IanFromHKGBack to Forum
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Gosh, people on here are getting very sensitive, aren’t they? The number of reports for inappropriate comments seems to be growing day by day.
Anyone who feels personally offended by my (lighthearted) reference to the Luftwaffe is welcome to send their complaints to my maternal grandfather – long since deceased, killed by a bomb dropped by the aforementioned.15 Mar 2018
I realise I got the brand name totally wrong there! They are SheYeda speakers, and you can see a picture of them here. The picture of the iPhone on the box with the speakers is a pretty good representation of their comparative size – they’re tiny! If you can find them, I highly recommend them!in reply to: A good travel speaker8 Mar 2018
I have a pair that probably can’t be found anywhere but China or Hong Kong (the brand name is Yushewa) – bought in Stanley Market for 20 quid. I say “them” because it is a pair of speakers. Each is smaller than a golf ball, both are magnetic (I have them normally attached to the metal shelves above my desk) and the sound is amazing (these are better than Beats bluetooth speakers IMHO) – not least because, of course, being a PAIR of speakers, you get true stereo. I was on a shopping trip with the Offspring looking for presents for their friends and was so taken with them I bought a pair as a present for myself. We have now gone back and bought several more pairs for presents! Although you may not be able to find the same brand, I do have to say that having a pair of speakers is, on its own, a fast improvement on a single speaker.
I have a rather expensive Bose bluetooth speaker at home – and I don’t use it any more!in reply to: A good travel speaker2 Mar 2018
Markis J, there isn’t really much qualitative difference in the cabin interior on the A350 vs the B777 – there have been some minor tweaks to the seats but nothing earth-shattering. The B777 feels a little more spacious IMHO but on the other hand the A350 is latest generation with better pressurisation and humidity.
The main difference with Cathay Dragon is that their business class seat – even for Bangalore which is one of their longest routes – is a regional seat, so not lie-flat. If you are able to wangle the HKG-BLR leg in first class, you will get the same seat as CX long-haul business. Having said that, despite being 6’3″ I find the regional seat extremely comfortable – it is well-padded, and has a comfortable lazy-boy recline position.
Since you are Sapphire you won’t have access to the F lounges, which is a shame, but overall I would rate CX lounges – especially in HK – as being among the best, and certainly streets ahead of the SQ J lounges (at least those that I have encountered, which includes those in SIN). I would particularly recommend The Bridge, which is a combined F&J lounge with a range of different sections, each with different ambience. You may also be able to access their new lounge, The Deck, which opens next month.
Happy travels!in reply to: SQ or CX A350?28 Feb 2018
Tom mentioned medical ID information. If you have an iPhone, there is a Medical ID function built in. How you activate it depends on the version, but emergency crews are apparently trained (at least in some countries!) on how to access it. It has sections for birthdate/age, medical conditions, medical notes (not as in doctor’s notes, but additional text), allergies and reactions, medications, blood type, weight, height and emergency contacts.
The iPhone also has an emergency contact function, which I accidentally triggered recently while in the dentist’s chair (clearly clutching my phone too hard, I pressed just the right combination of buttons!). This triggered a call to the emergency services (cringe), and emergency texts sent to my emergency contacts saying there was an emergency and giving my location, apparently updated every ten minutes.
Finally, the iPhone allows emergency calls even without a SIM.
I suspect other phones have similar features – but of course they are only as useful as the information loaded into them!
Let your emergency contacts know the IMEI of your phone. Even without sophisticated functions such as Apple’s Find my iPhone, emergency services can track a phone by its IMEI number to the nearest cell tower.
Register your trip with your embassy/consulate in the host country, and keep details of their emergency number.
RFID-blocking wallets or purses will help to prevent identity theft.
Apps such as 1Password are helpful for keeping details of passwords, ATM PINs etc without having to write them down.in reply to: Travel precautions you should take14 Feb 2018
Most of these articles are written by and agreed by people who never leave their desks!
And most travel policies are written by people who never leave their desks either.
