Category: Opinion

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…

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....

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...

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...

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...

Snippets: Digital Passenger Declaration App Frustrations

Complaints a Plenty, Strong Opinions and Some Advice In Australia the Department of Home Affairs has an app that can be used on smartphones and tablets for returning passengers, tourists, visitors and those in transit called Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD). This electronic form has to be completed before arrival. It includes passport details, vaccine certificate and negative COVID-19 test results. It has been designed so passengers can use the SmartGates without having to physically show the documentation mentioned to the Border Force staff. The app has been out since mid February 2022, but it has been reported to be causing a lot of issues and stress with passengers. Many complaiing it doesn’t work properly and frustratingly time consuming to complete. Some of the reviews...

How to Survive Jet Lag, My Take

The scourge of the long haul flyer. Yes, the loss of sleep, the heavy head, the tired eyes, the feeling of fatigue and irritability. These are the psycological and physiological effects that will weigh you down for several days. Is jet lag avoidable? Or can it at least be managed so that it doesn’t wreck travel plans? Here’s what I think… I will be honest, in my early days of crossing multiple time zones I too suffered the occasional jet lag. The only way I knew how to counteract the effects was to just go to sleep at my earliest convenience. I basically tried to sleep it off, but of course that caused other issues. I would be out of kilter for a few...

Snippets: Have We Forgotten How To Travel?

…Flew to Europe and realised I’ve forgotten how to travel With mandates and restrictions easying or withdrawn and some normality coming back to travel after about two years, have we forgotten how to actually go about our favourite leisure passtime? The question was implied in a recent article with the writer going through the motions, feeling excited, nervous, anxious and confused. Forgetting how to pack when he was always ready at a moments notice, having bags pre-packed. He was trying to figure out what he needed. I don’t blame him especially for someone who travels to earn a crust. Packing is one of the most frustrating things. He didn’t need this extra aggravation. He goes on to explain he has forgotten how things were:...

Snippets: Mask Mandates on Planes, Keep or Scrap?

Mask Mandates on Planes… The writer in this article explains which airlines are dropping the mask mandate and those that are continuing this requirement. He asks the question in a sub heading, “Does masking wearing on aircraft work?”, and then mentions HEPA filters and the airlines claim of 99.9% efficiency. So another question, “If so, then why bother with a mask?” No mention so far why anyone should wear a mask but the writer is implying they should and tries to back this up with several medical articles which he gives the links to. However none of these articles specifically mentions the efficacy of mask wearing but concentrate on whether there is transmission of COVID-19 in the airplane cabin. Which we know has been...

Snippets: Lying Down Across Economy Seats Not Recommended

Don’t lie down across empty economy seats… In a letter response to an article mentioning passengers appropriating themselves empty seats and lying down across them in rows of three or four, an aeronautical engineer made his concerns known that it was dangerous to do so as passengers could not restrain themselves properly and in turbulence could be launched from their seats. He also wrote passengers should not switch seats without the FAs being informed as they could upset the aircraft’s trim. Name of letter writer witheld…says there’s no way one can be restrained properly lying across three or four seats. Depends what is meant by properly. I’ve done it by attaching the straps closest to each other from two seats. The strap with the...

Snippets: Economy Pax Upgrade Forces Flight Turn Back

Flight turns back after economy passengers upgrade themselves… A couple of Economy Class passengers decided to move into Business Class. A standoff ensued with cabin crew and the captain was forced to return the flight to its departure point where those passengers were subsequently arrested by police. The writer goes on asking, “Who even thinks they can self-upgrade?” He then makes some fair comments about the self-righteous and then asks, “Who does get upgraded?” Explaining that airlines don’t upgrade economy passengers just because there are empty seats, it’s the frequent flyers with status that do or you pay at check-in. No sweet deals. “What if economy class is full but not business?” Here he’s spot on explaining the rules with upgrades with platinum or...

Snippets

Every week (perhaps even twice a week) I’ll be adding a post with short comments called “Snippets”. Basically these “snippets” will be my response to what other people are saying about travel. This will include commenting on writers in major publications and anyone who leaves a post in their comments section or writes in a letter. It will be mostly my opinion, my slant. I may sound controversial or critical, I’ll try not to but sometimes it will have to be the case to get responses. Commenting will expand our views, hopefully getting to the bottom of things with suggestions, advice, etc. I’ll try not to mention the name of the article writer, the publication or of the commenters or the letter writers. I’ll...