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Business Traveller

The Very Best of BUSINESS TRAVELLER: Open Skies Starts March 28th; A390 Super Jumbo Impresses; Staying Fit & Healthy on the Road; A New Way to Turn the Page; Plenty to do at the Sydney, Australia Harbor.

Aired February 09, 2008 - 03:30   ET


RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER. I'm Richard Quest, this month, reporting from pool side. These idealic surroundings are the perfect place for us to take breath and look back. So on this month's show it's the very best of last year's BUSINESS TRAVELLER.
Coming up, the freedom to fly. New routes, new possibilities with Open Skies.

A little bottle of goodness. Oil is well and good in the air.

And life on the harbor, sunrise to sunset, all from this month's CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER.

March the 28th is the date that should be etched into the diaries of every frequent trans-Atlantic traveler because that's the date when Open Skies comes into effect. Now, you'll know, of course, Open Skies is the agreement between the United States and the European Union to completely deregulate air travel between the two continents.

The pieces are in place. The battle lines have been drawn. In one of the most ambitious aviation agreements ever undertaken, the European Union is on one side, the United States of America, the other. And the prize? Trans-Atlantic air space is in between.

From as far back as 1946, regulations and restrictions governed these skies, which carrier could fly where and how often. It fostered little competition and kept many players out.

Now, after 11 rounds of fierce political maneuvering, the two sides are in the same camp. And come March 28, 2008, the skies will finally be opened.

Over five years the two sides went hammer and tongs, thrashing out the agreement. To find out what it was really like in that negotiating room, well, you've got to talk to one of the negotiators. Who better than the top man?

Daniel Kahaga (ph) is the chief E.U. negotiator for Open Skies.

So this is the room where the negotiation took place?


QUEST: Where did you sit?

All right. Have a seat.

Where did your U.S. opposite number sit?

KAHAGA (ph): Just in front. There you are.

In the back, we had industry and the stakeholders on both sides, the European, the airlines, the pilots, the airports, the CRS -- all the stakeholders -- cargo -- and behind the U.S., the U.S. industry.

QUEST: If business travelers believe Open Skies will bring price wars, we could be seriously disappointed.

KEVIN DONE, FINANCIAL TIMES: The vast majority of business-class seats will be sold through corporate deals. Those are corporate discounts. The economy fare is already there. There are really attractive deals to get across the Atlantic. If you compare it mile for mile, it's cheaper than flying low cost in Europe.

QUEST: In theory, Open Skies promises plenty. Practically, some argue, it won't deliver. High in the sky perhaps, but at the very least, almost 50 years of tight restrictions are finally lifted.

Open Skies really does promise to be a sea change in the way we cross the oceans. And in April's program, we'll be looking at the winners and the losers, the new routes and, most important, how it all affects the frequent flyer. That's April's show on Open Skies.

Last October, there was a milestone in aviation, the sort that comes along rarely, indeed, the entry into service of the A380, the Super Jumbo. The inaugural flight went from Singapore to Sidney. And to be sure, it was a couple of years late and many billions of dollars over budget. But nonetheless, it was a great day for aviation.

Let's put the A380's size into perspective. Compared to a Boeing 747- 400, the A380 is five meters taller, nearly four meters longer. It's the same length as 7.5 London buses all in a row. It has an awesome wing span of 79.8 meters. That's 18 meters wider than a 747. And the plane is certified to carry more than 800 people, although most airlines will only have around 500 passengers. So there's lots of space for airlines to play with.

And Singapore Airlines is the first to show how this extra room can be put to use. The A380 is no longer a blank canvas.

So what's on board that helps passengers while away the time? There was plenty to eat and drink and watch, but no bars, casinos or gyms promised by other airlines. Instead, the space has been given to passengers.

Well, the first thing to mention is it does feel a bit more roomy. There is a few extra inches of leg room. When you recline, because the seat is thinner and has been constructed more differently, it doesn't just go back. It slides out. So even me, at 6'2", can sit here, just about cross my legs without bashing the lady in front.

I'm not bashing you, am I?


