Black Friday Travel Deals: 25 airline, hotel and holiday bargains for 2017

Let’s give up pretending it’s a single day, shall we? Black Friday now sprawls over more than a week, and savvy travel fans can make big savings.

That’s not to say savings are guaranteed, however.

Buyers need to beware with Black Friday. Just because the words ‘discount’ or ‘25pc off’ are attached to an offer doesn’t make it great value.

Before you book, check what blackout dates and T&Cs apply. Is the discount taken from a reasonable rate, or a package bumped up just for the occasion? Consider wiping your cookies or using a different browser for comparison, too.

When can you travel? Mid-November to mid-December is traditionally a low demand period, as is the second week of January onwards – so expect steals there.

Ultimately, it’s the amount that comes out of your bank account that counts, and that needs to reflect value. Here’s my pick of the offers for 2017.

Fly Away: Air fares from €9.99

Aer Lingus 3.jpg
Aer Lingus cabin crew and sisters Laura and Melissa Stapleton at the announcement of its Seattle route. Picture Jason Clarke

 Ryanair is running Black Friday travel deals daily until Sunday, November 26, with one-way fares from €9.99 and 20pc off 20kg check-in bags. Check its website early each morning to beat the crowds. ryanair.com.

Aer Lingus’ Black Friday offers go live on November 23. They include up to 30pc off selected European routes, for travel from December 1 until January 31. It’s also got a cool €100 off US West Coast round trips to LA and San Francisco (travel from January 8 to March 21) and €30 off East Coast round trips. aerlingus.com.

WOW air is offering low fares to six US destinations in a ‘Purple Friday’ flash sale. Discounted rates start from €129.99 one-way on flights from Dublin to Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Miami. The sale routes are available for travel between December 1-10 and January 20 to May 15 next year. wowair.ie.

CityJet has 25pc off flights if you use the code ‘BREAKAWAY’ when booking. It’s valid to November 27, on select dates with 12+ days advance purchase. cityjet.com.

Top Tip: You can get early warning of discounts by signing up for airline newsletters or checking their Facebook accounts… nabbing deals before the masses.

Loop Dreams: Airport shopping

T1RetailFloor.jpg

The Loop (Dublin & Cork Airport’s shopping plazas) is offering 15pc off everything from Black Friday to Cyber Monday (24th – 27th) – online only. At the airports themselves, the offer is available on Friday, November 24 only. theloop.ie.

Top Tip: The Loop’s prices are 15pc cheaper on average than high street shops, but Jo Malone and Chanel are excluded from the Black Friday promo.

Package Holidays from €69pp

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Disneyland Paris

 Cassidy Travel says it has city breaks from €69pp (we’ve confirmed the price for a two-night trip to Edinburgh, with flights, from November 28). cassidytravel.ie.

It’s also offering €300 off a three-night break to Disneyland Paris for a family of four during the February mid-term break. The package includes flights, 3-star accommodation, three days of park passes and airport transfers from €1,599 (down from €1,899).

Camino ways has €25pp off all 2018 bookings, in addition to a 10pc early bird discount… equating to €93.50pp off a classic, seven-night Camino trip (expect to pay from €592.50pp, including seven nights’ B&B, five dinners and luggage transfers, but excluding flights). See caminoways.com/black-friday-camino-voucher.

DirectSki.com is offering ski holidays in Andorra from €299pp, a saving of some 50pc. Offers are valid until Sunday 26th November (flights, hotel and transfers are included, but you’ll need to tack on ski rental, lift passes and ski lessons to the price). directski.com.

Joe Walsh Tours has €100 off its seven-night pilgrimages to Fatima and Medjugorje for travel between May and October 2018. Holidays start from €499pp. joewalshtours.ie.

Crystal Ski has a €50pp discount across Europe on all Winter 2017/18 dates. The offer is available until Monday, November 27. crystalski.ie.

Other Black Friday travel deals see Topflight (topflight.ie) offering savings of what it says are to €450pp, and TUI and Marella Cruises (tuiholidays.ie) flagging discounts of up to €100 per booking (subject to specific dates and terms). Kanes Travel(kanestravel.ie) is also offering €50 gift vouchers for €25 (valid for travel in 2018 only).

Top Tip: Note that discounts are often subject to minimum spends. See itaa.ie/offers for more Black Friday travel deals from ITAA members.

Hot Hotels: Save up to 50pc

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Castleknock Hotel, Dublin

 Dublin’s Castleknock Hotel is offering up to 50pc off accommodation on selected dates until March 2018. castleknockhotel.com

O’Callaghan Hotels has a 50pc sale across all of their hotels for stays in December, January and February. Rooms at hotels like The Mont Clare and Davenport in Dublin start from €79 (room only). The sale is only bookable on Cyber Monday (November 27th), however – starting at 9am. ocallaghanhotels.com.

The CLIFF group is offering 10pc off all package vouchers over €100 from its three hotels (Cliff House Hotel, Cliff at Lyons and Cliff Townhouse). The discount is running from Thursday, November 23 to Wednesday, November 29. CLIFF.IE/vouchers.

Great National Hotels have 20pc off hotel stays and 20pc extra free on gift vouchers in its Black Friday travel deals. 21 hotels are participating, and the offer is valid until Tuesday, November 28. greatnationalhotels.com/black-friday.

Limerick Strand Hotel is offering 15pc off best available rates. The discount is available from midnight Thursday, November 24 to midnight on Cyber Monday. strandhotellimerick.ie.

Flynn Hotels will host a 72-hour Black Friday Sale from Friday to Sunday, November 26. Rooms start from €69 B&B for two people. flynnhotels.com.

In Borris, Co. Carlow, the Step House Hotel is offering 20pc off all B&B bookings for available dates until March 28, 2018 (stephousehotel.ie). The Keadeen in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, also has a 20pc discount valid until January 31 (keadeenhotel.ie).

Among the hotels offering 10pc off in Black Friday

travel deals are Westport’s Wyatt (wyatthotel.com; use promo code ‘BLACK’) and Cork’s Castlemartyr Resort (castlemartyrresort.ie).

Treacys Hotel Group has dinner and B&B deals with a glass of Prosecco from €44pps, valid January to April of next year. treacysgroup.com.

Top tip: It’s not just hotels themselves offering savings – Hotels.com for example, has up to 50pc off during ‘Cyber Week’.

