We Now Know When Air Berlin Will Stop Flying Long Haul

We Now Know When Air Berlin Will Stop Flying Long Haul

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Air Berlin’s days are numbered — like, there are literally just a few left at this point. Why’s that? The carrier just put out word that all of its long-haul flights will cease operation on October 15, 2017, less than three weeks from today.

The airline shared the following statement on its website today:

Air Berlin will need to cease its long-haul flight operations by 15 October 2017, as the aircraft leasing companies are gradually withdrawing their Airbus A330 jets. The connection between Dusseldorf and Los Angeles will therefore be discontinued on 25 September 2017. Further cancellations will follow on 16 October 2017. On 29 September 2017, Air Berlin will discontinue services between Hamburg and Munich and between Cologne/Bonn and Munich. We regret the inconvenience for our passengers.

This really is a shame — even though there were only 40 passengers on a plane with 290 seats, I had a great flight this past Saturday. As it turns out, that will be one of the last on Air Berlin’s A330s, which will be repossessed just a few weeks from now.

I almost had the plane to myself on Air Berlin
I almost had the plane to myself on Air Berlin’s A330.

If you’re planning to fly Air Berlin, your options are unfortunately limited. I do recommend checking out JT Genter’s post, Practical Advice for Travelers If Air Berlin Goes Out of Business, for some advice.

Do you have an upcoming flight on Air Berlin?

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September 25, 2017 at 06:55PM

The Courage of the Soul Singer Charles Bradley

The Courage of the Soul Singer Charles Bradley

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The soul singer Charles Bradley died on Saturday morning, in Brooklyn.
He was sixty-eight. Last year, Bradley was diagnosed with stomach cancer,
but he continued to perform until just a few weeks ago, when it was finally
suggested to him that he cancel the remaining dates of an international
tour. Bradley shared the news with regret and optimism. “I love all of
you out there that made my dreams come true,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “When I come back, I’ll come back strong, with God’s love.”

Bradley was born in 1948 in Gainesville, Florida. His mother split when
he was a baby, and his grandmother raised him until he was eight—that’s
when his mother returned, to collect Bradley and bring him to New York
City. Their reunion was not harmonious. Stories of Bradley’s adolescence
in Brooklyn are bleak: he ran away, he slept on subway cars, he begged,
he scavenged for food. At the time, these desperate acts felt
inevitable; he could either flee and try to make it work on the street,
or he could face worse at home. “I was afraid that she was going to hurt me, so I
left,” he explained in the documentary “Charles Bradley: Soul of
America,” from 2012. “We couldn’t see eye to eye and I was getting
blamed for everything, so I was very bitter.”

In 1962, when he was fourteen, his sister took him to the Apollo to see
James Brown. Like almost everyone who encountered Brown in the
nineteen-sixties, Bradley was a different kind of person afterward.
“When they introduced him, he came flying on the stage on one leg and I
said, What in the hell is this?” he told Rolling Stone in 2016. The question still feels reasonable. Brown’s “Live at the
Apollo,” released the following year, is so incendiary—so hilarious and
wicked—that it rearranged everything. For young performers, there was
suddenly a new sense of what was possible.

Bradley internalized that challenge. By 1967, he was working as a Brown
impersonator named Black Velvet. He’d mix ribbons
of gin into a bottle of 7 UP and get either brazen or agitated enough to
sprint onstage, shirtless, or maybe in a white sequinned cape. Brown
occasionally whacked his microphone stand over, only to reach down and
right it at the last possible moment, a swoop so fluid and triumphant
that crowds reliably went nuts. Bradley practiced his own version of the
move, using a broom tied to a length of string. There’s something hugely
bolstering about Bradley’s iteration of Brown’s save; even when you
think his eyes and mind are elsewhere, he’s still on it. Every fall is
interrupted—every collapse, redressed. To count on rescue is what I take
away from it. What a beautiful idea.

Bradley eventually took a job as a cook at a hospital for the mentally
ill in Maine, where he worked for a decade. In 1977, he became itinerant
again, travelling the country, taking odd jobs and playing periodic gigs,
until 1994, when he returned to New York and his mother. They moved in
together again. Things didn’t get any easier. His nephew killed his
brother. He nearly died from an allergic reaction to penicillin.