QUEST: What do you think about the economy section?


QUEST: The business-class seats on the A380 are, in many ways, contemplatively (ph) have not been perceived before. Just take a look. It's a one, two, one configuration. No ridiculously complicated machinery. It just folds down quickly and easily.

As I move up towards the nose, it becomes clear it takes a lot of people to make this plane fly, one person, particularly.

How heavy was this plane on take off?

ROBERT TING, PILOT: We were at 468 tons. Not very heavy. This plane can take at 569 tons.

QUEST: And the foreengines, how much fuel are they sipping as we're going along?

TING: We are at least burning about 12,000 kilograms of fuel total, four engines. 12,000 kilograms per hour.

QUEST: 12,000 kilograms per hour?

TING: Yes, per hour. So that is about 15,000 liters.

QUEST: How many times have you actually flown this plane with a full load of passengers in the back?

TING: This is the first day. This is the first day on the 380 where I have so many passengers on board this flight. Before today, it was either empty aircraft. We trained on the aircraft and there was even no seat in the cabin, just bare wires.

QUEST: At the very front, just behind where the captain sits, are the luxury first-class suites, with the now-famous double beds.

There's only really one question that most passengers are asking on the plane -- how much did you pay for your seat? Because in a unique way of selling them off, Singapore Airlines did it by auction.

How much did you all have to pay for your ticket?


QUEST: $1,500 U.S.



QUEST: $2,500? Economy or...


QUEST: In business class though, others had to pay much, much more.

UNIDENTIFIED PASSENGER: We paid $15,000 U.S. for the two seats.

QUEST: The question then becomes: Was it worth it?


UNIDENTIFIED PASSENGER: Are you kidding? It's an atmosphere that I don't think you'll ever feel again on an aircraft.


QUEST: And at the front end, with a brand new first-class suite, prices were sky high.

The star bidder was Julian Hayward, a 38-year-old Internet millionaire, who paid $100,000 for what is always the most coveted seat on the plane.

JULIAN HAYWARD, HIGHEST AUCTION BIDDER: Well, it's a chance to be in a small piece of aviation history. It's a chance to give to three excellent charities. And it's a chance to experience this, the atmosphere of today is turbo charged. It's fun.

QUEST: Singapore Airlines has already received its second A380 and will receive the third plane in March, when it will be used to fly from Singapore to London's Heathrow.

Coming up after the break, staying fit and healthy on the road.

And a new way to turn the page, in a moment.


QUEST: There! Welcome back to CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER. I've finally made it into the gym, one of the rare occasions when I actually do some exercise on the road. And yet keeping fit and healthy is so important in our troubling life.

While in Zurich, I met the fitness therapist Rachel Whiteside. And she gave me some excellent exercises. And the best part about them, they can be done in the comfort of your hotel room.

RACHEL WHITESIDE, FITNESS THERAPIST, BODYFLOW: Richard, good morning. Are you ready to go? Are feeling good? No, you're feeling a bit of jet lag? You're feeling a bit tired?

The first thing we're going to do, let's drink a glass of water.

QUEST: Why am I drinking water?

WHITESIDE: Because you need to rehydrate your system. You've been flying. You're dehydrated. You want to get your liver, your kidney, everything functioning well throughout the day.

QUEST: Right.

WHITESIDE: Your hand on your tummy. Nice deep breath, breathing right through to your lower abdomen. So, into the nose. Keep the shoulders down. And let it out.

QUEST: How many of these should I be doing?

WHITESIDE: Two or three is enough. You don't want to over ventilate.

OK, let's do some stretching. Taking your arms up nice and high, really stretch up, really stretch up. Take another deep breath in and out.

OK, let's just take one side over. You really bend over. A bit more stretch and really feel the sides there stretching. You're stretching your lower back muscles, the muscles that you're sitting all day on and in the plane, at the laptop. And it's getting tight.

OK, let's go to the other side. Arm up. Really stretch it out and take it over. Good. OK.

Right, now let's just go to the bathroom because I want to show you how you can make use of some of the things in there.

QUEST: The bathroom? Are you mad?

