Airplane or airport experiences...

calvinhobbes

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sorta reminds me when china eastern screwed up my flight from Hong Kong to Auckland via Shanghai. Yes it was a dumb choice of connection and airline, I know that now, but it was cheap :|

That reminded me of one of my more amusing travel stories.

A friend and his girlfriend were on a world trip when the wife and I were living in Shanghai. They wanted to fly from Tehran to Christchurch and there aren’t many choices for that kind of route, one of which was China Southern with a stopover in Ürümqi and a connection in Guangzhou. Having made reservations for the trip, they tried to pay for their tickets and found out that the only options available to them were mainland Chinese payment services. I don’t remember why exactly, but that’s how it was and of course, they didn’t have access to any of those services.

However, the options did include “ask a friend to pay for your ticket”. So they sent us a message asking if we could help.
Well… that is the sort of challenge I enjoy, so we had to find a way to get some €2000 into WeChat Pay and then pay the airline, and fast.

“You wouldn’t have that money in an account with bank D, by any chance?”
“Actually, yes!”
“Excellent, because the only way to send me that money instantly is into my account with bank D. Here’s the number.”
“OK, sent.”
“Alright, I’ll put my shoes on and walk to the Bank of China ATM while bank D is processing the transaction.”

Walk there, transfer the money from my checking account with bank D to my credit card, withdraw the cash, hope my CC doesn’t get blocked due to suspicious activity and deposit it into my wife’s BoC checking account. Needless to say it was late at night and I had to do this in several transactions because 16000 RMB is a lot more than you can withdraw from a Chinese ATM.

But it did work and once the money was in the Chinese account, I told them to send me a fresh “ask a friend to pay” link and was able to pay for the tickets. Phew!
 

calvinhobbes

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Oh Heathrow, bane of the airline passenger, I scorn you so…

Sometimes, life provides a bit of perspective. That A380 you can see on the left from 1:15 onwards… I was waiting to get off it when this happened:


I think the people on that MD-82 found out what a truly stressful travel experience is.

 

Matt2000

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British tourists and Benidorm means low IQs and heavy drinking, I can't say I'm really surprised to see that happening.
 

jack_christie

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British tourists and Benidorm means low IQs and heavy drinking, I can't say I'm really surprised to see that happening.
Unbelieveable they way he threw his partner to the ground as he charged at security
 

Matt2000

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Unbelieveable they way he threw his partner to the ground as he charged at security
To his beer-soaked mind it might've been to protect her from punches but maybe not, they don't call lager 'wife-beater' for nothing!
 

calvinhobbes

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Boarding by bus is great, isn’t it? Not only do you get to spend a lot more time waiting and a free shower on the apron when it’s raining, you also get to watch the morons among your fellow passengers fail at boarding a conveyance twice!

21B89A2C-C787-48C6-BF6D-2ADB6632AC57.jpeg
 

calvinhobbes

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Oh Heathrow, bane of the airline passenger, I scorn you so…

AFAIK, they start playing music in the toilets when someone enters, which is a bit odd but fair enough.

Today, though, the music that greeted me was a questionable instrumental version* of the theme from “Moonraker”. Are these people trying to tell me something? 🤔


*Somebody thought that a tormented saxophone is an adequate substitute for Dame Shirley Bassey’s voice. It is not.
 

jack_christie

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Michael O’Leary the Ryanair boss
“Some of the other airlines – and it’s a judgment call – didn’t see the recovery coming as early as we did,” he explains.


“We started recruiting and training new pilots and cabin crew last November, so we began earlier than any other airline. The other thing we did very sensibly during Covid is that we didn’t fire thousands of cabin crew or pilots or engineers.”


The key was to get staff and aeroplanes into the sky well ahead of the expected recovery, the 61-year-old says, even if there weren’t any passengers. “If a pilot doesn’t fly once a month, they lose their licence. You then have to put a pilot back into a simulator for three months to get his licence back.” Meanwhile cabin crew whose hours lapse need an eight-week training course, and aircraft a larger maintenance inspection.


“We made sure, even if we had flights with no passengers, we sent up pilots and cabin crew. We sent everybody flying at least once a month. We didn’t dump them all at home and say, ‘We’ll call you in 18 months when this is all over.’ ”




Screenshot 2022-06-30 021516.jpg
 

calvinhobbes

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View attachment 3565540

Nice try, asshole (MOL, not @jack_christie). What good is operating flights if your passengers can’t get to the plane due to staff shortages because your extortionist cost-cutting has bled dry all the subcontractors who need to have employees to get the self-loading and non-self-loading cargo into the metal tube?

O’Leary is a cunt and Ryanair is a scourge. They may be safe and currently somewhat more reliable than others, but the business practices they pioneered are one reason why we’re in this mess.
 
