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?

Fly like you were at home

Once more, we are witnessing ever increasing juxtapose. In the airline business of course! Time to set aside all these bad press recently and dream a little. Will you pay for the opportunity to fly in what is touted as the world most advanced airline seat? One that makes you feel at home, as if you were lying on your own bed? Assuming you love you own bed in the first place.

Well this article shared how high tech has transformed the way priority passengers will be treated to when they need twenty winks while flying to their destination(s).

You might have read in our past posts (here and here) about futuristic developments when it comes to the flying experience. In those articles we had read, the common thread is appears to suggest how airlines can fete passengers to a new level of comfort. Our view? It is more of an approach to “up trade” the flying experience for the ones with the means to pay. Which means it is not applicable to most of us.

No. This is not a 99% rant. That’s so passe.

Rather this is an examination of the travel equivalent of the ‘misery index’. One where it is postulated that airlines sets the travel conditions to be so onerous that one would simply pay to get out of that situation. Checked bags? Pay. Choose seats? Pay. To which some might throw their hands up; heck with all of this, just buy the full fare ticket. Or better, since it may be a long flight – perhaps buy that business class seat that turns into a bed?

Will you fall for this ruse? If you had the means, would you pay to sleep on the plane as if it was your bed?

A bed for the flight

Now even business class fliers can experience having a double bed while flying 30,000 feet in the air in this article. If Qatar Air’s antics are emulated, we just might see even more airlines offering the same experience in this increasingly cut-throat segment of the airline industry.

The new design on the aircraft is said to be able to close out an area of 4-seats into a family pod! Qatar is sure trying to woo passengers away for a larger market share! You might recall how we wrote about first class travel (here) being neophytes when it comes to that level of luxury in the air. But this requires a couple or a family to share the bed or ‘communal space’…what if one were only traveling with a colleague for business?

Wow.

First we had the craft beer for the flights (read here). Then we have bars on the planes. All of them were for whom we called ‘airline royalty’ (read here). Perhaps we should start considering flying on air-ships that take a little bit longer than aircraft to get where we want to. And in the process, check into a cabin for the super long flight enjoying wonderful meals on top of the world. Literally…

Will we soon see the rise of cruise lines in the air? You just need to know that back in the early days of flying commercial, it took literally days to get from one end of the world (eg Australia) to the other (eg London). There were many flight stops along the way where passengers relaxed and changed. As if they were disembarking from a cruise ship.

Would we be headed back in that direction? If we can have Uber and AirBnB (a reboot of the old sharing economy), why can’t we have the same in aviation? Perhaps that all of this might be heralding in the second golden age of flying?

An adult’s Disney fantasy

Heheh. Not some wet dream… but believe this has caught your attention!

In our travels, the epicurean side of the journeys figure pretty strongly in our planned or unplanned soujorns. Take our journey to Bangkok. We had to try our Greyhounds cafe in Bangkok so that we can compare it against the one in Singapore. Nothing beats verification that we’re getting the real stuff right? Just like the shrimps in the featured image…don’t ask why we used that…

Or our more recent journey to Japan. It was Valentine’s and there was such a kaleidescope of confectionery to sample and purchase. And this was excluding the fantastic seafood meals we had while out on the coast of Toyama!

Now imagine dining as if you are a princess in the magical castle. Disney has apparently taken the experience in the happiest place on earth a notch higher. For about US$15,000 one can bring 11 other guests to enjoy drinks an a seven course dinner at 21 Royal. It’s good to know this price comes with park admission and valet parking.

What’s good is that the gratuity is already included, so you don’t need to search the wallet for an appropriate amount to tip 15% off the cost of the event! Do you even carry that much cash around? Might be branded a terrorist or money launderer…LOL. Or worse, it could be confiscated or rendered useless…(re India scrapping currency)…ok we digress again.

One of the experential sides of our journeys is all about the food in the places we travel to. Would that be yours too?

