Does Stormy Daniels Have a Case Against Donald Trump?

Does Stormy Daniels Have a Case Against Donald Trump?

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“DONALD J. TRUMP a.k.a. DAVID DENNISON” is the first named defendant in
a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, in California, in which Stephanie Clifford,
who is also known as Stormy Daniels, seeks to have what the suit refers
to as her “Hush Agreement
regarding an affair with Trump declared invalid. That agreement is
between “Dennison,” or “DD,” “Peggy Peterson,” or “PP,” and “EC LLC,”
all of which, it notes, are “pseudonyms whose true identity will be
acknowledged in a Side Letter Agreement.” (Both documents are helpfully
included as exhibits to the suit, although Dennison’s true name is
blacked out.) The agreement is dated October 28, 2016, eleven days
before the Presidential election. The problem, Clifford says, is that
Trump, or Dennison, or DD, or whatever one wants to call him—let’s say
the President of the United States—never delivered a signed copy of the
agreement. And so she no longer has to hush.

In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that Clifford had been
paid a hundred and thirty thousand dollars for her silence—money that
made its way to her via Michael Cohen, a longtime lawyer for the Trump
Organization. Cohen has acknowledged paying the money but said that it
was a “private transaction,” that neither Trump’s company nor his
campaign “was a party to the transaction,“ and that neither reimbursed
him, directly or indirectly. Cohen did make it clear that his goal was
to “protect Mr. Trump,” and suggested that he might have been protecting
him from a false charge. This version of events already raised a number
of questions. Why would Cohen, as a lawyer with a professional
relationship with Trump, pay off someone all on his own, on a matter
affecting Trump? Doing so may have violated New York legal ethics rules.
But, under the Hush Agreement, Dennison, a.k.a. Trump, personally, is
clearly intended to be a party to the deal. Cohen signed it on behalf of
“EC LLC”—Essential Consultants, an entity he set up as the conduit for
the payment—but there are also signature lines throughout for “Dennison” and his “a.k.a.,” and those are still blank.

The proper name of the document that Clifford, at least, signed in
October, 2016, is not “Hush Agreement” but “Confidential Settlement
Agreement and Mutual Release; Assignment of Copyright and
Non-Disparagment Agreement” [sic]. One of the more intriguing phrases
there is “copyright,” as the agreement refers to “certain still images
and/or text messages which were authored by or relate to DD.” Later in
the document, the reference is expanded to include possible “paintings,
video images, still images, e-mail messages, text messages, Instagram
message, facebook posting or any other type of creation by DD.” This
does not mean that there are items in all categories—though a painting
by Trump would be something to see—but there do seem to be certain
materials, referred to in the agreement as “the Property,” that Clifford
agreed both to hand over and to assign the “intellectual property rights
to DD.” In other words, this was not just about Clifford’s silence but
about certain mementoes—also known as evidence—she might have possessed.

Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, speaking on Tuesday to Savannah
Guthrie, on the “Today” show, declined to say whether such materials
were still in his client’s possession. In response to a blunt question
from Guthrie, he also confirmed that, in the lawsuit, the word “intimate”
meant “sexual” when used to refer to the relationship between Clifford
and Trump. According to the suit, that relationship began in 2006,
shortly after Trump’s son Barron was born, and continued “well into”
2007. (Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, said, with regard to
the lawsuit, “We’ve addressed our feelings on that situation, and I
don’t have anything else to add.”) This is the same time period during
which, as Ronan Farrow reported for The New Yorker, American Media,
Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, paid Karen MacDougal a
hundred and fifty thousand dollars for a story, which it shelved, that
MacDougal claimed was about her affair with Trump.

