER B services terminating at Paris Gare Du Nord and not continuing onto Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport – an after effect of a strike affecting SNCF services.

In some ways, I thanked my lucky stars that I would have to fly to/from Orly, as transit would be “reasonable” – compared with dealing with Paris CDG that day.

The RER train finally came along, and it was off on a suburban French train. and it was truly suburban as a busker got on the train to serenade us. With very bad sax.

And I mean AWFUL. Putting it nicely – people moved away from the sax man. Thankfully, he didn’t serenade us all the way into the city (if that was the case, I would had got off!).


The train wasn’t well loved either…

Eventually, the train arrived in Chalet De Halles, and I took my leave of the train.

Emptying at Chalet

After negotiing the maze that was Chalet station, I eventually popped out into the sunlight, and hit the GPS for where I needed to go.

One Time Exception To the Pokemon Centre

Arriving at Chalet De Halles, it was a matter of navigation and following Google Maps to my destination.  Within a few minutes, The Cremerie De Paris, Host of this pop-up Pokemon Centre came into view.

However, it wasn’t just me interested.


Ouch. (and that’s the top of the queue..)

I took my place at the back of the line (which nearly extended to the next main street). And then it was a case of taking a case of the local street life – with people showing off their Pokemon, playing Pokemon or other games on their Nintendo 3DS, with a lot of voices in French – but also other languages too.

Fennekin in the window

It’s amazing what a brand can do.


Limited time only!

After an hour or so progressing through the queue, it was my turn to enter the hallowed area that was the Pokemon Centre.


It’s that Electric mouse type again.

The centre itself was on two levels – an upper level with the merchandise for sale, and a lower level showing off the artwork behind Pokemon. Whilst I wanted to pick up my selection of plushes, I really wanted to see the artwork behind the games.


Plushes


Gotta catch them all I believe is the brand’s tag line?

And it’s good stuff, taken from the whole series of Pokemon games.


The Kalos Region…. looks a bit like France…

Artwork – The Pokemon Company. More in the links above. 

Eventually, however it was time to get merchandise. Because… well it’s Pokemon. There was the collection of books, figurines, trading cards (alas all European stock as they had managed to sell out of the Japanese stock within a week of opening). And even then the staff were playing games.


The Kalos Staters


Including a gift Pokemon from the Pokemon Centre.

You could be Ash too (I didn’t. I have some limits)

Allow me to explain. In the games, there are different rarity rates of catching Pokemon – Common (easy to find), Uncommon (bit more difficult), Rare (near enough impossible).  And the staff played this game too – with the Kalos starters – Fennekin, Froakie and Chespin as well as Helioptile and Pikachu being common, Dedenne being uncommon and Sylveon being rare (ie – they put two out at a time when they restock).

It’s a clever way to make people hang around the store and limit stock.

Me?I got a few. I’ll talk about them later ;)


Pokemon – Caught!

I spent about 20 minutes or so looking around, before exiting so more Pokefans could go into the store.

By which point the queue was round the corner on the next street and beyond….


Caught!

Overall:

The Pokemon Franchise endures – and endures well thanks to good marketing and good ideas. This is just an extension of it. The idea of bringing a Pokemon Centre from Japan to Paris is a great one to give something for eager Pokemon fans something to look forward to. Apart from the next game (that’s due to come out in November….).

Next: A Day of Avoiding Scammers… the joy of Paris.


Want to keep up with me at GhettoIFE? Join me either by signing up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter @GhettoIFE for when there are posts to the blog!

Also remember that as well as being part of BoardingArea, we’re also part of BoardingArea.eu, delivering frequent flyer news, miles and points to European readers!

Posted by Kevincm | No Comments

It seems demand is enough for American Airlines/US Airways to add a second daily service between Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and London Heathrow.

US Airways Airbus A330-200 at Barcelona El Prat Airport - Image GhettoIFE
US Airways Airbus A330-200 at Barcelona El Prat Airport – Image GhettoIFE.

The current service – US730/731 operates daily between the two cities. This will be joined by US732/733 flight pair between Charlotte and London from the 13th September 2014.

The new timetable looks a bit like this:

Charlotte Douglas to London Heathrow 
US730 DEPART CLT 18:55 ARRIVE LHR 07:50+1
US732 DEPART CLT 22:30 ARRIVE LHR 11:25+1

London Heathrow to Charlotte Douglas
US731 DEPART LHR 10:05 ARRIVE CLT 14:40
US733 DEPART LHR 14:45 ARRIVE CLT 18:20

US730/731 operates as timetabled, using an Airbus A330-300
US732/733 Commences 13th September 2014 using an Airbus A330-200

The slot that has allowed this flight to operate was brought from Cyprus Airways by American Airlines, allowing the US Airways part of the airline to increase its presences and routes at London Heathrow.

Timings are such to allow connections both ways at Charlotte to the US Airways domestic and international networks.

The route is currently operated on an uncontested basis from London, with only US Airways flying that route, connecting London to the US Airways hub at Charlotte.

Tickets go on sale on this route from the 6th July (with only US730/731 showing in the booking systems at current).

For those who require oneworld connections – whilst avoiding the north eastern hubs of New York-JFK and Philadelphia – this could provide a useful alternative to the south and east of the United States of America.

Posted by Kevincm | No Comments

« previous home top