Malaysian Airlines are not going to survive this latest crash. After MH370 ‘disappeared’ and the airline held back critical information to delay the search passengers lost trust in the airline. The airline responded by cutting prices and costs to win back passengers. This meant some of their long haul routes were the cheapest on the market, meaning backpackers and families travelling on a budget packed their flights, terribly ironic. Malaysian Airlines, like many major carriers, had no room to maneuver on costs and so were one of many airlines still flying over the war torn area of the Ukraine to save on fuel and airtime costs.
To beat the rules of the ceiling set by European flight controllers at 32,000 ft and above the Ukraine they flew at 33,000ft. To a sophisticated Surface to Air missile battery this 1000 ft is irrelevant. The pilots knew that and did not want to be there. Malaysian airlines were not going to change their routes. The Ukraine authorities posted a warning on June 14th to avoid this route as they had intelligence the Russians had moved powerful BUK mobile SAM Missiles into Eastern Europe to shoot down Ukraine military planes. Quantas stopped flying there over three months ago. This is why they are the world’s safest airline. Some airlines have to take risks to keep flying. If you knew just how many airliners land with just 10% or less of their fuel left with little access to cover emergencies you would never fly again. If you circle and airstrip more than three times you are in trouble.
Russia as good as fired that missile. The rebels in Eastern Ukraine have no aircraft and so no need for the Ukrainians to be firing ground to air missiles at them. These separatists are being armed by Russia and many of them are Russian military. The West, of course, don’t want to start a war with Russia over this and the European Union willing to surrender Eastern Ukraine to avoid hassle. A lot of Russian oligarchs hide their money in Europe’s financial centers to avoid Russian taxes and corruption and the likes of London and Paris want to keep it. The British Prime Minister simply doesn’t want to upset those money men, however many planes Russia shoot down. London and Britain’s recovery is being driven by corrupt and foreign money being ‘invested’ in London.
This war is all about oil and gas. The Crimea seizure gives Russia back control of the strategically important Black Sea oil & gas and military bases and the Eastern Ukraine is where the pipes leave Russia to the all-important European gas markets, 80% of Europe’s gas coming through the Ukraine. Because Russia’s huge Gazprom Company own most shares in Ukraine gas infrastructure and fields there are all manner of battles going on over sovereignty. Russia sells gas cheaper to Europe and so the Ukraine was siphoning off some of that oil and gas to get it cheap.
In that region the countries that allow gas and oil pipelines to cross their territories get a royalty for every therm and barrel. Only last year the Ukraine announced a massive natural gas strike in that Eastern region of ‘their’ country. This would make the country increasingly self-sufficient for oil and gas and less dependent on Russia. Dutch oil companies have the biggest investment in those fields. The European Union wants Ukraine in the union to get cheap oil and gas and have been tempted them in. 75% of the plane passenger manifest was Dutch. Basically Russia is fed up of the independent Ukraine and wants them back in the fold. It’s just a theory.
All wars are about energy and scarce resources in the end and this one no different. A Ukraine in the EU makes the EU much stronger and Russia weaker. A 911 style attack on commercial airliner is a proven way for Putin to show his absolute power in this war to the West. He will do it again.
This shoot down of MH17 and investigation may inconveniently reveal more information of the loss of MH370. Was that also shot down by a missile from a countries missile battery and covered up to save that government’s skin and protect them for compensation? Any plane deliberately going off radar becomes a bomb in these post 911 years, one that may have been heading for the Malaysian parliament and an aircraft stuffed with aviation fuel controlled by an angry politically active pilot.
this is a review of zoom airlines - a low cost transatlantic airline that flies from the UK to Canada and the USA. I have travelled from london gatwick to new york twice with zoom in the last 7 months and both my flights have left a lot to be desired. firstly it is worth pointing out that zoom are the cheapest airline to fly with to new york from the UK. in fact if you find the same flight cheaper they will refund the difference. so i booked some flights as they had a promotion on and went just before xmas last year.
we were in premium seating as we had received this for free as part of the promotion which was great however they told us that on the return flight we would be sat in economy(extra legroom a gesture of goodwill) as there were changes unforeseen to the plane. no probs as were refunded the difference. yet when we checked in our seats had been given to somebody else so we ended up in normal economy. once back home we emailed customer services who offered us extra legroom seating free of charge if we ever flew with zoom again. so we booked some more flights for june and went to new york again. on the return flight, surprise surprise, our seats had been given to somebody else. basically zoom have poor admin and are v disorganized, you pay what you get for so if you want better service then pay the extra 50 quid and fly with BA, if they are any better at the moment! tho for the unfussy flier who can sleep on long haul flights, you do get a good price with zoom, even if the planes look like they belong in the 80s!
My husband Sam retired on 9th January 2005 so, to celebrate, I decided to take him to a place he had always wanted to visit, Vienna. I searched the web for a two-night city break, but the main airlines cost the earth. Then Sam saw an advert in the Sunday newspaper for Niki the airline run by Niki Lauder the ex-F1 racing driver, in association with Air Berlin. I immediately went to www.flyniki.com, a simple red and white site in the colours of his old F1 team (those of you into F1 will know and those of you not into F1 wont give a monkeys) and clicked on the English bookings button, as its in several languages.