Clifford’s lawsuit asserts that Trump deliberately failed to sign the
agreement because he wanted to maintain deniability about the affair. (The agreement notes that “Dennison” could sign a separate physical copy, but that version, or a copy of it, would still have had to be delivered to Clifford, and the premise of her lawsuit is that it was not.) It is
theoretically possible that Cohen never really got Trump on board;
indeed, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that Cohen had delayed making the payment to
Clifford because he had trouble reaching Trump—who was out campaigning—presumably to get his final approval. (The story said that Cohen also
complained about having trouble getting reimbursed; Cohen’s response to
the Journal’s request for comment was “Fake News.”) But, if Trump
really wasn’t a party, that might amount to an outright defrauding of
Clifford, who certainly could have thought, based on a plain reading of
the text, that she was signing an agreement with Trump. As Clifford’s
lawsuit notes, if this was all a farce that Cohen put together to make
her think that she was dealing with Trump, then Cohen would have
“flagrantly violated” ethics and other rules to an extent that “strains
credibility.”

There could, the suit contends, be “no doubt” that Trump knew not only
about the Hush Agreement but also about what it calls “recent attempts
to intimidate and silence Ms. Clifford.” In particular, the suit says
that Cohen, or Trump—“EC LLC” or “DD”—had moved to bring an arbitration
proceeding against Clifford, threatening her with a million-dollar
penalty, which the Hush Agreement had stipulated would be the remedy if
the agreement were broken; the most basic purpose of Clifford’s lawsuit
is to stop the arbitration, which her suit calls a “bogus” process. (She
is also asking for the cost of her legal fees.) In addition to the
missing signatures, Clifford alleges that Cohen invalidated the deal by
speaking about it publicly. She also says that, in recent months, Cohen
had “coerced” her to falsely deny the affair, which she did, in a
statement in February. Now, her lawyer said on Tuesday, she wants to
tell “the truth.”

And was it really Cohen’s money? f so, was the payoff an unacknowledged
in-kind campaign contribution? If no, had it been a legitimate campaign
expenditure? For all the fascination with this case, which can only get
more lurid if Trump’s “intellectual property” is revealed, it is, in the
end, a story about money and politics, and the kinds of things that
certain lawyers might be tempted to do for their clients. What’s the
right name for all of that?

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March 7, 2018 at 08:50PM

The Best Rewards Cards in the UK

The Best Rewards Cards in the UK

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The United Kingdom doesn’t have the plethora of credit card choices available in the US, a situation that was recently exacerbated by the European Union’s cap on credit card interchange fees, which is squeezing the market and forcing the withdrawal of a number of airline (and other) co-branded credit card products. However, there are still some fantastic options for British miles and points collectors who want to earn exciting rewards when spending their hard-earned pounds.

Many methods of earning and burning in the UK are directed toward Avios, with credit cards, supermarkets and online shopping portals offering ways to earn, and a wealth of redemption options across the Oneworld network and elsewhere (think hotels, car rentals and wine). British Airways and its partners can get you from the UK to most of Europe and the world in a way that other alliances simply can’t, especially after the 2012 disappearance of British Midland International (the UK-based Star Alliance member).

But Avios isn’t the only option, so as a Brit, which card should you get? Today I’ll delve into three of the best credit and charge cards on the UK market. In choosing the best cards, I’m looking for the best sign-up bonuses, the best ongoing earning rates, opportunities to diversify points and interesting extra benefits that come together to provide an all-around great product without outrageous fees.

1. American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Charge Card

Sign up bonus: 20,000 Membership Rewards points (spend £2,000 in three months)

Annual Fee: £140 (waived in the first year)

Benefits:

  • Earn 1 Membership Reward point per pound spent
  • Earn double points on airline and foreign spend
  • Earn triple points on American Express Travel spend
  • Two lounge passes annually
  • 10,000 Membership Rewards points bonus for spending £15,000 each year
  • $75 hotel credit on certain stays booked through American Express Travel
  • Hertz car rental upgrades and discounts

Verdict: The generous (by UK standards!) sign-up bonus will kick start your stash, and with the first year’s annual fee waived, this card is a no brainer for all miles and points collectors. Diversity is key here — the Membership Rewards program in the UK is completely separate from the US one and has different partners, so you can transfer your points to airline programs like British Airways Executive Club, Delta SkyMiles, Etihad Guest, Emirates Skywards, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (all at a 1:1 transfer ratio), and hotel partners including Club Carlson (1:3 ratio), Hilton Honors (1:2 ratio) and SPG (2:1 ratio).