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jack_christie

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Nice try, asshole (MOL, not @jack_christie). What good is operating flights if your passengers can’t get to the plane due to staff shortages because your extortionist cost-cutting has bled dry all the subcontractors who need to have employees to get the self-loading and non-self-loading cargo into the metal tube?

Look at the table above, Ryanair cancellation rate is 0.02%!!! Currently doing fine. They were ramping up since November, obviously other airlines and airports weren't. Some airports used the pandemic money to get rid of their longest serving and most experienced staff, which led to farcical ques when they were complaining that it can take six months to do background checks.
 

calvinhobbes

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Alright, they may have few cancellations out of the UK. What do those number include? Only flights that were cancelled on the day of travel? A few days before? Or the infamous two weeks where an airline can cancel & refund your ticket and tell you to get stuffed?

Does that Torygraph interview (I’m not going to pay to read it) also mention that Ryanair simply refuses to sell connecting flights, has no long haul flights and employs mainly people who have far fewer job choices than most people in, say, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany? That greatly reduced complexity and greatly increased flexibility make it a lot easier to scale back up.

If your outsourced ground staff and twenty something cabin crew simply do not have the option of taking another job, it’s a lot easier to “convince” them to come back and charge people for luggage that is 1cm over your proprietary size limit/sell more scratch cards. And if you’ve never been paying them decent wages in the first place (or they’ve actually been paying you for permission to come to work, re: pay-to-fly pilots), keeping them on the payroll wasn’t as much of an issue as it was with the long-serving and experienced staff members that other airlines actually have.

Everything at Ryanair is done the cheapest and nastiest way they can get away with, including the boss’s PR interviews. They started the race to the bottom that has knocked the industry off its feet and they’ve been leading the field for decades. This is by no means an excuse for the failures of other airlines, but it does help explain why aviation is a far less resilient sector than it could be.
 
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calvinhobbes

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Task failed successfully!

You can say that again, literally!

I was supposed to fly on the exact same flights yesterday (the 4th) and noticed on Sunday that the AA flight was going to be delayed until at least the morning of the 5th. So a few calls were made and a couple of e-mails exchanged and I was booked on the BA A380 once more.

What did I see coming in to land at MIA as I was travelling back to the airport for the BA flight back to Heathrow? The 4th of July AA flight from Heathrow that had actually been delayed until noon on the 5th. 🤪
 

Matt2000

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I would not expect a company like Lufthansa to be ripping off Banksy on their own planes. :LOL:

I hope you enjoy/enjoyed your time in Engerland as much as possible.
 

calvinhobbes

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I would not expect a company like Lufthansa to be ripping off Banksy on their own planes. :LOL:

AFAIK, it’s the cabin crew that draw the sketches. I‘ve seen the Frankfurt skyline, too, among other things. IMHO, the creativity that the yellow “welcome” rectangle can inspire is the one redeeming feature of LH’s drab livery.

I hope you enjoy/enjoyed your time in Engerland as much as possible.

Well… I did get a good view of Didcot power station on the train from Reading. And a nice and toasty top floor hotel room without proper ventilation for the night before the flight home.

Currently bathing in my own juices on a heavily delayed, very full and poorly air conditioned replacement train from FRA airport to Stuttgart. So in case I sounded like I was bashing Engerlund, I really, really wasn’t.
 

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Three minor observation on the current staffing crisis:
  1. Oslo airport is designed (or run?) by idiots. So you check in online, you print your baggage tag at a machine at the terminal, you are at the airport extra early because you did not have time to eat and want to have a pint and a snack after going through security - and you find out there's no self-service bag drop! You have to wait in line for check-in to open to drop your already-tagged bag.
  2. Helsinki is Finnair's main hub, so a lot of people on short distance flights there go on to overseas destinations. Going home or on holidays to another continent, how can your full plan to deal with your luggage be "I'll be at the counter early and sort it out"? We had a group of Americans with four(!) pieces of excess luggage, people with oversized luggage, people with no clue, people with unevenly heavy luggage, so of the seven groups in line in front of us five took fifteen minutes or more to check in.
  3. Especially with Americans complaining about credit cards not working and luggage fees, but also in the general speed of operations, a total lack of routine in the check-in staff was obvious. They had no experience in dealing with rowdy passengers or how to man their post efficiently. It was clear that they got hired recently and put on the job with the absolute minimum of training.
So what was supposed to be a quick bag drop turned into over an hour of waiting. But I got a paper boarding pass from an airport counter printer for the first time in probably a dozen years, so that's not nothing.

I have to go to Germany twice in September, so let's find out how bad them media frenzy "airport chaos" really is at BER...
 
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calvinhobbes

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I have to go to Germany twice in September, so let's find out how bad them media frenzy "airport chaos" really is at BER...

Should be alright because that’s after the summer travel season. The number of tourists who don’t even bother to find out how to do things quickly will be a lot lower than it is now.
 
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