Passengers are getting bigger and bigger.  Not sure how airlines are going to deal with this one but they certainly are trying.  Now we all know how hard it is to lose those extra pounds and in this day and age we are all encouraged not to judge people by their bodies.  Those who used to delight in fat shaming are now in disgrace and nobody finds their memes or snarky comments funny.

So in this new politically correct scenario in come the airlines with a new idea – let’s just measure their waists to see if our seat belts will fit.

How embarrassing and humiliating.  How will they do this?

Well, in fairness to Thai Airlines who suggested this procedure, it has to do with the new aircraft and safety issues.

Here is a full article on the whole thing written by Bruce Parkinson for Open Jaw –

“Thai Airways has imposed a waist size limit on passengers and banned passengers carrying infants on their laps in business class on its Dreamliner planes.

The reason? The airline is planning to install seatbelt airbags on business class cabins on its new Dreamliner jets. That’s good news for nervous flyers, we suppose, but bad news for those carrying extra weight around their middle, because they simply won’t fit.

Passengers with a waistline of more than 142.24cm (or 56 inches) will not be able to fasten the new seatbelt airbags in a way that meets safety standards, according to Flight Lieutenant Prathana Pattanasiri, VP of TG’s safety, security and standards department, the Bangkok Post reports.

To put things in perspective, 56 inches is a waist size achieved only by a select few. According to some research, for a long life a human’s waist should be approximately half their height. Using that ratio, you’d have to be 9 feet, 4 inches tall to accommodate a 56-inch waist, which would definitely present other airline seating problems.

The new airbags will also make flying difficult for parents of young children, who will now be forced into economy if they plan to travel with kids sitting on their laps.

The seatbelts can’t be extended because of the airbag mechanism, according to the Post.”

Now I totally get that this is a real technical issue and there are in fact very few people who would have a waistline measurement of more than 56 inches.  But how do they determine who needs to be measured and who doesn’t?  Oh yes – it all comes down to the poor old check in agent again.  It will be he or she who will have to make the embarrassing call.  Will they actually have a tape measure?  And where will this be done?  Maybe in a curtained cubicle to spare the embarrassment?

It is a very difficult situation and yes – difficult for parents with young children on their laps and what about someone who is pregnant.  I googled waist measurement for pregnant woman and found that some reported to be 52 inches waist measurement at 9 months.  Well you wouldn’t be flying at 9 months I would imagine.  Interestingly many airlines don’t restrict pregnant women in any way while others will require a doctor’s note at certain stages of pregnancy.

Refer http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/airline-rules-traveling-while-pregnant

So in today’s world where we are all getting larger and obesity seems to be a real problem – especially in North America.  CNN reported that our children are getting fatter and fatter.


So I guess the airlines will have to start making bigger and bigger seats in their aircraft if they want to world to keep flying.





Just because you are an elite flyer doesn’t mean you can behave any which way.  Aeroflot has had to discipline its elite members because they are just behaving badly.

On its website recently it published the following announcement –

Moscow, 6 March 2018. – Aeroflot will revoke the Aeroflot Bonus elite status and associated privileges from passengers who violate the rules of conduct during pre-flight services and on board its aircraft. Any miles accrued while participating in the loyalty program will be voided, and the participant’s account will be closed.

Aeroflot has seen an increase in cases of disruptive behaviour on board its aircraft. Since the beginning of 2018 alone, there have been nine cases of physical violence against employees of the airline. Closer scrutiny of these incidents has revealed that virtually all the disruptive passengers were elite-level participants in the Aeroflot Bonus loyalty programme. A number of silver, gold and platinum Aeroflot Bonus card-holders consider it acceptable to treat the airline’s employees as second-class citizens, behaving not only rudely and aggressively but also in some cases resorting to violence.

first class

Aw sweet – there you go – all tucked in for the night in your jammies

So what led to this?  The bad behaviour is worse than you can imagine.  A flight attendant who is a contributor to The Points Guy news website commented online –

“I’ve been told to go f— myself because I had run out of a meal choice, heard a colleague called a horrendous homophobic slur for asking a passenger to get off her phone while we taxied to the runway, and had another colleague spit at for tripping over a passenger’s leg (that was dangling out in the aisle) and waking him up. I’ve even seen a mother throw a dirty diaper at a crew member because the crew member wouldn’t collect it from her without gloves. This behaviour is simply not acceptable.”