As I have said here before, everyone who imposes a policy should be forced to comply with it non-stop for a week. So the idiot who says that flights up to five hours in duration should be in economy (as was the case in my most recent former employment), who has presumably made the assumption that this will be a domestic US flight with no need for immigration or customs and the ability to stroll up to the airport counter half an hour before departure, should instead be forced to made a 4h55 international flight every day in an economy seat, complete with having to travel to the airport by public transport to get there at least two hours before departure to face enormous queues to check-in, ditto at security and quite possibly at immigration as well; then have to go through the reverse process at the other end and then – and here is the killer – have to do an entire day’s work in their hotel room every night because they can’t work on confidential documents in the public areas of an airport (no lounge memberships permitted at the company’s expense!) or in the confines of an economy class seat.
And, as I said, they should be forced to do this for a week, straight. Which also means they will have to survive on the miserable F&B allowance, stay in the cheap hotels mandated by the company (often far away from where you actually need to be), and without reimbursement for laundry.
Oh, and get put on whichever airline the company’s moronic travel managers decide regardless of elite status just to make it even less likely that lounge access or upgrades will be available, and at possibly inconvenient times.
Perhaps then they will think “Gosh, a five hour flight can actually take ten hours door-to-door, and then someone still has to do 8 hours (or more) of work, add some time for meals and that means – wow, only four hours sleep a night, plus jetlag!”.
The most moronic travel policy of all was introduced on the run-up to Christmas, only for my department, and said that prior approval had to be obtained before taking any company equipment overseas. Since they didn’t allow email on personal devices, this meant either (a) being completely out of contact while away, or (b) getting approval for holidays.
So I duly applied, setting out all my upcoming holiday plans for the coming year. No reply. I send a chaser. No reply. I query the policy, and am told that this was a company-wide policy implemented for compliance reasons. So I checked with Compliance in my own office (the Asian regional hub), who hadn’t heard of it. Nor had the heads of Finance, Operations, Tax, the COO’s office or anyone else I asked. I reported this back to my own department’s compliance group back in HQ (who had imposed the policy). Surprise surprise, no reply. So I went on my holiday, and left an autoreply saying that due to departmental policy I was unable to take company equipment with me overseas and would accordingly be uncontactable.
Unsurprisingly I get back after my holiday to irate emails from the group head complaining bitterly about how much trouble I had caused, since my autoreply had generated multiple complaints to the department. So I explained that I felt I needed to explain why I was out of contact, that I was not going to take the blame nor was I going to break policy just for other peoples’ convenience when I had applied for permission on multiple occasions, so tough. This did not go down well. In the meantime, since I suspected including multiple trips on one application was the reason it hadn’t been processed, I submitted multiple applications, each for one trip. Hey presto, a result! For my first trip – to Phuket – I got a reply! Saying I wasn’t permitted to go to Phuket, only to Bangkok, and that I had to stay in one of three approved hotels. You can imagine my patience was feeling somewhat tested at this point. Not long after my detailed reply explaining why these restrictions were completely unacceptable and saying that if they tried to impose them I would simply refuse to take corporate equipment with me, would again be uncontactable, and would use the same autoreply, the policy was reversed.
You couldn’t make it up!!13 Feb 2018
Never mind the amount of luggage allowed, but who in the world needs an allowance of more than say 20 kg?
Well, let’s see:
Businessmen* who need to take multiple sets of formal wear and/or equipment with them
Students who need to take books, revision folders, etc
Parents with young children
People attending weddings or other special events who need extra outfits
People travelling to multiple destinations with different weather (eg one hot one cold)
Skiers/golfers/divers (continue ad nauseam for other sports needing heavy equipment)
People who like to take a couple of nice bottles of wine with them (this is VERY important!)
Having at one time fitted into every one of the above categories except sales, I can easily see how 20kg would be quite inadequate. As it is, on our trips back to the UK we often do a lot of shopping there which we bring back home to HK – either things which are unobtainable at home or which are much cheaper in the UK. It is perfectly normal for me to travel back with 30 or 40 kg of luggage, and often quite a lot more.
I would add that I am also a past master at travelling light – I used to go on 2-3 day business trips with nothing but a pilot case, which contained toiletries, formal wear, casual wear, work documents, computer and printer. I just can’t be bothered any more, it is far too much like hard work. I would rather take too much than too little nowadays.
* No intention to be sexist, just using the most popular term!in reply to: Etihad cuts baggage allowances12 Feb 2018
Yes, it is blatantly dishonest, in the broader sense. And like FDoS I wish it was possible to penalise companies for that sort of sharp practice. Unfortunately, so far as I am aware, there isn’t any grounds for doing that.
