DRINKING, SMOKING AND FLYING – ALL AT THE SAME TIME

It is bad enough these days on a flight what with arm rest hogs, carry-on idiots and unkempt smelly fellow passengers.  Now it seems some think they can drink AND fly – in the air.  My goodness.

That’s what happened back in 2015 when John Cox flew from Birmingham to Sharm el-Sheikh on Monarch Airlines.

First of all he was drunk and abusive on the flight.

And then he started not one fire – but two.   (As reported below in the Mirror)

“Cabin crew found the blaze in a toilet in a waste paper basket and used two fire extinguishers and water to put it out.

The captain issued a “strongly worded” announcement warning passengers about the risk of smoking on board and the consequences of it.

He also debriefed the crew who were told to remain vigilant and it was decided to carry on with the flight, with four remaining fire extinguishers on board.

Just minutes later, when the plane was 100 nautical miles north west of Egypt at 35,000 feet, the captain received another warning about a fire.

This time it was discovered in the waste basket of a second toilet.”

So he ends up in court and pleads guilty to arson and gets 4 and a half years in jail.  Apparently appeals because he is going through a bad time with his divorce and the death of his mother – which is a shame.

But not enough to sway the Appeal Court who promptly increased his sentence to 10 years.

No wonder he needed another smoke outside Court.

Drunken-John-Cox

It made me think about the days when smoking was allowed on flights.  Do you remember?  Are you old enough? 😊

smoking on a flight

If you ended up in the last seat of the non-smoking section you might as well have been sitting in the smoking section.  Ugh – terrible.

However – as a life-long non smoker I do have some sympathy for smokers on these long flights.  Nicotine is addictive and yet it is legal.  So put a smoker – especially a nervous one who is going through personal problems – on a long flight and maybe he or she will do whatever they can to have a smoke.  Even if it means almost setting fire to the plane.  You also have to ask how did he get so drunk?  Was it on the plane and if so why was he given so much booze?  If it was before departure why was he allowed to board and shouldn’t there be some control at the bars or duty free shops within the airport area.

Lots of questions which Mr Cox can mull over during the 10 years he is going to spend inside.

A flight fit for a King.

Have you flown KLM recently?  Chances are the co-pilot might have been the King of Holland.

That’s right.  He is a commercial pilot and from time to time (in between his kingly duties) he likes to fly as a co-pilot on KLM flights.  He says that people don’t really recognize him in his uniform but some people recognize his voice.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39946532

King of Holland

Seems like a lot of royalty like to fly – Prince Charles does / did.   He learned to fly on a Chipmunk basic pilot trainer, a BAC Jet Provost jet trainer, and a Beagle Basset multi-engine trainer; he then regularly flew the Hawker Siddeley Andover, Westland Wessex and BAe 146 aircraft of The Queen’s Flight until he gave up flying after crashing the BAe 146 in the Hebrides in 1994.

Oops!
pilots

Prince William is a helicopter pilot – which for some reason sounds strangely more sexy than being a commercial pilot.  And he looks very cute in his uniform.
prince-william-1t-435

Love the name badge – Will Wales.  His younger brother Prince Harry followed in his footsteps and chose helicopters rather than planes.  Also looks pretty good in uniform.  Other Royals have taken to the air too –  Though George V, king from 1910 to 1936, was photographed in Royal Air Force uniform with only honorary wings, three of his heirs earned pilot ratings. His second son, Prince Albert, saw combat in the Royal Navy, then entered the fledgling RAF in 1918 as a non-flying officer. Shortly after World War I, he trained to fly. WW2 - King George VI disembarking from a plane at an R.A.F station.

World leaders too like to get their wings.
George Bush

It is George H.W. Bush, president from 1988 to 1992 and one of the youngest naval aviators of World War II, who has the most impressive record of America’s pilot-presidents. Not quite 19 upon receiving his wings, he flew TBM Avenger torpedo bombers from the carrier USS San Jacinto in 1944. It was said that Bush was “one of Grumman’s best customers,” having ditched one Avenger with engine trouble and parachuted from another. On a mission over the Bonin Islands, Japanese flak set Bush’s Avenger afire. He remained airborne long enough to reach open water. Though his two crewmen perished after bailing out with Bush, the future president was rescued by submarine. After the war, told that the Japanese army routinely cannibalized captured fliers, Bush quipped that he was so thin he would have made a poor meal. For his 58 combat missions, Lieutenant Junior Grade Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals.  –  Pretty impressive!

Which world leader would you NOT like to see as the co-pilot of your next flight?

Ummm –

  • Sorry – not going to go there –

don't go there

It’s a big fat ship

Competition between the river cruise companies is hot and each one is looking for something unique so as to set their brand apart.  Viking has its long ships with sleek Scandinavian design and outdoor dining, Avalon has its panorama staterooms with huge floor to ceiling windows and now AMAWaterways has come to the party with the biggest European river cruise vessel ever to be launched in 2019.  As someone pointed out in one of the industry blogs the ships on the Yangtze River in China would still dwarf our European river cruise ships.
Image result for huge ship meme

Cruise critic reported as follows –

“To be named AmaMagna, the behemoth will have the same length, height and draft as the line’s other vessels, but at 22 meters it will be twice as wide, allowing for larger cabins — most about 300 square feet — with a capacity for 194 passengers (40 more than Crystal Mozart).