Although Niki dont yet fly all over the world, they do fly from UK to many destinations in Europe and beyond. They also fly from quite a few other countries. There is a comprehensive map on the home page, which shows all the connections. The site itself was extremely uncomplicated and when I entered Stanstead, Vienna and 18th Jan 2005 in the search engine I was confronted by a list of dates, departure times and prices. It was easy to scroll backward and forward through the dates and times and choose a departure date, time and price to suit. Believe me there were many combinations of times, dates and prices, not all of them inexpensive, though the majority were under £50 in January and February. I did the same with the return.
I was lucky enough to find a departure from Stanstead, (closest to us, though they also fly from Manchester and Southampton) direct to Vienna for £19 each and a return flight for £25 each. A further 9euros per person each way allowed us to reserve the seats we wanted by clicking on a large picture of the seating plan. The actual booking process was simple and quick and I paid with my credit card, through their secure site.
My booking confirmation came through by E-mail immediately. There is a 24hour UK customer service telephone number at 8p per minute, so I could have booked by phone if I had preferred. Our flight was clearly laid out departing at 9:30am from Stanstead and we were pleased because this would mean a not too early rise for the 1hour journey. We would have to be there at least an hour before to check-in, so the E-ticket advised, although the Stanstead website said 2 hours due to increased security. Sam always errs on the cautious side so we planned to leave at 6am to give us time to park also. This meant getting out of bed at 5am, which wasn't too much of a hardship.
I next went on to the web via my free search engine, CopernicAgent to find us accommodation for the two nights. I looked at a few hotel sites, and then found what I wanted on www.leisuredirection.co.uk. We could stay B&B at the Hotel Regina in Rooseveltzplatz in the centre of old Vienna for £96.00 in total. This looked like a really inexpensive holiday, so far a total of £206.00 for the lot, not including parking which, at the time, I hadnt really considered. Anyway, I went ahead and booked the hotel, which again, was easy and I immediately received an E-mail confirmation.
A couple of hours later Sam said to me, Do you want to invite Allison along? This is his sister who lives very close to us and whos husband died of lung cancer in June 2004 after being diagnosed out of the blue the previous November. I immediately agreed as Allison and I get on very well. I telephoned her and she was delighted and asked me to do all the bookings for her.
I called the customer number at Niki and explained that I would like to add another person to the departure and return flights. They were able to book Allison onto our flights and even seat her next to us. The only difference was that the cost of her tickets was £10 more than ours. This was because the cost of the tickets fluctuates all the time, presumably depending on the number of seats left. I was very impressed by the helpful friendliness of the operator and was not left hanging on the line for more than a minute or two while they made the arrangements.
I called the customer service number for Leisure direction and was able to book her a double room next to ours at the hotel (the cost of a single was only £2.00 less so not worth the reduced space.)
So far so good.
I accomplished all this at the beginning of November and sat back, very pleased with myself to await Xmas and Sams retirement party etc. Sometime in December, someone mentioned the cost of parking at Stanstead and how it was less costly if you booked in advance, so I spent several days researching parking packages. I had almost decided to book and pay £28.50 for the three days, when, on 18th December I received an E-mail from Niki apologising and telling me that the time of the flight to Vienna had been changed from 9:30am to 8:30pm. This meant that instead of arriving in Vienna at 12 noon, wed arrive closer to 11pm and wed lose the whole day.
Of course this was unacceptable, but what could we do about it? We had only one option, because Id already booked the hotel, which was to cancel the flight out and book with another airline so off I went to search the web again. My first results were depressing .KLM wanted more than £700 for a one-way ticket for three adults and most of the others were no better. Then I remembered that Niki was affiliated to Air Berlin and so I searched their website. The closest match I could come up with was a flight from Stanstead at 7:30am to Vienna via Dusseldorf at around £150 plus taxes for the three of us. I phoned the Niki customer service and asked them what our options were. The very friendly German youth advised me that he could either change the date of my flight or refund my money. I suggested the option of switching us to the Air Berlin flight and after conferring with his supervisor he agreed, adding that it would be at the original price because it was their fault. Again, this took no longer than a few minutes, however I was disappointed that this was not offered to me at their instigation. Someone not so accustomed to surfing the internet may not have been able to discover this option themselves.
Thank goodness I hadnt yet booked the parking! With a departure time of 7:30am now, wed have to be up at 3:00am! Totally unacceptable, so off I surfed again to find a hotel with free parking so we could go down to Stanstead the day prior to departure. I was able to find via www.holidayextras.co.uk a triple room for three adults for £99.00, room and parking, and we were all satisfied with that, though you will notice that the cost of this short break is creeping higher.
When January arrived, I started my weeks leave from work on 17th (the other two passengers being already retired!) and we extended the holiday by one day and left Suffolk on 17th to wander around the shops for an afternoon in Bishops Stortford, then eat and sleep in the delightful (as it turned out) Yew Tree Inn at Manuden. Because the triple room wasnt ready, we were given two separate rooms at no extra cost. The taxi to the airport the next morning was included and also the taxi back on our return. We enjoyed the meal, but this also added about another £60 to the cost of the holiday.
