That warm fuzzy feeling

Sometimes I think we live in a crappy world – just read the news …. so many bad things going on in the world – wars, poverty, corruption – and then just when you start feeling disillusioned some wonderful people do wonderful things to help restore our faith in humanity.

That was the week we had with some lovely stories guaranteed to give you that warm fuzzy feeling…

HEY YOU LEFT SOMETHING BEHIND ….  An American tourist on the way back to the airport in Thailand left USD 10.0000 CASH !!! in the trunk of the taxi he took.  At the same time that Jerry Hart realised his money was missing, the taxi driver Veeraphol Klamsiri was cleaning his taxi after doing a few runs and found the bag containing the cash.  Can you imagine what a fortune this was to a taxi driver in Bangkok?  But did he hesitate?  Not for a minute.  He jumped back in his cab and drove to the airport to try and find out who had left the money in his taxi.  Klamsiri said he had never seen so much money in his life.  For the whole story go here

 https://thepointsguy.com/news/tourist-leaves-10000-in-taxi-driver-returned-it-thailand/

One interesting question raised in this article …. why would someone travel with nearly USD $10.000 cash – it was actually just under that – around $9,800.  More than that and you have to declare it…

CAN I OFFER YOU MY SEAT MA’AM ….. an absolutely wonderful story about a mom (Kelsey Zwick) travelling with her baby – a preemie who needs to travel with oxygen.   A gentleman (and I mean that in the true sense of the word) noticed the young mom with her baby, stroller and oxygen machine and instantly offered to change seats – and yes he was in first class and she was in economy.  By posting on social media Kelsey has now connected with the “passenger from 2D” … 
“Sooo… thank you. Not just for the seat itself but for noticing. For seeing us and realizing that maybe things are not always easy. For deciding you wanted to show a random act of kindness to US. It reminded me how much good there is in this world. I can’t wait to tell Lucy someday. In the meantime… we will pay it forward. AA 588 passenger in seat 2D, we truly feel inspired by your generosity.”

AIRPORTS CAN BE LONELY SAD PLACES …. think about it.  Not everyone is getting on a flight to go on a vacation.  Some people are travelling to get treatment, others are coming from or going to a sick relative or a funeral.  Look around the airport next time you travel.  When we get into big crowds we tend to shrink into an anonymous mold – stranger danger ….I have my own problems so leave me be …. so it is very heartwarming to read about acts of kindness that not only help heal but also are passed on to others in need.  It’s a good thing…. This story moved me ….

“It was one of the first weekends of December, I was returning from a funeral in my family, and an overall tough weekend emotionally.  Finals week was also looming and there was way too much on my mind.   And despite the many thousands of people who were going about their business around me in the Portland airport, I never felt so alone.   For the first time in a very stressful month, I was alone with my thoughts.  At that very moment, I found the nearest empty set of chairs, took a seat, and shed long-overdue tears.”

Read the whole story here https://thinkkindness.org/kindness-flight/ 
and spread the love…. I guarantee – that warm fuzzy feeling lasts a long time.  


The bigger the better?

Maybe not.  There is a move these days in the travel industry towards smaller …. smaller group sizes, smaller cruise ships, smaller hotels.  Maybe it is a reaction to the massive cruise ships now hosting over 6000 people.  Or those mega resorts like  the First World Hotel in Malaysia.  7351 rooms in this hotel – my goodness.  How on earth do they do room service in a hotel that size?

However the trend towards smaller is maybe being carried a little too far with a hotel in London offering the world’s smallest room – in fact smaller than a prison cell ….

The room in question is a single room at the Corbigoe Hotel in London.  Now we know how expensive London hotels can be so maybe this is a good thing for someone travelling solo and not wanting to pay a leg and two arms for a room.  
As reported in The Points Guy ….

“The room in question was marketed as a “Single Room” priced at £55.00 (about $71) during the high season and £30.00 ($39) during the low season. According to Which?, the bedroom measured just 32 square feet, making it smaller than an actual prison cell. For reference, the American Correctional Association says prison cells must be a minimum of 70 square feet, with 35 square feet reserved for open floor space.    Read the whole article here…. it’s funny!

https://thepointsguy.com/news/tiny-corbigoe-hotel-room-london-smaller-than-a-prison-cell/

So if you are happy with a small teeny tiny hotel room how about a teeny tiny car rental to go with it …. I think this one is kinda classy –

You have to have the hat and the pipe

Disney had the right idea – it’s a small world indeed ….

