27 January 2009

The Worlds Best Passenger Complaint Letter

Sometimes I think the airline I work for is the only one people complain about. I get fairly convinced every airline has better uniforms, aircraft, food, movies, etc. It is not uncommon of a flight to hear "Virgin has better amenities" or "British Airways does not charge for drinks" or "Lufthansa has personal video screens" and it can sometimes get a little demoralizing.

 THEN I read a letter like the one posted on the Daily Telegraph's website and I realize we are all the same after all. It really 'takes the biscuit' as the writer says. The photos included are also worth a look!
                                                      The letter

I feel much better about my airline after having read it, though I do need to wipe my eyes.

20 January 2009

In Honor of Today

What an exciting day!!! As the sun sets on former President Bush's time in office, sir I cannot say I will miss you but I do promise to read American Wife. Also, I have been waiting 4 years to be able to call you former President, so no one can tell me I do not know about delayed gratification...

19 January 2009

Hysterical Ad

This clever ad if for Virgin Atlantic. In spite of being totally un p.c., I LOVE it!! It is a total lift from the movie Catch Me If You Can. (Hate to quibble with the ads director, but VS crews have always pulled their hair back, they would have never worn it down, but the swinging hair is half the sex appeal of the ad.)

16 January 2009

Dear 3E and 3F

Dear 3E and 3F,

Everyone saw you two go into the economy handicapped toilet together. You fooled no one by spacing it 30 seconds apart. If you want to get busy and join the mile high club, wait till an overnight flight when there is not a queue for the toilets.

14 January 2009

Postman's Park, or a little London love

Postman's Park is one of the secret spots in London that I love going to. (I can't always travel overseas, sometimes I am limited to my own neighborhood!) It is a tiny little spot I walked past for years before finding out about it on a London Walk.

As the sign above says, it is squashed into the Square Mile between the backs of several churches , office buildings and apartment blocks. It was created as a place for the postmen who had a site nearby, to rest relax and eat their lunch. Yes, amid the tombstones..

The Watts memorial was created to commemorate everyday citizens who gave their lives to save others.  Sort of sad that the wall has not been added to since the early 1900s, each story makes interesting reading and also makes you wonder if people are still so selfless. The plaques are made of Wedgwood china, and if you have seen the movie Closer, you will recognize not only the park but one of the names on the wall.  The Park is still used today by Londoners as a place to eat lunch or get a little peace and quiet. It is rarely too crowded to find a seat and while away the time.

13 January 2009

The Meltdown

Last night I witnessed one of the saddest sights I have ever seen in an airport. Our crew was at our gate , waiting to board the aircraft when we heard a HOWLING come from behind the gate door. It sounded truly animalistic and was the kind of noise that gives you shivers. It was a Marine.

This poor young man was scheduled to fly back to Iraq that evening via Kuwait. He began to have some sort of post traumatic stress incident and completely melted down in the smokers lounge. Few things shake you like seeing a huge Marine balled up screaming, crying and absolutely not resembling a human. He was taken away in an ambulance. My heart broke for him, and I am still thinking and crying  about him today.  I hope he gets the help he and too many other soldiers need .  

12 January 2009

The Best Hotel Room View Ever

Everyone talks about the Chicago Water Tower, but I just don't get all the hoopla over this. As seen from our former gorgeous layover hotel, the Chicago Palmer House Hilton. In spite of your less than picture postcard views from our rooms, I will miss you so. (Yes I KNOW this is not the real Water Tower people...)

11 January 2009

What a Feeling

Dear junior flight attendant I just flew with,

Leg warmers are not acceptable with the uniform. Ever... I would go so far to say that legwarmers are not really acceptable anywhere outside a dance studio since 1983. You are new to international flying, I will cut you some slack but honestly. Just because you worked with folks that wore their pants too short, hair down and pink parkas with your uniform when you flew domestic, we do not do that (much) here in London. Please shape up little girl, I have high hopes for you. And spit out that gum too. Thank you. 

09 January 2009

Dreaming of Bangkok

Whenever it gets really cold, my mind wanders to past travels to warm locales. I grew up in Hawaii so vacations do not usually consist of beach destinations , I am just as happy to be n an urban location in the heat. On my travels to Asia, I usually use one city as a start and stop point, and Bangkok is usually the home base for Asia when on my way to Laos, Cambodia,  Indonesia , etc. 

Bangkok had been swimming through my head recently, memories of trips there are fighting for time in my daydreams.

1. The modes of transport in Bangkok never fail to enchant me. The Skytrain is a modern air conditioned oasis of cool in a steamy hot city. I could actually ride around on it for about an hour just to feel cool. It is also incredibly easy to navigate as a foreigner, regardless of language spoken.

2. Tuk-tuks are the other end of the transport spectrum. No seat belt, no safety, fumes from the vehicles in front of you and behind you belch at you the entire time. The driver will have some flowers hanging in his vehicle or some Buddha statue. You feel as if you are taking your life in your hands and getting financially ripped off in the process of the ride, yet that is somehow part of the fun.

