Archive

Monthly Archives: February 2015

Brum and dumber : Bobby Jindal and the big uneasy

Bobby Jindal: A Pot calling  a kettle black

Bobby Jindal: Foot in mouth disease

It’s pre-GOP Presidential candidate time and early leaders are jostling for media attention.

We were just thinking, we’ve not heard much from Bobby Jindal who back in January told us to be aware of those Muzzies who have made “no go” zones of Europe. Mentioned as examples were Paris and Birmingham, England’s #2 city in population where locals are known as “Brummies”.

There was a little problem with what Bobby (real name Piyush and who took his nickname from the Brady Bunch) said that left most people living in those cities scratching their head: There are no such designated no go areas.

We can think of a few reasons why Birmingham would not be your top choice to visit in the UK, but concerns about it being it being a Caliphate of the West Midlands is not one.

Ever willing to take a look at the houses of a stone thrower, Bobby is the Governor of Louisiana. So what has happened in the Pelican State under his leadership?

New Orleans residents protest for MORE police.

We don’t need to look too far when we look at the star attraction of Louisiana, New Orleans where armed robberies were up 37% in 2014.

N’Orleans has always had a reputation for being a wild town with a higher crime rate compared to most other Main US cities. When the Caesar family last visited, we were warned by out B&B host, to stay very close to certain streets in the French Quarter. While there were hired a guide to take us around and while in a cemetery, he confronted some potential robbers who were scouting us out.

In what made the news also in January was a story about a few locals getting together to produce signs to get more police in the French Quarter.

What does Mr Jindahl have to say about the 2014 crime statistic jumping under this watch? Nothing. In fact, his administration scaled back the state policing that was provided following a serious incident back in June.

We think that Mr. Jindal would be better off looking at his own back yard before showing his ignorance but there again, he is playing to a particular crowd here not known for enlightened opinion. It is pretty impressive badge of dubious humor when Boris Johnson, populist Mayor of London but a political Buffoon, is able to criticize you.

London Mayor Boris Johnson on Friday described as “complete nonsense” Bobby Jindal’s claims that there are Muslim-controlled no-go zones in Britain, adding that the Louisiana governor is in need of “some sort of gentle education.”

“I was very surprised by those statements” of Jindal’s, the mayor said during a POLITICO Playbook breakfast. “I would be more than happy personally to escort Gov. Jindal around any area that he thinks is a no-go zone, and I will show him what a happy, thriving community it is with people jumbled up in all sorts of ways.”

Verdict of Augustus: Jindal is an major idiot. However, that has never stopped anyone from higher office and so it would be unsurprising it he goes further.

As for New Orleans, take special care. When the residents of the Big Easy are big uneasy, it is time to take note.

Follow that Fish : US couple beached after following Satellite Navigation

Trust the computer dear. Couple get stuck on a beach following SatNav

In South Wales an American couple attempted to drive to a tourist destination called Caldy Island. Obviously not familiar with Pembroke, they followed their SatNav until they got stuck on Tenby Beach.

Normally that big blue thing called the Bristol Channel, is a not something you can drive on.

However, It happens the be the same sea that Hotels.com said you can drive on.

I wonder if they us the same software supplier.

Flying XXX class

Vintage fun and japes in the travel industry

Vintage fun and japes in the travel industry

Dahlings, Yet more air rage and I ask myself Why can’t we all fly in peace?
Well thank gawd we don’t as I’d have less to laugh about !

This time the story is..how do I put it so that the delicate ears of Augustus can be protected, about an alternative actress, Tory Lane who was arrested at LAX for suspicion of disrupting a flight and fighting with the crew. The actress was charged on battery charges in addition to public intoxication.

Never heard of her? Neither had I although Caligula’s smirk became very big when I read her name.

A little googling introduces me to Tory Lane:

“ToryLane.com is the official website of the dirtiest girl in porn. Tory Lane has no limits as she is the ultimate fantasy of every man who enjoys high-energy sex.”

Oh I am in all of a flutter after reading this: I thought I was the ultimate fantasy.

