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Twitter imposter prompts Caymans premier to call for legislation

(Caribbean, Government) Permanent link

The discovery of a Twitter page used by an imposter pretending to be Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush has led the government to consider legislation that addresses Internet misuse.

The Twitter account under the name McKeevaBush345 used an official photo of Bush and appeared to have reeled in a number of followers.

"The premier does not have and has never had a Twitter account," Charles Glidden, Bush’s press secretary, said in a statement.

Bush lodged a complaint with Twitter on March 16, and by March 18 the words "McKeeva Bush Parody" appeared with a disclaimer subheading: "NotTheRealMcKeeva Bush. DUHHH!!."

Comments posted on Twitter by Bush’s impersonator referred to the premier and his West Bay election district on Grand Cayman in a negative light.

In another tweet Bush was referred to as "the puppet master."

Bush addressed the Legislative Assembly on March 18 and pointed to the need for legislation to prevent these kinds of occurrences.

He also stressed that any laws that result will not block or limit access to Internet connections in the Cayman Islands.

"Access to the Internet is akin to freedom of speech. Accessing and interacting on the Internet must be done responsibly," Bush said.

-- Gay Nagle Myers

A late season (ski) lift

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The headline says it all: “Forget Christmas: Ski Easter.”

The report lays it all out there, in crystal-clear, powdery goodness: Christmastime skiing means peak prices; long lines at the lift and the lodge; subfreezing temperatures and winds.

By comparison, the piece says, an Easter (i.e. spring ski trip) is “ideal.” Warmer temps and longer days make the slopes “like a high-altitude tanning salon.” Flights and lift tickets are cheap. 

And the deal-sealer: “April is also the goofiest month in skiing.”

How’s that? “The resorts have to resort to all kinds of diversions just to get people at sea level off the golf courses.”

The main thing, though, is that this winter has been snowy enough to keep the slopes fresh through the spring -- this year, Easter falls at the end of April. The report says that Vail, Colo., Heavenly, Calif., and Killington, Vt., are among those resorts staying open “until all the chocolate bunnies disappear.” And, presumably, the snow bunnies melt away.

March of the penguin passenger

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Security screening, inflight lockdowns, sky marshals, reinforced cockpit doors. And yet sometimes people still contrive to have fun in flight. This video can serve as Exhibit A: Penguins on a plane.




 According to the YouTube member who posted this video, you're watching a clip of Pete the penguin taking to the aisle of a Southwest flight from San Francisco to San Diego last week. "SeaWorld brought penguins to a national science convention in SF and decided to let them roam free on their flight home," the poster said.


 Apparently the act was sanctioned by Southwest, since Pete's progress up the aisle was accompanied by narration from someone over the public address system. We wonder if the flight attendants let Pete loiter by the restrooms in the back?

Positive message for agents at ITB Berlin

(Travel agents) Permanent link

Travel agents will have to change they way they do business, but they are here to stay, was the message that Google and TripAdvisor executives gave the audience this weekend at the ITB Berlin conference.

U.K.-based Travolution reported that TripAdvisor for Business' president, Christine Petersen, told an audience in Berlin that she had used a travel agent to book a recent ski trip.

"You don’t need agents for standard stuff like booking a flight or to find a hotel near a conference centre," Peterson was quoted as saying. "We are far from satisfying bespoke needs or [meeting the demands of] those who have not been to a faraway destination and don’t have a friend who has been there."

Petersen added, "Agents will need to change the way they do business, but I don’t see the travel agent going away."

Bernd Fauser, Google’s head of global travel accounts, was quoted as agreeing with Peterson, and saying that in Germany it's common for people to search online and purchase offline because some trips are so complex.

"Agents need to know people do their homework," Fauser said. "They need to step up and not just sell commodity trips."

— Johanna Jainchill 

I broke the plane!

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What’s the most embarrassing thing that can happen to a traveler? Getting locked out of your hotel room while wearing only a towel (or less) is probably the worst, but a close second could be doing something to an airplane that requires the pilot to taxi back to the gate.

I was that guy -- almost.

It started out as a good-luck flight. Booked into Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy, my wife and I boarded the plane in Auckland and discovered that it was one of the new 777 configurations with the carrier’s spacious new seating modules. These are angled seats with a measure of privacy, loads of legroom and lots of gizmos -- pretty much what business class looked like a few years ago before the advent of flat beds -- and they still had that “new car smell.”

There was a rush of excitement in the cabin as everybody settled in to sample the new gear. “Hey, this is a reading light…oh, cool, look at this.”

The two center seats in the twin-aisle cabin faced slightly away from each other, leaving a triangular space for two large armrests that could be raised to elbow height or lowered to the same level as the seat. So we raised ours to check them out — click — and one of them stuck in the up position. The release mechanism wouldn’t release.

The flight attendant came by and asked us to lower it for take-off, but we explained that it wouldn’t go. So she tried it. Push. No go. She asked for help and another attendant sat on it. Bounce. No go. The purser tried it. Bam. No go. His verdict was chilling: “Well, it’s a safety issue; it has to be lowered for take-off. We’ll have to get an engineer.” At that point, we were already taxiing toward the runway.

Then came the dreaded announcement from the cockpit that we were making a U-turn and heading back to the terminal because of a “problem.”

Fortunately, nobody except a few passengers in our immediate vicinity had a clue that we were the problem.

As we sat there, drowning in mortification, some crewmember got the bright idea of moving us to two empty seats during take-off, so the plane did another U-turn and we took up temporary residence elsewhere.

Once airborne, we returned to our assigned seats and I continued to fiddle occasionally with the armrest. Eventually, somewhere over the dark Pacific, it clicked and returned to the stowed position. We kept it there.

Various crewmembers stopped by to look at it, asking, “How did you fix it?” and all I could say was “I just kept fiddling with it.” Brilliant.

Because of the U-turns on the tarmac, our departure was delayed, and I understand that some passengers arriving at Los Angeles may have missed their connections. I’m sorry for that, but, hey, I fixed the plane.  

-- Bill Poling

If you can say something nice about someone ...

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It seems even when an airline and a GDS come to an agreement on something, they quickly find a way to disagree on it.

It seemed like nothing but good news on March 1, when Sabre announced that it had signed a multiyear, full-content agreement with US Airways to make all its fares and schedules, including Choice Air, its preferred-seating ancillary fares, available to Sabre Connected agents.

And US Airways was mum on the deal -- until today, when its public relations team released a statement saying:

“US Airways confirms that it has signed multiyear agreements with Sabre and Travelocity. However, US Airways was not consulted on Sabre's recent press release and disclaims any characterizations by Sabre of US Airways' views of Sabre, Travelocity or US Airways' relationships with those companies.”

So what was it that so offended US Airways? In looking at Sabre’s release, the only characterization by Sabre of “US Airways' views of Sabre” seems to be this quote from Sabre President Greg Webb: “US Airways recognizes the value of the Sabre global distribution system  and our innovative leadership in helping airlines market and sell their  products, including ancillaries, to millions of travelers worldwide.”

Sabre quickly responded to that response:

“The purpose of Sabre’s press release was to highlight the value to all travel industry constituents of the renewed Sabre/US Airways agreement. We are focused on working with US Airways to distribute their fares, including ancillaries, through the Sabre system in a manner that supports their growth strategies and meets the needs of all industry stakeholders.”

The good news is that there is no indication from either side that the agreement itself is threatened in any way.

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