It’s very important – and airlines know it. That’s why so many are charging for the privilege of selecting your seat in advance. What to do? Pay up or take a chance with the 24 hour check in. It depends how neurotic you are about where you sit on the flight. And believe me – I think most of us are totally neurotic where you sit on the flight.
That’s why websites like http://www.seatguru.com are essential in order to prepare. Some seats look perfectly innocent on the airline’s website seating plan. Go check that same seat on seat guru and you will find that it doesn’t recline fully or there is an obstruction on the floor minimising your leg room or maybe it is too close to the washrooms or the galley. Yup – thank you seat guru people for this advance information.
However it can be a problem knowing up front that you have a crappy seat. Let’s say you have booked a last-minute flight and you have to take what you can get. You go onto seat guru and read that your seat has limited recline and limited leg room. Aaargh – now you have to stress about that until you get to the airport. Then you can try to change your seat at the gate. Isn’t it funny how there is always that crowd of people hanging around with boarding passes in their hands and hopeful expressions on their faces.
Unless of course you happen to be that Double Platinum Uber Frequent Traveller – well duh! Of course they are going to change your seat – right?
Mmmm – maybe not.
The people at the desk have the power. THE POWER! They can get onto that keyboard and click away – for AGES – doing stuff.
You ask them nicely. Always a big smile – that helps. Click click clickety click. Don’t try to see what’s on the screen. It won’t make sense to you anyway even if you could. Click click click. Mmm – does her face look hopeful – is there any clue you can glean from her expression.
You did tell her that you have difficulty in a middle seat because of your small bladder. Explained it was a genetic problem. If she could … perhaps….it would be wonderful …. really appreciated… realise she is very busy….etc etc.
Still no eye contact but suddenly brrrrp brrrrp brrrp – and your new boarding pass is being printed out. Here you go – she says. Just hands out the boarding pass – no information about where or what or if she has changed it. And then she is off to the next person.
You go back to your seat – sit down and put on your glasses. Look at the boarding pass. HOLY MOLY! You have hit pay dirt! Aisle seat in emergency exit row.
Yeah Baby! You take that you Platinum Double Edged Diamond encrusted frequent traveller. I am a NICE person and I deserve this.
How do cruise ship workers keep a straight face when asked these sort of questions –
-How does the captain know where to go? -When the captain is sleeping, who is steering the ship? -How many fjords to the dollar? -I am married, but can I still come to the singles party? -Do I put my luggage out before or after I go to sleep? -Is an outside cabin outside of the ship? –
Ice carving What do you do with the beautiful ice carvings after they melt?
Is this island completely surrounded by water?
Are you sure that our oceanview cabin will be above the waterline of the ship?
Why don’t inside cabins have a porthole/window?
Can I use American currency in Alaska?
I want to be on the port side of the ship! That way I can always see the port!
Do you have to leave the ship to take a shore excursion?
Cruise photographer – Many people ask what we do with unsold photos after the cruise. We say to them that we put them on walls in our cabins. A lot of them laugh but some of them get shocked.
My favorite one is the couple wandering around the photo shop saying ” how do we tell which photos are ours?”
Flight attendants don’t get it any easier either – Some comments from our hard working waiters in the sky –
We ask, “would you like cream and sugar in your coffee?” and they hesitate like it’s a difficult ‘Jeopardy’ question.
On today’s flight to Belfast, a customer asked me to help her locate her missing tooth in her luggage. When I refused to get into her bag and search for her missing tooth, she has asked the captain for a complaint letter!
I had a woman in first class take off her pants in the aisle (though she was standing next to the lav) and ask me to hang them up for her, while she stood there in her pantyhose!
And the stories go on and on. Everyone working in the service industry has tales to tell which can shock us, make us laugh and even amaze us. What have your experiences been?
You got to the airport in time – check
You worked out how to do the self check in – check
You printed out your own baggage tags and put them on properly (wow) – check
You took out all the coins from your pockets, took off your belt, took out your computer, put your liquids in a little plastic bag, took off your shoes and got through security – check
You put your belt back on, your shoes back on, packed your computer away, whew, put your boarding pass in your top pocket so you wouldn’t lose it – check
Found the Starbucks ….. Whaaat!