Wow – pretty bad hey?

Just for a moment let’s compare economy with first class …

coach vs first

There’s cool … and then there’s uncomfortable

This is not a new phenomenon apparently – Sid Lipsey summed it up pretty well in an article dating back to January 2016….

“There is a class of entitled travelers that don’t just believe that they deserve to be treated better than the rest of us; they believe that they are better than the rest of us,” says Christopher Elliott, travel journalist and founder of the travel site elliott.org. In a column Elliott wrote for USA Today, he discussed the growing phenomenon of “silver spoon travelers” — a class of travelers who believe their elite platinum or gold loyalty program status, their insane collection of airline miles and/or their very presence in first class entitle them to lord it over airline staff and fellow passengers. And the stories Elliott told are shocking aerials tales of “oh-no-they-didn’t” audacity.

Take one passenger, Camille Jamerson, who told Elliott she was once “ordered” to give up her first-class seat by a fellow passenger who said he had Medallion status and, therefore, wanted to move his friend from back in economy class to Camille’s seat. “That didn’t happen,” Camille told Elliott.

And there was an airline employee, Brian, who told Elliott of an incident at the gate where 90 people, many of them with some sort of elite status on the airline, were competing for 22 seats on the upgrade list. “The scene at the podium can be fun to watch,” Brian told Elliott. “Grown men and women acting like children when they don’t get their upgrades.”

boy crying

We hear tales galore of air rage in cramped economy class flights but tantrums in first class is a bit much people!  Just kick back in your pod and chill!

Courtney Love was arrested at Heathrow Airport in 2003 after Virgin cabin crew reported her for “verbally abusive” behaviour. Police were called before the plane landed on the overnight flight from Los Angeles, where Love, then singer with the band Hole, was travelling in a Virgin Upper Class Cabin.  (from traveller.com).

Looking forward to my next economy flight – there are some benefits to being 5 ft short!




Bit by bit …. That’s how airlines manage to run profitable businesses.  They charge extra for things like seat selection, meals and now even for a good spot in the line up.

This $9 charge will annoy a lot of people

So is this how to make money?  Apparently so because it seems to be working. Don’t forget in this online world the cheapest flights will be reflected up in the top of your search screen.  What the online booking engine won’t tell you is how much you will have to shell out for meals, drinks, cushions, blankets and now even a place in the line up.

The nickle and diming upsell is not just common in the airline industry – think about the world around you?

Would you like fries with that?

Shall I super-size that booster juice?

Would you like to go with the 9 oz glass of wine rather than the 6 oz?

large glass of wine

So it is understandable that especially when you come to low cost products such as economy airfare or those really cheap cruises then of course you are going to get sold to …. And sold to …. And sold to… until it drives you round the blinking bend.  A colleague who recently went on one of the big big cruise ships said she got utterly sick of people trying to sell her dining reservations and drinks packages.  You would think you would be in the clear when you buy an all inclusive package – but no – at many resorts you get hounded by time share reps and even if they are not around you get hounded on the beaches – at least in Mexico.  That is one thing that can be said for Cuba – you don’t have that same kind of aggressive sales people.

Ah well – everyone has to make a dime.  As the old saying goes “Cheap is expensive” in the long run you end up paying for it.

Many of the luxury cruise lines do interesting comparisons between their cost per day and the main stream non inclusive cruise lines and the numbers seem to show that you end up paying one way or another so might as well pay up front in Cdn $ if you can and at least have a relaxing holiday.

The problem is – we all love those deals – and we end up paying for them!

Zippers and small change

Zippers and small change and just a few things that will slow you up at airport security.

For those who travel frequently airport security can be a breeze.  They will have their electronics out, they won’t be carrying any fluids, there will be no loose change in their pockets.  BUT ….. if they get stuck behind a newbie then they might be held up much longer than they expected.

Small change might seem obvious but what about zippers?  –  Not just the zipper on your trousers …. that won’t cause a problem.  But those fancy jeans, trousers and jackets covered with decorative zippers – yep – those are going to set off the alarms for sure.

