Tag Archives: 空港

YOtel @ Gatwick Airport


日本のカプセルホテルをモデルにしたYOtelは、1997年に創業しイギリスの寿司ブームに貢献、現在ロンドンを中心にイギリス、ヨーロッパ、中近東に展開する回転寿司チェーン・Yo! Sushiヨー!スシ)の創始者、Simon Woodroffe(サイモン・ウッドロフ)が立ち上げたミニホテルチェーンで、現在、ロンドンのヒースロー空港とガトウィック空港、アムステルダムのスキポール空港、そしてニューヨークのタイムズスクエアの計4軒営業している。


A while ago, we missed our flight due to severe delay of a train to an airport. Next flight was 7 hours later. M was furious and insisted to go back home and to take the next day flight. But I wanted to fly on the day as we planned, and then I remembered about YOtel at the airport, and persuaded him to kill the time there.

Inspired by Japanese capsule hotelsYOtel is a mini-hotel chain and was launched by Simon Woodroffe, a founder of the sushi chain  YO! Sushi using the Japanese style ‘kaiten’ conveyor belt in 1997, which has contributed Sushi boom in UK and now have its branches mainly in London but also in other UK cities, Europe, and Middle East. Currently YOtel are in four locations; London Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, Amsterdam Schipol Airport, and Times Square in New York.

YOtel Gatwick where we stayed, it was £70.34 for twin room for 4 hours (minimum stay), but it is much cheaper (£42.50), if you pay in advance online. It was worth it when we imagined of doing nothing but killing 7 hours at the airport. We walked through dim corridor lighten up in purple to our room. It was basic simple room with no window but pull up work desk, small chair, 2 bunks (one upper and one lower), and toilet & shower – it was like a cruise ship cabin. However, service was not bad. The room was equipped with flat screen TV and free WiFi. Hot drinks were free, and you can order food, beverages, snacks and amenities from their “TO GO” menu. The room was clean, and their beds with good quality sheets were quite comfortable to sleep. M was grumpy at first but became in a good mood after sleeping well. We could leave on the same day, without cancellation of a hotel room, and were on an itinerary as we planned – happy ending!


Air Traffic Chaos: UK Airspace Closed by Iceland Volcano Eruption

Vodpod videos no longer available.




*ライアンエアーは、月曜日13時 まで、ヨーロッパ北部の全てのフライトをキャンセル(金曜午後20時現在)



*現在のヨー ロッパの空港・フライト運行状況は、ここをク リック(日曜午後18時30分現在)

*イギ リス空域の閉鎖は、月曜午後7時まで延長(月曜午前2時現在)

*イギ リス空域は、火曜日午後10時より飛行可能。

理由は、火山灰が飛行機のエンジンの中に入り込み、灰が中に溜まるとエンジンが詰まってしまうので、このような状況の中を飛ぶのは非常に危険だとのこと(BBC解説より)。自然災害によって、このように大規模にフライトがキャンセルされたのは「unprecedented(前代未聞)」の出来事だそう。NATS (National Air Traffic Services:イギリス航空管制公社)は、飛来してきた火山灰を収集・分析し、状況を判断して、明日7時以降のフライト状況が決定するそうだが、European air traffic control organisation(ヨーロッパ航空管制協会)によると、さらに2日は空の交通の混乱が続く可能性がある(BBC報道より)とのこと。

フライトがキャンセルされた場合、EUの法律によると、航空会社は、乗客に対して、予約をキャンセル・返金または、新たにフライトを予約するという選択肢を与えないと決められている。European Consumer Centre for Services(欧州消費者サービスセンター)によると、もし乗客が後者を選んだ場合、航空会社は、次の便までの食事や飲み物、ホテル(必要な場合)、空港とそのホテルまでの交通、そして2本の無料通話を、乗客に提供することと定められている(詳細はGuardian記事参照)。航空会社が要求されなくてそこまでするかは怪しいけれど。でも、近くのホテルは一杯で、明日まで空港で過ごすはめになった人もいて、大変だなあと思う。旅行保険は、自然災害によるフライトのキャンセルによる損害をカバーするものもあれば、しないものもあるそうなので、保険の契約の際は、面倒だけれど、小さい字で書かれた長ったらしい規約を読んでおいたほうがベター。

Today, there was a crazy announcement when I was in Tube – “currently all the London airports are closed, but don’t I ask me why ’cause I don’t know” (I am not sure if this is the exact words, but something like that). I was worrying if another terrorism or something bad happened, and checked my iphone for the information. There was a volcanic eruption in Iceland and all no-emergency UK flights have been cancelled from noon until Saturday 7 am at earliest (as of Friday 2:45pm, for England and Wales. Scotland and Wales will resume the service from 7pm), due to the ash cloud is drifting with the high altitude winds throughout northern Europe. Scandinavian countries, Ireland, Belgium, and Netherlands are in the same situation, and many airports in France have been closed, including busy Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. → See photos of other European countries here.

