Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Do-It-Your-Self-Travel Continues: Self-Tagging

USA Today reports that American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Air Canada are in talks with the Transportation Security Administration for a test program to let travelers tag their own checked bags. American and Air Canada plan a trial run in Boston later this year.

Self-tagging (or letting travelers print and affix destination tags on bags) is common at foreign airports. Only airline agents can currently do this in the U.S. Airlines indicate this process is designed to help speed passengers through check-in. Passengers will still have to see an agent who will check the ID, scan the tag to validate it and place the bags on the conveyor belt.

Worldwide, 32 airlines allow self-tagging at airports in such cities as Amsterdam and Stockholm where passengers can place tags and drop their luggage at designated spots without seeing an agent.

I noticed on my last two overseas trips on American that more and more services are being optioned through self check-in. For example the kiosks to check-in and print boarding passes are also used for upgrades, one-day memberships to the airline lounge and for promotions such as miles maximizing which for a fee based on distance a passenger is able to increase the number of miles earned for the ticketed travel.

Bottom line this process may or may not speed the check-in process but it reduces the cost for airlines as the labor of and need for airline agents declines.

Monday, November 1, 2010

'Les Miserables' 25th Anniversary Concert at The O2: London Comes To A Cinema Near You

Alfie Boe & the cast.
Even though the 'Les Miserables' 25th Anniversary Concert occurred on October 3, 2010 after my London visit, thanks to modern technology the concert will be broadcast in U.S. cinemas on November 17, 2010 for one performance and one night only. Click here for info about the broadcast or visit fathomevents.com. Tickets for this movie theater experience are on sale now and scaled at US$15 each. Not bad considering the best seats at the concert held at the The O2 was well over a hundred dollars.

I have come to learn that stage productions broadcasted on television do not have the same impact, even if viewed on a DVD. But after seeing some of the The Met's live opera broadcasts in cinema, the experience is more impressive.

Performing in 'Les Miserables' especially in a 25th Anniversary Concert event is such a high-profile vehicle, the big question is how did Alfie Boe, a tenor from the opera world, fare in the role of Jean Valjean. Below are press photos from the concert and an article from the Daily Mail for one result.

The concert is scheduled for DVD (Region 2) release in the UK on November 29, 2010. DVD release in the U.S. has not been announced.

I will be publishing a review and photos of the cinema presentation. In the meantime, click on these links for reviews of the other two versions of 'Les Miserables' in peformance in London during the same weekend as the O2 concert:
'Les Miserables' at the Barbican Theatre (25th Anniversary TOURING cast)
'Les Miserables' at the Queen's Theatre (West End cast)

Update: Review of cinema presentation reviewed on 11/18/10, click here to read the post with additional photos from the evening.

Jan 2011 Update: U.S. / American / NTSC DVD & Blu-ray release of Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert Available.

Related Links:
25th Anniversary Concert Trailer
25th Anniversary Touring (UK) Production Trailer
Dress Circle Shop event featuring the Cast of the 25th Anniversary Touring Production
The Queen's Theatre Venue
The Barbican Theatre Venue
Stage Door Meeting with Alfie Boe

Alfie Boe & Matt Lucas
From left: Producer Cameron Mackintosh, Nick Jonas (Marius), Samantha Barks (Eponine), Matt Lucas (Thenardier), Alfie Boe (Valjean).
Article and photos used for illustration purposes.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The World's Smallest Airplane Seat

Photo by Avioninteriors.
Avioninteriors, an Italian aircraft seat design firm, unveiled last month the smallest airplane seat that reduces the average 30 to 32 inch seat spacing to 23 inches, a reduction of 25%. Compared to riding in a horse saddle, the new seats called the Skyrider could appeal to low cost airlines and be an entirely new class of service.

The firm indicates the seats will likely be used on flights of three hours or less. Airlines who have toyed with the idea of having passengers stand on their flights (most government authorities nixes this suggestion) would likely find these seats attractive such as Ryanair, an Irish low-cost airline, and Spring Airlines, a low-cost carrier in China.

We shouldn't worry anytime soon about being a prisoner of such an airline seat. A carrier still has yet to commit to the seats and would have to meet all applicable Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

For Halloween: "The Shining" Stanley Hotel

For Halloween, Sherman's Travel has reported this hotel to be one of the haunted hotels in the United States. This hotel is the stuff of nightmares for anyone who has seen the Jack Nicholson thriller "The Shining". Once you've seen it, the word 'redrum' will always send chills up your spine.

Photo by: Flickr/mssmith 1965
mThe property is the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado made famous by Stephen King's 1977 novel that was adapted into the 1980 feature film. The report reveals:

The ShiningThe Shining (Two-Disc Special Edition)The spectacular Rocky Mountain peaks surrounding this famous Colorado hotel steal the spotlight by day, but after dark the place crawls with the spirits and ghouls that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. The haunted hotel hosts mostly happy spirits, as the mountain retreat was once a vacation destination for many of these lingering souls, but that doesn’t detract from the estate’s creepiness. A room on the paranormally buzzing fourth floor practically guarantees a frightful getaway. A little boy in room 418 playfully switches water faucets on and off. Bitter Lord Dunraven, the estate’s original owner (who was forced out of proprietorship, making way for new owner F.O. Stanley who opened the hotel in 1909), holds court in room 401, the estate’s most haunted (and second-most requested) room, but by far the most chill-inducing suite is room 217, the very place where King penned The Shining. Ghost-busting visitors can enlist the help of the on-site paranormal expert, who will outfit them with spirit-hunting equipment and provide access to hotel grounds only open to guests. If spending a night thwarting ghoulish shenanigans sounds too frightful, opt for one of the hotel’s daily ghost tours ($15 per person; available from 10am–5pm, reservations are required), which explore the property’s most notoriously spooky spots. Room rates from $119/night.

Visit stanleyhotel.com and shermanstravel.com for more information. Click on the images above for the novel or DVD.

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