You gotta love Virgin's Sir Richard Branson.
The happy-go-lucky travel biz/music biz star has a great and fun video where he pitches an idea involving buying drinks for that attractive gal - or guy - up in row 18 so you "get lucky at 35,000 feet."
Branson talks about how it would be great if you could offer that hot chick or guy you saw at the gate a chance to ride in a sub-orbital space ship or float in a hot air balloon with a bottle of wine but admits not everyone has access to his level of credit card. That means you might have to aim lower. And Branson has the perfect solution: Virgin's on-board system where you can swipe your credit card and order a meal, snack or a drink (I suspect the preferred option) to your hope-to-be friend.
Then, using Virgin's seat-to-seat messaging service (I haven't had the pleasure but it sounds fun), you can text your high-flying would-be friend and set up a rendezvous at your destination. Or not.
"I'm not a betting man but I say your chances of deplaning with a plus one are at least 50 per cent," Branson says. "Best of luck up there. Cheers."
ASIA TRAVEL UPSWING
I've written in this space before about the increase of Chinese tourism in Canada and the U.S., with planeloads of folks arriving every day to spend money in Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York and other spots. Now I see there's a VISA study that global travel budgets may rise by an average of 5 per cent this year because of the increase in Asian leisure travel.
A report on Fox News said Asians on average "are likely to increase their travel budgets 46 per cent this year, with travelers from Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong planning to at least double the budget of their last trip in the future."
Forty six per cent? That's amazing. Not to mention potentially huge for the Canadian tourism industry if they can manage to snag a decent portion of that spending.
NEW LONDON HOTEL RATINGS
Forbes Travel Guide has expanded into Europe; unveiling its hotel and spa rating service for London hotels.
A story in the Telegraph said that "six London hotels and two London hotel spas were awarded five-star status by the judges, meaning London is among the top three destinations worldwide with the greatest concentration of Five Star properties in the more than 140 markets rated and inspected by the company."
The six luxury hotels in London which achieved five stars are 45 Park Lane, Claridge’s, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, The Dorchester, The Lanesborough and The Savoy; the two hotel spas to achieve five stars are The Spa at Four Seasons and The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, London. Just so you know....