When I travel, I often use an app called TripCase. It usually works like a dream. I just forward my flight and hotel booking confirmation emails to TripCase, and my journey shows up on all my devices. Flight delays and other information is updated in real time.
On my most recent trip, however, something went awry.
When I sent it my booking confirmations for Cathay Pacific flights CX713, Bangkok to Singapore, and CX712, Singapore to Bangkok, TripCase decided that I was going to New England in the United States.
I have actually been to Augusta, Maine — for Thanksgiving, no less — and I had a wonderful time. But I’m not sure how I could go there twice on successive days starting from different Southeast Asian airports.
“I think [the airports] could do more. I think the retailers could do more as well.”
So says Phil Ward, managing director of Jet Blue, on the growing problem of violence and other disruption caused by drunks on planes.
At least Jet Blue has done something about the problem, by banning the sale of alcohol on its early morning flights. But, of course, thanks to bars and retail outlets at airports that operate 24-7, the offenders can already be in an ugly state before they get on board.
Anyone who flies frequently will know the experience of being asked/ told to change seats. Some have even been dragged off the plane.
I’ve been relatively lucky. It’s only happened twice — once my seat was doubled booked and I was offered and upgrade to business class (no argument there), and on the other occasion, I was asked to move to an equivalent seat in another row so some family members could sit together.
It’s a mystery to most of us why airfare prices fluctuate so wildly. In this video, CNN’s Richard Quest (yes, I know, some people do find him irritating) explains why that is, and describes a newish way that you can score an upgrade.
A former colleague of mine has travelled to more than 100 countries. I don’t know if it’s his aim to visit them all, as others have done, but it’s a fairly impressive tally nonetheless.
And, as far as I know, he doesn’t just dash in and out. He takes his time to see the sights, meet people and go off the beaten track. My country tally is about half of his, but I don’t see it as a competition.
“Be careful what you wish for.” It’s an adage that applies in many circumstances.
And right now it’s germane to the issue of passenger comfort on commercial aircraft. It seems that we are getting squeezed on like sardines because that’s what comes with the lower fares that we demand.
Although it often seems prohibitively expensive, air travel has actually become far more affordable in recent years. A flight from Sydney to London, for example, costs roughly the same as it did 30 years ago, despite inflation.
And flying to Europe is about to get even cheaper for Australians, with Singapore-based airline Scoot offering flights from the east coast to Athens for less than $1000.
Many years ago, a colleague of mine was proudly showing me her lifetime membership card for Ansett Airlines’ Golden Wing business lounge.
Less than a year later, the Australian airline went bust and the offer was rendered worthless. Well, thanks to United Airlines — which has become the gift that keeps giving for cynical travel writers — I’ve now encountered something that tops that in the disappointment stakes.
The first time I flew business class, it was from Brisbane to Perth. Somebody else — a publicist promoting a play she wanted me to see so I could interview the star* — was paying, so I’m not sure what it cost.
I was, however, shocked to see the difference between the economy and business class fares currently being offered by Qantas for the same flight.
It’s been a long time since I flew Jetstar. In fact, when I last did, the Qantas subsidiary still had unallocated seating — an “innovation” it very quickly abandoned.
But from what I’ve heard and read, it comes as little surprise that Jetstar has been has named the world’s worst airline in an international survey. Equally, it’s no surprise that it is fighting back, because the methodology was clearly flawed.