We arose at 5am, after a fairly sleepless night of waking every hour because we werent sure that the alarm would work, and got to the airport in plenty of time. We had decided to take just hand luggage because of the change at Dusseldorf, and as there was only an hour between us landing and our next planes departure, we were a little concerned that wed be able to make check-in in time at Dusseldorf. We were the first to check in at the Air Berlin desk and an unsmiling, unfriendly young girl gave us our boarding passes, though to give her credit, she told us that she had swapped the seats to ensure that they were all together, which the Niki operator had seemingly failed to do. She did not ask us any questions at all about our baggage, whether we had packed ourselves etc, and didnt weigh it either (which was just as well because we were all above our 6kg limit for hand luggage!)
We proceeded to the checkpoint for metallic objects, passing a large plastic box containing metal nail files, scissors, Swiss army knives etc, and had to place all bags, handbags and coats on a conveyor belt then walk through a metal detector. My bag was pulled out for a search. They found nothing of course so, as this bag contained mostly underwear, it must have been the underwire in my bra! Sam was body searched with a hand detector because the tin foil on his indigestion tablets had set off the alarm. One man had his shoes off because they had metal caps. It was all very reassuring but if I had been carrying anything, Id have hidden it in my toothpaste tube wouldnt I, so that the cursory search they gave it wouldnt have found it in any case. I have an honest face!
The small Air Berlin plane took off on time and we had some turbulence, so a bumpy ride. We were given a free roll of either salami or cheese and a non-alcoholic drink. We were also offered sweets and magazines (in German) when we boarded. There was plenty of room for our luggage, probably because we were first on. We landed and were first off the plane. Dusseldorf wasnt a large airport, but we had to ask where the check-in was. We were told, Its over there but youd better hurry, it closes in 5 minutes!
We hurried to the checkout desk and stood behind one other person, whereupon the young man shouted at us in German, You must wait behind the yellow lines! If I didnt speak any German at all, I would have been totally bemused. As it was, I was offended at his tone, and I didnt understand everything he said. We finally realised that we should be waiting behind the yellow lines painted on the floor which, in our haste we had ignored. Anyway, with apologies to my German friends (whom I love very much) the command Get behind the yellow line! delivered in a very bad German accent became a running joke for the next few days.
The second plane was identical to the first, very small but adequate, except that we were seated two of us together next to a stranger in the window seat and one of us across the aisle next to an empty seat and a stranger in the window seat. We had the same to eat and drink as before. We arrived in Vienna around noon and were glad that we had worn several layers of clothing! We looked at the train timetable and cost. It would cost 9 euro each to take the train to Vienna centre from the airport, then we would have to take the metro or a tram to the hotel, so we decided to take a taxi.
As we approached the taxi ranks, a very well dressed young man approached us and told us that he had just delivered someone to the airport in his limousine. He had to return to the city, so perhaps we could do a deal? We agreed on 25euros. He took us to his very comfortable vehicle and drove us to the door of our hotel, after giving us a tour of the city and a commentary, and telling us about the Vienna card, which allows unlimited transport and discounts. This was a wonderful introduction to a very friendly city.
I wont go into detail about the hotel or the holiday, as I have already wandered a bit and this review is supposed to be about Niki, though I have had to explain the circumstances surrounding our Niki flight in rather a lot of detail!
The day came when we had to return to Vienna Airport for our departure flight with Niki at 6:35pm. I should have telephoned to check that the flight was OK 24 hours previously but I took a chance, you may think foolishly, given that they had already changed the departure flight time. It also states on the ticket that times of flights are subject to change, however, we were lucky and there were no changes. We had arrived at the airport in plenty of time because, to be honest, although we had enjoyed the break and Vienna, it was very cold and we were anxious to be home. We went through the same checks as we had at Heathrow but this time, at the Niki check-in desk, Allisons bag was weighed and she was informed that she should remove 2kg. Mine and Sams bags were not weighed and probably were just as heavy but ours were not on wheels and hers was!
As it turned out, no one insisted that she remove anything and no one else weighed her bag. We waited patiently to board the small white aeroplane with the distinctive red Niki painted inside a rough red circle, (which I think was a Boeing 757) and were allowed to do so at 6:05pm. Unfortunately, a party of schoolchildren complete with two teachers held up departure and we missed our slot. The two stewardesses dressed in the red and silver Niki costume donned overcoats and so did we as the door of the plane stood open awaiting the latecomers. The aeroplane looked from the outside even smaller than the Air Berlin one, but seemed to hold quite a lot of people and the info on the website says these planes hold 100 or more passengers, surprising!
