Two Men Spend 48 Days in Indian Airport

Two men from Bangladesh were forced to live in New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi airport for 48 days. The duo left their homeland to seek employment in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, they did not have the appropriate papers to enter the country. So, officials confiscated their passports and placed the men on a return flight to Bangladesh with an intermediate stop in India.

The weary travelers landed in the layover country, but upon arriving, they found themselves stranded since their passports were still in Saudi Arabia. The lost souls waited in the transit lounge of New Delhi’s airport for the 6+ weeks until Bangladesh could issue them new passports. During their stay, the gentlemen often asked the airport cafeteria to give them work — without payment — as a way to pass time. How’s that for boredom?

Forty-eight days may sound like an eternity, but Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri spent an amazing 18 years living in France’s Charles de Gaulle Airport. His story was adapted into the film The Terminal. It’s interesting to note that Nasseri continued to live in Charles de Gaulle even after he was offered papers that would allow him to leave.

I can’t imagine spending that much time in an airport. I can’t even stand being in one for a three hour layover. I think I’d find myself coming up with games to play like “Switch Around the Luggage Tags at the Baggage Claim.”

Hilton to Home: Live in a Hotel Room

I’ve stayed in a lot of Hilton hotels, and I’m almost always pleased with the quality of the amenities in their rooms. (Unless it’s an airport hotel with a lot of turn-over. Yuck!) So, when I heard about Hilton to Home, I was ecstatic.

Hilton to Home is an official Hilton online store that sells *almost* every product used to create the Hilton hotel room experience. You can order anything from sheets to shampoo.

There are three products I have to mention. I’ve always enjoyed them at Hiltons, and it’s pretty cool that they’re available online:

  • Serenity Collection bedding – I tried these sheets at the Hilton Sedona, and they were so soft and relaxing. Quite the complement to Sedona’s natural serenity.
  • Shawl Collar Bathrobe – This one reminds me of a stay at the Hilton Berlin. I don’t quite remember when or why I put it on, but I found myself wearing the morning after a long night of drinking with the hotel’s bar band.
  • Hilton Family Exclusive Clock Radio – You can find these in almost any Hilton hotel. I like these because there are labeled buttons on the top that are preset to local Jazz, Rock, and Pop radio stations.

It’s nice to know that there’s a legal way to score some of these things for my own home because believe me… The housekeeping staff notices when things like curtains are missing.

Keira Knightley and The Vacation High

And now, in celebrity travel gossip news

Keira Knightley, the svelte star of Bend It Like Beckham, found herself while on holiday in the Himalayas. Keira told Elle Magazine about her journey through the remote area: “No-one knew me or cared what films I’d been in.” The 22-year-old added that her eyes were opened, and she now wants an obscure life instead of “the celebrity thing.”

Ah, yes, I’ve heard this before… This is a little something I like to call “The Vacation High,” and it makes you want to stay on your dream vacation forever. But you know what? The High never lasts because trips are meant to be temporary; They separate you from reality just long enough for you to forget (or ignore) your ordinary life. Call me a cynic.

Don’t get me wrong; I think Keira Knightley is great, but I also think her post-travel euphoria will most likely subside once Disney offers her $10 million to star in Pirates of the Caribbean 4: Return to the Caribbean.

(Thanks, Kelly!)

JetBlue Employees Arrested for Fraud Scheme

Customer service representatives are supposed to give you service with a smile. Unfortunately, for a number of JetBlue fliers, that corporate grin had a little bit of deception behind it.

A Manhattan District Attorney discovered that four JetBlue representatives and a New York City corrections officer were involved in a credit card scheme that defrauded JetBlue customers. The criminal group stole credit and debit cards accidentally left at a JFK Airport JetBlue customer service desk by hurried passengers. The party used these accounts to purchase liquor, gifts, and lingerie. You know, I always suspected that airlines were ripping me off, but I just thought it was related to ticket prices.

Authorities arrested the five perpetrators, and JetBlue suspended the employees. I guess the moral of the story is “Don’t push the agents at the customer service desk.”

I’d like to note — for those playing at home — that JetBlue had nothing whatsoever to do with the credit card fraud. The company is too busy delaying flights for them to focus on such petty disturbances. Again, that’s just another joke.

The Real Costs of Plane Emissions

There are a lot of things I think about when I board a plane. For example, if I get stuck in a middle seat, I expect to be flanked by two lumbering people who smell of hot dogs and failure. The only aspect of the trip that I don’t consider is the environmental cost.

Well, hey. That won’t happen anymore. The Real Costs project forces a traveler to see what he normally takes for granted. The Real Costs is a plug-in for Mozilla Firefox, and it waits patiently until you plan a trip on a website like US Airways, American Airlines, or Orbitz. After you enter your depart and arrival points, The Real Costs presents you with a bar graph comparing the amount of carbon dioxide produced by that flight and alternative modes of transport like buses and trains. The project creators note: “Think of it like the nutritional information labeling on the back of food… except for emissions.”

I tried The Real Costs while planning a round-trip flight from Philadelphia, PA to Munich, Germany. The graph predicted the flight would produce about 11,206lbs of CO2 which requires 203 “tree-years” to convert back into oxygen. There were even 203 little tree icons below the graph to drive the point home. Wow.

The goal of the project is to “increase awareness of the environmental impact of certain day to day choices in the life of the Internet user.” The group hopes to expand the plug-in to support driving directions, parcel shipping, and car rentals.

(via MAKE: Blog)