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New survey finds Air Canada flight attendants among the rudest in North America

- April 24th, 2014
(Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

(Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

A new survey from travel website Airfarewatchdog.com has revealed that travellers find Air Canada flight attendants to be the rudest among the Canadian carriers and second rudest overall in North America.

This comes just a week after the airline had to apologize when baggage handlers were caught on video tossing luggage from the top of a staircase.

Airfarewatchdog.com surveyed 3,400 flyers, asking them to name the U.S. airlines with the rudest flight attendants. U.S. budget carrier Spirit Airlines touched down in top spot, with 26% of votes. Air Canada was second with 14% of votes and was the only Canadian carrier to make the list.

When contacted by CTVNews.ca, Air Canada spokesperson Angela Mah said that she couldn’t comment on the survey’s methodology, but did say “our monthly customer satisfaction surveys done by an independent organization shows in-flight service satisfaction continue trending upwards.”

Related: Seven ways to annoy a flight attendant

Related: World’s best flight attendants are from…

Frontier Airlines was third with 11% of the votes, followed by Virgin America (9%), Allegiant (8%) and United (7%). Flyers deemed flight attendants with Alaska and Southwest to be the nicest, having received just 1% of votes each.

Airfarewatchdog.com weighted the survey results by number of passengers who flew between January and October 2013 to account for the differences in airline size.

What do you wear when flying? Jessica Biel amazed that “grown women” wear pajamas at airport

- April 15th, 2014
Actress Jessica Biel arrives at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Actress Jessica Biel arrives at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Jessica Biel wants “grown ass women” to stop wearing their pajamas to the airport.

The actress, best known for her role on the late-90s TV show 7th Heaven and for movies like Total Recall, said she was “amazed by the amount of grown ass women wearing pajamas in airports” in a post on her Twitter account last weekend.

As was reported by celebrity gossip site Just Jared, Biel added that she was “all about an elastic waistband,” before giving a possibly sarcastic “shout out to adults wearing pajamas in airports.”

(Twitter.com/JessicaBiel)

(Twitter.com/JessicaBiel)

While it’s possible pajamas should be saved for the bedroom, comfortable, breathable clothing is still a necessity for sometimes cramped economy-class flights that can last longer than the work day.

Here are four must-have items travellers need for comfortable long-haul flights. What do you wear when you fly? Share your tips and tricks in the comment section below.

Clockwise: Old Navy socks, starting at $5, oldnavy.ca; Walmart Allegro neck pillow and eyemask set, $12.97, walmart.ca; Tilley AdventureCloth Classic Pants, $135, tilley.com

Clockwise: Old Navy socks, starting at $5, oldnavy.ca; Walmart Allegro neck pillow and eyemask set, $12.97, walmart.ca; Tilley AdventureCloth Classic Pants, $135, tilley.com

1. Comfortable clothing: Tight clothing worn in tight spaces for an extended period of time can make you seriously uncomfortable.  Look for loose-fitting, wrinkle-free clothing in breathable fabrics — Independent Traveler suggests cotton or linen — to keep you feeling cozy through the flight. You don’t need to wear pajama bottoms, but you shouldn’t wear skinny jeans either.

2. Clean socks: Some travellers find their feet swell on long-haul flights. Store your shoes in the overhead compartment and bring along a pair of comfy, clean socks to switch into once you board the plane. The Huffington Post suggests flyers may also want to speak to their pharmacists about compression stockings or socks, which help improve blood circulation and prevent deep vein thrombosis.

Related: Chic travel gear for spring trips

3. Sunglasses and neck pillow: Shut out distractions and beat jet lag by catching up on your sleep during the flight. A pair of oversized sunglasses or an eye mask will help block light, while a plush neck pillow is a must for head support.  Even if you plan to watch a movie or read, having the support of neck pillow can be welcome on a long flight.

4. Layer with scarves or wraps: When you dress in layers, you’re prepared for any temperature you encounter during boarding, in-flight or after you land, say the experts at About.com. A scarf or wrap becomes a blanket to keep you warm in the sometimes chilly airplane cabin.

Sweet honey cocktails and beignets from Portland’s Provenance Hotels

- April 14th, 2014
Honeybee hives on the rooftop of Provenance Hotels, Portland. (Courtesy Provenance Hotels)

Honeybee hives on the rooftop of Provenance Hotels, Portland. (Courtesy Provenance Hotels)

Things are getting sweeter in Portland, Oregon thanks to Provenance Hotels.

The chain’s Hotel Lucia, Hotel deLuxe and Sentinel properties have teamed with Bee Local, an artisan honey producer from Portland, to become the first hotels in the city with sustainable honeybee hives on their rooftops.

