Your Favourite LateDeparture Post Could See You Flying Free

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A lost cat, rivalry between London Heathrow and London Gatwick, and the tale of an airplane landing at the wrong airport are vying to become readers’ selection for the airport news of the year award on popular airport blog,

A lost cat, rivalry between London Heathrow and London Gatwick, and the tale of an airplane landing at the wrong airport are vying to become readers’ selection for the favourite news snippet on popular airport blog, began as a blog to give travellers hints and tips on what to do at airports around the world if their flight is delayed. But it has evolved into a source for all news related to airport travel.

Now, founder Tom Merkli has secured two return JetBlue Airways flights between any of the airline’s 70 destinations in North America, the Caribbean or Latin American, two S$200 shopping vouchers for Singapore’s Changi Airport, lunch for two at 5ive Steak in JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK airport in New York, and lunch for two at Crust in New York’s LaGuardia Airport – and all you have to do to win them is vote on your favourite LateDeparture news item.

The three stories in contention include the tale of a lost cat at JFK International Airport; a plane landing at the wrong airport; and how London Gatwick is upping the ante in its rivalry with London Heathrow.

Tom, a seasoned traveller, chose these three posts as finalists because of all the posts he has written in 2011, these are the ones that he remembers most fondly.

“I sifted through all the news stories I wrote in 2011 but these three stories stood out for me,” he said.

“I mentioned the cat story in three different news articles and it had everything from an emotional plea to find the cat, an apologetic airline when it was found and a very sad ending when the cat had to be put down due to its condition.

“The second one is a great industry story showcasing the intensified rivalry between London’s two main airports. That week both airports had stories of their own – Heathrow pushed its connection with the upcoming Olympics while Gatwick focused on its immigration hall refurbishment. I ended that paragraph with “let the games begin” which characterized my view pointedly as competition is great for all travellers.

“Finally the story of an airplane landing at the wrong airport, which must be the ultimate joke on any traveller. Imagine you expect to be transported from A to B but now you land in C as the pilot thought it was B. Hilarious, yet surely very annoying for the passengers at the time. I hope they were able to laugh about it in the end.”

LateDeparture was launched in 2008 while Tom was enduring a lengthy delay at Copenhagen’s  Kastrup  Airport,

“I love flying around the world - be it for business or leisure,” he said. “The only thing I hate is waiting at the airport for a flight that is delayed.

“After extensive (and often delayed) travels around Europe, I had an idea during a lengthy delay in June 2008 at Copenhagen airport: why not play a little game of my own and look closer at what this particular airport has to offer besides the obvious (boring) things.

“This was the light bulb moment when LateDeparture was born.”

Since then, LateDeparture has become the go-to website for airport news. So much so that respected international business news website Thomson Reuters has integrated Tom’s blog posts into its business traveller section in the US and UK.

To vote on the posts, go to Winners will be drawn January 30.


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