3. Street food... The fruit stands that will cut and bag ( or place on a stick) mango, pineapple or various other fruit make my mouth water. The stands owners look like they are performing magic tricks with their knives. This is the healthiest 'fast food' you will ever encounter. The other street food is the hot variety, usually made on a hibachi plopped right on the sidewalk with the car fumes used as an additional ingredient. If it is a more 'upscale' sidewalk cafe , it will be served on plates and glasses washed in a tin drum or plastic tub right at your feet.

4. The weekend market. There is no better entertainment that exists, anywhere. (If there is ,please tell me about it)!! A skytrain ride to a humongous property which has no rhyme or reason, it is worth the trip even if you do not plan to buy anything. You will see everything from cute clothing, mobile phones, puppies and live Scorpions for sale there. The scarier animals are usually kept in plastic containers open on a table. Just looking in them is to participate in a travellers version of Fear Factor. The stalls are cheek to jowl , with no personal space for vendor or shopper. In spite of this, tempers do not flare, even in the searing heat.

5. The water taxis. Hop on and see how the locals travel. For a ride that costs pennies, you will see the riverfront of Thailand, get around avoiding the chronic gridlock, and see locals going to school and work. Standing next to you will be Thai schoolgirls, ladies coming from their shopping with baskets full of food, businessmen and tourists. The shoreline is a curious mix of upscale hotels, wats ( temples) and dilapidated apartments with laundry hanging inches above the water.

6.The wats. A shoes off experience. You will marvel at the beauty of the buildings, the calm of the monks and the many cats that wander the premises, all rubbing against your legs hoping for a bit of food or affection. The last time I was in Bangkok they were filming a Bollywood movie scene at a temple, song and dance routine was being rehearsed.

7. The wat massage. At one of the wats (Wat Po?) you can get a massage for just a few dollars. It is not the plush surroundings you normally get a massage in, you will be in a fenced in area on one of about 20 mattresses lying on the floor right next to each other. There will be no common language so the masseuse will resort to tapping, poking and just manipulating you. Thai massage is like a workout on a Pilates reformer , but the masseur is the reformer. Your body will be poked and pulled in ways that it has never done before. A tip, do NOT wear jeans, wear loose trousers . Your body will thank you the next day.

8. The people. The calm accepting and friendly nature of the people is amazing . I exclude one street vendor from this praise, and she knows who she is (old woman I will get you back) . Everyone else in Thailand reminds me not to loose my cool so quickly, and not to sweat the small stuff.

Other things like the flower market, Jim Thompson's house and the many tailors and massage parlors ( for your FEET people, not that kind of massage!) fight for my attention in my travel daydreams. Now to find the time for the actual trip...

07 January 2009

Those Were The Days

it is a rare day ( okay never) that I wish I was older. Seeing how flying was a few decades before I began males me wish I had been able to fly before deregulation took away all the prestige.

06 January 2009

Now That Is Recycling

Do you ever wonder what happens to old aircraft when they outlive their usefulness? Many are parked in the desert, but some find other lives outside the skies. One Boeing 747, formerly owned by Pan Am, is set to open shortly as a Jumbo Hostel at the edge of Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, Sweden.  The plane as a hostel was dreamed up by Oscar Dios, who has renamed the aircraft Lid, after his daughter.  

In place of the seats that occupy a traditional aircraft, 25 rooms with 3 bunk beds have been installed. (I would love to see how they stack up to our crew rest areas, I imagine they have taller ceilings.) There is a luxury suite housed in the former cockpit, with the steering column still intact. I cannot decide if they idea makes me want to run, as I spend so much time on a plane, or check it out. I am passing through Stockholm in March and hope to give it a once over. I wonder if they give crew discounts??

02 January 2009

Quite Possibly the Perfect Gift

I recently stumbled upn the website passengersonly. Their online store is filled with mouthwatering bags, totes, and other items you do not know you need until you see them. The perfect gift is an item I never knew existed until I saw it there.

I do have to qualify it is the perfect gift for your dear wine drinking friends. Dear friends as it is $375.00 . How the your friends travelling to Chile , France or New Zealand would love this little bauble, and they would have no excuse not to bring you back a bottle...or two.  I never knew I needed a rollaboard wine container until I saw this, although my budget is more of the wheeled Igloo cooler size  . 

01 January 2009

The Resolutions

It seems to be de rigeur for all bloggers to list their resolutions for the New Year, so I will join in and add a few..

1. Take a holiday by myself. I have NEVER done this, and it seems a bit embarrassing to admit. All 'world travelers' seem to have done solo junkets, some lasting for years. I will start small, maybe 3 days in a city, but I will do it...

2.Take more photographs. Now that I have a digital camera and FINALLY got a new Macbook, there is no excuse. I am ashamed to have no photos to look back on ALL the time I spent in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. The excuse that I am not a good photograph does not hold water. Better a crap photo than no photo at all.

3.Stop thinking I can always see things the next layover. My airline is moving our layover hotel in Chicago from a lovely location in the city to the suburbs.Grrr. While I have friends in Chicago, it makes me realize there are SO many things I have not seen there yet, and want to. I really need to take greater advantage of the opportunities I have, as they might not be there tomorrow.

4.Go to China. My airline flies there, I have no excuse. MUST go in 2009.

and for the work resolutions, less gossip, more patience and understanding.....