The honey will be harvested and used in drinks and food at the three downtown Portland hotels’ restaurants and will also be sold in the honour bars for $6 a pot.

“We are passionate about supporting local companies and offering visitors authentic, unique experiences,” said Bashar Wali, president of Provenance Hotels, in a press release. “Nothing could exemplify that better than knowing some of the honey our guests enjoy at our hotels was made on site.”

Why not try creating one of Provenance Hotels’ new honey cocktails or a plate of sweet beignets in your own home?

The chain has shared two recipes for their honey-infused cocktails, as well as a recipe for local honey beignets from Hotel Lucia’s Chef Vitaly Paley below.

Local Honey 1 1/2 pz Aria gin 1/2 oz Farigoule French wild thyme liqueur 3/4 oz Bee Local honey 1 oz fresh lemon juice  Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with a piece of honeycomb

Local Honey cocktail – Courtesy Hotel deLuxe
1 1/2 oz Aria gin
1/2 oz Farigoule French wild thyme liqueur
3/4 oz Bee Local honey
1 oz fresh lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a piece of honeycomb.

Harlequin 1 oz London Dry Gin .5 oz Aperol .5 oz lemon juice  .25 oz honey  3 oz sparkling brut rose

Harlequin cocktail – Courtesy Hotel Lucia
1 oz London Dry Gin
.5 oz Aperol
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 oz honey
3 oz sparkling brut rose
Build all ingredients except sparkling rose in mixing tin, add ice and shake. Double strain into chilled coupe glass and finish with sparkling rose. Garnish with orange peel.

1.5 ounces fresh yeast 9 ounces warm water 10 eggs ½ cup sugar 2# flour ½ tsp. cinnamon 3 Tbsp. salt 11 ounces soft butter powdered sugar 1 cup Bee Local honey  Combine yeast, water, eggs.  Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix with paddle attachment for 2 minutes.  Scrape down, add butter, mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.  Turn into greased bowl, cover and let rest 30 minutes.  Fold and re-cover.  Let rest another 30 minutes.  Turn out onto floured surface, roll out to ¼” and cut beignets.  Arrange on GREASED parchment.  Freeze immediately or let rest 30 minutes then fry in 350 degree till golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes.  Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with powdered sugar, drizzle liberally with honey and serve immediately.

Bee Local honey beignets – Courtesy Hotel Lucia
1.5 ounces fresh yeast
9 ounces warm water
10 eggs
½ cup sugar
2 cup flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. salt
11 ounces soft butter
powdered sugar
1 cup Bee Local honey
Combine yeast, water, eggs. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix with paddle attachment for 2 minutes. Scrape down, add butter, mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn into greased bowl, cover and let rest 30 minutes. Fold and re-cover. Let rest another 30 minutes. Turn out onto floured surface, roll out to ¼” and cut beignets. Arrange on greased parchment. Freeze immediately or let rest 30 minutes then fry in 350 degree till golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with powdered sugar, drizzle liberally with honey and serve immediately.

Tour New Zealand like Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince George

- April 8th, 2014
Britain's Prince William, his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George disembark from their plane after arriving in Wellington April 7, 2014. The Prince and his wife Kate are undertaking a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George.  REUTERS/Phil Noble

Prince William, his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George disembark from their plane after arriving in Wellington April 7, 2014. The Prince and his wife Kate are undertaking a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Prince William, his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and baby son Prince George have arrived in New Zealand for a three week tour of the country and neighbouring Australia. It’s the first time in New Zealand for Duchess Kate and Prince George and is the royal trio’s first official tour as a new family.

During the New Zealand leg of the trip, the royal family will take in three North Island and three South Island regions. Prince William and Duchess Kate will visit a local vineyard for a wine tasting, meet with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and take a jet boat ride on the famed Shotover River (see photos of their jet boat ride here), as well as attend more formal ceremonies and functions.

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, holds her son Prince George after disembarking their plane with her husband Britain's Prince William in Wellington April 7, 2014. The Prince and his wife Kate are undertaking a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, holds her son Prince George after disembarking their plane with her husband Britain’s Prince William in Wellington April 7, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Britain's Prince William (centre 2nd L-with sunglasses) and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (centre 2nd R-in sunglasses), take a ride on the "Shotover Jet" in the New Zealand city of Queenstown on April 13, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / Fiona Goodall

Britain’s Prince William (centre 2nd L-with sunglasses) and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (centre 2nd R-in sunglasses), take a ride on the “Shotover Jet” in the New Zealand city of Queenstown on April 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Fiona Goodall

Travellers who want to experience the places and activities the Duke and Duchess will over the next nine days can find inspiration for their own travels in a new royal tour-themed itinerary from Tourism New Zealand.

