How to score a cheap flight by tricking the science of seat prices

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.



Sadly, the video does not explain why return flights are cheaper than two one-way tickets — I believe it’s because airlines want to lock you in getting there and Continue reading How to score a cheap flight by tricking the science of seat prices

Up, up and away … this time I’m off to Taipei

For reasons that will become clearer in future posts, I have to be in Bangkok by the last week of this month.

(cathaypacific.com)

I checked my Qantas frequent flyer points* with the view to making a direct flight from Brisbane. But I discovered that for about the same number of points I could go first to somewhere I’d never been before — and I’m always up for that.

Continue reading Up, up and away … this time I’m off to Taipei

Five reasons why your next holiday should be a cruise

Cruising is said to be the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. It’s no surprise why.

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

In case you have reservations about making a reservation on a ship, here are some good reasons why sailing is the answer.

Continue reading Five reasons why your next holiday should be a cruise

Do you really want to get away from it all?

In this age of constant connectivity, we’ve all had to adapt in all aspects of our lives.

Because our bosses, our families and our friends expect us to be instant,y contactable, that means the dream of sailing away to a deserted island and truly switching off may never again be achievable.

Continue reading Do you really want to get away from it all?

Be alert to travel dangers

The terrible events in London have once again brought terrorism to the forefront.

(bbc.co.uk/news)

Those who commit these acts choose their targets carefully: they want to disrupt the daily lives of residents and to persuade would-be visitors to stay away. Their aims are to inflict immediate damage and to create long-term economic harm.

Continue reading Be alert to travel dangers

Captain’s correct call

Along with other passengers on my recent cruise on the Pacific Aria to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, I missed out on two out of three scheduled port calls due to bad weather.

The Pacific Aria

I could complain, I could ask for compensation — which wouldn’t be forthcoming, since this eventuality is covered in the fine print — but, while I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to see Noumea and Mare, I believe it was the right call.

Continue reading Captain’s correct call

The price isn’t right


As a solo traveller who likes cruising, I’m always desperate to find a fair deal in a market that’s clearly geared towards groups of two or more.

I understand why there has traditionally been a bias towards catering for couples and families, but times are changing and more people — young, old and in the middle — are travelling on their own. With this in mind, I sometimes get riled when a see “deal” that is patently biased against solo travellers.

Continue reading The price isn’t right

Scoot sets sights on Oz-Europe route

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.

Scoot economy (flyscoot.com)

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.

But cheaper isn’t always better …

Continue reading Scoot sets sights on Oz-Europe route

Extras. Read all about them

We’ve all been asked if we “want fries with that” or otherwise been enticed to buy something more than we originally planned.

Are special touches worth paying extra for?

It’s no different in the travel business, but sometimes what’s part of the package and what’s extra isn’t quite as easy to understand as an upsized Big Mac meal deal.

Continue reading Extras. Read all about them

An expensive business

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.

Continue reading An expensive business

Suite dreams at sea

My motto for all travel is to do what you can comfortably afford to do. As I’ve written, if you want to fly business- or first-class, and you have the money to do it, don’t let anybody persuade you otherwise.

First-class cabin on the Titanic (origin unknown)

The difference between business and economy class on a plane — especially on long-haul flights — is painfully obvious. That is, the ever-more-cramped economy-class seats will induce pain; the lie-flat options up front will not. Continue reading Suite dreams at sea

A dummy’s guide to travel

I recently read an online guide to budget travel that really got my goat*, as my granny used to say.

Spending more is sometimes worth it

It also got me thinking about all the bad travel advice I’ve read online, and how some of it ought to be challenged. Which is what I’m about to do.

Continue reading A dummy’s guide to travel

Gratuitous advice about tipping

Tipping is a way of life in some parts of the world, and something to be avoided in other places. Travellers soon learn whether they need to tip or not.

Do you need to tip on ships?

But it’s on the high seas where things get confusing. Cruise holidays bring together passengers from all parts of the world, and there is often no consensus about how much, or even whether, they should tip.

Continue reading Gratuitous advice about tipping

Keeping it clean

I wouldn’t normally write about a press release announcing that a cruise line, or other travel company, had won some kind of award or distinction.

ms Eurodam (hollandamerica.com)

However, this is different. Holland America Line has announced that its ms Eurodam has registered a particular achievement for the 11th consecutive time. And that should interest everyone who has ever cruised, or has ever contemplated a cruise holiday.

Continue reading Keeping it clean

A premium flight experience

In the current climate of austerity, many people are thinking twice about paying for business-class airfares.

Emirates is introducing a premium economy option on some flights

As I’ve argued before, if you can afford to fly business and you want to, nothing should stop you from treating yourself. However, if it’s going to break the bank, you don’t have to totally slum it in the ever-tighter economy or “basic economy” seats.

Continue reading A premium flight experience

Considering a cruising career?

I once wanted to work on a cruise ship; part of me still does. What’s not to like about working on board a ship; to get paid to see the world, with accommodation, food and drinks thrown in?

Vision of the Seas

Well, there are quite a few things to think about if you are considering taking the leap into the world of hospitality and entertainment on the high seas.

Continue reading Considering a cruising career?

Death of the travel agent?

The demise of the bricks-and-mortar travel agency has been predicted ever since airline and hotel bookings first became available online.

(thomascook.com)

But these shopfronts have been quite resilient, and there are still many to be found in shopping malls and high streets.

However, the numbers are slowly declining, with reports that the venerable Thomas Cook is to close 39 stores in the United Kingdom. That will still, however, leave 719 open for business under that brand alone. Continue reading Death of the travel agent?