2. American Express British Airways Premium Plus Credit Card

LONDON - MAY 18: British Airways planes sit at Heathrow Airport on May 18, 2006 in London, England. British Airways will announce their Q4 and year end results tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Despite the hefty annual fee, the American Express British Airways Premium Plus card provides the most valuable benefit in the UK market. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

 

Sign up bonus: 25,000 Avios (spend £3,000 in 3 months)

Annual Fee: £195

Benefits:

  • Earn 1.5 Avios per pound spent
  • Earn 3 Avios per pound spent with British Airways
  • 2-for-1 Companion Voucher for spending £10,000 in a year (subject to rules, e.g. tickets must start with a UK departure point, although open jaw is allowed)
  • Travel Inconvenience and Travel Accident Insurance for trips booked with the card

Verdict: The annual fee feels hefty, but alongside the healthy 1.5x Avios earning rate, this card provides the most valuable benefit in the UK market. The Companion Voucher effectively doubles the value of your Avios by giving you a free ticket for a partner (though you still must pay the taxes and fees). An aspirational redemption — such as a first class flight from London to New York — will cost 160,000 Avios on peak days, so it’s very easy to see how the £195 fee suddenly becomes insignificant when you might gain such a valuable additional ticket each year. Interestingly, the £10,000 spending threshold to earn the Companion Voucher is much less than the $30,000 in annual spend required to get the same perk on the US version of this card.

3. Lloyds Avios Rewards Credit Cards

Sign up bonus: None currently.

Annual Fee: £24

Benefits:

  • Two separate credit cards are delivered on the account — an American Express and a Mastercard
  • Earn 1.25 Avios per pound spent on the American Express card
  • Earn 1.25 Avios per £5 spent on the Mastercard
  • Earn double Avios for the first six months on all spend on the American Express card (£2,500 monthly spending cap)
  • 0% foreign transaction fees
  • Flight upgrade voucher for spending £7,000 each year

Verdict: This double pack of credit cards on the same account (two cards, one statement!) tackles the annoying issue of spending where American Express isn’t accepted. It isn’t the best Mastercard earning rate in the world, but the American Express rate is good, and the ability to earn Avios whilst paying no foreign transaction fees sets this card apart. I use this card for all spending abroad to avoid the usual 3% fees, and the upgrade voucher and initial double points on the Amex are a handy and welcome bonus. It is important to note that due to the EU cap on interchange fees, this card is no longer available to apply for online, but should still be available at Lloyd’s bank branches and over the phone.

These three cards provide a host of fantastic benefits with minimal initial outlay, and with some careful planning, just these cards alone can quickly set the average spender on a clear course to exciting redemptions.

Nicky Kelvin is a writer and the founder of Miles MogulFeatured image by David Crespo/Getty Images.

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March 7, 2018 at 08:15PM

Qatar Airways CEO Calls Blockade a ‘Challenge to Civilization’

Qatar Airways CEO Calls Blockade a ‘Challenge to Civilization’

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Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker struck a defiant tone in the face of the continued sanctions against his country, calling them a “challenge to civilization” that has only strengthened his resolve to push for more growth and add destinations.

Speaking at the annual tourism fair in Berlin, Al Baker blasted the measures as an assault on his nation, saying “we’re not a grocery shop, we’re a sovereign country.” Rather than curb growth last year, the embargo had the opposite effect, the CEO said as he announced higher frequencies to places like Barcelona and Madrid and a new twice-daily service to London Gatwick.

At the same time the restrictions imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt last June will push Qatar Air to a “very large loss” for the year ending April 1, the CEO said, adding that the carrier will need to find new streams of financing to survive since it has no access to the equivalent of U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Qatar Air has had to scrap short-haul routes it once flew to the states that imposed the embargo amid claims its home nation funded Islamist terrorism. Swapping to longer routes using wide-body aircraft is driving up costs and at some point the company will seek to recoup its losses, Al Baker said.