Its width also means it will be the only ship docked in ports that allow two-deep berthing.

Rudi Schreiner, AmaWaterways’ co-owner and president, said the new ship will feature ocean-style cabins, multiple dining venues (including outdoor dining), an elevator that goes all the way to the top of the ship, a heated top-deck pool and hot tub with bar, expanded entertainment and spa offerings and a water sports platform with zodiacs, canoes and other recreational equipment.

The ship will also boast a fitness center large enough for small group classes, hosted as part of the line’s new wellness program, which will roll out next year to one ship per river.”

Now this is going to be quite something being that wide and there are a few innovations on the ship that will be interesting to explore further.

I am not sure what this report means by “ocean style cabins” and I am assuming that the larger space will mean larger staterooms.  (I hate using the word cabin.  Just doesn’t conjure up the right feel).  I do like the idea of having an elevator going all the way up to the top deck.  This will mean that the river cruise will be more accessible for guests with mobility issues.
AmaMagna cabin

So now that AMAWaterways has thrown down the gauntlet what will the other river cruise companies come up with?  It will be interesting to see.  They cannot have longer or taller, so what else could they do?

Uniworld has made some changes to its program with the introduction of U by Uniworld.  They have taken two of their ships and have completely stripped and redesigned them to accommodate the 21-45 age group.  There will be a disco on board with guest dj performers, yoga and biking ashore, sleek modern design and an emphasis on stops that incorporate the European festival scene.   I did hear that the disco is what they call a silent disco with everyone wearing headphones.  A wise choice.  Imagine being docked next to them with that bass going thump, thump, thump all night.
Image result for it's all about that bass humour

 

Let’s give them a break

We have heard much in the news lately about passengers being dragged off planes, others punched by flight attendants and pilots drunk at the controls.  Maybe we should give these people a break.  Can you imagine what it is like to go to work every day on a plane?  It sounds sexy but it is not really.   Long hours on your feet, days away from home, the huge responsibility of navigating through turbulence, fog and thunderstorms.  We really should be appreciating these people a lot more.

Some of the situations flight attendants have to deal with would leave you speechless.

  • Hearing a baby crying and the sound is coming from the overhead bin – a newborn infant between two carry on bags as the mom thought this was the bassinet!
  • When a passenger asks you to mail your shoes to him as he is a cobbler and apparently there is a big market on ebay for used flight attendants’ shoes!
  • Advising a couple on how to join the Mile High Club – sage advice actually. This flight attendant told them to go to the bathroom – not together – one first and then the other – so it would be subtle!
  • When passengers ask you if they can borrow your dental floss!

And then there are the poor pilots…..   No wonder there is stress in the industry.

But let’s face it – there’s got to be some pay back.  Yes pilots – we know your job is boring and tedious but think about it – you get to walk around the airport in that sexy uniform, you get to stand at the door saying goodbye to everyone – looking like a Hollywood film star.

Of course we know it is just the uniform that creates this effect.  😊

And pilots have a sense of humour too

But did you know that pilots (and flight attendants) have their own language?

I just love this list of slang words used (courtesy of Business Insider Australia).

Bird: Plane/Aircraft.

Flyboy/girl: Pilot.

Ramp-rat: Ground crew.

Cowboys: Cargo Operators.

Pointy end: First Class.

Slam-Clicker: A flight attendant who either doesn’t socialize after a flight or is too tired to — they go straight to their hotel room, slam the door and click the lock.

Crop Dusting: When flight attendants walk down the aisle and fart.

Trolly Dolly: Used to describe a flight attendant pulling the cabin bag in the airport.

Bottle to Throttle: Curfew hours. It is the cut-off time that you are allowed to have a drink before the start of your duty.

Slinging hash: Serving the meals.

Screamer: A passenger who has lost his or her cool.

Steerage: Coach class.

Cockpit queen: A flight attendant more interested in the front end of the aircraft than the cabin.

Blue room: The bathroom.

Tuff cuff: Plastic handcuffs for disruptive passengers.

Crotch watch: The required check to make sure all passengers have their seat belts fastened.

Crumb crunchers: Kids.

Gate lice: The people who gather around the gate right before boarding so they can be first on the plane.

George: Autopilot. “I’ll let George take over.”

Landing lips: Female passengers put on their “landing lips” when they use their lipstick just before landing.

Last Minute Paperwork: A delay causing the flight to wait before paper work. For example a revision to the flight plan or maintenance getting the logbook in order.

Two-for-one special: The plane touches down on landing, bounces up, then touches down again.

 

 

It was something I ate….

IT WAS SOMETHING I ATE

You must have heard stories about people getting sick when they travel – Delhi Belly, Montezuma’s Revenge, Traveller’s tummy.  Everyone has a tale to tell.