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Why Does Airline Travel Suck So Bad? This 19th Century Economist Explained It With Just 4 Words (in 1849!)

Air travel. It used to be wondrous (so we’re told). Now it’s the worst.

The Oakland International Airport in Oakland, Calif.  was bustling on Tuesday Nov. 23, 2010 on the Thanksgiving week packed with travelers coming and going.  (Laura A. Oda/Staff)
The Oakland International Airport in Oakland, Calif. was bustling on Tuesday Nov. 23, 2010 on the Thanksgiving week packed with travelers coming and going. (Laura A. Oda/Staff)

If it’s not inadequate legroom and canceled flights, it’s getting beaten bloody and dragged off the plane. With each viral outrage, Facebook and Twitter erupt: When will things get better for the average traveler?

Actually, we know the answer. It comes to us originally from a 19th century French economist writing 168 years ago–long before social media, United Airlines, or even the Wright Brothers.

Meet Jules Dupuit, a civil engineer and scholar who was the first to explain the concept of price discrimination. Before we get to his story, here are the two main questions you probably want to the answers to most, right upfront:

1. When will things get better for economy class travelers?

Probably never–sorry!–for reasons Dupuit put forth in 1849 (explained below, of course).

2. Why not treat economy class customers better?

Dupuit explained it all in four simple words. It’s not out of vindictiveness, or even saving money Instead, it all boils down to this: “To scare the rich.”

If you think coach is bad…

Railroads were the state-of-the-art mode of travel in Dupuit’s time. As bad as coach airplane travel is now, economy class travel by rail back then pretty much sucked.

Dupuit described the experience himself:

“Barbarity. … [T]raveling without a roof over the carriage, on poorly upholstered seats.”

But, he opined, the railroad’s motivation for providing such lousy accommodations (even when it would cost very little to improve them) wasn’t to spite its economy passengers. Instead, it was to incentivize anyone who could afford to pay for a higher class of service to darn well do so. Here’s a slightly longer version of his explanation, which makes the point clearly:

“It is not because of the several thousand francs which they would have to spend to cover the third class wagons or to upholster the benches. … [I]t would happily sacrifice this [expense] for the sake of its popularity.

Its goal is to stop the traveler who can pay for the second class trip from going third class. It hurts the poor not because it wants them to personally suffer, but to scare the rich.”

Price discrimination

Why scare the rich? Here’s where we get into economic theory. Setting prices is always challenging. Do you set them low, expecting more volume but less profit per customer? Or do you charge more, anticipating lower volume but more profit per customer?

To overcome that conondrum, companies would love to employ total price discrimination–meaning they’d change their prices constantly, always charging every customer the maximum he or she would be willing to spend. There are several different price discrimination strategies available, but the one that Dupuit described is referred to as “self-incrimination.”

So, take an airline, offering basically the same service to every passenger. They’ll hurtle you through the sky in a pressurized metal tube, moving you quickly you from Point A to Point B. How do you get passengers to “self-incriminate” in that kind of environment?

Simple: You offer several classes of service on the same flight, and you make the lowest class so miserable that more people will gladly pay the price for the higher class. That way you squeeze as much profit out of each passenger as possible.

So, first class means “first class”

Unfortunately for those of us who normally fly coach, there’s a limited amount of profit-squeezing to be done in economy. The much larger apportioned share of airline revenue comes from people paying more, and riding in first class, business class, and even economy-plus.

For example, American Airlines says it makes 70 percent of its international revenue from the the most expensive 25 percent of seats. Separately, a study showed that for all airlines on the most popular U.S. route, 13 percent of seats make up 40 percent of revenue.

(Something I learned while writing this, by the way: The most popular airline route in the United States is the nonstop JFK to LAX.)

As a result, while riding in coach gets coarser and coarser, flying first class (or more realistically, business class), becomes more and more luxurious.

The point is: it’s economic forces at work. As uncomfortable as coach class can be, it’s really nothing personal. Pilots, flight attendants, and gate agents are people, too, and most would prefer to treat passengers how they themselves would want to be treated. But like the passengers, the employees are largely stuck.

Thanks where they are due

I have to give credit for some of the ideas in this column to two people.

The first is to a reader who commented on LinkedIn about another column I’d written recently, about the woes of United Airlines, saying something like, “Hasn’t this guy Murphy ever heard of Jules Dupuit?”

I might have heard of him, back when I took economics in college–but I can’t say I remembered his story, or the open-roofed railroads, or the degree to which 19th century railroads and 21st century airlines have a lot in common.

(Not only that, but I’m embarrassed to say I can no longer find the post–but if you’re the reader, contact me and I’ll update this to give you credit. And to everyone else, please comment on these articles!)

The second bit of credit is to Tim Harford, who writes the Undercover Economist column for The Financial Times, and who did a great job of explaining Dupuit and some of his concepts in greater detail.

[Via Inc]

These 9 States To Require A Passport For Domestic Travel

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin posting signs at airports this week notifying travelers that beginning January 2018 it will start enforcing REAL ID requirements at airport security checkpoints, meaning that travelers seeking to use their state-issued driver’s license or identification card for boarding commercial aircraft may only use such documents if they are issued by a REAL ID compliant state or a non-compliant state with an extension.

The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, establishes the minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, like TSA, from accepting licenses and identification cards for certain official purposes, including boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, from states that do not meet these minimum standards and have not received an extension for compliance from DHS.

These 9 States To Require A Passport For Domestic Travel

Which States?

  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Washington

This flyer titled “ID Requirements are changing”, from U.S. Dept Homeland Securityis pretty clear. “Starting January 22, 2018, you will need an alternate ID to fly if you have a driver’s license or ID issued by any of the following states” (listed above.)

Acceptable Forms Of ID according to TSA.gov:

  • Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
  • Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

52 Secret Phrases That Airlines Don’t want you to know

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 07:  Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti pose with flight crew after arriving at Perth Airport on May 7, 2013 in Perth, Australia. Virgin Australia purchased Perth-based regional airline, Skywest adding another 32 planes to it's fleet to expand the airlines regional operations in Australia.  (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – MAY 07: Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti pose with flight crew after arriving at Perth Airport on May 7, 2013 in Perth, Australia. Virgin Australia purchased Perth-based regional airline, Skywest adding another 32 planes to it’s fleet to expand the airlines regional operations in Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Sometimes when you’re flying the crew can talk their own language – making you worry there’s something they don’t want you know.