In 2001, Bradley was introduced to Gabriel Roth, a co-founder of Daptone
Records. Roth took him to the producer Tom Brenneck, then the songwriter
and guitarist for the Bullets (later the Menahan Street Band); Brenneck
and Bradley began collaborating, messing around in the studio. Bradley
invented lyrics as he sang. They recorded a handful of 45s for Daptone.
Then, in 2011, at age sixty-two, Bradley released his début LP, “No Time
for Dreaming.” Two more records would follow: “Victim of Love,” in 2013,
and “Changes,” in 2016.

What does it mean to come into an audience at that age? Bradley had been
singing since he was a teen-ager, but it was surely a different feeling
to suddenly have his face featured on the cover of an album, to perform on television,
to sell out clubs. The hope, I think, is that we get a little less
guarded or self-conscious as we age. You begin to see the beauty in
being honest about your particular idiosyncrasies, or at least come to
recognize the futility of bucking against them. My sense is that we were
getting all of Bradley, unmitigated and pure. He didn’t have the time or
patience to mess around.

At some point, Bradley was given a nickname, the Screaming Eagle of
Soul, which suits him. There’s something indelicate about his voice.
It’s not sweet or teasing, like Otis Redding or Al Green, but tough,
raspy, and terrifically dense. He lands on each note squarely, like a
person slowly and deliberately climbing a staircase. There’s the melody,
which is delivered with precision, and then there are his shrieks, which
are often so guttural as to feel unreal, animalistic. I’ve often
wondered if Bradley simply endured the verses to get to the end—to the
moment at which he could dissolve. Roth, who also championed the soul
singer Sharon Jones (like Bradley, she released her début late in life,
at forty, and also died of cancer, in 2016), seems instinctively
attracted to these sorts of voices. (Anyone who believes she has a
record collection that showcases unapologetic vocalists would do well to
dip deeper into the Daptone catalogue.)

It’s temping to read narratives of heartache and loss as generative for
artists, and to presume that our best singers are capable of
metabolizing pain—of transforming it, via some mysterious alchemy, into
something different. This is a dangerous reading. Compelling art doesn’t
hinge on grief, and fury can devastate a person, rendering him callous,
remote. But sometimes it’s also plainly true that the anguish sparks the
work. In interviews, Bradley was frank about how his losses fed his
music. He admitted it all the time. When he sang, he often winced, as if
recalling some past slight. I remain struck by the immediacy of that
ache—how close to the surface it all seemed.

In 2016, Bradley recorded a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Changes,” from 1972. “I
feel unhappy, I feel so sad,” the song opens. It’s a lament: How does a
person reckon with regret, and the ways in which such feelings
transform us? About four minutes in, Bradley’s voice fractures in a way
that feels uncharacteristic: “It took so long / to realize / I can still
hear her / last goodbye.” I’m certain that some specific memory comes
back to him during the “I can still hear her” part, though of course
it’s impossible to say precisely what or whom he was thinking of. What’s
remarkable to me is that whatever it was remained accessible to him. To
survive what Bradley survived, yet to nonetheless resist the urge to
suffocate it—and instead to excavate it, draw it out—requires
extraordinary courage. Which is merely to say: Charles Bradley, you
already came back strong.

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September 25, 2017 at 06:36PM

JetBlue’s CEO Rides in the Back of the Plane

JetBlue’s CEO Rides in the Back of the Plane

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It’s generally expected that an airline’s CEO would fly up front in business class. But, as we learned at the APEX Expo in Long Beach today, JetBlue’s Chief Executive Robin Hayes leaves the carrier’s tremendously popular Mint cabin open for fare-paying customers.

“This thing’s been flying around three and a half years,” Hayes told hundreds of conference attendees. “On transcon, I’ve only gotten on it once, because it’s always full.”


JetBlue’s Mint product is hard to resist.

How did Hayes manage to eventually get on board? “I got on it recently only because there was a no show at the gate, and I was able to get in it. I have no issues sitting on any jump seat or in the back of the airplane when Mint is full, because it’s full of fare-paying customers.”

Of course, passengers aren’t exactly slumming it in the back. Every economy seat has a 10.1-inch HD screen and at least 33 inches of pitch — with up to 41 inches in Even More Space.