* Click here for current situation of European Airports and airspace as of Friday, 19:00

*All the British Airways flights from & to London is canceled for all day tomorrow, Saturday

*Ryanair has cancelled all of its flights across northern Europe until Monday at 13:00 BST

* UK air restrictions extended till 7pm on Sunday (as of Sunday 4am)

* UK air restrictions extended till 7am on Monday (as of Sunday 3pm)

* Click here for current situation of European Airports and airspace (as of Sunday 18:30 pm)

* UK air restrictions extended till 7pm on Monday (as of Monday 2am)

* UK airspace now open from 10pm on Tuesday.

The reason for this large scale flight cancellations is that the ash could pose a very serious hazard to aircraft engines: if volcanic ash particles are ingested into a jet engine, they accumulate and clog the engines with molten glass (see details in BBC website). This is unprecedented and the first time in living memory that “an act of God” natural disaster created such giant no-fly zones. NATS (National Air Traffic Services) is collecting and analyzing the ashes in the air, and will decide when it will be safe to resume air traffic. However, the European air traffic control organisation has said flights could be disrupted for another 48 hours (BBC report).

If your flight is cancelled, your airline is obliged to offer you a choice, under European law: you can either cancel your booking and get a refund, or rebook on a new flight. If you choose rerouting, the European Consumer Centre for Services says you should be entitled to meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation (if necessary), transport between airport and accommodation, and two free telephone calls (see details in the Guardian article) – though I am not sure if airlines offer all these services without request from their customers. Some people have to stay overnight at the airports, because all the hotels nearby are fully booked – what a pity. Some travel insurance seems to be willing to pay for the damages, but some others won’t cover because the cancellation is due to a natural disaster, not manmade – that’s another reason to read lengthy small prints in your contract before you sign it.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Cadbury agrees Kraft’s £11.9 billion Takeover Deal


Today, the 186 year-old British confectionery and beverage company Cadbury agrees to £11.9 billion takeover deal by American food giant Kraft Food, after 4 months of negotiation since September 2009. The Cadbury board once dismissed an initial £10.5 billion as too cheap, but they couldn’t resist when Kraft raised their offer to 840 pence a share. British manufacturing, once made the nation prosperous after the Industrial Revolution, has been declined in recent years. Therefore, a takeover of Cadbury by a foreign company, one of the few globally competitive manufacturer left in the country, is another blow for many British (except investors). Kraft will borrow £7bn ($11.5bn) to finance the deal, and there are some fears over possible cost and job cuts at Cadbury’s UK operations with 4,500 workers. I don’t like Cadbury’s chocolate as it is too sweet for me and leave me some aftertaste – therefore the deal doesn’t affect me (see my past related entry). But Europe’s biggest chocolate eater British people’s love and attachment towards Cadbury is very strong, and many groups against the takeover have been formed over the internet such as facebook and other SNS during the process. The Evening Standard article reveals that Cadbury CEO, who had been highly critical of Kraft as an unsuitable partner with low growth prospects, is expected to walk away with a payout worth £7 million, and the article gives an impression that he agreed the offer for his own personal gain (and it is probably true).

Economic Nationalism(エコノミック・ナショナリズム/国内産業を規制・保護する)の傾向が強いドイツやフランス、イタリアと対照的に、イギリス労働党政府は「Open Door(開かれた)」ポリシーを標榜し、自国企業を無理矢理保護しようとしない。2005年にはローバー社は消滅、ジャガーランドローバーはインドのタタ・モーターズ社の傘下に入った。今の私たちの電気会社は、いつのまにかLondon Electricityからフランス電力公社のイギリス子会社であるEDF Energyに代わっていたし、2009年にはBMI(ブリティッシュ・ミッドランド航空)は独ルフトハンザ航空に買収された。銀行のAbbeyBradford & Bingley(経営不振で一時国有化された)は今月10日から、そしてAlliance & Leicesterは今年度中に、自らのブランド名を降ろし、親会社でユーロ圏最大の銀行グループであるスペインのSantanderサンタンデール)の名を冠することになる(BBC記事はこちら)。ヒースロー空港等イギリス国内外の空港を管理するBBA(BAA Airports Ltd)も、スペイン・Ferrovial Groupの一員だ。

Unlike the countries with a tendency of Economic Nationalism such as Germany, France and Italy, this labor government has pursued “open door” policy, letting many British companies fallen to foreign managements in recent years: Tata Motors of India obtained Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford, and no more Rover cars currently in production. Our electricity supplier changed from London Electricity to EDF Energy, UK subsidiary of the French state-owned EDF SA, without realizing it. BMI (British Midland Airways) was taken over by German carrier Lufthansa in 2009. British banks Abbey and Bradford & Bingley (once nationalized due to the credit crunch) has been rebranded as Santander, Spanish owner of the banks, from 10th of this month, and Alliance & Leicester will follow Abbey and Bradford & Bingley later this year (click here for BBC article). BBA (BAA Airports Ltd), the owner and operator of several airports domestic and worldwide, is now owned by an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group.