For example: “FAs to all-call, we are approaching an air-pocket. Please prepare for holding pattern, ensure all pax are strapped-in while we handle a 7600.”

We’ve spoken to our airline contacts and done some research on the phrases aviation industry insiders use.

Sourcing some phrases from Patrick Smith’s Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel, airodyssey.net, airliners.net and rd.com, the list is broken into general terms, nicknames, and the all-important words you definitely don’t want to hear.

General use:

All-call:

       A request that each flight attendant report to his or her station.

EFC time: The expect further clearance time is the point at which a crew expects to be set free from a holding pattern or exempted from a ground stop.

Deadhead: A deadheading pilot or flight attendant is one who is repositioning as part of an on-duty assignment. Essentially, they’re flying as passengers while on duty.

Final approach: An aeroplane is on final approach when it has reached the last, straight-in segment of the landing pattern – that is, aligned with the extended centre-line of the runway, requiring no additional turns or manoeuvring.

Air pocket: Colloquial for a transient jolt of turbulence.

Flight deck: The cockpit.

Holding pattern: A racetrack-shaped course flown during bad weather or traffic delays.

Callsign: Phrase used in radio transmissions to identify an aircraft, before proceeding to actual instructions. For example “Qantas 005”.

ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival.

ETD: Estimated Time of Departure.

F/A: Flight Attendant.

Pax: Passengers.

Payload: Revenue passengers and/or cargo, or more specifically their combined weight.

PIREP: Pilot report. Weather observations reported by a pilot in flight.

POB: Number of Persons On Board.

Roger: Used to indicate that an instruction has been received and understood.

Touchdown: Synonym of landing.

UM: Unaccompanied Minor.

Zulu: Used worldwide for times of flight operations, formerly Greenwich Mean Time, now Co-ordinated Universal Time.

ATC: Air traffic control (some say God).

Nicknames:

Bird: Plane/Aircraft.

Flyboy/girl: Pilot.

Ramp-rat: Ground crew.

Cowboys: Cargo Operators.

Pointy end: First Class.

Slam-Clicker: A flight attendant who either doesn’t socialise after a flight or is too tired to — they go straight to their hotel room, slam the door and click the lock.

Crop Dusting: When flight attendants walk down the aisle and fart.

Trolly Dolly: Used to describe a flight attendant pulling the cabin bag in the airport.

Bottle to Throttle: Curfew hours. It is the cut-off time that you are allowed to have a drink before the start of your duty.

Slinging hash: Serving the meals.

Screamer: A passenger who has lost his or her cool.

Steerage: Coach class.

Cockpit queen: A flight attendant more interested in the front end of the aircraft than the cabin.

Blue room: The bathroom.

Tuff cuff: Plastic handcuffs for disruptive passengers.

Crotch watch: The required check to make sure all passengers have their seat belts fastened.

Crumb crunchers: Kids.

Gate lice: The people who gather around the gate right before boarding so they can be first on the plane.

George: Autopilot. “I’ll let George take over.”

Landing lips: Female passengers put on their “landing lips” when they use their lipstick just before landing.

Last Minute Paperwork: A delay causing the flight to wait before paper work. For example a revision to the flight plan or maintenance getting the logbook in order.

Two-for-one special: The plane touches down on landing, bounces up, then touches down again.

What you don’t want to hear:

Ditch: An emergency landing into water.

Mayday: The ultimate international radio distress call, indicating imminent danger to the life of the occupants onboard and requiring immediate assistance.

Pan Pan: International radio urgency call. It usually indicates a threat to the safety of an aircraft or its passengers. Less urgent than Mayday.

Squawks: Problems or discrepancies with an aircraft transmitted by an assigned code. For example:

7700 – Mayday/ Emergency

7600 – Radio Failure/ Lost communication

7500 – Hijacking

5000 – Aircraft flying on Australian military operations

Stall: When airflow over the wing slows down too much and causes a loss of lift. This can be catastrophic in a jet.

Wake turbulence: Turbulence that forms behind an aircraft as it passes through the air. Behind a large heavy aircraft they can be powerful enough to roll or even break up a smaller aircraft.

Windshear: Change in wind speed and/or direction over a short distance, resulting in a tearing or shearing effect, that can cause a sudden loss of airspeed with occasionally disastrous results if encountered when taking-off or landing.

Easy Victor: Evacuate the aircraft.

INOP: Inoperative.

Deadstick: Flying without the aid of engine power.

20 of the Best Jobs for People Who Love to Travel

There is one thing about traveling that is unavoidable…. it costs money. So unless you have just won the lottery you will probably need to find work. The purpose of this article is to give you a good idea of our top 20 jobs that we think are the most suitable for travelers.

The rationale behind our choices is based on a few key elements:

Does the job require you to travel?

This seems like a good place to start but is not the clincher in what makes for a good travel job. Clearly the biggest benefit to jobs that meet this criteria is that the expense of traveling is generally covered by your employer.

Are the qualifications easily transferable?

There are some notable exceptions to this rule mainly being the Doctor or Nurse which may require extensive additional accreditation in some countries.

Are the skills in demand worldwide?

Sure I hear you saying that ANY job could be found anywhere in the world but we feel the 20 we have selected have a general need around the world.

As always we encourage your feedback and would love to hear which picks you either agree or disagree with. So without further adieu here are our selections (in no particular order).

1. Airline Crew

Pilots
Pilots in the cockpit

A job as a flight attendant offers an opportunity to see many part of the world with generous time to explore on your days off. On the downside it’s not all fun and games – you will need to clean filthy toilets and deal with rowdy or sick passengers. Although the job may seem like it is purely customer service related, the safety and security training that flight attendants go through is just as important.

A position that carries some of the highest esteem in the travel world is that of a commercial airline pilot. The training is tough as is the competition for jobs but the reward is worth it. The pay is excellent as are the benefits.

2. Cruise Ship Worker

Wandering Earl working on a cruise
Wandering Earl working on a cruise

If you want to see the world then you should really consider getting a job on a cruise ship. The cruising industry has seen monumental growth recently and with cruise companies building bigger and bigger cruise liners there are many opportunities for work if you know where to look.

If you are interested in getting work on a cruise ship we highly recommend checking out Wandering Earl’s Guide to Getting a Job On Board a Cruise Ship. This comprehensive guide explains everything you need to know about how to land yourself a cruising job.

