Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

airline complaints

“Its because of coronavirus”

Thought for the day…..”Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.”

“The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”

Far too  many companies are now trying to excuse their own inefficiencies with the excuse that “it is because of coronavirus”.      Airlines in particular seem to be especially bad at the moment, and their excuse is always “coronavirus”.     Same story with a lot of other companies too.  Emails are going unanswered and customer ‘service’ is falling even more.    Given that a lot of people can work online from home for things like refunds and answering emails then the coronavirus excuse is wearing very thin now.

Airlines such as SAS and Norwegian Air Shuttle (both of whom seem to be ignoring emails for months) are not going to see my money for a long time.

But in the long term these companies are going to lose.    Companies (such as airlines) which are now failing to reply promptly are going to lose some or all of my business.  The World is still turning, despite coronavirus, and businesses cannot use coronavirus as an excuse for everything.

And staying in Switzerland, a Piper Cub seaplane on the Brienzersee during a recent seaplane meeting.  The village of Ringgenberg is in the background.

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jeritilley@hotmail.com

RESPECT, CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS


Lufthansa German Airlines group and Economy class travel

Thought for the day…”Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

Too many companies are using coronavirus as an excuse now.   Often it is being used to cover up their own failures but the excuse of coronavirus is being overused.   Joining the bandwagon of companies blaming (conveniently) coronavirus is the Lufthans group (LH) airlines.    Now this is why I am getting angry…..according to Lufthansa, they are no longer giving ECONOMY class passengers tea, coffee or food on flights of less than 150 minutes.  This is to protect “your health and the health of our employees”

https://www.lufthansa.com/ch/en/current-onboard-services#short-haul

BUT if you are travelling Business class then you will still get food and drink.   Now would the managers at Lufthansa like to tell me why Business class passengers are not seen as any risk whereas Economy class passengers are seen as a risk?   Or is the real reason that Lufthansa just wants to save money and is conveniently using coronavirus as an excuse to make further cuts to Economy class services?   I know which answer my money is on.   And also why do Lufthansa no longer service food when other airlines ARE still serving food to economy class passengers?

Companies should stop trying to blame coronavirus for everything.  Be honest with customers, and if you are going to cut out meals and drinks for Economy class passenger then BE HONEST and tell us the real reason….to save money.   Do not try and blame it on coronavirus.  We are not stupid.

And another photo from the archives, Ometepe in Nicaragua at sunset….

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jeritilley@hotmail.com

RESPECT, CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS


Road rage, air rage and now airport rage

Thought for the day…”The hardest thing is to take less when you can get more.”                                                                                                                                                                                                    “Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.”

Road rage has now spread to airports as well.   The security checks, long queues and long waits and hassles over baggage mean that people are more stressed than ever.    Airlines have shot themselves in the foot by charging for baggage, as now you see people trying to drag on as much as they can…not uncommon to see them with 3 and sometimes 4 bags.    Airline policies may be wrong, and a lot of the things that airlines are now doing ARE unreasonable, but what is not fair is when you see people’s anger at airports directed at the wrong people – the people working on the check-in desks or at the gate.  These are not the people who have made the rules, they are the ones who are given the unfortunate task to enforce them though.   So it is sad to see passengers at airports getting angry with the wrong people, especially as many of them work for ground companies who are only contracted by the airlines.   By all means get angry with the airlines and the people who have made the mistakes, but make sure that the anger is directed at the correct people.   The person in front of you at the desk or gate may not be the right one.

Late afternoon low sunlight lights up the main street of Brienz, Switzerland for the photo today.  Many of the houses in this area date from the 1700s.

and another photo from the archives – a boat waits at Brienz, Switzerland for the return trip to Interlaken.

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RESPECT,  CONSIDERATION  & FAIRNESS


I got scammed – Twice !

Thought for the day…”If you count all your assets you always show a profit.”

“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.”

Now I am old enough to know better, but sometimes I get caught.   What makes it even worse is that I got caught twice because of a lack of research on the internet.   The warning signs were there IF I had looked before I bought….

I often used websites that compare prices to find the cheapest price.    I am learning more and more that cheapest is not always best.    I used a couple of websites (kayak.de  and also skyscanner.com    to find some good deals on air tickets.  These websites present you with a list of online travel agents (OTAs) who deal with the actual selling of the air tickets (kayak and Skyscanner just list the agents and do not sell tickets themselves).     If you look online at sites such as Tripadvisor you will find pages and pages of reports of people who have had problems with the online travel agents.    I also fell into the trap, and got caught twice, which makes me feel even more foolish.     Lost a lot of money through these OTAs and now that I have had my fingers burned twice, and avoiding them like the plague.   If you have time, then have a look at Tripadvisor and see what people are writing about the OTAs.

