British Airways offers North American flight discount to entice US travelers

british airwaysMany of us have been yearning to visit our neighbor across the pond since The Royal Wedding (capitalization intended). Great Britain is in celebration mode, there’s no doubt. They’ve capitalized on the trend and embarked upon a four year multi-million dollar marketing campaign to their most valuable overseas market – the US, just in time for 2012, a year when

Britain is hosting the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, World Pride and hundreds of festivals that will make up the Cultural Olympiad.

To celebrate, British Airways is offering savings of up to $150 when flying from any North American gateway to anywhere in the UK in British Airways’ World Traveller Plus, its premium economy class. The offer is available for tickets purchased by October 31, 2011 and is valid for travel until March 31, 2012.

We’re sure they’ll be offering many additional similar promotions, so we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.

[Flickr via BriYYZ]

Mystery mound in England turns out to be ancient monument

England, Silbury Hill
England’s prehistoric landscape has a new addition.

Marlborough Mound in Wiltshire has long been a mystery. The flat-topped cone of earth looks like a smaller version of Silbury Hill, pictured here. The bigger mound was finished around 2300 BC at a time when Neolithic farmers were erecting stone circles such as Stonehenge and Avebury. Now archaeologists have taken samples from Marlborough Mound and carbon dated them to 2400 BC.

Carbon dating, which measures decaying carbon isotopes in organic matter, has a slight margin of error that increases the older the sample is. Thus Silbury Hill and Marlborough Mound may have been finished simultaneously, or at least in the same generation. The two mounds are only about 20 miles apart, a day’s walk for a Stone Age farmer or excited archaeologist.

The mound was reused several times. The Romans had a settlement next to it and the Normans built a castle on top of and around it in the late 11th or early 12th century. Early Norman castles were wooden palisades around an artificial mound. In this case their prehistoric predecessors saved them some work. The wooden walls were later replaced with stone ones but the castle has long since vanished. In the 17th century the mound was turned into a garden. The mound stands on the grounds of Marlborough College and is off-limits to visitors. Hopefully that will change now that its true importance is understood.

Video of the Day: The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England

Have you been to England? What about Great Britain? How about the United Kingdom? Perhaps you just have no clear idea how to use those terms properly. Lest you tick off an Irishman or embarrass yourself at a pub, you may want to take a gander at the video above that quickly and humorously explains just what England, Great Britain and the UK are.

There’s no shame in not understanding the difference between these three terms. Heck, I learned a view things from this video and have Gadling’s own Jeremy Kressmann to thank for that. He tweeted this video last week. See, it pays to follow us Gadling folks on the ol’ internets.

If you have a great travel video that you think we might enjoy, share the link in a comment below. We could feature it as our next Video of the Day!

Which country loves to work? See who doesn’t take vacation time

A friend of mine asked me a few days ago when I last went on vacation – a real one. I struggled to remember the last time I went on a trip and didn’t write or, before that, keep up with what was going on at the office. After stopping and focusing, I remembered a four-day trip I took to Orlando back in late 2005. Even there, I’m not sure that I didn’t work, I just don’t remember spending time behind the laptop. Before that, my last vacation was probably four days in San Diego in 2002 (again, I don’t remember working but probably did) or the two weeks I took off when being reassigned from South Korea to Georgia in 1998.

Apparently, I’m not alone. Lots of people don’t take vacations, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos study. Ask any employee in the world if he uses his vacation time, and a there’s a 33 percent chance the answer will be a resounding “no.”

In a survey of 12,500 people from 24 countries, the French, unsurprisingly, are most likely to take advantage of the vacation days they are given, with 89 percent using all they are given. Argentina comes in next at 80 percent, followed by Hungary (78 percent) and Britain (77 percent). Think about it: in the top four, up to 25 percent of a country’s employees don’t blow through their vacation days.

Now, consider how grim the situation is at the other end of the spectrum. The workaholics in Japan are least likely to use all the vacation time they are given, with only 33 percent using it up. South Africa is next up from the bottom at 47 percent, followed by South Korea (53 percent). The United States is next, with a mere 57 percent of employees using up all their vacation time. That’s akin to leaving money on the table, when you think about it, since vacation time really is a part of your compensation.

Interestingly, income level makes little difference in whether one uses all available vacation time. It isn’t just hard-core investment bankers, work-addicted consultants and client-committed attorneys. According to Ipsos, two-thirds of high- and low-income workers took all available vacation time. Age makes some difference, with workers over 50 more likely to take all their vacation days. Unsurprisingly, business owners and senior executives are least likely to consume all their time.

So, why are the world’s workers so insanely dedicated to their jobs? Reuters says:

“There are lots of reasons why people don’t use up vacation days but most often it’s because they feel obligated to their work and put it over other more important things, including their own health and welfare,” said John Wright, senior vice president of global market and opinion research firm Ipsos.

Below, you can see the full results of the survey:

  1. France: 89 percent
  2. Argentina: 80 percent
  3. Hungary: 78 percent
  4. Britain: 77 percent
  5. Spain: 77 percent
  6. Saudi Arabia: 76 percent
  7. Germany: 75 percent
  8. Belgium: 74 percent
  9. Turkey: 74 percent
  10. Indonesia: 70 percent
  11. Mexico: 67 percent
  12. Russia: 67 percent
  13. Italy: 66 percent
  14. Poland: 66 percent
  15. China: 65 percent
  16. Sweden: 63 percent
  17. Brazil: 59 percent
  18. India: 59 percent
  19. Canada: 58 percent
  20. United States: 57 percent
  21. South Korea: 53 percent
  22. Australia: 47 percent
  23. South Africa: 47 percent
  24. Japan: 33 percent

[photo by archie4oz via Flickr]

Top five cities for taxi drivers (and the bottom end, too)

When you step into a cab, you never know what you’re going to find. The driver could be knowledgeable, helpful, pleasant and safe. Or, he could lead you into a fender-bender in minutes. It’s a real roll of the dice, of course, though some cities’ cabbies are certainly better than others – at least that’s what hotels.com found.

In a study of world’s taxi drivers, hotels.com found that London’s are tops. But, you get what you pay for: London‘s taxis were also the most expensive. New York came in second, with 27 percent of the vote (compared to London’s overwhelming 59 percent). New York’s drivers ticked up 10 percentage points, but this still wasn’t enough to break the tie it scored with Paris for having the rudest cabbies. Rome picked up the dubious distinction of having the worst drivers.

Tokyo (26 percent), Berlin (17 percent) and Bangkok (14 percent) round out the world’s top five.

Madrid took sixth, followed by Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris. So, Denmark may be happier, but Spain has better cab drivers.

Of course, there’s always one you should look out for …


[photo by Ben Fredericson via Flickr]