Robin Hayes JetBlue Mint

Currently, JetBlue offers Mint on 31 of its Airbus planes, and Hayes suggests that more routes could be on the way. As for what’s next? We should be hearing more about JetBlue’s potential entry into the transatlantic market — a decision is expected by the end of this year.

Would you turn down a guaranteed seat in first class?

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September 25, 2017 at 06:35PM

Want to Fly for $7? Get Yourself to Europe and You Can

Want to Fly for $7? Get Yourself to Europe and You Can

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European low-cost carrier Ryanair has had a rough couple of weeks, creating problems for thousands of passengers when it canceled more than 2,300 flights. Now, the carrier is trying to make amends by offering deeply discounted flights — some as little as £5 (~$6.75) one-way.

To try and make up for the cancellations, which were caused by a pilot shortage and lack of planning around pilot vacations, the carrier is holding a One Million Seats sale with slashed fares. Ryanair is advertising fares as low as €9.99, however we’re finding lower fares on select routes. You’ll find the reduced fares for travel between October 2017 and February 2018.

For example, you can fly from London’s Stansted Airport (STN) to Grenoble, France (GNB) for £4.99 in October.

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 11.47.29 AM

Prices as part of this sale average around £9.79 for many routes, which is a steal if you’re able to take advantage. (And, of course, assuming a pilot shows up and your flight doesn’t get canceled.) For example, this flight between Dublin (DUB) and Paris Beauvais (BVA) in October:

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 11.50.38 AM

… or from Cologne (CGN) to Barcelona (BCN) for €9.99 in November:

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.25.52 PM

It appears Ryanair is trying to make good with is customers and attempting to make flyers give the carrier another chance. Since the announcement that Ryanair would be cancelling flights en masse over the course of several weeks, CEO Michael O’Leary has faced backlash. Although he appeared apologetic toward customers, travelers were still understandably frustrated with their travel plans being nixed because of a lack of planning on the part of Ryanair.

If you are or plan to be in Europe and willing to give Ryanair a try, this could very well be worth looking into. It’s not often that you’ll find one-way fares for less than $7, so book now before they’re gone. Keep in mind that although you won’t be paying much for the ticket, the carrier’s fee-heavy policies are still around.

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September 25, 2017 at 06:07PM

Q&A: Wheelchair Racer Aron Anderson Has Another Mountain to Climb

Q&A: Wheelchair Racer Aron Anderson Has Another Mountain to Climb

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Photo

In 2015, Aron Anderson made a 15-hour climb to Trolltunga, a cliff in southwestern Norway overhanging Lake Ringedalsvatnet.

Credit
Peter Mattsson

At age 7, Aron Anderson was diagnosed with cancer. Two years later, doctors removed a tumor from his lower back and the boy who once loved to play soccer lost the use of his legs. But his wheelchair “changed my life,” said Mr. Anderson, 29, a native of Sweden. He began wheelchair racing competitively and has participated in four Paralympic Games. To challenge himself and raise money for the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation, he began making expeditions, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, biking from Malmö, Sweden to Paris and, last year, skiing across Antarctica, a monthlong journey that raised roughly $800,000. As a triathlete, he plans to compete in the handcycle division of the Ironman World Championship race in Hawaii in October. As an inspirational speaker, he travels frequently and his autobiography, “Opportunities,” was recently published in Sweden. The following are edited excerpts from a conversation with Mr. Anderson.

Q: How did you adjust to competing without using your legs?

A: I went to Florida to get my first racing wheelchair, and I remembered feeling that freedom to be able to go really fast and push my limits again, to be out of breath. I missed that feeling and my friends. There were hardships physically, but one of the things I missed the most was what you get from sports socially. I really missed hanging out with friends. Sports became important to get back to life and to make new friends.

How do you climb mountains when you are in a wheelchair?

I used a mountain bike, which I hand-drive. I can also use crutches. Near the top I crawled and pulled with my arms. It’s a mix of everything. A wheelchair is not great on a mountain.

Do you have any advice for travelers in wheelchairs?

