Saturday, August 26, 2006


I have always been very critical of the Barcelona airport. It is a cute airport, do not take me wrong, but the head of operations is clearly below standards (see my previous posting OK, OK, Barcelona sucks a little bit). Besides I have always been an advocate of cutting ties with Iberia and transferring the control of the Catalan airports from the central government to the Catalan government.
Recent events like the "wild strike" of AENA (a central government owned company) personnel at the Barcelona airport that left stranded thousands of travelers in the middle of the holiday season the announcement of Iberia saying that it would dramatically reduce the flights in & out of Barcelona and concentrate most of the air traffic in Madrid, further justify my position.

Personally, I would like to see Iberia disappear from our skies. It is a lousy airline in all aspects and the best that could happen to us Catalans is that name of our country does not get polluted by association to such a substandard airline. This can only happen if, among other things, the airport competencies are transferred from Madrid to Barcelona.

But, so far, the reality is very different. Madrid receives more than 50% of the total investment in airtraffic infrastructure, even though, only 22% of the traffic goes through that province and I do not see any signs of this changing.

As a containment measure, Iberia announced that it would create a low cost carrier that would be based in Barcelona and that would most probably be called Cat Air. This move was intended to calm down the Catalan people, who were getting pretty upset with the "jacobinic" company.
I never believed that the low cost company would be named Cat Air, even though everyone knows that the name was created after the attached videoclip and that has reminiscences of CATania, CATalina the Great, CATamaran and CATering. Nevertheless the remote event that someone would associate CAT with CATalonia scared the hell out of the Iberia management.

And reality has proven me right. In the meantime, the new low cost company has been created with the name of ClickAir, thus avoiding any potential boycott, resulting of a very provoking name as CatAir. The company is headquartered in Madrid, although the operations center will be in Barcelona. This means that most of the work will be done in BCN, but the revenue and taxes will go to Madrid.
However I must admit that I do not dislike the ClickAir name. So I have decided that if you can't take Mohammed to the mountain, take the mountain to Mohammed. For that reason, I am proposing to rename our country with the techy name of Clicktalonia (Clictalunya in Catalan). The name has a dual advantage: it can help dissipate some of the prejudices against Catalonia and it puts us in the forefront of the new technologies.
I hope you will support this move.
Ian Llorens, a Clicktalan.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Travel nightmare

I am back to China. I have been traveling intensively during the last two months and I am getting tired of the long lines at the airports. It is really annoying. I know that security comes first, but traveling by plane is getting close to being a nightmare.
I predict that the recent changes in the security procedures (no liquids allowed, no hand luggage permitted in some airports, etc.) will lead to major changes in business traveling.
I forecast that business men and woman will go to the airports totally naked and proceed through a special walk-through X-Ray screening that will explore “real-time” every hidden cavities in their (our) bodies (copies of the X-Rays will be e-mailed to the traveler’s doctor in anticipation of the yearly physical after being processed by an early cancer detection software that would flag suspicions results). As you can imagine, this will create substantial changes to our morality, especially in USA, where being topless on a beach is perceived as depravation (at least in New England).
Airline lounges would be converted into artificial beaches with artificial sun, sand and swimming pools with real waves. For the puritan, blinders will be provided to prevent them from looking to other people.
On the more technical side, every business class and economy plus seat will have a built in computer connected to the world wide web. Since no electronic devices will be allowed on board, all business applications will have to be web browser accessible (so your Lotus Notes should be viewed through a web enabled application) and at the end of the session, you should send the result of your work to yourself, since not even memory sticks will be allowed in the airports.
Personally I miss the times when the family could see you off at the gate, you could arrive at the airport 30 minutes prior to departure and you would still make it and you did not have to take off your jacket, shoes or any other thing before boarding a plane. All this is history.
When I fly back on Saturday, I will try just wearing a thong. Let’s see what happens (and NO, the one on the picture is NOT me either).