Investigating some of the movies that Ms. Lane has made, I see one called “When Porn Stars Attack”. No kidding.

A look at her twitter account, shows that her career cannot be that successful.  If she had that much money then surely she would be able to buy more clothes. Poor thing, maybe we should start up a gofundeme campaign.

Feb 15th tweet shows she loves LAX on a Sunday as it accompanied with a picture of a wheat beer. (No fruit I notice)

https://twitter.com/misstorylane/status/567037901939027968 [EDIT 6/5/15 – TWITTER ACCOUNT HAS BEEN DELETED]

Feb 19th, she Tweets ” I need to be FUCKED”

Fast forward to 20th, she was.

Careful what you wish for.
Ciao for now, Cleo.

PS: Feb 21st Ms Lane tweeted “There’s always 2 sides to every story”. After seeing her website and some of  her ‘movies’, I was thinking 2 sides… is that all?

Coroner declares first case of aerotoxic syndrome

Airplane warning

Airplane warning

An update to a prior story “Flying on fumes : Are aircraft leaks poisoning cabin crew?“.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Dorset Coroner declared “aerotoxic syndrome” as the cause of death for pilot Richard Westgate. From the article:

Toxic fumes in cabin air pose a health risk to frequent fliers and aircrew, a coroner has said in a landmark report.

Stanhope Payne, the senior coroner for Dorset, said people regularly exposed to fumes circulating in planes faced “consequential damage to their health”.

Mr Payne, who is inquiring into the death of Richard Westgate, a British Airways pilot, called on BA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to take “urgent action to prevent future deaths”. Most airline passengers, who fly only occasionally, will not be affected by the problem, but some frequent travellers who are genetically susceptible to the toxins could fall ill.

Mr Payne’s call for urgent action is likely to be welcomed by campaigners who have raised similar concerns for a number of years.

His report, obtained by the Telegraph, is the first official UK recognition of so-called “aerotoxic syndrome”, a phenomenon long denied by airlines but which is blamed by some for the deaths of at least two pilots and numerous other incidents where pilots have passed out in flight. Co-pilots can normally take over, but campaigners claim the syndrome is a suspected cause of some mid-air disasters.

At issue is the source of where the airplanes sources their compressed air to pressurize the cabin- the engines themselves which if it malfunctions, is a potential source for contamination from oil particles.

Trajan.

Where’s the beef ? Oh, it’s Spam

A dish served cold

A dish served cold

One week later and we at Roam are not impressed with Twitter so far.

Majority of people following or sending us notifications are bait and click to get you to the site to bombard you with adverts. The worst offenders are the ones to get you to sign up to newsletter supposedly read by 2.7 million people.

The main companies tweeting don’t put much out that is of value as a planning aid either

Even Cleopatra is doing a Micheala Mahony impression.

We’ll see if it improves it with age.

Con Air: KAL Executive gets 1 year in Jail over “Nutrage” incident

Heather Cho updates her frequent flier status

Heather Cho updates her frequent flier status

Heather Cho – ex senior VP of KAL – has been jailed for 1 year. This is THE Heather of ‘Nutrage’ fame whom Cleopatra wrote about and Nero dedicated a song list.

Talk about Asian efficiency : The original incident happened in December 14 and by Feb 15, Heather has been found guilty and sentenced : 2 months from crime to time. No messing about in South Korea.

I don’t know if this is a political sacrifice or South Korean justice spins fast but I just think 1 year prison for being a complete bitch, is a harsh sentence.

The judge and those in South Korea do not think so. From Korea Times the judge thinks she showed no remorse.

Sentencing her to one year in prison, Seoul Western District Court Judge Oh Sung-woo said he did not recognize the “sincerity” of the letters, saying he doubted whether she has a sense of guilt about her behavior.”I wonder whether she really thinks she was wrong,” Oh said in the verdict.The one-year prison term was lighter than the prosecution’s demand for three years.The court ruled that she forced a flight from JFK International Airport in New York to change its course, dismissing her lawyers’ claim that it was not a course change. It was the first time in Korea that the charge has been recognized.The court also ruled her guilty of committing acts of violence that disturbed flight safety, coercion and interfering with business.

