The Burj Dubai is now open!

Looking for new ways to get high? Skip the local street dealer, and book your flight to Dubai. Today, the Burj Dubai is open to the public, and the views from its 124th floor observation deck can’t be beat. Now the world’s tallest building, the Burj Dubai captures the spirit of its hometown – you know, trying to make Las Vegas look small and humble. Also, in true Dubai style, money gets you to the front of the line: pay a little more than twice the normal ticket price to get up to the observation deck faster.

If you want to stay in the tower, you’ll have to wait a little loner, though. The Armani Hotel Dubai – a luxury property which represents the collaboration between Giorgio Armani and Emaar Properties – won’t open until March 18, 2010. This will be the first in a series of Armani properties that will include hotels, resorts and residences around the world. Expect demand for these rooms to be palpable, so if you want to be among the first to stay in these rooms, book your stay in late January, when reservations will start to be taken.

Galley Gossip: Airline uniforms (plus a chance to win free tickets on Olympic Airlines)

Just like Cliff Muskiet, the uniform freak, I have a thing for airline uniforms. I think most flight attendants do. In fact, inside my guestroom closet hangs three different uniform styles from two different airlines. I’ve saved it all – the pants, the skirts, the dresses, the jackets, the vests, the blouses, the wings, and even the blue tie I snapped around my neck and the epaulets I wore on both shoulders with the pleated Bermuda shorts and high heels at Sun Jet International Airlines. Talk about embarrassing. I still own everything except for the silky red and blue scarf I wore thirteen years ago when I first got hired to fly for the airline I currently work for. Oh how I wish I still had that scarf. I wore it off to the side, tied in a knot around my neck. That simple scarf made the conservative navy blue polyester uniform appear sexy and feminine.

“I loved that navy blue coat dress we wore years ago,” said Cady, an ex flight attendant who is also my very best friend.

Personally, I prefer the look of the white starched blouse paired with the navy blue knee length skirt and fitted blazer, even though I always end up wearing the uniform dress. As a commuter, I have to pack what’s easy.

Now my all time favorite airline uniform is worn by the flight attendants of Air France. Though they look great, I’m not quite sure how I would actually feel about serving drinks while wearing the big red bow at 35,000 feet. Delta looks fantastic in navy blue with just a hint of red. However the white bell sleeves, while stylish, seem like they could easily get dirty. That could be a problem for me. I’m a bit of a mess when I get stuck working in the galley, and a dirty uniform is an ugly uniform. Emirates‘ uniform is pretty nice – that is if you look good in Khaki and don’t mind wearing a head scarf. The worst airline uniform has to be First Choice Airways. I mean seriously, pink?

As I began writing this post, I wondered what others thought about all the different airline uniforms, so I posed the question, which airlines have the best uniforms, on and here’s what a few people had to say…

  • Flyingphotog: ” I think Virgin Atlantic’s uniforms are awesome. They’ll make you turn your head. Well… at least if you’re a guy they will. US Airways f/a uniforms are super-boring.
  • Paulrobichaux: “I really like Delta’s red-dress uniform. very classy looking.”
  • HeatherMark: “I love Delta’s red wrap dress. The fabric doesn’t look breathable, tho. Those Virgin girls always look fabu, too.
  • Wkali13: “I’m partial to Delta’s uniforms. They always look so professional.”
  • CBI28: “best uniform: Air France-I love that dress with the red bow. Worst-First Choice in Britain, a.k.a. the pink flamingos”
  • Mathew: “Best – Quantas long haul. Worst is Virgin Atlantic & United Airlines
  • Brajit: “AAs uniforms are dowdy. Skybus uniforms were AWFUL! “
  • AKnickerson: “Worst? Don’t know. But best: Korean Air. They are gorgeous! Very chic!”
  • Clipperkid747: “I like Lufthansa uniforms. They do look classy.
  • Tlonyc: “Got to like the laid back look of Southwest, but not as much as Delta. United and US Airways at the bottom.”
  • Stgabriel08: “if you are including foreign airlines, thumbs up to Emirates and Thai Air, thumbs down to Singapore Air”
  • Tyflyguy: “my vote for worst uniform HAS to be Southwest.”
  • FlightattdntJen: “oh God!The old Air Canada green ones: HIDEOUS! Affectionately named by passengers as the “vagina dress” Yay for new ones!”

Okay, for the record, I have never heard of the vagina dress, but now I must see it, so I emailed Jen and asked her to send me a photo. She said she would.

