Delta is ready when alec Baldwin's "words with friends" is...airline will allow electronic devices on takeoff, landing
Delta Airlines said today that it is the first airline to submit plans to allow customer use of portable electronic devices below 10,000 feet as early as Nov. 1 .
Pending Federal Aviation Administration approval flyers will soon be able to continue that game of Words With Friends (Alec), power up that laptop and chat on their cell phone. The airline said in a release today that all their aircraft have completed carrier-defined PED tolerance testing to ensure the safe operation of passenger portable electronic devices during all phases of flight and Delta's plan has been submitted to the FAA for approval.
That's one issue flight attendants will no longer have to grapple over with grousy consumers. Now they can concentrate on making flyers put their seat in the upright position and keep those damn seatbelts on.
When Vlad the Impaler died in Romania in 1476, he could hardly have known that he would inspire a cottage industry of vampires and vampire lovers. The Wallachian prince was the inspiration for Dracula, as many travelers know. They also know they can travel to Romania to visit "Dracula's Castle" in Brasov, whose real name is Bran Castle and whose actual connections with the real Vlad are somewhat tenuous.
I visited Bran and spent about a week riding horses through the Transylvanian mountains and exploring the Dracula legend. For my blood money the best place to evoke Vlad and by association, Prince Dracul, is Snagov Island.
Snagov is the island where Vlad was buried. It's a short drive from central Bucharest but a million miles back in time. My guide, the redoubtable Eduard Popescu of MedievalTours, took me to the island on a gray and atmospheric day just right for meeting the ghost of the great Romanian prince. We parked our car in the 21st century and were rowed into Vlad's word by a ferryman--a real ferryman folks, just like the one that takes you to the world of the dead--who, in true Romanian fashion kissed my hand as I stepped onto his ancient skiff. Silence, the sound of water lapping and a few crane cries were the only noises of the outside world. I felt enveloped by mist, otherworldliness and a tinge of fear as we landed on Snagov to be met by a small person in a cloak (yes a cloak) carrying a lantern in one hand (yes, that's right, a lantern). She was the island caretaker. There was no one else in sight.
Eduard and I were guided into the island monastery chapel where the gravesite remains. I remember a crack in the stone. The guide laughed and said in Romanian that there was some doubt as to Vlad's presence in the grave as he was popularly known to have risen supernaturally long ago.
Although Vlad is known as "The Impaler" and he was clearly no Mahatma Gandhi, what struck me as I visited his grave at Snagov and traveled throughout Romania was the respect he garnered from the locals. As a teen prince he had been captured and ransomed to the Turks. But Vlad was a survivor and ultimately returned to his homeland to defend it "against all enemies of Christ," as the dialogue in Francis Ford Coppolla film, Bram Stoker's Dracula goes. Romanians still respect this ancient prince and in the silent crypt-chapel of Snagov it was hard not to agree with them.
Vincent Price, Turner Classic Movies "Star of the Month" wraps up his vintage spook fest this Friday, Halloween but the site of his famed scream-fest film, House on Haunted Hill is coming back from the grave.
The famed Ennis House, whose Mayan textile block design was featured as exteriors for the 1959 film was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Charles and Mabel Ennis in 1923. The house, in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles is a state and national landmark and was also featured in the movie Blade Runner.
In the past ten years, though, it truly became bedeviled, first deteriorating because of the action of famed LA smog on its distinctive concrete bricks and then through the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and heavy rainstorms in 2004 and 2005. The building was actually listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and seemed to be slated for a sad decline into a phantom of its former self.
In 2011, Ron Burkle, founder of the Yucaipa Company (an investor in Morgans Hotel Group), purchased the house for $4.5 million. Part of the deal was an agreement to keep the house open to the public for tours on a limited basis, at least. Burkle is spending more of his millions to renovate the Mayan temple-like structure (Burkle is a Frank Lloyd Wright fanatic and once trained in architecture) and its foundations and it seems like the effort will have to continue for some time.
The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects announced a house tour of the renovation work-in-progress on September 15, which sold out quickly.
Perhaps by next Halloween, well-heeled architecture lovers will be able to pay $ 10,000 to spend a night in the original House on Haunted Hill!
Virgin America has been lauded by customers and critics alike for its fresh approach to flying--Branson style. Their new safety video is fun and fresh (albeit a little loud and frenzy-filled). If you love American Idol, you're gonna love this one...
On the minus side the video is long (almost five minutes). Do you think passengers will have patience to watch the whole thing before tuning out and plugging in their iphone for that last minute phone call?
Tonight get ready to fly, cause we're gonna live it up in the sky!
Everywhere you look this week in the media you'll see Qatar. Qatar Airways joined the oneworldalliance today but you'll also find other mentions of the Middle East country mushrooming in the oddest places --including on MediaBistro.com where you'll find job listings for media professionals to relocate and craft a new identity for the country. Qatar, Qatar, Qatar. It must make Dubai feel like Jan Brady.
Meanwhile back at the U.S. State Department, the Embassy in Doha says that travelers and residents should remain aware and vigilant in the face of terrorist threats, but that a large police force in the country is on hand to help maintain the peace.
One of London's best-loved hotels, the Athenaeum Hotel has a new General Manager. Jeremy Hopkins started at the Piccadilly-area hotel this March and came to New York last week for a whirlwind tour of travel editors and other insiders.
At a fabulous brunch at Manhattan's equally tony Patroon restaurant, Hopkins charmed your Editor and other attendant travel journos with tales of the hotel's legendary past as James Bond's home-away-from-home (the staff quartered the stars and crew here during Die Another Day) and its stylish present as the home of the London suite with the best view of the city ever, a living wall of flowers and an afternoon tea to die for.
Insiders know that the Athenaeum is one of the only hotels in London retaining its quirky charm, concierges who rival London cabbies for their "knowledge" and a bank of private apartments on the side that make for wonderfully romantic venues for discreet (or indiscreet) weekend (or longer) encounters.
If it's good enough for Commander Bond, it's good enough for us!
Just in time for the Day of the Dead (November 1), New York City's NYC and Company and Mexico City have announced a new "City-to-City Partnership" designed to stimulate trade and travel between the two cities which includes a $399 Roundtrip Fare on the new Aeromexico Dreamliner.
NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta and FMPT General Director Armando Lopez Cardenas signed a media asset-sharing agreement valued at USD $250,000 each at Mexico City's City Hall this week.. The one-year agreement includes a reciprocal multimedia marketing exchange between the two destinations and a special, limited-time Aeromexico $399 roundtrip airfare deal on its four daily flights, including the recently launched luxury 787 Dreamliner.
The limited-time Aeromexico fare has to be bought by November 22 for round-trip travel to either destination now through March 31, 2014. To book, go to: www.aeromexico.com or contact your travel agent.. The valid travel period is from Oct. 28, 2013 to March 31, 2014 with the following exceptions: Nov. 1-4, 2013; Nov. 27 – Dec. 5, 2013; Dec. 15, 2013 – Jan. 10, 2014; Jan. 29 – Feb. 4, 2014; and Feb. 14-18, 2014.