Small, but cozy. We have to make the best of what we've got, don't we Rachel?

WHITESIDE: Nice stable surface. Take your arms. Take your legs back and just pull in your tummy. Take your head down and just hold on to the sink and just gently pull back. What you're doing here is stretching your lower back. Now take a breath in.

QUEST: This is important stuff. It would help your back make it through the day.

WHITESIDE: Stick your back out and just bring up your chin (ph).

Let's take it back into the bedroom. We're going to find a chair or something so we can do a few more stretches.

QUEST: A chair.

WHITESIDE: So we're going to stretch these neck muscles. So I want you to take opposite hand to opposite ear. And the other free hand, take it behind your back. And you're just going to gently pull across.

OK. Now what you've got to do is keep that shoulder down. The shoulder where your hand is behind your back, you want to keep that low. Keep it right down. And then you're going to feel that stretch a lot more.

OK, great. That's good. OK.

QUEST: That feels rather good.

Staying fit and healthy on the road involves more than just going to the gym. It also includes eating properly. For instance, having olive oil with your salad and with bread.

Premium passengers in first and business class on many airlines already have such an option. You'll be familiar with the little bottle of olive oil. I went to Perugia to visit the olive groves and see where that bottle comes from.

And the journey starts here, the olive groves that surround Monte Vibiano. Lorenzo Fasola is the man who oversees the whole operation.

What's the time from picking the olives off the trees to pouring the oil on the plane?

LORENZO FASOLA, CEO, MONTE VIBIANO: We pick the olives, press them and in one month and a half, it has to be on the plane.

QUEST: But these olives, even if they get to full growth, they are not the same size as the olives you would have with a drink?

FASOLA: It's the same like the grapes. There are grapes that you eat and grapes that you're use it for the wines. Same happens for the olives.

QUEST: This is what you produce. How many olives does it take to make the olive oil for this bottle?

FASOLA: More or less, this quantity together. That's one single portion of olive oil.

QUEST: Those single portions are what it's all about. Once on board the aircraft, they become the ingredient X to transform the flavor of high- altitude cuisine, with the passengers themselves deciding how much to use.

But convincing the airlines was no easy task for Lorenzo.

FASOLA: We have to go and say why original olive oil was good up in the sky. Because I think that every single plate you have on board, even if you have the best chef possible, all the ingredients that you can put, at the end of the day, they are dry. And the extra virgin olive oil on top just make the possibility to all the flavor come out again.

QUEST: Lorenzo works with all the major airlines, providing the spoke (ph) blends. Different combinations are one thing. But the taste of pure fresh olive oil, that's another.

Do You actually drink it?

FASOLA: Yes, I drink it. Try. You will taste something completely different. These things you cannot find in a market because the shelf life, it goes immediately away. You see the power?

QUEST: Lorenzo has gone a step further to preserve this goodness. Castello Monte Vibiano is the only producer that freezes its olive oil. In other words, the olives are picked, pressed, bottled and then frozen, all on the same day.

At the moment, your product is business class and first class?


QUEST: Is anybody putting your product in economy? And are you getting ready for that?

FASOLA: I'm getting ready, but we are just talking. Very soon.

QUEST: For the moment, if you're lucky enough to fly at the front of the plane, you may find a little bottle that tantalizes your taste buds.

And when we come back, life in the harbor, sunrise to sunset.


QUEST: Welcome back to CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER, where I have forsaken the swimming pool for the delights of the beach and the Pacific Ocean. There are few places more perfect than the beach for sitting down and enjoying a good book. And this year, you may be tempted by one of the new range of eReaders that are on the market, electronic books instead of the old paperback variety.

We received an enormous number of emails when we reviewed the Sony eReader and the Amazon Kindle. So much so, we've decided to give you another chance to see our "Smart Traveller" report.

Kindle and the Reader both work on the same principle. The screen uses a special process to create the words. It's not a computer, which is back lit. There's no eye strain. You can read these things for hours.

You push buttons to change the page forwards or back. And until you change the page, the machine isn't using any power. So a full battery charge can last days or, in this language, hundreds or thousands of page turns.

