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Oddities: live at InterContinental Berlin, Microsoft Teams backgrounds, who is C F Frost?

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News in brief:

Move in to InterContinental Berlin

Hotels are having to be creative to generate revenue at the moment.

A friend sent me this advertisement from Facebook, translated by Chrome hence the slightly broken English.  InterContinental Berlin is letting out its rooms on six week tenancies.

It seems to be room-only, unsurprisingly.  What I don’t fully understand is who is being targetted here, unless it is people who are no longer enjoying lockdown with their current companions.  Click to enlarge:

Rent a room at InterContinental Berlin

Looking for a Microsoft Teams background?

If you use video conferencing software Microsoft Teams as part of your job, you may know that it recently introduced a new feature – copied from Zoom – to allow you to set your own background image when talking.

On the British Airways board at Flyertalk, this thread has been suggesting the best Business Class seat images you may want to use.  If you’re the sort of person who would go for this, I recommend having a read.  There are some good images you can save to your Teams or Zoom profile.

Avios bookings and British Summer Time

This has come up a lot in reader emails in the last two weeks so I just want to drop it in as a reminder.

Avios flights on British Airways are available for booking from midnight GMT at 355 days before departure.

We are no longer in GMT – it is now British Summer Time.  This means that Avios tickets only become bookable at 1am.  Don’t, as many readers have done, look for seats at midnight and then give up quickly, assuming that you missed them.

Things you never knew you never knew ……

And finally …..

“Charles F. Frost was an Oglivy & Mather advertising executive who worked on the American Express account in the 1960s, and his name was kept alive by being featured on credit cards displayed in ads for American Express.”

Thanks to Nick for this, from Adweek.

Comments (40)

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    Minor detail: the ‘rate this translation’ means it was translated by Facebook

  • Anna says:

    I assume you mean “metres”, unless you are using actual measuring instruments.

    • James says:

      Yes, sorry, this was before my first breakfast of the morning.

    • James says:

      Some of my friends who remained in London, are counting the number of people on the buses, instead.

  • Matty says:

    C F Frost also appears on the thumbnails when I open my Amex App. I also have B Reynolds on one of my cards. Any history / link to B Reynolds?

  • JohnG says:

    Well then at least the posts will have indirectly improved the average comment quality so we’ve got that to be grateful for.

    There were a couple of bits on this post that I appreciated.

  • Steve says:

    That would be an atrocious image as a MS Teams background, as the angle and orientation of the seat is completely wrong. The purpose should be that it looks like you are sitting in the seat. With that image, it would look like you are hovering above it, as if floating in space.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Thats just a stock HFP picture. They are expecting you to click the link to Flyertalk and use one of those images aren’t they?

  • Geoff says:

    To make the 355-day Avios availability even more confusing, and making giving up early as you describe a more likely result, the new date becomes selectable on the calendar at midnight BST although the flights themselves don’t appear until 0100 BST.

    • Anna says:

      I think it’s always been like that. We usually travel at Easter so are well accustomed to the 1 am issue, however we are often across the pond when we book for the following year which comes in handy as I can pounce at 7 or 8 pm instead of staying up past my bedtime 😀

      • Lady London says:

        So that’s your excuse for going to the Caymans every year, is it, @Anna? Because it’s easier to book the following year’s avoid seats when they are released at 1am BST?

        • Anna says:

          It’s the gift that keeps on giving, LL! Though one year I it did from Washington DC. Should have been doing it from Cayman again this year but as we’re stuck in this time zone I had to stay up late!

  • Chris H says:

    The link to the backgrounds is via FlyerTalk, and I do like changing my backgrounds on ZOOM already so was interested in the available picture.
    I am, however, one of those people that does not like my personal information being collected by cookies and shared around third party “partners”. I get too much junk email as it is.
    Can anyone tell me why FlyerTalk insists that you click on “ACCEPT” without any options for rejecting consent for cookies? I thought this was not allowed, and so immoral in my humble opinion. The info says I would have to contact each supplier directly to request them to NOT share information.
    There should be a straightforward Accept or Reject option for cookies as is the case with a lot of websites nowadays.
    A bit of a rant, maybe, and I think a lot of people are not bothered about allowing cookies to collect their information and share it, but with so many scams and hackers with even more time on their hands, I will not be using FlyerTalk if I am obliged to allow them to share my information.

