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.

IMG_20160608_150048

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.

IMG_20160607_084359

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.

planewindow

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

My neck of the woods

Those of us who like to travel sometimes forget about the delights of where we live. While researching the next exotic destination, we are sometimes oblivious to changes in our own neighbourhood.

IMG_20160604_130123

It pays to have a look around; to go somewhere new but nearby. I did this today with my first proper visit to Al Maryah Island, which has been designed to be the new central business district of Abu Dhabi (which, in case you don’t know is where I live).

Continue reading My neck of the woods

Booze cruises

We go on holiday to relax. And, for many of us, that means some overindulgence, especially when it comes to food and drink. And when the food is free and all you can eat, you can see why cruise passengers are wont to put on a kilogram or two on holiday.

Norwegian Sky (NCL)
Norwegian Sky (NCL)

But overeating isn’t the only danger. Cruise ships do a roaring trade in alcohol. Most lines offer an all-you-can drink package that can cost as little as $30 per day.

Continue reading Booze cruises

Right on time

What time should you arrive at the airport? Well, for international flights, the general advice used to be at least an hour and no more than three hours.

(EasyJet)
(EasyJet)

These days, for various reasons, many airlines are requesting that you arrive even earlier than three hours – although, in my experience, that can just mean hanging about waiting for check in to open.

Continue reading Right on time

Tipping point

If you are an American in America, there is no discussion. Tipping is a way of life. If somebody performs a service for you, from opening a door to waiting on your table at a restaurant, they expect, and you will automatically oblige with, a tip.

coinsThe going rate in the United States is, I believe, at least 20 per cent of the bill in a restaurant, and at the very least, a few one-dollar notes for a random nicety.

But tipping is not a universal thing. Continue reading Tipping point

Review: Oman Air experience

Oman Air B787 business class
Abu Dhabi-Muscat-Bangkok-Bangkok-Muscat-Abu Dhabi
May, 2016

My decision to go to Bangkok with Oman Air was made at the last minute. After my original plans fell through, I was looking to spend two weeks at an affordable destination, but with a high level of comfort.

IMG_9388

Oman Air fit the bill, with a business-class fare less than two-thirds the price of the big regional operators, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar. I was expecting that the standards would be a little lower than the other airlines but was delighted to discover that it was very high indeed. Continue reading Review: Oman Air experience

Review: Holiday Inn Express, Bangkok

Holiday Inn Express, Sukhumvit Soi 11
Bangkok, Thailand

This was the cheapest per night of the three hotels I stayed in during my recent trip to Bangkok. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a bad choice. In fact, the hotel has a lot to recommend itself, not the least being its location at the end of buzzing Soi 11, home to some well-known restaurants and bars, including the famous Cheap Charlie’s.

IMG_20160513_125224

Continue reading Review: Holiday Inn Express, Bangkok

Review: Novotel Fenix Silom

Novotel Fenix Silom hotel, Bangkok
Stay: May, 2016

A nice welcome and attentive, efficient staff made check-in a joy. My flight arrived very early, and I was at the hotel before 7am. Although they didn’t have a room for me then, I was safely ensconced by 9am – which is an excellent five hours before normal hotel check-in time.

IMG_7842


The hotel is located at the far end of Silom, closer to Surasak BTS (sky train) station than to Sala Daeng, which is at the heart of the Silom / Patpong tourist area. Continue reading Review: Novotel Fenix Silom

Sixth time’s a charm

What you do on a repeat visit after you’ve already seen the sights?

Like many travellers, I like to visit new places but there are destinations that I find myself in again and again for various reasons — to see friends and family, or because I’m on the way somewhere else, or it’s a port of convenience.

Asiatique
Asiatique

My recent trip to Bangkok was one of those occasions. Continue reading Sixth time’s a charm

Fresh look for Alitalia

Alitalia has reinvigorated itself with the release of new crew uniforms and an advertising campaign highlighting the company’s “made in Italy” credentials.

New livery - A330 in flight

According to the company, its TV commercial “celebrates the Italian airline as it faces the future with renewed vigour and vitality, following a successful restructure in 2014, which saw it also introduce a series of enhancements and upgrades to its inflight product and fleet”.

Continue reading Fresh look for Alitalia