An Overview of Charter Flights

Many people get confused about the difference between commercial scheduled flights and charter flights. Essentially, the difference is that scheduled flights can be booked by the general public, whereas chartered flights are private and only available at the request of particular individuals, or companies. Obviously, it is not always practical for certain people/cargo to travel in a plane meant for the general public, so these flights address this need.

These flights are used to transport celebrities, racehorses, emergency cargo and more. Generally, they cost more than a normal flight would cost, because of their specialized nature. However, occasionally, price reductions can be agreed upon, depending on the circumstances. These flights have been a popular option with many people for quite some time, due to the increased flexibility they offer.

Benefits

On a charter flight, you can decide the time and place of your departure, and you rarely have to put up with plane changes or delays. This certainly beats queuing at an airport for hours, only to be told that you will have to take a different flight, due to an over-booking. If you have a medical condition, or cargo that needs special attention, charter planes can cater to your requirements to make your trip a painless experience. For instance, in all likelihood, it would not be safe for someone who had been involved in a serious accident to fly on a normal public flight, as special equipment would need to be provided to treat them.

Often, business travelers use charter flights to reduce their stress levels in-between meetings/corporate events. Obviously, avoiding all the usual hustle and bustle of a public airport can go quite some way towards easing tension. Also, these flights are a common feature of regional airports, as many people fly from these airports to remote locations, where a more comfortable and exclusive type of flight is preferred.

Drawbacks

Sometimes, people who book charter flights are taking more of a financial risk, because the airlines who operate the flights are more prone to go bust. This is due to the lower turnover of bookings and smaller profit margins on each flight. Indeed, in some serious cases, charter flight passengers have been left stranded after airlines have gone bust mid-trip. Furthermore, airlines can opt to scrap these flights prior to take off, while only having to give 10 days notice. Usually, this happens if the airline does not manage to get enough passengers for the flight, which is not an uncommon occurrence. All in all, compared to public commercial flights, these flights are a more uncertain proposition.

As mentioned above, normally, chartered flights are more costly, especially if only a few people are traveling, or if the plane is being used for a single item of cargo. If you have the budget then that’s great. However, for many people, traveling on a normal flight is more financially viable. Not to mention, for those who are environmentally conscious, charter flights are less Eco-friendly, because they use more fuel and contribute to polluting the atmosphere. Thus, many people would refuse to pay for such a flight on these grounds alone, as a matter of principle.

Recently, some companies have offered charter flight tickets to the general public. Typically, these flights are to tourist hotspots several times per year, or to sports events. Usually, while these flights are cheaper, passengers have far less flexibility, and no refunds are offered in the event of a cancellation. So, if you decide to book one of these flights, make sure that you can definitely travel on the dates you book.

While not without their flaws, charter flights provide a valuable service to many people and are a crucial resource in difficult circumstances. Some would say that they are a necessary evil, although as long as they continue to damage the environment, they will continue to attract criticism.

How to Board Comfortably on Indian Trains

Indian Trains are the backbone of travel infrastructure in India. Millions of passengers travel on Indian trains between stations from one corner of the country to another. Reaching a platform, waiting for a train and boarding on it needs sound railway info on the passenger’s part. Passengers require some precautions and great care to check their train status and avoid getting on the wrong train. We are giving some easy tips to guide railway passengers to get on the train without any discomfort.

1) While making a reservation make a train status check for available seats. After making a reservation for an non certified seat check it through a PNR train status or ask the booking clerk one day before the journey. It is advisable not to get to an Indian railway station with lots of luggage. This will insure passengers against thefts and unnecessary tension. In case of bringing multiple luggage passengers should have family members with them.

2) Be careful in getting on the right platform to catch your train. Listen to the railway announcements and get to the mentioned platform no corresponding to your arriving train. At the time of train arrival check the number rows hanging below the platform roof. Each number indicates the rail carriage that would halt in front of it. Just stand below the row number corresponding to your rail compartment.

3) Get into your train carefully, avoiding all rush. Just check your seat number by counting numbers on seats right from those besides your entry door. So you won’t make a mistake in sitting on the wrong seat. If you have heavy luggage better hire a coolie to help you getting on Indian trains.

