New Baghdad route for French airline

Where are you going for Christmas? Forget New England charm or warm islands where you can skip the traditional holiday and sun yourself without regret. Now, you can take the sort of vacation that will be the envy of all your friends: Baghdad. Your options were once limited, but now there’s one more airline taking passengers into Baghdad International Airport – from a convenient spot.

Aigle Azur, a French airline, is going to start flights from Paris to Baghdad twice a week, starting later this month. The inaugural flight’s wheels will leave the ground on October 30, 2010, on an Airbus-319. Flights are set to leave from Charles de Gaulle airport, and if you’re the type who likes to plan ahead, tickets will be available soon.

Aigle Azur fills a gap in the market, as Air France no longer serves Iraq.



Air France Airbus hits severe turbulence 10 miles from doomed aircraft location

Here is a scary piece of aviation mystery – On November 29th, Air France flight 445 from Paris to Rio had to make an emergency descent after hitting severe turbulence. Now, bad turbulence is something any air passenger will have to deal with at least once in their life. It isn’t fun, but it usually goes away after 10-20 minutes.

In the case of this Air France flight, things get a tad more spooky – the bad turbulence was almost in the exact same spot as where Air France flight 447 crashed back in June. And since investigators don’t know the exact cause of that crash, they are paying very close attention to the events experienced by flight 445 as they may help provide clues about the doomed plane.

When the severe turbulence started, the pilots sent out a mayday, and descended by about 5,000 feet. After 30 minutes of turbulence, they plane entered smoother skies, and continued on to Rio with its 215 passengers.

Want cheap fun? Hang out in an airport. What’s your pleasure?

When I was a child I fell in love with art departments. My dad was an art education professor who would take me to work with him, set me up in an art room with loads of supplies, and leave me to create. The smells were heaven.

For Ethan Gilsdorf, airports first struck his fancy as a kid. He has George Carlin, one of my favorite comedians, to thank for that. Gilsdorf recalls hearing Carlin’s line, “You know, there’s a spy in the airport: Your job: find him” as the one that enticed him to see airports as places worthy of spending some time.

Gilsdorf wrote about his airport love in an essay in the New York Times. For him, layovers, are sheer pleasure. He also sees that airports are a haven for transition from one place into the unknown. When you land at an airport, there is familiarity of the scene where you can go to the toilet, get something to eat and find something to buy before you step out into the unknown. Here are some of the things Gilsdorf loves about his airport visits:

  • sitting in an airport bar watching a ball game
  • browsing magazine stands
  • people watching, even in the baggage claim area. The family reunions get him every time
  • looking at the airports version of art
  • airport architecture
  • listening to conversations

Here is something I love. Moving sidewalks. I never get tired of them.

Paris Airports Help Passengers Groove

A service at Paris area airports will have people dancing in the terminals. Literally.

As a special summer promotion provided by Aeroports de Paris, dance classes will be offered to passengers before they hop, or samba, onto their flight. Call it France‘s version of the reality hit So You Think You Can Dance. Styles include tango, salsa, modern jazz, and mambo. There is even instruction in hip hop and rock and roll.

You are imagining a teacher wearing a leotard and leg-warmers prancing around Charles De Gaulle critiquing each step that students take, aren’t you? It’s not quite like that. Passengers are given a set of headphones on which instructions and music are played. They are pretty much on their own after that. The classes run for about 15 minutes and are only offered during weekend daytime hours.

According to airport authorities, over 4,000 people have used the service since it began at the end of June. No word yet on whether these ground-breakers participated willingly or not.

Are in-terminal dance classes the wave of the future? Or is it simply a ploy to get people talking about something besides how high oil prices are making air travel so damned expensive?