Roles ranging from DJs, dance instructors, child caregivers, hosts and hostesses,  lifeguards, swim instructors, tour leaders, doctors and nurses, spa technicians, hair stylists, cleaning staff, engineers, chefs, and food servers all are in demand on a cruise ship.

The pay can vary but you need to bear in mind that you won’t be spending much while you are on board as most expenses are covered.

3. Tour Guide

Tour guide
Tour guide

Tour guiding jobs are generally a lot easier to come by if you already know a location well and have good social skills. It helps if you can speak more than one language and have worked in a customer service related environment.

Some countries have strict regulations on hiring local tour guides but you may still be able to act as a Tour escort through these countries.

4. Travel Agent

Travel agent
Travel agent

One of the most recognized travel jobs out there but is a travel agent all that you read about? I can tell you from first-hand experience that the travel industry has seen a massive shift in the last 10 years. When I started out as a travel agent it was common to get familiarization trips and the travel perks were pretty darn awesome.

Unfortunately, the travel supplier’s budgets have all but dried up these days. On the positive side, however, you get to talk about incredible destinations all day long and share your passion for travel with others. Not to mention sharing all your stories with people who are willing to listen.

5. Travel Writer/Blogger

Travel blogger
Travel blogger

If you are the creative type and know how to string a sentence together (with decent spelling and grammar) you may well be suited to this role. The pros are pretty obvious – you get to work from anywhere and on your own clock. You will need to be aware of the con’s though – you will need to build a decent reputation before you will see any financial reward and even then the pay will generally be sporadic.

It is possible to achieve enough income to sustain your travels, but I wouldn’t go into it expecting to make a million $s. If you are looking for a great course to help you get started, check out – Superstar Blogging by Nomadic Matt.

6. English Teacher

English is the world’s most common language for communication thus producing a need for teachers in countries where English is not the native language. English teaching jobs are very easy to find in many parts of the world. It helps to have a college/ university degree, but these qualifications aren’t mandatory.

The most recognized accreditation is the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) program. Compensation varies greatly between countries (depending on the cost of living and other factors), but in larger cities, you could earn as much as or more than a teacher in the U.S.

If you would like to learn more about how to get started teaching English overseas check out our guide Teaching English Abroad.

7. Nanny/Au Pair

Au-Pair
Au-Pair

Nanny or Au Pair positions often don’t require an extensive background in childcare but it is always a plus if you have these qualifications. This can be a great way to see the world as you will be living with a local family and taking care of their children (and often house duties also). In addition to your salary and board, travel expenses are usually covered as well.

8. Charity/Conservation Worker

Volunteer
Volunteer

While the pay may be horrible, the pure joy of work will make up for it. If you are looking for a job that will fill your heart then this could be for you. Knowing that you are making a difference and having a positive effect on people’s lives…. I don’t know of anything more rewarding than that.

Read more on our volunteering guide.

9. Diplomat

Diplomat
Diplomatic passport

A diplomat is someone who is appointed by a nation state to represent and protect that nation’s interests abroad. Diplomats are heavily involved in negotiations, therefore you must be able to recognize where you can compromise, but also stand firm on matters where there is no space for negotiation. Above all, diplomats must promote positive and peaceful relations between their home government and the government of the country in which they are posted.

10. Geologist

Geologist
Geologist

The resource sector has seen steady growth now for many years and the need for exploration is still very high. You will need to get a degree for this job but once you are qualified the opportunities to travel are enormous.

The more common areas of exploration exist in South America, Australia, Indonesia and Africa but the options are limitless.

11. Sailor/Navy

Sailing Crew
Sailing Crew

If you have sea legs then becoming a sailor might be up your alley. Traveling from port to port across the open seas is an excellent way to experience what the world has to offer (if you don’t get seasickness first).

With a little training, it isn’t that difficult to snag a job as a crew member on a yacht or you could apply to serve your country and enlist in the Navy. Not only will you get on the job training but quite often your tertiary education is also taken care of while you are at sea.

12. Missionary

Missionary
Missionary

Missionaries are people from one culture who travel to another culture to share their religious beliefs. Most missionaries work through a formal mission organization. Domestic and global mission assignments range from a few days to several years. Some missionaries are volunteers, while others do mission work as a paid profession. Many missionaries solicit donations to cover their expenses.

Missionaries engage in a task that brings them into contact with the local people. Examples include teaching, building a school, providing medical care or leading a local religious organization.

13. Fitness/Yoga Instructor

Yoga instructor
Yoga instructor

Yoga instructors are in demand. The rapid increase of interest in Yoga and Pilates, however, has led to under-trained instructors.

Fitness centers and private studios are looking for instructors to handle the increasing number of students who are looking for a gentle way to improve their health with a balanced, low-impact, full body workout.

14. Doctor/Nurse

Nurse
Nurse

Registered nurses and doctors are often needed to take short-term positions lasting from three months to one year in medical facilities all over the world. There is a huge shortfall in trained medical staff, particularly in regional areas and developing countries. The only downside is that you may be required to sit an additional exam whenever you relocate.

15. Massage Therapist

Massage Therapist
Massage Therapist

Being a qualified massage therapist opens doors in many countries. It’s a skill that is in demand worldwide as people’s live grow busier and more stressful. You will need to get certified and more than likely required to join an association in the country you are practicing.

This is a good job to have due to the flexible hours, decent pay and low barrier to entry. You can either work as an independent contractor or in the hospitality industry (hotel, spa, health retreat etc.)

16. Photographer

Photographer
Photographer

“Have camera will travel” – like the travel writer it is pretty easy to get started as a photographer. The only issue again is gaining enough recognition to get paid for your photos. If you have a good eye and get some formal training you might be able to sell you pictures through a variety of stock image websites (eg. istockphotogetty images and shutterstock), through your own website/ blog or by selling your images to media.

17. Rope Access

Rope Access
Hanging off the side of a building

Jobs working in Industrial Rope Access onshore and offshore worldwide can achieve a lucrative career. There are many different types of specialties available such as: Painting and blasting, Non-Destructive Testing, Mechanical repairs, Pipework, Railways, Welding, and Rigging.

If you have no fear of heights and have a good level of fitness you can get started by taking an accreditation course with IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association).