 

Further more

“It is reasonable to regard not only air route but also ground movement as a flight’s course,” the court said, dismissing the claim that a flight’s course only meant an air route existing 200 meters above the ground. “We recognize the flight’s planned course was changed.”Regarding Cho’s claim that she was not aware that the plane started moving, the court said she was, because the in-flight announcement and seat belt signs showed the plane would be moving. “When Park told her that the plane already started, she told him to stop it. So she was aware of it,” the court said.It said her behavior delayed the plane’s departure for 24 minutes, interfered with other planes’ operations at the airport, and created the possibility of a collision with other flights. “Although she had the right to exclude a crewmember from duty as a company executive, such a right should have been exercised according to due procedure before a flight. Kicking the attendant off the plane was beyond her authority.”The court said the pilot’s decision to return to the gate was on Cho’s orders rather than his own judgment.”This incident may not have happened if she did not regard employees as slaves and could control her temper,” it said. “It is a serious case that put passengers’ safety at risk.”

Two additional people were also sentenced. Yeo Woon-jin, a KAL executive who pressured employees to lie about the investigation. He got eight months. The other was Kim Woon-sub who used to work for Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. I say “used to” as their crime was to give information to Ministry’s investigation.

The sentence will be appealed.

Whatever happens, this is a fantastic story from riches to rags. All this over a bag of nuts.

I wonder how much of this sentence was because of the National embarrassment and the pent up anger about the Chaebols and their spoilt kids.

I never thought I’d say it but I feel somewhat sorry for her.

Augustus.

Something is rotten in the Kingdom of Denmark : sub-$100 UAL 1st class transatlantic tickets are voided.

So all those who rushed out to book First class ticket on United from Europe to US for less than $100 are finding out that United have cancelled every single one of them.

Not surprisingly the jilted ticket holders are upset and ranting away on the interweb.

The background to the story is that someone identified a glitch on the United site where a currency conversion error (Krona to USD) resulted in tickets being severely underpriced on the Danish UAL site. The tickets would only work if flying from Europe to US not the other way around.

Many people are outraged and taking their fury to the streets twitter with howls of how they are never going to fly United again, how their plans are ruined etc. Others are claiming they will sue or how they are complaining to the DOT.

Let’s see how that will end up especially as the site required you to state your location as Denmark. If so, then the laws of the country of where the ticket was purchased may be the prevalent laws not US.

Either way – US or Denmark or EU law – normal contract laws allows cancellation in this case of a gross mistake such in this currency feed off by a magnitude or so.

However, the sticky point to normal contract law is a DoT law, 49 CFR 41712 § 399.88(a)

§ 399.88 Prohibition on post-purchase price increase.
(a) It is an unfair and deceptive practice within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 41712 for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, or of a tour (i.e., a combination of air transportation and ground or cruise accommodations), or tour component (e.g., a hotel stay) that includes scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation, tour or tour component to a consumer, including but not limited to an increase in the price of the seat, an increase in the price for the carriage of passenger baggage, or an increase in an applicable fuel surcharge, after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of an increase in a government-imposed tax or fee. A purchase is deemed to have occurred when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer.

This law was aimed at misleading or deceptive adverts but some argue it applies here. The question now will be if cancelling the ticket is the same as raising prices.

If you read this DOT pdf, you see this.

8. Does the prohibition on post-purchase price increases in section 399.88(a) apply in the situation where a carrier mistakenly offers an airfare due to a computer problem or human error and a consumer purchases the ticket at that fare before the carrier is able to fix the mistake?

Section 399.88(a) states that it is an unfair and deceptive practice for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United States, or of a tour or tour component that includes scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation to a consumer after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of a government-imposed tax or fee and only if the passenger is advised of a possible increase before purchasing a ticket. A purchase occurs when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer. Therefore, if a consumer purchases a fare and that consumer receives confirmation (such as a confirmation email and/or the purchase appears on their credit card statement or online account summary) of their purchase, then the seller of air transportation cannot increase the price of that air transportation to that consumer, even when the fare is a “mistake.” A contract of carriage provision that reserves the right to cancel such ticketed purchases or reserves the right to raise the fare cannot legalize the practice described above. The Enforcement Office would consider any contract of carriage provision that attempts to relieve a carrier of the prohibition against post-purchase price increase to be an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 41712.

