Tag Archives: Airlines

Top ten airlines – do you agree?

Just announced – the world’s top ten airlines – DRUM ROLL PLEASE – here they are

AirlineRatings.com’s top 10 airlines for 2017
1. Air New Zealand
2. Qantas
3. Singapore Airlines
4. Cathay Pacific
5. Virgin Atlantic/Virgin Australia
6. British Airways
7. Etihad Airways
8. All Nippon Airways
9. Eva Air
10. Lufthansa
So do you agree?  Have you had the chance to fly these airlines?  Anni just flew to New Zealand on Air New Zealand and she agrees.  They are the best.  The crew was what made it for her – I think they must have a little bit of Hobbit dust on them.  They just always seem so friendly and happy to help.  And yes they seemed really happy.  Mmm – maybe I need to get some of this Hobbit dust!
Donna flew Qantas from Sydney to Adelaide which is a short-haul flight and guess what – SHE GOT A HOT MEAL!
Wow!  Yes they do deserve to be on the list.
I see British Airways is on the list.  Mmm – they might be a good airline but flying through Heathrow really sucks!  Sorry.  It’s my least favourite airport.
Etihad, All Nippon and Eva – well I can’t comment there.  I haven’t had the chance to fly them but I will add them to my list.  But one thing about Eva Air stands out – they have a Hello Kitty service on their first class and business flights.  Seriously!
EVA_Air_Hello_Kitty03
Here’s more proof!
EVA_Air_Hello_Kitty06
Blanket and pillow in first class – how cute is that?
I was surprised not to see Emirates on the list.  I have flown with them in business class and found the service and comfort excellent.  That’s why I am so surprised – after all the advertising about their amazing first class suites and Jennifer Aniston lounging around the bar – just saying!
But I do wonder how long Lufthansa will stay in this league with the strike now dragging on a few more days.  I am sure they will lose some supporters.  This is the 14th walk-out since 2014.  Apparently (as at the time of writing this) the pilots have rejected the offer but have promised not to extend the strike.  We will see.  We will see.
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Comforting sounds while “on hold”

You know what I mean about being on hold.  Anyone who has tried to redeem aeroplan points will know that you can pretty much put your phone on speaker and clean every cupboard in your kitchen while you wait.  Sometimes I think the on hold music – or lack of it – shows what the company actually thinks of the person on hold.

Westjet for example will have music playing and then jokes.  It’s amusing and very human and can be entertaining.  Except if you are a travel agent and have to phone quite often then the jokes can get old.

Some airlines I have phoned don’t even have on hold music – just a strange crackling silence interrupted every so often by an announcement that “an agent will be with you shortly”.  And then there is the biggest on hold lie OF ALL TIME…..

“Your call is important to us”

…. so therefore we will keep you on hold for 2 hours.  NOT.

So imagine my surprise the other day when I phoned Regent Seven Seas Cruises Air Deviation department.  Let me first explain.  Regent Seven Seas Cruises is a small luxury cruise line which is totally all inclusive and that means the airfare too.  The flight itinerary is assigned by the cruise line based on their contracts and usually is advised between 90 – 120 days prior to departure.  However if you have a specific airline you like you can do an air deviation for a fee ($175 pp) and for this you phone through to that specific department.  Which I did….

First of all although I did have a bit of a hold I got a living, breathing travel agent who understood about code shared airlines and all that other secret industry stuff.

Secondly when I gave her my request she started working on it right away.  WOW.  How did I know?  I heard her keyboard clacking away while she looked up the flights.  I can’t tell you how comforting it was to hear that sound…. and I was on hold for a long time while she clattered away at her keyboard – occasionally punctuated by mutterings signalling frustration and success while she worked her way through the various airlines’ archaic booking systems.

I thought about it for a while after I put down the phone.  What was the difference between being on hold and listening to breezy bright music and being on hold listening to breathing and keyboard clacking.  The difference was that I knew something was being done – someone was working on my request.  That gave me more comfort that anything else.

 

Thank you for calling……

In the travel business we spend a lot of time on the phone.  That is why most travel websites will feature a photo of a young attractive and happy travel consultant with a headset….

Where is this marvellous girl?  I will tell you where – she is living  inside a computer.  She’s not real.  More often now I find myself talking to Ms Computer Voice when I phone an airline or a tour company.  But wait – it get’s worse.  In the “good old days” you would listen to Ms Computer Voice who would guide you through the prompts with “Press 1” or “Press 2”.  Nowadays you have to speak back to the computer.  How embarrassing and demeaning is that?  Do they honestly think we are fooled into thinking we are speaking to a real person?  Then why continue with this charade? 

It get’s even worse when you have a client sitting at your desk.  You offer helpfully to phone the tour company or airline so you can put a special request on file or ask for a change or whatever.  The companionable silence is broken when you suddenly blurt out “Agent” into the phone.  The client jumps nervously and wonders who you are talking to because it certainly doesn’t sound like a real conversation.  Several other orphan words and phrases float around over the desk.  “Travel agent”, “Go back”, “Something else”.  All the while the client on the other side of the desk is looking at you warily….  No wonder.  And don’t try to be discreet.  Ms Computer Voice will just tell you firmly but rather critically “I’m sorry I can’t hear you.  Please try to speak a little louder”.

Technology is out to get us people!  Our new car has blue tooth for the cell phone.  The only problem is Ms Blue Tooth doesn’t understand my husband’s South African accent.  She will often chastise him, “I’m sorry please repeat command”.   Naturally she doesn’t give him a chance to repeat his command but then launches into a full run down of all the menu options.  I am telling you, there is no stopping here once she gets on a roll.  A couple of days ago after three attempts to “call home ET” my husband broke down into hysterical laughter and told her she was a bitch.  She was not perturbed in the slightest.  She came right back at him – “USB2 – is that correct?”

So don’t feel bad about shouting at computers – they can stick up for themselves.