The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its travel advice for Bangkok – and the message is clear

We now advise against all but essential travel to the city of Bangkok and the 26 provinces in Thailand affected by flooding.

Our advice against all but essential travel to the city of Bangkok does not include transit through Suvarnabhumi international airport.

Flights to destinations elsewhere in Thailand (eg the resorts of Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, and Koh Samui) continue to operate normally. We continue to advise against all travel to the Preah Vihear and Ta Krabey/Ta Moan temple areas and against all but essential travel to the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla.

www.fco.gov.uk

Flooding conditions have already affected Doung Mang airport, and is now hitting Bangkok itself, and is expected to get worse over the next few days.

Transit though Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) remains open at this time.  In addition, to alleviate some of the flooding problems, the Thai Government has declared a public holiday in all flooded regions, so if you’re in the area, expect more disruptions due to closures .

The FCO advise to keep an eyue on local media, reports from the the Thai 24/7 Emergency Operations Centre and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

If you’re due to go out there, FCO advice can normally trigger a one free change with your airline – check with them before setting off to see if you’re allowed to.

More importantly, if you have to go out there keep safe – and keep dry.

Posted by Kevin M GhettoIFE | Comments are off for this article

Well, I see my writing has been superseded thanks to MBNA who have re-launched the BMI Credit Card.

As suggested through earlier posts, MNBA have launched a two-card, one statement product

There are two offers on the table:

The “Free” Version:

  • Up to 25,000 destinations miles when you spend £250 within the first 90 days (to get the extra miles you must apply before 15/11/2011.
  • Earn double miles on flybmi.com
  • 0% on balance transfers for 12 months  on transfers made within the first 90 days of your account opening (3% handling fee).
  • 0% on card purchases for 3 months from the date your account is opened.
  • 1.5 miles per £1 on the Amex, 0.75 miles per £1 on the Visa Card
  • 16.9% APR (average)

The “Paid” version – BMI Plus  (£85)

  • 24,000 destinations miles* welcome bonus when you spend £250 within 90 days
  • 4,000 Status miles will be added to your Diamond Club account annually
  • 2 bmi lounge passes
  • Earn double miles on flybmi.com
  • 0% on balance transfers for 12 months on transfers made within the first 90 days of your account opening (3% handling fee).
  • 0% on card purchases for 3 months from the date your account is opened.
  • 2 miles per £1 on the Amex, 1 miles per £1 on the Visa Card
  • 17.9% p.a. (variable), Equivalent to 34.5% APR  when the annual fee of £85 is payable.

Previous BMI Credit Card holders of any type, be aware that the sign-up bonuses will not be awarded, although read around. You might get a few ideas ;)

If you get these accounts (as stated) you’ll get a American Express Branded Card (Not issued by Amex, but by MBNA) and a Visa Card – both of which are tied to one account. Note that the card earning rates are slightly different between the two cards.

Full details at http://www.flybmi.com/bmi/en-gb/loyalty-programmes/credit-card/credit-card.aspx?intcmp=Oct19creditcard.

Please note, this  information does not constitute financial advice and you should always do your own research on top to ensure it’s right for your specific circumstances, and may impact on your credit score. So don’t blame me if you overspend on a card and they come hounding after you.

Those who are considering applying should bear in mind you’ll need to be resident in the UK to get one, and probably have reasonable banking references. So don’t moan at me if you’re in the USA wanting to apply for a this card. Because the answer will be no ;)

Posted by Kevin M GhettoIFE | Comments are off for this article

As my sleep patterns are completely smashed after a 5 day trip to the USA (5 days to wreck my sleep pattern? It’s getting worse I tell you…), I’ve decided to get the pictures from my trip report up.

For those of you new to GhettoIFE and how things are done with trip reports, this is how I sort of do it (and there’s a bigger document I wrote and must publish in the near future):

  • Book the trip
  • Write up the filler and in-between stuff
  • Fly and actually do the odd post whilst I’m travelling
  • Take pictures/video
  • Hotel
  • Take more pictures
  • Complete the one time exceptions
  • Fly home
  • Upload Pictures
  • Upload Video
  • Write the actual trip report
  • Pull it all together and publish trip report.