The Gulf carrier is also being denied entry to airspace over the countries, causing diversions that extend flying times and add to the fuel bill. Now in its 20th year of existence, Qatar Air has one of the world’s most modern fleets that includes the first Airbus SE A350-1000 to enter service earlier this year.

India Hurdles

As part of its global strategy, Qatar Air has invested in other major carriers, taking a 20 percent stake in British Airways parent IAG SA and major holdings in Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Latam Airlines Group SA.

In India, where it has gained a so-called air operator’s certificate, setting up a dedicated business remains the plan, though bureaucratic hurdles remain, Al Baker said. Qatar Air also wants to take a stake in Royal Air Maroc, though the carrier is not quite ready for such an investment, he said.

In addition to Gatwick, where flights start in May, other destinations to be added this year include Luxembourg, Malta, and Lisbon, while cities in Vietnam and the Philippines will get higher frequencies. A delayed route to Las Vegas will take time to launch because the Boeing Co. 777-200LR earmarked are being outfitted with Qatar’s new Qsuite business-class seats.

(Updates with growth plans for India, North Africa in seventh paragraph.)

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Benedikt Kammel from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Photo Credit: Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker struck a defiant tone in the face of the continued sanctions against his country. Bloomberg

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March 7, 2018 at 08:08PM

Hello, It’s Me: Qatar’s Unconventional Way of Connecting With JFK Airport

Hello, It’s Me: Qatar’s Unconventional Way of Connecting With JFK Airport

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I get it: We all want answers. It’s been a rough winter for Northeast travel, with multiple superstormsnor’easters and flooding airports. With cancellations and delays galore, we all just want to know where to go, what to do, and who can help.

It all began with a prim request for contact, just like any other frustrated traveler might tweet. Except the requester was no ordinary individual: It was @qrsupport, reaching out for help from none other than New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

After 43 minutes had passed with no response from @JFKairport, AvGeek @AirlineFlyer, Jason Rabinowitz, quipped:

About 20 minutes later, JFK replied. Not to the original tweet from Qatar, but to the Rabinowitz reply

As far as the public Twitterverse can tell, Qatar still has not received a direct response on its own tweet — just a mention to Rabinowitz. Though, the airport says it’s reached out to Qatar. Nevertheless, with so many means of communication, it’s funny to see airlines resorting to Twitter to have their issues taken care of. Airlines, they’re just like us.

Hang in there, Qatar Airways! We all feel your pain — especially with more than 2,300 flight cancellations for Wednesday alone.

Featured photo by @mp_develops via Twenty20

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March 7, 2018 at 08:05PM

Deal Alert: US Cities to Mexico City From $211 Round-Trip

Deal Alert: US Cities to Mexico City From $211 Round-Trip

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Want to see the latest flight deals as soon as they’re published? Follow The Points Guy on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to text message alerts from our deals feed, @tpg_alerts.

Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.

American is offering cheap tickets to Mexico City from cities all over the US. But these aren’t just any cities. We’re seeing the lowest fares from Delta hubs — Minneapolis (MSP), Seattle (SEA), Detroit (DTW) and even Atlanta (ATL) if you book separate tickets. Perhaps American is trying to start a price war with Delta. Each of the fares we’ve found require a stop, but they’re booked in regular economy as opposed to basic economy — as low as $211 round-trip.

The best way to search for these tickets is via Google Flights. Search your origin city and destination and scroll through the calendar function to find dates that work for you. Then, click through to book directly with American or an OTA, such as Expedia or Orbitz.

Airline: American
Routes: BOS/DTW/JFK/MSP/SEA to MEX
Cost: $211+ in economy
Dates: March-May 2018, August 2018-January 2019
Booking Link: OrbitzExpedia or directly with the airline
Pay With: The Platinum Card from American Express (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)

Here are a few examples of what you can book:

Minneapolis (MSP) to Mexico City (MEX) for $211 round-trip with American:

New York (JFK/EWR) to Mexico City (MEX) for $211 round-trip with American:

Boston (BOS) to Mexico City (MEX) for $212 round-trip with American:

Seattle (SEA) to Mexico City (MEX) for $212 round-trip with American:

Detroit (DTW) to Mexico City (MEX) for $212 round-trip with American: 

Maximize Your Purchase

Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as the American Express Platinum Card (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Premier Rewards Gold or Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

Featured image by Maria Swärd / Getty Images.

