TravelCommentator Blog

Tipping, When, How and Whom?

When is the right time to tip and how much and who should benefit? I’ve had several experiences with tipping. Not a lot but they were in different situations. Tipping just doesn’t only happen after been given great service. It can also be an incentive to get better service, perhaps even again and again. In the right places tipping can make a difference…

Cafe Bravo, Norwood

I don’t usually write reviews on restaurants and cafes in my home city but I was compelled to write one this time for a couple of reasons. It was my wife’s birthday and she wanted to go out somewhere to have a bite and spend time together and talk over what had transpired in the previous few days. The day before was actually my birthday, but the day before that her mum passed away from lung cancer. So there weren’t any celebrations. Getting out of the house was enough for us. The kids were with us too, our son and daughter. Our son decided we should go to Cafe Bravo on The Parade at Norwood. I’ve been here before a couple of times if...

Routes: Adelaide-Singapore / Singapore-Adelaide

My first post in the Routes series and I’ll start it off with the international route I fly the most ADL-SIN/SIN-ADL, in other words, Adelaide International Airport (ADL) to Changi Airport Singapore (SIN) and back. Airlines At present only one airline offers this route in and out of Adelaide, Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines is part of the Star Alliance. In Australia Singapore Airlines codeshares with Virgin Australia. The Singapore Airlines flights are designated SQ278 (ADL-SIN) and SQ279 (SIN-ADL) and fly daily, all-year round. A second service runs only in December and January designated SQ276 (ADL-SIN) and SQ277 (SIN-ADL) and fly four times a week (Tue, Thu, Sat, and Sun). Schedule SQ278 Northern Summer: ADL 09:10 – SIN 15:10 Southern Summer: ADL 10:35 – SIN...

Routes

I’ll be introducing a new series of posts about international airline routes to and from Adelaide, my home town in Australia. I’ll add as much information as possible about the route, the airlines that fly it, the airports, flight schedules, etc. If I have flown the route I’ll add some comments; perhaps with tips and advice but not a review. Reviews will be in separate posts. In time I will also add routes connecting other Australian cities to overseas destinations, where travellers from Adelaide are required to transit before final destination. Many of these are hubs for the respective airlines that fly out of Australia, such as: Air New Zealand/Auckland, Qatar Airways/Doha, Emirates/Dubai, Cathay Pacific/Hong Kong, Singapore Airlines/Singapore, etc. Cheers

Empty Seats? Yes please. Then Disappointment

On one flight from Singapore to Milan (Italy) several years ago, I asked at check-in whether the flight was full and was told no, there were seats available. Reason why I asked is when I booked my forward section seat in Economy I had a whole row to myself but then when I checked a day or so before departure someone took the window seat. I had the aisle seat and was hoping to score all three to myself. So I decided to change seats at check-in. By doing this I was wasting the money I spent for the forward section seat. No big deal as an empty row anywhere, even in the tail section, trumps a single forward section seat. The check-in agent...

Hotel Etiquette

When staying at someone else’s house, perhaps a relative’s or friend’s place, do you respect the house rules? Do you behave accordingly? As a guest you will follow a few rules. Some are written, others are just commonsense but they are all rules a person with some decency would respect. These are the same kind of rules you would expect at home, so why can’t staying in hotels be the same for a few? We’ve already seen how bad etiquette can impact air travel so I thought let’s explore what is good and bad etiquette while staying at a hotel or other accommodation. Logically we’ll start and finish at the hotel door, checking-in and checking-out. Lobby and Front Desk First contact; where it is...

Online Travel Agencies Booking Hotels, Yes or No?

Should you book your hotel accommodation with an Online Travel Agency or through a Travel Agent or direct? A question many ask when planning their travels. Here I’ll explain my experiences and what I think is the best way of going about booking accommodation. Save money, get a good deal and be loyal. In my early days of travelling I booked everything through my travel agent (TA); flights, accommodation, cruises, insurance, etc. I was happy to give them the commission for all their hard work. I had faith in their experience and they saved me a lot of time searching and organising. This went on for a few years then I decided to start booking travel myself to see if I could save money....

Duty Free Shopping and Air Travel Safety Questions

I’ve always wondered about the safety issues of buying duty free items after clearing security and passport control at some airports. This all done after checked luggage has already been shipped away to be security scanned and ready to be loaded onto the plane. So the question is; why are we allowed to carry alcohol, perfumes and other flammable liquids on board the aircraft and why aren’t these items banned from the cabin? The solution would be to only be able to purchase duty free alcohol, perfumes etc., before luggage is checked-in. Correct? In fact no. Reason is that it is best to have anything flammable in the cabin where it can be put out by the crew. In the cargo hold these items...