18. Busker/Street Performer

Busker
Busker

Street Performers such as musicians, impersonators, dancers and other entertainers work in one of the least secure occupational fields. To make ends meet, many take to the sidewalks to perform for pedestrians and tourists in exchange for tips.

For talented performers, this can be quite lucrative if they position themselves in a high traffic area. A great example of this is the “Bush Man” at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. He has taken a simple idea of hiding behind some bushes and scaring tourists as they walk by and turned it into a profitable business making upwards of $400 USD a day during peak times.

Most cities will require you to have a license to perform which is relatively simple to obtain.

19. Artist

Street artist
Street artist

Another of the creative jobs that have emerged to be a great way of paying the bills while traveling. If you have a talent for drawing, painting or sculpture there is always someone willing to pay money for it. There as some notable examples of travelers making a great living sketching three-dimensional chalk images on the pavement, using spray cans to create moonscapes while people watch (with loud music blasting in the background).

20. Chef/Bartender

Bar tender
Bar tender

Last but not least is another of the hospitality jobs out there. As a chef, it is quite easy to walk into a cafe and offer your services when you arrive in a new city. Even if you can’t speak the language that well you can usually get by.

As for a bartender – what guy hasn’t seen the movie “Cocktail” and wanted to be in Tom Cruise’s shoes (before he became a douche). You will need to get an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) license in some countries and it is suggested that you do a mixing course beforehand.

So now it’s up to you. No more excuses to not getting out there are exploring the world. Don’t just wait for something to happen, make it happen.

Have we missed any jobs? Tell us in the comments if there are other jobs that we might have missed.

Air travel is such a pain that this woman started her own airline

Artist Qinmin Liu thinks flying is a pain in the easel.

So she’s created her own airline for artists that will only fly to art events — like Art Basel in Miami Beach, its maiden destination. She’s calling her art project/business Angelhaha Airline.

If the 13-second, dialog- and text-free commercial she aired on Chinese television reveals anything about the name or service, it suggests Liu likes to laugh. A lot.

On Liu’s Angelhaha Airline website she explains a bit more.

“Angelhaha pursues a positive spirit: Happiness is ahead of you.”

It’s slogan, “Angelhaha Airline promises to only fly to art” tells at least part of the story: Angelhaha Airline will fly one-way only to art events and has just nine seats.

Presumably, the artists who take Liu up on her offer can book passage home with the non-artisan on American, United, Delta and so forth.

In addition to New York-Miami for Basel on Dec. 6, Angelhaha Airline lists flights to San Francisco for Untitled in January, New York’s Armory Show in March, and Art Basel in Hong Kong in March and Switzerland in June.

The airline isn’t going after the big guys — though she’s plenty critical of traditional carriers.

“I hate traveling,” Liu told ArtNet News. “Every time I go back home I spend 14 hours in an airplane, and I’m always thinking about their service — the food, the movies, the quality of attendants, and even the smell, and wondering: Is there something I can do about this?”

This combination art project/business could offer the idea of a solution, if not provide an ongoing answer. It “is influenced by the idea of combining ‘flying with happiness’ with perfect and unpredicted services on an airplane,” the New York School of Visual Arts graduate’s website explains. “Angelhaha makes your life happier. Yes! Art makes your life happier.”

OK. Now that we’re smiling, how much is all of this going to cost?

Liu doesn’t list prices for this limited seating extravagance to Miami’s Art Basel.

In an interview with ArtNet News, she declined to give the prices for that route She didn’t respond to a query from the Miami Herald. But she told ArtNet that flights to the other destinations will run from $300 to $3,000.

And she says that not only is the art/airline concept her own, but she’s also serving as flight attendant and the food, drinks, other amenities and smell will be up to her artistic standards.

That should have Spirit Airlines in stitches.

Follow @HowardCohen

Forbes Revel 5 Best Airlines for Holiday Travel: Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, & More

5 Best Airlines for Holiday Travel Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, & MoreThe holidays are upon us, which means that many of us will be packing our suitcases and flying both near and far to visit loved ones. Holiday flights make for crowded airports, travel frustration, and even sky-high prices. Are Delta Airlines and Southwest the best airlines to for booking your own holiday flights?

Which airlines are best for holiday travel?depositphotos

Which airlines are best for holiday travel?

Here’s a look at some of the best airlines for you to choose from this upcoming season, and which ones will best meet your needs.

Delta Airlines (If You Absolutely MUST Get There on Time)

Delta AirplaneDreamstime.com

Is Delta airlines the best option for holiday travel?

So, timeliness is the primary concern for your Thanksgiving or Christmas adventures, and you don’t want to run the risk of your flight getting canceled unexpectedly? Then you want an airline with a solid history of on-time scheduled flights. For domestic travel during the 2017 holiday season, this is most likely going to be Delta Airlines.

Year-to-date in 2017, Delta Airlines boasts an on-time flight percentage of 83.7%, according to the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. This is well above the average 78.22% of all carriers. Only 1.39% of their flights have been canceled this year, too, which is below the 1.5% total airline average.

source: https://www.transtats.bts.gov/OT_Delay/OT_DelayCause1.asp?pn=1

For the 2016 year, Delta managed an on-time flight percentage of 86.48%. This made them the top domestic legacy carrier in terms of timeliness and dependability. (Hawaiian Airlines edged them out for the number one spot last year. However, their routes are much more limited so the top domestic spot goes to Delta there, too.)

If Delta doesn’t serve your route, look into United Airlines. They are bringing up second place in dependability, averaging 79.99% for the 2017 year thus far.

Of course, Delta SkyMiles can be hard to use, but they did just release a no annual fee airline card that earns miles. 

Southwest Airlines (If You’re Concerned With Checked Bags)

Do you plan to travel with gifts, bags full of bulky sweaters, or need to pack for an extended trip? Then you probably aren’t walking on board with a mere carry-on luggage. If your family is all traveling together, those baggage fees can add up even faster.

Southwest Airlines definitely takes the cake when it comes to saving you money on baggage fees. In addition to allowing two bags in the cabin (one traditional carry-on and one smaller personal item, like a backpack or purse), each ticketed passenger is allowed two checked bags, free of charge.

As long as your bags aren’t oversized or overweight, you won’t pay a penny for luggage. You can bring as many as four total bags along on your trip, between checked and carry-on! Plus, things like car seats, strollers, wheelchairs, etc aren’t counted against your two-bag allowance.