It depends on your disability and the kind of wheelchair. It’s easy for my wheelchair to get lost if it’s put in cargo. I try to put it in the cabin with me. I fly economy and my wheelchair often flies business. You have to be nice to the staff and ask. You have to flirt a little bit. Flying is the least problematic if you travel. There are rules and regulations and people to help you. Travel by bus and train can be trickier and not as accessible. For hotels, I use Handiscover, a website that rates exactly how accessible each hotel is [Mr. Anderson is a paid representative of the company]. I find it can be a huge problem in some countries. When I biked from Sweden to Paris, I booked a Paris hotel with an elevator. But it was tiny and old and it only stopped at every other floor, and not mine.

Where would you like to travel yet?

I would love to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat. I want to go to Everest base camp. I don’t want to climb Everest. I don’t think it’s worth the risk for me. A lot of people without disabilities can’t climb Everest. I would like to climb Aconcagua. I’d like to get to the North Pole. I want to travel more in South America and go to Machu Picchu. I think Alaska would be amazing for heli-skiing.

What’s most rewarding about travel?

For me, life is about seeing new things and getting perspective. I was in Afghanistan this summer. We met disabled children to see how their lives are.A lot of these disabled kids had been tied up or shamed in their houses, not because their parents were evil but mostly because their parents didn’t know what to do. At the same time, they thought it was a punishment from God. It was one of the most difficult travel experiences, but also one that I cherish the most. I’m superprivileged. I’m in a wheelchair, but so what? With travel, you can see what things can be like. At the same time, you can visit the most beautiful places on earth. I appreciate both.

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September 25, 2017 at 05:39PM

A Dignified Day of Protest Against a Most Undignified President

A Dignified Day of Protest Against a Most Undignified President

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Sunday was “an N.F.L. day the likes of which we have never seen before,”
as Mike Tirico, the co-host of NBC Sunday Night Football, put it. Never
before has there been a protest of this sort against the inflammatory
remarks of a sitting President. The sight of so many huge men kneeling,
sitting, and linking arms spoke volumes. My colleagues Jelani
Cobb
and Doreen St.
Félix
have written eloquently about the meaning and historical context of the
protests. It is also worth listening to what the players, coaches, and
owners said about the ideas animating the day. Their words—thoughtful,
articulate, and uplifting—stand in stark contrast to Donald Trump, who,
on Friday, called on the N.F.L.’s team owners to fire the “sons of
bitches” who took a knee during the national anthem.

“I’ve been in the league a little while, and I know the players in this
league,” Jim Caldwell, the sixty-two-year-old coach of the Detroit
Lions, said on Sunday after his team lost a home game to the Atlanta
Falcons. “There are no S.O.B.’s in this league. These are men that work
hard, of integrity, they’re involved in our communities. They’re
fathers, they’re brothers and their mothers aren’t what [Trump] said
they were. And our guys, just like anything else, believe in unity,
civility, and also the First Amendment rights to peaceful expression and
freedom of speech.” One of Caldwell’s players, Akeem Spence, put things
more succinctly: “Right is right, wrong is wrong—and it was wrong. So we
came together and just made a statement.”

Sean Payton, the coach of the New Orleans Saints, questioned whether
Trump was up to the job of President. “I think we need a little bit more
wisdom in that office,” he said after his team’s victory over the
Carolina Panthers. “That’s being a little blunt, but that’s how I feel.
You know, I want that guy to be one of the smarter guys in the room. And
it seems like every time he’s opening his mouth, it’s something that is
dividing our country and not pulling us together.”

While many players and coaches focussed their comments on Trump, some of
them also referred directly to the issue that last year prompted Colin
Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, to begin
kneeling during the anthem: racial inequality and oppression. “As a
team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem,”
the Seattle Seahawks, who on Sunday stayed in their locker room during
the pregame ceremonies at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, said in a
statement. “We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people
of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of
the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those who would
deny our basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work
towards equality and justice for all.”

Watching on television, it seemed like practically all of the players
who knelt during the national anthem on Sunday were black. But many of
the white stars of the league, such as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers,
linked arms with their teammates in solidarity. “I certainly disagree
with what [Trump] said. I thought it was just divisive,” Tom Brady,
the quarterback of the New England Patriots, who is a friend of Trump’s,
said in an interview on Monday morning. “I believe in bringing people
together and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my
parents instilled in me.” Asked if he had heard the boos from some
members of the crowd at Foxborough, Brady acknowledged that he had. “If
you don’t agree, that is fine,” he said. “You can voice your
disagreement, I think that is great. It’s part of our democracy. As long
as it is done in a peaceful, respectful way, that is what our country
has been all about.”

