Pilotless Planes anyone?

Now you’all know about drones and driver-less trucks, even as such cars are coming on the roads near you. Here in our little red dot, we have extensive driverless subway train networks. It’s a matter of time before more transportation assets are turned over to intelligent algorithms.

But what if the plane you fly in is piloted not by a person, but by the same intelligent algorithm? If this development (read here) moves with that quick a pace, we could soon be at the mercy of AI. Don’t know about you, but we sure are nervous too like the author alluded. Well he said the palms are sweating. We on the other hand might have shaky knees.

Because Boeing is certainly adamant on the testing pilotless planes.

One thought that popped into our heads was this; that the most costly component of operating an aircraft (aside from the depreciation on the multi-billion dollar craft) would be the maintenance and… the highly paid pilots? Perhaps if this can be taken away costs will be reduced (read this)? What do you think? Or could it be that the aircraft maker actually believe that human operated flying machines are still less reliable or desired… perhaps we might see an unemployment line of pilots some day…

Will plane fares drop then? Heheh.

Yes, some day. We might all have to surrender ourselves to the mastery of technology. Put your life in the hands codes of artificial “beings”. Wow. Haven’t we seen these in movies before?

A selfie is all it takes

Imagine you are walking to your airline departure gate. You have only your hand carried luggage with you. Your passport or identification documents are tucked safely inside your bag. No boarding pass. And you get onto the flight.

What! No hassles?

Yep. If the trial that this airline in the US proves viable (read here), we could all just be taking a selfie and get on our way – flying across the friendlier skies… without being beaten up or dragged off the plane heheh…

Yes. Simply take a photo at the boarding gate and you will be waved through when the system signals the all clear. Wow we hear you holler out. Is that possible in today’s security obsessed airport terminals? While it is only a trial between one port pair from Boston to Aruba (hmm… wonder why), this pilot (not the flier) has great potential to be rolled out across all airports and airlines. A wonderful development in our opinion. Because it’s definitely coming, since iPhones can already do that.

One thing though. Because this technology works on image recognition, one might want to ensure that one’s photo records in the passport, immigration and identification documents are closely matching. Perhaps the software is intelligent enough to get through it these days (such s the physical features), but it pays to be diligent. Because our facial features do change as we age (that’s another topic to delve into). Don’t rely on that old photo in your driver’s license!

We’ve been writing about how it gets more onerous to travel these days. So this is definitely one step in the right direction to lessen stress from air travel. Here’s to more seamless travel. One less hassle is always welcome.

How great is the Ocean road?

Did you know that the Apostles of the Great Ocean road fame could have been named “the sow and her piglets”?? Yep. Interesting ways the Aussies come up with names of places. Would that have made the road less “great”? You tell us.

Yippee! We are now onto our Australian series.

Not quite the “The flying doctors” or “Home and away”…heheh, but six (yes 6) handprint stories about the traipsing we have made in the land down under. How do we know about these Aussie drama serials? Well, they did broadcast some of them here in the little red dot long ago. Or as we’d say it here, when policemen wore shorts (they really did – khakis in the 50s & 60s). Heheh, that makes us sound vintage…but we digress. By  the way, it was our grandfathers who watched them and we, as children sneaked in for  peek.

So back to the road.

Why is it that they call it the Great Ocean Road. Because for us it seems strange when it is mostly single lane all along its 243km (well quote Wiki). At least that was the impression when we first got on the B100, aka – the road. What can you see along this great road? What can you do? Will you find anything nice to eat?

Why certainly!

Our little adventure (here) along this stretch of coastal road left us wishing to come back. Wouldn’t you?

Dumb Travel luck

Oops it happened to us again! Sigh.

What was that we hear you ask?

Not as spacious as SIA but good enough!

On our way up to Bangkok, we had been upgraded to premium economy which to be terribly honest wasn’t much except that it was in the front of the airplane.

We got upgraded again!! This time on our return flight from Bangkok to Singapore. And guess what? Cathay They offered us to take Thai airways as an alternative initially. Because they were well overbooked. You see, this flight originates from Hong Kong with this stopover in Bangkok to pick up passengers like us.

Elegant way to end the journey!

On this occasion however, we were upgraded – to business class! Yep you read that right. Business class with inflight service (meals etc). Could not get into the lounge though…heheh we tried. The alternative they offered would had been a 4pm flight. And we weren’t enamoured to sit around at the airport for 6 hours…so we persisted and the airline was kind enough to accommodate us.

It certainly was a great flight home and we were not the only ones. Seems they upgraded quite a few because the flight was full with tour groups coming in from China via Hong Kong.

Btw, we tested the free airport Wifi in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. You see, many had complained that you would be sent your login username and password to your registered email account. What most fail to realize is that when that page is shown, you just need to click “login” and start surfing. The email is for future use, so that you do not need to register again…duh.

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???