YEP …. IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR

But maybe you are feeling a bit flush …. scored a win on the stock market or maybe you won the lottery?  Then who cares about saving a few dollars?  You can just go for the biggest and most expensive hotel room in the world – here are the top ten ….(courtesy of Lonely Planet) and what it costs per night.

  1. Royal Penthouse Suite, President Wilson Hotel, Geneva – US$80,000 (€68,290)
  2. Five-bedroom Terrace Suite, The Mark, New York – US$75,000 (€64,021)
  3. Penthouse Suite, Grand Hyatt Cannes, Martinez – US$53,200 (€45,412)
  4. Penthouse, Faena Hotel, Miami – US$50,000 (€42,681)
  5. Hilltop Villa, Laucala Island, Fiji – US$45,000 (€38,413)
  6. Grand Riad, Hotel Mansour, Marrakech – US$43,480 (€37,115)
  7. Penthouse Suite, Hotel Cala Di Volpe, Sardinia – US$41,177 (€35,149)
  8. Royal Suite, The Plaza, USA – US$40,000 (€34,145)
  9. Princess Grace Suite, Hotel De Paris, Monaco – US$37,000 (€31,584)
  10. Suite 5000, Mandarin Oriental New York, New York – US$36,000 (€30,730)

Oh and if you HAVE won the lottery …. I know a good travel agent …. wink wink

This is smoking hot!

No …. not this blog but the issue of smoking (or not smoking) on cruise ships, in hotels, airports and so many other places.  Being a smoker is tough these days and as a non-smoker I am far more sympathetic than those who kicked the habit years ago.  I find that ex-smokers are the ones who are more likely to insist on a confirmed non-smoking room in a hotel or cast ugly looks in the direction of a smoker who gets too close.  From what I have heard giving up smoking is hard – and kudos to those who have managed to do this.  

Over the years there have been less places for smokers – airports started cutting back and even introduced special sealed off rooms where smokers could have that last puff before boarding.  In fact there are even websites devoted to finding the best airports for smokers  ….. https://airportsmokers.com.  

I think maybe there are some smokers who would prefer two connections in their flight itinerary rather than some of those mega flights of 14 hours or more without a smoke.  Goodness, I can remember the days when a flight would be divided into smoking and non-smoking.  Anyone remember that?  And what was the point of requesting a seat in non-smoking when the person in front of you was in the smoking zone?  And then there were those who sat in the non-smoking zone and just blatantly ignored the signs and lit up – and very often no-one would bat an eyelid.

Oh boy – has all that changed or what?  Airlines, cruise lines, hotels – they are all getting more vigilant.   Carnival Cruise lines has just announced new anti-smoking policies –

“(1:16 p.m. EST) — Get caught smoking on your balcony on a Carnival Cruise Line ship, and you not only will get hit with a hefty fine, but you and your cabin mates also could be sent home.  The line, which prohibits passengers from smoking on cabin balconies, has firmed up its smoking policy, warning that anyone who violates the policy will be fined $500 (posted to their onboard account). In addition, violations may result in the disembarkation of all passengers in the cabin.” as reported on Cruise Critic https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/3531/

Even rental cars have their own anti-smoking rules –  

“The major rental car companies in the United States and Canada run smoke-free rental car fleets. In fact, smoking in a rental vehicle is the single most common reason renters get stuck paying cleaning fees for rental cars.  A small subset of renters insist on smoking in rental cars anyway, and the consequences are not pretty.” as reported in Auto Slash https://www.autoslash.com/blog-and-tips/posts/exhibit-a-why-breaking-the-no-smoking-rule-in-a-rental-car-is-ill-advised

Now while I can hear all the non-smokers cheering here I must repeat – I do feel a certain amount of sympathy for the smoking public.  After all smoking cigarettes is not illegal and you really don’t want to deny a smoker his or her cigarette for too long!  As was evidenced on this flight last year.

Maybe the inflight movie was crappy – or she didn’t have earbuds ???