Ianin reply to: EU261 & what time is classed as delay?12 Feb 2018
A while back I claimed against BA for a delay, and they quoted the arrival time as being the touchdown time (three minutes before the compensation “border”). I politely wrote back pointing out the “ready to disembark” rule and said I thought it unlikely that the ‘plane slowed down to taxi-ing speed, taxi-ed to the gate and opened doors in three minutes. They sent me the money.in reply to: EU261 & what time is classed as delay?11 Feb 2018
Stowage, why do you say that? I asked in an earlier post for comments comparing National Express with Megabus but didn’t get any information, and I would love to hear some firsthand feedback
Ian28 Dec 2017
From the articles above:
“The Austrian carrier [Niki] has since announced it will cancel all flights effective December 14.”
“Lufthansa’s bid for Niki… was blocked by the European Commission [since it] feared that Lufthansa Group … would gain a monopoly on most routes in Germany and Austria”
Am I the only person who notices the incongruity?
The Commission seem to think it is better to have competition shut down and reduce capacity than allow it to be taken over and maintain capacity.
The laws of supply and demand generally dictate that lower capacity without a change in demand leads to higher prices.
Which is better for the consumer – a monopoly with high demand and low capacity, or a monopoly with high demand and high capacity? I know which one I would opt for. What a shame the Commission think that a high-demand-low-supply monopoly is better than a high-demand-high-supply monopoly.in reply to: Austria’s Niki faces bankruptcy27 Dec 2017
I gather that the pre-orders are over and above the standard loading.
That may be true in the sense that they ensure the pre-orders are on board, but I can’t believe that they do this “over and above” the standard loading. We all know that BA stock as little as they can get away with as it is! I simply can’t believe they load the normal offering PLUS specific items for pre-orders… Perhaps you meant something different, but your phrasing seems to imply that this is what happens
My own view on pre-prdering is that if it is available then, with one or two exceptions, it is a big mistake not to use it. I will come on to the exceptions later. My reasoning is that no airline wants to overcater (perfectly understandable, I might add) but this does mean that if a meaningful proportion of people do pre-order, the lottery of ‘loading versus preferences’ for the much smaller pool of people who haven’t pre-orderered makes it much more likely that you won’t get your preferred choice. The only way to ensure that you do get that choice is to pre-order. The more people that work this out, and do pre-order, the more the odds are skewed against those who don’t, therefore more people will tend to pre-order, and so on. I have seen this in practice on an AA domestic flight where I had pre-ordered, and my neighbour failed to get her first choice despite only being the third person to try to select on board.
Some airlines also offer a significantly wider choice on pre-order than is available on board (SQ being probably the most famous example, but MH are the same (and I have used their pre-order system quite a few times), and as mentioned above QF offer one or two extra dishes). These alone may offer a good reason to pre-order.
However, as noted above, there may be cases where it is not a mistake to pre-order – the most obvious of these is where none of the pre-order options is compelling enough (on paper/screen) to make a choice without having a chance to look at what is on offer. Funnily enough that is the option I faced most recently, and it was on QF. La famille were all due to head to Sydney from Boxing Day to New Year’s Day (that didn’t work out, for reasons unrelated to this thread). I went on to Manage Booking, saw the pre-ordering option (which, I am ashamed to say, I hadn’t noticed before) and looked at the choices. To be honest, it was more Hobson’s choice. Which of these am I least likely to hate??? I haven’t seen such pretentious twaddle or such bizarre food pairings since the last time I (a) went to a restaurant whose chef had lost himself up his own arse and (b) promised never to make that mistake again. I ended up selecting a pork dish (as did Junior Offspring) on the basis that it sounded slightly less awful than everything else. The Memsahib perused the selection and decided to opt for no meal at all. Senior Offspring was so unwell at the time that presenting her with food choices would just have been cruel.
As it turned out, Senior Offspring and the Memsahib (who caught the same bug) were too ill to travel, which is why I am writing this at The Hong Kong Club over lunch rather than in Sydney by the pool.
But back to the original question:
“Interesting article on AusBT on how to order your meals before your longhaul flight on QF.
It seems to work well – and for all classes on QF.
Does anyone do that on other airlines and is it successful?”
Yes, I do. Yes, it is successful in the sense that you get what you order. However, whether that is what you want??…. That’s a different question!in reply to: Meals ordered pre-flight online27 Dec 2017