The message is very clear…..book direct, whether it is for hotels or for flights.   Although the prices may look cheaper at first, the OTAs will find a way to make their money from you.    And as a lot of people have found, it is very easy to get scammed by the online travel agents, with the final price often being different to the first advertised price.      So now that I have lost money twice by trying to book via an OTA, now I am just booking direct for both flights and hotels.  Save yourself the problems !!

Clear skies and clean air for this photo from the Swiss town of Grindewald.

and another photo from the archives.

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS


Flags of Convenience

Thought for the day….”A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”

There is an interesting story in the news in Norway at the moment about Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) overselling seats for the summer.   SAS has set up an Irish based division (SIAL)  and uses cheaper, Irish contracts to avoid Norwegian taxes.   But the plan seems to have backfired, as many staff have left the new Irish division because of lower pay and also having to work longer hours.    It is unfair that companies like SAS can use ‘flags of convenience’  to circumvent local procedures.   Same job, same aircraft and same routes, but different levels of salary for the same work, all because of flags of convenience. So SAS have been left in a position where they have sold many more seats than they have staff to operate because of a lack of staff.  I hope that all those passengers persue claims under the EU 261/2004 regulations.    The same thing happened in shipping previously, now it is spreading to other areas too.   Cheapest is not always best, and the same work should get the same pay.

Two colourful photos from Fiji for the photos today….

and another photo, a Fokker 100 aircraft seen here in Papua New Guinea, about to fly from Mount Hagen back to the capital Port Moresby.

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Not doing it, not for fun anyway

Thought for the day..”You can’t expect to hit the jackpot if you don’t put a few nickels in the machine.”

“Words are often seen hunting for an idea, but ideas are never seen hunting for words.”

Just had an email from an online travel agency trying to encourage me to book some cheap HOLIDAY flights.   The prices were very good and the destinations interesting….Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Entebbe (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya) etc.    Stress the word ‘holiday’ for these flights.  But when you read the details, the flights arrive at around 0200 or 0300, returning at around 0300 or 0400.   Now on holiday, I like to enjoy normal sleep, so these cheap flights would ruin at least 2 nights sleep.   Arriving at 0200 in a foreign country (especially a place like Nairobi or Johannesburg) is not only no fun, but also dangerous too.      And the thought of a departure around 0300 or 0400 means another ruined night.   All of this for a HOLIDAY, which is supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy.    So this time, I will pass over these cheap offers….life is too short to have this sort of cruelty on holiday.    And the good thing….holidays are optional, so I can choose better flight timings.    Many birds do not fly at night, and for good reasons.   I like my sleep too !    And I like to enjoy my holidays too.   Good luck to those who choose these cheap offers…..arriving into somewhere like Nairobi (sometimes called ‘Nai-Robbery) at 0200 then they are going to need it.

A peaceful evening at this bay on Praslin island, Seychelles for the photo today….

and another photo from the archives…a railman looks on as a railtour backs into Penzance station, in the far west of England

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jeritilley@hotmail.com

RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS


The worm has turned (at least for today)

Thought for the day….”When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

I recently flew with Lufthansa from Oslo via Frankfurt to Zurich.    Apart from the usual rush to get onboard and the usual problem to get space in the overhead luggage bins, the seats on the A320 seemed even closer than before.   But the real insult was the ‘meal’ that was served onboard.  This is what Lufthansa, one of the legacy airlines, served as the ‘meal’….

And not only that insult, but the coffee was served in micro size cups too (the watch is in the photos to give an idea of the small size) –

and the ‘dinner’ on the leg to Zurich was 20g, yes 20g of dry crackers.   Again, no refills of coffee offered, despite the small size.   I had paid an ADULT fare, yet was given these micro sized portions.   Can you believe 20g ??  Lufthansa have also been devaluing the air miles on flights too, so I wonder what is the point in paying extra to fly with the legacy carriers when the service has fallen this much???

BUT fast forward to my next trip to Zurich 3 weeks later.   I am lucky to be able to choose a lot of the time, so due to Lufthansa becoming less good, I chose the German Railways train instead.   What a breath of fresh air. No check in 1 hour before departure.   I could get onto the train carrying tubes of toothpaste, a Swiss army knife and liquids without anybody worrying.   The seats had lots of space.  I could take my own baggage (and be sure that it was going to travel with me on the same train).    The staff on the train were excellent, the coffee in the restaurant car good and in normal sized cups.    I had space to walk around, I had comfortable seats and there were films and TV programmes to watch on the DB entertainment channels.    Despite a much longer journey time, it seemed much faster than flying.  I arrived feeling good, relaxed and that I had enjoyed the journey.    We tend to forget that the train can be a great way to travel.    Just because air travel is fast does not mean that it is good, or that it is the only option.   The train down through Germany was so good that I am not considering using the train for many more future trips.    To quote a great British railwayman (Peter Parker) ..”this is the age of the train”.    Perhaps if airlines continue to pack people in and treat passengers as an inconvenience, then more and more people may discover the train.