H/T: The Flight Deal

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March 7, 2018 at 07:31PM

Stolen Moments of Solitude at the World’s Busiest Airport

Stolen Moments of Solitude at the World’s Busiest Airport

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Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport—which is located a
short drive south of Georgia’s capital, and within a two-hour flight for
eighty per cent of the U.S. population—is visited daily by more than a
quarter of a million people, making it the busiest airport in the world.
That’s a lot of luggage, to say nothing of the emotional baggage rolling
through its concourses. I live in Atlanta and, this past month alone,
have hovered along Hartsfield’s moving sidewalks, ridden its ricocheting
trains, and inhaled its jet-fuel and French-fry fumes a half-dozen times
while waiting to be transported somewhere else. I nodded off once at my
departure gate, only to be awoken, thankfully, by the nearby theatrics
of a travelling teen-age baseball team.

Mark Steinmetz, a photographer based in Athens, Georgia, and best known
for his black-and-white portraits of strangers—accumulated through
prolific wandering and watchfulness—has, in recent years, turned his
attention to Hartsfield’s labyrinthine spaces. As he explained in an episode of the “Magic Hour” podcast,
he photographed the airport from all sides: “outskirts, the people on
the sidewalk, the drop-off, the pick-up locations, in the
terminals—because I fly so much—and pictures of the planes taking
flight, pictures in planes, pictures of planes.”

But his images, now on display at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, do not
offer the encyclopedic view of airport travel seen in Garry Winogrand’s
posthumous, pre-smartphone opus “Arrivals & Departures,”
published in 2004, which captures the beehive activity of pre- and
post-flight moments. In Steinmetz’s Hartsfield, we instead find moments
of intimacy and solitude. A baggage cart becomes an unlikely beach
chair, and a sidewalk a waterfront. A disembodied hand reaches for a
sliver of light let in by an airplane’s triple-paned window. A jumbo jet
passing overhead blends into a tree, and, beneath it, kudzu—the
invasive, voracious, photographically beloved plant that has swallowed
up vast swaths of the South—continues to do what it does best: grow
unimpeded.

The kudzu is just one motif through which Steinmetz seems to remind us
that the natural world remains supreme, that even our unnatural ability to fly is less impressive than the rising of the sun or the moon; he
captures the latter glowing against a pitch-black night sky, the thin,
white streaks of what look like runway lights forming the only sign of
human activity below.

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March 7, 2018 at 07:04PM

Emirates Is Hiring Flight Attendants in Dubai

Emirates Is Hiring Flight Attendants in Dubai

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Get ready to send this to your friend who’s always saying “Ugh, I wish I could get paid to travel.”

Emirates is hiring flight attendants, and they’ve even outlined some insights to help you land the job. With more than 15,000 applications received monthly, Emirates jobs take a little bit more than a killer LinkedIn or resume to score the position.

They’re looking for someone who’s personable and positive. I mean, I don’t blame them for not wanting to pay for compassion training. That’s not all, though. The ideal candidate also has these characteristics:

  • At least 21 years of age at the time of joining
  • Arm reach of 212 cm (almost 7′) while standing on tiptoes
  • Minimum height of 160 cm (about 5’2″)
  • High school graduate (Grade 12)
  • Fluency in English (written and spoken)
  • No visible tattoos while you’re in Emirates cabin crew uniform (cosmetic and bandage coverings aren’t allowed)
  • Can adapt to new people, new places and new situations
  • Physically fit for this demanding role

Now, if you really want to take your application to the next level, you’ll be “culturally aware and reflect who we are – professional, empathetic, progressive, visionary and cosmopolitan.” You’ll also definitely want to take note of some of these guidelines for photos and presentation on “assessment day.”