Last time something big like this happened was when airlines mis-priced first class tickets originating in Burma due to Kyat floating. Most airlines then were Asian where the eventual ruling seemed to be that an US bound flight had to do more than touch the US but stay there for greater than one day.

AS for the politics of it all, will the DoT force a major US company to commit a financial hit – that likely benefits non US voters – over a clear mistake that would be otherwise be allowed to be cancelled by normal commercial law? I would be surprised to see US Government championing a situation where even the source for this tip- a post on flyertalk.com – informed everyone that it was mistaken: Everyone who booked knew the price was erroneous as you would unlikely discover this by mistake.

While we understand protecting the consumers is important, forcing companies out of business over an honest mistake is just wrong.

What will be interesting now is even if the DoT pursues them, will UAL just accepts the fine as the cheapest option? Afterall, it will be paid to Govt not the consumer and then some negotiated fine.

So for the people who rushed in to buy the tickets, what will you say if United instead of giving refund, gives a credit to apply to a new flight with an appropriate change fee. Especially if the credit is in Danish Krona.

Check mate. If it is too good to be true, it probably is: Caveat Emptor:

Trajan.

Crap recommendations are the lowest form of Twit.

Over my afternoon cup of tea, I decided to take ‘TheRoamans’ twitter feed for a test drive where we had linked to quite a few travel sites.

There were plenty of Tweets with links to travel articles. What piqued my interest was “Affordable beach hotels for spring break” by USA TODAY Travel where they had a great photo.

So somewhat interested in something for springbreak this year, I clicked on it which takes you to USA Today article with 14 pictures in a gallery.

Picture 1 and 2 are of Corfu, Greece where this is what they said.

“Corfu, Greece: While most jetsetters head for the better known, more popular and significantly pricier Cyclades (made up of islands such as Mykonos and Santorini), Corfu is a great pick for those on a budget. Travelers can often score relatively inexpensive flights directly to the island by booking through smaller, regional airlines and once there, visitors will find that hotels, restaurants and activities can be pretty cheap. Many Corfu beach resorts offer all-inclusive options and feature numerous pools, a range of dining and simple, clean rooms” Source oyster.com

Are you kidding me? Corfu when you have only a 1 week spring break. First problem is it will take 30+ hours to get there from the US to Kirkira airport. From most flight options, I looked at you leave Friday afternoon, get to Athens Saturday afternoon, then local flight to Corfu for Sunday morning.  Coming back, you could leave Saturday and overnight (say Athens) at which will get you back in the US on Sunday. So that would leave you with five full days in Corfu. Price of tickets would be north of $1,000.

Now what can you expect when you get there? March is a quiet period for Corfu. There is a reason for that: the weather. It is cold and wet during this period. You can expect an average temperature of 57F with highs of 61F. A 24% chance (1 in 4) of getting sunny weather. [Source:  www.holiday-weather.com]. Now you see why we think Corfu as a recommendation for spring break is a stupid idea.

Pictures 3 and 4 were for Myrtle Beach, South Caroline. So this is somewhat better: at least this is the US.

Myrtle Beach, S.C.: Continually ranked as one of America’s best family beach destinations, Myrtle Beach offers visitors one-of-a-kind nightlife, more than 100 golf courses and 60 miles of sandy shoreline — all at affordable prices. This locale may be known to get a bit jam-packed, but hotels account for this with massive pools and water park complexes, as well as plenty of meeting spaces and large rooms. In fact, many properties feature condo-style accommodations with kitchens and living rooms. Source oyster.com

Picture 4 was “Oyster’s hotel pick in Myrtle Beach: Captain’s Quarters Resort.” Having never heard of it, we took a look at it.