The problem is compounded when you look at all inclusive resorts.  You eat and drink everything (literally) at the resort.   When someone gets sick at one of these resorts it is very easy to blame the hotel.  Well it seems that the tour operators are getting “sick” and tired of these claims.  At least in the UK.

Tour operators in Britain are thinking of scrapping the all inclusive holidays they offer because of fraudulent claims against them for compensation.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/why-spanish-hotels-may-axe-all-inclusive-holidays-for-britons/

Just last year in Canada we had similar stories of mass tummy troubles at a popular Cuban resort.  This bad publicity for the tour operator was a little unfair considering it was an isolated outbreak of a small percentage of nearly half a million people travelling to sunny all inclusive resorts.

Perhaps the problems are exacerbated by the fact that in the first few days of this sort of vacation it is tempting to sit in the sun all day – maybe at the swim up bar – consuming quantities of sweet margaritas and eating spicy food.  Your stomach starts shouting at you –” Hey – what the hell is going on?  Are you trying to kill me?  I’ll get you back, you know.”

And then it starts.

Oh dear.

Does everybody hate the airlines?

Airlines have had a bad rap lately in the press – battered passengers, stranded kids and drunken pilots.  It’s a wonder anybody is flying at all.  Seems, however, from speaking to colleagues in the industry and reading the travel press, the public is not really going to change its plans – because really – what choice do we have?

To get anywhere these days you usually have to take a flight.  Even people who are terrified of flying still do it.  They take the pills, they go to the therapy, but in today’s world flying has become a necessity – albeit an evil one for some.

It’s funny for me when I hear people complaining that the worst part of their vacation is the flight because (honestly) I really enjoy flying.  There is just something so exciting about being in an airport, hearing your flight called, getting on the plane.  Once on board I love getting settled into my seat armed with my ipad and my bottle of water.  I rarely watch the inflight entertainment but I always do take my own earphones (just in case there is a blockbuster that I want to see).  Mostly I just enjoy the ability to sit back and enjoy 3-10 hours of uninterrupted peace and quiet.  My goodness – sounds like I live in a madhouse.  Sometimes it feels like that.
Image result for peace and quiet

So I am wondering what changes, if any, will be made in the airline industry to reassure the travelling public.

Sobriety testing for pilots prior to flights still seems to be raising problems according to a recent article.  http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/is-your-airline-pilot-drunk-unions-are-making-it-hard-for-the-airline-to-be-sure

And flight community insiders are taking an interesting tack on the overbooking scandal.  I found a very I interesting blog post by a pilot’s wife titled – I know you’re mad at United but…. Which does show the situation from another perspective.  https://thepilotwifelife.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/i-know-youre-mad-at-united-but-thoughts-from-a-pilot-wife-about-flight-3411/

But now it is all going to be OK as Westjet has just announced a new no-frills airline.  Goodness me – I thought the frills had gone long ago.  Maybe they are following the path of notorious no friller Ryan Air.  It will be an interesting ride for sure.

Related image

A drop of rum and a room with a view

We all love a hotel near the sea – rooms with a sea view – not a partial sea view.  How annoying it is to get to a hotel that describes the room as sea view only to find out that if you do want to see the sea you pretty much have to stand on a chair and hang your head out the window to catch a glimpse.

So what a joy to discover a hotel where every single room has a sea view because the hotel is in the sea not next to the sea.  It’s called No Man’s Fort and is located right at the entrance to Portsmouth in the middle of the sea.

Amazing-Solent-Forts-17

It has an interesting history which makes the idea of staying here even more attractive.

The tale of The Solent Forts dates back over 150 years when fear of invasion by the French led by Napoleon III resulted in the commissioning of these sea based defences by British Prime Minister Lord Henry Palmerston. Concerned that the naval fleet and Portsmouth dockyard would be a target, work began on five commissioned forts in the 1860s. With 15ft granite walls and armour plating, these magnificent structures are testament to the skill of Victorian engineering. Large stone blocks were used as foundations, transported from the quarry by train, and then by barge before being set in place by divers. Taking 15 years to complete, by the time the forts were ready for occupation, the feared French threat of invasion no longer existed and hence, the forts became known as “Palmerston’s follies”.

Although the forts were no help during the Napoleonic wars they did come in handy during the first and second world wars defending Britain’s shores but being posted to one of these forts was a bit miserable.  They were damp and cold then.

Now the forts have been purchased and are being turned into luxury hotels

No Man's Fort - 1 of 39

– what a great idea all this history and comfort as well.  And getting there is half the fun.

No Man's Fort - 1 of 39

There are three of them now –

Spitbank Fort

No Man’s Fort

Horse Sand Fort

(Have to be careful when I am typing those names – don’t want any typo’s here 😊)

I wonder if they offer a daily ration of Pusser’s Rum.

Anyone with a Royal Naval background will recognise this name.  Pusser is actually navy slang for Purser and the daily tot was something highly prized by the men.  It only stopped in 1970 on 31 July which became known as “Black Tot Day” and is celebrated every year.

Image result for black tot day

Now I think having a drop of Pusser’s Rum while sitting on the balcony of No Man’s Fort would be a fine thing to do.