British Airways innovates in the “new fees” department with a seat selection fee

Dear readers – it is official; British Airways has lost its frikkin mind.

Starting October 7th, the UK airline will be charging pretty hefty fees for anyone who wants to make a seat selection at the time of booking (something offered for free by most civilized airlines in the world).

The fees start at $15 for a domestic UK seat selection, and go to $30 for World Traveler and World Traveler Plus, and an insulting $90 for their business class product. Those still stupid enough to pay for a First Class seat still get to pick their favorite for free.

If you don’t want to play along, then you can select your seat 24 hours in advance for free, which will be after everyone else has picked the best seats, most likely forcing you and your family to sit in the middle seat spread throughout the plane.

I’m going to say it right away – this new move is disgusting, and shows how pathetic the airlines have become. Can you imagine paying $3400 for a business class ticket, then being asked to fork over another $90 just so you can get a decent seat? It gets even better – British Airways clearly understands that the exit row seats are very popular, so they keep those blocked until 10 days before the flight, and want $75 per person, per segment.

What this means to your wallet is this; lets assume that you and your wife are flying from New York to Amsterdam, and would like to sit together with your three teenagers. Your first segment will cost $150, then $75 on the London to Amsterdam flight. Then of course that same price for the flights back. Would you pay $450 for decent seats, or would you just pick a better airline?

The only silver lining is that elite passengers can still select their favorite seat for free, and that passengers traveling with kids (2-11) or kids traveling on their own can select a seat three days before departure without paying the fee. Which in my opinion is still just as insulting, because by then, the open seat selection will be miserable. A chart showing the changes can be found here.

It is obvious that we are in a new era of air travel, and that the airlines have lost all respect for their passengers. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, and I suspect we’ll start seeing more of these stupid fees pop up every week. There is bound to be an airline HQ somewhere in the world where someone reads about these new British Airways seat fees and says “hey, we can do that too”.


Drunk on vacation? Don’t harass people, or someone will set fire to your penis!

Here is a story that is bound to make you think twice about harassing the locals when you are drunk.

When 20 year old Stuart Feltham tried to assault a 26 year old local girl on the Greek island of Crete, she first politely asked him to stop.

Like most people, she was not impressed by a drunk British tourist dropping his pants and waving his genitals around.

Her requests went unanswered, so she poured a glass of Sambuca on him. Even that wasn’t enough for this guy to get the message, and when he continued harassing her, she set fire to the alcohol (and his genitals) – causing severe second degree burns.

Mr. Feltham was rushed to a private clinic where he is being treated. Thankfully he was smart enough to pay for travel insurance, and his policy had no exclusions for burned penis.

The British Home Office (like our State Department) is of course embarrassed by the whole thing, especially since they have been campaigning to reduce the number of Brits getting in trouble when they are abroad.

Reveling tourists are such an annoyance to local residents of Crete, that Miss Fanouraki is being called a hero. She’s claiming self defense and the local magistrate has already hinted that they’ll most likely accept that, and let her off easy.

Lesson learned today: no means no, and when someone pours flammable liquid on your private parts, run to the bathroom for water.


Dim Sum Dialogues : Top 10 Facts About Hong Kong

Before I start to dig deeper and bring you the best of what Hong Kong has to offer, I think it’s appropriate to share some of the most essential pieces of information that I’ve discovered about the territory in my past few months here.

1. The name Hong Kong is a phonetic rendering of a Cantonese name meaning “fragrant harbour”.

2. With a population of 7 million people but land area of only 1,108 km, Hong Kong is the 4th most densely populated territory in the world.

3. In 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The territory was a colony of the United Kingdom from 1842 until 1997, when it was handed back to the Chinese government.

4. All land in Hong Kong is owned by the government, and leased to private users for periods of 50 years (before the 1997 handover, lease terms were 75, 99, or 999 years). New real estate is being reclaimed from the harbor for commercial development.

5. The average work week is 47 hours.

6. Hong Kong has no sales tax and offers extremely low corporate and income tax, making it a favorable location for businesses to operate. The government is able to maintain income through its real estate leases.

7. Hong Kong is the world’s eleventh largest trading entity, with many of the exports consisting of products made outside of the territory and distributed from Hong Kong.

8. Hong Kong is home to a highly developed network of transport – buses, ferries, railways, a tramway system and rapid transit system. Over 90% of all daily travels in the city are on public transport – the highest in the world.

9. As of 2006, there are 114 countries that maintain consulates in Hong Kong, more than any other city in the world.

10. Architect Tao Ho designed Hong Kong’s flag as part of a post-colonial contest. He used juxtaposition of red and white on the flag to symbolises the “one country two systems” political principle applied to the region. The stylised rendering of the Bauhinia blakeana flower, a flower discovered in Hong Kong, is meant to serve as a harmonising symbol for this dichotomy.

Cross-dressing nuns get off in Crete

Insult is added to industry when you appear in court wearing the clothes that got you arrested. The 17 Britsh men, ranging in age from 18 to 65, who were pinched for their drunken nun-attired escapades made their appearance this morning – and were judged innocent! Nobody, it seems, was willing to talk … or, they just didn’t think it was worth it to testify.

According to local police, the British tourists dressed as nuns and carried crosses. Under their habits, however, they were clad in thongs, which they had a penchant for flashing. This behavior resulted in charges of exposing themselves and offending religious symbols.

With no witnesses, though, the judge had no choice but to judge them innocent. Local residents need not worry: there will be more.

A report on BBCD says that “Malia has become synonymous with Britons behaving badly.” I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what the next costume is!

Drunk Brits get Crete arrest for nun prank

How many people actually dress up as nuns when they get drunk?

In Crete, the answer was “17” recently. That’s how many drunk British tourists were arrested for insulting the Catholic Church. After a bit of extra imbibing, they donned “nun attire and naughty lingerie,” which didn’t sit too well with the local cops.

The tourists were busted in Malia, which is a popular destination for the young, drunk and rowdy. Even seasoned resort-town resident, who’ve probably become immune to the stupidity that tourists bring, have limits, it seems.

The penalty is most likely to be a fine.

UPDATE: After spending the night in jail wearing the lingerie they were wearing when they were arrested, the men have all been set free. Moreover, since no one showed up to testify that they had been upset by the tourists’ bawdy conduct, the court dropped all charges.

More stories of booze gone bad in the skies