No prizes for guessing where the photo below was taken…..yes, a souvenir shop !!   Typically Swiss.  Taken with the Fuji X-T20 camera together with the excellent 35mm F2 prime lens.

and another photo from the archives…..bright colours in Cape Verde Islands….

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Overcrowded New Zealand – record tourist arrivals mean crowded resorts.

Thought for the day “The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire.” (Richard Nixon)

“Laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one place.”

One of the problems at the moment is that New Zealand is getting too many tourists, resulting in overcrowding and an experience that is far from the idea that many people have of NZ.  With over 3.6 million tourists a year now (versus a population of 4.7 million), the country just cannot comfortably cope with the large numbers of tourists.  Queenstown for example, often called ‘The Adventure capital of the World’   has a population of around 16 000 locals but receives over 2.5 MILLION tourists a year (try finding a local person in Queenstown !) and the airport has plans for a 2nd terminal to handle up to 5 MILLION tourists a year (remember just 16 000 locals).    Part of the problem is that airfares to NZ are incredibly cheap at the moment, less than half the price that they were a few years ago.   Flights from Europe to NZ are being offered for around 500 euros return for the 18 000 km trip, with specials sometimes below 400 GBP return.   So whilst NZ is breaking records every month for tourist arrivals, the country is suffering, with overcrowded national parks, fully booked accommodation and crowded tourist towns.   Cheap airfares are not always a good thing.

One of my older photos here, but a historic one showing the now bankrupt Air Berlin.   Seen here at full power climbing out of Innsbruck Airport in Austria on a winters Saturday.  Now Air Berlin are history.

and another photo from the archives…deep thought on the face of this man…..

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jeritilley@hotmail.com

RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS.


The Worm Has Turned.

Thought for the day…”If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.”

“Power is like being a lady… if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” (Margaret Thatcher).

When I was 16 years old, I would always shop around for the cheapest (as students do), with little thought for quality or service.   But now it is the opposite.    I cannot understand why Ryanair (which is so often on the internet or newspapers for cancelling flights or upsetting passengers) is still in business.   There are so many people who will automatically go for the cheapest airline ticket, with no thought about quality or service.   Ryanair can upset thousands of passengers, yet still makes large profits.  When an airline upsets me (and many have) then they lose my business for good.  I vote with my feet.   Plenty of airlines out there, and those that mistreat passengers do not deserve business.  But why do people keep flying with Ryanair?    Cheap is not always good.    Service costs money to provide, but by paying more, you can often avoid problems.    Airlines such as Singapore Airlines are not the cheapest, but the service levels and reliability (and inflight experience) are FAR better.  If more people voted with their feet then average service levels would go up, as airlines such as Ryanair and Air Asia would be out of business.  Same thing with the airlines who are now putting 10 across seats into their Boeing 777 aircraft.  If more people refused to fly on these cramped aircraft then the airlines would be forced to go back to 9 across.  But too many people want the CHEAPEST.   But some of us are saying no, and are voting with our feet/money.

A photo from Aruba, in the Southern Caribbean for the photo today..

and another photo from the archives…beautiful coastline around Antigua, Caribbean……

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS

 

 


Worse service on the airlines, and more to come

Thought for the day…”The envious man grows lean at the success of his neighbour.”

“Hope is such a bait, it covers any hook.”

It is amazing that so many people are still choosing to fly with airlines, as a new round of cuts in services are leaked in the press.  The Hong Kong based  Cathay Pacific Airlines has announced that it too will follow the trend and squeeze in 10 across seating on its Boeing 777 services (the aircraft was designed for 9 across, so the change to 10 across will mean even less shoulder room).  There is also talk about going to 11 across onboard the A380, with the same result, less shoulder room for passengers.  And following on from that announcement, it seems that the Lufthansa group will move towards a ‘buy on board’ system for food.   It is being trialed at the moment, and apparently SWISS airlines (part of the Lufthansa group) are also going to trial a buy on board system.    Here is an example of one of the ‘meals’ that was served on a Lufthansa flight not long ago…about 100g of cheese and bread.   No plate, no meat and no other food.