So why all this talk about flight attendant uniforms? Because Olympic Airlines’ flight attendants and pilots are getting new uniforms and you can help choose the final design. You’ve got until June 7th to vote, so click here to go to the website and pick your favorite uniform design. A few voters will even be chosen to win airplane tickets to destinations in Greece and abroad! Warning: the website is not in English. But good luck anyway!

For those of you still with me, I hope you enjoy this youtube video featuring airline uniforms of yesterday and today…

Photo courtesy of (two flight attendants) Dmytrok, (flight attendant in red) Sagado Corazon

Irishman Runs Seven Marathons on Seven Continents, in Six Days

Irish endurance runner Richard Donovan completed an impressive series of runs a few days back when he completed his seventh marathon in just six days. Even more impressive than that however, is that each of those marathons was run on a different continent.

The World Marathon Challenge got underway on January 31st when Donvan ran a marathon in Antarctica, covering the 26.2 miles n 4 hours, 39 minutes, 29 seconds in temperatures hovering around 0º Fahrenheit. Upon completing that race, he immediately hopped on a plane and flew to Cape Town, for his second run on the same day. From there, it was on to Dubai, where the temperatures soared dramatically, but Richard completed his third marathon in two days on the 1st of February.

The next destination was London, where the city was experiencing its worst snowfall in years, but Donvan pushed through, and logged his 26.2 miles, at three in the morning no less, before jetting off to Toronto, for yet another marathon. He completed the South American leg of his challenge by running a marathon in Santiago, Chile. The last of his runs took place in Sydney, Australia on Thursday, February 5th.

All told, Richard completed his journey in just 5 days, 10 hours, and 8 minutes, collecting 26,719 frequent flyer miles in the process. According to this story from the Independent, his only opportunities to eat and rest were aboard the airplanes he was flyng on, which caused him to battle sleep deprivation and jet lag the entire was as well.

What were Richard’s motivations for undertaking the World Marathon Challenge? To raise awareness of the ongoing crisis in Darfur, and to raise funds for the Irish charity GOAL.

Airbus wins bet, makes president less of a loser

When your reputation is so bad that you have to make a bet that you’ll meet production targets, as Airbus President Tom Enders did, you need to realize that your victory would be break-even for anyone else. The man with the poor track record scored a bottle of champagne by delivering the fourth of four planes to Emirates Airline on time. The total order is for 58, which means Airbus has plenty of work ahead of it.

Hell, he even had two days of wiggle room. If the champagne is as good as his reputation, Enders will endure an incredibly sweet victory.

Before we give Airbus too much respect, his announcement of champagne success was accompanied with a warning that the fifth plane, due by the end of March, will not be ready until mid-April. Of course, this will occur despite the fact that the on-time delivery “gives us a good basis to further ramp-up our production in 2009.” Emirates president Tim Clark leaked this tidbit to Reuters.

Enders made the bet with the media at a press conference in September because he’s missed his deadlines four times in three years. And, we all know that reporters are perpetually broke … they only make bets they’re likely to win. This says so much about Airbus and its leader.

Already, he’s screwed up 2009. Airbus parent EADS confessed that it will miss its objective of 21 A380s this year. This, apparently, is how one treats its largest customer.

[Via Reuters via USA Today]

Burj Dubai: why does it have to go so high!?

Dubai is all about being the best, biggest, richest, poshest, greatest, hottest and having the longest, widest, highest, gaudiest, craziest…the list is endless.

When I lived there, when we read the news on these new and upcoming ‘superlative’ projects, we would joke about how Dubai really is an architectural representation of the male ego — constantly trying to prove who has got the biggest you-know-what. No offense intended.

Anyway, home to the world’s first and only 7-star hotel, man-made islands in the shape of a palm and the world — that can be seen from the moon (that’s how they marketed the New Year’s Eve bash in 2006: “be at the party that can be seen from the moon!” What a disaster it was!) — Dubai is also battling to be home to the worlds tallest building with the construction of the Burj Dubai.

Construction began in 2004, and today the building stands at 585.7 meters. They haven’t confirmed how high it’s going to be, because they want to win the race. If they declare the height, they are afraid someone else may beat them to it.

I have a friend who works on the architectural team of the Burj. He tells me how scared he is about the construction of this monstrosity. See, the structure works on paper, but since it’s aiming to be the tallest, its infrastructure has never been tested before.

What does that mean? They cannot foresee all consequences, so anything can happen; I see a danger flag. My friend says he will make sure he’s on the first flight out once he finishes his job; he’s not thrilled to be part of something so potentially dangerous.

Some of Dubai’s kicks are just beyond me. I enjoyed living there, but I’m glad to be out.