I’m currently nearing the last stages with the actual writing going on at the moment, but good news – the pictures are up and the YouTube Channel is updating as I type.

Photos:

Youtube Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9AB26B34871AD22F

For those of you who have RSS readers in your browser, a lot of more content is going up to the Photoblog over the next few days (now I’ve backfilled all the Toronto stuff in it) as I try and separate some of my trip stuff from my writing stuff… so subscribe if you like pretty pictures!

I’m hoping to have the trip report out next weekish. It could be sooner depending if I get some free time in the office….

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Today the press are going nuts over ANA taking out their first Boeing 787 for a spin with almost paying customers on board today.


ANA’s first 787 Charter flight – Picture – ANA – http://twitpic.com/75vmz3

The 787 flying as NH7871, did a trip from Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong International, with 240 passengers made up of:

  • 82 of them also from the media
  • 100 of them from packaged tours
  • 6 in business class who were successful bidders of a charity auction held by ANA.
  • The others were people from ANA and Boeing

The plane completed it’s maiden paying flight at 15:50 Hong Kong time.

The BBC and Wall Street Journal have more coverage, as has Business Traveller

Now some of you may wonder whilst I’m still very “meh” over the 787. So lets not beat about the bush. It’s Entry Into Service is 3 years late (A record they share with Airbus over the A380). However whilst the cabin may look new – its still a 767 on steroids. Maybe my mind will change when I’ve stepped aboard one, but for now, I’m just unimpressed.

Maybe I’ll be more impressed when more of them are flying, and when they can keep up with an intense daily schedule…

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Hot off the press from Reuters is news that Bangkok’s Doung Mang airport has been closer due to flooding.

According to Radio 2 on the coach, the floods have breeched the outer perimeter, but not the runway.

Additionally, staff and passengers have not been able to reach the airport, adding further complicarions.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi is still operating as normal.

Good luck to all affected.

Posted by Kevin M GhettoIFE | One Comment

… as United seem to run out of Free WiFi cards for T-Mobile.

Is it a change I like? I’ll let you all figure that one out.

How…. inconvenient. And I’m not spending $9.95 for Interweb access at IAD.

UPDATE: FREE WIFI in IAD… in the public zones. Will see if it scretches to C7 Lounge….

Speaking of which… 382 to IAD was… busy. Nothing special… which is about par for course on a US Domestic run.

So you’re probably wondering what I’ve been doing today… Welllll. For airgeeks and if you’re near Dulles Airport there is only ONE Place to go:

(I strongly advise zooming the image up – it looks better!)

(Taken on the iPhone with Microsoft PhotoSynth)

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Well I’m preparing to break camp after a good weekend in Chicago, and I’ll have a review of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare a  bit later (Key points – don’t carry your room key next to your phone or you’ll be stuck waiting 30 minutes to be let back into it, and avoid the King Rooms)

But as I’m off to DC for a bit, then off home it’s time for me to open up a point of contention and a question -

My important question of the day is this: Why do people mostly hate the White Ginger smellies they have at Hyatt Regency’s???

Personally – I’m one of the few people I think who actually like it…

Comments box below – feel free to vent and spleen!

Ok – My take. Maybe I’m too used to Holiday Inn Expresses/Travellodge soap in a tube thing, but I must be defective as one of the few people who like the smell. Also I do like the soap bars most of all.

Yes, I am sad. And yes, the stuff in the IC Toronto-Yorkville was probably better. Maybe I’ve got an odd soft spot for it….

Posted by Kevin M GhettoIFE | 9 Comments

It’s Sunday, so it must be time for some Airplane art.

This week, United Airlines get another poking from me from letting their planes in the air in a state, with a Boeing 747-400 in United 2004-2011 “Blue Tulip” Livery

More Airplane art of course, next week!

