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Never fear — PR is here!

Posted by on 01 Oct 2007 | Tagged as: Current Events, Travel

So it seems Pearson airport is firing its nurses — who handle 700+ patients per month, meeting them at or on the plane if necessary — and turning their jobs over to the Peel Fire Department and local ambulances (i.e., if there’s an emergency at the airport they’ll just call 911).

But [spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority ]Armstrong said passengers shouldn’t worry about the changes. “There’s no change to the level of service that’s being offered to passengers or the safety of passengers.”

How can anyone say that with a straight face? Perhaps Armstrong is a robot.

A bit of infrastructure cleverness

Posted by on 20 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: Travel

Vancouver’s garbage cans now have a little shelf on the front, in which you can leave return-for-deposit bottles (the vast majority of drink containers in BC are deposit-return).

People used to just leave return-for-deposit bottles on the ground next to the garbage cans so other people could take them and return them — this is tidier. Also easier and less undignified for folks than digging through the bins.

No better time to fly

Posted by on 02 Apr 2007 | Tagged as: Current Events, Travel

Air Canada had good news to share and couldn’t think of a better time to share it than 1:40 pm on a Sunday afternoon:

Air Canada launches non-stop seasonal service between St. John’s, NL and London, U. K., with daily flights during summer peak travel

MONTREAL, April 1 /CNW Telbec/ – The departure today of Air Canada flight AC 830 marks the return of seasonal non-stop service between St. John’s, NL and London, U.K. until the end of October 2007.

Air Canada’s service to London will operate three times weekly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday in April 2007, increasing to five times a week in June 2007, and to daily service from July 1, 2007 through the end of September 2007. Air Canada flight AC830 will leave St. John’s at 12:55, arriving in London at 21:25, and flight AC831 will leave London at 22:40 arriving in St. John’s at 00:45.

“Air Canada’s new non-stop service between St. John’s and London-Heathrow offers travellers the convenience of daily non-stop service to London in time for summer peak travel,” said Daniel Shurz, Vice President, Network Planning, Air Canada. ‘We believe the people of Newfoundland and Labrador will value this direct link to the U.K., the fastest and most convenient way of travelling to London and making global connections beyond.”

“Air Canada is a longtime partner of ours and a major service provider here at St. John’s International Airport. I’m very pleased to welcome their new seasonal service on the St. John’s to London route, a route they have served for so many years,” said Keith Collins, President and CEO, St. John’s International Airport Authority.

The good news comes six months after Air Canada cancelled non-stop daily service between St. John’s and London and has nothing to do with this news from the day before:

Canadian Press

The Newfoundland and federal governments are welcoming the resumption of year-round, direct air service to London by Astraeus, about six months after Air Canada cancelled the service. Beginning in May, the independent, British-based airline will provide three flights a week from the St. John’s airport to Gatwick, 45 kilometres south of London. Air Canada quashed daily service to London’s Heathrow airport in September, saying the route wasn’t profitable enough. It signalled the first time the province was without year-round transatlantic air service since the Second World War.

I survived Vegas

Posted by on 29 Mar 2007 | Tagged as: People News, Travel

Went to Vegas with my family and Randy for my mom’s 60th. They liked Cirque du Soleil and the short flight to the Grand Canyon was actually fun. vegas_group.jpg

The good news: complaints are down!

Posted by on 15 Mar 2007 | Tagged as: Toronto, Travel

Customer complaints at Pearson airport go untracked

Passengers from across the country with unresolved complaints used to be able to lodge them with the Air Travel Complaints Commissioner, a position created in 2000 to document problems.

But that job is sitting vacant. The last complaint report covered incidents in 2004.

To make matters worse, the country’s largest air carrier, Air Canada, no longer has an ombudsman’s office to oversee customer complaints, after deciding it was not necessary

Word of the Day – Malaccamax

Posted by on 10 Mar 2007 | Tagged as: Current Events, Travel

I recently read an article in the Economist about the pending Panama Canal expansion. Fascinating to those who find such things fascinating — I think the containerization revolution is one of the great mostly-unknown stories of modern time. A few interesting angles I hadn’t been aware of:

– Some people suggest that a more efficient way to deal with the Panama bottleneck would be a new deep water port on the Pacific side and a rail link across the isthmus. This is a revival of a very old idea (there is already some kind of rail link, and I think there were old railroads before the canal, although not sure), but it has some intuitive sense again for a few reasons. Supertankers and big bulk carriers are already far too large for the canal, even post-expansion, so it’s really about container ships. And I think that the largest container ships are soon going to be too big for the post-expansion canal, if they aren’t already. The biggest out there is the Emma Maersk, at 11,000 TEU, and the estimate for post-expansion capacity is 12,000 TEU (although it’s really about exact dimensions, not estimates of numbers of containers). And of course the whole point of containers is that they can be easily inter-modaled, so the idea of loading onto separate ships on the Atlantic side seems to make sense.

– There is also a lesser known “Suezmax” limit. Given the lack of locks, the practical limit is on draft, and there is apparently a canal-side pipeline so that fully loaded tankers can send part of their payload alongside to meet them at the other end.

– Finally, there is the bottleneck through the Straits of Malacca. I had heard of this as a congestion issue, because it’s long and narrow and tends to be infested with pirates, but apparently there’s also a size limit, due to draft at the shallowest point. Thus “Malaccamax”. This is already an issue for the biggest tankers and bulk carriers, but there are suggestions that the next generation of container ships will also run up against the limit. Seems like a fitting symbol for the scale of the China trade, which may be getting too big for the world as currently constructed. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

Malaccamax is a naval architecture term for the largest ships capable of fitting through the Straits of Malacca. A Malaccamax ship is defined to be, with 18,000 TEUs, of 300,000 DWT, 470 m long, 60 m wide, 20 m of draft. The restriction is caused by the shallow point on the Strait, where minimum depth is 25 m.

A post malaccamax ship would need to circumnavigate Australia, use the Lombok Strait, or use the proposed yet-unbuilt Kra Canal. No such ship has yet been built.

Aboriginal for “bring a warm coat”

Posted by on 26 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: Travel

Had a great time in Chicago with M. and R. despite the decidedly wintery weather. J. intelligently brought her down-filled coat; I should have done the same. With due respect to Dalton48, 0 degrees with high winds is *not* the same as 0 degrees without.

Interestingly, “Chicago” is an aboriginal word meaning something roughly like “smelly onions”. Apparently wild onions used to grow in the swampland on the coast Lake Michigan, and…

Photeaux to follow.

Vote for the new 7 Wonders

Posted by on 10 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: Travel

As reported by the weekend Globe & Mail. The 21 finalists make a fascinating and multicultural list; I wish I knew more about them. Website here.

We all have personal favourites that did not make it. For me, it is the Pantheon and Chartres; maybe they are not big enough?

If you have 57 days to spare this summer…

Posted by on 07 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: Travel

The Orient Express bicycle tour: from Paris to Istanbul

Paris to Istanbul

None of the pictures seem to feature riders with Trail-a-bikes or baby seats, though. Can’t imagine why.

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