So keep it easy and wear sweats.

Of course if you are travelling for business then you can’t get away with sweats (unless you work for Google maybe) but frequent travellers have got this under control.  For newbies here are a few tips –

  • Have your boarding pass ready – a real old fashioned printed one.  Forget about having it on your phone – it is a hassle.  And double forget about having it on a smart watch.  Just give the man the piece of paper – that works!
  • Do you really have to travel with all those bottles of liquid?  I can understand medication but honestly I have seen people go through security with large plastic bags full of bottles of liquid that they obviously cannot live without.  Pack your liquids in your checked luggage.  If you lose your luggage you have insurance (you do have insurance don’t you????  Seriously!) and you can buy new stuff.  BUT … an  apology to all those super heroes who travel around the world with carry on.  I did it once (a 2 week trip) – I SALUTE YOU!
  • Wear shoes that are easy to slip off.  It sounds simplistic but how many times haven’t you seen people fiddling with laced up boots.  Why?  On the other hand – wear a pair of socks if there is a chance that you have to waddle through security barefoot – yuk.
    feet airport
  • Ladies – leave the charm bracelets at home.  Nothing more irritating standing behind someone who has to remove multiple pieces of heavy jewellery with difficult clasps.

Nothing beats that feeling when you are able to put one bag and your boarding pass in a bin and walk through security without setting off any alarms.  Yay – success!  I even read one frequent traveller’s story about how when he gets through security successfully he gives a fist pump in the air as a victory salute.  He says that security see the funny side of this and he always gets a smile.  I wouldn’t be too sure about doing that.  It might get you into secondary before you know it!



You took how many photos??

You know how it is these days in this era of instant gratification and cell phones.  You go on vacation and you just take photos of everything you see.  Literally – everything.  Because you know you can review them and delete – my goodness you can even photoshop them to make yourself (or the view) look better.  So you click, click, click …. and then what?  You have hundreds of photos clogging up your memory or (even worse) your icloud which constantly sends messages to you that you need to upgrade (i.e. pay more for more room).

Ugh ….

It’s like a discipline – you have to come home and edit the photos – cut them down to the ones you want to keep and the ones you didn’t like or – let’s face it – the ones where you have forgotten where it on earth it was taken.

Now I know there are some organised people out there who sit in their hotel room every night and go through the day’s photos editing, deleting and even putting in captions.  Not me!  I don’t want to waste a precious moment spending more time staring into my phone.  I just wait about 2 years and then look at the photos and think ….

“Where the hell was this?”

“What happened to that hat?”

“I have to bin that shirt”

“Not sure if I liked that haircut”

“Does this photo make my butt look big?”

It’s so different to how it used to be.  You remember the old days when you bought a film, put it into your camera and took photos which were developed when you got home.  You were more careful in those days because you paid for each developed photo so you didn’t want to waste money.  When you finally got the photos back what excitement going through them.  Well … excitement and sometimes disappointment …. because the shot you thought you had captured perfectly was … well … a bit of a flop.

coach tour fail

What kind of tour did you go on Granny?

scared boy on slide

Look how much fun we are having son!

Yup – those were the days – right ladies?

vintage vacation

So just remember – when you see that camera – just keep smiling.

keep smiling




Nature’s sense of humour


Many people travel to experience Nature’s wonders – the migration of the Serengeti, the gorillas of Rwanda, the penguins of Antarctica, the amazing waterfalls, mountains and forests of this world.  But sometimes we think that we are the traveller going to experience Nature – we are in control of where we go and what we do.  We are after all superior beings – are we not?  Nope – I think Nature has us there and loves to exercise her sense of humour as often as she can.

Take this gorilla – All he is doing is hanging out in his back garden having a munch only to see these strange creatures struggling through the jungle.  He just can’t believe his eyes.

laughing gorilla

Nice hat????

mosquito hat

Let’s say you plan a trip to Antarctica.  Well it seems that you are going to end up wearing a lot of clothes.  Special boots, snow trousers, special monogrammed parkas.  Well at least that is what the majority of tourists wear.  So what do you think the local seals thought about this chap?


This is what they thought – and they are still laughing.


And when you go on safari and you have driven all day looking for animals and have had no luck at all – you come around the corner and run into an elephant with an itch.  A serious itch.