Then we waited on the runway while 5 other aeroplanes landed in front of us, and then took off 30 minutes late. As there was a heavy head wind, we were advised that the trip would take 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Once we were airborne, the cabin warmed up and the stewardesses came along the aisles with German newspapers and the Financial Times. There werent any sweets though. There was a baby passenger who had to sit on his father lap for take-off and who was provided with a special seat belt. Children under 2 are entitled to 90% discount and those under 14 to 33% and a cot can be reserved for babies less than 12 months old. The schoolchildren would have flown cheaply too because a group of more than10 receive a 3% discount whilst a group of 15 receive a 5% discount and every 21st person flies free. Theres quite a lot of information about this and the frequent fliers programme on the website, but it isnt always clear if all of this information applies to Niki as well as Air Berlin.
The seats in front of us were empty so Allison sat there and was able to recline her seat and spread out. There isnt much room otherwise. Although there werent any disabled passengers on our flight, Niki do allow severely disabled people to reserve a seat for themselves and another person free of charge. Blind passengers can bring guide dogs and wheelchairs and assistance is available free of charge. This is not so with other budget airlines.
We were given the option of buying earphones for 1euro for the little televisions that descended from the ceilings in front of us. These then played Mr Bean and Tom and Jerry, which didnt really need earphones! Alcoholic drinks were offered for sale but as wed spent all our euros and they didnt accept sterling, I dont know how much they were charging. All other drinks were free and a sandwich or three open sandwiches in a pack were handed out to everyone, followed by a chocolate mousse. The open sandwiches were on German black bread with toppings of cream cheese, ham and fish paste. I found them delicious, but I like airline food in any case! All of these, and the bottles of water had the Niki logo. It was interesting to follow the progress of the plane on the little television, especially when the town of Bury St Edmunds was highlighted as we approached Stanstead. We touched down at 10:20 and Stanstead felt warm although it was raining.
In conclusion, the flight was comfortable, I thought, but the aeroplane wasnt full so in the height of the season and on a longer flight it may not have been so. Larger people may have felt cramped in the smallish seats. The service was good, the cabin crew friendly and helpful, and I enjoyed the food. It was obviously budget, but you get what you pay for, and for the price, Id say it was excellent. The biggest drawback was the change of flight times. If I hadnt had the nunce to suggest my own alternative, they wouldnt have, and not everyone would have been able to find their own substitute. I would recommend Niki, but would say, be very aware that they have the backing of the larger Air Berlin and use this if necessary.
There is a whole biography of Niki Lauder and how he started this airline, which, by the way he sold to Austrian Airlines in 2000, on the website www.flyniki.com. You can also find a lot more technical information than I have given here.
SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES
I am flying this Airlines since 13 years, I made around 30 trips fom Saudia to Mumbai or Hyderabad, In my 30 trips or so, I never had an occassion to complain about my baggage, flight timings, cabin crew, check in, food, ground staff and any other normal aspect of travel.
This Airline has many aircrafts in their fleet, some of them I give them below :
B747 - 468 First Class 36seats 32 Business Class, 290 Economy seats
B747 - 368 First Class 36seats 38 Business Class, 319 Economy seats
B777 - 268 First Class 30seats 31 Business Class, 183 Economy seats
They have many ohter Aircrafts in their fleet, I always flew between India, Saudia, UAE, I dont know about other sectors, but in my sector the food is as per my taste, spicy, they used to serve non-spicy before 1995 but now their menu is compatible to the sector requirement, Hyderabad their boarding cards are issued on Indian Airlines stationery, it seems ground services of Saudi Airlines in Hyderabad are being taken care of by Indian Airlines, they have their appointed travel agents in all major cities of India, in Hyderabad it is AARAFAT TRAVELS, you should take your passport at the time of reservations and other requirements, I asked the counter person why we must have passports, he said this is for Visa Check, Saudi Arabian Visa is stamped in Arabic Language and they follow Hijri Calender (Lunar Calender) usually passengers do not know what dates are equivalent to Gregorian Calender, that is the reason the staff check the dates of visa for us and help us out with status and other things.
It is well known that Saudi Arabia has 2 holy cities of Muslims, MECCA and MEDINA and muslims from all over the world come to these Holy places during Hajj month (It is the 12th month of Lunar Calender) They come to Saudi Arabia in millions and also they have visitors all the year round coming to perform UMRA (Minor Hajj) This is the reason the Airlines has become very effecient handling all nationalities of this world.
The cabin crew are conversant with 4 or 5 Languages easily including Arabic, The Gulf Countries all have foreign workers employed in all their airlines, this is also one of the reason you find staff knowing many languages.
Saudi Arabian Airlines is known to purchase brand new Aircrafts direct from the manufacturers, that is the reason all Aircrafts are new and in very good conditions, I have never heard on their public announcement systems that we have to make a emergency landing because of a technical snag, I have also never been delayed using this Airline.
I flew with them on their domestic flights, even their domestic services are smooth and easy like grease, now a days you see lot of Saudi Young boys as cabin crew and also you hear many pilots are Saudi Nationals. In flight entertainment has 1 Big screen on each partition of the Aircraft 100 or more seats and they have TV monitor embedded in the back seat headrest for every class passenger, on the big screen you can watch a movie chosen by the projector staff, we have around 12 Video Channels to choose from, Hindi, English Movies, English Soaps, Arabic Movies, Arabic Soaps, English Songs, Arabic Songs and Quran (Majd Channel) We have a choice of Audio Channels, one of the Audio Channel is recitation of Holy Quran contineously till the end of our journey, we have also choice of video games from the same monitor, there are 2 player games, board games and chase games, these all can be accessed with a wired remote control from the handrest of your seat. Menus are easy to access and channels are easy to change.