It’s just getting harder

Nothing is easy these days.  Remember in the early days of the internet – wow this was going to be a Brave New World.  Everything was going to be just within a click – connecting with friends, doing business at the speed of light, shopping online, spending money without ever leaving the house or office.

So what happened?  Now it is a jungle out there.   Weird emails are so yesterday – now I get texts to my mobile phone warning me about “mistakes” in my latest cell phone bill or, even more laughable, links to photos that I don’t want to have shared online unless I pay in bitcoin.  I wouldn’t even know a bitcoin if I saw it and – yep – I am WAY to old to have compromising photos of myself online.  

Damn… I paid good bitcoin not to have this published

This internet jungle thrives in the world of travel and you can never be too careful.  These last couple of weeks the stories have been coming fast and furious.

First there was the lady who thought she was booking with the airline but instead she was booking with CheapFlightsFares in the USA – a company that has been reported to the Better Business Bureau on more than one occasion.  https://globalnews.ca/news/4662739/calgary-woman-warning-online-flight-booking/

Then there is the problem of that notorious message that appears on the screen when you have gone through the whole ticket process, entered the name, date of birth and the form of payment – only to receive this notification –
“your request could not be completed at this time”…. 

When you see that DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.  There are numerous examples online and this happens with many airlines.  It is a computer problem and the techies claim that this may be due to your browser or too many cookies or whatever – but don’t assume that you do not have a ticket – check your credit card statement and if necessary phone the airline.  If you do not turn up for the flight it is regarded as a “no show” and there will be no refunds at all.

And it is not just flights – hotel booking sites are also implicated.  Want a luxury hotel for cheap?  Well there’s an app for that!   Hackers are offering luxury hotel rooms for dirt cheap…. how do they do it? According to this article they hack into reward programs and other dubious methods to offer up “unbelievable” deals.  https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/wj35yb/how-hackers-sell-luxury-hotels-cheap-discount-loyalty-points-airlines

I had a real chuckle reading this article as it even contained a screen shot as follows –

Wow – they even have to advertise on a  crime forum site!

Oh and yes – you have to pay in Bitcoin – way to make it even more difficult.

I miss the good old days of letters in envelopes and dare I say the old telex machine!  How many out there know what I am talking about?

Hey you, wake up!

Did you see on the news the story about the man who was taken off his Westjet flight because he took a pill and fell asleep on his wife’s lap.  Here is the story 

What do you think?  There are many people who may be ill or nervous about flying – maybe they take a pill to help with stress but if it is a sleeping pill that might be a problem for staff.  Apparently you have to be up and awake and alert during the safety briefing.

Umm – how many safety briefings have you sat through on a flight where people are reading their books and not paying attention.

And the other problem is what about once you are up and airborne there are many people I know of who take pretty strong sleeping pills so as to get through the flight.  If there was a problem mid-air then would these people be deemed a danger?

Now I don’t know about you but for me the minute we start the take off I just start feeling really sleepy.  The best time for me to have a snooze is during take off which is quite handy because it gives me a good 40 minutes or so before the beverage cart comes around 🙂  It is something to do with the vibration of the plane, the push back as the plane takes off, maybe the pressure.  But apparently I have been doing it all wrong …

“Health website MedlinePlus has revealed that it can cause some serious health problems.  Sleeping during take off and even landing can prevent passengers from stopping their ears from popping whilst being unconscious.

Travellers are recommended to do this due to the air pressure rapidly changing as the plane gains height.

By not doing this, it can cause permanent damage to the ears.”  according to an article in the UK newspaper the Express.

how-to-pop-your-ears-720x340

OK so on my next flight I am not going to fall asleep – I am going to swallow, yawn and do the Valsalva Maneuver …. what the heck is that?

valsalver

Oh that!  That’s easy to do.  So pinch your nose and pop those ears and whatever you do – don’t fall asleep at take off….  just keep an eye on what that damn pilot is up to….

baby

 

Well that was a week!

My goodness me – what a week this has been in the airline industry.

