Flying like taking a bus?

Have you ever been on a flight that seems or is overbooked? What if one were told that the only way to fly was to stand, like in taking a bus? Would you take the flight? If this story is to be believed, there were potentially 7 passengers who stood for 3½hours while they flew to their destination.

Ok ok, today we are not naming or shaming any airline.

The point to get your attention is how we have seemingly made flying a central means of transport when it comes to leisure travel. Statistics are hard to believe on this subject area. They are fraught with assumptions, presumptions and guess work all thrown into a melange. So let’s just use them as a guide and apply some common sense.

If one is to believe this article, half the world flew in 2015.

Actually if you think about it, and the article does point that out – is that you would count more than once if you had a connecting flight. And we’d add that if you are a frequent flyer, you’d add to the ‘number of people who flew’ statistic too. Many times! You might recall that we had written too about the number of people traveling (here and here).

So, a little correction is due. It is NOT the equivalent of the world’s population that will be flying by 2035. Rather, there will be 7 billion flights taken by that time. Just like there are many millions of commuters on trains and buses in a year, it appears flying will indeed become just like taking the bus.

Ok, time to go take the bus flight.

A beery good drink at 35,000ft

You might recall that we mentioned briefly in our post on gorgeous airline food (read here) that one’s sense of taste appears to be ‘dumbed’ down from the altitude (and perhaps attitude) and also the high decibel sound in the cabin.

And you might also have read that, when flying try to avoid drinking alcholic beverages.

What if the airline you were flying with tells you they have brewed a fine draft that has been crafted to taste its best at 35,000 feet in the air? The daily mail’s article tells that this is being served to first and business class passengers for selected flights between March and April. So by now, this offer is over…

But today the point of our post is not how to have a beery good drink 10km up in the atmosphere.

There is much debate about the affects of alcohol on the health of passengers when flying. Some cited research suggests that with low air pressure from the altitude, our blood is effectived thinned. This is said to accentuate the affects of alcohol. Others disagreeing, believe that the air with lower oxygen level leaves less of this vital element in your brain leading to intoxication. Either way, perhaps this might explain why people get inebriated and exhibit anti social behavior when flying?

A spate of incidents on planes in the last 12 months had prompted some airports to even consider banning alcohol not just on planes but also in the terminal itself! We had wrote previously about badly behaved passengers.

We have a tipple or two when we fly. Is a drink while flying ok? What do you think?

Pilot Language

Payup Bozoo!

That’s part of pilot speak, and nooooo they are not calling someone silly names. According to an article we read. Sure they are said to swear by these 5-letter words…why? You know when you use GPS or Google maps for navigation, you select markers known as waypoints. These are your “milestones” so to speak, that you gain an understanding of where you are and how you are progressing on a journey.

So its the same with navigating the globe in a plane. The independent revealed (read here) some of the most interesting names that the air traffic controllers have given the waypoints. You’d be amazed that there is no convention for the naming and that various situations and local considerations were the key factors! One thing to note though, these navigation waypoints must comprise of 5 letters of the alphabet.icao-waypoints

Sounds like the way the names of typhoons are named. Each year a different country in the Asia Pacific gets to provide names that would be used for each storm that emerges from the ocean. No real convention there too! Oops, we digressed again!

And it seems that more and more it is getting out of vogue. Because with modern GPS technologies it is no longer critical to follow waypoints some airline quoted said. But we aren’t sure about this…what if one airline decides to ditch waypoints and fly direct using GPS while others stick with it? Would that be allowed?

Do you think airlines should ditch waypoints and map direct point-2-point routes?


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?

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?

Flying alone

I feel compelled to write this after reading two times in a row of flights with only a single passenger!

According to Yahoo!, this lady had decided to wait for her delayed flight eventhough most of the other passengers had made alternative arrangements. You know at this time of the year, there are literally millions of Chinese making their way home for the lunar new year holidays. It is the largest migratory flow on the planet (yes it dwarves the wilderbeests etc in Africa…). The featured image says it all, and it is only at one of the train stations in China!

See the scale of China and India in population terms?

So there was that unusually cold snap that hit most of north Asia last week (where it apparently snowed in Guangzhou), and the flight was delayed 10 hours! Now you would think most folks would give up but apparently not this lady! Anyhow, this is yet another incident where flights continue even when there is only 1 passenger. But then, I think the plane would have flown even if there none!

How else would the plane be picking passengers at the other end? When I was in the shipping industry, this was called “empty repositioning”. We used to move empty containers from locations of surplus to places where exporters needed them. I guess the planes need to be repositioned as well. Duh?

Back to the lady on her “charter” flight. It was interesting in the article that when she shared her experience, someone commented that she was still not upgraded! LOL!!! BTW, if you are delayed for more than a certain number of hours, travel insurance should kick in. Just be sure you are well covered!

So next time when you have a severe flight delay, maybe you should consider waiting it out???