So even before they start charging for food onboard, then they had almost cut out the included ‘meals’.  Earlier there was the news that British Airways were going to reduce the seating pitch onboard, meaning that their passengers would have LESS leg room than those on Ryanair.    And Lufthansa have also followed the trend by squeezing in more passengers on their new Airbus A320 NEO aircraft.   They have also removed one of the toilets (to fit in more seats) and made the remaining toilet even smaller.   Less leg room, less shoulder room and now even less food onboard.     The airlines mileage/frequent flyer programmes have been devalued so much that they are now virtually worthless, so the question is, is there any point now to choose one of the original airlines over the budget alternatives? Seems not.   You often have to pay for checked-in baggage, advance seat selection and a higher basic ticket price on thee traditional airlines anyway.    So why choose them?????

In most other businesses, giving a poorer service would usually drive people away, but it seems that the airlines are an exception.   Poorer service now, but still increasing numbers of people wanting to fly.  One thing is sure, the airlines that have increased the seating to 10 across on their 777s will not be seeing me onboard.   The limit has been passed.  Economy class has become a test of endurance, and is far from a pleasure now.

Staying with the theme of aviation, a photo that is now history, an AirNewZealand 747, seen here at Brisbane airport in Australia in 2004

and another photo from the archives….a local man in Southern Oman….

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION, FAIRNESS.


Two from the opposite ends of Norway

Thought for the day…..”If you cannot do great things then do small things in a great way”

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”.

So the crazy ‘security’ people in the good old USA have now decided that the humble Kindle e-book reader cannot be taken onboard flights from certain countries, nor a laptop, digital camera or tablet.   Yet people flying from some other countries CAN take the exact same items.    Just another sign of how stupid the USA has become.    And I am even more surprised that the travelling public in the USA is putting up with more and more of this nonsense.  Nothing to do with security, just a way for the Department of Homeland ‘Security’  to exercise even more control over people, without making flying any safer.    Even Australia is now making the use of the naked body scanners compulsory, with no opt-out option,  yet another intrusion into personal privacy and personal rights.     Based on these stupid, groundless ‘security’ procedures ( security scam would be another way to describe it)  then I will continue to avoid the USA, UK and Australia.    Airport procedures now are beyond reasonable.

A photo of the west Norwegian city of Bergen, taken from Mt. Floyen in perfect light.  Again great colours from the Fuji camera, taken as a jpeg.

and another photo….the fishing town of Vardo, Norway.    This is the easternmost town in Norway, and actually lies further East then Istanbul or Kiev !!  One of the town’s slogans is ‘Eternal light, Eternal Night’,  which is a reference to the 24 hours of constant daylight during summer, and the 24 hours of constant darkness during Winter.    The Russian border is only a few km away across the bay.

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Crazy security checks…..

Thought for the day…..”Actions and consquences are a packaged deal”

” Life is a one-time offer.   Use it well”.

Travel has just got easier for me.     The USA, as usual paranoid about security has introduced rules which stop TOURISTS like me from getting the ESTA electronic visas.    If you have visited any of the countries on the USA list, then you are now ineligible for the ESTA visa.   This also means that you cannot transit the USA.     The American government cannot get it into their heads that there are TOURISTS who visit countries like Iran, Iraq and Sudan to learn more about the culture and life there.   But paranoid American officials now consider TOURISTS like these as a security risk.   So it is an easy decision for me, no more visits to the USA.  I will take my TOURIST dollars/euros/dirhams somewhere else.

And now I see that Australia is also becoming much like the USA.   Now at international airports in Australia, they have made the body scanner machines compulsory.   Of course they are saying that there is no danger to the public, but officials also said the same thing with the original body scanner X-Ray machines, until it was discovered that there WERE health dangers with the scanners.   So when they tell me that there is no danger (officials also said the same thing after the Chernobyl nuclear accident) then I do not believe them.   So I will not be compulsorily irradiated because I am innocent.    So now I will be avoiding Australia as well, including in transit.   And apparently, Australia wants to start trials of facial recognition technology at gateway airports to avoid the need for passports.    How much more big-brother is coming???       So two countries on the off list (USA & Australia).   Makes planning the next trip easier.   Their loss, my money will go to other countries.    And is it not about time that these stupid rules about liquids are abolished???    Since when has a 200ml tube of tooth paste or shampoo been dangerous??

And why do they make the pilots go through security checks as well?   Are they afraid that the pilot might get control of the aircraft??   Has no airport official ever seen the STUPIDITY of making pilots (who have full control of the aircraft) go through a security check?   I watched one pilot at Brisbane airport recently having to remove his mobile phone from his pocket to go through security again.  Yet no official has ever questioned the logic of such a stupid procedure.

Having been attacked and robbed recently by a bandit with a bushknife (see the previous post) I was searching around for a new Fuji camera.  I was amazed to see on a website with sample images from a Fuji camera, and advertisement for stab-proof jackets (see the screenshot below).   Either my internet is being monitored, or it was an amazing coincidence….

fuji-x-t20-and-stab-proof-jacket-advert

and a photo from the now-stolen camera…..again great sharpness and colours from Fuji…..