Miles+Bonus Status Retention/Upgrade Changes

Elite status to become much harder in 2023 for Aegean Airlines’ flyers Aegean Airlines informed its frequent flyers and status holders on the 1st of February there will be changes to the tier retention and upgrade rules. Gaining status will be more difficult, especially for those not living in Greece and not able to fly on Aegean metal. The decision by Aegean is disappointing but understandable. They have good reasons and it has all to do with economics, which I will not delve upon here. Personally as a member of Miles+Bonus, the Aegean frequent flyer programme, I will find it much harder to obtain Gold status. I’ve already lost this status during 2022 being demoted to Silver. Aegean have been generous in the retention...

Adding Links to Old Posts

I’ve started adding links to posts and reviews. Most will be regarding travel providers and services I’ve used, including where I’ve stayed, eaten, etc. I’ll do this automatically to all new posts. The older ones too (where possible), unless the provider or service no longer exists or available. In that case there will be a note in the post. I won’t be adding costs in all reviews but will just add a remark whether cheap, competitive or not. In some cases the star rating will give a rough indication. Most prices, fees, charges and taxes fluctuate and change over time so what was current then or now may not be the case in future. Note: editing of posts will show an update date together...

Star Alliance Gold Status by Credit Card

With the launching last week of the HSBC Star Alliance credit card in Australia travellers now wanting gold status with a select group of Star Alliance airlines has become easier, well at least they have been given the option of spending their way to Star Alliance Gold, which for many may be the best or only way they’ll achieve this status. This is the first credit card of this kind awarding status with one of the airline alliances. It also seems Australia is the only country so far where this card has been issued, perhaps being used as a testing ground for future releases elsewhere. Is this just another card to add to your wallet and another dent in your credit rating? Now the...

Published and Updated Dates

If you are wondering why some posts have two dates: published and updated. The published date is the date the article, review or commentary was either first written or published on TravelCommentator. Some content may have been published elsewhere before being posted here and the first publish date still applies. Same with content not previously posted, the original date applies and any date after that is an update. The updated date is the date the content was last edited. This could mean a spelling error, punctuation or grammar being corrected or some information in the post has changed or an extra comment has been added to the text. Adding images not previously posted also changes the date. If a new category and/or tag is...

Snippet: Should You Dress Up or Down on Your Next Flight?

Recently there was an article about dressing up while flying and explaining why it was good to do so. The writer started the piece by describing how air travel used to be glamorous and goes on with the example of old films where you’d see passengers handed a cocktail seemingly enjoying themselves while in photos movie stars striding off the plane with their small, classy luggage. They had a good thing he says. I agree, in those days only the ones that could afford to fly would dress up, like movie stars and the well heeled. Glamorous for sure. How else would they be able to fly? I doubt they wouldn’t have it any other way. He goes on to say since the demise...

Air Travel Etiquette: Some Basic Rules

To me etiquette, in the context of air travel, starts way before getting on board the plane. It starts as soon as you enter the airport terminal. Good etiquette alleviates frustration, anger and conflict. Issues that have become more common with air travel. What is etiquette? Etiquette is basically a code of conduct, an unwritten set of rules that govern behaviour and social interactions. Principles such as: respect, kindness and consideration, or the proper and polite way to behave are the mainstay of etiquette, but also decorum, manners and attitude play their part. Applying etiquette to air travel I suppose like in any situation where one has to interact with others in a comunal setting certain rules need to apply. So before stepping into...

Unruly Passengers to Confront or Not?

Should you get involved in situations where there’s a problematic passenger on board? I would say no. Let the cabin crew do their job and sort things out. Flight attendants are trained to handle all kinds of situations even those when someone becomes unruly and violent. Are there exceptions to the rule? If the cabin crew ask for assistance and if you are capable of holding your own in a situation like this, then yes. Especially if you have experience or are trained in crowd control or mediation. Otherwise if you have self-defence knowledge, perhaps ex-army or police, speak to the cabin crew and assist. On some aircraft among the passengers they may also be an air marshall or a law enforcement agent. So...

Snippets: SIMs and Carry-Ons

Buying SIMs overseas and the language barrier In two letters replying to an article that was originally published in late March 2022, the writer of the article said, “In countries where you’re on shaky ground with the language, beware. Having been through this process in Italy and India, a word of advice – don’t.” The two letter writers had differing opinions, but both had solutions to the article writer. One replied with a novel suggestion. Do your homework, check online and write down the brand and type of SIM you need, find a shop and show the sales assistant what you want. Saying, “No need to talk, just smile.” Why not? Good idea. In any circumstance doing your homework or research before travelling solves many...