Your airline has gone what?

Bankrupt.

Surely worse than having a employment situation where airline workers go on strike. Or the occasional delays one encounter because of weather, operational problems (with the aircraft) or airport congestion. Because what would one do if you were in a foreign land having flown out, only to find out that the carrier you’ve paid to bring you home has gone belly up?

2017 saw a number of such bankruptcies that caused quite a lot of anguish to both employees (of the airlines) and customers (aka the passenger). Would you buy the airline’s assets (here) as it disposes of them in bankruptcy?

In the past two decades, there had been a proliferation of airlines both full service but mostly budget oriented across the world. The business model premise on efficient use of aircraft assets (ie turnaround) and minimal frills (except when you pay for it). Competition have been intense (still is) and for years consumers appear to have been beneficiaries, ‘proletarizing’ travel making it accessible to almost anyone. Sustainability appears to be something that is now creeping up against these business entities…

While failing airlines are not unusual, today’s post harks to what we as travelers need to be aware of. It pays to look carefully at which carrier you are booking with with a few considerations such as :

  • Insurance of the travel kind. Does it cover airline insolvency? How can you claim them and to what limits?
  • Track record of the carrier. Punctuality, reliability/safety etc… has it been in financial trouble before? Would you even do this?
  • Alternate travel arrangements, ie a mitigation plan. Yeah this might be a little over the top but if you travel cheap… might want to think about it.

Because while size may not seem to matter, it does when the unexpected occurs. Large airlines go bust too. Digressing: this applies in the event natural disasters occur too, leading you to be potentially stranded.

Have you experienced booking on an airline that went bankrupt?

Cat in a bag

Wow. The things that they keep coming up with. You know animals have rights too (to some folks and not all). You cannot simply keep your pets in shabby conditions (absolutely agree). Afterall, it is part of your responsibility when you have a pet. But what about pampering your pet?

Now if you want to give your little kitty a view as you lug it around, perhaps buy one of these bags (here). Can you imagine buying this bag for your cat? It ain’t cheap btw and we spoke with one owner as we waited for the taxi one day.

But today we are not focused on getting the bag. Or the cat.

Well, ok sort of related. We are talking about folks bringing their pets with them on a journey. Did you know that as many as 56% of US pet owners have driven their dogs around at least once a month? Sure the regular visit to the vet is important, but quite some bring their pets with them on a road trip. Does the image of a dog sticking its head out of the window tongue drooling pop in your head?

How about air travel? Now that’s less frequent (phew) but still at 6% is quite high. Imagine this percentage of the 78+ million dogs in the US getting on a plane every year. Did the math in your head? Remember our piece on emotional support animals? Some of them actually have jobs too you will know. Which do you think is easier to bring along? The cat? Or the dog?

Do you have a pet? Have your brought it with you on a road trip or onto a plane?

Taking an Air Cruise?

Once again it’s time to recap what’s going on with trends in travel. From this article, what caught our eye was Uber private jetting (wonder how recent developments with them will be though). Yep, you read that right. This sharing economy is really taking off (no pun intended).

But the icing on the cake really was the section of the post that suggests there are folks who would gun for taking round the world (well not all the way round) air cruises. Huh? You might recall that we wrote (here) about the nostalgic days of air travel in the 1950s and 1960s. Back in the day a journey from say Australia to the UK could take several days, even by flight. And what journey did the passengers have? Why they had stopovers where they’d be checked into hotels before making the onward journey flight.

Seems like this form of travel is making a come back!

So who says one cannot do a cruise with planes? It will not be the plane being in the air for the entire duration of a week, but surely as cruise ships dock at ports the planes can do the same (not the seaport lah)? And it has always been our prediction that some day, airships will come back in vogue not as transportation but as pleasure crafts. It’s a matter of time.

We predict that within the next 10 years, air cruising will become affordable to the masses as sea cruises are. When that becomes a reality, will you be one of the first to jump in the air?

Staying at the airport control tower

No. It is not that the airport terminal or the local airport hotels have run out of space. In July of last year the Arlanda airport folks held a competition where winners can spend some time living in the former airport control tower (here).

Fancy being in the control tower where folks once directed aircrafts?

Today though our post is not about staying in what we’d consider a quirky location. You can easily do that with AirBnB by looking up exotic locations on offer. What we want to talk about today is about airports. You know, the places where you take a plane.

As you might have read (here), our little red dot just opened a fourth terminal at our international airport (we have 5 others airports/strips btw). Now that’s nothing if one’s been to the large hubs in the US (O’Hare, McCarran, JFK etc) or in Europe (Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle etc). And it is not a boast about size.

It’s about the fact that airports are ‘putting on weight’. From a size 8 to a size 12 so to speak. Finding sufficient land to “fit” the expanding waistlines of airports can be a challenge. Getting from one side of it to the other a chore. They’ve become miniature cities in themselves such that some are sited well out and away from the cities they serve. Someday, we predict that they will become tourist attractions in themselves too. Just like the abandoned Arlanda control tower in the above link or the one at former Kallang airport in our little red dot.

Have you explore airports before? Or do you simply transit through them?

All hail the (狗) Dog!

Ok. Who let the dogs out? Who… Who? Who? Who? Well it is time to let them out since the Rooster has scooted out to make way for the dog. In a day’s time, it will be the lunar new year so here’s advanced greetings to you all!

May the force be with you, bringing vitality and vibrant “chi” (氣) energy.

You see the connection between Star Wars’ Jedis and the kungfu masters? To be honest it was hilarious. When we first saw Star Wars (episode I for some folks) back in 1980, we thought Jedi power sounded very familiar. No we did not watch it when it premiered in 1977 in case you were wondering. The little red dot was more of a developing country then. Incredible huh?

You see we were brought up with the kungfu genre of heroes using invisible force emanating from their palms. They could also freeze you in place with a tap on certain accupuncture points too. And they are light footed enough to jump from house to house, or sometimes fly at you like birds. As we say around here, “don’t play play” with these kungfu experts, ahem Jedi knights.

What has all these to do with the lunar new year of the Dog?

Nothing!

But thanks for reading till the end. It will soon be ‘reunion dinner’ night, so no more reading and commenting on WP for a while. Some will dance to the rhythm of ‘agogo’, while others relax over the days giving away packets of money to children. But every day or so there will be a salad toss up, ‘lohei’ we call it here. Google it. We are sure you might find it fascinating. Huat ah!

Do you have lunar new year celebrations at a location near you?

Red Day Valentine’s day!

Do you know the origins of this celebrated day of love? Was it really in dedication to the martyr of a Saint with this name? Or was it a disguised form of fertility worship to Faunus? In the last two years we wrote about this special day (for us anyway) celebrated while we were in Tokyo.

Well this year’s different.

We’ve changed the city to have the celebration. Because once again this year this day happen to also fall close to the lunar new year, it had to be ‘deferred’ a little till we get to that city.

Now it does not mean that today is only dedicated to love between a couple. It can also be dedicated to all of your loved ones especially family. To whom you send a message reminding them that you are thinking of them. And that they have a special place in your heart. Sure. It does not only have to be this day where this is professed. Have you walked the talk?

Yes it may be hijacked by commercial interests these days. But it does not matter if this celebration was truly in commemoration of the saints, or the continuation of a pagan fertility ritual, one more thing that could be worth pondering. We also exchange greeting cards with each other. With the cute stickers and romatic prose, we “mail” them to each other and display them on our glass cabinet. Not all treasure needs to glitter you will know… and yes it does clutter the cabinet for a couple of week… so?

Do you still send cards? Or have you moved to the digital realm for this too?