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Overloaded, inconsiderate airline passengers.

Thought for the day….”Without dreams there is nothing to love.  And without love, there is nothing worth dreaming about.”

Just had a domestic flight in Norway (on Norwegian airline) and once again, there was absolutely NO control over the number of carry-on bags that people were taking onboard, nor was there any control over the size of these bags.  It seems to be the rule now that if you can drag them (plural, as many people seem to be taking more than one bag now) then that is ok.     And even if the bags are too heavy for the people to lift then they are expecting the cabin crews to lift these overweight bags for them.    Not only that, but again today, inconsiderate people were trying to ram my bag with the force equivalent to a garbage compactor until their oversized bags would fit.    Why are airlines not enforcing the carry-on rules like they used to??    And with the new, higher density aircraft now (more seats squeezed in, but the same amount of lockers for baggage) then this problem will only get worse.   Airlines that charge for check-in (hold) luggage are also making the problem worse, as now more people will try and drag 2 or 3 pieces of luggage onboard.  But the word is consideration, something that was missing with a lot of the Norwegian passengers onboard DY761 today, and respect for other people’s property.

Some New Zealand humour….a sign outside a pub in Picton, New Zealand.

low-res-bar-sign

and another photo from the archives…..the national airline of Portugal arriving in Funchal, Madeira.

LOW-RES-TAP

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The airlines go even lower – more economy class cutbacks.

Thought for the day….” Never reach out your hand unless you’re willing to extend an arm”

” Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”

Airlines again.   So often, things that originate in the USA slowly trickle their way to the rest of the world.  Already the major airlines in Europe are beginning to charge for check-in baggage, and at least one budget airline (Wizzair) is even charging for carry-on baggage.   Meals, which used to be included in airfares, are often becoming buy-on-board.    Lufthansa’s new Airbus A320neos will have LESS legroom than Ryanair.    Like Ryanair, Lufthansa is now charging for check in baggage, something that is now becoming standard amongst airlines.    Now the news is coming from the USA that United Airlines is going even further.   They are introducing a new even more economy ticket.   As well as not having the usual benefits (things like being able to pre-reserve a seat), passengers travelling on the cheapest tickets will now not be allowed to use the overhead luggage bins, and they will only be allowed to store small bags under their seats.   No doubt that this idea will spread from the USA, as airlines will see it as another way to devalue economy class even more.    And spare a thought for the cabin crews, who will now have to police who is putting baggage in the overhead luggage bins, surely a nightmare for them.    So economy passengers will be squeezed in even more (Lufthansa) then will not be able to pre-reserve seats, then will have to pay for previously free meals, will not earn air miles, and if the United Airlines move spreads, will be forbidden from putting bags in the overhead bins.

Years ago, people mocked Ryanair when it suggested making passengers pay to use the toilets onboard.  The way that things are going with the airlines, then those days might not be so far away.

Time for another portrait photo from the collection.   Originally a colour photo, the picture works so well in Black & White.   Great, neutral expression on the woman’s face, and perfect natural lighting.  The quality of the Fuji glass is clear in this photo.

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and another photo from the archives….

WORDPRESS-Sunset

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Squeeze more in – more cuts in standards at the airlines.

Thought for the day…”The secret of getting ahead is getting started”

“Some people are like clouds.  When they go away, it is a brighter day”.

Back on one of my favourite topics..airlines.  I see in the news that British Airways (BA) have become the latest airline to increase the number of seats in its aircraft.  The Boeing 777 will go to 10-across seating (currently 9) and the total number of seats will go up from 280 to 332.  The Airbus A320 will have more seats, up from 168 today to 180, and the Airbus A321 will go from 205 today to a new high of 218 seats.    So BA has also chosen 10 across seating for the 777.  And to make matters even worse, they are removing 2 or 3 toilets from economy class as well.  More passengers but fewer toilets.   Since SWISS airlines also introduced 10-across seating on the 777s, then I have avoided them, as the reports online about airlines who use 10 across seating have been far from positive.    Not only are passengers being squeezed width-wise, but also leg-wise as well.   Lufthansa’s new Airbus aircraft will actually have LESS leg room than Ryanair, and again the intial reports from passengers have been negative. And more of the legacy airlines are introducing charges for food onboard (eg. BA from January) as well as charges for checked-in baggage.    All this begs the question, why pay more to fly with the legacy airlines when the service levels are less?

Today’s photo comes from northern Norway.  Honningsvag in wonderful autumn light…..

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and another photo from the archives….landing at Funchal, Madeira……

WORDPRESS-Madeira-2

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Thought for the day….”Winning is not everything, but it beats anything in second place”.