The protest extended beyond players: some team owners joined in,
including Shad Khan, of the Jaguars; Daniel Snyder, of the Redskins; and
Christopher Johnson, the acting owner of the New York Jets. Notably,
Khan and Snyder both donated money to Trump’s election campaign; the
full-time owner of the Jets, Woody Johnson, is Trump’s ambassador to
London. Perhaps the most surprising rebuke of the President came from
his friend Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots. “I am deeply
disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on
Friday,” Kraft said in a statement. “There is no greater unifier in this
country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than
politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the
lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a
common goal. Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply
about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect
social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most
impactful.”

Among the most powerful comments came in a postgame interview with Mike
Tomlin, of the Steelers, who, in 2007, became the tenth African-American
head coach in the N.F.L., and who, in 2008, became the youngest head
coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl. “They were not going to be
disrespectful to the anthem but at the same time many of them were not
going to accept the words of the President,” Tomlin said, in
explaining why almost his entire team had chosen to stay in the locker
room before the game.

“To be quite honest with you, I didn’t appreciate our football team
being dragged into politics this weekend, and I’m sure that’s a global
perspective,” Tomlin said. “But we are blessed to do this for a living,
and so with the blessing comes responsibility. We understand that. We
understand that we are given a platform that is a unique one.” Anybody
that is involved with football also has a high level of tolerance and
understanding, Tomlin added. “We feel bad for people that aren’t
involved in football, that don’t get an opportunity to have a brother
that’s very different to him next to him that he has to rely on, so you
gain understanding.”

“We will not be divided by this,” Tomlin went on. “We’ve got a group of
men in there, man, that come from different social-economic backgrounds,
races, creeds, ethnicities, religions, and so forth. That’s football.
That’s a lot of team sports. But because of our position, we get dragged
into politics . . . And so, some have opinions. Some don’t. We wanted to
protect those that don’t. We wanted to protect those that do. We came to
play a football game here today, and that was our intention.”

Tomlin and the rest of the coaches and players in the N.F.L. played more
than a dozen football games on Sunday. But they also did much more than
that.

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September 25, 2017 at 05:24PM

A Skier’s Fancy — Atomic Backland 95 Ski Review

A Skier’s Fancy — Atomic Backland 95 Ski Review

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Blase Reardon

Atomic Backland

Atomic Backland 95. Click images to enlarge.

“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love,” claimed Tennyson*. This no-longer-young skier, however, fancies light gear and turns on big peaks and steep lines in variable snow conditions. And this past spring, WildSnow stepped in with some light gear — Atomic Backland 95 skis (177 cm) with Atomic Backland Tour Bindings (with brakes) and Hybrid Prefit skins — so I could pursue my modified Tennysonian fancies.

First, a word about my skiing style and preferences. My skiing relies on balance more than strength or power, in large part because I learned to ski in leather boots on double cambered Nordic skis. I’ve been on true alpine skis and boots less than half dozen times in my life, and those were all cheap rentals. Lou has called my skiing “smooth.” Doesn’t always feel that way, but I’ll take it.

Despite, or because of, learning on narrow skis, I like mid-fat skis. Better term: boards. Any skis with less than a 100 mm waist feel like twigs waving in the wind. For boots, I split my time between SCARPA Maestrales and SCARPA F1, the first light touring boot whose flex fits my style. I skied the Atomics with the SCARPA F1.

With the setup, I lapped Colorado corn at Independence Pass, wandered around the west side of Snowmass Peak, and as a final exam, skied them on a three-day climb and descent of Mount Rainier (Kautz Glacier). This was a nearly full range of conditions, especially on Rainier: ripe and over-ripe corn, faux corn, islands of wind-drifted cream of wheat, and very loud refrozen crust. The only conditions missing were fresh snow and hot pow.