The suggested itinerary starts in the “City of Sails,” Auckland. Here, guests can take a wine trail or forest walk before trying the Explore: America’s Cup Sailing Experience. Prince William and Kate will square off on the Auckland harbour for their own America’s Cup race during their New Zealand tour.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge at the Viaduct Basin to sail with Team New Zealand. (WENN.com)

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge at the Viaduct Basin in Auckland to sail with Team New Zealand. (WENN.com)

From Auckland, head to Hobbiton, a picturesque village of 44 Hobbit hole homes and a top filming location for Peter Jackson and his The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. After your tour, stop for a mug of sobering thought ale at the Green Dragon Inn.

Experience Maori culture like Prince William and Duchess Kate did upon arriving in New Zealand in Hamilton and Rotorua. Enjoy an afternoon at the geothermal and boiling mud pools and witness first-hand a traditional Maori feast and cultural performance at the Mitai Maori Village.

Prince William (C) and his wife Catherine (L) meet a Maori warrior during a welcoming ceremony at Government House in Wellington on April 7, 2014.  Britain's Prince William, his wife Kate and their son Prince George are on a three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia.    AFP PHOTO / MARTY MELVILLE

Prince William and his wife Catherine meet a Maori warrior during a welcoming ceremony at Government House in Wellington on April 7, 2014. AFP PHOTO / MARTY MELVILLE

Carry on to Wellington where you can unleash your inner foodie at some of New Zealand’s top restaurants on the Zest Food Tour, followed by a visit to the Zealandia eco sanctuary to see some of the country’s most unique birds and animals in the wild.

Britain's Prince William (R) and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (C), walk with New Zealand film maker Peter Jackson (L) around the Omaka Aviation Museum in the New Zealand city of Blenheim on April 10, 2014. AFP PHOTO / POOL / TIM CUFF

Britain’s Prince William (R) and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (C), walk with New Zealand film maker Peter Jackson (L) around the Omaka Aviation Museum in the New Zealand city of Blenheim on April 10, 2014. AFP PHOTO / POOL / TIM CUFF

Plan to continue your visit to this region by taking the ferry from Wellington across the Marlborough Sounds to Picton, then Blenheim. Here, Prince William and Duchess Kate will be given a tour of Peter Jackson’s private World War I aircraft collection at the Omaka Aviation Heritage centre by the director himself (see photos of their tour with Jackson here).

To discover more of Tourism New Zealand’s suggested stops for a royal-inspired tour of the country, visit newzealand.com.

Set sail with MasterChef on a cruise of the Caribbean

- April 7th, 2014
MasterChef U.S.A. (Courtesy Fox)

MasterChef U.S.A. (Courtesy FOX)

MasterChef Canada is back on television tonight with the six remaining Canadian home chefs ready to uncover their Mystery Boxes and cook to stay alive for a $100,000 prize.

Fans of the cooking competition and the equally-popular U.S. version, which features Michelin-starred chefs Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot as judges, will want to beat the pressure test and book tickets now for the first ever MasterChef cruise of the Caribbean.

Elliot and past U.S. winners Christine Ha and Lucas Manfe, plus the very first MasterChef Junior winner Alexander Weiss, will be aboard for the cruise, which will set sail for a week-long voyage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Nov. 8, 2014.

Alexander Weiss of MasterChef Junior and Lucas Manfe and Christine Ha of MasterChef. (Courtesy FOX)

Alexander Weiss of MasterChef Junior and Lucas Manfe and Christine Ha of MasterChef. (Courtesy FOX)

Sailing on the luxury Holland America MS Westerdam ship, guests have the chance to attend cooking demonstrations on deck, take part in contests and meet their favourite MasterChef winners. Plenty of dining engagements are also on the itinerary, as is the chance to disembark and explore one of the ship’s many Caribbean ports of call, from Turks and Caicos to Puerto Rico to the Bahamas.

“The MasterChef Cruise gives fans an incredibly unique opportunity to have an immersive experience with one of the best chefs in the world, Graham Elliot, and some of the most talented and beloved winners of the MasterChef franchise, Christine, Luca and Alexander, while travelling through one of the most beautiful parts of the world,” said Vivi Zigler, president of MasterChef’s production company, Shine America.

The ship returns to port in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 15, 2014. For more information or to book your ticket on the MasterChef cruise, visit masterchefcruise.com.