    • Rob says:

      FT wouldn’t work properly without cookies as it needs to track which posts you have read. The law actually says that cookies which are required for the site to operate are fine.

      However, they won’t be sharing it with third parties as that would require separate consent. And what would they share? The main reason you share data is to allow retargetting so that ads for shopping sites you have visited follow you around. FT isn’t selling anything.

      • Chris H says:

        Thank you for clarifying that Rob.

      • Liam says:

        If I were a travel brand—the current situation notwithstanding—I would be very interested in being able to target people with a demonstrable interest in travel, which visiting, and certainly membership of, FT would strongly imply. That’s the angle to understand why FT would theoretically be interested in selling cookie data to third parties.

        • Rob says:

          No-one has ever offered to pay us for tracking cookie data (not that we’d do it, because of the need to change our opt-in rules). I don’t think it is very widespread. Far more likely that for eg you use Google or Facebook to target people via the cookies you left behind when they first visited your site.

    • Paul Pogba says:

      If you have privacy concerns Zoom really isn’t the software for you.

      • Alex Sm says:

        With these concerns a landline is the best but not 100% secure either! We are doomed… or Zoomed

  • Carl says:

    Re 355 day Avios bookings, I tried to book two tickets for my outbound leg using a BAPP companion voucher at 1am on Saturday. I’ve done this many times before via the US number without any issues.

    Due to the current situation the US number had a message saying that all calls need to go through one UK based number which is only available from 8am Monday to Friday and 9am at weekends. Fortunately my booking was for London-New York which has plenty of Avios availability so I was still about to get what I wanted at 09:00 on Saturday.

    As these Avios seats are still available online from 1am routes with low Avios availability could be gone by 8am if you need to book by phone as I did.

    Does anybody know of a workaround until BA’s phone lines return to normal?

    • Anna says:

      Why would you not just book that online?

      • Carl Barker says:

        I always book online when paying for flights but to ensure you get the flights your looking for when using a BAPP companion voucher you need to book the outbound leg as as soon as it becomes available ie. 355 days. You then need to call again and add the return leg when they become available and the only way of doing this is by calling them. The only way of doing this is by phone.

        If you wait until the return leg goes on sale before making your booking the chances are that all Avios availability for the outbound leg would have gone.

        • Genghis says:

          “Re 355 day Avios bookings, I tried to book two tickets for my outbound leg using a BAPP companion voucher at 1am on Saturday”
          Point @Anna is making is that the outbound can be booked online using the 241. Only the return leg needs a call (either at the time of booking or after making an online booking and calling to get some avios back).

          • Alan T says:

            I waited up until 1am last week to make sure I got the outward 2-4-1 booked in the hope of calling the US to get the inward added Later. Interestingly, or annoyingly really, the outward tickets did not appear online until around 2.15 am. I had given up at 2am after refreshing the page every 5 minutes thinking someone must have nabbed them from a call centre but one final attempt at 2.15 and they were there. I am not sure if they appear on the internal BA system at 1am but take a while to get through to public or if 1am is not always adhered to?
            I am now worried that a) there are no call centres open at 1am BST and b) am I going to be able to book them at 1am if they are not on the BA system. Could be a long and expensive night!

          • Carl Barker says:

            Thanks Genghis, I always thought that you had to call for both legs.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            If you phone just before 1am and explain what you want to do the call centre can do it for you by putting a hold on as soon as they are released but should charge you £15(?) for each ticket for the pleasure. I think they might have started saying no though it’s been a while since I’ve heard of call reports.

            Though if you are trying to use 2x vouchers then it’s free as you can’t do that online.

          • Anna says:

            That was my point, yes. I’ve never lost seats once they’ve gone in my basket.
            You can use 2 companion vouchers if they were earned by the same person.

          • Rob says:

            I did an experiment last year and DID lose seats in my basket at 00.01.

          • Rhys says:

            On the other hand I didn’t when booking a flight to Bangkok for two recently!

          • Rob says:

            But I did my test on a route where I expected the seats to go at midnight. Is BKK so tricky? You weren’t working around school holidays for example.

    • Lyn says:

      That message in the US changed a week or two ago. I don’t know if this is still current, because I haven’t had to call since then.

      It gave a different US number to call and new hours. 1 (877) 767 7970. Mon to Fri 03:00 to 15:00 Eastern time. Sat 04:00 to 12:00. Only the avios option worked, the other option was continually cut off. Unfortunately it still wouldn’t cover 1am UK time.

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