My favorable first impressions quickly turned to love. The skis were perfect for classic spring-time shenanigans. They initiated turns easily, did not chatter or hook on firm snow, and landed solidly on hop turns. They were sooo smooth on the corn. Most importantly, they were light enough to haul up over 10,000 vertical feet, yet didn’t leave me wanting a wider, beefier ski on the descent. The combination of a full-length carbon insert, moderate rocker, sidewall, and a traditional camber seems well-suited to spring-time conditions.

I did not ski the Backland in deep winter powder, but did use them on plenty of soft snow and they felt fine. Considering their rocker and reasonable width, I see no reason why they wouldn’t be acceptable if not exceptional in the fluff. While these skis flex in a nice looking curve, they’re not particularly soft. I’d call it a “medium” flex. In other words, your body weight could be a factor in how the Backland skis; scrawny speedsters might find them too stiff.

Backland tails have what could be called 'average' rocker. It's definitely there.

Backland tails have what could be called ‘average’ rocker. It’s definitely there.

Effective tip rocker makes for a smooth ride on thawing corn snow.

Effective tip rocker makes for a smooth ride on thawing corn snow.

While I’ve used tech bindings almost exclusively since 2002, the Atomic Backland Tours were the first race or minimalist style tech binding I’ve tried. It was sometimes tricky to get my boots in the toe fittings. I’m used to the Dynafit roll; a straight toe-in works better with these, though Atomic’s “patented step-in aid” isn’t foolproof, even with practice. I’m 185 pounds, used the medium spring/pin, and never had the bindings come off. Dynafit ski crampons worked well; the cut-out on my B and D ski crampons proved too narrow.

The climbing aids (heel lifters) and brakes are the features that sold me on these bindings. Though I’m not usually a fan of flip-up risers, I found the version on these bindings to be straightforward. Perhaps it’s because the entire heel unit rotates in either direction and the risers work regardless of heel position.

The brake system was light enough that it didn’t feel superfluous on a long, multi-day trip. I grew to love having the brakes in high consequences terrain; so much less worry of losing a ski when I took it off my pack and set it down on frozen snow. The brakes lock out of the way in the up position for a flat touring position but must be unlocked to ski. That’s easy, though I don’t remember if I figured out a way to do it without taking off a ski or bending over.

I ditched the PreFit skins after my first tour with them, and switched to another set with conventional glue. The adhesive just didn’t hold in wet conditions. The skins are made by Contour, please note I use a pair of their skins with my daily drivers in mid winter, when Contour’s idiosyncratic adhesive works well. Everything in its time.

When I was done with my testing, I told Lou the airlines had lost the skis and bindings. He’s too smart to buy that line. He’s probably tried it himself. But I’m definitely looking to add the setup to my limited quiver (three skis total) for next spring.

Tips have optionally used skin notches, worked fine for me. Red edges are a thinner profile area that's labeled 'hrzn tech."

Tips have optionally used skin notches, worked fine for me. Red edges are a thinner profile area that’s canted up from the plane of the running surface, idea being easily initiated turns and less catching of the tip edges in difficult snow. This configuration is labeled ‘hrzn tech. Apparently it worked, though I didn’t notice any specific, easily identified effect.”

*Note: SCARPA F1 boots were a great match with these skis. The Atomic Backland Carbon, which I’ve also skied regularly, would work as well.

(WildSnow guest blogger Blase Reardon works as an avalanche forecaster for the Colorado CAIC, Western Slope. He spends most winter days outside — on skis. Somehow, after months of that, he’s still up for Mount Rainier. More about Blase here.)

*”Locksley Hall,” Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Shop for Atomic backcountry skis here.

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September 25, 2017 at 05:24PM

Uber CEO Apologizes for London Mistakes and Knows Company Must Change

Uber CEO Apologizes for London Mistakes and Knows Company Must Change

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Kirsty Wigglesworth  / Associated Press

The Uber website is displayed on a phone in London, September 22, 2017. Uber CEO Darakhosrowshahi apologized for the company’s behavior in London. Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press

Skift Take: Expect Uber’s leadership to be outspoken about the company’s missteps and how it’s trying to change over the next few years. This is only the beginning.

— Andrew Sheivachman

The new CEO of Uber offered contrition for past mistakes on Monday, just days after London’s transport authority said it would scrap the company’s operating license.