While I was searching about Cadbury, I thought about this cute and funny Cadbury TV ad, “Eyebrows“, two children moving their eyebrows up and down to the beat of the song. It has a cult popularity, and it has been talked a lot among bloggers last year, and had been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube and other sites in its first 3 weeks.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

My First Time at Heathrow Terminal 5


リチャード・ロジャース卿の主催するリチャード・ロジャース・パートナーシップ社(Richard Rogers Partnership)が設計し、生産設計はAviation Architects(航空建築家?)であるPascall + Watsonが担当したT5は、モダンなデザインで、広々していて、空港を覆っているガラスからは太陽光が気持ち良く降り注ぐ。このターミナルの計画は1989年に始まったのだけれど、政府の許可が下りたのは12年後の2001年。2002年9月に着工、総工費43億ポンドをかけて作られ、最先端技術が導入されたという、鳴り物入りのT5だったけれど、オープン初日から、手荷物処理システムに発生した不具合などにより手荷物取り扱いが麻痺、10日間で500以上の便が欠航になるなどのトラブルに見舞われ、出ばなをくじかれた。

T5は、ブリティッシュ・エアウェイズのみが利用するターミナルで、毎日250便以上が発着する。ターミナルには、ハロッズ、コーチ、プラダなどの高級ブランドやポール・スミス、テッド・ベイカー(Ted Baker)などのイギリスのブランド店や、手軽なチェーン系カフェから、セレブ・シェフのゴードン・ラムゼイ(最近、経営悪化が報道された)の「Plane Food」等ちゃんとした食事ができるレストランまで、ショップ飲食店100店以上がテナントとして入っており、時間つぶしにも事欠かない。

オンライン・チェックインを利用すると、待ち時間が短縮されるはずなのだが、行きは年末で利用客が多かったせいか、前日に米旅客機爆破テロ未遂事件があったせいか、理由は不明だが、「Fast Bag Drop」で荷物を預ける際、長い行列ができており、20分ほど待たされた。フライトの時間が迫って来たので、係員の誘導で半分ほど進んだ列を抜け出し、受付カウンターに連れて行ってもらったが、そうでなければ、倍の時間待たされただろう。おかげで、空港の店を見て回る時間もなく、Iris Recognition Immigration System(IRIS/虹彩認識入国システム。アイリス(虹彩)を利用した入国審査の自動化。現在、ヒースローとガトウィックで登録可)の登録もできなかった。


After almost 2 years since the opening of Heathrow Terminal 5 (T5) in March 2008, I experienced T5 for the first time few weeks ago. I tried to avoid Heatrow Airport because it is furthest from my flat among five London airports.

T5, designed by architects from the Richard Rogers Partnership and its production design was completed by aviation architects Pascall + Watson, is modern and spacious, with abundant of light coming through the glass surfaces. The design of the terminal began in 1989, but government planning permission was only granted in 2001. The construction started in September 2002, and the building cost £4.3 billion to complete. T3 equips with the latest technologies, but its opening was tainted by malfunctioning baggage system which caused a huge disruption in baggage handling and cancellations of over 500 flights over the following 10 days of its opening.

Terminal 5 is used exclusively by British Airways, and more than 250 flights leave everyday. T5 contains more than 100 shops, ranging from top brands such as Harrods, Tiffany & Co, Mulberry and Prada to British cutting edge shops like Paul Smith and Ted Baker, and restaurants, casual fast food and cafes as well as stylish dinings such as celeb chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Plane Food” (recently reported that Ramsay’s business is in crisis, including this restaurant) – so you will never get bored if you arrive at T5 early.

Online check-in is supposed to reduce waiting time, but we had to wait about 20 minutes at “Fast Bag Drop”, until someone in charge of the queue saved us and took us to the counter when the departure time was approaching – we would have had to wait even longer if we would have arrived earlier. I don’t know if it is always like that, or because it was busy time at the end of the year, or it was just the day after a Nigerian man was arrested on suspicion of terrorism. No matter what the reason is, we didn’t have any time left to look around the shops or to register with Iris Recognition Immigration System (IRIS), which is available at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

On the way back, there was a long queue at the immigration counters, but luckily a counter next to our line opened and we jumped on the new short queue, so we didn’t have to wait much. Heathrow is infamous for its waiting time at Immigration (my Japanese friend had to wait for 1 hour and a half!). Next time I go to Heathrow or Gatwick, I will definitely register with IRIS.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]