The Newsstand, July 27-Aug. 10, 2017
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Read all about it: The pound plunges against the euro and that creates crazy bad exchange rates at the airport. But the Brits are worried about train classes and golf tournament names, too. Meanwhile, the Lockheed L-1011 flies again while the Boeing 757 falls out of favor again. And Air France and KLM have the 13-year itch. Plus much more.
There'll Always Be an England--or Some Place With Some Name
Maybe it's our shared history. Or the vaguely common language we speak. Or all those sitcoms from across the pond that we watch. Or those royals that we don't have, are uneasy about and still, somehow, envy. Whatever it is, though, Americans find stories about England and all of the United Kingdom virtually impossible to ignore.
Like how Brexit is driving the value of the pound into the ground against the euro and airports are offering offensively bad exchange rates. Or like how the class system extends even to the rails and it's a big deal that first class cabins are finally being dumped from commuter routes. And how commentators don't find the trains metaphorically half-full or half-empty but distinctly "third class" for all. Or even how the lure of decent food is driving Brits back to the countryside. And in the end, please don't call all this what it is. Last week, for example, one of the annual high points of professional golf--the major tournament held in Britain--once again devolved into a name game because the Brits don't want you to call the British Open "British". God save the Queen--or Helen Mirren.
There Used to Be an Aircraft Right Here
Nostalgia is a funny thing. People glorify old ballparks--Joe Raposo's There Used to Be a Ballpark is about Ebbets Field--collect "golden age" comic books, horde coins and stamps from ancient times and, yes, fall madly in love with aircraft that have long been retired from commercial service. Certainly the DC-3 falls into that category as does the Lockheed Constellation, a plane so famous that it made the cover of Come Fly With Me, a seminal 1950s Sinatra album. The jet age has been less kind to so-called "av geeks," but there's a consensus that the Lockheed L-1011 is a plane to be missed. The so-called TriStar--it had three engines, one on each wing and one mounted on the tail--was the big loser in the race of the first-generation widebody jets. The Boeing 747 became the Queen of the Skies and hasn't yet been fully retired. The DC-10 had its moments, too. But only 250 TriStars were ever built and the plane was mostly out of service after only a dozen or so years. It was such a spectacular financial failure that it was the last commercial aircraft Lockheed ever built. But an intrepid group of volunteer L-1011-loving av geeks has secured and restored one of the aircraft. And this month the plane, originally built for Pacific Southwest Airlines, made its return to the skies. The reborn plane is currently housed and pampered at Kansas City Airport, according to a report at AirlineReporter.com.
Still Crazy After All These Years
Two unlikely partners--Air France and KLM Royal Dutch--merged into one big transnational operation 13 years ago. And guess what? The French and the Dutch still despise each other. The French think their Dutch counterparts are obsessed with money and the Dutch think their French counterparts are aloof and snobby. You'll have to read Dutch (or massage it through Google Translate) to read the synopsis of an internal document detailing the bad blood between the two partners. You can also read a report in The Guardian, which says that the antipathy even runs to the comparative costs at employee canteens at KLM and Air France. How bad is the rift between staff at the Paris-based Air France and the Amsterdam-based KLM? The combined parent company is threatened, according to the internal report. And you thought it was odd to see Air France and KLM lounges virtually side-by-side at so many airports around the world.
Tight Connections ...
Plane talk Like the widebody L-1011, the narrowbody Boeing 757 wasn't considered a successful plane. Only about 1,000 copies were produced and for years airlines flying it were unhappy with the plane. But then, much to the chagrin of travelers who'd fallen in love with widebody jets across the Atlantic, airlines began to realize that the 757 was great for "long, thin" international routes. Because of its range, relatively low operating costs and modest number of seats, the 757 allowed carriers to fly nonstops into markets with limited traffic. And suddenly the out-of-production aircraft was the hottest thing in the airline business. As a story produced by OAG explains, more than 16,000 transatlantic flights were scheduled in 2011 with Boeing 757 jets. But now the aircraft is out of favor again and fewer than 10,000 transatlantic flights are on the schedule next year.
Bakery battle What's more French than a flaky croissant or a long, crusty baguette produced by the neighborhood bakery? Nice work if you can get it, though. Thousands have closed in recent years and the French think it is a terrible reflection on their eating habits and their culture. But Pascal Rigo is doing more than crying in his Pernod. As The New York Times explains, Rigo is taking the fortune he made in the United States and trying to revive the artisan Boulangerie tradition. "Bread is part of our heritage," he insists. "I'd like to restore that for my country."
Trump dump A woman scores a fabulous deal--some would say a too-good-to-be-true deal--on the pricey Trump Hotel in Chicago and the hotel's management won't honor it. And Booking.com, which took the reservation for $253 for eight nights in a two-bedroom suite, says it doesn't know how it happened or how to fix the problem. -- Joe Brancatelli
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