This is a substantial savings when you consider that some airlines would charge as much as $110 (on Spirit) for those same two checked bags. Even the airline with the lowest baggage fees (Alaska) would charge you $50.

Whether you’re traveling alone or with your entire family, Southwest should be a consideration if you have to check bags. It’s a savings of anywhere from $50 to $110 per person for two checked pieces — which leaves plenty of room for transporting gifts to and from your trip.

American Airlines (If You Want Booking Flexibility)

Credit: American Airlines

Credit: American Airlines

Booking flights can be a struggle, especially if you’re waiting on confirmation from other members of your party or want to snag the best deal without losing out on great fares. If you want the most flexibility in the initial booking process, American Airlines is the place to look,

Most airlines these days charge change fees for canceling or making alterations to your itineraries. American Airlines will allow you to place a complimentary, 24-hour hold on flight reservations before booking, however. You don’t have to tie up your funds in the process, either. You simply choose the flight that fits you best, place the hold directly through the airline, and make your decision to purchase or release those seats within 24 hours.

If you move forward with the purchase, your original rate is honored. If they don’t turn out to be the best deal or don’t wind up working with your party’s plans, simply release the reservation without any penalty, fee, or worries about refunds/airline credits.

Of course, Southwest Airlines is another good option for flight change flexibility, but it works a bit differently. With Southwest, you’re able to cancel or change your flight without penalty after purchasing, which is great. However, if you change to a flight that’s less expensive or cancel your reservation altogether, you’ll be given an airline credit to use on a flight at a later date. An actual “refund” isn’t given by the company.

This is convenient if something comes up after booking your travel. However, if you simply want to reserve seats while finalizing your itinerary for a day, it does tie up your funds in the meantime. And if you do find a lower price, those extra funds are simply set aside for your next flight. You can’t save them for Christmas presents or other travel expenses.

Virgin America (If You Want More Legroom/Amenities)

If you want a better flight experience — in terms of legroom, free technology, customer service, and even snacks — you should look into Virgin America for your holiday travel.

The airline, which was recently bought out by Alaska Airlines, was ranked number one in terms of passenger experience by Travel and Leisure. This is due to a combination of features, including their lovely mood lights on planes, high-quality leather seats, and great seat-back entertainment options.

Virgin America also offers its customers power outlets at each seat, (paid) wifi and (complimentary) FreeChat on every flight, and healthy meal options.

With the company rebranding and being marketed under Alaska Airlines beginning in 2018, changes may be coming to Virgin’s offerings. For now, though, they are top-ranked in the overall customer experience.

Alaska Airlines (If You Want to Be Rewarded for Travel)

Are airline rewards for your travel one of the more important factors when buying a flight? Then you might want to consider Alaska Airlines.

They are one of the few airlines who has maintained a distance-based rewards program when most others have changed over to a dollars-spent system. This means that budget travelers earn fewer rewards for their flights, compared with their full-price-paying counterparts. In fact, their Mileage Plan was ranked the best loyalty programthis year by U.S. News & World Report, earning a 4.49 out of 5 score.

Through Alaska Airlines, you can earn and redeem your rewards from a total of 20 partner airlines. Redemption options are flexible, and you can also earn miles through things like hotel stays and car rentals.

For the past 20 years, Johnny Jet averaged 150,000 miles and 20 countries a year. He has been featured in many major publications and have appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC and PBS.

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10 Tips From Travel Experts, Flight Attendants, and Other Frequent Fliers

For those of us who travel for work, we’ve come to expect that

To prepare for this article, I spoke to several expert travelers who clock in at least 25,000 miles or more each year for tips and tricks to make your trip more enjoyable.

Let’s just say, they had lots of suggestions for fliers including:

1. Have all your travel items in hand.

Make sure you have all of your items like your headphone and magazines in hand so you aren’t holding up the boarding process.

2. Don’t check your luggage.

Flight attendants also recommend not paying to check a carry-on, but instead to wait until you can check it at the gate. This way, you know your luggage will make it to your final destination.

3. Something will always go wrong.

Flight attendants also said that many people need to prepare for something to go wrong because it almost always does.

4. Give yourself time.

Fliers are more in control than they think, like leaving themselves at least an hour and a half to get to the next gate if you are taking a connecting flight.

5. Goodies for the flight attendants.

“Bring something for the flight attendants–chocolate, a snack, anything small and nice, just to say thank you,” said Lowell M. Aplebaum, Executive Consultant in Silver Spring, Maryland.

6. Don’t miss your connections.

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency in Reston, VA said, “Many of us road warriors don’t talk to seat-mates. We haul out our laptop, book, work, or noise reduction headphones. I say, “Keep your antenna up for a warm smile.”

“If your instincts tell you this is an intriguing person, ask a simple question like, “Heading home or on business?” Their response (both the content and tone) will let you know if this is a conversation worth continuing.”

“I’ve met astronauts, inventors and fascinating individuals as a result of reaching out when the vibes are right,” she added.

7. App to relax.

The Brainwave app by Banzai for noise reduction, stress relief and better sleep on planes is something Brian Carter, CEO of the Brian Carter Group in Charleston, SC, swears by.

He also recommends, “not to unpack at the hotel, until you’ve checked out everything in the room.”

8. Join the club.

One piece of advice by frequent fliers is to invest the money for the club lounge membership. The bonus is it is also a tax deduction.

“Keep the phone numbers of any “loyalty desks” programmed in your contacts,” Lawrence Leonard, Executive Director of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.

“If seriously delayed or canceled, call the desk immediately, don’t go stand in line,” he said.

Other advice that I heard was to use the same hotel chain to build up loyalty points, Marriott and Hilton and W Hotels seem to be among the favorites.The same goes for picking one airline to accumulate miles and rewards.

Luggage favorites include brands like TravelPro and Tumi and travelers recommend getting bright colored luggage that won’t get lost in the sea of black suitcases.

9. Pre-Check yourself.

Getting Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check was the number one tip to get through security the fastest.

The time to get to the airport seems to be a topic of great debate with some saying they always catch the first flight to avoid delays.

Garrison Wynn of Wynn Solutions in Houston, TX, says, “I travel many more than 30,000 miles per year and catching flights after 3:00 pm makes a huge difference. The airport literally has half the people in it then it does at 9am.

Fewer delays, airport employees in better moods and more willing to help, weather is more likely to clear up and you have a better shot at upgrades,” he said.

