Out of place seating

In our journeys, we love to look out of the plane window and awe in the sight of take off/landing or simply the landscape and cloudscape outside. So when this article at the Huffington suggested that the seats on the plan are designed not always to align with the windows, we had to check it out.

If you read the article, it quoted “frequent flyers” suggesting the left side of the plane offering more ‘head room’ to lean against. The idea is about getting some sleep that way… That seems to suggest the seats are not aligned next to the windows.

Best one we can find on the web…

Now you’d need to discern between airlines and aircraft models. Even within the Boeing or Airbus families there will be differences. Moreover, airlines dictate how the configurations of seat rows will be. And where to place the toilets and attendants’ working area.

If there is one more thing to note, it will be that at the tailend the seats may be angled due to the curvature of the plane chassis. Again this is dependent on the aircraft model and configuration. You might have airlines choosing to place all the toilets at the back end. That could render all seat rows to be equal.

For us, the reason for having the window seat is to be able to look out of it. And to capture ocassionally a beautiful vista that only a bird’s eye view can afford. Don’t you just love looking at the cloud formations when flying in the daytime? How about the sunrise/sunset with changing hues? While we have not mastered how to take better pictures of cities from the window, looking at the lights emanating from them makes us wonder about what folks are doing at home on the ground.

Have you notice that your airplane seat is not aligned with the window?

A Novel travel guide

If you read JK Rowling’s book or watched the movie, you might think that King’s Cross Station does have a ‘Platform 9¾’. In that you need to run full speed against the archway beam – “crashing” through to the platform that is between 9 and 10.

Perhaps not as dramatic.

What about novels such as Oliver Twist? Well this little boy walked through London and the novel described quite a fair bit about the landmarks of the city. Though the names have changed and city ‘re-arranged’, quite some of the landmarks remain recognizable. Nicholas Noyes pulled together an excellent page which you might find fascinating. Read his work here. Nicholas suggests that the novel had always been a guide for middle/upper class folks readers to ‘see’ the dark and small alleys of poorer suburbs/sections of the city during Dicken’s time. Comments?

You might recall that Charles Dickens had a rather turbulent or perhaps traumatic childhood. His father was thrown into debtors’ prison and it was only by a fortuitous receipt of an inheritance that the family got out of jail!

Do you know of any other novel that can be a travel guide too?

We wrote about an old Baedeker guide of Paris still usable here. Can you imagine an 1897 guide (in German) describing the city of Paris is still largely relevant? Incredible isn’t it? How much has changed in the place you live in? Will someone from the waaay past recognize anything?

Fly the friendly skies?

Well. Not so friendly afterall huh?

Oh gosh there were soooo many more satiricals and critiques on the web. You just need to do a search in Google and click on images tab.

Ok we will stop beating United.Hospitality.jpg

The point of this quick post this evening is the spotlight on the frequent overbooking taking place. Many a reason had been pro-offered for doing so. Yes we know in this incident the flight was actually NOT overbooked according to latest reports. But we are not specifically discussing about this occurrence.

You recall we had dumb travel luck right? Again it was due to overbooking. So this is not the sole domain of airlines in the west. The issue at hand was how the overbooking was managed.

Wouldn’t it had been the procedure to prevent passengers from checking into the flight instead of removing them from one? That is, if the flight was truly overbooked, or in this case a few seats were required to transport airline staff. Whatever the reasons. Did the requirement to send staff came last minute? That last minute? Wow.

Some folks haved call this Brand suicide for the airline.

We think they’d not likely be the only one. Just the first in a line of ill(ustrious ) airlines to be caught with its pants down. If you were ‘chosen’ to be removed from a flight after you had checked-in and properly seated in the aircraft, what would your reaction be?

Real Class warfare

Actually this has been reported since March of 2016, but it seems that the real deal is finally coming to fruition. What’s that?

The notorious “Basic Economy” class. Click here for a very hilarious comic.

