The Anonymous Widower

Monarch Goes Bust

It is not a good time for airlines with Ryanair in a mess and now Monarch has gone bust.

The CAA has announced a web site at www.monarch.caa.co.uk, where passengers should look for information.

I checked the site out of curiosity and it seems to do what the chair of the CAA said it does on the BBC!

The internet would seem to help in these situations.

October 2, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , | Leave a comment

How To Buy Airliners

I found this article entitled Ryanair Orders 175 Boeings, but CEO Wants More Seats, Less Baggage, whilst looking for an article about baggage.

It really does show how Boeing and Airbus are not providing airlines with what they want.

I wonder how long it will be before we are all weighed with our baggage before we go on an airliner. I wouldn’t object, but it would probably make flying just that little bit cheaper.

June 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Previous White Christmas

All of this bad weather reminds me of a tale of getting home for Christmas in probably 1978.  I say probably as the BBC have said that that was a very bad winter. Ian, one of our consultants, was working in Amsterdam and joined the exodus with many fellow Brits back to the UK on Christmas Eve at Schipol.  But Heathrow was closed as many aircraft were frozen to the stands.  More by luck than judgement BA were able to get a Tri-Star to Schipol after finding out that East Midlands airport was free of snow. The jet then did several shuttles between the two airports to bring everybody home, albeit not to where they wanted to go.  BA also hired every coach they could find to complete the passengers’ journeys.

One version of the story says that the last flight came in at three in the morning of Christmas Day.

One gets the impression, that that sort of spirit no longer exists in our transport industry. Although as I said at the time, I’ll give credit to National Express East Anglia for getting me home on Saturday from Ipswich.

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | Leave a comment

Evian on Cathay Pacific

I suppose they fly it halfway round the world, but surely there is something good and more local to Hong Kong.

June 11, 2010 Posted by | Food, Transport | | 2 Comments

Tête-Bêche or Herringbone

BA and Cathay Pacific have very different ideas about how Business Class should be laid out.  In the former you sleep head to tail, whereas in Cathay, you’re arranged on either side of the aisle.

In my view BA’s layout is much better, as you can leave your seat so much easier, without taking the seat out of the sleeping position. Apparently, the herringbone gives a wider seat, but I don’t need that.  I also found the Cathay seat a lot more uncomfortable, probably because I couldn’t lay on my stomach and because my spine sticks out at the bottom.

I should also say that the gluten-free food on BA was much better than that on Cathay, but this might be because it was out of Hong Kong. Strangely, the best I had, was on Astraeus on a charter to Gambia. It had been produced by a small Welsh company.

June 11, 2010 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Travelling with Time to Spare

Since I’ve had the stroke, I try to make things easier for myself. 

Take yesterday, as I had to get to Heathrow for BA 027 that left at 21:25, I decided that it would be a good idea to get my taxi to drop me at Whittlesford to catch the 16:30 train for Tottenham Hale.  There it was to be the Victoria Line and Piccadilly Line to the airport for about an eighty-minute ride with just one walk across the platform at Finsbury Park.

But two things happened.

I forget to take my driving licence and we had to go back.  It was only a delay of about five minutes, but it made things tight. 

And then the automatic machine at the station wouldn’t serve me any suitable ticket.  What I wanted was an open return with my Senior railcard.  In the end I settled on a single to Tottenham Hale.  I know in the cost of the this trip, it is a small thing, but if you do look after the pennies, you can afford to do the bits where the style is worth it!

I’d been on the train for a couple of minutes, when I noticed the train was going to Broxbourne.  Weird! Then I found out the lines were down and it would be a bus from Broxbourne to Cheshunt.

Oh! Well!

I still had plenty of time.  But then we waited and waited outside Harlow for well over half-an-hour after a bit of a crawl from just before Bishops Stortford.  I was starting to get worried.  I do seem to worry more, but perhaps it’s just worried about being worried and stressed. Perhaps, I should try Yoga!

We got to Harlow about six and I saw a taxi and asked the driver to take me to the Tube.  I had thought about Redbridge or Walthamstow, but he suggested rightly that Epping would be better.