‎Carla Balakgie the Chief Executive Officer of the National Automatic Merchandising Association said, “If you are going on an international flight buy what you need at your destination, instead of taking everything with you.”

10. Roll with It.

“Roll everything.” And, she encourages female executives to “bring solid color clothes and pack a few scarves – they are interchangeable and can make your outfit look more polished,” she added.

For international travelers, do the research and understand how to communicate and persuade effectively across different cultures. The Hofstede Model is a tool many entrepreneurs use to keep abreast of cultural expectations.

Feel like we missed any tips? Please comment below.

[By Adele Cehrs]

10 terrible airline pilots we hope to never fly with

With all the job pressures and uncertainty in the airline industry, it’s a wonder more pilots don’t run afoul of the law the way Klobjorn Jarle Kristiansen did last week. The 48-year-old American Eagle pilot showed up to work drunk, was suspended and faces both prosecution and the loss of his job. While a commercial plane has never crashed due to drunk flying, there are plenty of instances where pilots have misbehaved throughout history – some of them almost hilariously. Here, a look back at some very memorable misfeasance.
10 terrible airline pilots we hope to never fly with
#1 The JetBlue pilot who went nutter butters mid-flight.

“We’re not going to Vegas,” announced Clayton Osbon, before launching into a rambling sermon, telling his co-pilot that “things don’t matter,” and that “we need to take a leap of faith.” Problem: JetBlue Flight 191 was in fact headed for Vegas – with Osborn as the captain. The worried co-pilot called out into the cabin for help; passengers eventually were able to restrain the increasingly out-of-control pilot and the plane made a safe, emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas. Turns out, the pilot —  later found not guilty by reason of insanity – was right after all.

#2 The IndiGo Airlines pilot who wasn’t really a pilot.

Just because they’re wearing the uniform, doesn’t mean they can fly the plane. Crew members on a Goa-Delhi flight might have been tipped off to Captain Parminder Kaur Gulati’s lack of credentials after a hugely bumpy landing at Goa Airport back in 2011. Turns out, that was just beginners luck. On the return, Gulati’s dangerous dearth of know-how was outed rather spectacularly when the fraudulent flyer touched down at Delhi, nose first – a major, Landing Of Planes 101-type error that could have gotten everyone killed. It was later discovered that Gulati had forged the necessary documents to receive her pilot’s license.

#3 The Southwest pilot who clogged up air traffic control airwaves talking about his bad sex life.

First rule of business? If you’re going to trash your co-workers, make sure they can’t hear you. James Fritzen Taylor learned this the hard way back in 2011 after he was suspended without pay for a hate-filled rant over the airwaves about his general lack of satisfaction with the physical appearance of the flight crews he’d been working with the past few weeks. Unfortunately, the audio went out over the air traffic control frequency – and to every other plane in the Houston area, which is particularly unfortunate, considering a) that air traffic control needs the airwaves to give out potentially lifesaving instruction to pilots, including Taylor and b) that Taylor had just called Houston flight crews the “ugliest.” He later issued a canned apology to his poor colleagues, who wasted no time leaking the document – and Taylor’s name and personal information – to the media.

#4 The Lion Air pilots with a meth problem.

Indonesia’s largest domestic airline has issues. Over the past year, a handful of crew members, including 44-year-old captain Syaiful Salam, have been arrested after random employee drug tests came back positive for methamphetamines – in Salam’s instance, just hours before he was scheduled to fly. Known as “shabu,” crystal meth has become increasingly popular in Indonesia; the airline was sanctioned by the country’s Transportation Ministry after the embarrassing episode.

#5 The America West pilots who showed up for work drunk.

Back in 2002, Thomas Cloyd and Christopher Hughes narrowly avoided becoming even more infamous after being ordered by authorities to turn the plane around and come back to the terminal at Miami International Airport. Turns out, the terrible twosome had spent the entire night drinking at a Coconut Grove bar, showing up late to their flight; their irregular behavior tipped off staff, who summoned the police. They were later tried and sent to prison.

#6 The Northwest pilots who overshot Minneapolis by 150 miles.

Missing your turn isn’t a huge deal when you’re driving, but when you’re driving a plane full of people, Timothy Cheney and Richard Cole found out the hard way that the consequences can be rather harsh. En-route from San Diego to the Twin Cities, the veteran pilot and co-pilot at one point got so engrossed with what they were doing in the cockpit – messing around on their laptops, it turns out – that they not only overshot their destination by 150 miles, they forgot to stay in touch with air traffic control. Predictably, panic ensued.

#7 The cargo pilot who got drunk and crashed a plane in Alaska.

So far – fingers crossed – pilot drunkenness has never resulted in the crashing of a commercial airliner, but that’s cold comfort to the dozens of cattle and four crew members who died at the hands of an intoxicated Japan Air cargo pilot back in 1977, shortly after takeoff from Anchorage, Alaska. It was a quick flight – after getting up to just 160 feet above the ground, the DC-8 stalled and sank to the ground.

#8 The Jetstar pilot who was too busy texting to lower the landing gear

You know how you forget to turn your phone off when the plane lands, and as you head toward the ground, your service comes back and your phone starts blowing up with texts from all your pals? It happens to pilots, too – right when they’re supposed to be landing the plane. The co-pilot of this Australian budget flyer watched in disbelief as his colleague chose one of the most dangerous times in flight to start playing with his phone. A near-miss with the ground – sans landing gear – jolted the pilot back to reality; the plane eventually touched down safely.

#9  The Air Canada pilot who cracked up.

Of all the times…the co-pilot of a London-bound Boeing 767 had to be restrained and removed from the cockpit after suffering a mental breakdown midflight back in 2008. “His voice was clear, he didn’t sound like he was drunk or anything, but he was swearing and asking for God. He specifically said he wants to talk to God.” After moving him away from the controls, the pilot was able to make a speedy and safe emergency landing in Ireland.

#10 The Air India pilots who started a brawl.

Passengers on a Delhi-bound flight from the United Arab Emirates back in 2009 were treated to a spectacular bit of inflight entertainment when the two pilots began fighting with two crew members over an allegation of sexual harassment from a female flight attendant. The confrontation escalated considerably, moving out of the cockpit and into the cabin for an all-out melee, during which time the controls were decidedly unmanned. Oops.

