Here are a variety of stories related to travel that caught my eye over the last week.

Live like Louis XIV at Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, a hotel with 14 rooms and apartments nestled within the grounds of the Château de Versailles. Scheduled to open in 2021, it features a signature Alain Ducasse restaurant, wellness center, and indoor swimming pool. The building was constructed in 1681 in the heyday of the Sun King. After being abandoned for decades, the most-skilled craftspeople were commissioned to restore the former glory while adapting to 21st century expectations of luxury and comfort. Staying there might cost a king’s ransom.

Palace of Versailles

According to the 2020 International Air Transport Safety Report, the airline industry saw its safety performance improve in 2020 with regard to the number of total accidents, fatal accidents and fatalities compared to 2019. Some of the safety highlights for 2020:

  • An estimated 1.8 billion passengers flew safely on about 22 million flights in 2020
  • There were 38 aircraft accidents and 132 fatalities in 2020
  • The all-accident rate (including Substantial Damage and Hull Loss accidents for IATA and non-IATA jets and turboprops) went up from 1.11 in 2019 to 1.17 accidents per million sectors.
  • The number of fatalities in 2020 decreased compared to 2019 (132 vs. 240)
  • The all-accident rate for airlines on the IOSA registry was 1.20 per 1 million

Norwegian Airlines, a low-cost, long-haul airline, was a Covid-19 airline casualty. Plans are to resurrect the concept under a different name using the same 787s and many of the same employees and executives. The new company, Norse Atlantic Airways, plans to begin operating by the end of 2021 flying between Miami, Los Angeles, New York in the U.S. and London, Paris and Oslo in Europe.

Here’s a story to disprove the notion that this blog only talks about airline travel. 😉 The 2021 European Railway Station Index has been released. It ranks the passenger experience for the 50 largest train stations in Europe.

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Leipzig Hauptbahnhof Photograph: Markus Mainka /

Azul Brazilian Airlines rolls out the blue carpet to simply and organize boarding.  Boarding is one of the most stressful parts of flying.  At airports in the U.S. and sometimes in Europe, everyone crowds around the boarding lane as soon as the jet bridge door is opened if not before.  Passengers who are in the first groups to board must elbow their way through the crowd.  In Asia, airlines provide staff to supervise the boarding process and avoid crowding.

Azul has developed and is introducing in its system a way to organize and simplify boarding without the need for additional staff.  The system is called Azul Blue Carpet.  It projects lights onto the floor to identify where each passenger needs to stand.  Passengers follow the projection for their seat number as they move along the floor.  It is an ingenious system.  .

Azul’s boarding system looks like a winner. Azul was founded by JetBlue founder David Neeleman so the technology might eventually find its way to the U.S. market and elsewhere.

What do you think of the railway station ratings? Please leave your comments on that or any of these stories below and enjoy the rest of the weekend.