Ryanair Officially Tries to Be Nicer

airplane on runway and looking...
Shutterstock / Peshkova

In this day and age of social media, it’s getting harder and harder for airlines to get away with bad behavior. Lose someone’s luggage? You’ll hear about it within minutes of them landing. Serve a bad meal? Expect that to go viral on Instagram. If your customer service isn’t spot-on, you’ll be sure to hear about it.

But one airline has consistently refused to bow to customer requests. Ryanair is known for the kind of service that elicits complaints. In fact there are entire websites dedicated to documenting how much people are frustrated with what happens aboard Ryanair planes. But despite complaints, Ryanair has managed to find its way to the top of Europe’s airlines. Those baggage fees may seem ridiculous, but the airline is profitable for a reason.

Now with the European economy going downhill however, CEO Michael O’Leary knows that the airline can’t risk to lose passengers, and he is working on making the airline, well, nicer.The man known for proposals like onboard pay toilets (you’re only flying for two hours, you should be able to hold it) is now suggesting that his airline has to transform its brand; just offering crazy low fares isn’t enough.

On the heels of last month’s news that the airline forced a man to pay nearly $260 when he had to change his flight from Dublin to Birmingham because his entire family had died in a fire, Ryanair is now turning on the charm. According to The New York Times, that includes reducing oversized baggage and boarding card reissue fees as well as allowing a small carry-on no larger than 35 x 20 x 20 centimeters to be carried aboard flights from Dec. 1 onwards. Oh, and there will be “quiet” flights, meaning that people flying before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. will avoid the loud in-flight announcements.

It’s all in the hopes that people keep choosing Ryanair wherever they fly in Europe.
“As some of these policy changes will require website changes and handling staff retraining, we will be rolling them out over the next few months as we strive to further improve Europe’s number one customer service airline,” customer service director Caroline Green said.

Will it work? Only the travel social media sphere will be able to tell us.

Instagram Tour of Dublin

The best way to see Dublin is to take your time walking around the city. Stop for a Guinness in a local pub, pay homage to a temple of literature at Trinity College’s library and try to see how many different colored doors you spot on the city’s Georgian houses.

Check out the Instagram pics from Gadling’s recent trip to Ireland. If these get you thinking about a trip of your own, our friends at AOL Travel have a great Dublin travel guide.


For more travel inspiration, follow Gadling’s Instagram account @GadlingTravel under the hashtag #OnTheRoad.

Thieves Steal Rhino Horns From National Museum Of Ireland

rhino, rhino hornA gang of masked men broke into the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin on Wednesday night and made off with four rhino heads.

Museum officials said in a press release that the thieves overpowered a security guard and tied him up. They then entered a storeroom and removed the heads. The heads had previously been on display but had been put into storage a year ago for fear of their being stolen.

The security guard was eventually able to free himself and notify police. So far no arrests have been made.

Rhino horns are especially prized in Asia where they are used in traditional medicines. Police estimate the street value of the horns to be about $650,000. Normally rhinos are poached in the wild and their horns are smuggled to their destination. This photo, courtesy the UK Home Office, shows two rhino horns found wrapped in cling film, concealed in a false sculpture. These were from a different crime. The rhino horns from the Dublin museum have not been found.

This raid may herald a new phase in rhino poaching. With poachers facing increased policing, and even firefights, at national parks and rhinos becoming hard to find thanks to their being hunted to the edge of extinction, some may turn to taking horns from natural history collections.

[Photo courtesy the UK Home Office]

‘Twilight’ Film Debut Brings Travelers From Around The World

Twilight

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2″ opens worldwide on November 16 and fans of the series have some unique options for getting excited about the final installment. Fan clubs, cinemas and tour operators from around the world are offering special events, viewings and even a chance to be on the red carpet with the stars of the film.

In theaters-
Across the country and around the world, theaters have different versions of a Twilight Saga Marathon, showing all five films. In Seattle, not far from Forks, Washington, where the story originates, Regal Cinemas has a special deal: a $15 marathon package that gets loyalty club members the entire saga from the first episode, ending with the 10 p.m. showing of “Breaking Dawn Part 2.”

Live and in person-
The Los Angeles debut of the film brings a red carpet event and Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Festival, has a once in a lifetime experience, which they are auctioning off as a VIP package for the world premiere of “Breaking Dawn Part 2.” The winner will get four tickets to the world premiere on November 12.