  • Full-length and passport-sized photos in business attire and casual wear
  • Full make up for females
  • And above all please remember to smile

If you do end up getting the job, you’ll have to sign a three-year non-binding contract that includes a six-month probationary period. You’ll also get 30 days of vacation a year, layover expenses and meal allowances, as well as free dry-cleaning for your company uniforms (that stuff’s expensive!). Not to mention, you’ll be able to travel the world for a living — talk about living the dream.

And the best part? The salary is “tax free.” Now, if you don’t mind me, I have an application to fill out

Featured photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

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March 7, 2018 at 06:55PM

Focus: 5 Tips to Planning a Wedding in Raleigh

Focus: 5 Tips to Planning a Wedding in Raleigh

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5 Tips to Planning a Wedding in Raleigh

So now you’re wearing your engagement ring! It is time to proceed with the planning of the big day. Being engaged is both exhilarating and exciting at the same time. Planning a wedding entails decisions, lots of them from either the bride or groom or better yet, by both of them. Planning a wedding in Raleigh may start from choosing what season it should be done because there are four here; winter, spring, summer or fall. All the other wedding details to plan follow such as the venue, wardrobe, photography, food, etc. Read on for tips which may help you as you go along planning your wedding in Raleigh.

1.  Budget
For a couple planning a wedding, this is the first and foremost thing to consider. Who will foot the bill? It is becoming customary these days that the couple picks up the bill. But it is still a good idea to talk about whether the parents of the bride or the groom will lend a hand for the wedding bills. Lucky is the couple who have both sets of parents backing up with the wedding expenses. With the financials ironed out, the nitty-gritty details come next.

2.  Venue
In Raleigh, you can have any wedding venue of our choice. Of course, depending on the budget and the weather, Raleigh has everything you are looking for in a venue. There are hotels, barns, and inns, museums and open-spaces in Raleigh fit and perfect for your wedding and reception venue. Choosing a wedding venue which can also serve as your reception venue can give you additional savings. A winter wedding can also add to your savings for other expenses because many wedding venues offer reduced pricing during the winter months.

3.  Food
Your choice of food for the wedding is also very important. Some say the food is one of the things that your guests will probably remember most about the wedding so better make it remarkable. Raleigh is considered one of the “Hottest Food Cities” therefore it is no problem to find a place or services to cater to your wedding guests’ sumptuous palate.

4.  Photography
Photography during weddings nowadays is a big chunk of the wedding expense. Capturing your once-in-a-lifetime moments with your one love and your loved ones are essential to you, so you only book the best wedding photographers in town. Raleigh Wedding Photography is not only known locally but internationally as well. Raleigh professional wedding photographers have been winning awards locally and rank well in the list of wedding photographers in the world. Check out samples of their work and be amazed at their unique and artistic style in wedding photography.

5.  Trimmings
Flowers and decorations also play a big part in making a wedding unique and special. Some couples spend a lot of money on wedding flowers. Others make use of the natural beauty of the place. Flowers are seasonal, so if you stick with flowers which are in season, you may be able to save for other wedding expenses. If there are other decorations such as holiday decorations in your venue, you only need some flowers to
accent and make it distinctly yours.

You can now breeze through your wedding planning in Raleigh knowing that everything you wish and hope for in food, places, photography services, etc. for your wedding day can be found here and you need not go far.

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March 7, 2018 at 06:48PM

Qatar Announces New Qsuite Routes, Las Vegas Plans and 15 New Routes

Qatar Announces New Qsuite Routes, Las Vegas Plans and 15 New Routes

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You may never have heard of it, but ITB Berlin is the world’s largest travel trade show, making it the perfect place for airlines to make big announcements and unveil new products. For example, last year, Qatar unveiled its Qsuite for the first time. Just a year later, Qatar is making news again.

In an entertaining press conference, which Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker is well known for, Qatar announced new Qsuite routes, plans on how the airline is finally going to launch its perpetually delayed Las Vegas route and a bunch of new routes in Europe and Asia.