We heard the news that it seems bikini clad flight attendants are very very successful – at least for Viet Jet who have ordered 50 additional jets.  Yes – you heard that right – bikini clad flight attendants.  OMG – how last year can you get?  This is like Playboy here we go again!  And to make matters worse – this airline is run by a woman!  And these poor girls have to spend their day on board looking like this –

viet-jet2-2

Shame the girl in the back on the left looks distinctly uncomfortable and even her stockings are sitting unevenly.

Then a sleeping man was ordered off a Westjet flight bound for Cuba.  Their holiday is ruined and all because the flight attendant thought he was a risk to other passengers and crew because he could not be roused.  Well I can totally see where the flight attendant was coming from.  If the passenger could not be roused by the staff it is concerning.  However medical staff present said the passenger was good to fly …. so who knows?

According to The Points guy – WestJet is standing by the actions of its crew. The airline stated that Bennett’s condition prohibited him from taking his original flight to Havana. According to WestJet, the removal of Bennett was done out of “an abundance of caution.” The statement made by airline also took into account Canada’s federal regulations that prohibit passengers who are significantly impaired as a result of “the consumption or use of alcohol or drugs prior to boarding.” A spokesperson from the airline stated that Bennett and his family were offered alternative accommodations. These accommodations meant that the Bennett family would be required to take the fight between Toronto and Havana a week later.

More Westjet news …. now you have to pay for your bags when you go on a Westjet Vacation…

“WestJet Vacations updates baggage fees

Effective November 5, 2018, WestJet Vacations is updating its checked baggage fees to align with WestJet’s overall baggage policy. Guests travelling with WestJet Vacations on or after December 3, 2018 will be subject to a $30-35.40 CAD/USD fee for their first checked bag. This change only applies to bookings made on or after November 5, 2018 for travel on or after December 3, 2018.

If your clients booked their WestJet Vacations package before November 5, 2018, their first checked bag will be included as per our previous policy. If you need to make a change to a booking that was made before November 5, 2018, please call the Travel Support Team (TST) at 1-877-664-3205 and a member of the TST will ensure the original baggage policy is applied.

For your clients that are looking for a more inclusive experience, our Premium fare includes two checked bags, extra leg and elbow room in a Premium cabin seat and more. WestJet Rewards members in the Gold tier get their first and second checked bags free. This benefit is valid for the Rewards member and up to eight (8) additional guests travelling on the same reservation*. WestJet RBC® Mastercard cardholders also get the first checked bag free for the primary cardholder and up to eight (8) additional guests on the same reservation.”

Are we going the Ryan Air route when it was once suggested by their charismatic Chief Executive Michael O’Leary that people on his planes should pay to pee!  This went the rounds back in 2009 and was finally dropped back in 2011 – BUT YOU NEVER KNOW!

Oh my goodness – can you imagine the lengths people would go to in order to not spend a penny (‘scuse the pun).  Depends would be sold out at every airport store and an empty bottle might come in handy.  Ew…. don’t let’s go there.

 

 

 

This bunny bites

Maybe you should think twice before you choose your Instagram or twitter handle.  This one really made me laugh.  @thisbunnybites.  Yes there is someone out there with this handle.  It actually belongs to a lady who went ballistic when she thought that she had been robbed by American Airlines.   When she opened up her bag only to find it filled with airline paraphernalia …. as per the photo she posted online…

Anna Knight suitcase

In fact she had taken the wrong suitcase and her suitcase was waiting at the airport.  But this was after she had vented online –

anna knight remarks

In fairness she posted an apology afterwards and said that maybe it was the jet lag.  You have to sympathise with that and it is rather unusual that someone from the airline had used a bag so similar to her own to store runway equipment clothing.

The funny thing to me is her twitter handle – yes this bunny bites – that’s for sure.

But this lady had a real problem – people taking the wrong bag off the carousel.  How many times don’t you see people halfway pulling a case off the carousel only to dump it back on because they realise it is not their suitcase.  That’s why you see such a proliferation of ribbons and scarves tied to luggage to make it stand out.  Some people are even going for a very personalised look –

image suitcase

Others are getting techy and using tracking devices.  For me I would think that I would prefer to stop the problem before it started and try to at least make my luggage look unique with luggage straps and tags.

funny luggage tag

So this way your luggage will stand out and you won’t need to post frustrated tweets from this bunny bites or similar.