“Some people are alive only because it is illegal to kill them”

Part of the thrill of travelling is in the planning.   Several years ago, a collection of airlines offered a fantastic ticket called the ‘Navigator Ticket’.    You were given a large, fold-out map of the world, with lots of airline routings marked out in different colours (representing the different airlines), and you were free to map out and plan your own route.  Rules were simple, you could make unlimited stopovers provided that you kept going in the same direction (ie eastwards or westwards).   You were allowed to backtrack if the routes needed it, but basically you could plan a route with as many zig-zags as you could manage.   Such fun to plan a trip and work out an exotic route.  Then the final excitement. was when the ticket arrived in the post.   In those days, airline tickets were messy, carbon paper affairs, but it was great to receive though the post, a stapled bundle of carbon paper tickets.    Sadly the navigator ticket is no more.

Fast forward to today, with buying an airline ticket a frustrating challenge.  Fares seem to change at will, from day to day and at the whim of the airlines.    I will never understand why the same flight on the same aircraft can change price from day to day.    Buying a cheap air ticket now involves so much planning that surely a computer programme is needed for it.   Bring back the navigator ticket !!!

They say that the best camera is the one that you have with you at the time.   Up early for the sunrise near North Cape, at the top of Norway and at 71 degrees north.    Good to have the camera ready for this quick photo….just as the sun came over the horizon to start another day.

LOW-RES-sunrise-2-FINAL

and a photo from the streets of the Danish Capital, Copenhagen….

LOW-RES-Cop-final

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How can they call this a meal?

Thought for the day….”Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on when others have let go”

“Life is not a rehersal, it is the real thing”.

I get to fly a lot, and one of the things that I am noticing more and more are the cutbacks on the airlines.    I used to be a shareholder in Lufthansa, but I am happy that I am no longer one.   Today’s photo is of the ‘meal’ served on a recent Lufthansa flight.    It did come with tea or coffee though, although the small size of this ‘meal’ is quite incredible.   I wonder how Lufthansa can advertise this as a meal?    Not even served on a tray, and only half a sandwich.  Two pieces of bread and a piece of cheese.  That was the ‘meal’.    And, as usual, the coffee came in small cups (paper) which they only half fill.  Why??   Things like this, and the fact that the Lufthansa group are now charging for choosing a seat or checking in a bag, are just going to drive me to the budget airlines.    Before, there was an advantage to choosing one of the ‘legacy’ airlines.  Not now.    The news that seating onboard the new Lufthansa A321’s will be even closer than on Ryanair, and that the extra seats in the back of the aircraft will be windowless,  will also make people choose the cheaper airlines.  No point in paying more for less.    Certainly, the ‘meal’ from Lufthansa would not encourage me to pay extra again.   Luckily, we have a choice…….

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and another photo from the archives…..time for a snooze in Tallinn, Estonia.

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More depressing news from New Zealand

Thought for the day…”If things do not go right, go left”

“Success – keeping your mind awake and your desire asleep”

More depressing news from New Zealand….even more flights and even bigger aircraft.   As well as increased numbers of flights from the USA and also from China, Emirates airline has announced that it is putting a 4th Airbus A380 on the route to Auckland.    This will mean that there will be 4 A380s at Auckland at the same time in addition to another A380 from Singapore Airlines.  Whilst the tourist board in NZ may be congratulating themselves on record numbers of visitors, the country just cannot cope with ever-increasing numbers.   The country has a population of just over 4.6 million people, but now receives over 3.3 million tourists, many of whom want to see the same few places.   The last 2 summers have seen accommodation fully booked, and tourists having to sleep in cars due to the lack of accommodation.  Buses and flights have been fully booked, and it has even become necessary to reserve some mountain huts ahead.    Queenstown (known as the adventure capital of the world), with a population of around 22 000 people, is now receiving over 2 MILLION tourists a year.  You can imagine what the town centre is like there in high summer.   But the tourist board keeps encouraging more and more flights, thinking that more and more tourists are good for the economy.  Yet the very nature and beauty that these tourists are attracted to is fast becoming destroyed (there have been attempts to build a monorail in one of the national parks already).

Some of the popular walking tracks (such as the Abel Tasman coastal track and the Tongariro Crossing) are now so crowded that they are considering giving people starting times for the walks, in an attempt to spread the crowds out.    Clean and green New Zealand it once was.  Now it is crowded and busy NZ.   So the news that the airlines are putting on even more flights to cope with this demand is hardly surprising, yet nobody in government has had the courage to stand up and say that there is a limit to how many tourists that NZ can accept.   It seems that every month that a new record for tourist arrivals is being reached (China is the big growth area for incoming tourists), with no sign of it easing up.    So when those millions of tourists do finally arrive in NZ, then the fun and games trying to find accommodation, rental cars and domestic flights begins.    Those politicians who think that unlimited numbers of tourists are good for the NZ economy should take a trip (assuming that they can get a seat on a flight or bus) to Queenstown or Milford Sound in summer and see just what sort of effect the millions of tourists are having.    Start queueing now !!!