4) If you get an upper or middle sleeper berth during day time journey avoid using it. You may use it during night time for a sound sleep.

Explore the Treasures of Egypt – Discover the Ancient Temples at Abu Simbel

Why Travel to Egypt

If you are an Africa travel enthusiast, Egypt probably needs no introduction. This North African country has a rich, mystical, and well-known history dating back to the old testament days of the Christian bible. Today, many historical monuments from these ancient days still stand in Egypt, attracting millions of visitors every year. The ancient temples at Abu Simbel are one great example.

Abu Simbel: Background Information

Consisting of two sacred temples carved out of a mountain side, Abu Simbel is the second major ancient man-made tourist attraction in Egypt today, after the great pyramids. The Abu Simbel temples are part of the Nubian monuments in Egypt, which have collectively been declared UNESCO world heritage sites. You should visit Abu Simbel at least once, to appreciate the beauty of the temples and also learn about its mystical history, like thousands of other local and foreign tourists do.

Location

The temples at Abu Simbel are presently situated at the top of an artificial cliff on the western banks of Lake Nasser, about 300 km southwest of the Aswan High Dam. However, this was not their original site. Originally, these ancient temples were located about 200 feet below the current location. They were relocated in the 1960’s to prevent them from being submerged in Lake Nasser, following the construction of the Aswan high dam. The temple relocation and reconstruction is deemed as one of the great engineering feats of the modern world.

The Temples’ Relocation

Done through the combined efforts of the Egyptian Government and UNESCO, the relocation of the Abu Simbel cost over 60 million US dollars and lasted four years. The temples were cut up into huge slabs at their original site, each slab weighing over 3000 kilograms. The slabs were then moved to higher ground very gingerly to avoid damage. At the new site, the pieces were carefully reassembled, taking into consideration all the elements that had been in place at the original site including the accurate construction measurements and the position of the sun. There is a small museum outside the Abu Simbel, where you can get a step by step documentation of the relocation and reassembly of the two temples. The museum also has a lot of other information such as the history of Abu Simbel and the ancient kingdoms who worshiped in it.

Abu Simbel History

The two temples were built during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II, reputedly to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh.

Touring Abu Simbel

Four gigantic statues of Pharaoh Ramesses sit at the front of the Abu Simbel. This is the mesmerizing sight that greets your eyes as you approach the temple. You will feel both dwarfed and amazed by its sheer size. One of the statues in the middle has however been destroyed from the head to the waist by a past earthquake. At the feet of these gigantic statues are much smaller statues, probably of members of the then royal family.

When you tour the Abu Simbel, you will most likely be in the company of travel guides who will awe you with stories of the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms, and of gods who could spit fire and turn day into night. By the time you get past the first entrance of the Abu Simbel, you may be so spooked that you will not want to fall even a step behind the tour group. The first entrance leads to a corridor lined with more statues, wall engravings and cave paintings.

Most of the history about the temples has been concluded from the illustrations carved on these walls. However, some of these illustrations have never been fully interpreted. As you go deeper inside the temples, it gets more beautiful, interesting and almost unsettling. If you love mysteries and scary stories, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience here.

At the innermost shrine inside the temple, you will find four statues of the main gods seated on a high platform. The most remarkable thing about this shrine is that it was constructed in such a way that twice a year, in late February and late October, the first rays of the sun shine directly down on the back wall of the shrine illuminating the gods and giving the shrine an eerie yet powerful presence. This phenomenon points to the extraordinary sense of design and planning that ancient Egyptians had, particularly when it came to the sun and other heavenly bodies.

The temples are still considered sacred by some Egyptians and don’t be surprised if you find a group of people outside the temple saying a prayer while facing the sun. Most people who believe in the sanctity of the Abu Simbel like to visit the site in February and October when the rays of the sun light up the innermost shine and make the statues of the gods “come alive”.

Getting There

To travel to Abu Simbel, you can take a flight from Cairo or Aswan to the airstrip behind Abu Simbel, or you can go by bus. The temples are located in a very remote setting with very few inhabitants in the area. The area is largely desert land and temperatures can soar to uncomfortable heights during the day and then drop to skin penetrating cold during the night.