Try explaining that one to the rental car company.    You see Mother Nature is in control for most of the time – that is until we start clogging the seas with plastic straws.  But she fights back – again and again –

tree eating   flooding


The interior of an abandoned building where the floor has completely decayed and has been replaced with overgrown plants. (Thomas Windisch/Caters News)

Maybe we should cheer her on!







How to complain

When you travel stuff happens.  We know that.  Flights are late, transfers don’t arrive and sometimes hotels don’t meet up to your expectations.  Having been in this business for more years than I care to confess online I have seen a wide range of travel problems and also a wide range of how different people (and companies) deal with this.

Getting there – the flight – Wow.  Is there anybody out there who has never been impacted by a delay, a cancellation, a “we’ve run out of meals” situation, a mix up in seat selection?  If there is please let me know because that would amaze me.  I remember boarding a flight once in New York with my family (2 adults and 2 kids) with our seat selection clearly stated on the boarding pass only to find once on board that the row we were assigned to did not exist.  We stood to one side while a harried looking flight attendant got everybody else on board while she tried to figure out where to seat us – and yes – we wanted to sit together.  She had the brilliant idea of upgrading us to business class (thank you very much) until she realized we had 2 kids (5 and 12) and suddenly it appeared that we were not eligible for an upgrade.

I think we deserved business class!

I didn’t complain at the time – or afterwards.  Should I have?  I might have got a voucher for future travel from the airline but in the moment all I really wanted was four seats together for me and my family.  So it’s all about priorities.  I was living in the moment and when we eventually got four seats together I was OK.

Another time checking into a flight at an airport I pointed out that I had originally reserved a particular seat and now it had been changed for no reason that I could see.  “Oh” – says the check in agent “You will have to speak to your travel agent about that – they are always doing that.”

“Um … I am my travel agent.  I made the booking.”  She had no answer.

Everyone has a different way of dealing with travel problems so I want to use an example of a very reasonable couple who experienced problems with their vacation and how they dealt with it.

Let’s call them Dave and Heather.

The flight – a special seat selection service had been booked and prepaid with printed documentation and tickets stating the seats.  At check in they were told that these seats were not on the “manifest”.  Dave and Heather pointed out that they had paid extra for this service.  They were asked to produce their Visa receipt????   They realized they were not getting anywhere so offered to pay again for the seat service but were told they could not.  Go figure.

At the hotel they had problems.  Now it is strange but sometimes it is like a weird kind of karma.  Once something starts going wrong those ripples turn into waves and those waves turn into a tsunami.   It went from bad to worse.  The staff were well meaning but ineffective and Heather decided not to waste her precious holiday time with negative feelings and complaints.  It was therefore a bit of an eye opener when a few days later, while standing at the reception desk, she witnessed an absolute melt down with someone checking in and after raising the roof the staff quickly upgraded this person to a presidential suite.


Hmmm – Heather thought to herself.  Maybe being polite and optimistic is not the way to get things done.

Isn’t that sad?  Doesn’t that say something about today’s society.  The Squeaky Wheel – the Threats – the loud voice.

So what should you do when things go wrong when you travel?  Here are a few pointers

  • Take down names. Most airline staff have a name badge.  Make a note of the time.  Airlines and hotels can check shifts and names.
  • Contact the onsite rep – if you have booked through a tour operator there will be a local rep who will either be based at the hotel or will have a desk or contact number so you can reach them and make them aware of your concerns. The local rep keeps in touch with head office in Canada or the USA and is the one most able to quickly deal with any problems.
  • Keep your travel agent up to date – a quick email just advising that you have had problems (and maybe a brief description) and that you are in contact with the local rep. Your travel agent will then be able to monitor things on our side with the tour operator in Canada or the USA.
  • Write it down – a full chronological report of all and everything that went wrong is a great help. If you have your cell phone take a few pictures too.


But keep your complaints real….. not like these courtesy of Thomas Cook UK.

“The beach had too many fat people …it was gross.”

“The street signs were not in English.  I don’t understand how anybody can get around.”

“The local women were too beautiful.  It made me feel bad about myself.”

“No one told us there would be fish in the sea.  The children were startled.”