There appears to be lots of foodies out there with a lot of spare change. In any case, better make that booking quick because it seems this dining location is pretty hot. Start saving the pennies now!

Will you dine at 21 Royal?

Your personal drone photographer

Oh juxtapose once again.

There are luxury travel companies offering packages that takes drone videography of your journey (read here) in the name of seeing where they’ve travelled from a different perspective. And back on the ground, there would be professional shooters photographers to assist in taking selfies of you (and your partner), without the hassle of you doing it yourself. Yep, no more selfie stick or stretching your hands out…

You see, this touches so many topics. We’ll just comment on three.

For one, it seems not only wedding couples are getting feted for such treatment these days. Though yes you do pay for them. No need for selfies? Heheh, normally Mel & Suan asks someone’s help to take a photo when possible. It’s free by the way. You just need to return the favour if requested. Nope it may not end up with a professional looking photo, but do you really want a photographer following you all over? Ok, ok some do relish the attention…

And those drone photos and videos. How would you know if those were really your journey(s)? Could had been edited seamlessly and easily these days…LOL. Hey, if Mel can cook edit, so can you! Seriously we don’t think anyone remembers Martin Yan, hence you are not likely to find that funny…but we digress. You might have read about our post on drone photography here, guess it will be a little challenging to get that kind of photos with a drone. Perhaps one day there can be an under-water drone that helps divers take photos like the one taken for us (by a diver) in Okinawa of a whale shark.

Finally, the ones who call themselves “travellers” are going to see red on this one. Camera (phone) toting tourists jamming up the streets, not appreciating local culture and norms already creep these folks out. Now, you have an entourage? OMG. Someone’s gonna have a heart attack! LOL.

Would you fork out the $$$ and sign onto these tour packages?

Do luxury toting folks get better service?

Do you sometimes feel that you get treated better if you dressed well? Or when you tote luxury bags and watches, spot expensive jewellery? There seems to be some finding that verify to some extent that this is all well true.

This experiment tested the “attribution effect”. Ok, social psychologists out there will definitely be correcting us. It’s officially coined as “fundamental attribution error“. Will be first to admit that Mel cannot recall this from his days doing that one semestral course on social psychology…Besides it was more than 20++ years ago. So be gentle…

simple-luxury
Brand names seem to matter

Now we are not sure if a mere $4000 watch will get you a hit, but the examples that Matt referred to certainly happened to us. Well, at least to one half of us – ie Suan. You see, she makes a point to dress well AND put on a dash of jewellery (and luxury watch) but that is not in your face. She has had her fair share of being treated “differently” at restaurants, boutiques, even the local supermarket. Getting warmer huh?

Bvlgari boutique2
Retailers are keen to keep this up!

It all seems as if this cheap way of impressing actually works. Or perhaps it is the confidence that one exudes when you wear a watch that costs someone’s monthly wage? You see the article is right in quite many ways. When you are traveling, nobody can fathom that you live in a palatial mansion or drive a Porsche for leisure. And today a wallet full of banknotes is not likely to impress a lot either, unless you face is on it. Well, it depends on who.

So it boils down to other symbols that our pyschological state use to “size up” other folks. And none other is more obvious that the visual cues that exude from watches, jewellery and finally the clothes and shoes you wear. Surething, some of us laugh off such behavior perhaps as being crass, materialistic etc. But somehow we get the feeling that this is far more pervasive than we care to admit.

Of course demeanour plays a critical role too. Which service person would like a sour faced customer? I guess if you play nice, others mostly will too.

We shall not care what the article revealed about the 1%, since we are unlikely to ever rub shoulders with them in any shape, size or form. However we emphasize that the global luxury brands are keen to keep this game going. Just pick out a watch magazine at the bookstore near you. Will you be able to tease out the “levels” of prestige?

There you have it. Empirical evidence that you are what you wear. Perhaps this is confirmation bias but there we have a lot of personal experiences about this too. Perhaps try it out at the Eleven James (or equivalent) near you and let us know about it!