We are given immediately after boarding a perfumed napkin and some fruit juice of your choice and later the foods and unlimited black tea, they provide also pillows, blankets, eye mask and ear phones to each passenger even extra pillows are provided if you request for it. The overhead compartments are spacious can hold 3 hand carrys easily.
Al Fursan is the name of their frequent flyer programme, this card is acceptable for discounts with many leading card services provider like Sherton, Hilton, Budget, Avis etc., www.saudiarabianairlines.com=is their website where you can know about every service they provide, you can do reservations online too on their website. They have code sharing agreements with many leading airlines of europe, asia, americas. You can take home the airlines complimentary magazine called Ahlan Wasahlan (WELCOME) this magazine has good write ups about travel destinations of the world and also some nice features on wild life of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
In flight sales accept all major credit cards, they sell perfumes, jewellery, watches and many others branded items they swatch, rado, ysl etc., with them, they also have SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES products made for the in flight sales specially items such as watches, bags , toys , perfumes etc., which are a lot cheaper than other branded items. They are a good buy. You can buy nice DATES and date biscuits and other date mixed products in the flight, they sell rosaries too.
Thank you for reading
I got Flightsavers to book me a return flight with Malaysian Airlines to Jakarta via Kuala Lumpur. I intended to spend a week on holiday in Jakarta.
Before I set off, a bomb went off outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. Various governments issued travel warnings, urging tourists to avoid Jakarta, as tourist hotels were likely to be the next targets.
I contacted my travel agent, Thomas Cook, and was told that if I cancelled my booking I would lose £220.
I planned to go ahead with my journey. I planned therefore to get off the flight, MH11, in Kuala Lumpur and not join flight MH711 to Jakarta. I planned to spend my tourist money in wonderful Malaysia.
Thomas Cook said that if I got out at Kula Lumpur I would have to pay an extra £220.
I sent various e-mails to Malaysian Airlines but got no replies.
I eventually got through by phone to Malaysian Airlines. They confirmed that my £718 ticket could not be refunded in full and that if I wanted to get off in Kula Lumpur I would have to pay an extra £220.
I love Malaysia. But I had to cancel my holiday. I am a retired person and my budget would not stretch to the extra payment.
I have recently looked up various websites on travel. They confirm that Malaysian Airlines staff are sometimes grumpy and unhelpful.
Next time I will choose Singapore Airlines. The top management at Singapore Airlines are more efficient than those at Malaysian Airlines.
Just think - if Malaysian Airlines had been a little bit more flexible I would have travelled to Kuala Lumpur and spent my money there.
Some Malaysians may not be wildly keen on the British and their allies (Israel and America).
Between 1948 and 1960, Britain was fighting a war in Malaya. According to Mark Curtis, in the Guardian, "the growing brutality and deception of the Iraq war mirrors what happened in Malaysia. Under the banner of fighting communism, British forces were given free rein in Malaya. Collective punishments were inflicted on villages for aiding insurgents. A shoot-to-kill policy was promoted, tens of thousands of people were removed into "new villages" and used as cheap labour, and British soldiers had themselves photographed holding guerrillas'
decapitated heads. The idea that the revolt was ended through "winning hearts and
minds" is a myth; it was crushed by overwhelming force, such as
massive aerial bombing."
More recently, the Asian economic crisis was blamed by some Malaysians on foreign speculators.
Most Malaysians welcome visitors. The country is beautiful and the people are beautiful. Ideally one gets out of the cities and into the kampungs where the real Malaysians live.
The recent elections proved that 90% of the population are opposed to any kind of fundamentalism.
But be wary of Malaysian Airlines. They don't seem to care about their customers and their economic situation does not seem to be as strong as that of Singapore Airlines.
I will not be using Thomas Cook again.
Did the bomb in Jakarta achieve its objective? General Bangbang got elected president with a big majority.
