Monarch Airlines – A Little Known Secret Of Flying With Monarch Airlines Revealed!


Monarch.airlines.a320-200.g-ozbj.arp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the nice things about flying as often as I do – and there are lots of things that are not so nice, as we all know – is that occasionally you come across a clean aircraft, genuinely welcoming staff, a pilot who is really proud of his job and who takes the time to tell you about which runway you’re departing from, your routing and so on.

Now, I like this sort of thing. If nothing else, it’s always good to know that the driver knows the route, of course.

I’m writing this on a Monarch flight, from Malaga in Spain to London Luton.

I’m only in London overnight and on their early, 0710 (yuck, especially on a Sunday morning) flight back home in the morning.

The pilot told us that we were being slightly delayed because of an incoming plane, that there was an Easyjet aircraft in front of us and that we could then depart.

Over Madrid, a huge sprawling city from the air on a clear day like today, was mentioned as we went overhead a moment ago, with almost all the passengers, almost all of whom are returning British holidaymakers, looking and admiring.

Will they remember Monarch when they book their next holiday?

I suspect so and they’ll tell their friends good things.

But many of them missed out on a Monarch secret, which I’ll freely share with you now.

When you book, pay the few pounds extra for breakfast if you’re on an a.m. flight.

Put simply, in my years of flying a diverse range of airlines, routes and aircraft, I’ve never had a better meal than the Monarch Breakfast.

I had a choice of 4 carriers for my flight today, but didn’t even look at the others, because I actually looked forward to my breakfast!

And I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s – because I know I’ll enjoy it and get good value .. and after probably no sleep tonight (late finish and early start!) it’ll do me good!

So, what’s in it, you ask!

Well, tea or coffee, obviously. This is a British airline, after all. Proper English PG tips, too – and from a tea bag.

Full English – bacon, sausage, egg and beans – a rather nice Muller yoghurt, a cup of orange juice (ok, from concentrate but a good brand and a nice flavour) and a bag of fruit (today was a juicy pineapple slice, a piece of mango (I hate mango, so I can’t report fully on that!), a few grapes (no lumps!) and real bread with yummy Lurpak butter.

All served with genuine smiles and an agreement from the crew that this is the best breakfast in the air!

Must go back to looking out of the window now – we’re crossing the border of northern Spain and over the Bay of Biscay.

Says the Captain.


Writing Online: The Secrets Of Structuring Your Online Writing Correctly

Planning Your Online Course v2

Planning Your Online Course v2 (Photo credit: giulia.forsythe)

Having a good content structure is crucial to writing content which people can easily consume and understand.

And having a good structure also makes the writing process easier for you!

Here are the main elements to well-structured content.

The Introduction

The first sentence of any article needs to be carefully crafted to catch attention.

People should instantly be able to grasp what the gist of the article is just by reading the first sentence.

Likewise, the first paragraph should elaborate on the first sentence and get people interested in reading the rest of the content.

Let Them Know What to Expect

Before jumping into the meat of the content, let them know what to expect in the rest of the content.

This can be as detailed as “we’ll cover X, Y and Z now” to as simple as “here’s how to do X.”

The most important thing is to prepare people to receive whatever you’re about to discuss.

Main Talking Points

Go through each of your talking points, one by one.

Make sure to separate your content into easily digestible chunks.

Don’t just write a 500-word article from top to bottom, but break it up into subsections and subheads.

Also make sure that you word as much of your content in “what’s in it for you” terms. Users should feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

It often helps to present a few different solutions, angles or opinions in your main points.

If you’re talking about investing for example, give them a few different techniques they can use.

Give examples.

The more theoretical your article is, the less likely they are to remember it a few weeks from now.

Examples help take something that’s theoretical and turn it into something more concrete.

People are much more likely to remember an example demonstrating a principle than just the theory.

The Conclusion

The last paragraph of your article is the conclusion.

The conclusion should sum up everything you just wrote about, plus perhaps reiterate the most important point.

Sometimes it’s best to leave the user with a concrete piece of action they can immediate take at the end of the conclusion.