New Qsuite Routes

We were hopeful to get an answer from Al Baker about which US “East Coast” destination the airline would be launching with its brand new A350-1000 aircraft. Noting that the A350-1000 is running “proving exercises at the moment,” Al Baker said that the airline wants to “make sure that the aircraft is performing well” before launching flights to the US East Coast.

However, there were three new Qsuite routes announced at the show, and all three were to ITB’s host country of Germany. First, Qsuites will launch on the Frankfurt route in May. Based on the seat maps from ExpertFlyer, it seems that Qatar Flight 67 will switch from a 777 to an A350-900 on May 1:

Qsuites will also launch to Berlin and Munich by the end of summer. These routes will join the current Qsuite destinations of London, Paris, New York, Washington, DC and — soon-to-be — Chicago.

For the general Qsuite plans, Al Baker confirmed that Qsuite will be available on all aircraft except the Boeing 787 Dreamliner by the end of 2019:

Qsuite will replace all the current product in all the airplanes at Qatar Airways. All of the new airplanes that are today being delivered to us is with Qsuites. As we [retrofit] Qsuites into our fleet, minus the 787, you have always Qsuite by the middle-end of next year on every single Qatar Airways aircraft.

Will the Las Vegas route finally be launched?

Rumors about Qatar launching flights to Las Vegas (LAS) first surfaced from IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June 2016, saying that the route would begin in 2017. Then, in November 2016, Qatar listed Las Vegas in its routes to be launched in 2017/2018. Then, in January 2017, Qatar announced it’d launch the Las Vegas route on January 8, 2018. Those plans were pulled in April 2017 without fanfare.

Qatar is waiting to launch its Doha to Las Vegas route until it
Qatar is waiting to launch its Doha to Las Vegas route until it’s able to retrofit a 777-200LR with the new product.

Not surprisingly, this route came up again at ITB Berlin. Al Baker explained that the route has been delayed “due to the constraints of the airplane.” The airline wants to launch the new route with a Qsuite-installed aircraft, and the only aircraft that can serve the 8,100-mile route from Doha (DOH) to the famously hot destination of Las Vegas (LAS) with Qsuite installed is the Boeing 777-200LR.

The trouble is, Qatar plans to retrofit the 777-200LR “toward the end of the [retrofit] program” after at least Qatar’s 777-300ER aircraft are retrofit. However, Al Baker teased that the airline might “expedite” the retrofit of a couple of 777-200LR aircraft to be able to finally launch this route.

New Routes

Qatar also used its ITB Berlin press conference to announce a laundry list of new routes launching in 2018 and 2019, some of which were announced with no launch date:

  • Thessaloniki, Greece — March 27
  • Cardiff, United Kingdom — May 1
  • London Gatwick — May 22
  • Mykonos, Greece (seasonal) — May 30
  • Malaga, Spain — June 4
  • Bodrum, Turkey — June 12
  • Antalya, Turkey — June 13
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
  • Valletta, Malta
  • Cebu & Davao, Philippines
  • Langkawi, Malaysia
  • Da Nang, Vietnam
  • Hatay, Turkey
  • Tallinn, Estonia
  • and “A New Scandinavia Gateway… coming soon”

In addition, Qatar announced it’s increasing frequencies to Madrid, Spain (3x daily); Barcelona, Spain (3x daily); Warsaw, Poland (2x daily); Prague, Czech Republic (2x daily); Kiev, Ukraine (2x daily); St. Petersburg, Russia (2x daily); Hanoi, Vietnam (2x daily); Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (2x daily) and Male, Maldives (3x daily).

But what about new destinations in the US? Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like more are coming any time soon. In response to the direct question, Al Baker responded:

We have already expanded what we wanted to expand in the United States. We still have couple of destinations that we have already announced and we should be operating there soon.

That last part was in reference to the Las Vegas (LAS) and San Francisco (SFO) routes that have been announced, but which haven’t yet commenced.

Travel

via The Points Guy http://ift.tt/26yIAN2

March 7, 2018 at 06:19PM