  • Google : rate it 2.9 out of 5.
  • TripAdvisor: 3 out of 5
  • Yelp : 2.5 out of 5
  • Oyster.com : 3 out of 5. Now where have I heard of Oyster.com again?

What a sham. Even Oyster.com’s own rating are pretty dire but yet it is still a ‘hotel pick’.

So who are Oyster.com. According to their site:

The Only Hotel Site That Inspects in Person. Like Your Mother-In-Law.

Our special investigators visit, photograph, review and rate each hotel. We uncover the truth, before it’s “uh-oh” time.

Oh my. Inspects like my ‘mother-in-law’? If so, MIL must be a bit loopy. Looks like “uh-oh” time on the recommendations so far.

The remaining ‘recommendations’ were Puerto Rico, Playa Del Carmen (about 1 hour from Cancun), South Padre Island (Texas), Phuket (Thailand), Jamaica of which most have merit.

Phuket recommendation is flat out dumb based on the travel time. 2 days travel either way and you will be jet-lagged. It is not worth it.

Puerto Rico is an ok recommendation with the advantage that you don’t need a passport. Playa Del Carmen, you will need one. I say that as many Americans do not have passports.

As for Jamaica (need passports), what the article did not expand upon is what type of ‘spring breaker’ you’d be. There are those with families, there are college kids and there are the no-kids. Let’s just talk about the later as I am not sure why you’d visit the likes of Sandals (Whatever you do make sure you don’t mistake Sandals with Hedonism – thanks Cleopatra for that tip) during Spring Break as they don’t tend to have families or young adult at their location so visiting then during this time is peak travel and will cost more on airfare. Now getting back to family resorts in Jamaica, ones to consider are Beaches Resorts, Franklin D Resort, Sunset Beach Resort, and even Holiday Inn. For college kids, there are European plan hotels which allow you to book four people in a room to reduce the cost per person.

No opinion of South Padre for spring break but it is very popular and thus busy and relatively expensive at this time. It is easy to get to with Southwest.

It turns out this USA Today post is actually regurgitated article from Oyster with just an opportunity for USA Today to show adverts. Chiselers.

Roads-2-Roam verdict of USA Today twitters as travel planning tools: Forget it.

thumb down

I’ll keep them on my twitter feed for now but if this is the caliber of their tweets, US TODAY Travel is on their way to be “unfollowed”.

Sugar and Tweets

We finally got around to joining Tweeter.com where we are looking forward to being booted off planes.

After setting up our account, it suggested we needed a first tweet. Being reincarnations from ancient history, we were a bit befuddled by this modern technology but even we understood to post 160 characters.

So with the help of Claudius, We tried adding the main characters of Roam “Julius, Trajan, Cleopatra, Julius, Hadrian, Claudius, Alexandria, Nero “. Twitter said it counted 69 characters. We counted 8.

Now suitably confused, we gave up and posted the slogan of ‘The Roaman Empire’:

Vale.
Augustus.

GroundHog Day 2: It will be a bit nippy

The biting truth

The biting truth : copyright channel300.com

Dahlings, Just as I finished telling you about Gobbler’s Knob, there is another story about Groundhog day.

This time it is in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, where apparently, word must have got around Rodent community about dangers of Mayors and their murderous handling.

From the DailyMail.

A mayor in Wisconsin has learned a valuable lesson about his city’s weather-predicting critter: Don’t get too close.

Jimmy, the official groundhog in Sun Prairie, bit the mayor’s left ear during the 67th Groundhog Day celebration on Monday.

A handler was holding the rodent next to 41-year-old Jonathan Freund’s face when it promptly launched an attack. Footage of the incident shows Freund flinching back and wincing.

Oh dear but it goes to show that Groundhogs are smart creatures. Never trust a politician.

So what about the weather? Sun Prairie Jimmy predicted an early spring . Gobbling Knob Phil on the other hand, predicted a long winter.

Which only goes to show that both kinds of rodents – Groundhogs and politicians – cannot be relied upon for their predictions.

Ciao for now,
Cleo.