I have flown in this airline twice and then my parents have flown four times in this one, which gives me enough experience for the analysis of this torturous flight. I?ll tell you everything step-by-step....so read on... Reason for flying: Blame it on my dad who always makes last-decisions whenever we had to go abroad.Its always in the summer vacations that we used to plan to visit London every year(till last year, when we finally settled here), and this planning would not last more than 2 hours. My dad is always the spontaneous type of creature, planning simply puts him off!! Then, off he used to telephone his travel-agent uncle in Delhi who would always have tickets of this flight handy (all other flights were obviously booked in the peak season). Being one of the cheapest was an added bonus....but the real nightmare started with the actual flight.... My first encounter: This was way back in 2000 when I was all excited over my first flight of life. I had to travel alone as dad and mom had problems.We arrived at IGI, Delhi in time and after the formalities, I was ready to enter the flight. From the outside, the plane looked huge...it was actually Boeing 737(or 747..cant remember), and had two floors. My heart started thumping loudly when I was nearing the door...but everything was put to rest when I entered the flight...the flight attendant wished me strangely by bowing her head in some insane language...I thought I had dropped something on the floor. I looked around in amusement and in due course, she literally pushed me inside the cabin...that was so rude...I felt like slapping her...but controlled myself. Travelling by economy class, when I entered the cabin this is what I was greeted with.....dirty towels hanging on the seats and the passengers...oof!!all straight from a D-class village....it was so disgusting, that the very sight of the villagers and their belongings thrown on the way had me almost fainted. I never thought
flights were like these even in the worst of my nightmares!!!! It was like entering a 2nd-class train coach....on top of it, my seat was beside a stinking pig who had such a bad body odour that I couldn?t help offering him a deodorant. Alas, he did not know what it was. He just opened the cap and was going to take the bottle to its mouth...I snatched the bottle away and sprayed some around me...Till now, my migraine had already started but the flight had not. I was getting more and more restless and out-of-breath by the sheer stink and shortage of air. Felt like breaking the window open and jumping out. At last the flight started and all the people in the flight started cheering loudly like wolves...Omigawd!! When the flight had reached a steady height, we were offered food...I opted for vegetarian...and what I got was Indian pulao and tomato cottage cheese...with juice and water.Oh what a relief...but wait..I needed a refill...there was a button on top of my head for calling air-hostess. I pressed it and came a svelte girl...I asked her for a glass of lemonade or lime water (to get over the nauseated feeling) and what did I hear in return...I couldn?t understand at all...I asked her if she could speak English....and the answer was a straight no...Oh God!!!throughout the flight I was practising signal language to ask for drinks...the staff was friendly, but not knowing English is an offence!! What more, even the instructions for safety procedures were all written and described in pure Arabic....to the illiterate people sitting beside me it made little sense anyways, but I felt helpless!!! The Nightmare continues My flight was from Delhi to London, and guess what, it had 2 stoppages...one at Sharjah and the other at Damascus. At Sharjah, the whole lot of illiterate people got off and the flight was near-empty. Oh what a relief, I thought!!!But what came next....flight attendants with broom-sticks, that too to clean the flight....which world on eart
h were they living in....couldn?t they have vacuum cleaners. Off they went sweeping all over and it was dust and more dust inside...I started to get nauseated and asked if I could get outside till they are finished...they said I wasn?t allowed to...and know how they said it..by pushing me back to my seat..I was furious now and screamed at them...but they kept on sweeping more dust on my face...the other passengers were strangely sleeping....or maybe had fainted!!!! The next stopover was Damascus...some relief came when I got over from the flight and into the airport (it was more of a shopping centre and definitely better than the Indian one). The outside temperature was 57 degrees, but thankfully there was air-conditioning. I roamed and loafed about, as the wait for the transit was 3.5 hrs long...but hey!!!the flight going to London had delayed and the passengers going to London had to wait for 8.5 hours...this was irritating but the previous flight had left me numb to do anything. I slept on the airport and was soon off to London. This flight was a small Airbus (in sync with the amount of passsengers) and was much better--the best thing was that the staff knew English. But don?t ask me about the food....in vegetarian came some boiled vegetable which looked like a cut-away and stale bottle-gourd and the sweet-dish had me vomited there and then... In-flight entertainment was one thing Syrian Airways had not heard of, I think. There were no screens whatsoever anywhere on the flight, be it letting the passengers know where the flight is going or making them watch any movies....And the seating was straight out of Delhi?s buses....so cramped that even a baby will topple off.. Finally I reached London and when I got out of the flight, felt like an animal out of zoo... This flight was a punishment (this is just one of my encounters, imagine the agony when I had to fly back 1 week later,as I had the return ticket) and I won?t recommend it even
to my enemies....let alone readers of this review...
Today TWA has announced that they are bankrupt and are selling out to other airlines. Therefore they are officially one of the "other airlines". I almost always fly Virgin to America, only flying with another carrier when I can't get a seat or when all the cheap seats are sold out. This past Christmas I went over to see my family and I was only able to get TWA seats (strange...they were the only carrier with any seats left). Even though I sat in a bulkhead seat, I still felt more cramped than on a Virgin flight. The armrests did not move, and I think the seats were closer together and thinner, which is strange for any American company, if you know what I mean. The food was absolute crap. Our seats were just in back of first class, and aside from the flowers and nice plates I noticed the menu for them was basically what Virgin gives the economy passengers. The whole 9 hour flight they came around twice with drinks, and they only showed one movie. They managed to show two programs about TWA, though, and five TWA commercials. It was very cheesy. I think I'll book earlier next time.
