Perhaps it comes as no surprise, but a recent survey by LateRooms.com shows that 25m Brits are unable to recognize even the most basic of phrases in a foreign language when abroad. In the nature of British culture, words they do pick up are beer (79%), swimming pool (80%) and beach (77%), although anything else normally resorts to speaking loudly or more slowly. I have a French phrase book called A widow in every room, after a French hotel that clearly meant [sup.3]window,[sup.2] but as anyone who has tried to decipher a menu in that country, even a good grasp of the lingo can leave the diner hugely perplexed. 6/30/2008
Aegean Airlines of Greece said on Friday it will raise ticket surcharges by up to three euros for domestic and international flights, due to the increasing cost of jet fuel. The carrier, which competes with state-owned Olympic Airlines flying domestic and international routes, reported a loss of EUR4.4 million (USD$6.91 million) in the first quarter citing a 57 percent jump in energy costs. Fuel costs account for 35 percent of total company costs, despite the ongoing investment in new A320/321 Airbus planes, which reduce fuel consumption," the company said. The airline has been renewing its fleet, wanting to add more destinations, and has taken delivery of four new A320 aircraft. Traffic rose 10 percent to 1.1 million passengers in the first quarter. Crude oil futures dropped below USD$145 a barrel on Friday, but remained within sight of record highs reached in the previous session. The price neared USD$146 this week, due to escalation in tensions between Iran and Israel. 7/4/2008
Air France KLM
Air France KLM confirmed on Friday it was considering offering high-speed rail travel and will adjust its winter seat capacity in the face of rising jet fuel costs. The Franco-Dutch airline pulled out of a bid to rescue Italy's Alitalia earlier this year and competes with the emerging transatlantic partnership of British Airways, American Airlines and Spain's Iberia. On Friday, it confirmed media reports it was discussing a high-speed rail alliance with Veolia -- a French utility that runs several rail connections but is not yet active in high-speed travel, which is dominated by state-owned SNCF, Deutsche Bahn and the equally state controlled Thalys and Eurostar firms. "As part of the opening to competition of rail transport in 2010, Air France and Veolia are looking into the possibility of a partnership to...