At other times, the conclusion just wraps up the whole article nicely.

If you’re selling a product, the conclusion is where you want to put your call to action.

Tell people exactly what it is you want them to do.

Be assertive and make sure to recap all the main benefits to them taking action now rather than later.

Following this structure will make it easier for you to organize your thoughts into a coherent chronological order before you start writing.

Getting Your Content To Go Viral: Motivating People To Pass Your Content On


BLOG IDEAS (Photo credit: owenwbrown)

If you know what motivates people to pass your content on, you have a much better chance of getting them to keep doing so in the future.

So, why is it that people are willing to continually pass on content from certain sites to friends, while not at all for other sites?

These are some of the main factors in play when it comes to why people pass on certain pieces of content.

Thinking Emotionally Rather Than Logically

Really great marketing gets people to take action by having them think emotionally rather than logically.

For example, if a video gets someone really shocked and outraged about some political position, they might post that video on their Facebook wall without necessarily double-checking any of the facts in the video.

It wasn’t necessarily that the video presented shocking facts, but the fact that they managed to get the watcher in an outraged emotional stage.

If you can get your content to really get people fired up, they’ll often be much more willing to pass it on to their network.

Wanting Their Friends to Have a Good Experience

This principle is very basic.

It’s the same reason why we recommend restaurants and movies to friends: we just want them to have a better experience.

If you create a website that helps people in a certain industry do things faster and cheaper, there’s a good chance your content will get passed around simply because people want their friends to have a better experience.

To make this process easier, it often helps to have “sound bite sized” pieces of information.

For example, if you run a website about how to repair your credit, instead of having someone just pass on your website, it’s much easier for them to pass on an infographic specifically about how to repair your credit before buying a home, if they had a friend who’s on the verge of buying.

You Helped Them, They Want to Help You

Have you ever had the experience of getting such great customer service that you wanted to return the favour?

For example, you go to a restaurant whose service is so spectacular that you feel like you want to bring more people to their establishment just because you want to help them out.

If your clients get the sense that you’re really looking out for them and that you really care about them, they’ll often be willing to return the favor.

Ordinary service doesn’t elicit this kind of loyalty.

But if you provide exceptional service, this kind of marketing can be one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal.

Many viral campaigns work just based on using one of these principles.

A few of them activate all three principles and really take off.

Which ones make the most sense for your business?

Top Tips For The Perfect British Sandwich!

Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Chelsea Flower Show 2012 (Photo credit: La Citta Vita)

The British Sandwich Association (yes, that surprised me, too!) had kindly shared their top tips for the perfect British sandwich this summer, bless them …

  1. The perfect spot. Take a look at the ground. Insects and bites can make for a thoroughly unpleasant picnic so just check that the cosy mound you’re about to pick isn’t an anthill. Equally, if you’re in a park or on a beach, do you really want to be right at the entrance as the world and their dogs rush in?
  2. Carrying your food. Picnics by their nature, happen when it’s a lovely sunny day. Consider how you’ll keep your sarnies cool – no-one wants warm, limp, soggy sarnies, except bacteria, that is. Keep yours cool or carry them for the least time possible. Which reminds us…
  3. Buy en-route. The best picnics have a spontaneous, fun element. Don’t waste your time cutting and buttering – get out there, enjoy and grab a sarnie on the go. What’s more, sandwich shops have more choice, better bread and make it fresh. Banish soggy sarnies. We’ve all been there and it’s not pleasant.
  4. Accessorise. A hot beverage is sold with over a third of all sandwiches in the UK (36.1%) and cakes and pastries accompany a quarter (24.8%). Meal deals are always popular but what about summer classics like strawberries and cream or champagne for indulgence?
  5. Duration. Unless you packed some deck chairs, sitting on the ground can become bum-numbing after a while. Have a thought about what to do next. Quite possibly it’s back to work which makes a picnic a perfect lunch-hour getaway.
  6. Company. Friends, family, colleagues or even a literary great. A picnic is the perfect thing for any occasion. A relaxed, informal get-together.

