Travels by Air

These are short stories of our experiences with air transport.

What is the point of Qantas Frequent Flyer Points?

A330 Business Class

A330 Business Class

When Ansett Airlines went belly up I lost hundreds of thousands of their frequent flyer points. I then joined the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

We hardly ever fly Qantas but we have two credit cards that we use for most of our business and personal purchases that give me Qantas points. We usually fly Virgin or Singapore Airlines.

Recently we holidayed in the Philippines. Qantas was the only airline that flew directly between Australia and Manila, albeit in and out of Sydney, and we live in Brisbane. About six weeks before we wished to depart our Travel Agent booked our tickets as Cattle Class, and I decided to try to upgrade on-line to Business Class using my points. [Read more...]

Air New Zealand to resume Bali Services

Boeing 737-300

Boeing 737-300

After ending flights to Bali in the 1990s, Air New Zealand is ready to recommence flights between Auckland and Denpasar on a seasonal basis.

Scheduled to operate during the peak season of June to October, the twice-weekly flights will commence on June 20, 2012, using Boeing 767-300 aircraft capable of carrying up to 228 passengers. [Read more...]

Discrimination Suit against Lion Air successful

Lion Air

Lion Air

The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has expressed it highest appreciation to the Central Jakarta Court’s decision to rule against the Indonesian air carrier Lion Air, PT Angkasa Pura -the government-owned airport management company, and the Ministry of Transportation in a case brought against the three for discrimination against disabled travellers .

As reported by detiknews.com, the commissioner of Komnas Ham, Saharuddin Daming, said on Thursday, December 8, 2011: “ The decision is spectacular. We give our highest appreciation to the panel of judges who ruled in this case.”

[Read more...]

Skylights for Garuda planes

Boeing 737-800NG

Boeing 737-800NG

Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda, has taken delivery of more B737-800 NGs (Next Generation) from the Boeing delivery facility in Seattle, Washington. Garuda Indonesia now has 123 Boeing 737s, including 48 NGs, in its fleet.

The Boeing 737-800 New Generation aircraft received by Garuda Indonesia are equipped with unique ceiling colour and lighting arrangements dubbed by the aircraft maker as “Boeing Sky Interior.” [Read more...]

The Virgin (Mis)Adventure!

Virgin 737-800

Virgin 737-800

It’s official! I hate just about everything to do with flying.

I’m not scared of flying, and I don’t get air sick. I’ve done thousands of air miles. I don’t mind take-offs and landings and short haul flights. But I hate long haul flights and I especially hate airport terminals and the nonsense that goes on there.

I can afford air fares. But what is getting out of control is the cost of getting to the terminal, parking at the terminal, eating and drinking at the terminal, arrival visas, departure taxes, general airport taxes, superfluous security checks, ridiculous privacy laws, and general discourtesy and inefficiency. [Read more...]

Brisbane Airport by night!

We were flying from Brisbane to South America. The flight itinerary had us leaving Brisbane’s domestic terminal at 5am to fly to Sydney, then international to Auckland, and on to Santiago in Chile.

Our first problem was getting to Brisbane Airport. A taxi would charge us about $100.

We didn’t want to drive our car and park it for 5 weeks. The long term parking expense, even with the amazing cost savings using Airport Parking, would have been prohibitive.

We didn’t want to ask friends or family to take us to the airport at 3am.

We wanted to take a train, but there were none leaving our suburb until the 5am departure time of the flight. The last one leaving the day before was at midnight. [Read more...]

Low Cost Carriers Vs Traditional Airlines

Low Cost Carriers

Low Cost Carriers

LCCs have allowed more people to be able to afford to fly than ever before. But there is a cost. Most of those little extras you used to expect from the traditional carriers are still available from the LCCs, but on a user pays basis. In fact with most LCCs, all your up front money gets you is the right to occupy a seat, and even then you have to fulfill certain requirements, and you often don’t get a choice of seat.

[Read more...]

Johannesburg’s naughty taxi driver.

We had been warned about this and it could have come to fruition if we hadn’t.

We knew we were to look for a shuttle service to take us to the Backpacker’s Ritz. We had been warned in our travel documents provided by Acacia Tours about taxi drivers pretending to be the service and then charging an outrageous fee. [Read more...]

Bad Emirates Check-In

This may not be fair comment, but it is 3am in Dubai as I write this and I am tired and cranky. We were using Emirates this holiday for the first time. Everything was fine from Brisbane to Cairo via Dubai, and was still fine as we left Cairo for Dubai to catch a flight to Johannesburg.

Eileen was watching a movie as usual. She loves movies. Twenty minutes out from landing, the hostess wanted Eileen’s headset back. The movie was still playing. There is no technical or security reason why headsets need to be handed in. But it was the rules!
[Read more...]

Christchurch, New Zealand, Airport Hassles

If anything stops me travelling overseas before old age and infirmity take their toll, it will be pompous airport security, quarantine, and customs. I know these people have a job to do, but it would be good if they could be better trained, especially in common sense and communication.

In 1993, even before there were too many movies, and no one thought much about terrorists (sorry, I meant “murdering criminals”. I hate the word “terrorists”. It gives them an identity to live up to.) I had Balinese airport departure security insist with rifles that I open a large carton, well stapled closed, and in good condition, with “Ice Machine” stenciled plainly in English and Indonesian. I started to open it carefully, but one of the security people ripped the top open to disclose only a part of the green, cast iron, ice machine; then they all went away leaving us to try to tape the carton back up again.
The only other time I have seen rifles since in an airport was in India.
[Read more...]