While the limelight had been soaked up by United airlines some time back, the other big 3 (American, Delta and US Air) had been mulling this step for what we thought was the longest of time. Update: AA, United and Delta are now all onboard this new travel class… Many in blogosphere has been highly critical. Honestly we do not think this is really innovative. We are frequent users of Singapore airlines and we are still baffled by the myriad of booking classes on their tickets! In case you are interested, click on this link. What we are trying to say is this : even in economy class, there can be differentiated booking levels that determine how much miles you earn, or do not!

Some though point out that this time IT IS DIFFERENT, for “Basic Economy” is where we quote “gets rid of seat assignments and elite-qualifying miles, forbids paid upgrades and flight changes, and bans overhead carry-on bags“. You are said to only know where you sit when you check in. Perhaps you might end up in the cockpit in the spare third seat behind the pilot. Beats sitting on the wing any day!

Perhaps it’s time to give a better name to the different classes of flying. Some random thoughts,

First class Airline royalty? Hmmm.. or perhaps
Business class La Dolce Vita (or the ‘entitled class’?)
Premium Economy Plebian wannabes
(5354 in the Singaporean context)
Economy Cattle class (yeah we have little imagination)
Basic Economy Les Miserables?

Perhaps someday this boarding announcement will be heard:

We are pleased to invite your majesties to saunter aboard our aircraft.  Passengers enjoying La dolce vita may follow behind our airline royals at your own convenience. You will both have a special lane, where you can wave to the plebian wannabes who are waiting while we prepare to herd the cattle in. And les miserables you will be called as soon as we can depart. Rest assured we’ll find you a middle seat, because that’s all we’ll have left. Thank you for flying with snobbish airlines, a member of arrogant alliance“.

Do you have suggestions on the names of the travel classes? If so, will you share them?

Be ahead of time!

Recall that we shared how the Swiss have clock-like efficiency when it comes to their trains (read here)? Well, seems like the Germans are upping  the ante with an even more stringent schedule. If you are intent on a train journey in Germany, then be aware that train doors will close 30 seconds earlier (read post here), before the scheduled departure time.

No more last minute jumping into the train seconds before departure!

Indeed it is incredible how the folks in countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Japan can maintain train schedules down to the minute – or in this case down to the last 30 seconds! What are they obsessed about? Perhaps the old saying time is money? Yeah, we’re digressing yet again.

Example of train rotation algorithm. Wow.

Ok, back to the train schedule. Did you know if you were to google for “train scheduling in Germany”, you will find numerous scholarly articles describing how the scicence of using algorithms can ensure trains arrive and depart – literally on the dot! We’ve come to realize perhaps the common denominator of the abovementioned three countries lies in their focus on precision!

So the next time you are taking a train in Germany, remember not to be on time, be ahead of time! Now isn’t that an interesting thing to know, how your journeys are actually dictated in many ways that you cannot imagine?

It seems now that time, tide and the trains waits for no man (or woman).

Don’t be late!

Do you believe in curses?

This is an interesting article in the Huffington (here) about folks mailing rocks back to the general post office of Hawaii. If you read the article, you would know that the senders were returning volcanic rocks that they had picked up during their journeys to these pacific islands.

Why? Pele’s curse. Nope, not the footballer for those who know. LOL…

There is no deity in the Hawaiian islands with this name. Corrected: Pele is the Goddess of Fire and Lightning (thanks Lucy for sharing this). Do visit her at lovefoodwith lucy because we share a common love of food! Heheh.

It’s supposedly just a legend that if you take any sand or rock away from the islands, bad luck will befall upon you. Perhaps these folks had found out about the “curse”, or they had really encountered a series of unfortunate events? In any case we wrote about what ‘bad’ tourists and travelers bring home with them (here). Tsk tsk we hear you…

What we like to bring home with us aside from the usual tourist souvenirs would be pictures, photos and memories of the journey. As we recount the year, there were many striking instances that leave deep impressions upon us, but none of which will cause us anxiety such as that of Pele’s curse!

Maybe for Fengshui sake we might need to re-arrange the furniture a little…LOL. Hey but for some folks this is serious business and may lead to bad luck if they don’t observe the customs. Not a curse perhaps but close enough. Who wants bad luck?

Have you any similar stories to share about taboos that tourists should look out for?