Chocolate and Railways: Visit The World’s Highest Chocolate Shop – At Europe’s Highest Railway Station!

Berner Oberland - Jungfrau

Berner Oberland – Jungfrau (Photo credit: Ronile35)

Display of Lindt chocolate bunnies

Display of Lindt chocolate bunnies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lindt, surely the epitome of Swiss chocolate, now offers visitors an insight in to the craftsmanship and passion of the chocolatier – at the highest railway station in Europe, Switzerland’s wonderful Jungfraujoch.

 Situated 3,454 meters above sea level, the new Lindt Chocolate Shop is the highest in the world, and invites guests to share the pleasure of the Lindt Master Chocolatiers.

As well as providing an exclusive insight into the fascinating world of chocolate making, visitors will be seduced by a free sample of the world-famous Lindt Chocolate.

But, you ask, what’s the best way to get there?

The Jungfrau VIP Railway Pass is an amazing value pass, valid for three consecutive days on every available route in the Jungfrau Region and is now  the ideal way to explore this beautiful region.

Not only is the pass valid for a ride between Jungfraujoch and the Eiger Glacier, but it entitles the holder to unlimited travel – as well as a few select discounts on routes.

Adult – CHF 235 (about €190), Children up to 15 years old – CHF 70. Swiss Card, Swiss Pass and Half Fare Holders – CHF 180

For more information visit:


Airport Security – Is Your Device Charged Up? Latest Checks Slow Things Down Even More


Haven't seen security lines this long since the UK

Haven’t seen security lines this long since the UK (Photo credit: kalleboo)

It’s very thoughtful of those awfully nice airport security bods to check that all electronic detonators are fully charged up.

Can’t be having mistakes now, can we?

More hassle for us poor travellers.

Sigh …..

I Visit Belgrade, Serbia – I See Bombed Out Buildings, Great Food, A Weird National Gallery, Free Electricity – And A Fab Hotel

Belgrade Army HQ Bombed

Belgrade Army HQ, Serbia, bombed by NATO in 1999

I was in Belgrade, Serbia last week.

Odd sort of place.

The Army headquarters was bombed in 1999 – there’s a hole in the middle if it, 15 years on.

I can’t believe it hasn’t been pulled down.

Or fallen down.

And it’s on the main street, right in the city centre!

Right next to the Police HQ.

Which was also bombed.

And is also still standing, just!

Belgrade Police Hq

Belgrade Police Hq

Everyone smokes. No, everyone!

The fare for the extensive buses, trams and trolley buses is just the equivalent of 6 cents.

But the entire system was broken whilst  I was there, so it was impossible to pay.

They have a National Art Gallery. (I tried to link to the English part of their website, but it doesn’t work. You’ll understand why in a sec!).

Serbia National Gallery

Serbia National Gallery gives you a list of the huge number of important works in there.

I’m talking Monet (his Rouen cathedral painting, which I made a short documentary about recently), Sickert, Botticelli,  Raphael, Tintoretto … and hundreds more.

And 200,000 coins and medals. The list goes on.

However … it closed 10 years ago for “repairs”.

One room has re-opened a few weeks ago. 10 Dinars, under €1 to get in.

Full of Serbian impressionist paintings. With no air con and the windows onto Republic Square open to let air and dust in.

And there’s mouse traps everywhere.

The stuff wear over-washed sweat shirts.

The security staff were all on their phones, barely looking up.


They’ve apparently had millions to repair / do the place up. But it’s still another 4 years before it will open.

It was due to open “in four years” five years ago, too.

I asked a staff member if all the paintings, sculptures etc were still there in the building or had been secretly sold off to private collectors.

I though he’d look shocked and annoyed. He didn’t.

But he did look very sheepish…

On a brighter note, the food, especially huge steaks, are amazingly cheap.

(But don’t worry if the bill comes to 5,524 for three of you – it’s pennies really!

Serbia Restaurant Bill

Serbia Restaurant Bill

Serbia Restaurant Bill

Just order them very well done, even if you prefer medium.

