If you haven't been to the movies this holiday season, you may not have had a chance to see Liam Neeson open up a can of testy whup-ass on some airplane villains in the new film, Non-Stop.
Seems like wherever Neeson goes, mayhem in the air follows.
For our money, we'd rather see an air marshal like Ben Falcone's Air Marshal Jon (Bridesmaids ) sitting next to us...
No. Really. Look at the two of them side by side. Neeson has his gun drawn in a flying aircraft. He's tense, panicky. While Agent Jon is cool, calm and collected and only announces his presence (with authority!) when Kristen Whig sees a Colonial lady churning butter on the wing!
We've got your back, Jon!
Is it me or does the trailer for Ben Stiller's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty look like someone's been reading too many bucket list books?
Critics are slamming the film, which opened on Christmas, as a weak star vehicle for Stiller, who doesn't seem to find the heart of the character in all the glitz and glamour of his LIFE magazine Eat, Pray, Love-like road trip. ("Mitty is shitty," one media maven wrote on his Facebook page).
And doesn't the magazine road trip thing feel a lot like that awful Jack Black version of Gulliver's Travels?
How about a movie about person who travels around the world but doesn't learn a damn thing about his inner life or humanity while he scarfs down great meals, flys first class and takes obnoxious selfies.
That might be Wes Anderson's next film.
"Sailing through the heart of cities and landscapes with Viking you'll see things differently...it's a feeling that only a river can give you," goes the commercial, pronounced in plummy tones by a Brit spokesman who could be one of the Crawleys himself in the Viking River Cruise commercial attached to Downton Abbey's PBS appearances.
Those commercials (remember when PBS was "commercial free"?) are an integral part of the weekly Downton Abbey treat that viewers have become accustomed to--and it can't be far from the reason why RIVER CRUISING is the hottest trend this year in travel.
Cruise Holiday's International 2014 Cruise Trends Survey, for instance, says river cruising is on top of the trends this year.
"The enthusiasm over river cruising, particularly in Europe, continues to add a new dynamic to the vacation market. Even travelers who have never cruised before seem particularly drawn to river cruises as an attractive alternative to a land tour," Kevin Weisner, Senior Vice President, Cruise Holidays International said in a press statement along with the survey.
Cruise Holidays also analyzed data from across its network of agencies to see where most river cruise passengers are heading in 2014. The Netherlands, as well as cruises along the Danube and "Grand Tour" cruises of the Rhine, Main and Danube lead the way in popularity.
We think the "Grand Tour" is a favorite because its soooo Downton Abbey. Back in the day, the Dowager Countess would have taken one of her nieces abroad on "The Tour" to introduce her to fine living, to show her what kind of art one should buy and possibly to get her affianced to an Italian count or an American heir (yes, rich Americans were considered an unending goldmine for fund-seeking old world title holders).
So pack up your Ralph Lauren river cruise wear or your flapper dresses and book now!
Now if only some smart cruise line would create a dedicated Downton Abbey-themed river cruise. Viking, are you listening? "Danube with the Dowager" anyone?
Note: Cruise Holidays pointed out to us that Viking has a pre-cruise journey to Highclere, where Downton is filmed which is great but we're talking about a whole cruise themed around Downton era clothes, manners, customs, etc. High Tea, outfits galore and the Dowager Bon Mots would flow! Which character would you like to cruise as? Or meet on deck?
Just in time for the holidays and holiday travelers, the TSA is getting slammed. This time in "Seven Reasons Why the TSA Sucks" on the satire website, Cracked.com.
You wouldn't think of Cracked when you think of debating security issues (well, maybe you would) but the article is being cited by some legit media sources and is being talked about everywhere.
Why did security expert and ex-Israeli airport security official Rafi Sela give an interview to Cracked? And why is an article on the TSA's many failures appearing on a website known more for debates on The Honey Badger and 10 Worst Plastic Surgeries of the Stars?
We e mailed Rafi Sela through his company AR Challenges and this is his response:
Thanks for your email.
In the Jewish tradition when one is very disappointed he starts telling jokes.
For the last 10 years I have tried to talk some sense in to the US government and industry and found out that the job market and Wall Street are more important then peoples' lives…..
So we decided to leave the US behind and work in Europe and the Far East.
The only luck you have is that the terrorists already disrupted travel to a degree that it cannot be worse and they do not need to do anything else....
Just so you know: your former Secretary of DHS has provided Rapiscan with a contract over $1B for the body scanner which are a hoax, do not add any security and are now taken out.
I'm tired of trying to fix your country if it does not want to be fixed…
I was interviewed by a journalist and gave permission to post it anywhere…..
hope this answers your question
Have a great holiday
We've got a big bag of travel fun waiting for you starting again on December 26th. In the meantime, we're looking forward to flying high with you in the coming year.
My pals at Virgin Atlantic are sharing this Christmas image of Santa hitching a ride on a Virgin flight this season. Doesn't it look like he's getting a hit of jet exhaust right in the kisser?
We think Krampus (see our blog below) might be a better posterboy for the airline different and we could so see Sir Richard Branson putting on a pair of horns and dancing down the aisle!
OK, so last night we were reading Interview with the Vampire author, Anne Rice's cheery holiday Facebook texts. Anne's holiday offering was to share her fascination with Krampus--the European bad Santa on steroids.
Seriously, this dude is intense (see above and below....). We mean it. The Honey Badger has to give up has bad ass badge to KRAMPUS....
Apparently, Krampus is a traditional altar ego of Santa who lives in Austria and the Northern Alpine countryside. (We're going to check this with our friends at the Austrian Tourism Board!) And he's being exported at an alarming rate to the good ole US of A.