Early morning in Geilo, Norway for the photo today….great colours from the Fuji camera together with clear air helped make this such a good photo.  The early morning mist had almost burnt off when the photo was taken.

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and another photo from the archives…two tourists admire Lake Wanaka, Pembroke Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand. Two tourists managed to creep into this photo even !!

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Early morning trip to Milford Sound

Thought for the day…”He who angers you, conquers you”.

“We all have the ability.  The difference is how we use it”.

I have just had another flight (unfortunately) with Air New Zealand.    I say unfortunately because what was once a quality airline has turned into a money-grabbing budget airline which pretends to be a quality airline.     Do AirNZ really think that I am going to pay NZD 10 to choose my seat, when they have to give me a seat anyway?   Do AirNZ really think that I am going to PAY NZD10 to watch a movie onboard??   Whilst they might have put a credit card slot in the seatback for me to pay, it is going to remain unused.      And having tasted the food offering (laughing called ‘The Works” on the outward journey, then I am sure that I will not be paying for the small portion of food that was offered.   I moved on from eating child portions a long time ago but apparently AirNZ thinks that I still do eat child portions, even when I paid for an ADULT portion.   And a wait of over 1 hour and 20 minutes to get even a cup of coffee is not going to make me happy either, especially as it was the usual airline sized 1/2 cup.

But the saddest part is to think back to how AirNZ used to be.  Once they WERE good, and once it was a pleasure to fly with them.     Times change.

Milford Sound is one of the most popular fjords that tourists visit in New Zealand.     Here is an early morning photo from the road which leads into Milford Sound.  Unusually, the weather is great in the photo.   Milford Sound is infamous for getting over 7 metres of rain a year…..so days like this are rare.    This photo is taken just before the entrance to the famous Homer Tunnel, which leads down to Milford Sound.

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And another photo from the archives….Haglebu, Norway

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More cutbacks at the airlines…Lufthansa squeezes more people in

Thought for the day…” A dame that knows the ropes isn’t  likely to get tied up”   (Mae West)

” I generally avoid temptation, unless I can’t resist it”.  (Mae West).

Back on one of my favourite topics…airlines.    I have now seen the seatmaps for the new Airbus A320 NEOs that Lufthansa will be introducing.  Not only are they squeezing in even more seats (12 more seats as compared to the A320s that they currently operate), but passengers in economy class will end up with LESS leg room than on Ryanair (the new Ryanair 737s will give 76cm of space whereas Lufthansa will be offering only 71cm).   Not only that, but those passengers sitting in the rear of the aircraft will be looking at a blank wall, as the rear area (previously the toilet area) does not have windows.  But wait, there is more….the 2 rear toilets that are left are also being reduced in size (said to be the equivalent of a Greyhound bus toilet for size) and the galley is being reduced in size to a small corner unit.   So more passengers but less food options, more passengers but smaller toilets, more passengers and less leg room.    Is this progress?    And Ryanair, once seen as the king of cutbacks and no-frills, is actually going to offer passengers MORE space than Lufthansa.

So that begs the question…why pay extra to fly with Lufthansa??  If you are going to pay more but get LESS legroom, and if Lufthansa are now charging you to choose your seat in advance, then why bother to fly with them??  Do you remember those adverts showing Airbus aircraft with SPACIOUS interiors?    Forget that now…economy class on Lufthansa is going to be a squeeze…just 71cm.    You pay your money and you take your choice, as they say.

Early morning sunshine in the small town of Picton, South Island New Zealand for the photo today…quiet before the arrival of the ferry from the North Island.

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and another photo from the archives…thinking time in Cuba…..

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Pride of the Pacific – No Way

Thought for the day….”If you wish to reach the highest, begin with the lowest”

“If you want something that you have never had, then you have got to do something that you have never done”.