One “medium” I ordered could have been brought back to life by any first year veterinary student, it was  cooked so little.

There’s a terrific little museum dedicated to the amazing Nikola Tesla. An intriguing man – and his urn is on display!

Could he really transmit unlimited energy through the airwaves? For free?

Visit, and decide for yourself!

Tesla Museum, Belgrade, Serbia

Tesla Museum, Belgrade, Serbia

But do be careful if you take a taxi to the museum  – the airport is also named after Tesla.

We realised the taxi driver had misunderstood us – not too late, fortunately!

And do stay at the amazing Zlatnik Hotel, just over the Danube from the City centre.

It was seriously one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in – and I stay in a lot of hotels.

And it was certainly the best value hotel ever.

Sadly, the railways were massively washed away in the recent deadly storms, so I couldn’t take my long planned wished for journeys – to Podgorica in Montenegro, for example.

I only took a short, but great,  trip to Vrsac on the Romanian border.

On the train from Belgrade to Vrsac

On the train from Belgrade to Vrsac

We spent 20 minutes there before returning on the same train, after a mad dash to a local kiosk for water and chocolate.

Well, 12 minutes, as my train was late arriving!

I will return.


Grr! Check Your Links BEFORE Sending Me A Sales Email! Links in Emails


Email with Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Email with Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook (Photo credit: Robert Scoble)

I just bought an online service that mentioned to how well a certain website was ranking on Google.

So I typed in the search term and the website didn’t appear.

Then I tried using quotes around the term – nothing.

So finally I just typed in the website URL.

The site has gone.

They’re “out of business”.

Sigh ….

Earlier in the week,  I was on a group conference call that mentioned a “great” website that belonged to a friend of the speaker.

 I went there and guess what? Yup, the website was down.

This afternoon I received a message from Aweber to check out their new email templates. When I clicked the link, I was taken to a page on Aweber’s site that said the blog was down for scheduled maintenance.

Sigh .. (again)

Rule number 1 about links – check if they’re working before you send them out – especially if you send them to  me.

I hate time wasters and non-professionals.

As do most people ….


Related articles

How To Write Much Quicker – Update Your Website Quicker And Easier


THE QUICKER THE BETTER – MORE METAL – NARA – 515636 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blogging is a great way to stay in contact with customers, get new customers, get traffic and backlinks and especially boost your own credibility rating.

But all of that blogging takes time.

Here are 7 tips to make your content creation – and especially your blogposts – go faster.

  1. Keep a list of your brilliant ideas. Okay, so they won’t all be brilliant but some will be. And if you don’t write them down you’ll lose them. Each time you get a new idea for a blogpost, write it down. This simple act frees your mind to give you even more ideas and to improve the ideas you’ve already had.
  2. When you’ve got a good idea, start making a list of what you’d like to add to it. For example, your idea might be “10 Ways to Inject $10,000 into Your Business.” As you think of each method, write it down.
  3. Do your research. While you might know some of the points you want to make, you can deepen and enrich your post by also gathering information from outside sources.
  4. Eliminate the least. In my example of “10 Ways to Inject $10,000,” you might actually come up with 15 ideas or more. Discard the less appealing points so you can focus on only the strongest ones. At this time you might also find that your post will be better served by focusing on just 7 methods rather than 10. This is editing before you write and can save you a tremendous amount of time. Imagine if you wrote your post with your initial 15 ideas and later decided to use just 7 – you would have written twice as much as needed.
  5. Create an outline. This step alone can cut your writing time in half.
  6. Prepare your work area. Before you begin writing, eliminate all distractions. Close email and social networks and turn off your phone. Set a timer and try to beat it. And then write. Don’t edit. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, etc. Just write.
  7. Edit tomorrow. As good as your editing today might be, tomorrow it will be even better as you read your post with fresh eyes.

In addition to saving time, you’ll also notice that the faster you write blogposts, the less you mind writing them. Pretty soon your post-a-week schedule might even turn into 3 or 4 new posts a week.