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British Airways Pilot reveal the 5 coolest buttons in a Boeing 747 Cockpit

One of the greatest pleasures of being an airline pilot – aside from the simple joy of flying – is the opportunity to meet some of the travellers on board our flights.

These interactions are particularly fun when they take place in our office – that is, in the cockpit itself. (Cockpit visits are sometimes possible before departure, depending on our workload; otherwise, they’re often possible after arrival at the gate. Ask your cabin crew if you’re interested – and no, you don’t have to be a kid, or be travelling with children, to do so.)

When we do welcome visitors to the cockpit, there’s usually time for photographs and for a few questions.

These questions often have to do with the numerous controls, buttons, and switches that line nearly every surface in the cockpit. How do we ever learn which does what? (That’s our job.) How many buttons are there, anyway? (Hundreds.) And which ones are the most important?

In a recent book, How to Land a Plane, I talk about how planes work—how they stay up in the sky, and how pilots control them.

When I show you around the cockpit in that book, I focus mostly on the big-ticket items of obvious importance—the control wheel (for banking left or right) the control column (to quote a Father Ted-inspired flight instructor of mine: push forward on the column, and cows get bigger; pull back, and cows get smaller).

I point out the throttles or thrust levers, the flaps (which effectively change the wing’s size and shape, to allow us to fly more slowly) and the landing gear lever (as important a lever as there could possibly be).

But there are hundreds of other buttons, controls, switches and levers in a complex airliner like the Boeing 747. Many of their functions are less obvious than the control column, a little more subtle than the landing gear, and they’re not always easy for visitors to appreciate.

But each controls an utterly ingenious bit of technology or a carefully crafted aspect of what in the wider tech world is now called ‘user experience’.

Here are five of the coolest buttons and switches to ask about on your next visit to a cockpit.

The cockpit of a Boeing 747
The cockpit of a Boeing 747 CREDIT: GETTY

1. The EXECUTE (or EXEC) key

In flight, we follow a route that’s been carefully programmed into the flight computers. That’s true whether we’re flying the aeroplane manually or through the automatic pilot. The route in the computer is checked before take-off, of course.

But in flight, we often need to modify the route – perhaps we’ve been given a shortcut by air traffic control, or perhaps the landing runway at our destination has changed.

Naturally, we want to be able to prepare and check the modification to the route in the on-board computers before the plane actually starts to follow it. So, as we prepare the changes, a light on the Execute key illuminates.

When we’re satisfied with the changes we’ve prepared, we press the key to ‘execute’ our changes. The light goes out, the existing route is replaced by the modified one, which the plane will follow exactly.

2. The mode selectors for the Inertial Reference Systems

These are the switches for what’s probably the most remarkable bit of aerospace technology you’ve never heard of. GPS is an amazing innovation, to be sure, but to me inertial reference systems are far cooler. Once configured before each flight, they help us know where we are without any reference to the outside world.

Think of that – no GPS satellite signals are needed, no star sightings, nothing. Inside the black box, each of these three powerful digital brains just knows.

Some of this technology was developed in part for the Apollo programme, and it was one of the most revolutionary technologies on board the Boeing 747-100 when it first took flight in 1969. Modern inertial systems have a variety of important functions in addition to navigation.

They can help us distinguish our own speed and direction from those of the wind that carries us. And they can sense gravity, which tell us which way is up, for example—particularly useful when flying in cloud.

There’s something else remarkable about inertial systems. Before flight, they require some time (typically a few minutes) at the gate when the aircraft is completely still.

Technically, they’re using this stillness to sense two important things. One is gravity, and the other is the earth’s rotation.

You could say that they’re using this quiet time to quite literally get their bearings. Or, since this process is called ‘alignment’, you might think of them as grabbing a moment of Zen, before they’re ready to help guide us across the heavens.

3. The START switches

In an environment as complex as an airliner cockpit, there’s a huge premium put on simplicity—on buttons that do just what ‘it says on the tin’. Visitors to the cockpit often ask how we start the engines, and it’s hard to answer without sounding as if we’re dumbing it down.

But it really is (almost) this simple. To start the engines, pull the start switch, and then move the master switch for each engine to RUN.

If everything else is correctly configured (and to be honest, there’s quite a lot that needs to be correctly configured) the selected engine or engines will soon start. On a plane like the 747, we typically start two engines at a time.

Boeing 747 engines, started by the, err, start button
Boeing 747 engines, started by the, err, start button CREDIT: GETTY

4. The MIC/INTERPHONE switch

Airliners are designed to be flown by two pilots, which means we spend a lot of time talking to each other. In flight, though, we typically wear pricey noise-cancelling headsets due to the sound of the engines and the airflow.

So, to speak to each other, and to do so without taking our hands off the controls, we can flip this switch to the interphone position and speak to each other normally.

We can even latch the interphone on – remembering, of course, to turn it off before we eat or drink, so our colleagues don’t have to listen to the high-fidelity details of our lunch.

Of course, while we talk a lot to each other, we also talk a lot to air traffic controllers. If we flip this switch the other way, to the MIC position, we can speak on the radio – again, without moving our hands from the wheel.

5. The External Power (EXT PWR) Control switches

One of the simplest but best questions that we’re asked – often by children – has to do with how an aircraft is powered while it’s parked at the gate. After all, if the engines are shut down, what’s keeping the lights on?

There are a couple of good answers to this. Most aircraft have what’s called an APU, or Auxiliary Power Unit.

It’s a little jet engine in the tail of the aircraft that can power the aircraft on the ground, and sometimes serve as a backup power source in flight. (Next time you look at the back of an aircraft, note the APU’s little exhaust hole, under the tail fin).

But an airliner can also be plugged directly into the airport’s electrical power supply, which saves fuel and reduces emissions and noise.

A plane like the 747 has two such ‘outlets’, under the nose. Two cockpit buttons select these power supplies. Next time you’re at the gate, look for the two thick cables that run up into the area around the nosewheel.

In the cabin, you may hear a click or notice a brief flicker of the lights just before departure. That’s the pilots turning on the APU and deselecting the external power—an auspicious signal that your jet is at last unplugged from the world, and your journey across it is about to begin.

Mark Vanhoenacker is a Senior First Officer for British Airways and the bestselling author of Skyfaring. His latest book, How to Land a Plane, was published September 21. You can follow him on Twitterand Facebook.  

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