Posted by Kevin M GhettoIFE | 3 Comments

Last week, I wrote about Credit Cards that are tied to airlines and benefits. This week, we’re going to look at the non tied ones. As such there are two major issuers of such card (as MBNA seem to have withdrawn from this end of the market), American Express, and Lloyds TSB). There are other reward programmes such as Barclaycard Freedom which is comparatively complex and will not be covered here. Additionally, I’m not covering Tesco Clubcard (which can generate Avios or BA Miles).

Please note, this  information does not constitute financial advice and you should always do your own research on top to ensure it’s right for your specific circumstances, and may impact on your credit score. So don’t blame me if you overspend on a card and they come hounding after you.

Those who are considering applying should bear in mind you’ll need to be resident in the UK to get one, and probably have reasonable banking references. So don’t moan at me if you’re in the USA wanting to apply for a UK American Express Charge Card. Because the answer will be no ;).

If you’ve got comments, fill them in down below, and I’ll try and answer them!


American Express Platinum Charge Card. Ok, lets go for the biggie first. Whilst it is an eyewatering £300 A YEAR, it does get you 40,000 Membership Reward points if you spend £1,500 in the first 3 months of having the card, with an earn rate of 1 point per £. Which depending if you’re dumping it into BA Miles/Avios or BMI Miles, is one hell of a lot. Considering it’s 1=1 on BMI miles (and 20,000 BMI miles a year is about.. £240), this is a heck of a saving. There are some major other things to consider with the Amex Plat card too – namely travel insurance, car hire insurance, Priority Pass Membership.. the works. It’s a good card, but you need to make sure you can take advantage of the card, otherwise £300 a year is a LOT of cash. Oh, and you need to earn £40,000 to apply.

A big note: Don’t confuse the Platinum Charge card with the Platinum Credit Card. You’ll only get these beanies on the Charge Card, and an insult from the credit card (so much so, I chopped mine up this year…)


American Express Gold Card Charge Card – The Gold Charge Card is the baby brother, with a bonus 20,000 points just by spending £1,000 on your Card over the first three months, and an earn rate of 1 point per £, and if you spend £15,000 or more a year, you’ll get an additional 7,500 bonus points on renewal . It’s £125 down to get the card a year. Whilst this card doesn’t have as many extras as the Platinum card, it’s still cheaper than buying 20,000 BMI Miles. Again, it’s a charge card, so make sure you can meet the repayments before applying for the plastic.


Llyods TSB Duo Credit Cards & Llyods TSB Due Premier Credit Cards – I’m going to take about these cards together. The basic premise is you’re issued with a MasterCard and an Amex branded card on one account. These generate Air Miles – or soon to be Avios points. The Duo’s have slight different earning rates each and need to be examined. If you’re collecting Air Miles in the UK, it could represent a good value earn, however with the main benefit of taxes and surcharges going away when the Airmiles programme merges into Avios…. there may be better ways of earning points. Speaking of earning, it starts 1 Airmile PER £10. If that turns from 1 Airmile to 1 Avios point, that is going to to sting.

One to put on the consider list, but one I personally wouldn’t go near…


NatWest YouPoints – Whilst it’s a Natwest World MasterCard, there is so little information on the NatWest site about the rewards (except some limited flights on EasyJet or Air Malta), I’m only mentioning it passing. A sign-up of 2,500 points and an earn rate of 1 point per £. Judging by how many points they’re not offering in the sample reward table, this looks like one to avoid.


Next week it’s the turn of Hotel Credit cards where I ask… are they worth it?

Posted by Kevin M GhettoIFE | Comments are off for this article

It’s Saturday again, so it’s time to put your seat in the upright position, tray in the stowed position, count the number of rows back and forth to the nearest emergency exit as United Airlines present safety on their 747-400s… Or if you’re stuck in Row 43 (Like I was this week), a vision of hell.

More of course next week!

Posted by Kevin M GhettoIFE | One Comment

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