Faced with the choice of returning from Boston or JFK in BA Club Class I decided to fly out of JFK and experience the new Club World seat available so far only on this route. Rather than the reclining chairs found in BA, and all other airlines business class, BA have installed chairs that transform at the pressing of a button into a 6 foot bed. The airport choice weas also made easier by the awful mess that is downtown Boston where the airport is - JFK could be no worse, and it was excellent and is the subject of a folow on review of mine. Anyway, I have heard comments from inside the airline and aircraft industry that these beds have been found to be too short and too narrow - so at 6 foot 2 and 17 stones, I suspected that I may find the same. But instead I had the first decent sleep that I have had over the Atlantic. East coast flights can often be 6 hours or less, but I slept soundly from a quick snack until breakfast was being served. The chair/bed resembles the units found in First Class on BA, and as those are 6.5 feet long, BA could hardly make these as good without shooting themselves in the foot. However, they may have - although not having travelled first class, the club class offering with these new beds is fantastic, from excellent service through to great comfort. The chair/bed operates very simply, even though at first sight it is confusing. The old club class chair has four controls, this has just two - the first to adjust the lumbar support up and down or in and out, and the second to recline the chair. Fully recline and you have a bed, remembering to pop the footstool up. This footstool alone makes the chair more comfortable than the old club class with its foot rest. Recline the chair a bit, and you then can sit as if you were on a garden lounger. The rest of the chair set up is rather neat too, and imporved. The TV is much bigger and folds easily out, unlike the rather awkward offering in old club worl
d. A natty little wineglass shelf compliments a lap tray. And at the end of the journey, pushing one button returns the chair to a preset landing/take off position. All looks rosy for business class travel in BA if they extend the use of this chair - even the hostesses are starting to look younger, or I am getting older!
Avio-Impact? No, Impex is socialist slang for "import-export-company", and Avioimpex is one of the airlines of the FYR Macedonia. Don't know if it still exists or has gome bust in the aftermath of NATOs Balkan bombing, though. I flew from Stuttgart (Germany) to Skopje in May 1998 (a year before Skopje became headquarter of the NATO war), and it was thoroughly enjoyable. The aircraft was an oldish Russian machine, and the pilot seemed very experienced - I have never had such a smooth start and landing, my usual BA, Lufthansa, Sabena or KLM flights always seem to try and shake people a bit to make them feel that they are really flying. There were no seat numbers - we just had to grab a seat somewhere, and although there was - in principal - a non-smoking and a smoking area, the passengers (mostly Macedonian guest workers living in Germany) did not seem to care that much, soon people were smoking everywhere - and Macedonians do smoke a lot. However, the staff was very helpful and successful in finding a smoke-free seat for a mother and her small child, and although I am usually a bit allergic to smoke, I found that it wasn't actually that bad during the flight - perhaps due to the particular Macedonian brand of tobacco. The meal was much more filling than the tiny cheap BA sandwiches - and, what's best, it was effectively an "eat as much as you like"-event, because as soon as the meals were served, everybody started to change with their neighbours - where "neighbour" is loosely defined as "everybody else on the plane". Once you had finished your plate, somebody would offer you a bit of his, and if you left over a bit, you could be sure that somebody from the other end of the plane would come along and ask for it. More a Macedonian family feast than a inflight meal. The ground staff also had a peculiar Balkan way of doing things. We were ready to check in, and the check-in counter was already open, but
the officer informed us, that our type of ticket needed a special stamp that we would only get on a different counter. But: At that other counter, there was nobody. Back to the check-in, enquiring why that stamp was so important: "Well, I don't know either, but the man at the other counter doesn't actually do much beside stamping tickets, so if you don't do it, he doesn't have anything to do." Ah, that explains it. Yes, I would fly again.
I had never heard of Air skandic before flying with them recently, and I certainly wont be flying with them again. On arriving for check in at our instructed time of 13.10 we were informed that there was a delay, but that they did not know how long a delay. 2 hours later no further information had been given, so I tried to find the Air Skandic desk.I recognised it by the collection of irate people standing there. We were told that a fault with the fire alarm light refusing to going out had occured the previous day. they had not managed to find an alternative plane, and therefore the only plane available was the one on the runway ( now repaired) which had to yet fly to Tenerife and back. Their estimated time of departure was 1am. I was concerned about my key pick up arrangements at my private villa, and asked about making a phone call. They advised me to use the call box. I asked them for the dialling code for Spain. They suggested I ring directory enquiries. (I had not been one of their irate customers.). We did get a £5 meal voucher at 7pm. We finally flew at 01.30. (10 hours and 20 mins late) The plane itself was Ok and the cabin crew excellent, but I felt that our treatment at the airport was appalling. If this delay had shown up on the internet when I checked in the morning we could have spent an extra 11 hours at home instead of in Manchesters departure lounge. I work in a hospital and am constantly being made aware of the patients charter. How come an airline can keep you waiting for 11 hours, lose you a nights sleep and a day of your holiday with no answerability. Delays are inevitable, but delays of this length are unacceptable. Insurance companies pay out a £20 compensation for a 12 hour delay.Big deal! A day of your holiday costs alot more than that.
