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Air France Launches SMS System To Reduce Passenger Stress

Instant messaging will notify Air France customers in real-time of every twist in their itinerary, from delays to sudden cancellations to the whereabout of your luggage.

(Junc Tions)
(Junc Tions)

Air France-KLM passengers can now get travel updates and book flights on their mobile phones thanks to a new service.

PARIS - No need to camp out in front of the departure board to monitor delays; no more last minute sprints to the departure gate, and no more endless waits at the baggage carrousel. From now on, passengers on Air France and its Dutch partner KLM will be notified in advance by SMS of all possible changes to flight schedules.

The airline companies, which merged back in 2004 to form the Air France-KLM Group, have decided to make full use of cell phone technology to improve their customers' travel experiences. Their ambition is to lead the way in this field, and if possible to avoid the chaos prompted by last winter's heavy snow.

Air France Connect, the first of these services to be rolled out, alerts passengers by SMS instant message or email of any flight delay or cancellation, up to 14 days before the scheduled departure. It will also inform passengers of last-minute gate changes, or what Air France euphemistically refers to as a "deferred baggage delivery."

The service, which was launched discreetly in February as part of a test phase, has already sent out some 620,000 alerts in eight different languages. The service is available to all passengers as long as they give an email address and cell phone number when booking a flight, explains Air France-KLM Group's marketing manager Christian Herzog.

The second component of Air France's "e-mobile" offering is connected to travel preparation. From now on, passengers will be able to book a flight, manage their "Flying Blue" loyalty accounts, or select a seat, using their smart phone. Passengers will even be able to modify their reservations or get a ticket reimbursed. "It's exclusive to Air France," says Herzog, and it puts passengers in control of arrangements that used to be restricted to travel agents.

Read the original article in French

photo - Junc Tions

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Society

Holy Mess! Spain's Disfigured Christ Mural Remains A Hit With Tourists

The clumsy restoration of a mural of Christ in a Spanish chapel 10 years ago shocked, then amused Spaniards and millions more abroad, and gave the local town a level of publicity, and tourist revenues, it never had nor could have hoped for. Here's how it looks 10 years later.

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Marina Artusa

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Painted in 1930 by a painter and academic, the image was smothered in 2012 by Cecilia Giménez Zueca, a local resident and amateur painter. She wanted to help no doubt, but her "unfinished" restoration turned a venerable image of the suffering Christ — an Ecce Homo — into a bloated, indefinable cartoon.

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