Starting with a pre-reception with the film’s director Bill Condon along with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and other actors from the film, the winner and three guests then go to the Nokia Theatre where VIP seats await for the world premiere, followed by an after party with the cast.

Fans can bid on the package between now and November 7, 2012. At last look, the bid stood at $6000.

Remote but personal-
Can’t make it to the premiere anyway? Yahoo! will exclusively Livestream the world premiere on Monday, November 12, starting at 8:30 Eastern time. That streaming video will no doubt be the backdrop for “Breaking Dawn” premiere parties held around the world.

Partygoers attending will watch previous installments of the series and play games like Name That Vampire, enjoy syringe blood shots or try special Twilight treats like Werewolf Kibble and Vampire Bites.

Coming from around the planet-
Interest in the “Twilight Saga” is worldwide and the vacation planners at Tour America in Dublin have suggestions for fans of the series that visit the places where the movie was filmed.

One idea is to fly into Seattle for a three-night stay in the Warwick Seattle Hotel, in the heart of the city. Pick up a car and head west towards Port Angeles, a coastal town with access to “Twilight” locations including Bella Italia, the restaurant where Edward and Bella had their first date.

Another idea puts visitors at The Quality Inn Uptown, which has views both of Port Angeles harbor and Olympic National Park where the National Park Service cares for mountain vistas, meadows of wildflowers, colorful ocean tide pools and some of the largest remnants of ancient forests left in the country, not far from the town of Forks.

Win a trip to Italy-
To celebrate the conclusion of the “Twilight” series, our friends at AOL’s Moviefone and Summit Entertainment are giving away an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy, one of the locations on the Cullen’s global quest.

The winner gets a six-day stay in “Lo Stivale.” To enter, like Moviefone’s Facebook page and leave your name and email on the “Breaking Dawn” tab.


To date, the Twilight franchise has grossed over $2.5 billion in worldwide box office. Since the 2005 release of the first novel in the series, Twilight, the books have sold over 100 million copies worldwide with translations into over 30 different languages.


[Photo credit: Flickr user Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer]

d more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/31/4951366/film-independent-to-offer-twilight.html#storylink=cpy

Ten Dublin Literary Attractions

Dublin

Dublin is known worldwide as the capital of Ireland, hosting landmarks such as the Spire of Dublin, Trinity College and St Patrick’s Cathedral. Along with the UK’s Edinburgh, Melbourne, Australia, Iowa City in the U.S. and others, UNESCO recognizes Dublin as a City of Literature, reflecting the city’s rich and varied history of writers and writing.

As the birthplace of James Joyce and Nobel Literature Prize winners William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett, Dublin pays tribute to its literary heritage in a variety of ways. Statues, streets, bridges, pubs and book stores that make for a grand tour that visitors can take in an organized way or on their own.

James Joyce Centre is dedicated to a better understanding of the life and works of James Joyce and has exhibitions, events and workshops.

National Public Library of Ireland has the most comprehensive collection of Irish documentary material in the world. Talks and major exhibitions are hosted throughout the year.

Dublin Yarnspinners invites visitors to listen as the Storytellers of Ireland spin an array of tales, tall and otherwise, from its members on the second Thursday of every month.DublinBewley’s Cafe Theatre has lunchtime drama and one of the city’s most popular venues for evening cabaret, jazz and comedy every day by reservation.

Sweny’s Pharmacy
features daily readings from the works of James Joyce in the original pharmacy where Leopold Bloom bought lemon soap.

Trinity College has an official, student-guided walking tour of the historic campus on a daily, scheduled basis. The 30-minute tours run from mid-May to the end of September.

St Patrick’s Cathedral, where writer/satirist Jonathan Swift was dean from 1713 to 1745 is open every day. Visitors to the cathedral can see his tombstone and epitaph on an escorted tour.

Marsh’s Library was the first public library in Ireland, opening in 1701. With over 25,000 books relating to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the collections covers medicine, law, science, travel and more. Open daily except Tuesday and Sunday.

Dublin City Bike Tours are an easy, eco-friendly way to see the sights with local guides along for the ride. Starting in the lobby of Isaacs’s hostel, the tours run three hours and begin at 10 a.m. daily.

The Dublin Literary Pub Crawl is a fun, walking tour led by a team of professional actors who follow the footsteps of literary greats on an evening filled with prose, drama and song as we see in this video:



For more information on these and over 20 other Dublin literary attractions see www.dublincityofliterature.ie

[Flickr photos by infomatique]