Yup, it seems that people are having Krampus parties, Krampus-inspired fashion shows and much, much more. For a real fright check out www.krampus.com and check out the "Here Comes Krampus" video link.
Our prediction: Disney will make a film about how crabby Krampus is redeemed when he turns to his pal Santa for lessons on niceness (we see George Clooney as the voice of Krampus) and then Disney Adventures will start doing Krampus Tours to Austria and other Alpine haunts of the ole devil.
Ugly sweaters and seeing a relative naked by accident top travelers' list of anxieties about staying chez family this holiday season.
Choice Hotels has published a survey that says that if money was no object, most holiday travelers would waaaaaay rather stay in a hotel than be home (alone) or with relatives this year.
The complete list of Holiday Travel Anxieties:
And what if you were served a not-so-great meal by a naked relative?
...Shell out for the hotel folks.
Downton Dish is Coming: Lady Edith Wines and Dines in London Hotspot in Premiere Episode of Downton Abbey's Season Four
Dedicated Downton Abbey fans can look forward to all kinds of twists and turns in the first episode of the fourth US season of the hit TV show that has made Anglophiles of us all.
Last night, our friends at Visit Britain and Visit England treated a gaggle of Downton-delirious travel writers and travel agents to a special PBS screening of the hour (plus) first episode. Fascinators abounded in the audience--so many that they cast annoying spider-like shadows in the Times Center screening room.
Without treating you to soul destroying plot spoilers, we will tell you that Lady Edith comes in for some spoiling herself--with her new publisher love interest at London's venerable Criterion restaurant. The Criterion has been a Piccadilly landmark since 1874 and looks as smart as it must have back in 1922 when the new season begins.
Lady Edith's clothes have improved, too. The 20's setting mean she and Lady Mary are now sporting chic Chanel-like flapper dresses and cloche hats. The actress who plays Lady Edith, Laura Carmichaels, told Vanity Fair this August that with the advent of Season Four, our poor little rich girl blossoms and becomes "the Carrie Bradshaw of the 20s."
Join us here at TRAVELHUSHHUSH.COM every Monday in January for Downton Dish, an insider "set-jetting" look at the locations that make the show shine.
The Criterion circa 2013. Would you like to "come fly away" to this London Downton-era landmark?
Officials at JFK are admitting to shooting and killing two snowy owls after one of the rare birds flew into a jet engine while the plane was parked on the tarmac at the airport last week according to NBC 4 New York.
After news went viral on the killing yesterday, the Port Authority announced that it wouldn't shoot any more of the birds, made famous by Hedwig, Harry Potter's personal familiar snowy owl. It would attempt to trap and relocate the birds from now on.
Snowy owls have been migrating to New York in higher than usual numbers but the bird is rare and sightings are generally unusual. Five planes were hit by snowy owls at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports in recent weeks, the Port Authority told the Associated Press.
Do you think the Port Authority did the right thing? Are passengers and planes at risk or do the birds deserve a fighting chance?
According to a new survey from the hotel booking site Cheaprooms.co.uk, hotels in London have received, on average, the worst customer reviews among 30 top European destinations over the past two years.
In London, 19% of the reviews for 3-star hotels have been negative, the worst rating among all 30 destinations in the ranking. London also found itself near the bottom of the survey for 4-star hotels with 12% negative reviews. Only the French cities of Paris (13%) and Nice (16%) performed even worse.
The star of the survey was Berlin, where only 6% of the 3-star hotel reviews and 5% of the 4-star hotel reviews have been negative. Prague (7% / 5%) and Budapest (8% / 5%) also performed well.
So what's going on in Jolly Olde London to take its hotel ranking scores so low?
Amongst industry insiders, customer service has always been the number one issue discussed as the tipping point for UK hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions. Service with a smile, it seems, is not always part of training although from our perspective, London hotels are some of the most welcoming and friendly places on the planet.
What do you think? Do London hotels deserve this downgrade?
Travelers are talking about the brand new edition of the classic Hotel d'Angleterre, which has just reopened for the first time after an extensive two-year renovation. Word is the Copenhagen, Denmark hotel is lush, luxurious and old-world fabulous. The perfect site for European sexy undies maker Triumph's new bra commercial (see above).
It's also the site of an amazing Christmas display which has the entire facade facing Kongens Nytorv (The King's Square) lit with thousands of bulbs in the form of curtains framing a Nutcracker Scene.
Either way, the d'Angleterre looks pretty alluring to us!
What would you nominate as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Places?
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is now accepting nominations for its annual list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The list highlights a variety of historic or culturally important places around the US at risk because of structural damage, lack of funding, or other forms of neglect.
We're not sure why the National Trust chose 11 as the magic number, but we think it's a good idea to focus attention on our own cultural icons that are in danger of disappearing.
"Historic places are a tangible reminder of who we are as a nation," said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in the agency's release today. "For over 25 years, the National Trust's list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has helped shine a spotlight on threatened historic places throughout the nation, helping not only to preserve these places, but also galvanizing local support for the preservation of other unique, irreplaceable treasures that make our nation and local communities special."
Nominees don't have to be famous, but they have to be significant within their own cultural context, illustrate important issues in preservation and have a need for immediate action to stop or reverse serious threats.
For additional information, e-mail 11Most@savingplaces.org or call 202.588.6141. To learn more about the program and to submit a nomination, visit: www.preservationnation.org/11most and follow the National Trust @PresNation and 11 Most list #11Most.