Dara Khosrowshahi issued a letter to London’s Evening Standard newspaper acknowledging that the company “has got things wrong along the way” as it expanded. He confirmed the company will appeal the London decision but will do so “with the knowledge that we must also change.”

“We won’t be perfect, but we will listen to you; we will look to be long-term partners with the cities we serve; and we will run our business with humility, integrity and passion,” he wrote.

The city’s transportation agency, Transport for London, said last week it would not renew Uber’s license when it expires Sept. 30, citing a lack of corporate responsibility and concern for public security.

The company has been subject to scandals over its management style from accusations of sexism to the illegal use of software to trick regulators. The regulator said it was not fit to keep operating in London, where it has 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers.

Uber has long been a target of complaints from taxi drivers and companies. Cab drivers say Uber drivers don’t have to comply with the same licensing standards, giving the ride-hailing service an unfair advantage.

The apologetic letter comes after days of tense exchanges between Uber representatives and Mayor Sadiq Khan, who said any operator of taxi services in the city “needs to play by the rules” and that people angry about the decision should blame the ride-hailing company.

Copyright (2017) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article was written by Danica Kirka from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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September 25, 2017 at 05:04PM

Air France’s “Millennial Airline” Joon Begins Flying in December; Fares Start at ‎€39 One-Way

Air France’s “Millennial Airline” Joon Begins Flying in December; Fares Start at ‎€39 One-Way

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Joon, the millennial-targeted Air France subsidiary, will take flight beginning December 1, 2017. The carrier, which its parent company Air France describes as a hybrid between low-cost and traditional carriers, will target 18-35-year-olds as it launches service in Europe.

The carrier announced that beginning December 1, 2017, Joon will launch service from its base in Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to four European cities: Barcelona (BCN; 51x weekly flights), Berlin (TXL; 37x weekly flights), Lisbon (LIS; 28x weekly flights) and Porto (OPO; 3x weekly flights). Fares for these new routes start at 39 euro one-way. Then, beginning summer 2018, Joon will extend its route network to two long-haul destinations: Fortaleza, Brazil (FOR; 2x weekly flights) and Mahe, Seychelles (SEZ; 3x weekly flights). The long-haul routes will start at 249 euros and 299 euros for FOR and SEZ service, respectively.

For the carrier’s launch, Joon will employ Air France flight attendants and pilots. The carrier’s fleet will consist of A320, A321, A340 and A350 aircraft.

Joon’s strategy in targeting millennials seems a bit forced. In its most recent press release, Joon CEO Jean-Michel Mathieu said, “To create Joon, we worked together to define a new offer in the air transport industry, in a spirit of creativity, innovation and agility. Joon is Air France’s little sister, who breaks tradition and takes inspiration from the new expectations of travellers to offer an experience that goes beyond the aircraft doors.” The carrier then goes on to tell potential customers that “Joon is a fashion brand, a rooftop bar, an entertainment channel, a personal assistant… and Joon does flying too!”

(Joon is pronounced somewhat similarly to the French jeune, or “young.”)

The carrier has two planned classes of service, business and economy. Business-class passengers will get free catering with a paid option for economy passengers. Travelers will get free non-alcoholic drinks and access to YouJoon, the carrier’s in-flight streaming service. Each seat will offer a USB port, and business-class passengers will get a virtual reality headset on long-haul flights.

As for the look of the carrier, it’s emphasizing its electric blue and white color scheme. Flight attendants will be outfitted in a uniform that it’s calling “chic sportswear,” made up of “classic and modern garments.”

Joon
Image by Lionel Bonaventure / Getty Images.

If you’re interested in trying out Joon, tickets to its first four destinations are now bookable. We’re seeing many fares at the carrier’s 39-euro level. For example, you can fly round-trip between Paris (CDG) and Berlin (TXL) for 77 euro.

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Joon doesn’t have a website itself. Instead, you’ll book through Air France. If you’re looking to continue your trip past any of Joon’s destination offerings, you’ll be able to connect at CDG via Air France. Joon said in its press release that there is the possibility of earning and using Flying Blue miles when traveling with the carrier. However, at the time of writing, that option is not yet available.

Featured image by Lionel Bonaventure / Getty Images. 

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September 25, 2017 at 04:35PM