The line up is longer than the one at security.
In fact there seemed to be no end in sight
What to do? I have 40 minutes before check in. Will I ever make it? Can I survive without a double short Americano? Can I drink airline coffee.
Those little styrofoam cups do NOTHING for me – honestly.
You know what – I decided to tough it out. It was like playing chicken. The line slowly moved and the minutes quickly ticked away. I rationalised the whole thing. Was I prepared to miss my flight for a cup of Starbucks? Well I was doing carry on and I had a boarding pass so perhaps I would just become one of those famous people. You know the ones – the announcement ringing out all over the airport. “Flight XYZ is requesting passenger Lesley Keyter to report to Gate 5. The flight is about to depart.” You know they won’t really leave without you. Right? Really? So finally the front of the line – grab the coffee – shove a couple of sweeteners and a stir stick into my pocket and RUN LIKE HELL. You really don’t want to be that person who boards last having kept the whole plane waiting. It is not the way to win a popularity contest – especially when the reason for being late is right there in your sweaty paw!
Those travel brochures! In this digital age it is amazing to me that travel brochures have remained so popular but there is no denying that they fly off the shelves as quickly as they come in. Maybe it is the idea of three or four brochures lying on the coffee table just tempting you – or your partner. Wow – that’s a good idea. A subtle way of telling your loved one you are just dying to go on a romantic retreat. Tip for the ladies – leave your favourite brochure in the washroom. He’ll read it – I promise!
There’s an interesting trend in travel brochures these days – no prices. Or perhaps just one price that says “from $….” which is no good at all because you know and I know that the “from” price relates to that small inside cabin tucked just under the propeller – or perhaps the tiny dark room at the resort that overlooks the cleaning crew’s parking lot.
The photos are entertaining too. Can you rely on them? Truth or dare? One of my favourite websites to use is oyster.com. They have their own photographers who take genuine photos of the resorts and the rooms and post them on their website. They have even given examples of photo fake outs such as this one
So the purpose of this photo is to conjure up that feeling of a quiet serene beach. So how long did it take them to move the chairs?
Another trick is to have a beautiful woman or a handsome man posing. Well you know what they say – Sex sells! So what do you do with the hot tub that looks pretty blah – put in a gorgeous hunk with a wet t shirt and a surfboard (a surfboard in a hot tub – what the heck?) and, as they say in the classics, Bob’s your uncle!
So why not take a leaf out of their books (‘scuse the pun). Next time you go away on vacation use a little Photoshop on your Facebook and instagram pictures and don’t forget to pout when you take that selfie!
And don’t let your friends just publish photos of you on instagram until you have had a chance to edit.
We have had commercial flights for 100 years now with the first paying passenger on a flight on 1st January 1914. KLM is the oldest airline starting back in 1919. In its first year of operations it carried 345 … in a whole year! That’s as much as one plane carries today. And don’t we know about it? We love to complain about air travel but it really is amazing how it has opened up the world for us.
How is this old beauty?
Flying in those days was very different. First of all you get dressed up in your Sunday best. My first flight was back in 1967 when I left England with my parents to go and live in South Africa and although it was a 14 hour flight (in those days) we dressed up to the nines. My brother (who was 8) and my father both wore suits with collar and tie. Big difference from today when flight attendants sometimes have to enforce dress code just to protect other passengers.
In those days being a flight attendant was a dream job. Today you have to wonder how some of these flight attendants get through the week. It only takes one difficult passenger to create a major headache for the staff and the other passengers. That’s not to mention pushing those heavy food and drink carts down the aisle (they can weigh up to 400 lbs) and then there is always someone who decides to use the bathroom in the middle of the service.
Further grumbles from passengers surround the whole paying for baggage issue, the size of your carry on, inflight entertainment, meals on board…. and on, and on, and on. But let me not go on…. the comedian Louis CK … sums it up best at how much we take things for granted in this great little clip from the Conan O’Brien show