Slow planes or was it slow coach?

It’s sure interesting to know that perhaps our aircraft journeys have lengthened. If this article is to be believed, we now take a longer time to get to our destinations. Did you notice that too? Or is this just a figment of imagination?

Actually we noticed something too.

HND to NRT.jpg
Would it take 30 minutes to fly 73km? LOL

A few years ago, the company that Mel worked for had a corporate policy of flying coach for flights 7 hours or less. Scouring the flight schedules, it was found that a SIN/NRT flight takes 7 hours and 5 minutes. The alternative SIN/HND flight on the other hand was 6 hours 30 minutes. Having to visit Japan rather frequently, he chose the Narita flight…heheh. But a difference of 30 minutes between the two airports?

Now either the plane to Narita was much slooower, or the one to Haneda flew faster. Or perhaps they both were slower? If you had read the article above, you would have realize that the reason for ‘slower’ flights could stem from the urge by airlines to save on fuel costs. Recall that oil prices spiked up close to US$150/barrel in July 2008?

Like driving a car, it does not mean that getting into the top speed will mean the maximal use of the gearbox. If one were to google for fuel efficiency, you’d find that 55mph (90kmh) is prescribed as the optimal. In fact driving faster leads to a drop in fuel efficiency. Guess this applies to airplanes too right? Afterall, airlines are for profit organizations. They’d do anything to fill up the plane and drive fly it more economically.

A funny story

Some years ago, Mel & Suan went on a journey to Hokkaido. We were waiting at the boarding gate for a domestic flight to Sapporo from Tokyo. Boarding annoucement (first in Japanese, then later in English): “Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to start boarding. Prior to boarding, may we ask that you take use of the airport’s restroom facilities.” – weight, that could be what they are trying to reduce! Saves fuel you know if the airplane is lighter you know…heheh.

Anyway. Mel’s mom used to call out to him ‘hey slow coach, catch up!’ (Mel’s not a tomato btw), while on hikes when he was little. Was Mel a slow coach? No. He was just walking at the optimal speed using the least amount of effort and energy.

Did you notice your plane turning into a slow coach? Tell us!


Only the wealthy may come

You have to hand it to the Daily Mail for picking up this story…In this post, we are told that the country’s leadership has opted for a high value; high quality tourism approach. Only 5-star hotels and resorts will be approved hereon. And they are suppose to come with their own water treatment and backup power systems, supposedly for environmental reasons. However, budget travelers need not fret. AirBnB is still available. And along with that the local hostels too. Perhaps what will be costlier will be the flights!

Why has this come to pass you ask?

Quite possibly, the islands had felt the strong wave of tourist numbers flooding their shores! Recall that we wrote some time back about the sheer growth of tourism volumes here? And that we had predicted too that there could be repercussions. In the form of a push back. Enough is enough!

Now granted that the push back we anticipated is from the local folks, but you should also know that all politics are local. If the constituents are not happy, well the politicians are likely to pander to the direction of political winds to stay in power. Not unless you have a dictatorship…Thus this latest development in Palau is not a surprise to us at all.

And we believe this is the harbinger of the future…

Could quotas be introduced in “hot” tourist destinations? Want to visit Barcelona? Go online and apply for an TSTA – ‘Tourist system travel application’. Like its cousin ESTA, you have to pay for this application and it has a limited validity. Without this you can’t get on a flight, bus or train to the city. Even if you are on a cruise ship, you cannot disembark. Aargh! How will long term ‘travelers’ be affected?

Will this become a reality?

Perhaps not as drastic. But nevertheless some form of “control” is likely to be on the cards. In our humble opinion that is. There cannot be action without a reaction – no matter if it is equal or not in force. Just as the pendulum swings or sine wave oscillates, at some point the huge number of tourists will cause sufficient strain to the infrastructures of destinations to buckle. We just might see more cities and countries adopt some form of what Palau just decided to do. Perhaps it’s just a matter of time.

And that’s how the cookie crumbles.

You read this prediction first – here on our blog. What do you think about our prediction?

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?

Traffic jam in the air?

We posted some time back how the volume of travel traffic has been continuing to grow (here) despite the great recession of 2008 and seeming economic decline/crisis (depends on your view) in the last 8 years.

Well, more forecasts have come to light (read here).

Can you imagine the following:

  • 7.2 billion (yep with a capital B) people will be flying across the planet in the year 2035?
  • That’s almost 20 million passengers per day, every day of the calendar year!
  • Assuming each flight takes 300 people, that’s 67,000 flights per day.

There may be >43,000 airports all over the world according to IATA, but most of the flights will be concentrated in hubs. Imagine the traffic jam! Recall that we also delved into the topic of how all these flight congestions in the air is managed (read here). This will become ever more challenging. Let’s hope that the technology and processes keep pace with flight volumes. And keep us safe!

Then there is the trend of ever more security measures being deployed in response to risks posed by terrorist groups. Set aside your environmental concerns for a moment. What do you think the consequences will be? Longer wait times at the security check? It gets really crowded at the attractions you want to go see? Longer queues for transport from the airport?

In a world where almost half of its inhabitants are on the move for some reason or another, just how will travel journeys be like in 2035? What do you think?

Off to Japan!

Its soon time to set off for our annual pilgrimage.

Today we read in the papers that Japan, along with Malaysia is one of the top destinations for travellers leaving Singapore. In 2014, there was close to 250,000 visitors to Japan according to the Japan National tourism organization in Singapore. I’ll bet that that number has since grown even more since the yen has actually fallen over the last few years making it more accessible and economical!

So, what are the ways to travel to Japan?

Well you can always take the direct flight with Singapore Air, ANA, JAL or even American airlines making that transpacific trip stopping over in Osaka or Tokyo. But it would not be such a bad thing to transit via Bangkok, Hong Kong or Taipei. A quick search shows there are 14 direct flights to Tokyo from Singapore and 15 that connects via other major cities across Asia (need to verify that). That’s possibly a total of 29 flights per day!

Just a typical Singapore – Tokyo day?

Actually come to think of it, assuming each direct flight can carry 200 people (and assume they fly every day) – the capacity will be in excess of a million seats available every year…so there is still a lot of potential there for this market. Well I could be wrong here with the numbers (obviously not all the flights are daily), but the point is that there is a lot of options out there.

Perhaps not when everyone wants to get there at the same time!

Well, we are turning in now and tomorrow will be a long day. Suan’s having “butterflies in her stomach”, which usually happens on the eve of an anticipated trip such as this. I shall be carrying the shopping the next 10 days.