Vacations. Trips. Journeys. Today we take them for granted. Be it sea, air or land, travel has never been easier or better worded – accessible. We recall as young kids going to the then Paya Lebar airport (yeah it’s an airbase now) to send off loved ones. It was such a big event that entire families turn up. Wow.
Over the years, flying and indeed cruising came to be common-place. It used to be folks who went on vacations often would buy lots of souvenirs and food as gifts for friends and family. Today, some folks can actually count the airport as their second home. Talk about owning a large piece of real estate (dream of many red dotters) heheh…
No. Not the fact that low cost airlines have brought fares down. That’s a given. Our perspective is drawn back to the issue of how sustainable this all can be. You might know of our rants (here, hereand here) about how crowded it is getting to be. Many cities are simply reeling from too many visitors that their infrastructure were not geared up for.
Thus competition is great. Wonderful in fact. But it seems to have spawned ‘side effects’ no? Like the leader of our little red dot inferred last year, too much a good thing might be bad (referencing sugary drinks and the link to diabetes). Just like the cost of sugar-laden products have come down, so has the cost of air travel. Too many folks circulating in sightseeing cities like the sugar level in blood might cause a host of problems.
Oh wow. Talk about the 3Rs. Shocking were the words used for this story on the web a few months back. Can you imagine drinking a glass of wine poured from this bottle? True. True that there could have been good reasons for doing so. And perhaps readers who know better can comment. But today our focus is on airline waste. So maybe the attendant was not wrong in doing what she apparently did.
You’ve heard about the amount of waste we (ie humans) have generated. There are many a statistic, and one claims that we purchase a million bottles of plastic every minute! Wow. Can you imagine the volume of trash that is building up. This reminds us of the animated feature “Wall-e”. Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth. The story is that by the year 2805 the planet is contaminated with too much waste.
Think we’ll last that long?
There is a guardian article (here) that suggests that 5.2 million tonnes of airline waste is generated every year. And that some airlines are finally attempting to help reduce this load. A wonderful development in our opinion. Here’s a thought. While we do not support budget airlines with no frills at all such as catering, how about making it mandatory for passengers to choose their meals and drinks ahead?
It may sound draconian, but packaged and marketed appropriately (heheh, occupation hazard) this can become a ‘feature’. That way, airlines can work seamlessly with catering companies to prepare the right meals, reducing the “buffer” stock of meals they need to carry with them on the plane. We probably can’t bring back the use of metal utensils on flights anymore (perhaps except in business and first), but perhaps a move towards bio-degradable ones could help?
Wouldn’t you support efforts to reduce waste from your flying?
Ahhh. You are flying. At last, having gotten on the plane without being pulled off you are finally on your journey. You hear an announcement from the pilot welcoming you onboard and telling you to sit back and relax. Imagine the voice of the pilot was that of a King. Impossible you say? Well some swear they saw Elvis alive.
Read here for a story of how one monarch (ok Prince) had been piloting away. Oh what a story it could have been for him to call out to you to come fly with me him. Come fly away with me him.
Today though our post is not about flying with royalty, though many on KLM’s cityhopper services could have bragged about that since the then Prince flew those shuttles. Just to let you in a secret. There was one time when we flew back to Singapore. It was when the next Olympic games would be awarded. And the IOC was congregating in our little red dot to make the selection. Guess who sat a few seats from us? The same gentleman who would be King! Heheh… and it was not on KLM btw.
Ok enough with our bragging. What is the purpose of today’s post?
Humility. We’ve written about the class divide when it comes to flying. While at one end we have airlines creating mini apartments with showers in the plane for first class passengers, we also have ‘basic economy’ at the other end. These segregation and elevation of differentials only serve to promote elitism in our opinion. We do not advocate the total elimination of differentiation. Heck, we cannot decide because we are conflicted!
What are your views? To what extent should there be differentiation in classes of travel on airlines?
Have you ever wondered what those large numbers on the airport tarmac is all about? Street signs perhaps? Well, that’s close. Today’s post is a short one. Because we feel you need to click on this link and watch the short youtube video.
It’s a marvel to learn a few things about geography.
So after reading the article you will know what the numbers mean. For those who did not click on the above link (tsk tsk), they are representations of cardinal directions between 0° to 360°. But it is truncated. Thus if an aircraft’s compass is not working, the pilot can still tell in which direction his/her plane is approaching the airport.
Now you see why they paint the numbers so large… the better that they can see you be seen so said the big bad wolf article… And hopefully now it makes sense to you why there are letters on the tarmac.
But we are not only sharing with you what we’ve learned about these markings and numbers. Recall our post on the language of pilots? Flying is still a complex business, and we are not referring to the business of running an airline. The control of a complicated aircraft with millions of moving parts all coordinated by software is the deal we are talking about. You will come to read our take on the advent of pilotless aircraft in a future post.
Think about that for a moment. No pilot. If that happens, will we still need the large letters on the tarmac?
Yeah you. It’s called murphy’s law, or Mr Murphy. Have you ever wondered why, oh why does things happen to you? No. No we are not ranting about something bad that has occured with us. And no it’s not about the horse either…
Because today’s post first pokes fun at the tribulations one may experience when embarking on a journey. Check out these hilarious comics about the thrills and spills of traveling these days. Does any of the comics relate to your personal experiences? We found the last one to especially apt. Oh why do we have the urge to go to the restroom when the plane’s about to land?
And now we get to the serious stuff. Because it is not only air travel where you can be a little stressed.
Our postulation is this. No amount of planning will prevent or insulate one from mishaps. You might read later in our story on getting back to the cruise ship while in the Grand Caymans after a swim at Stingray city. Why of all days were there like 20 ships anchored there? Don’t they have a schedule to follow? Can you imagine if the traffic snarl would have really caused us to miss the tender back to the ship?
Yeah. Miles, the sort you accumulate as you spend your way in today’s consumerist world. Today our post is drawing from an article we read some months back (heheh told you we schedule forward right?).
You earn them for many possible reasons, but chief amongst them might be the opportunity to swap the miles for a flight or stay at your dream vacation. Well, one of the columnists in our local news publication set out to debate that air-mile owners may find it extremely hard to get use their miles to redeem the flight of your dreams. Well, it depends…
For us, we consider other risks to how you may not be able to fully utilize your hard earned miles. We wrote about air mile mergers (here and here). But that’s not all. We found out a couple of months back that our favorite accumulation programme had changed. Since the end of March, the discount for redeeming online (it was 15%) ceased. In addition, the miles required for redemption of certain sectors were increased…
A clear double whammy! No prizes for guessing that the most popular routes had the mileage requirement increased. Sigh. See, this is one more subtle hurdle that has been thrown our way. Raising the bar seems the right thing to do for the airlines or other mile awarding programmes, for if too many can attain the requisite miles then they’d be handing out free flights and hotel stays ‘left and right’, as an expression we use here in the little red dot says…
Perhaps the writer is correct in her observation that it will not be in our favor to get that redemption seat on a very sought after flight – like one or two days before Christmas. Airlines will prioritize revenue generating passengers right? Can we expect them not to?
Do you think its better to just revert to accumulating points and redeem a free ice cream instead? Are you an Air Miler?