By Sherman Fridman
It’s been 50 years since bikini-clad Ursula Andress strolled down a Jamaican beach in “Dr. No,” the first of nearly two-dozen movies produced by the James Bond film franchise. And while some may have enjoyed the action, the pseudo sophistication of 007 or Bond’s beautiful playmates, everyone can agree that each film was sure to have the most exotic destinations in the world as a backdrop.
Although Monte Carlo and Venice are some of the most picturesque places in Europe, they’re expensive and the cost of a journey in Bond’s shoes throughout Europe would equal the budget of a small country.
However there are three Bond locations that won’t require you to take a lien on your house in order to pay your hotel bill.
Of course there are beach resorts of the Caribbean featured throughout the Bond films; but, some can be pricey. So, what about the Dominican Republic? Bond was there, prices are still reasonable and activity abounds, from water sports to visiting the many local markets.
Tourists are beginning to discover the Dominican Republic and it’s best to do so before the island’s historic charm and beach lifestyle become eroded.
Want something in a Bond location that is a bit more exotic, with the thrill of being in a place where the language, food and atmosphere are widely distinct to that at home, try Tunisia. This North African country still offers good value for your dollars as you explore its culture and heritage.
For those tourists who want to enjoy some exciting nightlife after spending carefree days on the beach, the Greek island of Rhodes offers an extensive selection of bars and clubs that will satisfy anyone’s craving to party hardy.
Paint the Plane Contest
Readers of this column have probably noticed that I am a fan of tail art, the term used to describe the distinguishing designs or images that are painted on a commercial jetliner’s tail. It’s a way for carriers to distinguish themselves and is more common with smaller, foreign airlines – two notable U.S. exceptions being Alaska and Frontier Airlines.
A few weeks ago, we featured Alaska’s Boeing 737 painted as a giant salmon. Now, Alaska Airlines, which services Palm Springs, is at it again. This time the airline has appointed a panel of 10 judges for its statewide “Paint the Plane” contest, an event that invites Hawaiian schoolchildren to create artwork honoring the unique culture of the Aloha State that may adorn a 737.
Why an airplane dedicated to the Aloha Spirit? Alaska flies to Hawaii from the mainland, and its great advertising.
The student with the winning submission will have his or her design painted on an Alaska Airlines aircraft, a trip for four to any of the airline’s destinations and a $5,000 scholarship.
Students in K-12 from public, private and home schools have until the end of November to submit designs; the newly liveried aircraft is scheduled to be revealed at a public event in Hawaii in the spring of 2013.
While there is a chance that Palm Springs travelers may catch a glimpse of the new Hawaiian-themed Alaska Airlines airplane, it is unlikely (unless you are at LAX) that we will see the uniquely-painted Boeing 777-300ER recently delivered to Air China.
Given the fuselage-name of “Smiling China,” the new aircraft – the tenth B777-300ER in Air China’s fleet – marks the 40th anniversary of Boeing’s entry into the Chinese aircraft market and features 40 Chinese smiling faces on its rear fuselage. The livery is meant to carry the message that China is a confident, sincere, friendly and optimistic country in which to do business.
Of the 40 chosen faces, 20 are employers of Air China, while the other 20 are global-traveling passengers.
“Know Me” Program
British Airways, the flag carrier of the home of the bespoke suit, is now claiming that BA will offer bespoke passenger service before, during and after a flight. However, some may think that is not such a good thing, and here’s why.
The airline is launching a new computer-based program known as “Know Me.” According to airline officials, the program was developed over the past several years; its purpose, to collate a wealth of data from every experience a customer has with the airline.
The program is able to send customer-specific information about anyone in the system to anyone who has access to the system. Not only will the system enable the crew to feed back information about their most loyal passengers, enabling the airline to further personalize the service they receive on their next trip, the system has some scary features as well, such as enabling employees to search Google Images for a photo of specific customers so they can recognize them as soon as they enter the airport or aircraft and “proactively” approach them.
According to Jo Boswell, head of customer analysis at British Airways, “This is just the start though – the system has a myriad of possibilities for the future.”
That, Ms. Boswell, is exactly the basis of our concern.