Mention electronic books or eReaders to most people and they'll ramble on about needing to have the texture of the page or the crinkle of the turn. Ah, rubbish, I say. We all got used to writing letters and documents on computers. This is no difference.

With the Sony, you buy and download books using your computer and a special website. The Kindle has dedicated wireless technology built in. You can download newspapers, magazines and journals. And because Kindle comes from Amazon, there are 90,000 titles available. Sony offers 20,000 instead. But be warned, Kindle's wireless often doesn't allow you to roam overseas. I failed to connect in two countries.

In the end, you wish each had the advantages of the other. For the eReader, you'd like to be able to make notes, annotations and have better management of material. For the Kindle, while it's great for nonfiction books, but you'd also like it to be sleeker, smarter and feel less like a computer.

Time to come off the fence. Which do I prefer? Hands down, the Sony eReader. I've already polished off four or five novels and there's at least another five in here waiting to begin. This is a great benefit to my traveling life and I have no hesitation in saying the Sony eReader is a searing "Smart Traveller" tip.

The Sony eReader and the Amazon Kindle, two of our CNN "Smart Traveller" road tests.

What gadgets would you like us to road test? Which are your favorites? Which do you think we should be telling other people about? Send us an email at the usual address,

If you travel 14 hours from this beach in roughly that direction, you'll end up in Australia. And it was to Sydney that we visited with the A380, the inaugural flight. It allowed us to show you the best that that city has to offer from sunrise to sunset.

I always start my visit to Sydney with a trip to the opera house. It's one of the must dos. The iconic roof was designed to look like sails on the harbor. So get to Vendolin Point early to beat the crowds. It took 16 years to build the opera house and has over one million tiles covering its sails.

Sydney's ferries cross the harbor seemingly every minute of the day. Even if you don't take an organized tour, take the Manly ferry just to get an idea of how big the harbor really is and how beautiful.

Business travelers needn't be road warriors. There are ways to make your meeting enjoyable and to make the most of that precious down time. Staying with the water, take a seaplane trip from Rose Bay to one of Sydney's hidden gems 15 minutes up the coast and into the Karinga (ph) National Reserve where you'll find Cottage Point. It's a bit of a trip but the food is worth it. And best of all, expect more locals than tourists here.

From the water, back into the air and we leave Cottage Point behind. Through Sydney's seaplanes, you can be dropped off at any of these private and peaceful beaches. They will even provide a picnic lunch. Oh, yes, and they will pick you up again afterwards. The trip's not cheap. But then, this sort of experience rarely is.

As we approach the harbor, there's only one place to watch the sunset over Sydney and that, of course, is from the top of the bridge. It's 135 feet high and more than 100,000 people a year make this climb.

Instead of the bridge climb, you might try the discovery climb, which goes through the inside of the girders. In many ways, it's a more interesting look at Sydney's famous iconic bridge.

I've come up here to see the sunset, but how do I know it's going to be a humdinger of a golden sky? He knows.

ALEX DORRAT, CLIMB LEADER: The perfect way to tell us is that we can see a nice faint outline of the mountain range out there, the great dividing range, running down the eastern seaboard of Australia. And we can just see that faint outline. A little bit of low clouds are going to create those marvelous colors in the evening.

QUEST: Not long to the top. And there's still time to quiz my guide.

I am determined to catch this man out.

What's the tonnage of the bridge?

DORRAT: 52,800 tons, Richard.

QUEST: I bet he doesn't know how many rivets there are in the bridge.

DORRAT: I haven't counted them myself, but approximately six million there, I can say.

QUEST: Yeah, well. Oh, mother.

This is very narrow. And it feels almost -- just keep moving.

Finally, the top, the view, the sunset.

At more than 400 feet above the Sydney harbor, it's certainly worth the view (ph).

And that's CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER for this month. I'm Richard Quest. Join us next month when we'll all be about traveling in style, what it takes and how you can really be stylish on the road.

Until then, wherever your travelers may take you, I hope it's profitable. And I'll see you next month.