Air New Zealand used to have a slogan “Pride of the Pacific’, and at one time, were a very good airline to fly with.  I had many happy flights on the stopping service from New Zealand via the Pacific Islands to/from the USA on NZ 47 and NZ 48, a service which followed the route of the early flying boats.   Great for island hopping, as the aircraft stopped so many times at places like Fiji, Tahiti and Hawaii.   And it connected nicely with NZ 1 to London as well.   Service was good onboard, it was comfortable and also good value.    Fast forward to the Air New Zealand of today, who are still trying to pretend that they are a quality airline.   Now you find that you must pay for almost everything onboard…the basic fare gives you a seat only to which you must pay extra for checking in a bag, having a ‘meal’ onboard, choosing a seat (NZ10) and even watching a movie (another NZ10 extra).      So the cash registers are ringing all the time…..basic plus $$ plus $$$  plus even more $$$.  And if that was not bad enough, Air New Zealand have also gone for the high density 10 across seating in their 777s.    So not only are you restricted for legroom, but now you are also finding less shoulder room.     So what was once a quality airline has now turned into a budget airline.     The last flight that I had on AirNZ, it took the staff OVER 1 hour 20 minutes to get me a cup of coffee, and then after that I had to ask for a refill as no refill of the small cup was offered.   Pride of the Pacific it might have been, but Pride of the Pacific it is certainly not now.   If AirNZ think that I am going to pay $10 extra to choose my seat and then another $10 to watch a movie on a small screen then they are very mistaken.     Neither do I wish to sit in a 10 abreast seat configuration where I am pushed up against the shoulders of fellow passengers on both sides, especially on an international flight of many hours.     The bottom line is that AirNZ have become a budget airline, with all the negatives that a budget airline comes with.    I hope that next time that they run into financial difficulties, that the New Zealand government does not bail them out as it usually does.    The quality has gone.

Two more photos from the Fuji X-E1 camera…….showing just how good the Fuji glass is….

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and another photo from the archives…city centre in Ascuncion, Paraguay…

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Frequent Flyer schemes – waste of time ?

Thought for the day..” Life is like photography.  You use the negatives to develop”

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time”

Are airline frequent flyer schemes a waste of time now?   Perhaps.   I have just flown from Frankfurt, Germany to Auckland, New Zealand, a distance of some 18 162 km.   Most companies see the value in recognizing regular customers and in looking after them, as they are an important source of profit.    But now it seems that frequent flyers are losing their attraction.    Rather annoying that for the flight from Germany to New Zealand, that I will not get a single air point.    I then go on to read that for my domestic flights in New Zealand, I will also not get ANY air points.   Two additional trips to the Pacific Islands, again not a single air mile for the return trips.    So for 12 or more of my flights, I will not get a single air point.   Not one.   And to make matters worse, when I do actually get some air points, the airline is now often only giving me 25% of the air miles, because I am flying on cheap tickets.     And when I come to try and use my air miles, they are asking for even higher amounts of miles than previously, and then are asking me to pay the taxes and charges on top.     So it begs the question, are the airline frequent flyer schemes now a waste of time.??

Fishing nets in New Zealand for the photo today……

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and another photo from the archives…..about to arrive in Funchal, Madeira.

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Finals to Land – Funchal, Madeira

Thought for the day….”If the world seems cold to you, kindle some fires to warm it”.

” When something is ” new and improved” , which is it?”

Did you know that until recently, the longest scheduled flight was the flight by Singapore Airways from Singapore to Newark, USA, a trip of 18.5 hours?  One of the longest flights now is the Delta Airlines flight between Johannesberg, South Africa and Atlanta, USA, a trip of some 17 hours non-stop.   And for distance, Qantas has a flight from Sydney to Dallas, a distance of some 13 600km/8500 miles.   For short flights, the scheduled service between the Scottish islands of Westray and Papa Westray is scheduled to take just 2 minutes, although a tail wind can reduce this to 90 seconds.      And did you know that a Boeing 747 is made up of around 6 million parts, and has a top speed of 955 km/h?   The photo today is of an Airbus A320 arriving at Funchal, Madeira.   This airport is famous for its often windy approaches due to the surrounding mountain, although no sign of any turbulence for this Monarch Airlines flight.

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and another photo from the archives….a market stall in Helsinki, Finland.

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Squeezed all ways

Thought for the day…”A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”.

” Those who do not learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them”.

I was sad to see that one of my favourite airlines, SWISS Airlines, is falling into the trap that some other airlines have already slipped into.    Swiss Airlines, who are normally very good, have announced details of their new cabin layout for the 777 W aircraft.    As one of those people who travel economy, I was sad to see that they are going to squeeze in 10 abreast economy seating (3+4+4).    Airlines such as Emirates had already done this, but now Swiss are going to as well.  Not only are economy class passengers squeezed for leg room, but now they are also going to be squeezed for shoulder space too.    Add to this the fact that Swiss (part of the Lufthansa group) also charge for selecting a seat in advance (25 euros approximately for each long haul flight), then the benefits of paying more for this airline disappear.    I have so far avoided airlines which squeeze 10 abreast seating on the 777, and it will certainly influence my choice of Swiss in future.   10 abreast is just not pleasant for a long haul flight, and a charge of about 25 euros to reserve a seat is just another nail in the coffin.

Two photos in black and white showing the city centre in Bergen, Norway.    As it was a dull day, then switching to BW was the answer..

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