Don’t supersize me

I recently received a promotional email from a hotel apartment complex, and I noticed that the cheapest accommodation option was a “superior room”.

Just enough coffee
Just enough coffee

Now, being the pedant I am, I double-checked the meaning of “superior” in the dictionary*. And, pretty much as I expected, it said: “Higher in rank, status, or quality.” Continue reading Don’t supersize me

No reservations

It’s one of the great travel cliches. Tourists at beach resorts who get up early and “reserve” a spot on the beach, a deck chair or by the pool by placing a towel there. Then they go back to bed or breakfast, hoping to take up their privileged spot later on.

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It’s led to (often racist) jokes, arguments and even fist fights in the past. And now it’s illegal. Continue reading No reservations

Home away from home

You may have heard about The Man Who Lived at the Ritz. It was a novel, then a TV movie, about a man who spent several years at the famous Ritz Hotel in Paris during the Nazi occupation.

ritz

In real life, Coco Chanel did live at the Ritz (although, apparently, not in the actual suite that now bears her name).

Continue reading Home away from home

News for July 2016

This is an archive file. The latest travel and tourism news is here.

Is the era of jumbo jets coming to an end? As Airbus scales down production of its A380 super jumbo, Boeing is saying it may discontinue the iconic 747 altogether. In a regulatory filing, Boeing cited “lower-than-expected demand” that have put the jet’s future in jeopardy. More here. My personal reflection in the “golden age of travel” is here.

Continue reading News for July 2016

Boeing, Boeing, gone

The classic Little Golden Book Gordon’s Jet Flight, by Naomi Glasson and Mel Crawford, was first published in 1961. I read it when I was old enough to read Little Golden Books.

GJF

In my memory, it was about a little boy’s first flight on a Boeing 747 Jumbo, but as the cover shows, it was about the B707, which was still a mighty plane in its day.

Continue reading Boeing, Boeing, gone

Suckered by a survey?

Updated on 23 July (see end of post)

So, I received a direct-marketing email from Royal Caribbean, the American cruise company.

Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Headed “We want to hear from you”, it invited me to take part in a survey. The email said: “This survey will only take about 10 minutes to complete. We hope you’ll make your opinion count as your feedback is very important to us.”

Continue reading Suckered by a survey?

How should travellers dress?

The issue of appropriate attire for travellers has been in the news lately. There was outrage in the Middle East, and an official apology in America, when a man from the United Arab Emirates was judged suspicious by an Ohio hotel clerk, and later arrested, partly because he was wearing national costume.

That incident led to an advisory from UAE authorities to its own citizens suggesting that they not wear traditional clothing while travelling.

Should colourful shirts be banned?
Should bald me in colourful shirts be banned from all social activity?

Meanwhile, in a survey of 2,500 Americans, 59 per cent agreed that passengers should be kicked off aircraft for “dressing inappropriately”.

Continue reading How should travellers dress?

Food for thought

I’m pretty much an omnivore, but I am sensitive to other people’s dietary requirements. And I feel for those with diet restrictions when they are travelling.

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So, it’s great to note that there are organisations that do the research and spread the word on the web so these people know where to go to get a good meal.

Continue reading Food for thought

Free for all at sea?

I’ve written before about my concerns about a cruise line offering passengers free, unlimited alcoholic drinks. My comments then related to certain Norwegian Cruise Line sailing.

Now another cruise operator, Thomson, has announced that on its new TUI Discovery, “everyone goes all inclusive from summer 2017”.

TUI Discovery Atrium Bar (Thomson)
TUI Discovery Atrium Bar (Thomson.co.uk)

Continue reading Free for all at sea?

Are we having fun yet?

So you’ve spend a shed-load of money, rearranged your work and life schedule, paid well in advance and raced around like crazy to put everything in place, all so you can enjoy your dream holiday without a hassle. Yes, it’s been hard, but you know it’ll be worth it

Things not purrfect? Make a complaint!
Things not purrfect? Make a complaint!

But what if things don’t turn out the way you expect? Continue reading Are we having fun yet?

Emotional about baggage

Some friends who recently flew from Australia to Europe were annoyed when a few bottles of alcohol in their luggage were broken, ruining some of their clothes. So, they took to social media to broadcast their displeasure with their airline.

What's going on with the baggage?
What’s going on with the baggage?

It got me thinking about the whole issue of baggage handling. I’ve been pretty lucky. My bag was torn by handlers at a German airport many years ago, but British Airways cheerfully provided me with a better one.

Continue reading Emotional about baggage

Review: Ibis Styles, Singapore

Ibis Styles on Macpherson
Singapore
June 2016

I chose to stay at this hotel for a very simple reason: it was the cheapest  room I could find online among my preferred brands.

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I was looking for a relaxing stay in a no-hassle place. I’d already chosen Singapore as my destination because of the excellent business-class deal I secured from Oman Air, and the knowledge that I’d be comfortable with my surroundings.

The Styles came in at about S$128 (US$95.50) a night for bed and breakfast. Continue reading Review: Ibis Styles, Singapore

Review: Oman Air to Singapore

Oman Air A330-300* business class
Abu Dhabi-Muscat-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore-KL-Muscat-Abu Dhabi
June, 2016

Yes, it’s the long way around to get from Abu Dhabi to Singapore and back, but with Oman Air it was a pleasure.

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As I discovered when I flew to Bangkok recently, Oman Air has a very good business-class product. Continue reading Review: Oman Air to Singapore

Baggage begone!

Many of my flying frustrations relate to baggage. Not just packing and hauling my own, but coping with the way other people deal with theirs.

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Some tourists or business travellers pack like they’re migrating. They dump three or four large suitcases onto the belt at airport check-in, then try to sneak a fully laden backpack larger than an eight-year-old child on to the plane.

Continue reading Baggage begone!

Time flies in Singapore

A time-lapse video doing the rounds of social media demonstrates three years of change in Singapore in just under five minutes.

Created by artist Keith Loutit and posted on Vimeo, it shows buildings going up, and coming down, cars winding through the streets, and changes in season and weather.

You can read more about the artist and his work here.

Revisiting Raffles

A trip to Raffles features on many a bucket list — especially for those interested in Singapore’s colonial past who want to see (or stay in, if they can afford it) arguably the most celebrated hotel in the world. For me, this was my third visit, and a somewhat sentimental one as I remembered a departed friend with whom I first visited Raffles many years ago.

Raffles
Raffles

Continue reading Revisiting Raffles