PGA Portugalia Airlines is the second largest air carrier in Portugal. it started out a few years ago mainly providing connections between Oporto and Lisbon. It soon expanded its horizons by flying to Faro and several destinations in Spain, and from there it tried to reach every destination in Europe with a high affluence of Portuguese immigrants. It is an extremelly pleasant airline to fly with, with very considerate staff and you are really well looked after. The food is absolutelly superb, and if it's during summer time they will even treat you with Haagen Dazs. In the UK it flies from Manchester airport at very reasonable prices, into both Oporto and Lisbon. Once in Portugal they can provide ou with connections to other parts of Portugal too. It is without shadow of doubts one of my favourite airlines, and usually the preferred if travelling to Portugal.
Yemenia - the national airline of the Yemen is easily the worst airline I've ever travelled on. Why would I have chose them? I didn't, the tour company, Voyages Jules Verne did - they've since become more upfront on their choice of carriers but we had no idea until the confirmation arrived that we would be on Yemenia. What was so bad? First the plane was delayed by 20 hours, necessitating an overnight stop in Gatwick. It had set off from Rome on the way to London and returned due to "technical problems". I'm a nervous flyer and this did nothing to fill me with confidence. We also missed a day of our holiday and received no compensation. The interior of the cabins can only be described as shabby, food was very poor, and the plane stopped twice on the way to Sanaa and took 11 hours altogether. After the passenger stop at Rome, there was a seemingly random refuelling stop (the tickets said one place, the flight boards said another and it actually stopped at Port Sudan on the way out and Cairo on the way back!). There is no entertainment of any sort - not even radio (on an 11 HOUR flight) and except for the meals we were left to our own devices. On the stop at Cairo someone got out and poked things under the engine cover - also not a good sign, but we had picked up a nasty disease and were pretty much out of it most of the way back which was probably for the best. Since this experience I have been much more careful in choosing my airlines and always aim to go with a trusted name, even if it means more stops. I didn't like Yemen very much (fortunately a week of the holiday was in Ethiopia which was wonderful) and wouldn't recommend it as a holiday destination, and certainly the national airline is well worth avoiding!
About 3 years ago we went on holiday to America we had a flight with British Caledonia. The flight we were on was 9 hours long so you would think the plane would be nice and relaxing but it wasn't. Mums in a wheelchair so we had a seat right by the toilets, which was not very nice because of the smells. The isles were very narrow so when anyone walk past they would nock you and then the toilet door would hit your knees. The seats were very tight so anyone that was a little big was very uncomfortable. When it was time to eat anyone in the middle seat in a block of 3 couldn’t eat when the 2 ether side of them was eating because it was so tight but I don’t know why anyone would eat the food anyway because it was very bad.
Cuba may well be one of the jewels in the Caribbean, but travelling within its boundaries on an internal flight has to be experienced to be believed. All of the internal flights within Cuba are carried out by the government run national airline Cubana, who have an unbelievably poor reputation for safety (principally due to the US embargo). The last time I visited Cuba was in the summer of 97; we travelled to Havana from Gatwick on a non-eventful boring flight of 10 hours (DC10). Our first night in Cuba was spent in Havana a city of great contrasts, (which will be the subject of another opinion) the second day was spent travelling to our coastal destination at Santa Lucia, this involved flying from Havana (Jose Marti’ international) to Camaquey. The plane that we were to fly on was an old twin prop, which looked as though it was powered by elastic bands. That was just the external appearance, once inside this flying museum my heart sank. The site of a toilet that was probably last cleaned when the plane was built immediately greeted us. The smell was gut wrenching. The flight attendant was courteous enough and showed us to our seats near the front of the plane, the seat I was travelling in was broke and could not be set in an upright condition. All the internal plastic trim within the plane showed the effects of UV degradation with fine cracks everywhere. The plane eventually took off and reached a cruising altitude of approximately 12000 feet, at this point in the flight the air conditioning system suddenly kicked in and appeared to fill the cabin with smoke. My wife, who is a seasoned flier, flipped when she saw the “smoke”, she genuinely thought that we were going to die and let everyone in the cabin aware of this thought. She did tell me that she loved me and that she was sorry for being such a bitch toward me. The attendant tried to reassure her, and explained that the “smoke” was just cold air com
ing from the air con unit. The flight was uneventful from here except for the landing, which was just a bit too bouncy for me. Would I go to Cuba again? Definitely, but I will never again take an internal flight.
I did some work in Canada last year and flew Air Transat there and back. The flights gave me two very different experiences of the company. From what I can gather Air Transat is a charter airline based in Canada that also do some scheduled flights. I flew out in a chartered Airbus. It was brand new and the staff were obviously very excited to be on it. The airhostesses could only speak pigeon English- odd for a Canadian airline flying to and from the UK. They were very helpful, despite this impedement. The food was OK, it was a dry flight due to the nature of company I was working for, but the coke and orange juice kept on coming. All in all outbound was 8/10. The homeward flight was totally different. This time the aircraft was a knackered old Tri-star. The seats were worn out and very rickety. The toilet doors didn't close properly. Basically the plane was a shed. I doubt the galley was working properly because the food served was either burnt or cold. The staff, this time, spoke lots of different languages unfortunately they didn't have a common one- difficult! The captain couldn't even pronounce the name of our destination. I thought English was the international language of aviation? Homeward journey: 4/10 I can't comment on the cost because I didn't pay, thank goodness.