And so I had a marathon ride from one end of the Tube network to the other with just a change from the Central Line to the Piccadilly Line at Holborn.  I was safely in Heathrow at eight-fifteen after an hour and three quarters and forty stations.  Note that this isn’t far out from the formula of two minutes a station and fibve minutes for a change.

I wish though that I’d missed the first train.  I would have found out what had happened and the taxi could have taken me to Cambridge, where I could have gone to Kings Cross at speed.

But I didn’t!  In the end nothing really happened except more stress than I wanted, which could have been avoided by better thought on  my part and better information on that of National Express.

May 12, 2010 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

FlyGlobeSpan and BA Cabin Crew

On the one hand the Scottish airline, FlyGlobeSpan, has gone bust and on the other we have BA’s cabin crew threatening a twelve day strike.

These are in effect two ends of the same problem.  There are too many airlines chasing too little business and difficult choices have to be made.  In BA’s case, they have to cut costs to survive and as I understand it, they are just reducing the conditions at the staff they employ at Heathrow to those at Gatwick and other bases.

Perhaps, the Scottish experience will knock some sense into the BA cabin crew.  But it doesn’t look hopeful!

As Prudence bailed out the Scottish banks will he bail out this Scottish airline?

After all, there are a lot of Labour constituencies in Scotland!

December 17, 2009 Posted by | News, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Sheffield City Airport

Sheffield is one of the largest cities in Europe without a major airport.

It did have one, called Sheffield City Airport, and for a time just after it opened in 1996, it was reasonably successful.   But it closed a couple of years ago and now it is being turned into a business park.

The reasons it closed was because it was designed to take limited short take-off and landing aircraft like London City.  But unlike that airport, it couldn’t sustain the high value traffic that airports like that need for profit and growth.

On a more general point, Sheffield had too short a runway, to attract the low-cost airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet and in any case Manchester, Leeds and East Midlands were all within an hours drive.  There is now even the new Robin Hood Airport on the former RAF Finningley.

August 23, 2009 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

How to Complain – Part 2

The Times yesterday had a long article yesterday on the story I detailed under How to Complain.  Read the Time article, as there is some interesting on-line comment from other disgruntled passengers.

One thing that the article says, is complain with humour.

Years ago, I had a couple of bad experiences on PanAm, so I vowed never to fly them again.  At the time, my company had a US Head Office in Houston and I used to go a couple of times a year.  But at the time, the alternatives were fly either to fly British Calendonian direct or Braniff via Dallas.  Now, I know my flying and after various incidents, I didn’t like DC10s, so I often went by a roundabout route, changing perhaps in Chicago or Boston.

But then PanAm decided to fly TriStars direct from Houston to Gatwick.

So I thought I’d give it a try and was actually pleasantly surprised.  Especially, as the planes were often half-empty and you could usually find four seats in steerage to lie across for the flight back to Blighty.

So as the article in The Times says, I used humour not to complain, but to thank them for the service.  I remember, I started the letter with something like.

What’s gone wrong with your airline? I vowed some years ago never to fly with PanAm again, after some bad experiences, but after flying between Gatwick and Houston, I certainly will again, after the great service.

I got a very nice letter in the same vein in return and continued to fly PanAm to Houston until the company was sold.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the letters now.

But it does show, that humour is the best policy.

The problem now, is that a lot of complaints are handled in countries, where the British, American or French, sense of humour is not understood, so the jokes may fall on deaf ears.

It’s funny, but all airlines mentioned no longer exist.

July 25, 2009 Posted by | News, Transport | | Leave a comment

How to Complain

Take a look at this video on YouTube.

Dave Carroll is a musician whose guitar was damaged/broken by United Airlines on a flight to Nebraska.  He didn’t get any joy with the airline, so he wrote the song and put it on YouTube.

When I played it, it had over three and a half million hits and it was funny too!

United Airlines have decided to use the video for internal training.

But it does show, how if a company doesn’t act quickly to genuine complaints, then they can be on the end of a very big stick.  They should remember too, that most cameras these days have a very professional video mode.

But be careful.  My late wife was a barrister, who knew a lot about libel law.  It’s why the BBC says allegedly so often!

July 23, 2009 Posted by | News, Transport | , , | 1 Comment